CHAPTER 15 – The Forbidden Forest
The gang were relieved that they had not been discovered in possession of
the dragon that had been whisked away by Charlie’s friends seated on four broomsticks from which was suspended a cradle for holding the dragon.
When they were brought before Professor McGonagall, Neville was also
there. He had been found wandering about in an attempt to warn Harry about Malfoy’s involvement. The Professor was of the view that Harry had told Malfoy the story about a dragon in order to get him out
of bed and into trouble. All three of them would receive detentions and lose 50 points each from their houses. This would undo all the good Harry had achieved at the Quidditch match.
The next day, news got around Gryffindor about the points loss and the gang
were shunned by the rest of their house. However, they were very popular with the Slytherins. Harry received the most abuse because he was the most famous.
One day Harry overheard Quirrell in conversation with somebody that he
assumed was Snape.
He could hear Quirrell saying, “No, no, not again, please”. When Quirrell left the room straightening his turban, he looked on the verge of crying. Harry was convinced that Quirrell had now been broken. All that stood between Snape and the stone was Fluffy. They could not go to Dumbledore because they had no proof.
Those that had been given a detention were given orders to meet Mr. Filch in
the entrance hall at 11.00 p.m. Wondering what was in store for them, they met Filch as arranged who took them out of he school towards the forbidden forest and the waiting Hagrid.
Malfoy was not the least bit happy about being taken into the forbidden forest by Hagrid. He thought he would be writing lines. Hagrid growled, “Writin lines! What good’s that ter anyone? Yeh’ll do summat useful or yeh’ll get out.”
Hagrid explained that there were dangerous creatures in the forest. He
was armed with a crossbow.
Their task tonight was to find a wounded unicorn that has laid a trail of silvery blood. They were to find it and put it out of its misery. Hagrid explained that this was not the first unicorn that had been attacked, and they were very difficult creatures to catch as they had powerful magic.
Hagrid split them into two parties, Malfoy, Neville and Fang, Hagrid’s dog
in one party, and Hermione, Harry and Hagrid in the other. Hagrid’s party soon came across a centaur called Ronan – half man, half horse. He could provide them with little news. He was more
concerned with the stars and planets.
The groups came back together again, and this time Hagrid swapped Harry and Neville. Harry’s group was soon deep in the forest and they came across a dead unicorn whose blood was being sucked by a hooded figure. Malfoy screamed and fled with Fang, leaving Harry looking on in amazement. The creature left its feeding to challenge Harry, but then it was frightened off by another centaur called Firenze. The centaur explained that unicorn’s blood could prolong life, but to kill a unicorn brought a curse, and only someone very desperate would perpetrate such a crime. Firenze recognised Harry as the Potter boy, and Harry realized that he was even famous amongst the forest creatures. Firenze offered Harry a ride, which is a great honor, in order to take him back to his friends. Harry soon realized that the creature drinking the unicorn’s blood must have been Voldemort. Firenze indicated that the stars held an ill omen for Harry, but even centaur’s have been known to read the stars wrongly.
After their exciting adventure in the woods, Harry was relieved to get back
to the dormitory where he found his cloak of invisibility neatly folded with a note pinned to it, “Just in case”.
We witness a change in mood in the story with the introduction of classical
elements such as unicorns and centaurs. This was hinted at previously with the mention of 3-headed dog.
This is another creature from Greek mythology, Cerberus, who guarded the entrance of Hades (Hell). The serious mood is created by a subtle reduction in comic elements. The situation appears to be very serious for our hero in that the main adversary would now seem to be Voldemort himself, and perhaps Snape is just his servant. The reader will be concerned as to whether our hero and his friends are ready to face such a foe.
The fact that some evil creature is preying on the innocent unicorns and
sucking their blood provides a grim facet to the storyline. What the reader should be asking himself is why Quirrell and Snape were in the forest.
They could have met secretly in the school. This is an important factor for the reader to remember.