Through the Trapdoor
In years to come, Harry would never quite remember how he had managed to get through his
exams when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting through the door at any moment. Yet
the days crept by, and there could be no doubt that Fluffy was still alive and well behind the
It was sweltering hot, especially in the large classroom where they did their written papers. They
had been given special, new quills for the exams, which had been bewitched with an
They had practical exams as well. Professor Flitwick called them one by one into his class to see
if they could make a pineapple tapdance across a desk. Professor McGonagall watched them turn
a mouse into a snuffbox — points were given for how pretty the snuffbox was, but taken away if
it had whiskers. Snape made them all nervous, breathing down their necks while they tried to
remember how to make a Forgetfulness potion.
Harry did the best he could, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in his forehead, which had been
bothering him ever since his trip into the forest. Neville thought Harry had a bad case of exam
nerves because Harry couldn't sleep, but the truth was that Harry kept being woken by his old
nightmare, except that it was now worse than ever because there was a hooded figure dripping
blood in it.
Maybe it was because they hadn't seen what Harry had seen in the forest, or because they didn't
have scars burning on their foreheads, but Ron and Hermione didn't seem as worried about the
Stone as Harry. The idea of Voldemort certainly scared them, but he didn't keep visiting them in
dreams, and they were so busy with their studying they didn't have much time to fret about what
Snape or anyone else might be up to.
Their very last exam was History of Magic. One hour of answering questions about batty old
wizards who'd invented selfstirring cauldrons and they'd be free, free for a whole wonderful
week until their exam results came out. When the ghost of Professor Binns told them to put down
their quills and roll up their parchment, Harry couldn't help cheering with the rest.
"That was far easier than I thought it would be," said Hermione as they joined the crowds
flocking out onto the sunny grounds. "I needn't have learned about the 1637 Werewolf Code of
Conduct or the uprising of Elfric the Eager."
Hermione always liked to go through their exam papers afterward, but Ron said this made him
feel ill, so they wandered down to the lake and flopped under a tree. The Weasley twins and Lee
Jordan were tickling the tentacles of a giant squid, which was basking in the warm shallows. "No
more studying," Ron sighed happily, stretching out on the grass. "You could look more cheerful,
Harry, we've got a week before we find out how badly we've done, there's no need to worry