Good luck, Harry

A young Harry has no idea how his life will change

Extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

by J. K. Rowling

Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed and then said, ‘Yes – yes, you’re right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?’ She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it.

‘Hagrid’s bringing him.’

‘You think it – wise – to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?’

‘I would trust Hagrid with my life,’ said Dumbledore.

‘I’m not saying his heart isn’t in the right place,’ said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, ‘but you can’t pretend he’s not careless. He does tend to – what was that?’

A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky – and a huge motorbike fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.

If the motorbike was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild – long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of dustbin lids and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.

‘Hagrid,’ said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. ‘At last. And where did you get that motorbike?’

‘Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,’ said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorbike as he spoke. ‘Young Sirius Black lent it me. I’ve got him, sir.’

‘No problems, were there?’

‘No, sir – house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.’

Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.


‘Is that where –?’ whispered Professor McGonagall.


‘Yes,’ said Dumbledore. ‘He’ll have that scar for ever.’


‘Couldn’t you do something about it, Dumbledore?’
‘Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well – give him here, Hagrid – we’d better get this over with.’

Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned towards the Dursleys’ house.

‘Could I – could I say goodbye to him, sir?’ asked Hagrid.

He bent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog. ‘Shhh!’ hissed Professor McGonagall. ‘You’ll wake the Muggles!’

‘S-s-sorry,’ sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. ‘But I c-c-can’t stand it – Lily an’ James dead – an’ poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles –’

‘Yes, yes, it’s all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we’ll be found,’ Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry’s blankets and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid’s shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to have gone out.

‘Well,’ said Dumbledore finally, ‘that’s that. We’ve no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations.’

‘Yeah,’ said Hagrid in a very muffled voice. ‘I’d best get this bike away. G’night, Professor McGonagall – Professor Dumbledore, sir.’

Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself on to the motorbike and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night.

‘I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall,’ said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.

Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.

‘Good luck, Harry,’ he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak he was gone.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

By J.K. Rowling