A first year is a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who is new to Hogwarts and in their first year of magical education. On average, there are around 144 new first years attending Hogwarts each academic year.
Beginning the magical career
Travelling to Hogwarts
First years are typically eleven to twelve years of age, and begin the year by boarding the Hogwarts Express at exactly 11 a.m. from King's Cross Station on which they travel to Hogwarts. If they are a wizarding family and live in Hogsmeade, they do not need to catch the train. From there, first year students are accompanied by the Keeper of Keys and Grounds, or another suitable teacher if they are absent, to a shady path that leads to a fleet of small boats, which magically sail themselves across the Black Lake to arrive at a small landing stage near the castle of Hogwarts; next, they await their turn to get Sorted into their houses. A teacher takes them to a small room where they await the Sorting ceremony. The older students ride up to the castle in carriages pulled by creatures called Thestrals, winged horse-like creatures that are invisible to anyone who have not personally witnessed someone's death.
The Welcoming Feast
Just before the Welcoming Feast begins, there is a Sorting ceremony, where the students are Sorted into one of four houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin) by the Sorting Hat. When the sorting hat is placed on your head it looks inside your mind. It looks for qualities that are unique to each of the houses and then places you appropriately. After the sorting, the Headmaster says a few words and the Welcoming Feast begins. After the meals have been eaten, the headmaster says a few more words; then the headmaster directs the school song at the end of the start-of-term feast if he feels in a particularly festive mood, such as when Harry Potter came to Hogwarts. The headmaster directs the song with his wand. He flicks out a ribbon that floats in the air, creating the words for the students to sing along with, each singing to the tune of their choice. The rest of the staff does not appear to have any delight in this little ritual, but for example, Albus Dumbledore conducts the singing with gusto and even gets a bit misty at the end of:
Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.
During the first year
In Astronomy, students observe the sky with their telescopes, learning the names of the stars and the movements of the planets; they also learn about the moons of Jupiter. Charms students learn the Levitation Charm, the softening spell, the fire charm, and, as the exam requires them to make a pineapple dance across a desk, presumably the dancing charm. Defence Against the Dark Arts classes learn about the spell to give people runny noses, the spell to blast people away, and different ways to treat werewolf bites. First years also learn the basic commands one must give their ride; they learn fundamental tricks and tips for riding. Herbology students study various plants and fungi, such as a healing herb and a plant that likes strangling people; it is in this class that they first learn the fire charm. In History of Magic, they learn various names and dates, including a really evil guy, a crazy dude, the Warlock's Convention of 1709, various goblin rebellions, the inventor of the self-stirring cauldron, and the uprise of Elfric the Eager. Transfiguration students made complex notes, and then had to learn the spell to turn a match into a needle, the mouse into snuffbox spell, and the Switching Spell. Lastly, potions students learned the potion to cure boils, and the potion to make people forget things.
|Second||Defence Against the Dark Arts||History of Magic||Herbology||Transfiguration (unknown)||Potions|
|Flying (3:30 pm)|
First year restrictions
First years cannot go to Hogsmeade with the students in the third year or above, and they are not permitted to have their own broomstick inside the school grounds, an exception being Harry Potter, who was given a Nimbus 2000 in his first year. They also cannot take the classes Divination, Muggle Studies, Study of Ancient Runes, Care of Magical Creatures and Arithmancy until the third year and up.
Harry's first year (1991)
- Professor McGonagall, who tells them they will soon be sorted into their houses. All Hogwarts students live in one of four residences: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. Each house has its own team for Quidditch. The houses are in a yearlong competition with one another to acquire the most points, which are earned by success in Quidditch games, answering questions correctly in class and other things during school which teachers feel they deserve points. Points are lost for student infractions. The new students are greeted at the castle door by
The Sorting ceremony and the Welcoming feast
As the students enter Hogwarts, ghosts appear in the hallway. The students are led to the Great Hall, where the entire school waits for them. They see a pointy hat on a stool. When the students try on the Sorting Hat, it announces the house in which they are placed. Harry becomes very nervous. He has learned that he does not care for Slytherin house, as the students in it (i.e. Draco Malfoy) are unpleasant and Voldemort once belonged to Slytherin. Finally, it's Harry’s turn to wear the hat. After a brief mental discussion with the hat in which it tries to suggest Slytherin to him, the hat places Harry in Gryffindor. Harry is pleased to find that he is joined in Gryffindor with Ron and Hermione. Draco Malfoy is placed in Slytherin.
Everyone sits down to a grand feast to begin the year. Harry is overwhelmed by the variety of luscious food served. Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, the resident ghost of Gryffindor (popularly known as "Nearly Headless Nick" because of a botched decapitation), introduces himself to the first-year students and tells them he hopes they will win the house championship this year. Over dessert, the discussion turns to the children’s upbringings. A student named Neville Longbottom tells how his family thought he was a Muggle (or later referred as a Squib) until he survived a fall from a window. Harry glances around the room and notices a few of the teachers talking to one another. One stares malevolently at Harry, who immediately feels a sharp pain in his scar. Harry finds out that this man is Professor Severus Snape, the head of Slytherin House who teaches Potions. After dessert, Dumbledore gets up to make his welcome speech. He adds a few warnings about staying away from the Forbidden Forest and avoiding the third-floor corridor on the right side of the school before sending everyone off to their beds.
Harry finds life at Hogwarts unfamiliar and strange. Everyone talks about him, and an adult always seems to be around when he is doing something wrong. Harry finds all the classes interesting, with the exception of the History of Magic. In the first Transfiguration class, only Hermione is able to make any progress at turning a match into a needle. Harry is relieved to see that others are just as lost as he is.
First years lessons/classes
During breakfast the first Friday, Hedwig arrives with a tea invitation from Hagrid. Later, in his Potions class, Harry discovers that Professor Snape hates him, mocking Harry as "our new celebrity" and then humiliating Harry for his ignorance of herbs before teaching the class how to make a Boil-Cure Potion. Harry brings Ron with him to Hagrid’s shack for tea. Harry and Ron are disconcerted by Hagrid's huge and fierce-looking dog, Fang, but discover that he is gentle. Hagrid tells Harry that he is overreacting to Snape’s treatment, asserting that Snape would have no reason to hate him. Harry happens to notice an article from the wizard newspaper, The Daily Prophet, detailing a break-in that occurred at Gringotts bank in a vault that had been emptied earlier in the day. He realises that it happened on his birthday, the day he and Hagrid went to Gringotts. Furthermore, he remembers that Hagrid emptied vault 713, taking a small package with him as he left. Harry leaves Hagrid’s, his mind filled with questions.
Harry is upset by news that the Gryffindors will have flying lessons with the Slytherins, because he does not want to spend more time with Draco Malfoy. Madam Hooch leads the class, gently sending the new fliers off the ground. Neville has an accident and breaks his wrist. Madam Hooch takes him to the hospital wing, telling everyone to stay on the ground while she is away. Malfoy notices a Remembrall belonging to Neville, picks it up, and begins to fly around with it. Harry goes after Malfoy, who throws the ball in the air. Harry catches it spectacularly and lands safely back on ground. Just then, Professor McGonagall arrives, reprimanding Harry and ordering him to follow her. But instead of punishing him, McGonagall introduces him to Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, explaining that Harry will make an excellent Quidditch player.
At dinner, Harry excitedly tells Ron about joining the Quidditch team but tells him that Oliver Wood wants to keep it a secret. Malfoy comes over with his cronies Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle and teases Harry about getting in trouble earlier. The tension grows and Malfoy challenges Harry to a wizard’s duel. Harry accepts, in spite of Hermione’s attempt to dissuade them from breaking the school rules. As Harry and Ron sneak out later that night, Hermione tries to stop them but gets locked out of the dorm and must tag along. Neville also joins them. They arrive at the trophy room, the site of the duel, but Malfoy is nowhere to be found. Suddenly, they hear Argus Filch and his cat, Mrs. Norris, enter the room. They begin to hide and then run away. Not sure where they are going, they accidentally end up in the forbidden area on the third floor, staring at a large and scary three-headed dog. The children manage to get back to their dorm safely, though they are terrified. Hermione reprimands Harry, but stirs his curiosity by pointing out that the dog was standing on a trapdoor.
The next morning, Harry and Ron are discussing what the dog could be guarding when the mail arrives. Harry receives a Nimbus 2000, and with a note from Professor McGonagall summoning him to Quidditch practice. Malfoy tells Harry that first-year students are not allowed broomsticks. When he tries to report Harry to Professor Flitwick, Flitwick just expresses admiration for Harry]’s talent. Harry later meets Oliver Wood to learn the basics of Quidditch.
On Halloween, Prof. Flitwick begins teaching his students how to make things fly. Only Hermione succeeds; Ron, offended by her air of superiority, makes a nasty comment that Hermione overhears. Harry notices her running off in tears. Harry and Ron arrive at the Halloween feast, then heard Professor Quirrell, the teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts, give a terrifying announcement about a twelve-foot troll in the building. As the prefects lead the students back to their dorms, Harry realises that Hermione doesn't know about the troll. They head off to warn her and come upon the troll. Unwittingly, they lock it in the girls’ bathroom, only to realise that Hermione is trapped in there with the troll. Using teamwork and magic, the three of them manage to knock the troll out. Professor McGonagall finds them and begins to scold the boys. Hermione interjects that Harry and Ron were looking for her. She then lies, saying that she went to face the troll herself and that Harry and Ron had been trying to save her from it. At this point, Hermione becomes their friend.
The Quidditch season begins, and Harry is about to play in his first match against Slytherin. To prepare, Harry borrows a book entitled Quidditch Through the Ages from Hermione. Professor Snape discovers Harry, Ron, and Hermione out with the book one evening and confiscates it from Harry on the feeble pretext that library books may not be taken outside. Harry’s suspicions of Snape continue to grow. Harry notices that Snape is limping. Going off to retrieve the book from Snape, Harry overhears Snape talking to Argus Filch about the three-headed dog, which makes Harry even more suspicious.
The next morning, the Quidditch match begins. Harry plays the position of Seeker, which means he must capture a little object called the Golden Snitch. He spots it and is flying toward it when the Slytherin Seeker pushes him out of the way and is penalised. Later in the game, Harry’s broom begins moving uncontrollably. Hagrid comments that only dark magic could make a broomstick so hard to manage. Hermione notices that Snape is staring at Harry and muttering to himself. As the Weasley twins try to rescue their team-mate Harry, Hermione rushes over to Snape, sneaks behind him, and sets his robe on fire. Suddenly, the spell on Harry’s broom is broken and Harry is once again in control. He starts speeding toward the ground and lands, catching the Golden Snitch in his mouth.
Hagrid takes Harry back to his hut with Hermione and Ron, who tells Harry that Snape was putting a curse on his broomstick. Hagrid does not believe this charge, asking why Snape would try to kill Harry. Harry tells Hagrid about Snape getting injured by the dog in the third-floor corridor. Hagrid involuntarily reveals that the three-headed dog, Fluffy, is his, and that what the dog is guarding is a secret known only to Albus Dumbledore and a man named Nicolas Flamel.
Christmas is approaching. Malfoy teases Harry about having to stay at Hogwarts for the holiday as he doesn't have parents. Harry, however, is looking forward to spending Christmas away from the Dursleys, especially because Ron is also staying at Hogwarts. The day the before the end of term, Hermione tears Harry and Ron away from a conversation with Hagrid to look in the library for more information about Nicolas Flamel. The librarian catches Harry prowling around the restricted-books section of the library and kicks him out.
The Christmas season
On Christmas day, Harry and Ron awaken to presents, though Harry’s are fewer. Harry receives a flute from Hagrid, a fifty pence coin from the Dursleys, some fudge and Chocolate Frogs from Hermione and a knitted sweater from Ron's mother. He also receives an Invisibility Cloak accompanied only by an anonymous note telling him that the cloak once belonged to Harry’s father. That night, after a satisfying Christmas dinner and after Ron has fallen asleep, Harry tries on his Invisibility cloak. Unseen, he is able to go to the library’s restricted-books section. But one of the books starts screaming when he opens it, so he quickly leaves. He passes Argus Filch and hides in an old classroom marked with an inscription that includes the word "Erised." Inside stands an old mirror. Harry looks in the mirror and sees many people standing behind him, but when he turns around in the room, he sees no one. Suddenly, he recognises that two of the people in the mirror are his dead mother and father. He tries to speak to them, but they can only communicate by waving. Harry lingers there a while but eventually returns to his room.
The next night, Harry brings Ron with him to the mirror room. Ron doesn't see Harry’s parents in the mirror, but instead sees himself holding a Quidditch Cup. Mrs. Norris, Filch’s prowling cat, notices them. On the third night, Ron is afraid of being caught and does not want to go back, so Harry returns alone. There he finds Albus Dumbledore, who explains to Harry that the mirror, which is known as the Mirror of Erised, displays the deepest desire of whoever looks into it. Harry is relieved to find that Dumbledore is not angry. However, he warns Harry that men have wasted away and been driven mad before the mirror and informs Harry that the mirror will be moved to a new location. When Harry asks what Dumbledore sees in the mirror, the answer is "socks".
Harry finds it hard to forget the image of his parents. Quidditch practice continues on, and it is revealed that Snape will referee the next match. Malfoy performs a leg-locker curse on Neville. Harry tells him he's "worth twelve of Malfoy". Harry suddenly remembers that he read the name Nicolas Flamel on a chocolate frog card and the team discover that he was a famous alchemist who is the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone; its powers include turning any metal to gold and producing the Elixir of Life.
The Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff Quidditch match arrives and Snape is predictably biased. Harry catches the Snitch and wins the match. Harry follows Snape into the Forbidden Forest, where he meets Quirrell and they speak of the Philosopher's Stone. Harry comes to believe that Snape is trying to figure out a way to the stone.
Harry, Ron and Hermione meet with Hagrid, who confirms the Stone is being kept in Hogwarts. Hermione charms him into talking about the enchantments used to guard it: Fluffy, the three headed dog, is Hagrid's, along with enchantments from Professor Sprout, Professor Flitwick, Professor McGonagall, Professor Quirrell, and Severus Snape. After this, Harry complains about the high temperature in Hagrid's hut, only to discover he has a dragon, which he names Norbert. Draco Malfoy discovers the dragon. To solve the problem, they convince Hagrid to send the dragon off to Ron's brother Charlie. Ron's hand is bitten by the dragon, and he is sent off to Madam Pomfrey. Harry and Hermione smuggle Norbert in a crate up to the tallest tower under Harry's Invisibility cloak and on the way they witness Professor McGonagall hauling Malfoy away. They pass the crate off to Charlie's friends, and head back down the stairs, where they meet up with Argus Filch, realising too late they had left the Cloak behind.
Filch takes them to McGonagall's office, where they meet Neville. Minerva McGonagall, very disappointed, takes fifty points each from the three of them and gives them detention, which they will serve with Malfoy. Their popularity with the other students suffers because of this. A week or so before exams, Harry hears Professor Quirrell, sounding as if he was being threatened. He then runs from a classroom ahead, straightening his turban. Harry heads to the library to tell Ron and Hermione. They are convinced Snape was threatening Quirrell, and means to steal the Stone soon. Hermione suggests they go to Dumbledore. Harry refuses, saying there is no proof.
Harry, Hermione, and Neville receive notes from Professor McGonagall telling them their detention would begin at eleven that night. Argus Filch takes them out to the Forbidden Forest, where Hagrid waited, to take them in to do a bit of investigating he needs to do. Hagrid shows them unicorn blood, and says they needed to find the unicorn. They split up, with Hagrid taking Harry and Hermione, and Neville and Malfoy going with Fang. Hagrid encounters a few centaurs, but gets no useful information from them. Hagrid sees red sparks in the air, signalling the other party is in trouble. He runs for them and returns, scolding Malfoy for teasing Neville. He switches Harry and Neville, sending Harry off with Malfoy. They eventually find the dead unicorn, and see something drinking its blood. Malfoy screams and runs away with Fang, leaving Harry, who is saved from the figure by a centaur. The centaur, Firenze, tells Harry that the unicorn blood can keep you alive but curses you in the process. He also asks Harry if he would know anyone who would want to drink the blood, or get the Stone, and Harry realises that the mysterious figure was Voldemort.
The Philosopher's Stone
- Dumbledore: "Harry, do you know why...Prof. Quirrell couldn't bear to have you touch him? It was because of your mother. She sacrificed herself for you. And that kind of act leaves a mark.. No, no. This kind of mark cannot be seen. It lives in your very skin."
- Harry: "What is it?"
- Dumbledore: "Love, Harry. Love."
- — Albus Dumbledore to Harry[src]
After finishing their exams, Harry realises the irony in Hagrid wanting a dragon more than anything else, only to meet a stranger who had one to give him. He, Ron and Hermione run to ask him about the man who gave Norbert to him, and he says he never saw his face, and was dressed in a cloak. Hagrid also mentions that they talked about Hogwarts and the stranger giving him drinks while getting information out of him. Hagrid lets slip how to get past Fluffy, which sends Harry, Ron, and Hermione off. They head for Dumbledore's office, only to see McGonagall, who tells them he has left for London. McGonagall insists no one could steal the Stone, but they decide to head out that night to try to get it themselves.
After cursing Neville for refusing to allow them to leave, they head up to the third floor room, finding the door ajar, and a harp on the floor. Harry plays the flute Hagrid gave him for Christmas, and Fluffy goes back to sleep. They head down through the trapdoor. They land in Professor Sprout's room, Devil's Snare, which almost smothers them before Hermione lights a fire, which drives it off. The next room, Professor Flitwick's, holds a bunch of flying keys and some broomsticks. Harry finds one that is different from the others and catches it, unlocking the next door with it. The next room is Professor McGonagall's, and has a large chessboard, for a game of Wizard's Chess which Ron helps them win, at the cost of him getting knocked out. Harry and Hermione continue to the next room, Professor Quirrell's, which has an unconscious troll. Lastly, they enter Professor Snape's room, and find seven potions in bottles along with a roll of paper giving clues on which one to drink to continue. Hermione solves the puzzle, and at Harry's instruction, drinks the one that will allow her to head back, while Harry drinks the one to head into the final room, where he is surprised at who he sees.
It is Quirrell in the room, not Snape. Harry, astonished, hears Quirrell tell him that next to Snape, no one would expect him to try to steal the Stone. Harry notices the Mirror of Erised, and Quirrell stops to examine it, saying it was the key to get the Stone. To distract him from the Mirror, Harry questions Quirrell, who said that he was serving Lord Voldemort, and although Snape hated Harry, he never wanted him dead. Quirrell asked for help from his master to get the Stone, and a voice tells him to use the boy. Harry is told to look into the Mirror. He sees his reflection pull the Stone out of his pocket and put it back in, and he feels it drop into his own pocket. He lies to Quirrell about what he sees, and Quirrell takes his turban off to show Harry what lies on the back of his head. Voldemort demands Harry give him the Stone, and when Harry refuses, he runs, and Quirrell seizes him, but the contact with Harry's skin burns him. Harry grabs Quirrell's face, then his arm, and holds on, with pain in his head building until he feels the arm wrenched away before he blacks out.
He woke in the hospital wing with Albus Dumbledore there, telling him Quirrell did not succeed at getting the Stone, and indeed the Stone has been destroyed. Dumbledore explained the reason why Quirrell could not touch him was that because Harry's mother had died to save him, protecting him with her love. Hagrid showed up later and gave Harry a book of photos of his parents.
At the end of term feast, Dumbledore awards Ron and Hermione fifty points, Harry sixty points, and Neville ten, which allows them to win the House Cup. Harry, Ron and Hermione all said their goodbyes before heading home.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references
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