Chapter 15 – The Animal Farm
“Wake up Harry. Come on sleepy head,” Ginny whispered in Harry’s ear. When he didn’t wake, she did it again but this time with lots of breath right in his ear so that it tickled. Harry woke up this time, shooting straight up and sitting on the couch rubbing his ear and then rubbing his eyes.
Seeing Ginny standing there smiling, Harry decided to speak. “You just couldn’t resist, could you?”
“Nope, it was payback time anyway and you were in the perfect position for it.”
“Well, there are worse ways to be woken up, believe me, I’ve had far worse. Thank you for waking me up, by the way. I must have dosed back off.”
“What are you doing down here on the couch? Wait! You took your potion last night. Spill it!”
Harry waved his hand and a silencing charm covered them.
“Shush, Gin. Be quiet. There may be someone listening.”
“Oops! Sorry, this is the common room.” Then she whispered, “Did you just wandlessly cast a silencing charm?”
“Yes, but I’m going to cancel it right after I tell you this. You will have to wait until I tell the rest of our group. There’s a bit to tell so I want to wait until I can tell you all at one time.”
“Can you at least tell me if you can become one?”
She rolled her eyes. “I didn’t phrase that right. Can you become one?”
Harry cancelled the silencing spell and looked at Ginny and grinned. He then nodded his head with a big smile on his face. She grinned back.
“I can’t wait!” she said excitedly.
“Thanks for waking me up Gin. I couldn’t sleep after that so came down here to think it through. I have to go back up and get ready. See you at breakfast?”
“Sure, Harry. I’ll save you a seat.”
About fifteen minutes later Harry was showered, dressed, and ready for the day. He walked down to the Great Hall with Ron and Neville who had just cleaned up as well after their workout. They asked the same questions but he had them wait too.
They found Ginny and Hermione already there eating breakfast. After everyone had their food and was enjoying the meal, Harry looked over at Luna sitting at the Ravenclaw table. She saw him looking and he motioned for her to come over. She mouthed “Now?” but he shook his head and mouthed back “No, eat first. Come afterwards.” He was using hand signals while he mouthed the words.
“Harry, what are you doing?” asked Ginny.
“I was having a quiet conversation with Luna over there. Surprisingly, we understood each other. I just asked her to join us after she eats. I want to ask you guys something.”
“So, Harry, did you have any special dreams last night?” asked Hermione.
“Don’t ask Hermione,” said Ron. “He’s not telling yet.”
“I’ll tell everyone at one time,” interjected Harry. “There’s a good bit to tell. You’ll likely have to wait until tonight.”
“Oh, okay, but…”
“The answer is yes, Hermione, yes I can.”
“Great! I guess I’ll have to wait then.”
“I have a meeting with McGonagall tonight so I’ll see you guys after that.”
Luna came over and joined them. She sat down next to Ginny. Harry pulled out his wand and waved it to cast a Silencing Charm around them.
“Now that you’re all here, I have a question for you. Have any of you noticed Malfoy, Crabbe, or Goyle hanging around nearby on occasion? You know, a little closer than they normally are, close enough to hear what is being said?”
“I haven’t noticed anything,” said Ron.
“Now that you mention it,” said Hermione “I have noticed that. Why do you think that is?”
“Oh, he probably got an order from his Death Eater dad to pick up any info he could about me so he could report it back to Voldemort. What I need to know is have any of you said anything in public that needs to stay secret? Have you spoken to anyone else or have you spoken to each other but didn’t make sure you couldn’t be overheard?”
They all thought for a minute and then shook their heads no.
“Good. Let’s be extra careful then. Malfoy doesn’t need to overhear any conversations we have.”
“Maybe we could give him some bad information?” asked Ron. “That will set him up really nice.”
“Well, I don’t think I want to get him killed but perhaps we could think of something. That’s all I had this morning. I just wanted to make sure everyone is aware and remind you to stay on your toes. We better get to class.” Harry cancelled his Silencing Spell.
Later that day after dinner, Harry went to McGonagall’s office for his first practical lesson in becoming an animagus.
Harry let himself in and shut the door behind him, casting a wandless silencing charm at the same time.
“Hello, Professor. I’m here for my first practical animagus lesson.”
“So, I take it the vision went well for you? You saw the animal you will be able to transform into?”
“Yes, ma’am, I did.”
“Great! But before we get into that, I need to get some other business out of the way.” McGonagall began looking for something.
“What business is that Professor?”
“I need to know your plans for the Easter holiday week which starts this weekend. Do you plan on staying here or going home?”
“Oh, I’ll be going home.” McGonagall stopped looking for the form she needed. “I have quite a few things I need to tend to while there. I’ve also invited my closest friends to join me but most are going home first and can’t join me until the end of the week.”
“And how do you plan to get there, Mr. Potter.”
“Pardon me Professor, but do you normally require this much information from the other students?”
“Of course not, Mr. Potter, but you’re not just any other student and I believe you know that as well even though you wish it weren’t true.”
“Yes, ma’am, I do and you’re right. I wish I never had to have this much attention.”
“The Headmaster and I would simply like to know where you will be just in case there’s a problem and we need to contact you right away. Given the danger you constantly find yourself in, the Headmaster would prefer not to be in the dark if it becomes necessary to find you or lend you a hand should the situation call for it.”
“Thank you Professor. I know you and the Headmaster mean well and only wish to help so I’ll fill you in on my general plans. In case you don’t know, this watch that I carry all the time was given to me by my father and I want you to keep the next bit of information secret for me.”
“This watch is a portkey that has no end to the amount of times it will work. It takes me straight back to Potter Place where I’m safe. I was going to skip the train and just portkey back but I decided to spend the time with my friends and I would also like to be on the train in case anything bad happens.”
“I can mobilize the DA very quickly and my closest friends, whom I’ve personally trained, are a force to be reckoned with. I’ll take the opportunity to meet their parents at King’s Cross so we can discuss the end of the week. It’ll be good to see them again as well. I’ll use the portkey to get home after that. The rest will just be Potter Place business and I hope to have some time to work on my transformation.”
“Very well, Mr. Potter. I’ll inform the Headmaster of your plans. Shall we get started?”
“Yes, I thought you’d never ask,” he said with a smile.
“Very cheeky, Mr. Potter. So tell me what animal did you see in your vision?”
“I think I want to keep that as a surprise, Professor. Plus, there’s a bit of a story that goes before I saw my animagus. Would keeping it a surprise hinder you helping me?”
“No, Mr. Potter, it wouldn’t. I’ll be looking forward to the surprise as I’m assuming it will be something special?”
“Yes, ma’am, it will be.”
“So what is this story you need to share first?”
“When my vision started I didn’t see an animal anywhere. It was just an open field with wild flowers and lilies. I was all by myself I thought. I had just started thinking that it wasn’t meant to be when I heard a noise behind me. A magnificent stag and a beautiful doe came right up to me.”
“I was confused at first because there were two of them and they were pale, not in vivid color like my animagus was supposed to be. I was also thinking that since my patronus was a stag like my dad’s animagus then maybe my animagus would be the same as his but it still didn’t make much since based on what I read and you explained. It then clicked that my dad was a stag and I actually said that out loud and he nodded at me. I then mentioned that Mum was not an animagus and she stepped up and licked my cheek. I asked if she was my mum and she nodded her head. I asked if the stag was my dad and he nodded his head.”
“Both my parents were capable. Mum must have never told anyone. They were the ones who showed me my animagus. It was simply flying around but when I saw it, the thing came in for a landing. I got a real good look at it then and afterwards said goodbye to my parents before the vision faded.” Harry concluded and sat there smiling at his professor.
“Mr. Potter, do you ever do anything the normal way?”
“I try Professor, I really try.”
“Well, I guess you wouldn’t be Harry Potter if everything that happens to you was normal.”
“I like that Professor. That helps me realize that I just need to deal with it. However, I’m not upset that I got a visit from my parents that way. That was actually pretty cool.”
“I take it your animagus was a bird of some sort?”
“Are you trying to make me give it up Professor?”
McGonagall just smiled at him.
“Okay, I did say it was flying and landed so yes, it was… a bird… of sorts.”
“Alright, Mr. Potter, I want you to concentrate on picturing your animagus in your mind. Get the vivid picture crystal clear. Focus on it. Concentrate on what it looks like, every detail. Do you have it?”
Harry shook his head up and down.
“Today we’re going to start small by just changing your left hand. You will need to concentrate real hard on it. This’ll take some time to change everything but after you achieve the full change, it’ll come much easier and faster. But, for now concentrate hard on it and let’s just see if you can change your left hand.”
Harry had his eyes closed. He was excited but he was concentrating as hard as he could. He could see his animagus perfectly in his mind’s eye; every detail was there. Harry pulled up a little of his magic and focused it on the animagus in his mind to see if that would help him some.
McGonagall was watching Harry when she started to see his left hand begin a change. She watched as it was transformed into giant talons. “That is one big bird,” she said to herself.
“Wonderful Mr. Potter. That’s probably the quickest I’ve ever seen anyone do it.”
Harry was still concentrating and he poured a little more magic into his animagus image.
“Mr. Potter? Mr. Potter? You can stop now. You have successfully changed your left hand into very large talons.”
“Whoa!” McGonagall screamed and fell back into her chair at the sight of a very large gryphon standing in her office. It barely fit and definitely could not move around due to the lack of room.
“Mr. Potter, I have never in all my days seen anyone achieve full transformation on the first time they try it. Can you understand me?”
Harry turned his large eagle head toward the professor and nodded.
“Surprise is right!” she said catching her breath. “I don’t believe I’ve been that surprised in quite a long time. A gryphon of all things. A magical creature is the most difficult to transform into and it’s extremely rare when any animagus is a magical one. Very well done, Mr. Potter. Very well done.”
“I dare say there’s not enough room for you in here. Shall you turn back and let’s find a bigger place for you to transform so you can explore some of what you can do?”
“All you have to do is reverse the order. You wanted very strongly to become your animagus. Now you simply need to want very strongly to be yourself again. Just concentrate.”
She barely got the word “concentrate” out when Harry was suddenly standing there as himself. He had a big grin on his face that he could not wipe off to save his life. McGonagall started laughing which caused Harry to join in.
When they finally got a hold of themselves, Harry asked a question.
“How was that Professor?”
“Spectacular, Mr. Potter, spectacular! Shall we find a bigger place for you to transform?”
“Yes, ma’am. How about the Room of Requirement? It will get as big as we need it.”
“Excellent idea, Mr. Potter. Would you mind if I asked the Headmaster to join us?”
“Not at all Professor. He will need to know sooner or later.”
“Good then we will meet you up there in about fifteen minutes.”
Harry walked up to the Room of Requirement and asked for a room big enough to fly in and let the room know that he’d be joined later by McGonagall and Dumbledore. The door appeared so Harry let himself in. He immediately changed into the gryphon. It took him about one minute this time. He began running around the room getting used to how it felt in his new body. He had never felt so much physical power in his life. He tested his wings by stretching them out and flapping them a couple times. They were so big and powerful that he felt them lifting his body off the floor just from barely moving them.
Harry suddenly leaped into the air and began flapping his wings as fast as he could. He lifted up in the air quickly and was at the very high ceiling before he knew it. He then slowed his wings down a little before concentrating on flying forward. He figured that out soon enough then started soaring around the room a bit before beating his wings again.
He found that his wings could keep him aloft for a long while before he would need to flap them again. After a few more minutes, Harry came down carefully into a landing that was not very smooth but he knew he would get it right in the next try or two. Harry changed back to himself in about fifteen seconds, much faster than changing into the gryphon. He asked the room for some water to drink and a chair and small table appeared with a glass of water. He sat down for a breather and drank it quickly. He had worked up a thirst and felt tired in some muscles he didn’t know he had.
The door opened and in walked Dumbledore and McGonagall. Harry put down his empty glass and stood to greet his Professors. The table, chair, and glass all disappeared after he stood up.
“Hello Professor. I’m glad you could make it.”
“So am I Harry. Minerva told me that you made your animagus transformation on the very first try. That is most impressive Harry. I don’t recall anyone else being able to do that.”
“Really? Well, if someone is going to be different it seems it’ll always be me. However, I’m glad that I didn’t have to toil over this for a long period of time. Getting it on the first try suits me just fine. Makes me wonder what was so hard about it all.”
“Indeed, Harry. I guess it was fairly easy for you. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing feat. Now, I believe you’ll need to show me this animagus of yours because Minerva refuses to tell me what animal you can become.”
“I’ll walk over here a little ways so you’ll be able to see me better when I change.”
Harry walked away from Dumbledore about twenty steps and turned back around. He concentrated and in about thirty seconds instead of Harry standing there, a magnificent gryphon appeared.
Dumbledore’s eyes got really big. “Oh my, Harry!” He looked over at Minerva who was smiling and nodding her head up and down.
“A gryphon and a mighty fierce and magnificent one at that. This is incredible. I’m sure Minerva told you how extremely rare it is for an animagus to be a magical creature but I guess I should expect no less from you Harry.”
Harry wished for a large mirror on the wall and one appeared. He walked over and took a good look at himself. He saw exactly what he saw in his vision. He was so big, standing taller than a large horse. He could see the scar and his emerald green eyes. He then leaped into the air and flew around for a bit before coming back down for a much smoother landing this time. He changed back into himself in about 5 seconds.
“Very impressive, Mr. Potter” said McGonagall. “You have already significantly shaved off a lot of time to make your transformations. With a bit more practice, you’ll get it down to a second or less going both ways. I suspect since you’re going home for the holidays you’ll have ample room to practice.”
“Yes, Professor. I thought I’d spend some time working on my transformation but I believe I’m much further along than I originally thought I’d be. Now I can use all the land and woods on my property to explore a bit in my new form. Of course, I’ll have to spend most of my time like this because my horse Rolly expects me to ride him often. He’s very stubborn that way.”
“I should like to meet your horse Rolly someday,” replied Dumbledore. “I hear he’s quite the specimen.”
“That he is sir, very much so in fact. Of course, the real problem is he knows it.”
Dumbledore chuckled. “Then I really do need to meet him.”
“We will have to arrange that some time sir. I’m sure you would enjoy it. If you will excuse me, I find myself growing tired after all the flying. I flew a bit before you arrived as well. It looks like I’ll have to get lots more practice so I don’t get tired. I’m feeling muscles in places I didn’t even know I had muscles. Good night Professors.” Harry exited the Room of Requirement to go back to his common room.
“Albus, what do you think? Did you ever imagine?”
“No, Minerva. I did not imagine anything as big as that. Harry is very intelligent, very powerful, and very wise for his age. Let’s just hope that with all the tools he has at his disposal he’ll be able to use them wisely when he most needs them.”
By the time Harry got back to his common room, he was feeling a little better. With his conditioning, his body recovered a lot faster than most. He was still a little tired but that was more due to it being late in the evening than anything else. He was fairly certain though that his back would be feeling a little sore in the morning. That would be where the wings were.
He climbed through the portrait hole and found his friends waiting for him. Luna was already there with them.
“Hi, Harry. Did you have a good lesson?” asked Hermione.
“Yes, I did. It was a great lesson in fact. I learned quite a lot.”
“Are you ready to share with us now?” asked Luna.
“Yes, follow me up where we can have some privacy.”
Harry still had his trunk setup like he did before with the door hidden from view. He let them in and took them to his large space.
“We can talk out here. I just want to check on a couple potions I have brewing before we start.”
Harry went on into his lab and checked on his potions.
“What potions do you have brewing?” asked Neville following Harry into the lab.
“I have Polyjuice Potion here. It has about three weeks more to go. Over here, I have Veritaserum, which has a few weeks to go as well. Next up, I have a Wolfsbane attempt just to see if I can do it. And, last but not least, I have a cauldron full of Animagus Potion ready for you guys so you’ll have your visions. It lasts a few weeks so it’s ready to go.”
“Wow, Harry, you really are taking on the difficult ones. Veritaserum and Wolfsbane are two of the most difficult potions to make,” said Hermione.
“Well, I wanted to push myself so picked those and gave it a go. Are you guys ready to hear my animagus story?”
They all nodded anxiously.
“Let’s go back out there and I’ll tell you everything that happened.”
They all walked back out into the large space. Harry conjured a large couch and chairs for them to sit on then added a nice throw rug as an afterthought. All this was done wandlessly. He then stood before them after they sat down and began his tale. He told them about his vision and his parents and then added more detail for them that he didn’t share with McGonagall when he got to the part of the vision where he saw his animagus.
“…anyway I saw Dad motioning for me to look up and over. Something was flying up there. When I finally saw it, it came in for a landing and landed right in the middle of the field. Do you know what it was?”
They all shook their heads no.
“I wish you could have seen it. It was magnificent and fierce looking. It was so amazing, I was shocked. You should have been there to see what I saw.”
“We got it Harry,” replied Ron. “It would have been great to be there and see for ourselves but we couldn’t. Can you speed it up please and just tell us what animal you saw?”
“Oh, right. Hey, I have a better idea!”
Harry changed into his animagus in about five seconds. All his friends jumped back and nearly tipped the couch over backwards because he was not that far away from them when he transformed.
“Merlin’s beard, Harry!” exclaimed Ron. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.”
Harry leaped up in the air and took off flying around in the large space for a couple minutes before he landed again and changed back almost instantly. Harry started laughing to beat the band.
When he stopped laughing he said, “You should have seen all your faces when I changed. It was priceless!”
“Harry, how did you manage a full transformation so soon?” asked Hermione. “It usually takes months or years.”
“I actually did it on my first try. I really didn’t find it that difficult to do. Since both my parents achieved it, then I knew I could. It’s in my blood.”
“That’s amazing Harry!” said Ginny. “And a gryphon no less. Aren’t magical animals even rarer?”
“Yes, evidently it’s practically unheard of but not impossible.”
“Tell us the rest of the story Harry. I’d like to hear the rest of it, especially about your parents in their animagus forms.”
Harry told them the rest of it including his good bye to his parents, the Room of Requirement, and Dumbledore.
“Harry, can you change back again so we can get a good look at you up close?” asked Neville.
“Sure, Nev but I’m not going to fly again tonight. It’s making me too tired. Those muscles need to be strengthened more so it doesn’t tire me out so much. I’ll try to do some flying every day for a little while to build up my strength there. Give me a little room and I will change again.” They all took a couple steps back. Harry changed almost instantly this time and was standing before them again as a gryphon. They looked at him closely and saw all his features, his scar, eyes, and massive wings.
Everyone was finished looking at Harry but Ginny could not seem to get enough. Finally, Harry laid down and opened a wing to offer her a seat on his back. She readily climbed on. Harry stood up and began walking around the room. He even trotted a little then slowed back down to a walk. He brought Ginny back to the others and laid back down again so she could get off. When she moved away a bit, Harry changed back into himself instantly.
Ginny ran up to Harry and grabbed him in a hug.
“That was awesome Harry. Thank you! I can’t wait to try that flying.”
“That’s not a bad idea, Gin. Let me increase my flying stamina and we can try that. It’ll likely feel a little different flying with someone on your back.”
“Super cool!” she replied.
“I tell you though, the physical power I feel as the gryphon is amazing. I have never felt anything that powerful. I’m anxious to discover what else I can do in that form.”
“Awesome, Harry, nothing short of awesome,” said Ron.
“Okay, who’s next? Who has read all of McGonagall’s book?” Harry said raising his hand. “I hope you guys are about done so I can give it back.”
They all raised their hands.
“Excellent! So the next step is questions. Who has questions about what you read?”
Harry was tired but spent the next hour answering all their questions until they were satisfied.
“The next step is taking the potion and seeing whether or not you can be an animagus. If you see an animal in your vision, then that will be your animagus. Study it very hard so you can recall every detail. It will be in vivid color. If you’re the only one in the vision and no animal shows up then you are not to be an animagus. Please, do not take that as a failure. If it’s not meant to be then that just means you’re still the same person because nothing has changed. Evidently, you’re meant to be better at something else. Plus, you get out of all the extra work to become one. I think it’s safe to say that my experience will be different from most so don’t look at my experience as the best example.”
“Thanks Harry for saying that. I think we all are a little nervous about it. We all realize how few ever achieve this,” said Hermione.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if all of you have the ability. I think this notion of so few becoming animagus is due to the way it used to be before the potion and also so many out there who are afraid to even find out. Then there are those who are simply not interested in transforming into an animal. Moreover, who wants the Ministry knowing this about you? In other words, I think the numbers are somewhat skewed. How many are registered and how many are not could be skewing the numbers as well.”
“You could be right Harry,” said Neville.
“So, who wants a vial of potion for tonight?”
They all raised their hands eagerly.
Harry doled out the potions and sent them on their way. Tomorrow should be an eye opening experience in more ways than one.
The next morning Harry found Ron and Neville already gone from their dorm when he woke up. “Strange,” he thought since he usually gets up before them. He went ahead, got into his workout clothes, and headed down to the common room. What he found was a bit funny. Neville, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were all sleeping in the common room on couches, chairs, and the floor. “I wonder if Luna had the same issue?” he asked himself. “Obviously, they had trouble sleeping after their visions.”
Harry decided he would let them sleep and miss today’s workout. He knew how much sleep they likely lost and he did miss his workout after his vision yesterday. He headed out the door and saw that the weather looked good so did all of his running outside.
When he finished running he headed to the Room of Requirement and finished his workout on the equipment it provided. Harry noticed his back was sore just as he thought it might be so was happy when the exercises worked out the soreness. Doing his pull-ups helped the most with it.
After he was done with his workout, he decided to add an extra routine to it. He asked the room to expand then changed into his animagus and took off flying around the room. He flew for a good fifteen minutes before coming back down and transforming back into himself. His transformations were around one second either direction now. He felt that the flying helped his back and planned to do more whenever he got the chance so he could continue to build up his stamina.
He went back to his dorm and showered. He noticed his friends were gone from the common room. They were not in the dorm either so he quickly cleaned up, got dressed, and headed to the Great Hall where he found all of them eating. Luna had joined them as well.
“Nobody invited me to the slumber party,” Harry said when he came up to them. “Luna did you sleep in your common room this morning?”
“No, Harry, even though I had a very interesting dream I still stayed in my bed and went back to sleep.”
“I would expect nothing less from you Luna. However, it appears our friends had the same issue I did the night before when Ginny woke me on the couch yesterday morning. I missed my workout yesterday so was not about to miss today’s. I decided I wouldn’t wake you this morning since you all obviously needed sleep.”
“Thank you, Harry,” said Ginny. “I still need more sleep but I’m anxious to get to the library as soon as I get some time today. I have to research something.”
“I see. So I take it everyone was positive?” asked Harry.
They all nodded their heads and smiled at him.
“Excellent! I somehow knew it would be unanimous. Hang on to those thoughts and let’s plan to meet up later tonight so we can discuss it in detail and get started on the next step. Right now, I need to eat and get to my class. I’m running short on time since I added another routine to my workout.”
Harry filled his plate and began eating his breakfast. Ron went for another plate full. The rest were finishing off their juice.
“Are you guys ready for next week?” asked Harry between bites.
“Yes, I’m quite looking forward to it,” replied Neville. “I’ll be there on that Friday.”
“Me too,” said Hermione. “I sent my folks a note about spending the next weekend before we come back, at your place Harry. They liked the idea. They really had a great time there over Christmas holidays.”
“Daddy said to do whatever makes me happy so I’ll be there at the end of the week too,” said Luna. “Daddy will be busy with the paper anyway.”
“Mum and Dad didn’t mind at all, Harry,” said Ron. “In fact, they asked if it would be okay for them to pop in for a visit just so they can see you.”
“That wouldn’t be a problem. Tell them just to give me a heads up before coming over. I have a lot on my plate to accomplish this week at home so I want to make myself available if someone wants to come and visit. As a matter of fact, I wanted to ask you guys if it would be all right if I invited all your folks to come over for the weekend. Would anyone mind? We can always find some private time to ourselves if we need it and let your parents entertain themselves for a bit. After all they’ve been there before and the elves will take care of anything they need.”
“That would be great Harry! Mum and Dad will like that,” said Ginny.
“My parents would love it too,” said Hermione. “I’m not sure about their schedule but if they can take that time off I’m sure they would love to come for the weekend.”
“Gran will appreciate the invitation but it’s doubtful she’ll come for an overnight stay, but it won’t hurt to ask,” replied Neville.
“Daddy has to work but he’ll appreciate the invitation. He likes you a lot Harry,” said Luna.
“I was just going to portkey home but I think I would rather spend the time on the train with you and then invite your folks over before I take my leave.”
“Everyone done eating?” asked Hermione. “We’d better get ourselves to class.”
Everyone got up and headed to where they needed to be.
That night, Harry met with his friends again in his trunk. They used the same couches and chairs Harry had conjured the night before since Harry had to check on his potions again before they got started.
“Who wants to go first?” asked Harry.
“I’ll go,” said Neville. He stood up and Harry sat down. “When I had my vision I was shocked to say the least. I saw the biggest bear I’d ever seen, well actually that was the first bear I’d ever seen but it was huge. It stood about 5 feet tall on all fours and at least 10 feet tall standing on its hind legs. It was a dark brown color. I had to go look in the library today to see what type of bear it was. I found out that two of the biggest bears in the world are the Polar Bear and the Kodiak Grizzly. The Polar Bear is all white. The Kodiak is brown. It has to be a Kodiak because the other bears don’t get as big. They’re part of the North American brown bear species and the largest of the bunch. They’re found in the Southwestern part of Alaska. I can’t wait to transform.”
“That’s awesome, Neville! I can’t wait either,” said Harry. “Who’s next?”
“I’ll go next,” said Ron standing up. “I was quite impressed with the animal I saw in my vision. It was a lion. A big lion with a huge mane that had a touch of red to it on the ends. He was powerful looking and his roar was so loud it was scary. He was at least eight feet long and his tail probably added another three and half feet. I’m just glad my animal wasn’t a rat or something small like that. That vision was one I’ll never forget.”
“You were a lion?” asked Hermione standing up and going over to Ron with a grin.
“Yep,” he said nodding his head excitedly.
“Well, I think it appropriate that I follow Ron since my animal was a lioness.” Ron was headed back to the couch to sit down but when he heard what she said he went back up to Hermione and hugged her, picking her up off the floor and spun her around.
“That is awesome, Hermione!” said Ron excitedly. Hermione laughed and hugged him back.
“Thanks, Ron.” They looked at each other with big grins on their faces. “Can you put me down now?” she asked with a big smile.
“Oh, sure, sorry about that,” he said with his face turning red. “I guess I got a little carried away.”
“No problem, Ron. I appreciate your excitement and enthusiasm. I was excited when I saw my animagus in my vision too. It was beautiful. She had such grace in her movements and you could just see the power in her every move. She was about six feet long and her tail was probably 3 feet long. You know the lionesses do pretty much all the hunting and finding food for the cubs and the lions. They’re the hunters while the lions are the protectors. I was so excited when I saw my animagus but I’m even more excited now that I’ve heard what Neville and Ron are to become. This is going to be so much fun and here I thought I would not have enough time for this. Oh, it’s going to happen. I guarantee it.” She sat back down on the couch.
“This is exciting isn’t it? A bear, a lion, and a lioness so far. Pretty cool, don’t you think? Okay, who’s next? Ginny or Luna?”
“I’ll go next,” said Ginny standing up. Harry traded places with her and sat back down.
“I had to go to the library after I had my vision because I had no clue what my animagus was besides the obvious fact that it’s a bird, a very large bird. I could tell that it was a type of eagle but I had never seen this one before or even read about it. Anyway, I studied it real close for as long as I had time in the vision and memorized every inch of it.”
“When I got to the library I was able to find out what kind of bird I’ll be changing into – it’s called a Harpy Eagle.* Harpy eagles are one of the largest birds in the world. They can get up to three and a half feet long and weigh over twenty pounds. The females are larger than the males. They have a cute tuft of feathers that stick up behind their head. These feathers are longer than the ones on their head so stick up at the back. Mine, while it was mostly a dark gray color, with a white underbelly, the long feathers on the back of the head had red tips. It also had a red and gray pattern of lines on the legs. Plus, I found out that they’re known for being the strongest, most powerful raptors. They can capture prey that weighs as much as they do and fly off with it. They are also the national bird of Panama and their talons can be as large as the claws of a grizzly bear,” she noted while nodding at Neville. “I get to fly!” she said jumping up and down.
“Great! Finally someone who can fly with me. Very nice, Gin. Looks like you will be having a lot of fun with that one. Well, Luna, you’re the last one. What are you going to wow us with?”
Luna stood up and Ginny sat down.
“Remember when I said that I had a feeling my animagus will be difficult?”
They all nodded their heads.
“I was right. My animagus is a magical animal, which normally would make it more difficult to transform into, but since Harry’s is magical too, I feel more confident now that I can do this. I think Harry’s is even more difficult than mine is, so this is definitely doable. My animagus is a unicorn.
“A unicorn?” asked Hermione standing up. “That’s amazing!”
“Congratulations Luna,” said Neville. “That’s going to be spectacular to see when you transform.”
“What can you tell us about your unicorn?” asked Harry.
“She was white and about the size of a small horse or pony. Her horn was a golden color, it was over two feet long, and it was very shiny. She can run super fast. From what we know about the unicorn they can be very gentle but fierce if necessary and the horn is supposed to have some healing properties. They’re said to not like men but will come up to a girl who’s a virgin. I’m anxious to see what attitudes my animagus will have along those lines when I transform. Currently, I’m a virgin so I wonder if my animagus will have different attitudes once I have sex.”
“Uh… thank you Luna,” said Harry standing up. He let Luna sit down before he started.
“Okay, very exciting stuff. Now who wants to get started on their transformation lessons?”
All five of them raised their hands.
“I thought you might. First thing we have to work on is wandless magic.”
“What?” asked Hermione. “We need to work on transforming into our animagus forms, not work on learning wandless magic.”
“Really?” asked Harry. “How many animagus do you know that use their wands to transform? Have you ever seen Sirius use a wand to transform? McGonagall? Me?” Harry changed into his gryphon then changed back. “See – no wand used.”
“Oh… I didn’t think about that. None of them use their wands.”
“Correct, so transforming into your animagus requires magic but you do it wandlessly.”
All five of his friends/students were silently thinking that over. After Harry gave them enough time for that to sink in, he continued.
“Now, let me ask you guys a question. How many of you can feel your magic?”
“Come on Harry,” replied Hermione. “We’ve had this discussion before, you’re the only person I‘ve ever heard say they can feel their magic. I don’t feel my magic.”
“Anyone else?” asked Harry. “Can any of you feel your magic?”
Harry saw them shaking their heads no then afterwards they all heard, “Maybe.”
Harry looked at Neville and everyone else followed suit. “Expound on that a bit Neville. Why did you say maybe?”
“Sometimes I think I can feel something if my magic builds up before I release it. Sometimes when I get angry, my magic builds up and sometimes I think I can feel it. I don’t really know what magic is supposed to feel like but I think that’s what I’m feeling.”
“Bingo Neville! You’ve hit the nail right on the head. And, I believe you’re correct that you are feeling your magic. Neville, you are a powerful wizard so it should be easier for you to feel your magic since you have plenty of it in your body. I know that I have a bit of an advantage since I have so much magic. That makes it easier for me to distinguish and know what magic feels like.”
“But how are the rest of us supposed to feel our magic?” asked Hermione.
“Are any of you squibs?”
“Come on Harry. You know we’re not squibs,” replied Ron.
“Right, so you all have magic inside you. Your wand is just a focus. It does help increase your power a little but the magic comes from you. We know that it’s there. You just need to learn how to distinguish that feeling. Neville said he could feel it when his magic builds before he releases it. Have you never let your magic build or put more power into a spell?”
“Wait, Harry,” said Ginny. “I do recall now feeling something when I was angry and my magic built up. I did feel something. That was magic wasn’t it?”
“That’s it Ginny. You’re getting there too. We all know what it feels like to be angry but how did you know your magic built up?”
“Because I… felt it…,” said Ginny.
“Right! You felt it. Remember what that felt like. Do the rest of you see the pattern? Neville and Ginny felt their magic after it built up. So if it builds up then it’s sort of pooling in one spot ready to be let loose. If you have a bunch pooled up then you have more than usual and you should be able to feel your magic. The problem is you’re focusing on the spell and not paying attention to your magic buildup. You’re ignoring the feeling while focused on the spell incantation and wand movement.”
“So you’re saying we need to build up our magic and then pay attention to what it feels like so we can recognize that feeling?” asked Luna.
“Yes, Luna. Exactly!”
“Why is it so important that we be able to feel our magic?” asked Hermione.
“Excellent question Hermione. There are several reasons why you need to feel your magic. Here are just a few. Number one, if you cast a spell with your wand and you know what that spell feels like then you can learn to cast it wandlessly by using that same feeling in your magic. What you will find is that nearly every spell feels a little different.”
“Number two, if you need to control how much power you should use normally then you need to feel your magic so you do not accidentally kill someone with a simple stunner.”
All of his friends eyes widened in surprise.
“Number three, if you can feel your magic then you can control it inside you and use it for such things like healing or pushing a little bit of it toward your effort to transform into your animagus and succeed on the first try.”
They all lit up after his last point, realizing that Harry was able to do a complete animagus transformation on his first try because he used the same technique he was trying to teach them right now.
“So, that’s how you did it?” asked Ron.
“Yep, I just pushed a little to my image that I was focusing on, then pushed a little more, and boom I was transformed. I think I nearly gave McGonagall a heart attack and it was a tight squeeze inside her office as a Gryphon. I could pretty much only move my head.”
They all laughed at that after getting the picture of it in their minds.
“Here’s your assignment boys and girls. Work on feeling your magic. Without a wand, begin to cast a spell and pay attention to what it feels like when you pull up your magic to cast it. Memorize that feeling. If you have to build up your magic before you can feel it that first time then do so. Practice all you want at home next week as long as you do it wandlessly. When we meet at my house the following weekend, I would like to see if you guys can at least change your left hand. Got it?”
They all nodded excitedly. Hermione went up to Harry and gave him a hug.
“Harry… little brother, I am so proud of you. Your knowledge and teaching ability has grown so much over this year it simply amazes me. With you teaching us I think we will be able to make the complete transformation in short order.”
“That’s the goal, big sister.”
On Friday, they all boarded the train to take them back to King’s Cross Station to meet their parents and guardians and go home for the week of Easter break. Harry worked with his friends on the train to get them more comfortable with feeling their magic. He put a silencing charm around the room, magically locked the door, and made it so no one could see in through the windows while he worked with them.
After a long session where Neville accidentally stunned Ron wandlessly, they decided to take a break since they would arrive soon. Harry was going to remove all the spells he’d cast to prevent being heard or seen but decided to check and see if anyone was outside their door first. He cast the spell so that they could see through the door of the compartment. Low and behold if Malfoy was not out there trying to listen in at the door.
“Would you look at that? Malfoy’s trying so hard to hear something he can report back to his Death Eater dad. I almost feel sorry for him. Is there no tidbit of information we could let him hear?”
No one offered a suggestion.
“Nothing? Oh well, I’ll take care of it.” Harry stepped up to the door and jerked it open real fast. Malfoy almost fell through since he was leaning on it. He caught his balance and stood up straight.
“Malfoy tell your Death Eater dad that we are onto his schemes. We’re not about to let you hear or see anything that we don’t want you to hear or see. So, go back to your friends, if you have any, and quit trying to spy on us. It’s not working.”
“I wasn’t –“
“Oh, don’t even try Malfoy,” said Harry as he shoved him out the door and closed it in his face. Harry removed the spells with a wave of his hand then waved with his fingers to Malfoy through the window. Malfoy gave up, turned, and went back through the train to his seat.
“Do you think it’ll work?” asked Ron.
“Who knows? Let’s hope so but I’ll still be watching what I say in public whether he’s spying or not. He’s not the only one I don’t want knowing my secrets.”
They arrived at the station about thirty minutes later. Harry asked his friends to all meet together with their folks in one spot so he could talk to everyone. All their luggage had been shrunk down and was in their pockets so all they had to carry were their familiars. Harry had told Hedwig to head back to Potter Place so she didn’t have to ride on the train but Hermione had Crookshanks and Ron had Pigwidgeon.
Hermione’s folks were not magical so they couldn’t get through the barrier without help. They usually waited near the parking lot for Hermione. Ron and Ginny, along with Harry, had managed to get Molly to follow them out to where Hermione’s parents were. Luna brought her father over and Neville brought over his grandmother. When Harry had all of their attention, he waved his hand and cast a silencing charm around the whole bunch.
“Thanks everyone for meeting together like this on the spur of the moment. I just wanted to offer an invitation for all of you to come to my house when your kids come next weekend. Come along with them if you can and want to. There will be plenty of room, much to eat, and lots to do that’s fun. I realize some of you may have to work but I guarantee this will not be your last invitation. If you can’t make it in a week then we’ll try again another time.”
“Thank you Harry,” replied Emma Granger. “We greatly enjoyed Christmas there and if I remember right,” she said looking at Dan, “I think we can take next weekend off and join you.”
“That we can, my dear. We have nothing that can’t wait until Monday. Thank you Harry for your generous invitation. Emma and I would be delighted to join you next weekend.”
“Thank you Harry,” replied Xen. “Unfortunately, I have to work but I’ll definitely try to visit next time.”
“No problem, Xen. I know it was short notice. Likely we will plan something for this summer.”
“Harry, you’re quite gracious and I truly appreciate the invitation but I must decline. I’ll try to be open for your next invitation though,” replied Augusta.
“I understand, perhaps next time it will be more convenient. We will definitely work on planning it better.”
“Harry, I’m not sure if Arthur has to work but if not we will be there. I may just come over anyway if he does have to work.”
“You do that, Mrs. Weasley. Mr. Weasley can join us afterwards if he has to work. That way he will get a good meal if you’re not at home.”
Everyone said their good-byes and hugged each other. Harry got a hug from Emma and a handshake from Augusta, Dan, and Xen. All his friends hugged him and the girls gave him a kiss on the cheek. Molly gave Harry her customary bone-crushing hug that he soaked right up. Afterwards, they all headed their separate ways.
Harry found a secluded spot away from prying eyes and muttered “Legends of Potter” which ported him back to Potter Place and a waiting Mattie.
* The Harpy Eagle was the inspiration behind the design of Fawkes the Phoenix in the Harry Potter film series.