Locomotor trunk.’ Harry’s trunk rose a few inches into the air. Holding her wand like a conductor’s baton, Tonks made the trunk hover across the room and out of the door ahead of them, Hedwig’s cage in her left hand.
‘Evanesco!’ and the scrolls vanished.
Ron held up his badge. Mrs Weasley let out a shriek just like Hermione’s. ‘I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Oh, Ron, how wonderful! A prefect! That’s everyone in the family!’ ‘What are Fred and I, next-door neighbours?’ said George indignantly, as his mother pushed him aside and flung her arms around her youngest son.
‘Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure,’ said Luna in a singsong voice.
‘Scourgify!’ The Stinksap vanished.
In times of old when I was new And Hogwarts barely started The founders of our noble school Thought never to be parted: United by a common goal, They had the selfsame yearning, To make the world’s best magic school And pass along their learning. ‘Together we will build and teach!’ The four good friends decided And never did they dream that they Might some day be divided, For were there such friends anywhere As Slytherin and Gryffindor? Unless it was the second pair Of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw? So how could it have gone so wrong? How could such friendships fail? Why, I was there and so can tell The whole sad, sorry tale. Said Slytherin, ‘We’ll teach just those Whose ancestry is purest.’ Said Ravenclaw, ‘We’ll teach those whose Intelligence is surest.’ Said Gryffindor, ‘We’ll teach all those With brave deeds to their name,’ Said Hufflepuff, ‘I’ll teach the lot, And treat them just the same.’ These differences caused little strife When first they came to light, For each of the four founders had A house in which they might Take only those they wanted, so, For instance, Slytherin Took only pure-blood wizards Of great cunning, just like him, And only those of sharpest mind Were taught by Ravenclaw While the bravest and the boldest Went to daring Gryffindor. Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, And taught them all she knew, Thus the houses and their founders Retained friendships firm and true. So Hogwarts worked in harmony For several happy years, But then discord crept among us Feeding on our faults and fears. The houses that, like pillars four, Had once held up our school, Now turned upon each other and, Divided, sought to rule. And for a while it seemed the school Must meet an early end, What with duelling and with fighting And the clash of friend on friend And at last there came a morning When old Slytherin departed And though the fighting then died out He left us quite downhearted. And never since the founders four Were whittled down to three Have the houses been united As they once were meant to be. And now the Sorting Hat is here And you all know the score: I sort you into houses Because that is what I’m for, But this year I’ll go further, Listen closely to my song: Though condemned I am to split you Still I worry that it’s wrong, Though I must fulfil my duty And must quarter every year Still I wonder whether Sorting May not bring the end I fear. Oh, know the perils, read the signs, The warning history shows, For our Hogwarts is in danger From external, deadly foes And we must unite inside her Or we’ll crumble from within I have told you, I have warned you … Let the Sorting now begin.
his “gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust –”’
‘A light silver vapour should now be rising from your potion,’ called Snape, with ten minutes left to go. Harry, who was sweating profusely, looked desperately around the dungeon. His own cauldron was issuing copious amounts of dark grey steam; Ron’s was spitting green sparks. Seamus was feverishly prodding the flames at the base of his cauldron with the tip of his wand, as they seemed to be going out.
Evanesco.’ The contents of Harry’s potion vanished;
he had a feeling that it was probably better to keep the timing of their meetings unpredictable. If anyone was watching them, it would be hard to make out a pattern.
That’s what they should teach us here, he thought, turning over on to his side, how girls’ brains work … it’d be more useful than Divination, anyway …
He emerged from it carrying a blackened old kettle, which he placed carefully on his desk. He raised his wand and murmured, ‘Portus!’ For a moment the kettle trembled, glowing with an odd blue light; then it quivered to rest, as solidly black as ever.
Ginny seemed quite unabashed. ‘Well, you have!’ she said. ‘And you won’t look at any of us!’ ‘It’s you lot who won’t look at me!’ said Harry angrily. ‘Maybe you’re taking it in turns to look, and keep missing each other,’ suggested Hermione, the corners of her mouth twitching.
‘Alohomora.’ The door swung open
Occlumency. As I told you back in your dear godfather’s kitchen, this branch of magic seals the mind against magical intrusion and influence.’
Legilimency –’ ‘What’s that? Sir?’ ‘It is the ability to extract feelings and memories from another person’s mind –’
‘Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked so easily – weak people, in other words – they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter!’
Master yourself!’ spat Snape. ‘Control your anger, discipline your mind!
‘You should write a book,’ Ron told Hermione as he cut up his potatoes, ‘translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them.’
‘It’s only a game, isn’t it?’ ‘Hermione,’ said Harry, shaking his head, ‘you’re good on feelings and stuff, but you just don’t understand about Quidditch.’
The teachers were of course forbidden from mentioning the interview by Educational Decree Number Twenty-six, but they found ways to express their feelings about it all the same. Professor Sprout awarded Gryffindor twenty points when Harry passed her a watering can;
‘Petrificus Totalus!’ and Snape keeled over again, rigid as a board.
‘The thing about growing up with Fred and George,’ said Ginny thoughtfully, ‘is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.’
Even by Harry’s low standards in Divination, the exam went very badly. He might as well have tried to see moving pictures on the desktop as in the stubbornly blank crystal ball; he lost his head completely during tea-leaf reading, saying it looked to him as though Professor Marchbanks would shortly be meeting a round, dark, soggy stranger, and rounded off the whole fiasco by mixing up the life and head lines on her palm and informing her that she ought to have died the previous Tuesday.
‘Incarcerous!’ Ropes flew out of midair like thick snakes, wrapping themselves tightly around the centaur’s torso and trapping his arms: he