Concordances and Characters
Chapter 2 Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone Chapter 4

The Letters From No One[]


Harry's punishment for the boa constrictor lasts until summer holidays. He has to be careful of Dudley and his gang, who hang around the house and enjoy beating Harry up, so he spends a lot of time wandering. The next year Harry and Dudley will be starting secondary school--Dudley at his father's alma mater, Smeltings, and Harry at a different school, Stonewall High.

Harry stays with Mrs. Figg while Dudley goes to get his new school uniform. Aunt Petunia dyes some of Dudley's old clothes grey for Harry. The post arrives, and there, unbelievably, is a letter for Harry, even addressed to "The Cupboard under the Stairs". There is an odd coat of arms on the letter, but no return address or stamp.

Harry gives Uncle Vernon the rest of the mail, and starts opening his letter before Dudley realizes what's going on and Uncle Vernon snatches it away. Uncle Vernon glances at the letter and goes pale; he shows it to his wife and she almost faints. Harry demands to read it, and he and Dudley are both thrown out of the room, but they listen at the door. The Dursleys are worried that whoever sent the letter knows where Harry sleeps, but Uncle Vernon decides the best course is not to respond.

That evening, Uncle Vernon tells Harry that he burned the letter, but that they've decided to let Harry move into Dudley's second bedroom, where Dudley kept all of his discarded possessions. However much Dudley complains, his father won't give him that room back. Another letter arrives, this time addressed to Harry in "The Smallest Bedroom", and it too is burnt.

Harry tries to sneak down to get the mail from the postman the next morning, but Uncle Vernon has been sleeping in the hallway, and Harry steps on him by accident. Uncle Vernon tears up three letters and then nails the letterbox closed. The next day, twelve letters arrive, shoved in around the front door and the bathroom window. Uncle Vernon burns them and boards up the cracks. The day after that, two dozen letters arrive inside eggs delivered by the milkman. The next day, Sunday, dozens of letters come flying down the chimney.

Uncle Vernon decides it's time to leave, and within ten minutes they are in the car. They stay at a small hotel that night, but the next morning close to a hundred messages, addressed to Harry at the hotel, are waiting at the front desk. They continue driving, and finally they reach the coast. Harry realizes that it's almost his eleventh birthday. Uncle Vernon finds them a place to stay on a shack on an island in the ocean, and gleefully announces that the forecast is for storms.

The storm does come that night, as Harry huddles on the floor in the cold shack. He watches the time on Dudley's watch as the minutes count down to his birthday. He hears funny crunching sounds outside, and then as midnight arrives he hears a great BOOM from outside--someone knocking on the door.

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Terms Mentioned[]



Plot Points[]

  1. The wizards have some way of tracking Harry, and of monitoring his situation in the house.
  2. The Dursleys know something about the wizarding world, if only that its inhabitants are strange and they don't want to get mixed up in it.
  3. The letters arrive without obvious owl presence. They bear the Hogwarts coat of arms.
  4. Harry does get to keep the bedroom in later books.