At breakfast the next morning, Harry receives a package (delivered by owls, of course) from Professor McGonagall. It is his Nimbus 2000 broomstick for the Quidditch Team. Malfoy warns Harry that "first year's aren't allowed" to have broomsticks. On the flying field that night, Oliver Wood introduces Harry to the complicated but exciting game of Quidditch; Harry summarizes it as "sort of like basketball on broomsticks with six hoops," to which Wood asks, "What's basketball?" Wood is pleased with Harry's natural talent for the game.
On Halloween, Ron, disgusted with Hermione's academic zeal and talent, mutters an insult about her to Harry which she overhears. Instead of attending the Halloween feast, Hermione spends the evening crying in the girls' bathroom. Professor Quirrell interrupts the feast to announce that a troll has entered the castle's dungeons. Assuming that Hermione, in the bathroom, does not know about the troll, Harry and Ron leave the procession back to their rooms to warn her. As they do, they see Professor Snape and wonder why he is not in the dungeons with the other teachers. The boys also see the troll, and lock him inside a room he enters-which they then realize is the girls' bathroom when they hear Hermione's screams. They enter the bathroom, where Ron defeats the troll by using the only spell he knows: he levitates the troll's club and beats the troll on the head with it several times until he loses consciousness. When McGonagall finds them in the bathroom, Hermione makes an excuse for them by saying that she thought she could handle the troll on her own and had gone looking for it. The shared traumatic experience, and Hermione's lie to save Harry and Ron from a great deal of trouble, cement a friendship among the three students.
The companions who will assist Harry, the Hero, on his quest grow in number as Hermione's friendship with Ron and Harry is secured in this chapter. This chapter helps develop Hermione as a character in her own right, as well, by showing us that she, while usually a stickler for rules and order, is also not above "bending" (see McGonagall's remark in the previous chapter) the rules when need be. Notice, however, that Hermione's lie, in this instance, will not work to her advantage; indeed, it costs Gryffindor House five points on Hermione's behalf. (Also recall that Harry, in the previous chapter, broke a rule about unsupervised flying in order to defend Neville; in this chapter, Harry and Ron break from the class formation in order to aid Hermione.) Readers may wish to think about and discuss whether rules can or should be more easily broken for someone else's benefit than for one's own. To what extent should motives be taken into account when judging a character's actions?