Chapter Two: Sorted Into Slytherin


            The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Harry’s first thought was that this was not someone to mess with.

            “The firs’-years, Professor McGonagall,” said Hagrid.            

            “Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here.”

            She pulled the door wide. The Entrance Hall was so big you could have fitted the whole of the Dursley’s house in it. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches like the ones at Gringotts, the ceiling was too high to make out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led to the upper floors.

            They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. Harry could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right – the rest of the school must already be here – but Professor McGonagall showed the first years into a small empty chamber off the hall. They crowded in, standing rather closer together than they would usually have done, peering about nervously.

            “Welcome to Hogwarts,” said Professor McGonagall. “The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room.

            “The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be credit to whichever house becomes yours.”

            “The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourself up as much as you can while you are waiting.” Harry saw Draco slick his blond hair back with his hand. Vincent’s cloak was wrinkled and fastened under his right ear while Gregory’s cloak was covered in chocolate stains. Harry nervously tried to flatten his hair.

            “I shall return when we are ready for you,” said Professor McGonagall. “Please wait quietly.”

            As she left the chamber, Draco whispered, “Another Muggle-lover, I bet. Talks like she’s got a unicorn horn up her-” Vincent and Gregory chuckled loudly before Harry could hear the punch line. He didn’t like that Draco was insulting their new teacher, who seemed severe but also just. Harry swallowed.

            “So you said there’s an old hat that they use for the sorting? How?”

            “It’s some sort of test.”

            Harry’s heart gave a horrible jolt. A test? In front of the whole school? But he didn’t know any magic yet – what on earth would he have to do? He hadn’t expected something like this the moment they arrived. He looked around anxiously and saw that everyone else looked terrified too. He saw the girl, Hermione, standing next to the tall, gangly, red-headed boy and talking animatedly. The red-headed boy nodded and smiled, but then frowned and looked like he was about to puke. Harry tried to listen, and he heard snippets of Hermione whispering about all the spells she’d learnt and wondering which one she’d need. Harry stopped listening. He’d never been more nervous, never not even when he’d had to take a school report home to the Dursleys saying that he’d somehow turned his teacher’s chalk into a garden snake. He kept his eyes fixed on the door. Any second now, Professor McGonagall would come back and lead him to his doom.

            Then something happened which made him jump about a foot in the air – several people behind him screamed.

            “What the – ?”

            He gasped. So did the people around him. About twenty ghosts had just streamed through the back wall. Pearly-white and slightly transparent, they glided across the room talking to each other and hardly glancing at the first-years. They seemed to be arguing. What looked like a fat little monk was saying, ‘Forgive and forget, I say, we ought to give him a second chance-”

            “My dear Friar, haven’t we given Peeves all the chances he deserves? He gives us all a bad name and you know, he’s not really a ghost – I say, what are you all doing here?”

            A ghost wearing a ruff and tights had suddenly noticed the first-years.

            Nobody answered.

            “New students!” said the Fat Friar, smiling around at them. “About to be sorted, I suppose?”

            A few people nodded mutely.

            “Hope to see you in Hufflepuff!” said the Friar. “My old house, you know.”

            “Move along now,” said a sharp voice. “The Sorting Ceremony’s about to start.”

            Professor McGonagall had returned. One by one, the ghosts floated away through the opposite wall.

            “Now, form a line,” Professor McGonagall told the first-years, “and follow me.”

            Feeling oddly as though his legs had turned to lead, Harry got behind Vincent and Draco and they walked out of the chamber, back across the hall and through a pair of double doors into the Great Hall.

            Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles which were floating in mid-air over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the Hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first-years up here, so that they came to a halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them. The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry looked upwards and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Draco whisper to Vincent, “It’s not actually the sky, you stupid troll spawn, it’s only bewitched to look like that.”

            It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn’t simply open on to the heavens. Harry whispered to Vincent, “I thought it was the real sky too,” and Malfoy smirked. 

            Harry quickly looked down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first-years. On top of the stool she put a pointed wizard’s hat. This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Aunt Petunia wouldn’t have let it in the house.

            Maybe they had to try and get a rabbit out of it, Harry thought wildly, that seemed the sort of thing – noticing that everyone in the Hall was now staring at the hat, he stared at it too. For a few seconds, there was completely silence. Then the hat twitched. A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth – and the hat began to sing.

Oh I may not be the cleanest hat

Or the most good-looking wizard’s cap

But when I’m on top of your head to sit

You will understand my exceptional wit!

Keep your boaters and chic berets

Especially fedoras, keep those away

For I’m the Sorting Hat of this wizarding school

And I have never been anyone’s fool!

There’s nothing hidden in your mind

The Sorting Hat cannot know or find

So try me on and I’ll announce

Where you should be, your Hogwart’s house!

You might belong in Slytherin

The house for those with ambition

[Draco nudged Harry, nodded, and smiled.]

Enduring all struggles to achieve their ends

If you’re cunning and ruthless, these are your friends!

[“I know you’ll get in, Harry,” said Draco. Harry felt nervous. Draco put his hand affectionately on Harry’s shoulder, felt Draco’s hand shaking, and for the first time Harry thought Draco wasn’t that bad.]

Or you might belong in Hufflepuff

Who shine the brightest when the going gets tough 

They are loyal and patient, just and true

If you’re quiet and kind, this House’s for you!

Or maybe you’ll be in Ravenclaw

If your reasoning mind’s without a flaw

For those of wit and who love to learn

Choose this house when it’s your turn!

And last we come to Gryffindor

The brave of heart who…[Draco said something to Harry which he couldn’t hear, and which distracted him]…explore

Their daring and…Harry whispered, “Be quiet Draco!”

…the house to choose!

So put me on! Don’t be scared.

I promise you, you are prepared.

You’re safe with me, even though I can’t move.

I’m a Thinking Hat! With nothing to prove!

The whole Hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again. 

“So my father was right,” said Draco. “We’ve just got to go and try on the hat. This’ll be a piece of cauldron cake.”

Harry smiled weakly. Yes, trying on the hat was a lot better than having to do a spell, but he did wish they could have tried it on without everyone watching. The hat seemed to be asking rather a lot; Harry didn’t feel ambitious or patient or witty or any of it at the moment. If only the hat had mentioned a house for people who felt a bit queasy, that would have been the one for him.

Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.

“When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,” she said. “Abbott, Hannah!”

A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. A moment’s pause – 

“HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat.

The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. Harry saw the ghost of the Fat Friar waving merrily at her.

“Bones, Susan!”

“Hufflepuff!” shouted the hat again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah. Harry thought maybe he’d like to join Hufflepuff, since it seemed to be the most popular house so far and the girls who were chosen looked pretty nice.

“Boot, Terry!”


The table second from the left clapped this time, several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them. “Brocklehurst, Mandy” went to Ravenclaw then “Bulstrode, Millicent,” went to Slytherin. Perhaps it was Harry’s nervous imagination, but the Slytherin table didn’t look very pleasant. But didn’t Draco say it was the best house?

“Crabbe, Vincent.” Next to Harry, Vincent didn’t move. Everyone started to look around. Professor McGonagall coughed into her hand.

“Crabbe, Vincent,” the hat repeated. Harry gently prodded Vincent, saying, “That’s you.” 

“Oh, um, yeah.” Crabbe lumbered to the sorting hat.

“SLYTHERIN.” Crabbe went to the Slytherin table and gave Harry a trembling thumbs up.

Harry was starting to feel definitely sick now. He remembered being picked for teams during sports lessons at his old school. He had always been last to be chosen, not because he was no good, but because no one wanted Dudley to think they liked him.

“Goyle, Gregory!”

Sometimes, Harry noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once (as it did for Vincent), but at others it took a little while to decide. Gregory sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Slytherin.

“Granger, Hermione!”

Hermione almost ran to the stool and jammed the hat eagerly on her head.

“GRYFFINDOR!” shouted the hat. Harry felt a twisting sensation in his stomach.

A horrible thought struck Harry, as horrible thoughts always do when you’re very nervous. What if he wasn’t chosen at all? What if he just sat there with the hat over his eyes for ages, until Professor McGonagall jerked it off his head and said there had obviously been a mistake and he’d better get back on the train? Harry didn’t care which house he was in, as long as he could stay here. Harry lost track of time until he heard,

“Malfoy, Draco!” Malfoy swaggered forward and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, “SLYTHERIN!” Malfoy went to join Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself, then he stared at Harry, mouthing the words, “You can do it.”

There weren’t many people left now.

“Moon’…Nott…Parkinson….then a pair of twin girls, Patil and Patil…then ‘Perks, Sally-Anne, and then, at last – 

“Potter, Harry!”

As Harry stepped forward, whispers suddenly broke out like little hissing fires all over the hall.

Potter, did she say?”

The Harry Potter?”

The last thing Harry saw before the hat dropped over his eyes was the hall full of people craning to get a good look at him. Next second he was looking at the black inside of the hat. He waited.

“Hmmm, said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There’s talent, oh my goodness, yes – and a nice thirst to prove yourself, a burning ambition, now that’s interesting … So where shall I put you?” Harry gripped the edges of the stool and remembered the train ride, Draco saying, And how we can get into Slytherin, then he remembered the Salazar Slytherin Chocolate Frog card, lucky you! He’s rare. It must be a sign. You’ll definitely be in Slytherin house. Harry then imagined the Slytherin table, and Malfoy being annoying, and Hagrid saying all of Voldemort’s followers were in Slytherin…

“Uncertain about Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. 

“Yeah,” Harry thought, “I don’t know which house to…to…”

“You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that.”

“Really?” Harry didn’t know much else about any of the other houses, and his three friends from the train had already gone to Slytherin. Harry remembered Draco putting his hand on his shoulder and Vincent giving him the trembling thumbs up. He remembered all the advice Malfoy gave him on the train, and him saying, I’ll know you’ll get in…

“Oh, and what do we have here, you’re a parseltongue!”

“A what?”

“You can talk to snakes?”

“I can?”

“Yes, you can, hmmm, very interesting, very interesting indeed…” Harry remembered talking to the snake at the zoo on Dudley’s birthday. He thought that had been his imagination. “You know,” said the hat, “Salazar Slytherin was a parseltongue too.”

“Yeah, I read that on his Chocolate Frog card.”

“Very powerful wizards have been in Slytherin house…wizards who have changed the world. And you happen to have many qualities that Salazar prized in his hand-picked students: resourcefulness, determination, a certain disregard for rules. So what’s it going to be?” Harry furrowed his brow and tried to reflect. He must have been sitting on the stool for over two minutes.

“Er – maybe, Slytherin, I guess, but-”


Harry heard the hat shout the last word to the whole Hall. He took off the hat and walked shakily towards the Slytherin table. He was so relieved to have been chosen to be in a house at all, he hardly noticed that beyond the gruff shouts and hoots of congratulations from the Slytherin table, the rest of the Hall was deathly silent. The other tables stared in what seemed like a terrified awe, and it seemed to Harry that some of the other students were frightened of him. “We got Potter! We got Potter!” shouted Draco as he menacingly gestured his fist towards the other houses. Harry sat down opposite a ghost with blank staring eyes, a gaunt face, and robes stained with silver blood. “Meet the Bloody Baron, Harry,” said Draco.

“Hi – er – Bloody Baron,” the ghost replied with a guttural, “aarrhhhggg.”

He could see the High Table properly now. At the end farthest away from him sat Hagrid, who caught his eye and looked at him with a curious frown. And there, in the center of the High Table, in a large gold chair, sat Albus Dumbledore. Harry recognized him at once from one of Draco’s Chocolate Frog cards on the train. Dumbledore’s silver hair was the only thing in the whole Hall that shone as brightly as the ghosts. He was also looking at Harry with a curious frown. Harry spotted Professor Quirrel, too, the nervous young man from the Leaky Cauldron. He was looking very peculiar in a large purple turban, and he smiled at Harry in a bizarre, almost frenzied-like way.

And now there were only three people left to be sorted. ‘Turpin, Lisa became a Ravenclaw and then it was the boy from the train, Ron’s turn. After Ron was sorted into Gryffindor the last name was called,

“Zabini, Blaise,” a haughty looking boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes approached the hat. Draco whispered to Harry, “His mom’s famous.”


“Yeah, wickedly beautiful and filthy rich too, some kind of witch model. She’s been married five times and each of her husbands died mysteriously, leaving her mounds of gold.”


“He’d be a good person to know if-”

“SLYTHERIN!” The Slytherin table cheered and Draco elbowed Harry and winked. “Sit next to us Blaise!” Professor McGonagall rolled up her scroll and took the Sorting Hat away.

Harry looked down at his empty gold plate. He had only just realized how hungry he was. The pumpkin pasties seemed ages ago.

Albus Dumbledore had got to his feet. He was beaming at the students, his arms opened wide, as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all here.

“Welcome!” he said, “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Tweak! Oddment! Blubber! Nitwit!”

“Thank you!”

He sat back down. All the tables except Slytherin’s table clapped and cheered. Harry didn’t know whether to laugh or not, and started to clap, but Draco stopped him.

“Is he – a bit mad?” asked Harry.

“Mad?” said Draco accusingly. “He’s completely insane. My father thinks he’s the worst thing that ever happened to this place. But we’ll talk about him later, he’s probably listening. Slow down Goyle you’re going to choke on something.”

Harry’s mouth fell open. The dishes in front of him were now piled with food. He had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table: filet mignon, buttered lobster, spicy buffalo chicken wings, Mikey special pizza slices, garlic break sticks, coconut fried shrimp, buttermilk pancakes, pure maple syrup, pineapple fried rice, juicy hamburgers, bottles of siracha, and, for some strange reason, a black and green can of Monster’s energy drink.

The Dursleys had never exactly starved Harry, but he’d never been allowed to eat as much as he liked. Dudley had always taken anything that Harry really wanted, even if it made him sick. Harry piled his plate with a bit of everything except the vegetables and began to eat. It was all delicious.

“Stuff ya soft face ya greedy pig,” said the Bloody Baron, watching Harry rip the meat off a chicken wing.

“Can’t you-”

“I haven’t eaten for nearly six hundred years,” said the ghost. “Don’t need to, of course, makes me sick watching you all gorge yourselves.”

“Then why don’t you leave?” asked Malfoy. “Nobody’s stopping you. Float away.”

“We ghosts gotta be here,” leered the baron. Harry stared at his blood-soaked robes.

“How’d your robes get all bloody?” The baron let out a wheezing, raspy chuckle.

“That story’s for anudder day. Too violent for kids like yourselves.”

When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food faded from the plates, leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment later the deserts appeared. Strawberry cheesecake, cookie dough ice cream, chocolate lava cakes, peanut butter pies, chocolate chip cookies, caramel creams…

As Harry helped himself to a chocolate lava cake, mixing the piping-hot chocolate sauce with french vanilla ice cream, the talk turned to their families.

“I’m pure blood back two hundred years,” said Draco. “I think there’s a crazy aunt who married a Muggle two hundred years ago, but we burned her off the family tree.”

“Never met my dad,” said Blaise, but based on what I know about him, I think he might have been a Muggle…” The table went awkwardly silent.

“Anyway…” said Malfoy while widening his eyes, shaking his head, and glancing at everyone knowingly except Blaise, “There aren’t many 100% pure blood families left.”

“My family’s pure back one-hundred years,” said Millicent.

“Not bad Milly,” said Draco, “Not too bad.” She blushed and looked down.

“You think classes gonna be difficult?” asked Vincent. “My dad says I’ll probably fail out. I’m worried.” Harry put his arm around Vincent’s shoulder. “I’m worried too, Vincent. We’ll help each other.”

“Well all I care about is learning the dark arts. Most of the other courses, charms, transfiguration, care of magical creatures, are a big waste of time.”

Harry, who was starting to feel warm and sleepy, looked up at the High Table again. Hagrid was drinking deeply from his goblet and listening to Dumbledore, who was whispering in his ear and glancing at Harry. Professor McGonagall seemed to also be listening and looking in Harry’s direction. Professor Quirrell, in his absurd turban, was talking to a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose and sallow skin.

It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell’s turban straight into Harry’s eyes – and a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on Harry’s forehead.

“Ouch!” Harry clapped a hand to his head.

“Shut up Harry,” said Draco, “I was telling a story. So I was flying around my manor on my uncle’s broom when-”

The pain had gone as quickly as it had come. Harder to shake off was the feeling Harry had got from the teacher’s look – a feeling that he didn’t like Harry at all.

“Who’s that teacher talking to Professor Quirrell,” he asked the Slytherin prefect named Walter.

“Oh, you know Quirrell already, do you? No wonder he’s looking so nervous, that’s Professor Snape. He teaches Potions, but he doesn’t want to – everyone knows he’s after Quirrell’s job. Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape.”

“My dad knows him, Harry,” Draco interrupted his story. “I’ll tell you everything I know about him later.”

“Thanks.” Harry watched Snape for a while but Snape didn’t look at him again.

At last, the deserts disappeared and Professor Dumbledoor got to his feet again. The Hall fell silent.

“Ahem – just a few more words now we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.

“First-years should note that the forest in the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well.”

Dumbledore’s twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of a red-headed twins seated at the Gryffindor table. 

“I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.

“Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.”

“I’m definitely trying out,” whispered Draco.

“You can’t,” said Walter, “first-years aren’t allowed.”

“What? No way. That’s no fair. What if-”


“And finally,” Dumbledoor continued, “I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.

Harry laughed, but he was one of the few who did.

“He’s not serious?” he muttered to Walter.

“Must be,” said Walter, frowning at Dumbledoor. “It’s odd, because he usually gives us a reason why we’re not allowed to go somewhere – the forest’s full of dangerous beats, everyone knows that. I do think he might have told us Prefects, at least.”

“I told you he’s insane,” added Draco.

“And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!” cried Dumbledoor. Harry noticed that the other teachers’ smiles had become rather fixed.

Dumbledoor gave his wand a little flick as if he was trying to get a fly off the end and a long golden ribbon flew out of it, which rose high above the tables and twisted itself snake-like into words.

“Everyone pick their favorite tune,” said Dumbledoor, “and off we go!”And the school bellowed:

“Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy warty Hogwarts

Teach us something we insist,

Even if we’re boring and dull

We’ll listen and try to get the gist

Our heads could do with some new things

Interesting facts and new equations

For now they’re empty and full of space

Limited thoughts with no variations

So teach us things we’ll never forget

Bring back the wisdom we don’t remember

Just say some words, we’ll understand

And learn until our minds surrender

Everybody finished the song at different times. At last, only the red-headed twins were left singing along to a very slow funeral march. Dumbledore conducted their last few lines with his wand, and when they had finished, he was one of those who clapped the loudest.

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes, “A magic beyond all we do here!” And now, bedtime. Off you trot!”

The Slytherin first-years followed Walter through the chattering crowds, out of the Great Hall, then to a passage on left.

“Where are we going?” asked Harry

“Down to the dungeons,” replied Walter. They walked down stone steps into the darkness. Harry’s legs were like lead again, but only because he was so tired and full of food. He felt sleepy as they walked deeper and deeper under the school. After a quarter of an hour of moving through a labyrinth of passages, they arrived at a stretch of bare, damp stone wall.

“Pure-blood,” said Walter, and a door concealed in the wall slid open. They all scrambled through and found themselves in a long, low underground room with rough stone walls. On the ceiling were greenish lamps hanging on chains. A fire was crackling under an elaborately carved mantelpiece ahead of them, and several Slytherins were silhouetted around it in the carved chairs.

“The Slytherin common room,” said Walter. He directed the girls through a passageway on the left and the boys through another passageway at the far end of the room. At the end of another stone hallway they found their beds at last: king-sized mattresses floating three feet above the stone floor, with translucent curtains waving around the beds. 

“Wow, look at this,” Draco said as he touched the curtain around his bed. Whenever he tugged the curtain, it turned from clear to black. 

“For privacy,” said Walter. Their trunks had already been brought down. Too tired to talk much, they pulled on their pajamas and fell into bed, playing with the curtains.

“Now you see me, now you don’t, now you see me, now you don’t” chortled Malfoy. 

“Aren’t you clever,” said Harry.

“Hey, it’s fun.” Harry could tell that Malfoy was in a good, hyper mood. “Maybe this place is as interesting as Durmstrang. At least the food’s good, right? Hah! Look! Crabbe and Goyle are already passed out. Like giant babies. Wake up giant baby!” Malfoy tried to poke Vincent in the face, but his wand couldn’t pass through the curtain.

“Guess you’ll have to wait to be an annoying git in the morning,” said Harry.

“Real funny Potter.” Harry was going to ask Draco if he’d had any of the spicy buffalo wings, because he felt mouth still burning, but he fell asleep almost at once.

Perhaps Harry had eaten a bit too much, because he had a very strange dream. He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him in soothing tones, saying, Welcome Harry, I’m glad you’re in Slytherin, you were meant to be here, it’s your destiny. Harry told the turban that he only chose Slytherin because that’s all he really knew, that Draco was his friend and that he wanted to be a great wizard. The turban got heavier and heavier; he tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully – and there was Malfoy, crying while he struggled with it – then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape, whose laugh became high and cold – there was burst of green light and Harry woke, sweating and shaking.He looked around the dungeon and no one else was awake. He poked the curtain so that it was black and completely silent, so that he was lying in a void-like space. Then he rolled over and fell asleep again, and when he woke next day, he didn’t remember the dream at all.

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Chapter One: Passing Through Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

This is a work of fan fiction. All rights, characters, Bubotubers, and magic belong to Joanne Rowling. The art above is from the Pottermore Website and Jonny Duddle’s illustrations. I am not making any money from this story. I am only creating this parallel Harry Potter Universe for my pleasure and for other obsessive fans who wonder how Harry might have turned out differently if…

Prologue: Hagrid’s Instructions

“Yer ticket fer Hogwarts,” Hagrid said. “First o’ September – King’s Cross – it’s all on yer ticket. Any problems with the Dursleys, send me a letter with yer owl, she’ll know where to find me …See yeh soon H- Oh Blimey! I keep forgetting’ how little yeh know. Dumbledoor woulda killed me! Yeh won’t see no gate or nothing at King’s Cross for yeh train, just ‘er brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. What yeh gotta do is just walk through it.”

“Just walk through it?”

“Yeh train’s on the other side.”

“But how…”

“Yeh a wizard Harry, yeh can do things them Muggles can’t. See yeh at Hogwarts!”

The train left the station. Harry wanted to watch Hagrid until he was out of sight; he rose in his seat and pressed his nose against the window, but he blinked and Hagrid had gone.

Diagon Alley by Katarzyna-Kmiecik, All Rights Reserved

Chapter One: Passing Through Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

            On the last day of August Harry thought he’d better speak to his aunt and uncle about getting to King Cross’ station the next day, so he went down to the living room, where they were watching a trivia show on television. He coughed to let them know he was there, and Dudley screamed and ran from the room.

            “Er – Uncle Vernon?”

            Uncle Vernon grunted to show he was listening.

            “Er – I need to be at King’s Cross tomorrow to – to go to Hogwarts.”

            Uncle Vernon grunted again.

            “Would it be all right if you gave me a ride?”

            Grunt. Harry supposed that meant yes.

            “Thank you.”

            He was about to go back upstairs when Uncle Vernon actually spoke.

            “Funny way to get to a wizards’ school, the train. Magic carpets all got punctures, have they?”

            Harry didn’t say anything.

            “Where is this school, anyway?”

            “I don’t know,” said Harry, realizing this for the first time. He pulled the ticket Hagrid had given him out of his pocket.

            “I just take the train from…from…I just take the train at eleven o’clock,” he read.

            “All right,” said Uncle Vernon, who was distracted by the television show. “We’ll take you to King’s Cross. We’re going to London tomorrow anyway, or I wouldn’t bother.”

            “Why are you going to London?” Harry asked, trying to keep things friendly and glad that Uncle Vernon didn’t ask him which platform.

            “Taking Dudley to the hospital,” growled Uncle Vernon. “Got to have that goddamn tail removed before he goes to Smeltings.”

Harry and The Dursleys, Sketch by Joanne Rowling

            Harry woke up at five o’clock the next morning and was too excited and nervous to go back to sleep. He got up and pulled on his jeans because he didn’t want to walk into the station in his wizard’s robes – he’d change on the train. He checked his Hogwarts list yet again to make sure he had everything he needed, saw that Hedwig was shut safely in her cage and then paced the room, waiting for the Dursleys to get up. Two hours later, Harry’s huge, heavy trunk had been loaded into the Dursleys’ car, Aunt Petunia had talked Dudley into sitting next to Harry and they set off.

            They reached King’s Cross at half past ten. Uncle Vernon dumped Harry’s trunk on to a nearby trolley and returned to the car. 

            “Don’t write us any letters asking for anything,” said Uncle Vernon with a scowl. He slammed the door and the Dursleys drove away. Harry’s mouth went dry. Was he going to be able to pass through the platform? Was he magical enough? He was starting to attract a lot of funny looks, because of Hedwig. He walked towards platforms nine and ten.

            He ignored the passing crowds and made his way forward with grim determination. According to the large clock over the arrivals board, he had twenty minutes to get on the train to Hogwarts. He was glad that Hagrid had reminded him of how to find the train, because when he arrived at platforms nine and ten there really was just a brick wall. 

            Heart hammering, Harry pushed his trolley so that it was facing the wall. Just walk through it, he told himself. Trust Hagrid. He wouldn’t lie to you. Just walk through it.  

            He started to walk towards the ticket barrier. People jostled him on their way to platforms nine and ten. Harry walked more quickly. He was going to smash right into that ticket box and then he’d be in trouble and back to living with the Dursleys. Learning forward on his trolley, he broke into a heavy run – the barrier was coming nearer and nearer – he wouldn’t be able to stop – the trolley was out of control – he was a foot away – he closed his eyes ready for the crash – 

            It didn’t come…he kept on running…he opened his eyes.

            A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, 11 o’clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the ticket box had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. He had done it. 

            Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd, while cats of every color wound here and there between their legs. Owls hooted to each other in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and the scraping of heavy trunks. 

            The first few carriages were already packed with students, some hanging out of the window to talk to their families, some fighting over seats. Harry pushed his trolley off down the platform in search of an empty compartment. He was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to find one and nervous because he was alone. He passed a round-faced boy who was saying, “Gran, I’ve lost my toad again.”

            “Oh Neville,” he heard the old woman sigh. “I’ll send you a Remembrall next week.”

            A boy with dreadlocks was surrounded by a small crowd.

            “Give us a look, Lee, go on.”

            The boy lifted the lid of a box in his arms and the people around him shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg.

            Harry pressed on through the crowd until all of a sudden, he heard,

            “It’s you! From Diagon Alley.” It was the boy with the pale, pointed face who was being dressed at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. He was wearing his new robe and flanked by two other boys. Both of them were thickset, looked extremely mean, and resembled bodyguards. “I never heard your name. My name’s Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.” He formally stuck out his hand to shake Harry’s. “Oh, and this is Crabbe and Goyle.” He carelessly waved his hand at the bodyguards. Harry looked around. He saw a red-headed family that had just passed through the barrier and were laughing and hugging one another. There was a set of twins who were jumping around a tall, gangly brother, poking him in the side with their wands. There was a little girl who was crying and tugging on her mother’s dress.

            “Er-” He didn’t want to sit with this pale boy with the bored, drawling voice, but he figured it would be rude to ignore his introduction. “Harry Potter.”

            “Harry Potter? The Harry Potter. I don’t believe you. Show me the scar.” Harry lifted up his untidy hair to reveal the lightning bolt scar. Both Crabbe and Goyle made stupid noises that sounded like “Duhh.” Malfoy smirked. “Come with me, Potter. My father told me there was a chance you’d be in my year. I’ll show you around and tell you everything you need to know about Hogwarts, the right people, the best teachers, important spells, the best house to be in. Follow me.”

            Harry didn’t want to follow, but he figured it would be good to learn as much as he could about Hogwarts before arriving. Besides, he could always change his seat later on. He looked back wistfully at the red-headed family. The twins had boarded the train and were yelling something about a toilet. 

            “You coming or are you just going to stand there all day like a good-for-nothing Squib?” mocked Malfoy. Crabbe and Goyle chuckled. Harry felt a little annoyed, and didn’t know what a Squib was, but he also felt a great leap of excitement as he followed Draco on to the train. He didn’t know what he was going to but it had to be better than what he was leaving behind. 

            Inside Draco opened a compartment door where there was a group of four students already sitting.

            “All of you. Out. This compartment’s reserved for Harry Potter.”

            “Harry Potter?!” one of the students gasped. They started to scramble to retrieve their trunks from the corner of the compartment.

            “No it’s not,” said Harry. “I-”

            “Shhhh,” Malfoy winked and smiled deviously.

            “You can’t just-”

            “Trust me Potter. I know what I’m doing. This compartment is nearest the food trolley, so we’ll get the best sweets before anyone else takes them.”

            “Er-” Harry wanted to tell the students they could stay, but they were already hurrying out into the corridor. Two of them glanced at his forehead furtively, the other two openly stared. Harry felt embarrassed. 

            “Sit across from me by the window,” said Draco. “Goyle, lift up Harry’s trunk for him. Crabbe, go get our trunks in the other compartment.”

            “I don’t need help.”

            “Please Harry. He likes lifting heavy things. Just look at him. I swear you have a distant relative who’s a troll, Goyle.” Harry helped Goyle lift his trunk into the corner as Crabbe left the compartment. A minute later Crabbe returned with the other trunks and shoved them above the seats.

            “First things first,” said Draco, “We need to talk about Hogwarts Houses. And how we can get into Slytherin. My father told me they put an old hat on your head once we arrive. And that the hat chooses which house you’re in. But I’m not sure how-”

            “Wasn’t Voldemort in Slytherin?” Crabbe and Goyle’s mouths dropped. Draco sneered.

            “You say his name out loud. Impressive. My family prefers to call him the dark lord.”

            “Hagrid told me that there wasn’t a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.”  Draco frowned. 

“Depends on what you mean by went bad. I wouldn’t listen to that stupid oaf, Harry. And why are you still wearing Muggle clothes? You look ridiculous. Put your robes on before someone says something.” Harry felt a flush of anger, but decided that he should probably change. Maybe they couldn’t enter Hogwarts while wearing Muggle clothes? “Wait a minute, you didn’t grow up with Muggles, did you?”

“I…I did. My aunt and uncle are Muggles. They-”

“That explains everything. Now I know why you were acting like such a dingbat in Diagon Alley. And why you were with that drunk savage.

“Hagrid isn’t a drunk savage. He-”

“He’s the Hogwarts gamekeeper, Harry. He’s not even allowed to do magic.”

“I know. But he was-” 

“So you know nothing about the wizarding world? Nothing about history, the Ministry of Magic, or even Quiddich?”

“No, I don’t.” Draco smiled and put his hands behind his head. 

“Well sit back and take a calming draught because you have a lot to learn before we arrive at Hogwarts. And I mean a lot. They might not even let you inside if you know so little.” Harry felt worried. He thought he would be the worst in his class. Draco stood up and stuck his head into the corridor. 

“Um, excuse me? Trolley woman? Are you going to do your job or continue reading the Quibbler? We’re hungry.” A dimpled woman pushed the trolley next to their compartment. Draco turned to Harry. “My mother secretly gave me ten galleons for sweets before she left.”

“Could you buy me something?” said Crabbe. “My dad forgot to give me money.” 

“Of course he did. My father told me that your dad has been acting very strange lately. Failing to show up to the monthly meetings.” 

“I’ll buy you something, Crabbe,” said Harry. “I have plenty of money.”

“Thanks Harry.”

“Is that your real name, Crabbe?”

“Uhhh, no, it’s Vincent. And he’s Gregory.”

“Look at Potter being kind and generous! Be careful though, my father told me that kindness can be a sign of ignorance and weakness. Keep acting like that and you’ll end up in Hufflepuff.” Draco turned to the trolley. “I’ll take ten Liquorice Wands, five Cauldron cakes, three Pumpkin Pasties, two Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, four Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor beans, and twenty Chocolate Frogs.”

“Twenty Chocolate Frogs?” the woman asked.

“Did I stutter? Twenty Chocolate Frogs.” Draco turned back to the compartment with his armful of sweets. He greedily began opening the Chocolate Frogs and tossing the chocolate aside.

“You can eat some of my Chocolate Frogs, Crabbe. I’m only buying them for the cards. All I need is Alberic. That’s the right sort of kindness, Potter. Giving away something when you don’t need it.” Harry bought two of each sweet and shared with Crabbe and Goyle.

“What are the cards?” Draco sighed.

“You really don’t know anything. Chocolate Frogs have cards inside them to collect – Famous Witches and Wizards. I’ve got about six hundred, but I haven’t got Alberic Grunnion yet.”

“Who’s he?”

“Inventor of the Dungbomb.” Harry unwrapped his Chocolate Frog and picked up the card. It showed a man’s face. He looked ancient and monkeyish, with a thin, white beard. Underneath the picture was the name Salazar Slytherin.

“Lucky you!” said Malfoy, who had peered at Harry’s card to see if it was Alberic. “He’s rare. It must be a sign. You’ll definitely be in Slytherin house.”


“Read the card, Muggle-breath.” Harry frowned, glared at Malfoy, then turned over his card and read:

Salazar Slytherin

            was the founder of Slytherin house at Hogwarts. He was one of the first recorded Parselmouths, an accomplished Legilimens, and a notorious champion of pure-blood supremacy. He is believed to have constructed a Chamber of Secrets beneath Hogwarts. When he was young he created his own wand, made of snakewood with a core of basilisk horn. 

            Harry remembered the time last spring he talked to a snake at the zoo. He turned the card back over and saw, to his astonishment, that Salazar Slytherin’s face had disappeared.

            “He’s gone!”

            “You can’t expect him to wait around all day, even if you are the boy who lived,” said Malfoy. “Gawking gargoyles, I’ve got Cassandra Vablatsky again and I’ve got about ten of her…I swear they’ve stopped making all the cards.” Malfoy tucked the card into his robes. 

            “You know, in the Muggle world, people just stay put in photos.” A look of disgust twisted Malfoy’s face.

            “I don’t care what photos do in the Muggle world, Potter! You’re in the wizard world now.”

            Harry shrugged and stared as Salazar sidled back into his card and gave him a nasty glare. Crabbe and Goyle were more interested in eating the chocolate than looking at the Famous Witches and Wizards cards (Goyle seemed to inhale the candy he was eating so fast), but Harry couldn’t keep his eyes off them. Soon he had not only Salazar Slytherin but Chauncey Oldridge (first known victim of Dragon Pox), Dunbar Oglethorpe (Chief of Q.U.A.B.B.L.E.), Gaspard Shingleton (inventor of the Self-Stirring Cauldron), and Wilfred Elphick (first wizard to be gored by an African Erumpent). He finally tore his eyes away from the Lady Carmillia Sanguina, who was taking a bath in a red liquid, to open a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. 

            “Enjoy those,” said Malfoy with another devious smile. “When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor.”

            “What are you getting at?”

            “Just eat a couple.” Crabbe and Goyle guffawed stupidly. Harry picked up a dark-brown bean, looked at it carefully, and bit into a corner.

            “Bleeecchhh,” Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle howled with laughter. Harry tried to spit the taste of manure out of his mouth, wiping his mouth with his robe. Even though the bean was disgusting, he was glad that his new friends were laughing.

            “Like I said, when they say every flavor, they mean every flavor. I knew that was going to be a gross one. You should have seen your face!”

            The countryside now was flying past the window and becoming wilder. The neat fields had gone. Now there were woods, twisting rivers and dark green hills.

            There was a knock on the door of their compartment and the round-faced boy Harry had passed on platform nine and three-quarters came in. He looked tearful.

            “Sorry,” he said, “but have you seen a toad at all?”

            “Get out!” yelled Malfoy. “Nobody cares about your stupid toad!”

            “Relax Draco,” said Harry. He turned to the boy, “We haven’t. But he’ll turn up.”

            “I hope so,” said the boy miserably. “Well, if you see him…”

            He left.

            “What a Muggle-lover. If I’d brought a toad I would’ve chucked it out the window as quick as I could.” As Crabbe and Goyle chortled the compartment door slid open again. The toadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She was also wearing her new Hogwarts robes.

            “Has anyone seen a toad? Neville’s lost one,” she said. She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth. Without realizing why, Harry felt an ache in his chest when he saw her and he wished he was sitting with her rather than with Draco and his cronies.

            “We’ve already told the fatty to leave us alone, we haven’t seen it.” The girl glanced at Harry, who still staring, then glared at Draco.

            “Don’t talk to Neville like that. How would you feel if you lost your pet on the train?”

            “would never buy a toad in the first place. Toads are-”

            “That wasn’t my question. What a shame that the very best school of witchcraft would accept someone like you, so obviously mean and conceited. Not to mention,” she pointed at the 20 chocolate frog wrappers. “Gluttonous and greedy. I’m Hermione Granger, by the way.”

            She said all this very fast, and looked at Harry when she introduced herself. Draco looked at Harry, Crabbe, and Goyle for support, but saw that Harry was ignoring him.

            “Harry Potter,” said Harry.

            “Are you really?” said Hermione. “I know all about you, of course – I got a few extra books for background reading, and you’re in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.”

            “Am I?” said Harry, feeling dazed and pleasantly lightheaded.

            “Goodness, didn’t you know? I’d have found out everything I could if it was me,” said Hermione. “Do you know what house you’ll be in? I’ve been asking around and I hope I’m in-”

            “Enough,” interrupted Malfoy. “We haven’t seen the toad and we never asked for a history lesson.”

            “All right – fine,” said Hermione in a sniffy voice. She started to leave, but turned back, “Oh, and one more thing,she glared at Draco, “it couldn’t hurt to go outside in the sun every once in a while. I thought you were a ghost when I first came in.”

            Draco glared at her as she left. “I bet you a 1000 galleons she’s a Mudblood.”

            Harry peered out the window. It was getting dark. He could see mountains and forests under a deep-purple sky. He wanted to daydream, but Draco poked him hard in the ribs with his wand.


            “Pay attention, troll brains. Did you hear about Gringotts? What happened the day we met? It’s been all over the Daily Prophet, but I don’t suppose you get that with the Muggles.”

            “What happened?”

            “Somebody tried to rob a high-security vault.”

            Harry stared.

            “Really? What happened to them?”

            “Nothing, that’s why it’s such big news. They haven’t been caught. My father says it must’ve been a powerful dark wizard to get round Gringotts, but they don’t think they took anything, that’s what’s strange. I hope it was a dark wizard. Course, everyone gets all nervous when something like this happens in case the dark lord’s behind it.” 

            Harry turned this news over in his mind. He was starting to feel queasy every time Draco referred to Voldemort as the dark lord with his admiring toneHe supposed this was all part of entering the magical world, but it seemed odd that Malfoy would use this name when everyone else said, he-who-must-not-be-named.

            “What’s your Quidditch team?” grunted Crabbe.

            “Er – I don’t know any,” Harry confessed. “What’s Quiddich?”

            “He grew up with Muggles you sack of dung beetles! Do you listen to anything?” shouted Draco.

            “Oh,” said Crabbe, looking embarrassed.

            “You should really pay me, Potter, for all this explaining I’m doing. You’d be helpless arriving at Hogwarts if it wasn’t for me. They might’ve even turned you away. Quiddich is, simply, the best game in the world.” And he was off, drawling on and on about the four balls and the positions of the seven players, describing famous games he’d been to with his father and the broomstick he’d like to buy when he was made Seeker of the Slytherin team. He was just boring Harry to tears through a play-by-play of the Bulgarian National Quidditch team winning against the Norwegian National Quiddich team in 1992 when the compartment door slid open yet again, but it wasn’t Neville the toadless boy or Hermione Granger this time.

            Three red-headed boys entered and Harry recognized them from platform 9 and three quarters. There was the set of twins and the tall, gangly boy with a rat on his shoulder. They were glaring at Draco.

            “Look who’s here,” said Draco. “The Weasley brothers. Are you three going from compartment to compartment, asking for alms? Sorry, but I already spent everything on candy. You can have the wrappers though. Here.”

            “Keep your wrappers, blondie,” said one of the twins. “We’re here to warn you about picking on Neville. He never did anything to you. He was just looking for his toad. So watch yourself.”

            “And we heard Harry Potter was here. We didn’t want you corrupting him with any of your trash-”

            “AAARG!” Goyle sprang up from his seat, flapping his arms wildly. The tall, gangly boy’s rat had jumped at Goyle’s head, bit his ear, and was refusing to let go.

            “Scabbers! What are you doing?” 

            “Get it off me get it off me!” The boys pushed and shoved one another until Scabbers was back in the tall boy’s hands. Draco whipped out his wand.

            “All three off you Muggle-lovers, leave. Before I hex you. I’ll claim self-defense. Who do you think you are, coming here and trying to hurt my friends.”


            “I SAID LEAVE!” Draco threateningly pointed his wand and each of the red-headed boys’ chests. They glowered, closed the compartment door, and walked away.

            “Be careful of them,” said Draco to Harry as they sat down. “Now they’re the bad kind of wizards. Muggle-lovers…”


            The trained started to slow down and voice echoed above their heads: “We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes’ time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately.”

            Harry’s stomach lurched with nerves and Draco, who was a pale as ever, seemed to be twitching but pretending to be confident. They crammed their pockets with the last of the sweets and joined the crowd thronging the corridor. 

            The train slowed right down and finally stopped. People pushed their way towards the door and out on to a tiny, dark platform. Harry shivered in the cold night air. Then a lamp came bobbing over the heads and the students and Harry heard a familiar voice: ‘Firs’-years! Firs’-years over here! All right there Harry?”

            Hagrid’s big hairy face beamed over the sea of heads.

            “Yeah! I made it through the brick wall, just like you told me!” He smiled at Harry, but then furrowed his brow at Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were huddled behind Harry’s back.

            “Good teh hear. C’mon, follow me – any more firs’-years? Mind yer step now! Firs’ years follow me!”

            Slipping and stumbling, they followed Hagrid down what seemed to be a steep, narrow path. It was so dark either side of them that Harry thought there must be thick trees there. Nobody spoke much. Neville, the boy who kept losing his toad, sniffed once or twice. Draco chuckled and whispered to Harry, “I can’t believe that fatty is crying. What a crybaby.”

            “Yeh’ll get yer firs’ sight of Hogwarts in a sec,” Hagrid called over his shoulder, ‘jus’ round this bend here.”

            There was a loud “Oooooh!”

            The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers. Harry heard Draco’s drawling voice in his ear as he grabbed his robes, “Psssh, Durmstrang looked even better in the brochure.”

            “What’s Durmstrang?


            “No more’n four to a boat!” Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sitting in the water by the shore. Harry wanted to sit with other students, since Draco was getting on his nerves, but Draco ushered him, Crabbe, and Goyle into the nearest boat with little shoves. “C’mon, c’mon let’s be the first ones in.”

            “Everyone in?” shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself. “Right then – FORWARD!”

            And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the castle, except for Draco, who wouldn’t stop pulling at Harry’s sleeve and whispering, “There’s something in the lake! Look! Quick!” But Harry turned and missed whatever Draco had seen. 

“What was it?”

“Too late.” Harry looked back at the castle as it towered over the students. They sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.

            “Heads down!” yelled Hagrid as the first boats carried them through a curtain of ivy which hid a wide opening in the cliff face. They were carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking then right underneath the castle, until they reached a kind of underground harbor, where they clambered out on to rocks and pebbles. 

            “Oy, you there! Is this your toad?” said Hagrid, who was checking the boats as people climbed out of them.

            “Vorter!” cried Neville blissfully, holding out his hands. Harry smiled and Draco scowled. Then they clambered up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid’s lamp, coming out at last on to smooth, damp grass right in the shadow of the castle.

            They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, oak front door.

            “Everyone here? You there, still got yer toad?”

            “Nobody cares, you big oaf,” whispered Draco under his breath.

            “Will you shut up?” whispered Harry back.

            Hagrid raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door.

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