“Next to the tall kid with the red hair.”
“Wearing the glasses?”
“Did you see his face?”
“Did you see his scar?”
Whispers followed Harry from the moment he left his dormitory the next day. People lining up outside classrooms stood on tiptoe to get a look at him, or doubled back to pass him in the corridors again, staring. Harry wished they wouldn’t, because he was trying to concentrate on finding his way to classes.
Remember the scene in the Leaky Cauldron, when Tom the bartender, Dedalus Diggle, and all the pubs’ patrons form a spontaneous line to shake Harry’s hand? Well, Hogwarts is Leaky magnified a few hundredfold.
Doris Crockford may have come through that Leaky line a bundle of times, but imagine hundreds of her, lining the halls at Hogwarts to get a glimpse, doubling back to pass and goggle Harry a second time. And as if that’s not bad enough, imagine going in to Professor Flitwick’s Charms class, and have the guy fall over with excitement!
At the start of their first class [Professor Flitwick] took the roll call, and when he reached Harry’s name he gave an excited squeak and toppled out of sight.
It’s unnerving enough to have your schoolmates treat you as a celebrity, but to have your Professor react this way?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Flitwick, and the incident is kind of endearing. And we will find in general that every time this man gets excited, he gets a little squeaky.
But imagine this scene from Harry’s perspective. The poor kid is at a new school, having to find his classes while dealing for the first time with ghosts, a poltergeist, stairways that won’t stand still, pictures that move and talk, students lining the corridors to get a look at him… and then he gets to watch his Charms Professor fall over from excitement at the mere mention of his name. It just has to be unnerving.
Professor Snape can’t help but sardonically mock all the attention at the start of the first class Harry ever has with him:
Snape, like Flitwick, started the class by taking the roll call, and like Flitwick, he paused at Harry’s name.
“Ah, yes,” he said softly, “Harry Potter. Our new – celebrity.”
I know Snape gets a bad rap for this line. But he does nicely sum up the absurdity of all the attention this unproven child is getting. And to be getting it over something that the child really is not responsible for (i.e. surviving the Killing Curse) just makes it snark fodder all the more.
Had Snape let Harry in on the joke rather than make him the butt of it, this moment might not have become the first in a long string of missed opportunities between these two.
And had Snape bothered to find out that Harry found his celebrity equally absurd (rather than assume that he enjoyed all the attention as his father would have (cf. “The Prince’s Tale”)), these two might have come to an understanding that did not first require Snape’s horrific death.
I know. In. My. Dreams.
And speaking of the Potions Master, MinervasCat on the Chamber of Secrets Forum gave this rather nice, succinct character analysis of Severus Snape (across the seven books) this morning.