Recap: Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone C 9 The Midnight Duel
Harry, Ron and the other Gryffindors are delighted that soon they will be taking their first lessons in broomstick flight - until they realize that they will have to learn alongside their Slytherin counterparts.
On the day of the first flying lesson, Neville Longbottom is mailed a Remembrall, a little glass ball filled with smoke that turns red if you've forgotten something. (Except, like the strings on Uncle Billy's fingers, it's still incapable of actually reminding you of what you've forgotten.
During the flying lesson, Madam Hooch, the quite literally hawk-eyed
instructor, tells the first years to get their brooms into their hands by holding out their hands and commanding them, "Up!" Incredibly, Harry manages to get his broom in hand on only his first try.
Once everyone has their brooms, Madam Hooch is about to have them try a quick hover, only for Neville to get nervous, fly extremely high, then fall off and break his wrist. While she hurries him off to the hospital wing, Malfoy picks up the Remembrall and tries to hide it "up a tree," but Harry follows him into the air. Malfoy then throws the Remembrall away, and Harry catches it mere seconds before he can collide into the wall, resulting in massive applause from his classmates below as he returns to earth.
Professor McGonagall then arrives and has Harry follow her into the castle. While he is initially terrified that he is about to be expelled, McGonagall instead fetches Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor Quidditch team captain, and tells him that Harry would make a perfect Seeker, just like his father. She even says that she will ask Professor Dumbledore permission to let Harry have his own broom (first years typically are not allowed to have them.)
At dinner, Malfoy, enraged that Harry is not in trouble, challenges him and Ron to a "wizard's duel" at midnight in the trophy room. Ron assures him that they can't possibly hurt each other in any way with their limited magical abilities, and even suggests that he punch him in the nose if magic fails. Hermione Granger overhears them talking about this, and sternly informs them that if they are caught they will lose Gryffindor a whole load of points. Ignoring her warnings, they decide to keep their appointment, and they are also accompanied by Hermione (who follows them in order to continue her dire imprecations about the whole venture) and Neville, who has had his wrist healed but has forgotten the password back into Gryffindor Tower, and in any case the Fat Lady has left her portrait, temporarily locking them out.
Malfoy does not show up, however. Instead, they hear Filch skulking around, and immediately take off running. Hermione points out that the whole duel challenge was just a ploy on Malfoy's part to try and get Ron and Harry caught out of bed. They find their way to a locked door and make their way inside (using the Alohomora
charm), only to find a monstrous three-headed dog who tries to attack them. When they finally return to Gryffindor Tower, Hermione, before chastising them soundly once more, reveals something the boys failed to notice - the dog was standing on a trapdoor, meaning it must be guarding something. Harry remembers that Hagrid once said that Hogwarts was the only safer hiding place than Gringotts, and starts to suspect the package from vault 713 may be hidden below the trapdoor.