In the 6th book, Harry sees Dumbledore's memory, where he visits Tom in the orphanage and tells him he is a wizard. Dumbledore then departs from Tom:

"All the details are on the second piece of parchment in your envelope," said Dumbledore. "You will leave from King's Cross Station on the first of September. There is a train ticket in there too."

Dumbledore doesn't tell Tom how to get onto the platform, and we know it wasn't written in the letter, because also Harry didn't know how to get on.

It doesn't seem likely Dumbledore would forget to tell him such an important detail. Was it intentional? And how did Tom figure it out?

  • 5
    All the details are on the second piece of parchment in your envelope
    – Shreedhar
    Sep 1 '20 at 10:09
  • @Shreedhar- Harry got the same letter and he didn't know how to get on
    – MBEllis
    Sep 1 '20 at 10:10
  • 1
    Harry had Hagrid to take him to Diagon Alley. Hagrid also gives Harry the ticket with the instructions on Platform 9.75.
    – Shreedhar
    Sep 1 '20 at 10:15
  • 1
    @Shreedhar- I don't remember there being instructions in the ticket. it just said: "I just take the train from platform nine and three-quarters at eleven o'clock," he read.
    – MBEllis
    Sep 1 '20 at 10:19
  • Maybe at Riddle's time there was a different platform? Or the method to get there was different?
    – guest
    Sep 16 '20 at 17:57

As the section you quoted states, Tom Riddle's letter contained a second piece of parchment with "all the details" on it. I believe this is standard procedure for students who are unlikely to know about the wizarding world, as (IIRC) Riddle didn't prior to Dumbledore's visit. Presumably, this included instructions for how to get onto Platform 9 3/4, therefore Dumbledore didn't need to tell him.

Harry's letter (or rather, letters) didn't include that second piece of parchment because it was believed that he already knew "all about Hogwarts", including how to get onto Platform 9 3/4. It was only when the letter was actually delivered to him that it was discovered just how little the Dursleys had told him. Why Hagrid didn't tell Harry how to get onto the platform is another matter entirely (but would be a separate question).

  • 8
    Hagrid's good at heart but is quite incompetent. 10 bucks, he forgot to tell Harry what to do after Harry reached King's Cross.
    – Shreedhar
    Sep 1 '20 at 10:54
  • @Shreedhar I agree. There was some discussion on this previous question about why Hagrid didn't tell Harry, and the consensus seems to be that it just slipped his mind.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 1 '20 at 11:00
  • Seeing "Run at the wall full-tilt, trust me you won't get hurt." is, in fact, the correct instruction, for one who was totally unaware that the magical world existed just minutes before, that seems to be more than somewhat unbelievable. It would really reinforce the "If this gets me out of the orphanage, I'm all for it, but I'm having a hard time believing this old coot" thought process.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 17 '20 at 15:36

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