Chapter 22: Potions Class
Today was the very first Potions class for Gryffindor and Slytherin.
This morning before breakfast, hundreds of owls flew across the Great Hall. Circling around all the tables, they immediately dropped the letters and packages into the laps of their rightful owners.
Charles had been given two letters. One had been from David and Anna who were both inquiring how his life was like in Hogwarts and to take care of his health. The only letter had been from Julie who had begged him to look after Hannah while also giving him some tips on how to improve his potions.
The potions class would take place within one of the dungeons. In comparison to the castle, it was much colder in the dungeons and was quite eerie with all sorts of pickled animals within the glass jars around the walls. However, Charles had secretly delighted in such an atmosphere since it gave off the feeling of being able to conduct research.
Like professor Flitwick, professor Snape had begun his class by taking roll call. And like Flitwick, when he came to Harry’s name, he had paused.
Finally, the father’s debt would be repaid by the son, and an example would be made starting with him.
“Ah, yes.” Snape spoke softly. “Harry Potter. Our new–celebrity.” Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle began to snicker behind their hands. After Snape had finished roll call, he gave a strict expression to the entire class. His eyes had been cold and empty, giving off the feeling of staring in a cold and dark tunnel.
“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking.” Snape spoke. His voice had begun no louder as a whisper, but every student had hung onto every single word clearly–like with professor McGonagall. Snape had a mysterious power that could easily keep the class silent without effort.
“As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses…I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death–if you aren’t as big as a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.” Total silence had followed Snape’s speech while Hermione Granger sat by Charles’ side with her butt at the edge of her seat as she looked desperate to show that she was not a dunderhead to professor Snape.
“Potter!’ Snape suddenly barked out Harry’s name. “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Harry had been at a lost while Hermione’s hand rose high into the air.
“I don’t know, sir.” Harry answered.
Snape’s lips curled into a sneer.
“Tsk tsk, fame clearly isn’t everything.”
He ignored Hermione’s outstretched hand.
“Let’s try again, Potter. Where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?” Hermione’s hand stretched once more into the air so high that it seemed as if her arm had detached itself from her body and began to float away. Harry had still been at a loss. Charles could see Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle all quivering with laughter.
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Thought you wouldn’t open a book before coming, eh, Potter?” Snape spoke with cold eyes. He had once more ignored Hermione’s shaking hand.
“What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?”
This time, Hermione had stood up with her right hand stretched out towards the ceiling of the dungeon.
“I don’t know.” Harry spoke in a low voice. “But, I think Hermione knows. Why don’t you ask her?” Several students laughed. Casting an eye towards Seamus, Charles could see Seamus giving Harry a wink. But Snape was not pleased.
“Sit down.” he snapped at Hermione. “For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful, it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant and also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren’t you all copying that down?”
There was a slight spike in noise as everyone in the dungeon began to hastily grab their quills and parchment. “For your lack of manners towards a professor, a point will be taken away from Gryffindor, Potter.”
Not a single indication of the potion class becoming any better could be seen after that. Snape had separated the entire class into two and began to show them how to mix up a simple potion to cure boils. With his cape billowing behind him, Snape traveled through the dungeon and watched the students on how they weighed the dried nettles and crush the snake fangs. He had criticized almost everyone while only Malfoy and Charles had escaped from danger. That had been due to Malfoy have a good godfather while Charles movements during the preparations had been flawless.
He had been especially partial to Malfoy and explained just how well he had stewed his horned slugs and how perfect Malfoy had prepared everything! In the middle of it all, a hissing sound could be heard along with a cloud of acrid green smoke. Unable to tell what to grind or boil, Neville had somehow managed to burn a hole through his cauldron and splashed onto the dungeon floors, burning a hole through the shoes of every student that touched it. Within several seconds, everyone had been standing on top of their tables. Only Neville hadn’t leapt onto the table and as a result, his entire body had been splashed with the potion. Angry red boils began to appear all over his arms and legs as Neville couldn’t help but moan in agony.
“Imbecile!” Snape had snarled before waving his wand to clear away the spilt potion.
“I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?”
Neville’s nose began to be infested with the same red welts, causing him to cry out with even more vigor.
“Take him to the hospital wing.” Snape commanded Seamus. Afterwards, his eyes wandered to Harry and Ron who had been next to him. “You, Potter. Why didn’t you tell him not to add the quills? Did you think that if he got it wrong, you’d look good in comparison, did you? That’s another point you’ve lost for Gryffindor!”
“That’s not fair!” Harry had wanted to shout out, but Charles could see Ron kicking Harry in the leg behind the cauldron as a warning for Harry not to do anything stupid.
As expected as Snape, he had truly specialized in acting the villain’s role.