Harry James Potter was born on July 31st, 1980, in Godric's Hollow, a moor village located on the northern plane of Devon County in the West Country of England, into a very old family of wizards. His father, James Potter, an unemployed wizard, met and married and Lily Evans-Potter. At this time, the tyrannical rise of a psychopathic dark wizard called Lord Voldemort, who aimed to take over the wizarding world and shape it in his supremacist views with the aid of an army of followers which he named Death Eaters. Harry's pure-blood wizard father both served as put under the legendary Fidelius Charm by elderly family friend and one of the greatest wizards of the age Albus Dumbledore, due to a prophecy about Harry growing into a great threat to Voldemort. James and Lily planned to make Harry's godfather Sirius Black their Secret-Keeper, but on his advice, secretly changed this designation to another of their friends, Peter Pettigrew, whom they thought would be less suspicious. In a terrible turn of fate, it happened that Pettigrew was a spy for the Death Eaters. He betrayed James and Lily to Voldemort, using the wizarding world's belief that Black was their Secret-Keeper to frame him for the crime.
Voldemort arrived arrived at Godric's Hollow on the evening of Halloween in 1981 and broke the Fidelius Charm before breaking into the cottage in his attempt to kill all the Potters. James tried to act as a distraction for the Dark Lord, but unfortunately didn't have his wand with him and was killed immediately. Voldemort then killed Lily while she was trying to protect her son, but when he prepared to kill Harry, his Killing Curse rebounded on him due to Lily's love for the boy becoming a barrier protecting Harry, destroying Voldemort's physical form and making him very weak. However, the curse didn't kill the dark wizard because he was saved from death by five items containing pieces of his soul known as Horcruxes, the sixth of them later revealed to be Harry himself because Voldemort not only gave part of his abilities to Harry, but also accidentally gave him part of his soul. This event made Harry the only person to have survived the Killing Curse, thus giving him the title "The Boy Who Lived" and making him recognizable to the wizarding world by the lightning bolt scar that the failed curse left on his forehead, which would be both a bane and blessing to Harry in the years to come, as it opened a telepathic link between Voldemort and himself.
When news of the attack spread across the country, Dumbledore's half-giant employee Rubeus Hagrid was sent to save Harry from the burning ruins of the family's cottage and was given specific orders from Dumbledore himself to bring the boy to their meeting place in the town of Little Whinging in Surrey, but was intercepted by Black, who arrived on his flying motorbike and pleaded for Hagrid to give the baby to him, as he was the chosen guardian in the event of James and Lily's death. Hagrid refused, saying that he was under orders from Dumbledore to bring Harry to Little Whinging as quickly as possible. Black, though reluctant, relented and gave Hagrid his motorbike to take Harry on. Upon arrival on the street of Privet Drive in Little Whinging a night later, Hagrid gave Harry to Dumbledore and his deputy Minerva McGonagall, who left the child sleeping on the doorstep of the the fourth house on the street, which served as the home of Lily's Muggle sister Petunia, a snobbish housewife, her husband Vernon Dursley (the director of a drill company called Grunnings) and their son Dudley as they were Harry's last living family members. Dumbledore left a letter of explanation to them. But the Muggle couple never relayed it to Harry, and instead had the boy spend the next decade of his life in their strict and miserable home without knowing that he was a wizard.
Because the Dursleys were Muggles, they had no understanding of magic and wanted absolutely nothing to do with it, even though they knew about his lineage. They proudly considered themselves a "normal" family and despised anything out of the ordinary, going that far with claiming that both of Harry's parents died in a car crash due to his father being an unemployed drunk, and that the lightning bolt scar was from the same accident. However, every time Harry tried to remember the crash, all he could vaguely recall as if he strained his memory' was a green flash of light and a high cold, laugh. He tried to understand what it was, or if it was from the car crash, but simply couldn't because Vernon and Petunia forbade him from asking questions, particularly those regarding his parents. In addition, the Dursleys refused to have pictures of Lily and James, and did their best to avoid the subject of Harry's parents altogether.
Harry was resented by his aunt and uncle for his magic powers, which was sporadic but evident, and strongly discouraged any sort of imagination. In addition, they verbally and emotionally abused Harry — sometimes by depriving him of meals — whenever something "unusual" occurred. The Dursleys would constantly spoil Dudley and paid almost no attention to Harry himself; indeed, what little attention they did pay to him was negative in its entirety. All his clothes were hand-me-downs from Dudley and were far too large for him, and he was made to sleep in the cupboard under the stairs while his cousin got two bedrooms to himself (one for sleeping in, one for storing all his toys). They also made Harry do household chores for them, such as cooking and getting the post. The way he was treated bordered on abuse, but was left unreported to authorities. During the times that Harry was not being made to work or bullied, he was provided with little entertainment and sometimes tried to entertain himself by playing games such as solitaire. His hardship, however, was highly necessary as by living with his mother's only living blood relative, the protection that Lily gave him would continue. While Harry could call that place home, he could not be harmed. In his youth, Harry could make strange things happen without understanding why he could, as no one had told him that he was a wizard. For instance, after Aunt Petunia sheared off all of his messy hair using a pair of kitchen scissors in her frustration that it would not lay flat, it left him almost completely bald with only the fringe at the front. It grew all the way back to its previous messy state overnight without Harry even noticing while the dreams he had about what school was like kept him up. Another time, Petunia tried to shove Dudley's old jumper over his head, but he inadvertently kept shrinking against his body until it became the size for a hand puppet. These incidents always enraged the Dursleys, and after each, they would punish Harry by throwing him into the cupboard — except for after the jumper incident.
Throughout every punishment, the boy often dreamed that a long lost relative would come to take him to live with them, believing that they would care for him. It never happened, for the Dursleys were his only living relatives, and they never spoke about anything regarding his ancestry. Over the years, however, Harry came to meet a lot of strangers who were, unknown to him then, from the wizarding world, and guessed that each of them knew his parents since they seemed to know his name. On one such occasion, another wizard among Lily and James' friends, Daedalus Diggle, bowed to their frail son in a shop, causing Petunia to interrogate Harry as to how he knew the man before leaving the shop very quickly. Some time later, Harry was waved merrily at by a wild-looking witch on a bus, making the Dursleys get off with him and Dudley on the wrong stop to get him away from her. The only thing that Harry came to find magical about these people was that they seemed to vanish before he could take a closer look, and his aunt and uncle always made a fast getaway out of fear of wizards trying to meet their celebrity wizard nephew. In time, the Dursleys took Dudley and his best friend Piers Polkiss to someplace spectacular every year for his birthday, but for Harry's birthday, he once had a coat hanger and one of Vernon's old socks. His aunt and uncle even hid evidence of Harry's existence by not having pictures of him in the house. Among the few people who did know about Harry was Vernon's sister Marge, who the boy was forced to consider an aunt to him despite not being a relative of his. Unlike Vernon, Aunt Marge showed the most dislike for the frail boy while visiting Privet Drive during Dudley's fifth birthday, when she whacked Harry around the shins to stop him from beating Dudley at musical statues, and on holidays like Christmas, when she brought a computerised robot for Dudley and a box of dog biscuits for Harry. She eventually made a fool out of the young Potter during Dudley's tenth birthday, when Harry accidentally stepped the paw of her favorite pet bulldog Ripper, causing the enraged mutt to chase him out into the garden and up a tree. Dudley laughed himself silly at the sight of his cousin then, and to the Dursleys' delight, Marge refused to call Ripper off until past midnight, long enough for Harry to be covered all in tree branches and ants when this allowed him to go back inside safely.
Sometimes, when the Dursleys took Dudley out for his birthday, they left Harry in the care of one of their neighbors, Arabella Figg, who unknown to them and the boy, was a Squib (the non-magical child of wizardkind) assigned by Dumbledore to watch over Harry. To maintain the Dursley's favor, however, she was forced to give him a lousy time whenever she had to look after him, as the Dursleys would never have let him go if they knew Harry was enjoying himself, a possibility that would infuriate them. Dudley often ensured that the lousy time for his cousin would turn into harassment as they both attended St. Gregory's Primary School. Harry had no friends there, since all the students were afraid of Dudley's gang, all of whose members hated him because Dudley did. In particular, Dudley's friends liked to play a unique game called "Harry Hunting", which involved chasing Harry. Although he was good at sports, the latter boy was always the last picked for a team because no one wanted to admit to Dudley that they liked him, rather than because he was no good. Harry got decent, if not good grades at school, but still he unknowingly exposed hints of his magic powers throughout the school term. Examples of such was when he accidentally turned his teacher's wig blue, apprated (the magical act of reappearing to another place) onto the school kitchen roof when escaping Dudley and his gang.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
When Dudley's eleventh birthday arrived in 1991, the Dursleys took him and Piers to a zoo but had to take Harry along as Mrs. Figg broke her leg and there was no one else to take him, for they refused to leave him alone in their house. At the zoo, Harry unintentionally made the glass of an enclosure containing a boa constrictor disappear by communicating with the animal via Parseltongue (the language that mostly dark wizards use to communicate with snakes), allowing the snake to slither out of its cage and scare Dudley into thinking it was after him. Following the incident, the enraged Dursleys sentenced him to his cupboard until the summer holidays. By the time he was allowed out, Harry still couldn't escape Dudley's gang, who regularly visited the house. To keep out of the way, Harry usually wandered around Privet Drive, glad that Dudley and Piers were going to attend Vernon's old school, Smeltings Academy, while he was to attend Stonewall High, a secondary public school.
One day, almost three weeks before Harry's eleventh birthday, he was told to get the post for his Uncle Vernon. When he made to the front door, the boy saw the mail delivered as three letters: a postcard from Aunt Marge during her vacation in the Isle of Wight, an electric bill from Grunnings and a letter accepting Harry to a school for young wizards and witches head-mastered by Dumbledore, called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Surprised of getting a letter for the first time, Harry returned to the kitchen and gave the first two letters to his uncle. But when Dudley noticed the letter still in his cousin's hands, Vernon snatched it from his nephew to read to his family thinking it was a letter from his co-workers (because he refused to accept that it was to Harry due to stopping the boy from having any friends), only for he and Petunia to notice the Hogwarts crest on the envelope as well as the address written as "cupboard under the stairs" and panic at the thought of Harry's ill-treatment being observed. They told Harry and Dudley to get out of the kitchen, but the cousins eavesdropped on them as the adults decided to ignore the letter. The Dursleys later transferred Harry to Dudley's second bedroom out of fear getting arrested for child abuse. Uncle Vernon even burned the letter in a futile attempt to keep Harry from his destiny out of fear that wizards were trying to contact, but more letters addressed to "the smallest bedroom" instead of "cupboard under the stairs" kept coming in increasingly larger quantities up to the point where they started flying out of the fireplace by the dozens. Because of this, the Dursleys saw no alternative but to flee from them. This was not enough to let them avoid the letters, as the owls carrying these letters followed them wherever they went, even when the manager of the gloomy hotel they were saying at found one of them on his desk to hand to Harry, but Vernon snatched it and had the family leave again. In a final desperate move on the night before Harry's birthday, the Dursleys got on a boat that took them to a small hut on a rocky island on the edge of the sea, where Harry stayed awake until his birthday finally came.
Meanwhile in the wizarding world, Dumbledore gave Hagrid the task of finding Harry and find out why he hadn't answered back the Hogwarts acceptance letter. When Hagrid arrived at the hut at midnight, he accidentally broke the door down from the force of his knocking and woke both Harry and the Dursleys up. The half-giant was shocked that Harry knew nothing about Hogwarts and was told that his parents were killed in a car crash, thus growing angry at the Dursleys for not telling him anything about his parents' world. In spite of Vernon's obstinate protests, he explained to Harry about his wizard status, how his parents really died and that Dumbledore demanded him to take Harry from the ruined house to his hated relatives until he was sent to Hogwarts. This would be Harry's first birthday celebration, and Hagrid gave him a small homemade birthday cake which Dudley started to eat behind their backs. Harry at doubted that he was a wizard until Hagrid asked him if he ever made anything happen he couldn't explain when he was angry or scared. Uncle Vernon made the mistake of mocking what magic Dumbledore was expecting to teach the boy, and an insulted Hagrid swished his umbrella in Dudley's direction, making him sprout a curly pig's tail. Though amused by such a theatrical trick, Harry was asked not to mention it at Hogwarts because the half-giant was banned from using magic when he got expelled. The next morning, Hagrid took him into London to to shop for Hogwarts supplies. They started in a wizard pub called the Leaky Cauldron, where Harry learned of his fame when he met other witches and wizards like Quirinus Quirrell, his soon-to-be Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, the inn-keeper Tom, Doris Crockford and once again Dedalus Diggle, who was surprised that the boy remembered their first meeting in the shop years earlier. They all talked for a bit until Hagrid steered Harry out a back door into a small enclosed area, where a hole in the brick wall invited them into a crowded street full of magical people known as Diagon Alley. First, they stopped at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, as Hagrid needed to get something inside while helping Harry take some money out of his vault. One of the Goblins working there, Griphook, took them down to Vault 713 to get the object and the Potter's vault, taking a bit of money there left by Harry's parents.
Harry first used his new money to buy his Hogwarts uniform Madam Malkin's Robe Shop, where he was measured for the robes alongside another first young wizard, Draco Malfoy, who stuck up a brief conversation with him about life at the school like playing the broomstick riding wizard sport Quidditch on one of four teams representing which of the four Hogwarts school houses they would be sorted into. Harry felt very out of place a little, but Malfoy advised that there were many wizarding families who believed that those who were Muggle-born were unworthy to study magic. Harry and Hagrid spent the rest of the day shopping for the books required for Hogwarts and a magical pet to have as a companion, which Harry chose as a female snowy owl that he named Hedwig. When all that was left on the shopping list was a wand, they went to Ollivander's Wand Shop so the boy could be tested for which wand chooses him as its master. Harry three wands, but none of them seem to work well enough for him. However, the wand that finally chose him with a warm feeling in his fingers was an 11-inch one made of holly, had a phoenix feather core and was nice and supple. Mr. Ollivander stated that it was curious that Harry should be destined for that wand since the phoenix feather core came from the same phoenix that provided the core for Voldemort's wand (a 13½-inch one made of yew and had the phoenix feather core). With Harry's shopping in Diagon Ally finished, Hagrid gave him a train ticket giving him the date, time, and location to catch the Hogwarts Express, telling the boy that he was to write a letter if he needed anything before leaving him to catch the next train home.
Throughout his last month on Privet Drive, Harry found himself unpleasantly ignored by the Dursleys due to how furious they were after he found out about his wizard heritage, up to the extent of hardly speaking to him and instead pretending that Harry wasn't even were they saw he was. This became depressing after a while, and Dudley became so scared of his cousin that he refused to be anywhere near him. Above all that, Harry was allowed to keep the smallest bedroom with only Hedwig and his new school books as company. He laid on his bed and read through the interesting books late at night with Hedwig swooping in and out of the window as she pleases, bringing back dead mice that she later left lying around the room to make them the main reason why Aunt Petunia had avoided coming in to vacuum. On the day before he was due to leave, Harry asked Uncle Vernon to take him to King's Cross station. Vernon agreed, but doubted the fact that the Hogwarts Express was scheduled to leave from Platform Nine and Three Quarters (as said on the ticket Hagrid gave the boy). The following day, Harry arrived at the station but wondered how to find platform nine and three quarters despite it being possibly in between platforms nine and ten, and was finally pointed in the right direction by a family of red-haired witches and wizards called the Weasleys, who demonstrated the way by running through the barrier between platforms nine and ten. He did the same, and was astonished to find the Hogwarts Express on the other side and went aboard. During the train ride, Harry was treated like a honored guest by the trouble-making twins among the Weasley children, Fred and George, and shared a seat with their younger brother Ron, who was starting at Hogwarts. The latter Weasley introduced the young Potter to such details of wizard life as Quidditch, Famous Witches and Wizards cards, and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. One of the cards bore a picture of Dumbledore, which vanished before Harry could take a second look at it. When word of Harry's presence on the train, many of the new Hogwarts students came by to visit him and Ron, such as Neville Longbottom, who came looking for his pet toad Trevor, Hermione Granger, a somewhat annoying and overachieving Muggle-born girl who came to help Neville, and Malfoy, who came to recognize Harry from the robe shop, this time with his buddies Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. After Malfoy made some rude comments about Ron, Harry rejected his offer on associating with the right kind of wizards.
Arriving at Hogwarts Castle, the newcomers were led by McGonagall into the Great Hall, where they were to try on the Sorting Hat, a sentient hat that determines which of the four school houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin) should each of the children who tries it on be placed into. When it was Harry's turn to be sorted, the hat took a while to decide where to place him, making him a near hatstall. It considered sorting the boy into Slytherin due to his resourcefulness and the abilities based on dark magic that Voldemort gave to Harry as an infant, but changed its mind at Harry's insistence, as he already heard about the dark wizards who had been in Slytherin (such as Voldemort himself) from Ron and Hagrid. Thus, Harry was sorted into Gryffindor along with Ron, Hermione and Neville due to his courage and chivalry while Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle were sorted into Slytherin instead. Everyone sat down at their house tables to a grand feast to begin the year, but Harry was overwhelmed by the variety of luscious food served and the ghosts that arrived for entertainment. Dumbledore got up to make his welcome speech, but added a few warnings about staying away from the Forbidden Forest and avoiding the 3rd-floor corridor on the right side of the school before sending everyone off to bed in their common rooms. The Gryffindor door common room, for example, was located within a tower that's only entrance behind the portrait of a Fat Lady, who lets them into Gryffindor Tower after Ron's older brother Percy, a prefect, gave her the password. Harry was assigned to share a dormitory with Ron, who he shared dessert with before their bedtime. He probably to much of the desserts, because while in bed that night, the young Potter dreamt of wearing Quirrell's turban, which told him to transfer to Slytherin at once. But Harry refused, allowing the headwear to become heavier on his head, with many Slytherins appearing in front of him laughing as he struggled with it. The nightmare ended with the same green light from the night Voldemort killed his family, causing Harry to wake up sweating at falling asleep again, forgetting about the dream immediately afterwards.