The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

chapter six of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

After convincing the Dursleys to take him, Harry goes to Kings Cross Station, where he runs into the Weasleys and they help him find Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Then, aboard the Hogwarts Express, he befriends Ron Weasley, meets several other schoolmates, and is introduced to the wizarding world as the train winds its way to Hogwarts.

Leaving the Dursleys, by Chantelle

Harry kept to his room, with his new owl for company. He had decided to call her Hedwig, a name he had found in A History of Magic.


Platform Nine & Three-Quarters, by NicoPony

Harry’s mouth went rather dry. What on earth was he going to do? … According to the large clock over the arrivals board, he had ten minutes left to get on the train to Hogwarts and he had no idea how to do it.


Introduction to the Weasley Women, by Drew Graham

“Hello, dear,” she said. “First time at Hogwarts? Ron’s new, too.”


Percy Fred George by Michael Greenholt

“Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?” said one of the twins, with an air of great surprise. “You should have said something, we had no idea.”


The Big Plan, by mneomosyne

The train began to move. Harry saw the boys’ mother waving and their sister, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved.


Sharing Sweets, by Sheena Kristen Sy

It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten).


The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, by Keith James

“Goodness, didn’t you know, I’d have found out everything I could if it was me.”


Draco Malfoy with Crabbe and Goyle, by Michael Greenholt

He turned back to Harry. “You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”


Our Home, by Catching-Smoke

And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the great castle overhead. It towered over them as they sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.


about the chapter


The Wizarding World

After reading about the Weasleys in later books, some of the family’s dialogue here doesn’t make much sense. It’s surely written for the sake of first-time readers who haven’t yet been introduced to the world, but for someone familiar with the later books, it’s odd (and a bit distracting) for Mrs. Weasley to be asking her children to repeat the number of a platform they’ve all visited dozens of times, or for Ron to be reciting a fake spell that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the spells he’s grown up hearing his parents use. For that matter, how can Malfoy identify Ron as a Weasley based on a simplistic description from his father (and why would his father have talked to him about them anyway)? These aren’t mistakes in the writing, but they do require a few narrative backbends to make sense of.

The Boy Who Lived

After years of being forced to “share” his things with Dudley but not being allowed near his cousin’s room himself, it’s fairly remarkable that Harry is so excited about having “anyone to share with.” The Dursleys may be proud of Dudley and embarrassed by Harry, but in ways they would never even think to notice, Harry is turning out to be far more worthy of their pride.


A visit to platforms nine and ten in the real King’s Cross Station reveals, rather undramatically, a scene bearing little resemblance to the one described in this chapter. Rowling admitted in a 2001 interview that this was a mistake – that while she was writing this chapter, she was in fact visualizing Euston Station, another London train depot not far from King’s Cross.

The Final Word

“For me King’s Cross is a very, very romantic place. Probably the most romantic station purely because my parents met there. So that’s always been part of my childhood folklore…. So I wanted Harry to go to Hogwarts by train. I just love trains, I’m a bit nerdy like that, and obviously therefore it had to be King’s Cross.”–J.K. Rowling, 2001

41 Responses to “The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters”

  1. I absolutley adore Mrs. Rowling’s use of her parents meeting place as a place Harry met his love of going to Hogwarts!

  2. I just had a thought, Ginny wasnt waving bye to her brothers she was waving bye to Harry aswell?

  3. Both Kara and Sarah’s notes remind me that not only is he about to fall in love with his true home (Hogwarts) but he also met the person he will fall in love with there, just like her own parents.

  4. Wouldn’t Petunia know exactly how to get onto Platform 9 3/4? I mean didn’t she watch Lily doing that during Lily’s Hogwart’s years? Is she staying mute on the subject just to make Harry’s life more miserable?

  5. I think she is doing that, grrreg. And about Harry and Ginny and Jo’s parents it is completely true, I haven’t realized that. It is great, I love that couple, and I love trains, so everything adds up.

  6. I always thought Mrs. Weasley was making conversation. Let me explain: When I was a child my mom would pick me and my brother up from school and then we would all take the bus home. It was a long ride (1+ hour) and every single day we would take the same bus. All of us knew the bus we had to take and every twist and turn of the road until we got home. Nevertheless, after picking us up from school, my mother would ask “So, what are we doing now?” And we kids would always answer “We are taking the bus home…”
    Of course it was funny when mom said something like “No, today we are going to the dentist!”

  7. I agree with Valeria. I always thought Mrs. Weasley was just making chit-chat with Ginny. After all she’s about 9 or 10 so she may just be wanting to see if Ginny knows where they are going. Just joking around to make the child feel smarter.

  8. Also about Ron and the spell, I always thought it was weird but we learn later that many older wizards can do nonverbal spells. Most likely the older Weasley’s use them since we never really hear Molly say any spells when she’s doing housework. (At least none that I can remember.) Ron also wouldn’t have heard spells from the younger Weasleys since they are not allowed to do magic outside of Hogwarts.

  9. I love Molly. Even her brief appearance warms the entire chapter. And of course, sweet little Ginny.

  10. We learn much later in the series that Petunia has been on Platform 9 3/4 herself. So her participation in her husband’s leaving Harry stranded at the station and driving away laughing is a bit startling. Through the books, we see Petunia responding to Harry with resentment, anxiety, and annoyance, but in this chapter, we see her being just plain mean.

  11. I don’t find it odd that Draco Malfoy would know Ron by description. His father Lucius is the kind of person who looks down on wizarding families he considers lowly, and are not part of his “circle of friends” [try not to spoil anything :)]. Although Arthur Weasley is from the Black line, and is therefore related to Lucius’ wife by blood, the Weasley’s are poor and definately on the opposing team. Since Arthur works for the Ministry, and Lucius keeps his nose in Ministry business, Lucius probably knows them enough to look down on them. Because they are poor, red-headed and there are already children of theirs at Hogwarts (Percy and the twins) they stick out in a crowd. Lucius probably indoctrinated Draco at home, like some bigots do to their children, about who’s who or he wouldn’t be as snobby as he is. Lastly, Draco probably had it in mind because as part of the indoctrination Lucius would extol Slytherin, put down Gryffindor, and point out families to avoid.

  12. I’ve been wondering recently…when Malfoy comes into the train car, WHY does PP bite him? Knowing what we know later, I can’t come up with a good reason.

  13. You know, Ragmar, I’ve always wondered that too. The best I can come up with is PP never liked the fact that he was weaker than those he surrounded himself with and this was his way of getting back (in a really random way) at Lucius?

  14. Scabbers/PP bites Goyle, not Malfoy.

  15. Lookylu, I like that explanation of why Lucius would be talking about the Weasleys. There’s also the fact that Arthur works in the muggle department, so Lucius would have a particular reason to dislike him. I also think it’s likely that Lucius would have had a good idea who would be in Draco’s year (it’s a very small world, and most wizards seem to know each other). I can see him sitting Draco down and lecturing him about people to befriend and avoid when he gets to Hogwarts.

  16. the wizarding world isn’t all that big (esp people who work for the ministry) and the weasley’s definitely stand out. i think almost anyone could identify a weasley.

    doesn’t PP just pick the more powerful side; he bites goyle probably because of some past incident between them (regardless of peter’s past as a marauder or voldie supporter, goyle and peter wouldnt have gotten along) so the bite could be simply because he didn’t like him.

  17. About the platform 9 and 3/4 thing, what if you have to keep memory of it/repeating it so you can actually see it, like grimmauld place?

    And about Hagrid, what if he apparated to the rock where the dursleys were?

  18. Tasneem, I’m not sure about platform 9 3/4… it’s not as though you have to speak the name of Grimmauld Place to see it; every time Harry visits after his first it’s already visible to him. So I’m not sure that analogy makes sense.

    And you need both a license and a wand to apparate – as Hagrid was expelled long before he turned 17, he presumably wouldn’t be able to get a license (and it’s clear he’s not allowed to buy a wand).

  19. Petunia hated (and feared?) magic so much that I’m sure she didn’t want anything to do with Platform 9 & 3/4—she only admitted that she knew about dementors when they hurt Dudley in OotP. I can’t see her admitting that she knew about it, let alone helping Harry.

  20. To the apparition discussion… You do need a license to apparate. BUT it’s already been shown more than once that they usually disregard the rules when it comes to certain things. Animagus? Animagi, idk. Anyways James, Sirius and PP, don’t follow the law that requires they should register their forms. Hagrid HAS a form of wand in that umbrella. Also on another note: In HBP Harry apparated DD and himself back to Hogwarts (I’m not sure of this so someone plz correct me if I’m wrong?) and he didn’t have a license yet. Actually… isn’t Hermione the only one who DID get the apparition license?

  21. Regarding the incident of PP/Scabbers biting Goyle, I think it was more a case of PP/Scabbers being startled, as he was hiding/sleeping among the sweets, and Goyle was the one who had greedily reached out to grab the sweets. As such, he may have touched PP/Scabbers, who then bit him out of instinct/ fright. Remember, PP has been living as a rat for years, I would be very surprised if he didn’t become a bit animalistic in his thoughts and/or behaviour.

  22. “King’s is a very, very romantic place…” It becomes, therefore, of little surprise how JKR sets up the beginnings for the two major romances that unfold in the series. We have the boy who leaves his future true love behind on the platform, waving in her desperate chase. Then JRK sets up Ron and Hermione’s conflicted romantic tension from the outset, as they rarely divert their attention off each other. The first time I read this through, I did not catch it. But on a closer second read, I noticed that Hermione only gives the famous Harry Potter minimal attention, only providing a little exposition of Harry’s fame as she tries to impress. And of course the biggest bit of foreshadowing of their intertwined fates:

    Ron: “Whatever house I’m in, I hope she’s not in it.”

  23. x-caitlin-x, I like what you say about Draco’s indoctrination. I can just see Lucius telling Draco before sending him off to school, “You’ll soon find out, son, that some wizards are better than others. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort,” then possibly, “Professor Snape can help you there.” After all, the lines are very presumptuous for an eleven-year-old to be coming up with them on his own, but we see kids borrowing words and ideas from adults all the time.

    Also, Nathaniel Woods, I love your final comment on R&H. I never took much notice of that line before, and now it’s very funny.

  24. FINALLY someone else noted how odd it was for Molly to be asking about the platform number. Not wanting to think it was a mistake, or that Molly was forgetful, I just assumed she was doing it for the amusement of little Ginny.

    Also, I agree with Joyce on thinking that Ron didn’t hear many spells at home, because by the time wizards are allowed to use magic at home, they are used to non-verbal spells, and therefore wouldn’t think twice about not saying an incantation.

  25. Regarding Ron hearing spells at home, I think it is probably true that his parents did use non-verbal spells. I’d imagine that wizard parents try to be cautious about accidentally using spells aloud in front of their young children. Things could get messy if spell incantations were overheard by children in close proximity to their parents’ wands.

    Also, It seems from later chapters that PP didn’t particularly get along with other death eaters, and he even seems to be the bottom of the hierarchy at the Malfoy Manor in book7. So to me, it isn’t so weird to imagine him hating Malfoy, Goyle and Crabbe- because of their parents.

    Lastly, I think that Petunia was most afraid of revealing to Vernon how much information she has held onto from the Wizarding World. You saw Vernon’s reaction to the letters, he would have been appalled at Petunia instructing him how to go through the barrier. Why is it so surprising that Petunia wouldn’t share this info?

  26. I was just reading a fanfiction and on this chapter they made a fair point, why is that when Percy makes prefect that he gets new robes and an owl, qhen the money could have been used to get Ron a wand of his own. It’s moments like these that make me hate Molly Weasley because in one fell swoop she has managed to encourage Ron’s feelings inferiority and encourage Percy’s superiorty, which makes him act weird and so Fred and George tease Percy even more which pushes him away from the family.

    Giving Ron Charlie’s old wand, Percy’s old rat and everyones old clothes makes it seem like Ron doesn’t deserve anything new.

  27. Just realized something whil re-reading this book. The first time we see Harry actually go to Hogwarts it is in a boat with Ron, Hermione, and Neville. The last time we Harry go to Hogwarts it is through the Hog’s Head tunnel with Ron, Hermione, and Neville.

  28. Oooh, Jeremy, that’s a very nice Full Circle moment!

  29. Again, I got rather sentimental reading this chapter. Meeting the characters for the first time. It’s like seeing childhood pictures of friends I grew up with. I was like ‘oh look how adorable they all are. Little Ronniekins with dirt on his nosie’.

    I was a bit disappointed to see that Ginny doesn’t actually speak to Harry. I was thinking about the film and how she wishes him good luck. It would’ve been nice to see that Ginny was kind to him before she knew who he was. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic and wanted Ginny to recognise something in ‘just Harry’ before he was Harry Potter. Does that make sense?

  30. Isn’t it strange that the Dursley’s waited a month to get Dudley’s tail removed? Imagine having this alien presence on you backside when you took a shower! Duddykins had to suffer this all that time! But on second thought, maybe the Dursleys were trying to find a doctor and hospital who promised to NOT publish the operation in a medical journal!

  31. Sorry to double post, but another thought just struck me. When did Dudley start school? His tail wasn’t removed until September 1st. I don’t know how the school year runs in England, but where I am in the U. S. the kids start at the end of August. Is it different in England?

  32. @gingercat we tend to start the first Monday in September. It varies from school to school but it’s always near the beginning of September. He won’t miss any school but he’ll still be a bit sore when he does start.

  33. Scabbers/PP biting Goyle makes him seem like a loyal pet to Ron – defending his master in his time of need. Ron mentions he’s Percy’s former pet rat. Makes me wonder, how on earth did Scabbers/PP end up with the Weasley family in the first place?

  34. I wonder how common, uncommon, or rare certain choclate frog cards are? I ask because Ron says he has about five hundred cards, about six of those are of Morgana, and he does not have Agrippa or Ptolemy.

  35. @May –

    About Scabbers finding his way to the Weasley family, I always just kind of assumed he was wandering in the wild and happened upon the Burrow. I can’t remember if it’s ever mentioned in PoA though… But I just like the picture of little Percy finding a scruffy old rat in the garden one day and asking “Muuuum, can I keep him, pleeeease?” :)

  36. I always thought that the thing with the platform is not THAT strange. Just today I had to bring my sister to the train. I asked her witch platform and she said “2”. I said: “Okay, than I will stop at the back of the train station” (because that’s the closest to the platform). She (and her husband) doubted me more or less the whole ride.

    I knew this because I had to take a train from this platform nearly every week for two years. But my sister should know this too, since she goes on vacation regulary, and everytime I had to bring her and her husband to the train, it was platform 2. That’s one or two times a year. By now I know that it will be most likely this platform, because that’s happens to be the one the train to the airport is driving through. Nevertheless I ask everytime which platform it is, to be sure. And everytime my sister and her husband have to look up which one it is and then they are both doubting me when I say “we have to park in the back”. It’s not that they are stupid or anything like that – but they simply have no mind for things like that. And honestly, I would most likely forget too, if my memories of the arrangement of the platforms were based on once or twice a year visits rather than something I did weekly for a long time frame.

  37. My theroy on Ron’s spell is that it might very well have been a real one, but knowing what we do now about Scabbers’ true identity, it would only work on a real rat, not an animagus.

  38. @Sara – It IS highly probable… and the most adorable idea ever. :)

  39. I love that Ptolemy was actually a wizard! Makes me wonder what other mathematicians/scientists were magical…

  40. Sara, that is the most ADORABLE idea ever!!!! I can so picture that.
    Also, I love the last pic by Catching-Smoke.
    @Jeremy— I never noticed that, but it’s really cool.

  41. Sorry for double-posting, but I just noticed something: Why would they need to change into their school robes if, as JKR says, they are worn over regular clothes?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: