The occupants of the Great Hall froze.
Rosie Carter was eleven years old when she received a mysterious letter one hot July afternoon. She was relaxing in her attic bedroom as it fluttered through her open window, landing on her back as she was strewn across her bed, singing along to the radio.
Startled, Rosie reached behind her and grabbed the thing that had plopped seemingly out of nowhere. It was a thick and heavy envelope, made of yellowish parchment. Rosie examined the emerald-green inked address which stated it was for ‘Miss R. Carter, The Attic, 1 Sycamore Close, Great Malvern, Worcestershire’.
After reading the contents, a bemused Rosie ran downstairs to show her mother, who turned out to be just as bemused as her daughter.
“Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?! This must be some kind of joke, dear.”
It turned out it wasn’t. The weeks that followed involved Rosie and her parents discovering a whole new world that they hadn’t realised existed.
A magical world.
“Goodbye darling, please write as soon as you arrive using your... errr... owl." My mother furrowed her brow, still getting used to the idea of this new world that I had found myself a part of.
“I will, Mum, I’ll write all the ti- Daaad! Stop it!” I shrugged my father off as he went to envelope me in a hug, and I took a quick look around in hurried embarrassment in case anyone saw.
“Sorry darling, I’m just going to miss my little girl so much.” He looked so sad and I suddenly felt bad for hurting his feelings, so I threw my arms around him tried not to care that I looked like a daddy’s girl as he kissed the top of my long dark hair.
Moments later, I had boarded the impressive scarlet steam train and was tearfully waving my parents goodbye as the Hogwarts Express chugged me out of the station towards a new and exciting world.
“Do either of you know what house you’ll be in?”
I shrugged at the bushy brown-haired witch with rather large front teeth. I had come across her in the train corridor whilst looking for a friendly enough compartment to sit in. She had been accompanied by a round-faced boy who had apparently lost his toad.
The three of us were now all sharing a compartment and discussing what lay ahead.
“I’ve been asking around,” Hermione continued, “and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best, I hear Dumbledore himself was one, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad.”
“I’ll probably be in Hufflepuff. I just hope I’m not in Slytherin.” Neville shuddered.
“What’s wrong with Slytherin?” I asked curiously, a little nervous at the prospect of being landed in a house that no one liked.
“They say that Slytherin’s the house which churns out dark wizards. You-Know-Who was one.”
Hermione and Neville had already filled me in on the famous story of Harry Potter and the wizard they called Lord Voldemort who had tried to kill him.
He did not sound very nice.
And no, I definitely did NOT want to be sorted into the house associated with such a horrid being.
“But you don’t have to worry,” Neville said quickly upon seeing my fearful expression, “you are a Muggle-born and Slytherin is all about the pure-blood. Although-” he continued thoughtfully, “they are known to take in plenty of half-bloods.”
I relaxed knowing that I was safe with this one. Both my parents were neither witch nor wizard, there was nothing ‘pure’ about my blood.
A pink faced girl with blonde pigtails placed the Sorting Hat on her head and sat down.
“HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat.
There was clapping and cheering from the Hufflepuff table as Hannah went to join them.
My heart was hammering, and my palms were sweaty. I was waiting to be called and it would not be long now. I kept glancing over to the Slytherin table, they looked an unpleasant lot and I vowed I would not have much, if anything, to do with them. I was hoping I would land in the same house as Hermione or Neville. I had gotten to know them on the train, and they seemed friendly enough.
I gulped; it was my turn.
I stumbled nervously towards the stool, aware that all eyes were on me, and picked up the patched and frayed dirty hat. I shakily placed it on my head and sat down.
“Hmm,” a voice spoke into my ear. “Interesting. Very interesting. You are very just and loyal and would do well in Hufflepuff, but I sense something else in you, something I can’t quite work out, but it’s telling me to put you in...”
I felt panicky and held my breath as the hat paused. And then it spoke to the whole room.
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