Chapter 9: Hogwarts Letter
I awoke with a start, slumped against my wall with a horrible kink in my neck. I must have fallen asleep while waiting for the owl. I looked around my room. Sure enough, the delivery owl was already in my bedroom, standing on my bed with an envelope clamped in its beak. It looked at me expectantly and I heaved myself off the floor, my aching muscles protesting in agony.
My heart pounding in my throat, I took the envelope from the bird who took off at once. The envelope was sealed with red wax and stamped into the wax seal was a handsome crest. It was the Hogwarts crest. Below the wax, in tiny black writing were the words Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Forgetting how sore I was, I jumped up and down in excitement. I wondered how Lily was taking it and explaining everything to her parents.
I sat on my bed, opened the envelope and pulled out the piece of parchment inside.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc , Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Severus Snape,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
On the second page it read:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupil's clothes should carry name tags.
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1)
by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic
by Bathilda Bagshot
by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration
by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi
by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions
by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
by Quentin Trimble
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set brass scales
Students may also bring, if they desire, an owl OR a cat OR a toad.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS
ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICK
Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions
Bursting with excitement I raced out of my room to tell mother that my letter had finally arrived only to find the house empty, dark and quiet. Mother and Father must have gone to bed.
I climbed into bed thinking about Hogwarts. Maybe we could take Lily shopping. I yawned loudly and fell into a peaceful sleep, dreaming about buying wands and robes and traipsing around Diagon Alley with Lily beside me.
The next day I woke, once again, to the telephone ringing, but this time I got there before Father.
‘Hello? This is Severus speaking.’
‘Hi Sev, it’s Lily.’ She sounded downcast and upset.
‘What’s wrong, Lily?’ I asked, wondering what could be upsetting her the day after she got her letter.
‘Umm… I’ll tell you later. I –’
‘It’s alright! You don’t need to tell me now! How about you meet me at the park? You can tell me then!’
‘Alright. I’ll come now.’
I hung up the telephone and went to get changed for the day. On my way out of the bedroom, my Hogwarts acceptance letter caught my eye. I hurried over and snatched it up, then stowed it safely in my pocket.
Lily arrived at the park about 2 minutes after I did.
‘That was good timing.’ I said cheerfully. Lily was walking with her head down, her eyes on the ground. ‘Whatever is the matter, Lily?’
Lily lifted her head slowly and I saw that her eyes were full of tears. ‘You lied, Sev.’
‘What? No I didn’t,’ I said, feeling mightily confused.
‘There is no such thing as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All of that stuff… you made it all up.’
‘No I didn’t!’ I exclaimed, outraged. And thanking Merlin’s Pants that I had brought it, I pulled out my Hogwarts letter. ‘See? Here is my letter! Where’s yours?’ Lily’s eyes lit up at the sight of the letter but they dulled again as realisation seemed to dawn on her face.
‘You must have made that yourself,’ she said. And then very quietly, sounding like a child who had been expecting a pony and received a pair of socks she said, ‘I didn’t get a letter. But it’s alright. I forgive you for lying to me. It was great while I believed it. I think the hardest part will be Petunia’s gloating face when she finds out that none of it is true.’
‘No, Lily! Listen to me! It is true! Maybe your letter got lost in the muggle post –’
‘Severus! I’ve had enough! I’ve forgiven you! Give it a rest!”
I was taken aback. She didn’t use my full name unless she was really angry and upset – so she wasn’t playing me. She really believed that none of it was true. ‘Lily! No, Lily! Really! You need to listen to me! Your letter has gotten lost or something! It does exist! It exists – I promise! I have proof right here!’ I said waving the envelope in front of her face.
‘That’s it! Sev, I’m going home!’ With that, she marched off towards the park gate, nose in the air.
I left the park and climbed the front porch stairs to the front door. I lumbered over the threshold and spent the rest of the day feeling utterly miserable. When it came time to go to bed I wondered vaguely whether she would come around by tomorrow, but she had been so excited before the post let her down so I didn’t dare get my hopes up.
My sleep was troubled that night. I tossed and turned for what felt like forever until I finally fell into a fretful sleep, dreaming about Lily’s tears drowning me until I awoke at two o’clock in the morning. I finally accepted that that was all sleep had for me for the night and I got out of bed and wandered into the living room.
I was greeted by a cold emptiness in the lounge. Standing by the couch, I felt a cold chill creep over me – as if I had lost a part of me; a great friend. I sat in the lounge until the sun’s bald head peeked over the horizon and stretched the shadows like long fingers towards the chair that I sat in.
The telephone rang once again, but this time mother got there first.
‘Oh yes, Lily dear; how can I help?’
My heart leapt into my mouth. After a pause mother said, ‘You need to talk to Severus? Why’s that?’ I am taken aback by Mother’s sweet tone.
‘WHO came to your house last night? WHO?’ Mother asked incredulously. After a pause she said, ‘Oh don’t worry, I won’t tell him. I’ll just say you have a story to tell him, shall I? You can meet him later today.’