Chapter Three – Sorted
The Boy-Who-Lived-Twice returned to his and Ginny’s room at the Leaky Cauldron with an intense feeling of foreboding.
“Well, I did it; he’s dead.” he said with a sigh, after silencing the door.
Ginny looked at Harry suspiciously, “You don’t seem too happy about it. Why do I get the feeling there’s a ‘but’?”
“But…” continued Harry, pausing, “But, I kind of…Incendio’d the time turner.”
“You WHAT?!” screeched Ginny.
“I’m sorry, Ginny, it was an accident, really!”
“SORRY? Your SORRY won’t get us back! Now we’re stuck! What about my family?”
“They wouldn’t even be your family! They’d be another Ginny’s!” Harry retorted, with a rare harshness, before softening slightly, “We knew what we were giving up, Gin. Hell, the time turner’s charm might not have even reverted us to our time, anyway.”
Ginny chuckled softly. “Language, Harry,” she said, in an imitation of Hermione’s chiding voice. Harry let out a sad laugh, thinking of their old friend, before enveloping Ginny in his arms.
“What do we do now?” she whispered.
“Firs’ Years! Firs’ Years!” boomed the loud voice of a giant of a man, with long, shaggy hair and a baggy overcoat. Harry, Ron, Neville, and Hermione gathered with the other first year students around the large man.
“A’right you lot. My name’s Hagrid. Follow me an’ we’ll be in Hogwarts in no time.” Hagrid led the first years down a stony footpath, following around a small hill. Around the bend of the hill – there it was. A medieval castle glimmering with soft yellow lights from most windows, though some glowed with strange greens and reds and blues. In a word, it looked…Magical.
“Wow,” expressed those few not struck speechless.
“Come along now,” Hagrid ushered them along to the shore to a lake. It was a deep, near-black shade, but for where silvery moonlight was reflected. By the shore floated many small boats. “No more’n four to a boat!” called the large man.
“Let’s go, I wanna get sorted already!” called Harry. Ron and Neville were a step behind him, but Hermione hung back, uncertain. Ron turned back when he saw she wasn’t following.
“Yeah, you too, Herm!” called Harry, turning back to grab her hand and pull her along.
“Herm?” asked Hermione with amusement.
“You’re right, that was horrible. I’ll work on it, promise.” Harry didn’t see the rolled eyes this provoked from his friends. He climbed into the boat, and when all four were in, it set off slowly but steadily towards the castle.
The first years arrived at the far shore, after many oohs and aahs, and were lead to the large oaken doors of the castle by Hagrid, who raised his fist and knocked four times. The doors opened to reveal a severe-looking woman.
“Ah, Rubeus. The first years, I presume?” said the woman in a Scottish brogue, rolling her r’s.
“Yes, Professor McGonogall,” replied the large man, “All here in one piece.”
“I should certainly hope so. I will take them from here, thank you.” Hagrid took his cue and left the students with the professor. She faced them with a small frown, “Now, you should all be on your best behaviour. In a few moments you will enter the Great Hall to be sorted. Please try to leave your conversations at the door.” She mentioned this last part with a pointed look at those still chatting away, and they quickly fell quiet. “Come along, now.”
The first thing that Harry noticed was the staff table, as Hagrid was seated there and his large figure easily drew his gaze. Four long tables lined the rest of the room, one for each of the Hogwarts houses. Between these tables and the staff table Harry saw a short stool, with a tattered, black wizard’s hat atop it.
“We just have to put on an old hat to be sorted?” Neville asked. “Your dad tricked us, Harry!”
“Well, I guess he did say we’d be sorted facing a ‘dark creature that could swallow your head in one bite’, guess he was right.” Harry said, grinning.
“That is not a creature. Harry.” admonished Hermione. The hat chose this moment to start singing.
Welcome, all you little ones,
To Hogwarts, magic school.
My name is Alf, The Sorting Hat,
I’m old, but rather cool.
Come, sit and rest me on your head,
And through your mind I’ll see,
Which qualities shine bright and true,
Which house you’ll suited be.
Gryffindor, courageous and just,
His house for bravest hearts.
Slytherin’s ambitious soul,
Calls for cunning, not dark arts.
Ravenclaw, she prized all knowledge,
And students of smarter stuff.
Dear Helga, she was kind, but tough,
There’s none more loyal than a Hufflepuff!
These houses four accept you all,
In each you’ll find new friends.
Let’s join you with your kindred lot,
With you ’til schooling’s end!
The students stood and gave a round of applause to the hat’s song, except for the first years, who were excitedly discussing this new development.
“Well,” huffed Hermione, “It’s still not a creature. It is obviously an object that has been charmed to speak, or in this case, sing. I wonder how they will sort us; this wasn’t mentioned in Hogwarts: a History.”
Harry and the others didn’t answer, as Professor McGonogall called the first name from a long roll of parchment.
The girl walked up to sit on the seat, and placed the old hat on her head. All was still for a few moments before…
“Hufflepuff!” called the hat, and Hannah quickly returned it to the stool before hurrying off to join her new house.
Harry waited with interest to see who joined which house. ‘Bones, Susan’ was sorted to Gryffindor house next, and the list continued on, children sorted between the four houses, until the professor reached the letter G, and the first name Harry waited for.
The bushy haired young girl placed the hat on her head, fully expecting to wait silently to be sorted. She nearly fell from the stool, then, when her thoughts were interrupted by the voice of the hat.
“Well, well well, what do we have here?”
The Great Hall was silent for the first minutes after Hermione sat. When five minutes had passed, however, people began to whisper and chatter. Finally, the Sorting Hat perked up, its gap opening to speak.
With a triumphant smile, Hermione joined her new house-mates at the far table. Two minutes later, she was joined by a ‘Greengrass, Daphne’, and the two were excitedly chatting away.
“Longbottom, Neville,” came a short while later, and the hat was barely on his head before it shouted.
Neville happily joined the table to cheers and a friendly welcome from his new house. He sent Harry and Ron a look that said ‘You’d better come join me’.
Harry was eagerly awaiting his name now. Professor McGonogall called through the L’s and M’s and N’s (thankfully there were none with O’s). Finally, when the Patil twins were called, and each sorted to Ravenclaw, Harry knew his turn was soon.
Ron patted Harry’s back; “I’ll see you in Gryffindor soon, mate.”
It took only a minute for the hat to decide.
Harry’s stunned look reflected Neville and Ron’s, and he hesitantly made his way to the table. He had to smile, though, at the applause he received; Hermione started clapping, followed by Daphne, then eventually a few more of the Slytherins joined in.
Harry sat in the empty seat beside Daphne and introduced himself.
“Harry Potter, nice to meet a fellow…snake.”
“Daphne; and you sure look pleased.”
“What happened, Harry?” asked Hermione.
“I tried to trick it into putting me in Gryffindor,” he explained, “And it praised my cunning and put me here instead…”
“Don’t worry, Harry, many great wizards have come from Slytherin. In fact, the first ever teeth-cleansing charm came from a Slytherin, Wilson Goodrow, in 1356. I’d not like to have been alive before then.” Hermione shuddered.
“I suppose so,” sighed Harry, “And at least I have a friend in Slytherin.”
“You think of me as a friend?” she asked faintly.
Harry nodded, and Daphne chimed in, “Me too!” because she never had expected to find friends so easily in Slytherin – or at all.
“I have friends,” Hermione said with a soft wonder, “Being a witch rocks!”
Harry turned his head when the name of his best friend was called; “Weasley, Ronald.”
Ron gave Harry a tight smile that looked more like a grimace, and flashed a look to Neville that Harry couldn’t see. He sat on the stool for several minutes, silently conversing with the hat, before it made its decision.
Ron cheered and gave a thumbs-up to Neville, before joining him at the Gryffindor table. They looked across to Harry before turning back and talking quickly, heads close together.
“Some friends they are,” sniffed Daphne.
“Hey!” Harry said indignantly, “They’ve been my friends for years! And I’m sure they’ll be okay with it…eventually…”
“Hush, you two, the headmaster is about to speak,” Hermione chided.
The great hall descended into silence as the ancient wizard at the staff table rose, his bright orange robes pulling the students’ attention.
“Good evening, students, and welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As some of you know, and the rest have likely guessed, I am your headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. I just have one announcement to make before perform a vanishing spell on our house elves’ cooking. We have a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher this year.” He gestured to a wizard that reminded Harry of his dad, except for a lightning bolt scar upon his forehead, his eyes – emerald green, and with a serious look devoid of his father’s humour. He seemed to be looking right back at Harry.
“Let’s give a warm welcome to Professor Potter!”