In which our hero catches a train, slaps a ferret and a weasel ponders what might have been, meeting Hogwarts for the first time
In which our hero catches a train, slaps a ferret and a weasel ponders what might have been, meeting Hogwarts for the first time
Hogwarts in bold and italics
Professor!” Harry shouted, drawing her attention, she smiled slightly when she saw him, “Follow me then Mr Potter, and let us get you off to Hogwarts.” And with that she beckoned Harry and his trolley through the wall. “With intent Mr Potter, you need to want to get onto the Platform” she called out before turning and vanishing. Harry stared at the wall, wanting to get onto the platform, he started out slowly, getting faster until he was practically sprinting across the station, the wall was getting closer and closer, he shut his eyes, and felt a strange sensation, it was like he had run into a wall of semi-fry syrup, he struggled through until a familiar voice with a Scottish accent said “Congratulations Mr Potter, on making it through the wall, welcome to Platform 9 and 3 quarters.”
The Platform was fascinating, steam from the engine stalked through the air, shrouding the far end in a dense mist; the people dashing through it looked like shadows attacking the train. All around him in the entrance way vivid and colourful posters proclaiming a wide variety of products, from cauldrons to brooms to books. Also to his amazement and mortifying embarrassment there was a ‘Harry Potter doll, new, this time with Hogwarts Robes and Wand’, this embarrassment however was topped when Mrs Weasley walked past, looking in another direction and a young girl with flaming red hair grabbed her hand and pointed at the sign and said “Mum, can I have the new Boy-Who-Lived doll for Christmas, please......”.
Harry focused his attention on the Train for the first time trying to avoid the searing heat in his cheeks. When he did manage to focus on the train his draw dropped, the engine was stunning, in deep read with shining silver steel wheels and golden piping & parts it looked like a train fit for royalty, steam bellowed from the copper plated funnel and floated down the roofs of the carriages, being forced down by cooler air, wreathing parts in mysterious smoke. The carriages themselves were a dark walnut colour with sections painted a deep purple, there were long windows that seemed to cover each carriage and divide it into compartments. Sneaking a glance in one of the windows Harry was pleased to see that he was correct about the compartments. Each one could seat 4-6 people depending on size and where outfitted with leather seats and racks overhead to store the trunks on.
Once Harry had drunk his fill of the magnificent machine in front of him he turned to the professor. “Professor McGonagall, I have arranged to meet my friend Neville on the platform, I think I can take it from here.” She smiled a tight-lipped smile “Very well Mr Potter, I will see you at Hogwarts for your sorting” and with that she turned once in a full circle and vanished with a small crack, ‘I have got to learn how to do that’ thought Harry with a smile as he scoured the platform for Neville and his Gran, it wasn’t long before a small area of smoke cleared and Harry caught a glimpse of Dame Longbottom’s vulture hat.
“Neville” Harry called when he got closer, “good to see you, good morning Madame Longbottom” he bowed from the waist. “Greetings Mr Potter” the Longbottom matriarch said with a tilt of the head the only sign that she had acknowledged the bow. “Have you got everything Neville?” she said “Yes Gran, I’ll see you at Christmas Gran, me and Harry had best find a seat before they are all taken” they exchanged an awkward hug and Harry looked away slightly embarrassed at the odd social dynamics of Neville and his Gran.
Harry and Neville boarded the train together and made their way to the rear of the last carriage. Finding it empty they both put their trunks on the overhead racks (it took two of them to deal with Neville’s as there was no featherlight charm on it) and sat down looking out of the window that looked back onto the platform. Neither said anything, just watched the other parents of children sending of their child with love and affection. Both had a fairly wistful look on their faces as they imagined their parents sending them off to Hogwart’s for the very first time. Down the Platform Harry noticed the Weasley boy, Ronald, get his nose scrubbed thoroughly by his mother before being took up in a hug that Harry was sure would snap the questioning gits spine. He also noted the Malfoy boy, shaking hands pompously with his father and mother before walking onto the train like he owned it.
Harry and Neville were startled from their gazing by the sound of their compartment door opening. Turning around they saw a girl their age, she was of average height and build with frizzy brown hair, brown eyes and slightly bucked front teeth. “May I, Sit here” she said in a posh oxford accent. “Of course” Harry said, with a tone that said he really didn’t mind either way “I’m Scion Harry Potter of the house of Potter and this is Scion Neville Longbottom of the house of Longbottom” He gestured to Neville who was watching the girl as if to gauge her reaction “I am Hermione Granger, Daughter of Daniel and Emma Granger (1)” she replied staring at each of them in the eyes as if daring them to say anything.
Harry broke down first “Take a seat Hermione, it’s a pleasure to meet you, ignore the scion stuff please, we’re really just Harry and Neville” “If you wanted me to ignore it why would you bring it up?” Hermione asked with what appeared to be genuine curiosity. Neville spoke up “It’s a traditional pureblood wizarding greeting, even though Harry here is a half blood and has to grovel to my superior might (here he puffed out his chest and struck a ridiculous pose), Harry is a scion and therefore worthy of my awe-inspiring respect”. Hermione giggled as Harry punched him in the arm “What Neville is saying is that it is a polite way to say hello”. Hermione turned and looked at Harry “I’ve read about you, in the fall of the dark arts and great wizards of the 20th Century”, “I have too” Harry said “And as I have never been interviewed and there were no other witnesses I guess its lies”.
Hermione looked affronted at the thought that her books had been lying to her before her relief at having people her age took over and she asked “So what house do you think you’ll be in? I think Ravenclaw would suit me best but if I get a choice I will ask for Gryffindor as that’s where Headmaster Dumbledore was and that’s where you’ll be” she finished, pointing at Harry. “Actually I don’t think I will be, I recon, and Neville agrees that I’ll be a claw” “I’ll be a Hufflepuff I think” Neville said “Can’t see me going anywhere else”. In the now comfortable silence Hermione processed this information and, with the train pulling away from the station, she let herself think.
Ever since she had got her letter Hermione Jean Granger had devoured book after book on Magic, especially Magical History, she had been thrilled to find out that Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived would be in her year at Hogwarts, she had read all her books and was sure she had knowledge in almost every magical subject, she had been wowed by the train and the station and had got on at the back of the train after saying goodbye to her parents who had to hurry back to their dental surgery. She had gone into the first carriage and seen two boys her age looking out the window at the platform. Making friends had never been her strong point so she had steeled herself and entered. She had been shocked and a little bit dismayed when the boys had introduced themselves in the peculiar way, stating rank name and family, it didn’t occur to here at the time that she was talking to THE Boy-Who-Lived. Then to find he was friendly and nice and didn’t want to be a Gryffindor had got her thinking, the only reason she had wanted to go there over Ravenclaw was to try and get to know Harry Potter, and here she was in a carriage with him, talking.
Soon the silence was broken and the three got talking. Harry and Neville described their childhood’s and when Harry had mentioned being a ward of the school Hermione had gotten excited and had babbled something about private quarters and a summer in the library. They were joined a few moments later by Padma, who told Harry that she was desperate to get away from the beauty twins; she was quickly in a conversation with Hermione over transfiguration methods. Harry and Neville looked at each other, shrugged and started to talk about normal things like the weather; Neville also introduced Harry to the game of Gobstones, a game similar to checkers put when you took a piece it squirted water at you, Quick reflexes where a must and Neville was a lot wetter that Harry was by the time they had finished.
About an hour in there was a knock on the door and before any of the four could answer it the Pale young Malfoy strolled in, behind him were two boys who Harry swore were part troll, they took up positions on either side. “You are Harry Potter”, he said looking at Neville “No” said Neville, he pointed at Harry “Harry is Harry Potter”. The Malfoy boy looked between them for a minute before making a decision and looking at Harry. “Okay, you are Harry Potter, I am Draco Malfoy, you should come with me you know, and I’ll show you the right people”, “The Right people?” Harry asked “Yeah, not near-squibs, muggleblood’s and wogs” the Malfoy sneered, looking down his nose at Neville, Hermione and Padma. This sentence was barely out of his mouth when Harry backhanded him, hard.
Malfoy fell to the floor of the compartment clutching his jaw, “What was that for? You wait till my father...” he didn’t get much further as Harry tore into him. “Listen you spoilt arrogant bigot, in this room are 2 scions of ancient and noble houses an heiress of an Indian pureblood family as well our friend, what makes you think these are not the right people?” Draco Malfoy didn’t comment until he had reached the door, when he turned and spat “You’ll get yours Potter, you’ll go the way of your parents, just you wait! Goyle, Crabbe with me”. The door slammed on his way out.
“You didn’t have to do that Harry” Padma said, “No? But I wanted to, you are my friends, some of the first friends I ever had, I would never cast you aside for that” and with that statement Harry pulled out a book from his pocket and began to read. The remaining trio looked at each other and started a conversation; they allowed Harry to continue reading until the lady came round with a trolley full of Wizarding snacks; Harry had never had many sweets or had the money to get them so he did what anyone in his position would do, he splurged, buying at least one of everything. Neville was a bit more considerate, only buying ‘chocolate frogs’, both Padma and Hermione had packed lunches.
Ronald Bilious Weasley was an uncomplicated sort of a guy, he ate, he played chess and he thought about a time where his favourite team the Chudley Cannon’s would win the Quidditch league. Today was the day he was taking up his place as a Weasley at Hogwarts, there had been one at Hogwarts for the past 15 years when Bill Weasley started before Ron was even born. Today however had not gone to plan so far, he was told by his mother, whose word he believed more than anyone else, that today was the day he became best friends with Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived, and they would have wild adventures and save the world several times over, just like the stories she would tell him as a child. However so far he had seen neither hide nor hair of Harry Potter and although the two boys Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan were fun he couldn’t help but wonder as he glanced briefly out of the window what might of happened if he had got on the back of the train and wasn’t frightened away by the stern looking professor.
The rest of the train journey was uneventful for our foursome, they played many games of Gobstones and Wizarding Chess in which the pieces would fight each other for the squares and a move depended on how well your piece could scrap. Harry had a pawn that advanced the entire length of the board cutting a swath through Hermione’s pieces before finally being stopped 1 square before the end by the desperate charge of her queen. Outside however the lights were dimming and darkness was settling in, suddenly a voice boomed throughout the train “Hogsmede Station – 10 minutes to arrival, pupils are reminded that they are to be in school uniform and they are to leave their trunks on the train”. Harry and Neville stood outside the door while the girls got changed and then visa versa. Then the train began to slow onto a platform bathed in artificial light, a sign in cursive writing proclaimed “Hogsmede – Population 350”.
The Platform was a bustling mess of confusion, people were scrambling everywhere. Suddenly a loud deep voice boomed over the platform “Firsties, all First years over ‘ere, rest o’ ye get ta the carriages”. Following the loud voice they were confronted by the largest man they had ever seen easily 8 foot high with a black bushy beard and small twinkling black eyes, he looked like a giant. “Welcome Firsties, M’Names Hagrid, we’ll be taking ta boats to Hogwarts” he said in a rustic voice that reminded Harry and Hermione of the farmers that appeared in their primary school work, turning he took them on a pathway lit by torches to a large wooden jetty in which there was a flotilla of boats.
The Boats where small and sat four so naturally the four friends took one close to the back, Hedwig who had refused to be left alone on the train was perched on Harry’s shoulder took one look at the boat and hooted, she took off and flew away over the lake. “Aren’t you worried about your owl Harry?” asked Hermione “Nah, she’ll find me again” said Harry as they all managed to get seated without falling in. A fate not shared by everyone and there was a single solitary splash as Ronald Weasley was pushed in by Draco Malfoy after an argument over sharing boats and had to be rescued by Hagrid.
The Journey across the lake was peaceful and calm, there was no wind and the lake was as clear as glass as they floated past a large hill a spectacular sight left everyone gasping. In the side of the hill lit up in glorious splendour was a magnificent castle. With 4 towers that shone and a huge hall with large windows in which the flickering light shone like a lighthouse beacon across the lake sending sparkles of light flitting across the lakes surface. The Castle was large and Harry couldn’t wait to see what it looked liked during the day. He kept staring as it got closer and closer, each time looking more and more majestic. “DUCK!” shouted Hagrid as the boats appeared a low opening in the hillside and one they had passed over 2 feet of solid rock they arrived onto a jetty. Stood on it watching the boats arrive was Professor McGonagall, casting an eagle like glare over the new Hogwarts first years.
Her voice carried over the cavern and let all of the first years know that her word was law. “First Years, You are to follow me, I am taking you to an anteroom where you will wait until I come and get you, there will be no misbehaving, follow me!” Through winding corridors she led them, on the wall portraits turned to look at them and they heard whispers about new blood at the school.
Harry was having an interesting walk, not only because the castle corridors were full of fascinating items, but because he had a voice in his head. It had started as soon as he put his foot on Hogwart’s school “Hello my ward” a sensual female voice had echoed throughout his mindscape, “I am Hogwarts, I am your guardian, do not worry my child, I will keep you safe”. It is very disconcerting hearing a strange voice in your mind, it is even more disconcerting when you feel that voice walking through your mind and critiquing your mindscape. Harry made a vow to himself to have a look at what the voice had done to his mind once he was alone it whatever dorm he was in. The voice of the castle had then started explaining all about the castle and the houses, giving a running commentary of past events, people in the portraits, it was like a continuing history lecture of the most fascinating kind, it ended when they arrived in a large room, upon entering the room the voice stopped the commentary and spoke “I’ll leave you until your house is chosen my young one, no matter what house you will be in I will watch over you”, the presence in his mind dimmed, it was still there, he could feel it in the back of his mind.
Professor McGonagall took centre stage “In a few moments I will walk you into the great hall to be sorted, when I call your name you will walk to the stool in the middle of the hall, put on the sorting hat and be sorted, from there you will go to your house table. Am I understood?” “Yes Professor” the assembled children chanted. “Good, now stand up straight and follow me”. The Professor turned at flung open two large doors, walking through the new Hogwarts students got a glimpse of the hall for the first time and were stunned by the size of it, it was as large as a Olympic swimming pool, in the centre was a long table, placed on a raised dais, on which the staff were seated, gazing out over the children. There were four large oak tables with long benches along each side and seated on the benches were at least 500 children all looking at the new first years.
Professor McGonagall strode forth and spoke in a commanding voice that echoed across the room “May the Sorting Begin.........”
Hope you enjoy, next time, the sorting, a meeting with Dumbledore, and a meeting of minds!
(1) I know Daniel and Emma are standard FF names for the Granger adults but i think they will do