Alright, I am back! I'm not completely healed, but I'm better enough that pain is not the foremost thing on my mind. Though I do continue to rock a look very similar to this. Ah well, enough about my accident-prone self, let's get back to Harry!
Harry wants to talk to Ron and Hermione about what he overheard the Weasleys talking about the night before, but there's far too much going on to do it that morning. At the train station, Mr. Weasley pulls him aside and Harry reveals that he overheard the conversation the night before. Mr. Weasely asks Harry to promise he won't go looking for Sirius Black, to which Harry's all "duh".
On the train, the trio ends up in a compartment with the sleeping Professor Lupin, whom Hermione surmises must be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry tells Ron and Hermione about Black being after him and they freak out. Hermione asks Harry to promise he won't go looking for Black at which point Harry is mildly insulted that everyone seems to think he's a giant moron. Harry's sneakoscope goes off and everyone assumes it's broken, they talk about Hogsmeade, Malfoy comes by and gets scared away by the sleeping Lupin, and the train goes dark while stopping in the middle of nowhere.
Neville and Ginny find their way to the compartment in the dark and Lupin wakes up just in time for a hooded figure to show up before Harry hears a scream and passes out. When he wakes up he finds out that the hooded figure was a dementor, an Azkaban guard, and that he was the only one to pass out. Lupin passes around some chocolate, which helps Harry feel better and they finally arrive at the school. Neville wastes no time telling Malfoy about Harry fainting (What the crap, Neville?!) and to make matters worse, Harry is taken upstairs to be fussed over by McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey. McGonagall also meets with Hermione and then the two head back downstairs to find they've missed the sorting. Dumbledore gives his usual speech, mentions the dementors and everyone eats then heads to the dormitories.
This chapter is full of foreshadowing and setups for later; the sneakoscope and Crookshanks both freaking out when Scabbers is nearby, the effect the dementors have on Harry (and Ginny), and all the don't-go-after-Black stuff; but most of that will be discussed later on.
A lot has been said about the dementors by others. Everyone knows that Rowling based the dementors off of her own bout with depression and that they are the manifestation of the emptiness one feels when dealing with that disease. I myself have fought depression in the past and I find the description pretty accurate. But my favorite thing about this chapter is the chocolate.
As you may know, chocolate releases endorphins, which are our body's natural stress and pain relief. It's pure genius to use magical healing properties of chocolate.
On a related note, Ron's list of sweets to be found at Honeydukes makes me extremely excited to head to Florida and try some of them out myself!