Chapter 20: The Sorting
Charles looked around, only to see that everyone’s eyes in the hall were glued to the hat in mute silence. Suddenly, the hat began to twitch before the fringes to it opened up to reveal some sort of mouth. Following up, the hat began to sing:
“Oh you may not think I’m pretty,
But don’t judge on what you see,
I’ll eat myself if you can find,
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat And I can cap them all.
There’s nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can’t see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart, Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffis are true And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don’t be afraid!
And don’t get in a flap!
You’re in safe hands (though I have none)
For I’m a Thinking Cap!”
As soon as the hat finished its song, the entire hall burst into applause. With a slight bow to the seated students at each of the four table, it grew still once more.
“So we just need to try the cap on!” Charles could hear Ron whisper to Harry, “I’ll kill Fred, he told me we’d have to wrestle a troll!”
The Weasley twins were one of a kinds.
McGonagall stepped forward with a lambskin parchment in hand.
“When I call your name, please put on the hat and sit on the stool to be Sorted. She said, “Abbott, Hannah!”
Charles clapped Hannah on the back before giving her a thumbs up. Walking forward, she put the cap on so it covered her eyes and sat patiently. After a while–”HUFFLEPUFF!” The cap declared.
The table with the Hufflepuffs were all on the right side. As soon as Hannah arrived at their table, the entire table exploded into loud cheering. Charles could even see the ghost of the Fat Friar wave a happy hand at her.
“HUFFLEPUFF!” Shouted the hat, and Susan walked to sit down next to Hannah.
“RAVENCLAW!” This time, the table second from the left began to clap. Several Ravenclaw students had even stood up to shake Terry’s hand.
Mandy Brocklehurst had gone to Ravenclaw as well, but Lavender Brown ahd been the very first person to enter Gryffindor. The table to the far left had exploded with cheers; Ron’s twin brothers could be seen catcalling from the sides.
Sometimes, the hat would immediately call out the student’s house, and sometimes, it would take several moments before it would make a decision. There had been a student who had taken nearly a whole minute before the hat had Sorted him into Gryffindor.
“Granger, Hermione!” Hermione had nearly ran to the front before putting on the hat and sitting on the stool.
“GRYFFINDOR!” Came the call. Charles could see Ron looking dejected at that. This is your future wife, that look won’t do!
When it came to be Neville Longbottom’s turn, he had fallen on the way up. The hat had taken a very long time to make its decision before ultimately calling out “GRYFFINDOR!” Forgetting to take the hat off, Neville had nearly made it to the Gryffindor table, only to come jogging back in the midst of all the jeering to return the hat.
This was a man of character! Charles shook his head, could a great man really be that unreliable when he was younger?
After a while, there were only a few first years left.
“Goole, Charles!” McGonagall had finally called out his name. Walking forward, he gave the professor a smile as a way of greeting before putting the hat on his head.
“Hm….” A small voice could be heard in his ear. “Loyal, brave, hard working, and an erudite, there is no doubt then.”
“GRYFFINDOR!” The hat called out loud. Then after taking off the hat, Charles sat down next to Hermione at the Gryffindor table in the midst of all the cheering–Hermione’s included.
The following had been exactly like in the original story. After his own Sorting, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley had been sorted into Gryffindor.
After the Sorting, Albus Dumbledore stood up to look at the students. Both of his arms were stretched out wide in a happy mood that seemed to suggest nothing made him happier than to see the students right in front of him.
“Welcome!” He spoke, “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” Then he sat down, to the applause of everyone there. Charles remained quiet, the elderly like to have a sense of mystery to them!
After a while, the empty plates in front of Charles began to fill up with all sorts of foods: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled tomatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and even a peppermint smelling hard candy.
A purely English-styled dinner! Charles lamented. But his hand did not slow down at all. That was because after rowing the boat earlier, he himself was starting to feel a little peckish. On his side, several ghosts were regaling the first years on their past achievements while on the other side, Percy Weasley and Hermione were in a passionate discussion about homework. “I hope they start our lessons straight away, there’s just so much to learn. I’m particularly interested in Transfiguration, you know, turning something into something else, of course. It’s supposed to be very difficult–”
Then, after the dessert was finished, Dumbledore finally stood up, causing the entire hall to grow silent.
“Ahern, now that we’ve been fed and watered, I’ve a few more words to say. I would like to speak about the start-of-term rules for a moment.”
“The first years should take extra notice for this: the forests on the grounds are forbidden for any student to enter. A few of our older students would do well to remember that.” Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to twinkle as he cast them at the directions of the Weasley twins.
“Our caretaker, Mr. Filch, has asked me to remind you all to not use magic between classes in the corridors.”
“And finally, I must give one more warning. If you do not wish to die a very painful death, do not enter the right-hand side one the corridor on the third floor!” Charles laughed, this would only serve to encourage any student to look for adventure, what a sly fox!
“And now, before we head for bed , let us sing the school’s song!” Dumbledore spoke out loud. Charles could see the smiles on each of the professor’s face strain a little.
Dumbledore gave his wand a gentle flick almost as if he was trying to get rid of a fly. A single golden ribbon flew out from the tip before flying high above the tables and twist into several words.
“Everyone sing at the tune of their heart’s content.” Dumbledore spoke, “And off we go!”
The entire student body began to sing,
“Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we’ve forgot,
just do your best, we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.”
The song had been sung at differing speeds with no one in unison. By the end, only the two Weasley twins were left singing to the slow tune of a very slow funeral march. Dumbledore conducted the very last few verses with his wand until that point. After the song had finished, he had been the one who clapped the loudest.
“Ah, music–” He wiped away a tear. “Magic that is beyond all that we do here! And now, bedtime, off you trot now!”
The Gryffindor first years followed Percy through the chattering crowds out of the Great Hall and up the marble staircase. Several paintings could be seen on both sides of the corridors with the people inside them pointing and chatting at them. Percy led the group through several doorways hidden past some door panels and hanging tapestries before finally coming to a sudden stop.
A bundle of walking sticks could be seen floating in midair. And as Percy took a single step forward, the sticks began to pelt themselves at him.
“Peeves,” Percy whispered to the first years, “He’s a prank-loving poltergeist.” Then, with a loud voice, he cried out, “Peeves, show yourself!”
A loud sound similar to that of a balloon came as a response.
“Do you want me to go to the Bloody Baron?”
There was a popping sound as a short little man with wicked black eyes and a wide mouth appeared. In his hands, the walking sticks could be seen.
“Ahaaaa!” He cackled, “How interesting!” As soon as he finished speaking, he suddenly came swooping down at the students, causing them to duck down in a panic.
“Go away, Peeves! Or else I’ll bring this matter to the Bloody Baron, I mean it!” Percy shouted angrily.
Sticking out a pale tongue from his ghastly face, Peeves threw the sticks down and flew away. As the students listened to him fly away, the sounds of him shaking the armor suits could be heard.
“You should be careful around Peeves.” Percy continue to lead the group forward. “Only the Bloody Baron can handle him. He won’t even listen to use prefects, here we are now.” At the very end of the corridor was a single portrait of a very fat woman in pink.
“Password?” She asked.
“Caput Draconis.” Percy replied. The painting swung open to reveal a large hole behind it. They all scrambled through it–Nevile needed Charles to pull him past–and found themselves in the Gryffindor common room, a cozy and round room filled with all sorts of comfortable armchairs.
Charles and Neville walked up the helix staircase together up to the second floor only to find themselves at their designated beds: five-posters hung with deep-red velvet curtains. Their trunks had already been sent up earlier. Because of their exhaustion, the two of them had been too tired to talk and instead changed into their pajamas. For once, he had taken off his energy ring and took a sip of his tea before going off to bed.
Because of the comfortableness of the beds, it hadn’t taken long for him to fall asleep.