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And they both pretended not to notice the whining growing louder and louder as the sky became steadily darker. Stars were blossoming in the blackness. Harry pulled his sweater back on, try ing to ignore the way the windshield wipers were now waving fee bly, as though in protest. "Not far," said Ron, more to the car than to Harry, "not far now," and he patted the dashboard nervously. When they flew back beneath the clouds a little while later, they had to squint through the darkness for a landmark they knew. "There!" Harry shouted, making Ron and Hedwig jump. "Straight ahead!" Silhouetted on the dark horizon, high on the cliff over the lake, stood the many turrets and towers of Hogwarts castle. But the car had begun to shudder and was losing speed. "Come on," Ron said cajolingly, giving the steering wheel a lit tle shake, "nearly there, come on -" The engine groaned. Narrow jets of steam were issuing from un der the hood. Harry found himself gripping the edges of his seat very hard as they flew toward the lake. The car gave a nasty wobble. Glancing out of his window, Harry saw the smooth, black, glassy surface of the water, a mile below. Ron's knuckles were white on the steering wheel. The car wobbled again. "Come on," Ron muttered. They were over the lake - the castle was right ahead - Ron put his foot down. There was a loud clunk, a splutter, and the engine died com pletely.
2. What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition?
"Innocent until proven guilty, Severus," he said firmly.
Professor Sprout was a squat little witch who wore a patched hat over her flyaway hair; there was usually a large amount of earth on her clothes and her fingernails would have made Aunt Petunia faint. Gilderoy Lockhart, however, was immaculate in sweeping robes of turquoise, his golden hair shining under a perfectly positioned turquoise hat with gold trimming.
"I don't really understand Quidditch," said Colin breathlessly. "Is it true there are four balls? And two of them fly around trying to knock people off their brooms?"
"Big deal," said Ron, rubbing his foot where the photographer had stepped on it.
The squat ghost of a girl had glided over. She had the glummest face Harry had ever seen, half-hidden behind lank hair and thick, pearly spectacles.
"Without any supper?" said Snape, a triumphant smile flickering across his gaunt face. "I didn't think ghosts provided food fit for living people at their parties."
Harry looked quickly at Dumbledore.
Ron gaped, open-mouthed, at the seven superb broomsticks in front of him.
Ron was scarlet in the face, grinning embarrassedly, but Harry could see one person who didn't look happy at all. Percy was visible over the heads of some excited first years, and he seemed to be trying to get near enough to start telling them off. Harry nudged Ron in the ribs and nodded in Percy's direction. Ron got the point at once.
Dizzy and bruised, covered in soot, he got gingerly to his feet, holding his broken glasses up to his eyes. He was -,cite alone, but where he was, he had no idea. All he could tell was that he was standing in the stone fireplace of what looked like a large, dimly lit wizard's shop - but nothing in here was ever likely to be on a Hogwarts school list.
"- and as you see, certain of these poisons might make it appear -"
"Yeh should've ignored him, Arthur," said Hagrid, almost lifting Mr. Weasley off his feet as he straightened his robes. "Rotten ter the core, the whole family, everyone knows that - no Malfoy's worth listenin' ter - bad blood, that's what it is - come on now - let's get outta here."
Hagrid seized Harry by the scruff of the neck and pulled him away from the witch, knocking the tray right out of her hands. Her shrieks followed them all the way along the twisting alleyway out into bright sunlight. Harry saw a familiar, snow-white marble building in the distance - Gringotts Bank. Hagrid had steered him right into Diagon Alley.