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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 20 страница



overhead seemed to quiver. Percy could be heard telling the other

prefects, "My brother, you know! My youngest brother! Got past

McGonagall's giant chess set!"

 

At last there was silence again.

 

"Second -- to Miss Hermione Granger... for the use of cool logic in the

face of fire, I award Gryffindor house fifty points."

 

Hermione buried her face in her arms; Harry strongly suspected she had

burst into tears. Gryffindors up and down the table were beside

themselves -- they were a hundred points up. "Third -- to Mr. Harry

Potter..." said Dumbledore. The room went deadly quiet for pure nerve

and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house sixty points."

 

The din was deafening. Those who could add up while yelling themselves

hoarse knew that Gryffindor now had four hundred and seventy-two points

-- exactly the same as Slytherin. They had tied for the house cup -- if

only Dumbledore had given Harry just one more point.

 

Dumbledore raised his hand. The room gradually fell silent.

 

"There are all kinds of courage," said Dumbledore, smiling. "It takes a

great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to

stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville

Longbottom."

 

Someone standing outside the Great Hall might well have thought some

sort of explosion had taken place, so loud was the noise that erupted

from the Gryffindor table. Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood up to yell and

cheer as Neville, white with shock, disappeared under a pile of people

hugging him. He had never won so much as a point for Gryffindor before.

Harry, still cheering, nudged Ron in the ribs and pointed at Malfoy, who

couldn't have looked more stunned and horrified if he'd just had the

Body-Bind Curse put on him.

 

"Which means, Dumbledore called over the storm of applause, for even

Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were celebrating the downfall of Slytherin, "we

need a little change of decoration."

 

He clapped his hands. In an instant, the green hangings became scarlet

and the silver became gold; the huge Slytherin serpent vanished and a

towering Gryffindor lion took its place. Snape was shaking Professor

McGonagall's hand, with a horrible, forced smile. He caught Harry's eye

and Harry knew at once that Snape's feelings toward him hadn't changed

one jot. This didn't worry Harry. It seemed as though life would be back

to normal next year, or as normal as it ever was at Hogwarts.



 

It was the best evening of Harry's life, better than winning at

Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls... he would

never, ever forget tonight.

 

Harry had almost forgotten that the exam results were still to come, but

come they did. To their great surprise, both he and Ron passed with good

marks; Hermione, of course, had the best grades of the first years. Even

Neville scraped through, his good Herbology mark making up for his

abysmal Potions one. They had hoped that Goyle, who was almost as stupid

as he was mean, might be thrown out, but he had passed, too. It was a

shame, but as Ron said, you couldn't have everything in life.

 

And suddenly, their wardrobes were empty, their trunks were packed,

Neville's toad was found lurking in a corner of the toilets; notes were

handed out to all students, warning them not to use magic over the

holidays ("I always hope they'll forget to give us these," said Fred

Weasley sadly); Hagrid was there to take them down to the fleet of boats

that sailed across the lake; they were boarding the Hogwarts Express;

talking and laughing as the countryside became greener and tidier;

eating Bettie Bott's Every Flavor Beans as they sped past Muggle towns;

pulling off their wizard robes and putting on jackets and coats; pulling

into platform nine and three-quarters at King's Cross Station.

 

It took quite a while for them all to get off the platform. A wizened

old guard was up by the ticket barrier, letting them go through the gate

in twos and threes so they didn't attract attention by all bursting out

of a solid wall at once and alarming the Muggles.

 

"You must come and stay this summer," said Ron, "both of you -- I'll

send you an owl."

 

"Thanks," said Harry, "I'll need something to look forward to." People

jostled them as they moved forward toward the gateway back to the Muggle

world. Some of them called:

 

"Bye, Harry!"

 

"See you, Potter!"

 

"Still famous," said Ron, grinning at him.

 

"Not where I'm going, I promise you," said Harry.

 

He, Ron, and Hermione passed through the gateway together. "There he is,

Mom, there he is, look!"

 

It was Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister, but she wasn't pointing at

Ron.

 

"Harry Potter!" she squealed. "Look, Mom! I can see

 

"Be quiet, Ginny, and it's rude to point."

 

Mrs. Weasley smiled down at them.

 

"Busy year?" she said.

 

"Very," said Harry. "Thanks for the fudge and the sweater, Mrs.

Weasley."

 

"Oh, it was nothing, dear."

 

"Ready, are you?"

 

It was Uncle Vernon, still purple-faced, still mustached, still looking

furious at the nerve of Harry, carrying an owl in a cage in a station

full of ordinary people. Behind him stood Aunt Petunia and Dudley,

looking terrified at the very sight of Harry.

 

"You must be Harry's family!" said Mrs. Weasley.

 

"In a manner of speaking," said Uncle Vernon. "Hurry up, boy, we haven't

got all day." He walked away.

 

Harry hung back for a last word with Ron and Hermione.

 

"See you over the summer, then."

 

"Hope you have -- er -- a good holiday," said Hermione, looking

uncertainly after Uncle Vernon, shocked that anyone could be so

unpleasant.

 

"Oh, I will," said Harry, and they were surprised at the grin that was

spreading over his face. "They don't know we're not allowed to use magic

at home. I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer...."

 

THE END





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