By: Jayden Lukas
Summer has bloomed and now passes into the coolness of Autumn. With the beginning of Autumn a new year at Hogwarts is set to begin. A new crop of first years is gathered on the brink of destiny soon to learn in which house they will be spending the next seven years of their lives in. This house will become their immediate family, a family that it is hoped will nurture and support them over the coming years while they grow into competent young wizards. As I gaze upon the worn hat sitting upon the stool of destiny, I cannot help but remember back to my own sorting. It was a time of nervousness and excitement waiting to learn where the Sorting Hat would place me. Many questions go through one’s mind at this time. Questions of worthiness and living up to the expectations of family and friends. Would friends still be friends even if separated by houses? Would family be less proud if my house is not the house they had hoped I would be sorted into? The Sorting is a time that comes but once in every young wizard’s life and one that will help to determine the course of one’s life.
All the angst and nervousness that accompanies a school filled with adolescents and pre-adolescents it is no wonder that Jeeves made his presence known in the Great Hall. Perhaps this is all the forewarning needed of the mischief to come. The Deputy Headmistress entered the hall her appearance still as foreboding and stern as always. This is in stark contrast to the Headmaster who has the appearance of a kindly grandfather looking out over his new charges. Despite his appearance the Headmaster is not one to be underestimated. Appearances after all can be deceiving. That said the Sorting Ceremony begins with the song sung out by the ancient hat and goes as follows:
‘For a millennium and some,
There are so many that have learned,
Great Hogwarts is a special home
To which we’ve all returned.
For those who are now new,
With future home as yet untold,
You must first consult with me,
Before entering the fold.
As you all may know
Four Founders stood tall.
Each unique and distinct,
But friends above all.
For Gryffindor was courageous,
If there was danger they’d come running,
For Slytherin was sly,
And they would use cunning…’
It was at this point that a certain disrespectful poltergeist known as Jeeves flew in over the head of the firsties and added his own verse to the verses sung out by the hat. Many looked annoyed at the antics of the poltergeist, though the Headmaster looked amused and unsurprised.
‘I’ve had enough of you lot!
No regard for funning!
And the old hat smells so farty,
he’ll send you lot running…’
Unwavering and keeping to the seriousness of the occasion the hat continued with his song adding,
‘For Ravenclaw was clear,
She would have the most deft,
But Hufflepuff held all most dear,
And she would take who’s left.’
But the poltergeist like all mischief makers would not be upstaged by the noble hat and added another verse of its own,
‘Ravenclaw clear? More likely batty!
And Salazar’s never sly, just simply catty!
Godric’s so brave, as brave as a mouse!
Helga’s as dear as a louse.
Say, did these four found a school or a jailhouse?’
The hat was determined to complete the song and sang out proudly the final verse the sound reaching the very rafters of the Great Hall,
‘So come sit with me a moment,
As we have so many years hence,
So we all know who you may be,
Now let the sorting commence!’
Would that it be enough to silence the annoying poltergeist who after its own attempt at having the last word would blast its way out of the castle after unleashing a foul smelling cloud of green gas throughout the Great Hall. His cackling could still be heard long after his words faded,
‘Oh here we go once again!
We’ll give ‘em what-for!
On the sound of my arse,
Let the cannons roar!’
With a start like this to such a normally serious occasion one has to wonder just what the year holds in store for the first years now waiting to be sorted. Over the next several hours name after name is called out and first years go to their respective tables to join those who would become their family over the next seven years. In all the tally of new first years went as follows:
Once all were sorted into their respective houses amidst the grumblings of hungry stomachs anxiously awaiting the feast to arrive it was time for our esteemed Headmaster to speak his words of wisdom and warning. After his usual introduction and welcome to all the students both new and returning alike he goes on to say this:
“Each of us, students and professor alike face challenges, have faced them and will continue to do so over the course of the year. Overcoming these obstacles can be difficult. You will find friends, you will find rivals, and I dare say you will find enemies. However, the greatest enemy any of you will face, is yourself. You must as young wizards and witches learn to fight yourself. Everyday, you know, you need to work, continue to show your strength, and do your best. To master magic, you will need to strive for balance. Everything too fast will do, I dare say little good. However too slow will not bring benefit either. It is true that our pasts shape us, make us who we are. But… We do not HAVE to let it define us. We can fight ourselves, and become the witch or wizard we are meant to be. Everyday new challenges will be placed before you. How will you approach them? How will they be handled? rOH HO! I dare say I’m rather curious to find out.”
This to me holds a great deal of meaning especially in light of the past year with the crisis faced by each of us. A year that saw a school divided over prejudices and hatred. Alliances shifted and none would be the same afterwards. We must indeed work to keep our balance and remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Much is expected from each of us and it is being able to fulfill those lofty expectations that we owe to all who have gone before. Wise words from the Headmaster about how our pasts do not have to define us. Each of us is in charge of our own destiny and the challenges. It how we as individuals choose to face those challenges that will define us. Let each of us work to be the very best that we can be and not a wek shadow of someone else.
Perhaps the most surprising and I am sure disappointing part of his speech, at least based on some of the groans that were heard throughout the Great Hall, was the grounds curfew set for six pm. That means no more staying out past dinner time roaming the grounds and being back in the common room no later than ten pm. Let us hope that not too many fail to keep that curfew. Not so surprising was the announcement that Professor Venom would be leaving us at the end of the year given her obvious delicate condition. She will now face her own challenges of motherhood and let us all wish her the very best in the new role she will take on. It looks like her three headed pup known as Spot, who we have all come to love and spoil with treats when allowed, will soon have a new sibling to look after and guard protectively. After the introductions of the new Professors were announced the Headmaster joined in by the students began to sing in a voice that reached the rafters easily and would seem to spread out to every corner of the Great Hall and beyond,
“Hogwarts! rOH HO!~
Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts~
Teach us something please~
Whether we be old and bald~
Or young with scabby knees~
Our heads could do with filling~
With some interesting stuff~
For now they’re bare and full of air~
Dead flies and bits of fluff~
So teach us things worth knowing~
Bring back what we’ve forgot~
Just do your best, we’ll do the rest~
And learn until our brains all rot~!”
With a dramatic wave of his wand and a hearty roh-ho the Headmaster delivered the hearty feast across the tables. Soups, pies, meats, pastries, candies and juice. Creams, steamed vegetables just about everything imaginable was laid out over the tables to the wide eyed amazement of the first years. After a very long day all took to eating the sumptuous feast pondering their futures and the excitement of what was to come. Now it begins.