Home at Hogwarts

Posted: August 3, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hufflepuff BeatlesThe Sorting Hat squirmed atop Paul’s head. “You’re a strange one, aren’t you? Dreaming about heroes and faraway lands, but you always come back to one place. Heh! You don’t fool me, little finch. I know just where you belong.”

Paul’s heart leaped.

“Hufflepuff!”

Paul’s eyes widened. What?

He smiled nervously as everyone applauded. The Fat Friar beamed at him. Professor Sprout clapped, too. A tall boy pat him on the back and led him to a seat with the rest of the house.

The tall boy shook his hand. “Welcome to Hufflepuff. I’m Milton Myles. Eighth year.”

“Paul Finch.” Paul tried to look happy.

“Where are you from?” Milton whispered. The next student had gone up to be sorted.

“London, East End… I’m sorry, is this part of the sorting?”

“In Hufflepuff all the first years get an eighth year ‘house-mate’ to help them learn their way around.”

“Oh.”

Milton smiled. He leaned close to Paul and said, “I didn’t want to be in Hufflepuff, either, when I got here.”

“Gryffindor!” the Sorting Hat bellowed. Everyone applauded again.

Paul felt like he was sitting there in his pajamas. Milton was right. The little girl with the bright smile and brown eyes getting down from the stage was going where Paul had wanted to go. Heroes and faraway lands. The Sorting Hat had gotten that right.

“Cat got your tongue?”

Paul didn’t want to say. Instead, he asked, “So how did you wind up in Hufflepuff?”

Milton shrugged. “I like winning, and I like to be clever, but I’d rather help someone else win, too. That and other things.”

Paul could relate. His father liked winning, but his mother always talked about working together. Paul’s football coach said he was the best passer on the team.

A boy with long dark hair went up next. The Hat sorted him into Ravenclaw almost at once.

“Where’s the place that you always go?” Milton asked.

Paul’s forehead creased into the edge of a book with all the lines that appeared as he thought about it.

“Relax, mate. You’ll break something,” Milton jibed. The Sorting Hat was having a hard time with the next student, too.

Paul gave up. “When it said that, I just… thought about tea and biscuits.”

Milton laughed. “It told me that I was never far from my mum’s shepherd’s pie.”

Everyone cheered as the student finally went to Hufflepuff. Paul raised his voice to be heard over the noise. “The Sorting Hat put me into Hufflepuff because my mother’s a good cook?”

“Of course not. You’re in Hufflepuff because of the way you feel about it. And everything else that goes into it. Let me guess, my friend. When the holidays come round, you’re the one who breaks out the Christmas decorations.” The crowd settled down. Milton had to whisper again. “You’re the first one to answer the door when your gran shows up. And you’re the last one to leave football practice ’cause no one works harder than you. Right?”

Paul couldn’t believe it. He hadn’t gotten them all perfectly right, but he had the right idea. He took a look at Milton. His house-mate had long hair and his nails were painted alternating black and yellow. “It’s not what I expected,” Paul said.

Milton pat him on the back. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”

A blond-haired girl with dark eyes went to the front of the room. Her name was Emily. Paul had sat in the same car with her on the train. She was nice, from Lincolnshire, and liked drawing. She’d painted everyone’s faces with magic on the way up. Paul had her pegged as Ravenclaw.

“Slytherin!” the Sorting Hat cried.

Emily’s face light up. She greeted her new housemates. Paul blushed as she gave him a quick wave just after she sat down.

Milton leaned close again. “Don’t judge a girl by her house, Paul. Looks like you’ve made a friend.”

“Don’t make fun of me.”

“I’m just saying, mate. You might surprise her, too.”

That night, Paul sat in a corner of the Hufflepuff common room with the other first years listening to Professor Sprout tell a story about a cat who hid the sunset in a little box in her pocket. She reminded him of his Aunt Beatrice. When Paul went to bed, he saw that all his things had already been put away. There was a pile of biscuits on a plate next to his bed, with a note that said, “Welcome to Hufflepuff!” signed by all the members of the house. Milton had added a note next to his signature: “Surprise, Paul!”

The blankets felt just like they did at home. He even caught a whiff of the smell of his dog Biggins. How did they know?

Paul slept like he’d lived there his whole life.

A few weeks ago my wife and I ran into a nerdy kindred spirit while waiting in a customs line at the airport. Our new friend had asked, “What is this magic?” when trying to figure out a new check-in kiosk. The three of us had a conversation about Harry Potter while waiting for our luggage.

I always saw myself as a Gryffindor, because I see a fair amount of myself in Neville Longbottom and Ron Weasley — the lovable losers who never seem to get anything right but who try harder and overcome their faults. My wife pegged me as a Hufflepuff, and wouldn’t you know, that’s where Pottermore put me.

Charlotte820 at Buzzfeed nailed it with this post, “12 Reasons Why Hufflepuff House Is Actually Badass.”

Photo credit: Hufflepuff Common Room
Used without permission

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Comments
  1. I really enjoyed this. As a fan of Harry Potter, it’s lovely to read someone’s kind of continuation of the story, with some new characters. I liked the way that Paul is helped to feel at home in Hufflepuff. Good stuff.

    Like

    • Thank you 🙂 ! I’d love to do a Harry Potter fanfic, but it’s more intimidating to me than Star Wars. Star Wars has books have been written by dozens of people. J.K. Rowling has such a distinctive voice, I wouldn’t know where to start to do it justice.

      I’m glad that you liked how they helped him feel at home! I was thinking that kind-hearted touches like the cookies and reminding him of his dog would be how Hufflepuffs welcome their first years.

      Like

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