[Three by Five] #9 | Dragon: Norbert the Norwegian Notchback

Hagrid, Hogwarts’ groundskeeper, always wanted a pet dragon.

[Alert: Spoilers ahead.]

He mentions it in passing early in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.

Later, he goes on to win a huge black dragon egg from “some stranger during a game of cards.”

He reads Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit and heats his prize egg in the heart of his hut’s fire.

When it hatches, the dragon looks like a “crumpled black umbrella… skinny jet body, long snout, wide nostrils, stubs of horns and bulging orange eyes.”

“It sneezed. A couple of sparks flew out of its snout.

The dragon is a Norwegian Ridgeback (“…them’s rare, those…”).

Hagrid names it Norbert and feeds it chicken blood and brandy.

Thing is: Dragons are illegal.

They also grow fast.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron worry for Hagrid.

J.K. Rowling’s genius shines in this chapter (the 14th) of the first Harry Potter Book. Harry, Hermione and Ron are in the throes of exams.

The dragon arrives as the book’s main mystery nears its climax.

Hagrid reveals both his stubborn character and tenderness.

As Norbert grows bigger, tensions rise.

The kids have to figure out how to help Hagrid get rid of Norbert without getting in trouble. This involves Ron’s brother, Charlie. “The one studying dragons in Romania.”

It involves midnight wanderings under the cloak of invisibility.

And it involves dodging Malfoy and Hogwarts teachers.

I wish I could give away the rest. For that, you’ll have to read the book yourself.