Chapter 6: Wands and Learning Magic
“The wand chooses the wizard, child.” Ollivander had already walked into the pile of boxes holding magic wands as he spoke.
The measuring tape also curled into a heap on the floor as he spoke. “Try this next, Charles. Oak and the heartstring of a Chinese Fireball. 10 inches, excellent, and nimble. Try giving it a wave.”
Charles took the wand and gave it a rather clumsy wave. Ollivander immediately snatched it back.
“Vine and phoenix feather. 9 inches and exceedingly springy. Give it a try.”
Charles had just lifted the wand when Ollivander took it back.
“No, no. This is yew and unicorn hair. 8.5 inches, springy. Continue trying.”
Charles tried again and again, he didn’t understand what Mr. Ollivander was waiting for. But thinking back to the author’s original work, it was likely that anyone who came to buy a wand would be worked over by Ollivander. The pile of wands that he had tried already grew higher and higher on a chair, but the more wands that were taken out from the shelves, the happier Mr. Ollivander seemed to appear.
“A difficult customer. Not to worry, we are sure to find one here that’s suitable for you. Ah yes, why not — an unusual combination. Mahogany and phoenix feather, 11 inches and exceedingly springy. Quite powerful at transfiguration.”
That’s what you said when you finally found the holly wand for Harry Potter. Damn it, you must be doing this on purpose. Charles muttered in his heart.
Not knowing whether or not Ollivander was bored and thus made his customers try a lot of wands to pass the time, the wand that Ollivander had brought this time was quite reliable. When Charles took hold of the wand, he immediately felt a warm current surge up to his fingertips. A jet of red and gold flames seemed to erupt out of one end of the wand. The dancing sparks formed a bird and then scattered.
Ollivander cried out loudly, “Great! Wonderful! Congratulations on finding your wand.”
“Thank you.” Charles bowed politely and expressed his thanks. “How much?”
Charles took out nine galleons and gave them to Ollivander. Ollivander bowed on Charles’ way out of the wand shop.
Back at home, Charles repeatedly looked at his own wand. The red wand was intermingled with the original grain of the wood. The polished and sanded wand felt like it was connected to his blood whenever he touched it, as if the wand was a part of his body.
Charles laid on the bed, raised his arm, and pointed the wand in his hand at the ceiling. He closely observed the wand that belonged to him, liking it the more that he looked at it.
“Good brother, we’ll fight together in the future.” Charles said lowly. The tip of the wand sent out a string of orange red sparks as soon as he’d spoken, seeming to feel glad that it could fight by Charles’ side in the future!
The next day, Charles woke up with energy and vigor. He tucked the wand by his bed into his clothes and directly went to the basement after washing up and eating breakfast. The space was large here, and was enough to practice magic spells and brew potions.
All was in readiness, what was to follow next was to disregard mealtimes and go without sleep as he spent day and night in study.
Charles first flipped open a Hogwarts textbook. After all, the knowledge within the textbooks was the most foundational. High buildings rise from the ground, it would not do to not firmly ground one’s basics.
He would read a few books in addition to those relevant to class to increase his knowledge at the same time of building his foundations. He would be able to thoroughly build his foundations and at the same time greatly increase his efficiency. Flourish and Blotts sold beginner books on magic. Once he got the basics down, there would be no particular knowledge that was too complex or difficult.
To be honest, Flourish and Blotts only had a great reputation. Apart from boasting a full complement of foundational books, everything else… sigh! To speak more of it would be to shed tears.
Charles had even searched carefully, hoping to find something different. In the end…
It didn’t even have records of Polyjuice Potion from Moste Potente Potions! Was Polyjuice Potion against the law? Please, any wizard and witch’s home would have its recipe!
Indeed, there was no difference between Flourish and Blotts and those bookstores in front of high schools selling textbooks, reference books, practice problems, and the occasional leisure reading!
Ah! I’ve taken the erroneous perspective of the fallacy of composition! Education in my past life had taught us to treat questions impartially. I at least remember the stores outside school also sold official manga such as Naruto and One Piece. Charles was willing to bet five pence that Flourish and Blotts would definitely not have this!
So there was still a difference between the two…
Too much blather, we’ve gotten off topic! Let’s talk about Charles’ studies next.
How much time did Charles spend to munch through the content that students at Hogwarts would spend seven years to finish?
The correct answer is — a year and a half.
What! You’re kidding me. Some readers must think I’m purposefully giving the main character hacks. But to be honest, as the author, I, am an impartial, objective, realistic (ten thousand words omitted after this) kind of person. I believe the all seeing eyes of the various readers will also be able to see this…
Then finishing seven years worth of classes in a year and a half is seriously too frightening! Is that so? Let me talk about something.
The start of term for Hogwarts was on September 1st, the start of term for most British schools. Its holidays were naturally the same as ordinary schools. Easter and Christmas were both long holidays, roughly three to four weeks with weekends included. Of course, there was still winter break and summer break. Compared to the ball breaking pain that was holidays for chinese students, summer vacation in England was super, duper long. Why did Harry always become very depressed around the holidays in the original work? That was because June, July, and August were all vacation. He even had to spend his birthday with the Dursleys. Winter break was comparatively shorter than summer vacation. It was only about a month or so long. The original work didn’t mention Hogwarts having winter break, then it probably didn’t have any. So Hogwarts would have roughly four months of vacation in total all year long. Hogwarts was a seven year program. 28 months, which was two years and four months, out of seven years would be vacation, whereas Charles didn’t waste even a day in this year and a half learning magic.
We can also learn through the original works that although there was quite a bit of homework at Hogwarts, this was probably only a lot of homework for the British. At least Harry, in his sixth year, could learn while he fended off Voldemort and Malfoy, while playing dead to a certain old bat at the same time, yet still complete his studies without even going through his seventh year. Although the possibility of him gaining extra credit for being a big hero in defeating Voldemort is not out of the question, but this is also enough to prove that the homework of Hogwarts was not as much as is commonly thought. Whereas Charles had come armed with the determination and concentration that he’d brought to the college entrance exams that year. He definitely spent at least double the amount of time on his studies compared to Harry, to say nothing of anything else. This was the hallmark of a student from the great motherland. His resolve and will in suffer through hard work and enduring hardships was definitely not something the British could measure up to, although I wouldn’t dare say the same about anything else. Even Anna and David had once been astonished, but they slowly grew used to it as time went on.
However, Charles discovered that the proportion of protein and energy in his meals at home had increased. This was David and Anna’s love. Although commonplace, it was also very moving. That’s right, Charles was touched.
We got off topic again…
In terms of studying, Charles had the knack of cheating. Remembering everything he saw made something like magic history, a subject that needed memory, a piece of cake. He would be able to remember everything by merely moving his fingertips and flipping once through the book. Learning fast also eased his way for potions, charms, and transfiguration. So in conclusion, this year and a half only sounded terrifying. Throughout the process of studying, Charles discovered that, just as Ollivander had said, his wand was truly powerful when it came to transfiguration. Maybe I can be like Sirius Black and teach myself how to become an Animagus whilst at Hogwarts! Charles thought.
Charles had gained much in this year and a half, and he was no longer the blank sheet of paper who had only a miniscule amount of knowledge of the magical world like he was in the beginning. Although a bit regretful, because he didn’t have access to magical creatures or space to plant herbs, his knowledge of Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology was limited to that of book knowledge. But with regards to other subjects, as long as the textbooks had touched on it, Charles was absolutely thoroughly versed in it.
However, Charles wasn’t satisfied, because although he had spent the year and a half learning, it had seemed much more like remedial studying and dumbly reading books. He only knew a bit more of the foundational knowledge of charms, potions, and the other subjects. The most important part of knowledge was nimble application and innovation, was it not!
Charles thought as he wrote at the end of the letter:
I can already brew some simple potions. Long time no see, I rather miss you. Shall I visit you one day, big sister Julie?
Charles Earl Goole