By: Jayden Lukas
Editor’s Note: The views expressed by students within the following article do not represent the views of the Owl Post as a whole.
This year has been one that many of us will not soon forget. We grew and are another year older to be sure, but that is not all. For the first years who have only just started their life here at Hogwarts, this has been a year of trauma and a peek into the dangers that the wizarding world has to offer. For those of us who are older we saw the school divided into two camps. Hatred for those who are different reared its ugly head over the issue of werewolf rights. Friendships dissolved and trusts were broken. Students went missing only to turn up transfigured into wolves being controlled by a hag [Editor’s Note: Not an actual hag]. All this takes its toll on the minds of students. Some are more resilient than others but the effects are still there and these events will likely not be forgotten anytime soon.
So what are the thoughts of a few of the first years who got caught up in this. Many of them felt scared for themselves and their friends who went missing. As Lynessa O’Connor would say when asked her thoughts on this, “I have not taken one side or another throughout all of this lately. I have been scared for myself as well as others but I wish that as a student, we would see more going on instead of having to rely on people’s words as a promise. That things are being taken care of.” She went on to say, “The scary part was when that kid went missing the other day, I never heard of anyone really looking for him. Not like the last time someone went missing and they locked us all in the Great Hall for the night. There is so much inconsistency.” Well said and it would do us well to remember that these first years are not invisible. They see and understand far more than they are given credit for. Another student, Adelaide Lascelles, had this to say about the events of this year, “Well, It is not only about the werewolf thing anymore. Knowing someone who would not hesitate even a second to blow up underage witches and wizards are still around in the school boundaries, it is really frightening. Especially for us younger students, as we are not capable of defending ourselves. All we could do is blinding them with lumos hoping they won’t take our wands away before we do anything. And this all makes me feel very unsettled.” A feeling of fear and being very unsettled unable to really defend oneself properly. After all the staff cannot be beside every single student all of the time. That is simply not possible. Even the prefects were overburdened and stressed by these events. A prefect was attacked by the creature known as Elliot earlier in the year. If we think that this has not had lingering effects then we are deceiving ourselves. Let us not forget that each of us is human and as such we have our own ways of dealing with traumatic events. Aiden Knight had this to say about the events of the past year, “I think the castle itself has been through some hard times lately from what I read from Hogwarts a History and old Owl Posts. I am curious though what is making these creatures come forth and attack every year. I know we had a few change overs in head masters/mistress and I kind of wondering if someone is testing the castle weakness… How I feel unsafe for sure. Adding on to what Lynessa said. How can you trust those who are supposed to protect you when they themselves are hiding things. You can’t. There is only a few professors I trust in this school who I believe who will do anything for a student and not make them sound foolish for asking a question. Adding more ministry people in here I don’t think is the answer. Haven’t we learn that page in history from the vampire bit. They are all right in saying that we are not safe. We have luck on our side for spells and no shield spells to save our souls.” Many students feel very unsafe in an environment where they should feel the opposite. This does not make for an environment that is conducive to learning. What is it that we are learning here? It is that the wizarding world is a dangerous place. There are many who cannot be trusted. Adults keep secrets. Hatred and prejudice are very real and ugly. Basically the world that we live in is not all rainbows and unicorns. It is harsh and can at times be very ugly. It is however for us to not lose our optimism. There is also a lot of good in the world. For example the whole school eventually united and the hag was defeated. The students who were transfigured were restored with no memory of their own actions. That is good for them at least. Unfortunately their classmates who were not transfigured still remember and must deal with what happened in their own ways. A student lost a limb. This in itself will have lasting effects both for the student and her classmates.
Even after the hag was driven off there was an incident in the Great Hall that would attest to the fact that the lingering effects do not end once the creature was defeated. The hate that nearly tore the school apart is still present in the hate expressed by a student who believes that all werewolves should be killed. This student had to be forcibly restrained when she had an emotional outburst against several first years she believed had turned away from her. There has been enough hate in the school. For months the school was a house divided. It is time to rethink our old assumptions and beliefs. It is time to think of others and the lasting harm that our actions and words may be doing to them. After all at one time the hag was a student much like any one of us. Her name was Eleanor Lovelace, a person who let her rage, hatred and circumstances define her. Ultimately these would lead to her death. Let us not be defined by our circumstances or actions. Let us be defined by what is within our hearts. If we see a classmate who may be struggling let us take the time to talk with them and to help alleviate their fears and insecurities. They know far more than they are often given credit for. Don’t just brush them aside or confine them to their dorms to stew in their own fears and emotions. After all who really knows where or when the next ‘Eleanor Lovelace’ may emerge to rob us of our innocence? It could very well be the person who sits near us in Transfiguration.
In conclusion it is each one of us who can help each other with our understanding and compassion. In this way we might just minimize any lingering effects that many may be experiencing but choosing to deny. Our lives are not our own. This is our family and it is for us to be a support to that family. Each unkindness or cruel deed only drives us further from each other. Let us heal from the events of this year and help each other to recover at least some of their optimism and innocence. Things will never go back to the way they were but we do not need to let these events define us. We can be here as a support to each other. We can help to drive the nightmares away. Never forget that we are one school and one family. As Dumbledore was quoted as saying, “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” This is our legacy and one that each of us can help to deliver on.