Chapter 19: First Time Entering Hogwarts
“No more’n four to a boat!” Hagrid called out, pointing to the fleet of boats by the shores of the lake. Charles, Hermione, Neville, and Hannah Abbott who merged into their group earlier all joined the same boat.
“Everyone in?” Hagrid shouted from his own boat. “Right then…FORWARD!”
And so the boats immediately pushed off from the shores, gliding across the mirror-like lake. Everyone had been very quiet as they fixed their eyes on the gigantic castle in front of them. As they drew closer, the castle continued to tower over them more and more.
“Heads down!’ As the first boat reached the cliffs, Hagrid called out in a loud voice. Everyone ducked their heads down as their tiny boats took them through the poison ivy covered cliffs and into a secret opening in the cliff. They moved along a pitch dark passageway that seemed to lead to beneath the castle before finally arriving at some sort of underground pier. Afterwards, each one of them began to climb out of the docks and onto the gravel and rocks on solid ground.
Afterwards, they followed Hagrid’s bright lamp up the passageway in the mountains. In the end, they finally came out onto a smooth and grassy area that was basked in the shadow of the castle.
Everyone scaled the final steps and came a stop by the large oak doors.
“Everyone here?” Hagrid raised a gigantic fist before knocking thrice onto the doors.
The doors began to open as McGonagall walked out from behind. She had the same strict demeanor that gave everyone the idea that she was not one to cross.
“The firs’ years, professor McGonagall.” Hagrid spoke.
“Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here.” She pushed open the doors completely. The insides to the castle had amazed everyone; the halls themselves could fit the entire Dursley house within it. The flames on the castle wall illuminated the entire place and had a ceiling far too high to even imagine. Right in front of them, a giant marble staircase could be seen taking them to the other floors.
The children followed McGonagall across the flagged stone floors. Charles could hear hundreds of voice making a noisy sound to his right–the rest of the school must already be here– but professor McGonagall had led the first years away from the large halls into a small chamber. As they all entered the room, they stood close by to each other with nervous faces as they glanced around.
“Welcome to Hogwarts.” Professor McGonagall spoke. “The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly. But before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.
“The four houses of Hogwarts are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points. Any rule breaking, however, will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points will be awarded with the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.
“The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all make use of this time to smarten yourselves up.” Her eyes fixated themselves onto Neville’s cloak which was tucked behind his left ear, then onto Ron’s smudged nose for a moment longer.
“When we are ready, I shall return here. In the meanwhile, please wait quietly.” As she finally left the small chamber, Charles looked to the drenched with sweat Neville.
By his other side, Ron and Harry Potter were discussing between each other what the criterias were for each house. These poor children, thinking it was some sort of test! This had been because of the Weasleys. The two had been utterly frightened by what the Weasley twins had told them.
Suddenly, several people behind him began to scream, causing charles and the others to leap up in fright.
“What are you–?” Someone had cried out in annoyance, but then the voice had been instantly shushed as Charles realized she had lost her voice. About twenty ghosts had seemingly floated through the walls in a pearly-white and a half-transparent manner. As they glided across the room, they seemed as if they were arguing with each other without noticing the first years there. Then, what seemed like a stout monk suddenly spoke, “Forgive him and forget about the matter, I say. We ought to give him a second chance –”
“My dear Friar, we’ve already given Peeves more than enough chances than he deserves. He gives us ghosts all a bad name, and that’s not a good thing –oh, what are you all doing here?” Suddenly, a ghost wearing a suit that seemed skin tight had noticed the first years.
But nobody answered.
“New students!” The one named the Fat Friar spoke. “About to be Sorted, I believe?”
A few people nodded in silence.
“I hope to see you in Hufflepuff then,” The Fat Friar said, “It was my old house, you know.”
“Move along now”, a woman’s voice could be heard. “The Sorting Ceremony’s about to start.”
Now that professor McGonagall had returned, the ghosts had floated away through the walls one by one.
“Form a line,” McGonagall spoke to the first years, “Now, follow me!”
Their group walked through the giant halls before finally walking through a giant pair of doors and into the Great Hall.
The rest of the students were all sitting at four long tables with thousands of candles floating high above their heads and illuminated the entire Great Hall. The tables were laid with many brilliant golden saucers and goblets. At the front of the Great Hall was a single long table where all the professors sat at. Professor McGonagall led them all to the front and then had the first years all face the other students and their backs to the professors in a uniform line. The throngs of students watching them had looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Scattered amongst the students, the ghosts floated about with a silvery light. In order to escape the staring eyes, Charles had looked upwards only to find a black ceiling littered with stars. He had heard Hermione whisper besides him, “It’s bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History.”
It was truly hard to believe that instead of a ceiling, the Great Hall didn’t have the entire heavens covering it.
Professor McGonagall slowly placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years before then placing a single raggedy hat on top of it.
Now is finally time to prove my Occlumency ability. Charles had thought, I cannot lose!