A Definitive Ranking of Harry Potter’s Best and Worst First Days of School
As summer draws to a close (How did this happen? Didn’t it just start?), I’m sure many of you are starting to feel the anticipation (or dread) of experiencing another first day of school, but I think it’s safe to say that very few first days of school have been as, well, intense as those experienced by Harry Potter. To get back into the school spirit as summer ends (and to remind ourselves that no first day of school will ever be as horrific as those experienced by poor Harry), here is my list of all six of Harry Potter’s first days back to Hogwarts, ranked from worst to best.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
An already terrible summer is made worse as Professor Umbridge is introduced as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Harry begins to believe he is going mad when he realizes he can see Thestrals, and a fight with Seamus Finnigan reveals that many members of the wizarding community see Harry as an attention-seeking liar. Less importantly (but still humiliatingly), Harry also runs into his then-crush, Cho Chang, while covered in Stinksap. Of course, this is also the day that he meets Luna Lovegood, so I guess it wasn’t a complete failure.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Year 6 was only marginally better than Year 5, and that’s because I decided that nothing can really be worse than having Professor Umbridge as a teacher. The slightly less terrible events include the announcement that Professor Snape will be taking over Umbridge’s position, Malfoy’s attack on Harry on the Hogwarts Express, and losing 70 points from Gryffindor before term even really starts for being late.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I’ve got one word for you: Dementors. These horrible creatures are the bane of Harry’s existence for the rest of the year, and the train ride to his first day of school was his first time experiencing them. The cold, the fear, the sound of his mother screaming, the fainting, and the being made fun of for fainting combined make for a not-so-great day. On the other hand, this is also the day that Harry meets Professor Lupin and finds out that Hagrid will be the Care of Magical Creatures professor, but that’s not enough to make up for the horrific experience of encountering Dementors.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Let’s see: Harry and Ron get blocked out of Platform 9 ¾ by Dobby and miss the Hogwarts Express, steal a flying car (breaking the International Statute of Secrecy in the process), pick a fight with the Whomping Willow, and get detention. However, they’re neither expelled nor do they lose any House points, and they are also regaled as heroes by the rest of Gryffindor House. This is enough to make it an only moderately bad first day, especially when compared with the Dementors.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I’d forgotten how not-terrible Harry’s first day of his fourth year of school was! He miraculously manages to make it through the day relatively drama-free: The announcement of the Triwizard Tournament takes place, and Harry finally gets to watch the Sorting Ceremony after missing it for various reasons for the previous two years. It’s fairly uneventful, but uneventful isn’t always a bad thing for boy who is constantly followed by trouble.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry’s first day of Hogwarts EVER doesn’t even compare to any of his other school days. This is the day that Harry meets Ron and most of the Weasley family, Neville, and Hermione, gets the satisfaction of rejecting Draco Malfoy’s friendship, and eats enough between the candy on the train and the Sorting Feast to kill a normal human. He also witnesses the Hogwarts Castle for the first time, is introduced to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, and is Sorted into Gryffindor House. Pretty much unbeatable, as far as a first day of school goes.
What do you think of my ranking? What’s the best/worst first day of school you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments!