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Harry Potter and the Story of GUMSHOE, Part Two

We began last time with the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, including the first core clue in Chapter Two. We continue with Chapter Three.

Chapter Three: The Keeper of the Keys

We are introduced to the friendly half-giant “Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.” That is, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as Harry learns when Hagrid finally gives Harry the letter he’s tried all week to deliver.

Hagrid then tells Harry about the circumstances of his parents’ death. Hagrid has trouble relating the tragic tale, and especially of mentioning the wizard responsible, Voldemort. Harry uses the Reassurance ability to get Hagrid through it, finally learning the truth of his parents, his scar, and how he came to live with his aunt and uncle.

Harry gets more than just the retelling from Hagrid. He has a brief vision of the killing curse:

Something very painful was going on in Harry’s mind. As Hagrid’s story came to a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than he had ever remembered it before - and he remembered something else, for the first time in his life: a high, cold, cruel laugh.

This can be seen as Harry’s player spending a point (likely of Reassurance) for more information or an extra benefit. In this case, it is confirmation of Hagrid’s story and a direct connection for the character to the events of his past. It serves as a spotlight moment for Harry, which is often what Investigative ability spends are supposed to do.

Finally, at the end of the chapter, we see the other side of this same mechanic. Hagrid mentions that he was expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, and because of this, he is not allowed to do magic except under very specific circumstances. Harry asks why he was expelled and Hagrid quickly dodges the question.

Harry may have had a chance here to spend more Investigative points and actually learn Hagrid’s secret. But obviously, his player decided not to. Perhaps he was out of points in the appropriate ability (Reassurance or Oral History), or perhaps he just didn’t want to make too many spends too early in the adventure. As it is, he won’t learn why Hagrid was expelled until the following year, during the events of Chamber of Secrets.

Chapter Four: Diagon Alley

The next day, Hagrid takes Harry to London to purchase the supplies he’ll need to attend Hogwarts. The only place to find wands, cauldrons, and wizard robes is Diagon Alley.

The entrance to Diagon Alley is through the Leaky Cauldron, “a tiny, grubby-looking pub.” Harry has his first exposure to his own fame as the witches and wizards inside rush to shake his hand. One of these is Professor Quirrell, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Harry doesn’t get any useful information about him here, but we’ll keep our eye on him later.

It turns out Harry’s parents were loaded and left all of their wealth to him when they died. So the first stop is Gringotts, the wizard bank run by goblins. Hagrid presents Harry to the goblins to access his vault, and he also mentions “the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen.” Harry asks him about this (probably trying Reassurance again), but Hagrid won’t answer. He does say that it is Hogwarts business, trusted to him by Dumbledore. This slip of information does still count as a clue, even though it looks like Harry was shot down.

Harry gets his money, Hagrid gets a tiny package from vault 713, and they leave the bank. Hagrid pops back to the pub for a drink to calm his nerves after careening around on the Gringotts roller coaster ride, leaving Harry to get his robes at Madam Malkin’s.

Inside Madam Malkins’, Harry meets an increasingly unlikable boy. We’ll later learn this lad’s name is Draco Malfoy, but for now, Harry just listens to him spew classist and racist remarks as if they were the most natural things to believe. This can be seen as Harry using the Oral History ability, which is the ability to get people talking and to listen well. Harry remains noncommittal until Malfoy attacks Hagrid. Before he’s forced to give his name to Malfoy, Harry’s fitting is finished and he rushes from the shop.

The final stop on this shopping excursion if Ollivander’s for the most important tool of any wizard: a wand. Inside, Mr. Ollivander recognizes both Hagrid and Harry immediately. There’s an exchange where Ollivander remembers Hagrid’s wand and comments “but I suppose they snapped it in half when you got expelled?” Harry notices that Hagrid grips his big pink umbrella when he talks about his wand. This is either a use of Notice to spot the umbrella as significant or Assess Honesty to read Hagrid’s body language.

And then Ollivander is on to Harry. They try a number of wands before Harry is chosen: “holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple.” Perhaps another use of Oral History as Mr. Ollivander relates that Harry’s new wand has a brother, the only other wand to contain a feather from this particular phoenix. And of course, that wand belongs to none other than Voldemort, the wizard who killed Harry’s parents.

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