Saturday, August 27, 2005

Day-boy at Hogwarts

[Reference: "Help! Mom! There are politics in my children's books!"]

Taking the magic train twice a day is no picnic, and I never did get to meet Harry, so don't ask. I'm the kid in the second row, rooting for the Hufflepuff Quiddich team, for all the good it did: they never had a prayer, so the Pope says. The Slytherin folks magicked their way into the championships as usual, and won the last two with fixed brooms and obedient Golden Snitches. They're busy raiding another school or two at the moment, setting up new classes in adder-baiting and spell-binding. Their leader, Draco Malfoy, keeps waving his huge wand around. He could put out someone's eye with that thing. Good imported witch-hazel, every twig ensorcelled by a nasty charm called the countervail that gives even more gold to his rich friends.

Today is a typical day. (We don’t get any days off, by the way, because that could interfere with what muggles call "the learning process.") I hate Snape's class. He's always got us up to no good. Old Dumbledore just looks at us sadly when we show off our new powers. "Develop your own," he moans, and talks a lot about "cultural identity," whatever that is. All I know is the spells Snape taught me work even better since Draco’s friend Crabbe was given a special term assignment called the "CBC." They say he's going to fail, though, because he didn't hand it in. He says he lost it, but we think he buried it somewhere. And you know what? I bet he's going to get an A+ anyway.

Snape had a kid named Arar kicked out of Hufflepuff over to Slytherin, and another kid named Almalki who was visiting the place, just because he didn’t like their names. Said we might learn something, but they just got bullied for a few terms and we didn't learn anything at all. At least, I don't think so, but Snape keeps looking mysterious and invoking the National Security Spell of Silence.

A handful of Slytherin kids were living in nearly half of Ravenclaw, sort of grabbed it some time ago. A friend of Malfoy's, Gregory Goyle, got them moved out so the Ravenclaw kids could move back, but now they're over here in Hufflepuff, joining a bigger bunch who've been taking over our place for years, wing by wing . One thing even a day-boy notices: the drinking fountains only work in the Slytherin-occupied parts of the building. But everybody thinks Malfoy's friend did something good. I think somebody's slipped them one of Snape's potions.

Like I say, it's a pretty ordinary day. There's another Worm in the walls, called Zotob. Some of the Slytherin second-years are beating up on a new bug named Cindy from Gryffindor because they say she talks too much. A kid was caught down in Hogsmeade smoking magic weed. They're going to expel him to the Dark Lands, I hear. A greedy bunch in the Great Hall won't share their oil, as usual. Hermione's pet moonbat escaped, but she's not getting any help because nobody else here seems to like the things. McGonagall is teaching us all how to voip. And Dumbledore is telling everybody to watch out for Lord Voldemort.

What I can never figure out for sure is just who Lord Voldemort is. Everybody talks about him all the time: Hogwarts is always being threatened. I know that because Dumbledore flies different coloured flags every day to let us know when we're in danger, at risk, or just unsafe. Some call Voldemort a Mullah, or a Sheik, or even a Caliph named "Osama." But others say he's Draco Malfoy's father, Lucius. A few creepy-looking kids are whispering that Draco's friend Goyle is behind it all. Some think Lord V. is Draco himself.

There's still so much to learn. But I gotta go. No way I want to be in this place after dark.


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