Chapter 5: The Whomping Willow
Chapter thoughts: We head back to Hogwarts in a very untraditional way, as Harry and Ron find themselves unable to get through the barrier at King’s Cross and onto the Hogwarts Express. Instead, they make the (very hasty and not at all thought out) decision to fly the Ford Anglia to school. Honestly, this decision was probably made more on the fact that Ron wanted to look cool than the fact that they had no other options. What’s interesting later in the chapter is that JKR has recently revealed that she considered having the boys land in the lake rather than in the Willow, which could have definitely changed this chapter. In any case, notable moments include flying the car, landing on the Whomping Willow, and getting in trouble with Snape, McGonagall, and Dumbledore.
Moment 1: King’s Cross Station
This moment also makes me nostalgic for England as we get a view of London and the countryside from the sky. We also get some nice new information about how Platform 9 ¾ came to be and why it has signifigance to JKR. I like that the moment takes you from clouds to the view below with each click.
Moment 2: Crash Landing
We get the same view as Harry and Ron as they crash land into the Whomping Willow. With each click, the tree attacks more and more. I rather like this way of interaction in the moment. It makes the user more a part of the story.
Moment 3: Snape’s Office
My favorite part of this moment is probably the refilling plate of sandwiches, probably because I want one myself (unlimited food you don’t have to make? It’s a college student’s dream!). I do wish, however, that a closer look at the Evening Prophet had been included. We don’t get the entire article in the book, but it was something simple that I would have liked to have been finished and included.
Chapter 6: Gilderoy Lockhart
Chapter thoughts: Here we meet the character that has been causing readers to sigh, roll their eyes, and groan as they slam their palms on their foreheads since this book was first published: Gilderoy Lockhart (Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming Smile Award, and founder of the Totally Incompetent Harry Potter Characters Society). As Harry, Ron and Hermione begin their first day of classes, they are confronted by Lockhart multiple times, always when Harry is in a most awkward situation. It should be noted, as well, that Ron already has Lockhart’s number, as he doubts their new DADA professor has done anything in his books. Notable moments include the Howler, repotting the Mandrakes, and the pixie problem.
Moment 1: Ron Receives a Howler
The great thing about this moment is we actually hear what the Howler says when it explodes! It’s such a great way to tie in the audiobooks to this moment, and I’m a big fan. We also get to be a part of the moment as you have to click several times to get the Howler to explode all the way.
Moment 2: Herbology
From this moment, I would say that Herbology would be a fun class at Hogwarts. There’s so much color in this moment, and the greenhouses look like a lovely kind of organized chaos. We hear the cry of the Mandrake seedling in this moment (great, they’re trying to knock us out) and collect a few tools, but that is all. Students are mysteriously missing from this moment, but it’s not too bad; it’s almost as if we are seeing the scene as students ourselves!
Moment 3: Cornish Pixies
If this game is any indication of what it was like for the trio to round up the pixies, then I would be just as angry about Lockhart’s incompetence. I do love that this moment is yet another game, however, and I am very glad it’s not as difficult as gnome-throwing.
Now that we’ve made it through the first day, it’s time for the pace to pick up a little. Quidditch season is, after all, just around the corner!