CHAPTER 4 – Keeper of the Keys
Uncle Vernon faces the door with a rifle in his hands.
The door falls inwards, clean off its hinges, and standing in the doorway was a giant, twice the height of a man “hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles under all the hair”. The giant squeezed his way into the hut. The giant knew Harry, saying the last time he saw him he was only a baby, but he has his mother’s eyes.
Uncle Vernon threatened the giant, but he responded, “Ah, shut up, Dursley,
yeh great prune.” The giant took the gun, bent it into a knot and threw it into the corner. Uncle Vernon squeaked like a mouse.
The giant introduced himself as Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and
Grounds at Hogwarts.
The giant asked for a cup of tea and went to the fireplace, and within seconds there was a roaring fire. Hagrid explained that Hogwarts was a school and that Harry was expected to attend at the start of term.
The Dursleys had revived somewhat and opposed this, saying he was going to
the local comprehensive.
Hagrid was appalled that apparently the Dursleys had told Harry nothing about his parents, and that Harry was destined to be part of a totally different world – his parents’ world. The giant was able to tell him more about his parents than the Dursleys ever had. Harry’s parents were famous and so was Harry. The Dursleys tried to stop the giant, but now they were being bullied by Hagrid. Hagrid reached inside his large coat and pulled out a letter addressed to “Mr. H. Potter, The Floor, Hut on the Rock, The Sea”. The letter was from “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore.”
“Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1st September. We await your owl by no later than 31st July.
Deputy Head Mistress.”
Harry was intrigued by the sentence that they awaited his owl.
This prompted the absent-minded Hagrid, and he opened his overcoat and pulled out “a real, live, rather ruffled looking owl”. He gave the owl a note that said that he would take Harry to buy his things tomorrow. The owl was released to travel to Hogwarts School.
The Dursleys were still trying to stand against this tide of events, but
Hagrid grunted that no muggle could stop Harry now.
Then Hagrid supplied some more information for Harry. His parents were
a witch and a wizard and therefore Harry was a wizard.
His parents were not killed in a car crash, but were killed by Voldemort. When Voldemort tried to kill Harry he couldn’t. He lost his power, but Harry gained the scar on his forehead.
Uncle Vernon admitted that there was something strange about Harry, but
nothing that a good beating wouldn’t cure and so far as Harry’s parents were concerned, they were “weirdo’s”.
Hagrid lost his temper and drew forth a battered pink umbrella from inside
his coat. He pointed it at Dudley with the intention of turning him into a pig, but because he was probably so much like a pig anyway, the only change in his appearance was a curly tail protruding from his
The Dursleys were quiet after this.
However, Harry was still convinced that there had been some sort of mistake.
If he was a wizard, why hadn’t he turned Dudley and his Aunt and Uncle into something like warty toads? Hagrid explains that he will be shown his powers when he attends school. Harry had always noticed that when he was angry or frightened strange things would happen to protect him. Hagrid asked Harry not to mention to anyone at Hogwarts about him using his umbrella to change Dudley into a pig. Hagrid explains that he is not to use his powers because he was expelled from the school.
This Chapter marks the final transfer for Harry from the normal world to the
world of wizards and magic. He learns from Hagrid, a larger than life character that he is a wizard - not that he may become a wizard, but that he is a wizard, albeit untrained. He further learns that
his parents had these magical powers, and that his future lies with the magical world of wizards and giants.
Physically Hagrid is an awesome sight, but we quickly learn that he is good,
generous and cares for Harry greatly.
The reader may suspect that Hagrid will be Harry’s guardian, certainly in
the short term.
Rowling’s humour continues to be at the fore in this Chapter, and we finally
see the Dursleys getting their just desserts. After all, they are only muggles.
The reader also has to be prepared for the unexpected, and nothing can be
taken for granted. We are being bombarded with aspects of a totally alien world as imagined by Rowling. The blend between the unusual and the comic elements make this an interesting and entertaining read.