Like most children, Harry is aquainted with his new school, except this school doesn’t teach normal subjects. This school teaches magic. Like other boarding schools, Harry has to travel to Hogwarts, except Harry goes to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express. On the way, he meets other students at his age that are starting out. Harry meets Ron Weasley, a boy who is from a well-known wizarding family and knows the ins and outs of the wizarding world. Harry also meets Hermione Granger, busy body who just seems interested in her books and making sure that everyone follows the rules.
Last but not least, Harry has to meet the “trouble maker” of his grade. Draco Malfoy fits that bill. Draco Malfoy is a boy with a cruel sneer that clearly has an agenda. Ron said Draco’s family were Dark wizards that followed You-Know-Who. His family came back to the good side after You-Know-Who vanished, saying they were bewitched, but Ron said his father didn’t believe them.
Harry decides to stick it out with Ron and become friends with him. Ron seems to be the nicest person there, not to mention the easiest to talk to. Plus, Harry didn’t know anything about the “Dark wizard business” yet, except that Voldemort killed his parents. From the little Harry knew of dark wizards and Voldemort, he knew that he didn’t want to get involved with them. Even early on, Harry decides to pick out who he is going to hang out with, just like children pick out who their friends will be when they first start school.
When he gets to Hogwarts, Harry is confronted with a nontraditional first “assignment” in this school—put on a hat and see where the hat sorts you. Odd as it may seem, that’s exactly what the hat does. It sings a lovely little song and tells you which house you’re in. Many of his fellow newbies seem to be sorted quickly.
They put the hat on their head and the Sorting Hat screamed out which house they belonged to. Of course, Harry’s sorting was not that simple. The Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin, the house that all the bad wizards were from! Harry, of course, demands to be placed anywhere other than Slytherin. With regret and hesitation, the Sorting Hat places Harry in Gryffindor. I would suppose a child would see this kind of first assignment only in a school that teaches magic.
Next, Harry meets the teachers of the new school. There’s Professor Flitwick, the tiny Charms professor that squeaks and stands on a stack of books to teach. Professor Sprout taught herbology, the study of magical plants and fungi. For a little science, students learned astronomy, the study of the stars and their movements. Of course, Harry couldn’t get by without an exceptionally boring professor. Every child has one. In Harry’s case, the boring professor was Professor Binns, the ghostly history of magic teacher that seemed to drone on and on in every lesson.
Then there was the strict teacher, Professor McGonagal, obsessed with rules and proper procedures. Although it was cool when she turned a desk into a pig. I suppose she was more fun than most stickly teachers.
Every school has to have a teacher that all the kids like to make fun of behind their back. In Hogwarts, Professor Quirrell wore a turbin that many people said had garlic in it to ward off vampires. Professor Quirrell seemed to talk about nonsensical things like the weather. The professor taught Defense Against the Dark Arts, but he didn’t seem to be able to ward off even a worm. How he kept his job was beyond anyone’s explanation.
And then….there was the teacher that children dread in school. He wasn’t the strict disciplinarian or the boring droner. He was the teacher that seemed to hate Harry with all of his might. Professor Snape seemed to have a problem with Harry even when he first saw him during the feast after the sorting. Professor Snape, or Snape as students called him, looked into Harry’s eyes, and Harry felt a sharp pain hit his scar. Harry didn’t know how Snape did that, but when Snape read Harry’s name on the course list, Snape mocked Harry, calling him a “celebrity.” He then interrogated Harry on things that the class hadn’t even covered yet! Snape took points away from Harry on things that Harry didn’t even have control over.
So Harry had an interesting first week at Hogwarts. He became acquainted with his new school, met a friend, and found some teachers that were odd, strict, bizarre, or just mean.
Does that sound familiar for anyone starting off at a new school?
© Amy Burney, Amy’s Fantastical Writings