I smoothed down my robe as I stood before the Great Hall. Stepping through the huge threshold, I was bombarded with noise. Warm laughter and friendly chatter surrounded me. I headed towards the Gryffindor table, stopping here and there to greet friends from other houses. As the Prefects began to quieten everyone down, I hastily said goodbye to Gary and slipped into my place next to Gus. Moments later the Hall was in complete silence, and all heads turned towards the dais where a lone stool stood. A row of first year students filed through the Great Hall, following the steps of Professor Dumbledore. They stopped at the bottom of the dais as Professor Dumbledore climbed the steps towards the Sorting Hat. He unrolled a scroll from his hand and started calling student’s names. I craned my neck to try and find Archie, while Gus beside me almost stood up to try and locate Dorothea.
“Harris, Dorothea,” summoned Professor Dumbledore.
As Dorothea sat down on the stool, Professor Dumbledore gently placed the Hat over her head. The wide brim covered her eyes, and I could see her trembling from the excitement of it all. Gus was mumbling prayers beside me, her fingers all crossed in the hope the Dorothea would get into Gryffindor.
“Hufflepuff!” announced the Hat, and I felt Gus slumping beside me.
Thea stood up shakily and walked towards the Hufflepuff table, stopping only to flash Gus a smile. Archie was near the head of the line now, and I waited impatiently for him to get sorted. He better get into Gryffindor.
“McGonagall, Achilles,” said Professor Dumbledore.
“Gryffindor!” yelled the Sorting Hat before it even touched Archie’s head.
He beamed at me as he walked down the aisle, and I patted a seat next to me. My little brother was in Gryffindor! I paid no attention to the rest of the sorting, feeling beside myself that Archie was in the best house of all.
“Riddle, Tom,” called Professor Dumbledore.
I lifted my head in interest. The boy with the dark hair who had bumped into me at Diagon Alley made his way up the steps. His eyes were near popping with excitement, and he couldn’t contain a manic grin when Professor Dumbledore placed the Hat on his head. There was a silence, a silence stretched so long that I began to wonder whether the Hat would sort him at all.
“Slytherin,” the Hat said finally.
Tom Riddle tore the ancient sorter off his head, and made his way down the aisle. His face was sullen, his pale lips drawn into non-existence. He glanced as our table with jealousy as he walked towards the Slytherins. I steeled myself and look away from him, feeling extremely uncomfortable over how I couldn’t figure this boy out. As the remainder of the first years were sorted into one of the houses, I looked over at Gus and tried to cheer her up. She clearly did not expect Dorothea to be a Hufflepuff. A loud rapping on the teacher’s stand caught our attention, and all faces turned towards the dais as Professor Dippet began to speak.
“Welcome all to another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” his voice rang across the hall, “I’m sure that this year will no doubt prove to be the best year yet at Hogwarts. However, as events have recently turned in the Muggle world, I am obliged to warn you that school-life this year may be more difficult. If the Muggle war is to start, the whole world of magic will suffer the consequences. But enough grim words for now. There are some very exciting events planned ahead for you all, and I’m sure you are ravenous as of now. So let the feast begin!”
I turned hungrily to the golden plate set in front of me, waiting impatiently for the moment when food would magically appear. As platters full of roast lamb and potato gratins appeared in front of us, chatter erupted once again from the student body. John Lupin was sitting across from me, his plate already full with food. I ignored ladylike manners for once and wolfed down my dinner. By the time desserts were served, my stomach was so full that if I ate another pea I would burst. But the chocolate slice looked so good that I couldn’t help but take a few back to our dorm. Wrapping the rich desserts in serviettes, I awaited for the signal to head to our dorms. Finally the feast came to a close and the Prefects lead the first years out of the Hall. Archie followed his new friends, turning around to wave me a good bye.
“Let’s go,” Gus said, “I’m so tired and full that I just want to crash into bed and sleep for a month.”
“Ah, me too,” I replied as we headed out of the Hall and up the stairs.
“Beautiful Lady, will you please let us in?” asked John as we arrived in front of the Gryffindor common room.
“Of course, you are ever so flattering John Lupin,” the Lady blushed and swung her portrait out of the way.
We stepped into the cosy Gryffindor common room, and John said goodbye to us girls as he headed for the boys’ dorm. Around the roaring fire sat our dorm mates, the Ascot twins and Rowena McKay, their forms snuggled into the ever-so-comfortable armchairs. Gus plopped down in her favourite, and started an animated conversation with them. She pulled at my arm, her eyes indicating that I should sit down beside her. Shaking my head, I told her that I would be back in five minutes. I climbed the steps to our dorm, wanting to get changed and unpacked before I settle into a good gossip session. My trunk was standing at the foot of my bed as was with last year, and the basket for Pandora the cat was already delivered on my desk. Perching on the edge of my duvet was a lone figure with golden locks glowing in the gas light.