An ill-conceived plan

Harry and Ron inadvertently lock the mountain troll in with Hermione

Extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

by J.K. Rowling

‘Can you smell something?’

Harry sniffed and a foul stench reached his nostrils, a mixture of old socks and the kind of public toilet no one seems to clean.

And then they heard it – a low grunting and the shuffling footfalls of gigantic feet. Ron pointed: at the end of a passage to the left, something huge was moving towards them. They shrank into the shadows and watched as it emerged into a patch of moonlight. It was a horrible sight. Twelve feet tall, its skin was a dull, granite grey, its great lumpy body like a boulder with its small bald head perched on top like a coconut. It had short legs thick as tree trunks with flat, horny feet. The smell coming from it was incredible. It was holding a huge wooden club, which dragged along the floor because its arms were so long.
The troll stopped next to a doorway and peered inside. It waggled its long ears, making up its tiny mind, then slouched slowly into the room.

‘The key’s in the lock,’ Harry muttered. ‘We could lock it in.’ ‘Good idea,’ said Ron nervously.


They edged towards the open door, mouths dry, praying the troll wasn’t about to come out of it. With one great leap, Harry managed to grab the key, slam the door and lock it.

‘Yes!’

Flushed with their victory they started to run back up the passage, but as they reached the corner they heard something that made their hearts stop – a high, petrified scream – and it was coming from the chamber they’d just locked up.

‘Oh, no,’ said Ron, pale as the Bloody Baron.
‘It’s the girls’ toilets!’ Harry gasped.


‘Hermione!’ they said together.


It was the last thing they wanted to do, but what choice did they have? Wheeling around they sprinted back to the door and turned the key, fumbling in their panic – Harry pulled the door open – they ran inside.

Hermione Granger was shrinking against the wall opposite, looking as if she was about to faint. The troll was advancing on her, knocking the sinks off the walls as it went.

‘Confuse it!’ Harry said desperately to Ron, and seizing a tap he threw it as hard as he could against the wall.

The troll stopped a few feet from Hermione. It lumbered around, blinking stupidly, to see what had made the noise. Its mean little eyes saw Harry. It hesitated, then made for him instead, lifting its club as it went.

‘Oy, pea-brain!’ yelled Ron from the other side of the chamber, and he threw a metal pipe at it. The troll didn’t even seem to notice the pipe hitting its shoulder, but it heard the yell and paused again, turning its ugly snout towards Ron instead, giving Harry time to run around it.


‘Come on, run, run!’ Harry yelled at Hermione, trying to pull her towards the door, but she couldn’t move, she was still flat against the wall, her mouth open with terror.

The shouting and the echoes seemed to be driving the troll berserk. It roared again and started towards Ron, who was nearest and had no way to escape.

Harry then did something that was both very brave and very stupid: he took a great running jump and managed to fasten his arms around the troll’s neck from behind. The troll couldn’t feel Harry hanging there, but even a troll will notice if you stick a long bit of wood up its nose, and Harry’s wand had still been in his hand when he’d jumped – it had gone straight up one of the troll’s nostrils.

Howling with pain, the troll twisted and flailed its club, with Harry clinging on for dear life; any second, the troll was going to rip him off or catch him a terrible blow with the club. Hermione had sunk to the floor in fright; Ron pulled out his own wand – not knowing what he was going to do he heard him- self cry the first spell that came into his head: ‘Wingardium Leviosa!’

The club flew suddenly out of the troll’s hand, rose high, high up into the air, turned slowly over – and dropped, with a sickening crack, on to its owner’s head. The troll swayed on the spot and then fell flat on its face, with a thud that made the whole room tremble.

Harry got to his feet. He was shaking and out of breath. Ron was standing there with his wand still raised, staring at what he had done.

It was Hermione who spoke first.


‘Is it – dead?’


‘I don’t think so,’ said Harry. ‘I think it’s just been knocked out.’

He bent down and pulled his wand out of the troll’s nose. It was covered in what looked like lumpy grey glue.


‘Urgh – troll bogies.’ He wiped it on the troll’s trousers.


A sudden slamming and loud footsteps made the three of them look up. They hadn’t realised what a racket they had been making, but of course, someone downstairs must have heard the crashes and the troll’s roars. A moment later, Professor McGonagall had come bursting into the room, closely followed by Snape, with Quirrell bringing up the rear. Quirrell took one look at the troll, let out a faint whimper and sat quickly down on a toilet, clutching his heart.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

by J.K. Rowling