Another week, another Harry Potter post!
This week we are focusing on the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, entitled “The Vanishing Glass”. If you remember this scene from the first movie only, you are truly missing out on some background details leading up to the actual glass at the Zoo vanishing and Harry letting out a Boa Constrictor. So here is my short recap of the chapter:
Nearly ten years has passed since the night Dumbledore left Harry as a baby on the Durselys porch. Today is the birthday of Dudley Dursely (Harry’s cousin). We find Dudley screaming about not getting as many presents as last year and being spoiled rotten by the Dursely parents, while Harry (who lives in the cupboard under the stairs) is treated not so well. Today being Dudley’s birthday, Vernon and Petunia are taking him and a friend to the zoo, when they find out they have to take Harry along, due to the babysitter no longer being available. On the way to the zoo, Vernon complains about all the motorcycles everywhere and Harry recalls a dream he had about a flying motorcycle, where he is promptly shut down and told “MOTORCYCLES DON’T FLY!” We get to the zoo, Harry lags behind the rest, stops to look at a Boa Constrictor that his cousin yelled at and moved on from towards awake animals. Harry starts talking to the snake (in what we assume to be English… but its FORESHADOWING…more on this later), and when the same is talking back (…more foreshadowing…)Dudley pushes Harry out of the way, and in a moment of anger, panic and other 10 year old feelings, Harry somehow makes the glass disappear between Dudley and the snake.
WHAT A CHAPTER!! Maybe this is just me nerding out, but this chapter has SO much in it that foreshadows into the other books… Parseltounge anyone? But now onward…
The theme we have in this chapter is: feeling different from society and not being sure why.
If there was one thing the Durselys hated even more than his asking questions, it was his talking about anything acting in a was it shouldn’t, no matter if it was in a dream or even a cartoon — they seemed to think he might get dangerous ideas.
Here we see poor 10 year old Harry, clearly not treated as well as his cousin, sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs and feeling a little stranger than all the other kids and not being able to explain why. The Durselys know that Harry comes from a magical family, they know he could be a wizard, but they believe that if they keep it a secrete from Harry then, he will turn out to be normal (something they pride themselves on). The chapter is riddled with numerous times where Harry feels like he doesn’t belong in the life he is being forced into, and just cannot explain why. One of my favorite examples Rowling gives us of this is when Aunt Petunia cuts all of Harry’s hair off, giving him the worst haircut in the world, and overnight it grows back.
In relation to law school I think this theme is two-fold. First, when talking to people about their journeys to DU I heard a lot of people say how great it is to be around like-minded people. Every single person here has an amazing story and yet everyone kind of felt like they didn’t quite fit in with where they were before. Some people it was feeling different from friends and not always being able to navigate popular conversations, for others it was the city they were in not fitting their life, and for most it was this desire to make a bigger impact than their current situations would allow. People didn’t always quite understand how we all thought or felt, or my favorite, why we couldn’t keep ourselves from thinking about the unpleasant problems in the world, trying to come up with solutions to solve them. We all felt a little different from the people around us (which is never a bad thing, because if we although and felt the same as the people around us, the world would be a bit boring). However, like in Harry’s case, it could sometimes feel like this big secret in life was being kept from us, only to present itself to us in due time. And now here we are!
The second part of this is happening now, in a lot of our classes we are not only faced with learning new material, but also building up our world views and starting to shape our future careers. We don’t quite fit into every mold of law (which is expected) while at the same time we aren’t quite sure which ones we do fit into quite yet. We are trying out new organizations, challenging our world views, thinking about different career paths and trying to settle into a whole new life. It’s hard to explain to friends and family exactly what it’s like here or what we are learning because it’s like dreaming of a flying motorcycle and knowing it felt more real than a dream and your friends are just staring at you dumbfounded. Going to law school is reshaping all of our minds, but for the better… and in just a few more chapters we will hopefully start to unpack that journey a little more.
The biggest take away from this chapter is truly to embrace that uncomfortable feeling about being different. Whether it be with your outside of law school life or your life inside of law school, keep loving just how being different feels, because it’s a telling sign of the underlying greatness in you, that once ready, you will unleash on the world and the world will never be the same.