In the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the narrative jumps forward ten years, where Harry Potter's life with the Dursley's is so abusive and absurd, it's nearly comical. We learn Harry lives in a closet. No, really. And Harry's miserable new parents, his aunt and uncle, openly encourage their biological son to hurt Harry as much as possible. It's as if they live with the devil. Oh, remember: this is a children's book! Intrigued? Then it's time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 2: THE VANISHING GLASS
Hello diary. It's me again, Harry.
I woke up to the sound of Mrs. Dursley's voice. I always do. She sounds like a dying cat most days.1 She woke me up yelling again about her kid's birthday.
It's Dudley's birthday. Dudley is like a giant egg who beats me.2 And today is his birthday, which means today is more miserable than most days.
I woke up this morning and dressed after removing some spiders. The spiders are my only friends because they are the only things that understand me. Sometimes I tell the spiders my poems and they seem to like it because they don't run away so my poetry must be awesome.3
Dudley's presents overflowed in the kitchen when I left my closet this morning, diary. He had so many presents that I couldn't really walk.4 But I didn't get to think about this because Uncle yelled at me to comb my hair again. I don't know why my hair always grows to look so messy. Sometimes I cut it or my Aunt cuts it all off except for my bangs and then it just grows back.5 I guess it's weird. My spiders don't think so.
I made breakfast again for everyone. That's what I'm supposed to do.6 Sometimes I wonder if other ten year old kids have to do this. The spiders tell me this is ok and I'm probably overreacting. Did I ever tell you they are my only friends, diary? Well, and you too, of course.
Dudley got 37 presents for his birthday. Then he complained to Aunt and Uncle because this was less than he got last year so they said they'd buy him two more so he would have more than he did last year.7 I think Dudley got more presents today than I will ever get in my lifetime. But it's ok because the spiders give me cobwebs and Dudley can't have those.
I also got to go to the zoo today, diary. I had never been to the zoo. Ms. Figg couldn't take me this year, like she always does when it's Dudley's birthday. She smells like cabbage and she shows me pictures of cats. I think she's just like that thing they call the "internet" but I don't know. I've never used it. I don't get to enjoy such things.8
I was so excited to finally go to the zoo that I didn't mind being made fun of the whole way there. And I didn't mind when I only got to eat Dudley's leftovers or when my whole family ignored me the whole time.9 Because I got to go to the zoo. And I got to see other animals besides the spiders, but I wish the spiders were there because they understand me.
And then...diary, a really weird thing happened to me. And weird things happen to me all the time. But you know that, diary, because I've told you about them all. Like the time a sweater I didn't like shrunk so I didn't have to wear it. Or the time I was running away from Dudley and his friends and I somehow ended up on top of a building.10
But today was different. We were in the reptile exhibit and a snake winked at me. And Uncle was rapping on the glass even though he wasn't supposed to and then the glass just disappeared. It was weird. And then I think the snake spoke to me. Or, at least I think it did.11
I don't know. It was fun to go to the zoo even though I got grounded for a few months inside of my closet because of it.12 But that's ok because I have you, diary, and I have my spider friends because I live in a closet under the stairs. And that's where spiders live.
Ok I have to go. I want to share some more poems with the spiders. I think I wrote a good poem about how the spiders understand me.
1) So, if I understand it, Mrs. Dursley wakes Harry Potter up every morning to make him cook breakfast. Who is this family?
2) I don't know how else to describe Dudley. Dude is like if Humpty Dumpty was a presumptive, privileged white kid. He is sociopathic in his entitlement. No thanks.
3) I am not forcing this recurring motif. Harry Potter is totally friends with the spiders in his closet bedroom and I am not even joking. Am I going to drag this joke out until it's uncomfortable? Most likely.
4) I have to keep reminding myself this is a children's book. Or something. But the hyperbole. ohhhhh goooodddddd I get it. The Dursley's are terrible, terrible people. Please stop ramming this into my skull.
5) Yeah, that's not an exaggeration. This is allegedly what happens in Harry's past. WHAT.
6) No really! He actually has to do all the work around the house! Is this supposed to be a metaphor for SLAVERY???
7) what the shitting fuck. This happens! 37 presents! I can't even think of 37 things I would ever want right now, and he gets that every year? Seriously , who are these people?
8) ;alksdfj;alsdfjks;flkasdf this is how Rowling describe's Ms. Figg. Let me guess IS SHE A CRAZY CAT LADY. This book is fantastic.
9) It's weird how deeply depressing this chapter is, which is probably a testament to Rowling's ability to craft a story. Harry is satisfied to go to the zoo despite that his own family acts as if he isn't worth attention or food. HOLD ME WHILE I WEEP.
11) Ok, so I actually think that, so far, this is all pretty fantastic and well-written and then Rowling goes and fucks it up. See, the snake in the glass cage is Brazilian, except when the glass vanishes through some weird power that Harry apparently has, the snake whispers, "Brazil, here I come.......Thanksss, amigo." BRAZILIANS SPEAK PORTUGUESE YOU DIRTY DIRTY RACIST. Ok, that's not that bad BUT STILL omg racism
12) Because Harry's aunt and uncle are aware that Harry is a ~*speshul snowflak*~, they feel it is necessary to normalize him through extreme forms of physical abuse. Such as confining him to a closet underneath the stairs for days at a time without food. No, seriously, this happens. good good. Though.....this is all still better than any moment of Twilight OK I SAID I WOULD NOT DO THAT but I couldn't resist YOU STOP JUDGING ME IMMEDIATELY.