There was a meeting last weekend at Owl Club and I took Wobble again. He was still the only owl at Owl Club. But I think Wobble is a member of Owl Club too, even if it is not really about owls. Because I have been sending him to Professors and others that I want to talk to. I write them letters asking to talk, and send Wobble with the letters. He brings back what they write. He likes it because it is not so cold in the castle. And he gets to be with me. And I like it because I get to be with Wobble some. Anyway, this week I talked to Professor Aphrall Norfulthing. I had to look that up. Because he told me his first name, but it is very strange and I did not know if I was spelling it right. I was not. It is spelled very differently from what I thought. I sent Wobble to Professor Norfulthing, and he wrote back right away and sent Wobble back to me. Thank you, Wobble. I gave him treats.
I met Professor Norfulthing in the Great Hall. He was at the Professors’ table. I asked if we could sit at a student table, because I had done that before with Professor Keene. But he instead told me to sit down at the Professors’ table! I did not know if I should, but he said again to sit so I did. They have the same food we do. And the room looks different from up there. Professor Norfulthing said he did not like it because he felt very far from the students. He may not like that, but many students do like the Professors to be far away because reasons. I did not tell him that, though, because I thought he could be sensitive about something like that. It is the same reason I never ask Healer Flutterby if she was raised by wolves, but I am not supposed to write that here because then people will ask her.
It is very difficult for me to eat at the Professors’ table because I am so short. I had to stand on the chair to reach the food to put it on my plate. Sorry to whoever sits there. I might have gotten a little mud on the chair. Professor Norfulthing offered me pillows or a stack of books or even to levitate me, but I was okay. And before the interview started, Colin Holbrook came up and asked me how to turn into a dragon and breathe fire so he could make Jericho die so she could turn into a ghost. He even called me ‘Professor Gwilym.’ I think he must have been joking. Because if he was not joking then he is very scary, but not in the same way that Professor Rask is very scary or other Professors. They are very scary because they can do very bad things to you. Professor Rask can cast hexes that do unthinkable things to you. But she does not want to. And the other Professors and others do not want to either. But Colin looks like he wants to. I am glad he is not able to, if he was not joking. But that kind of came after the interview started.
Anyway, here is the interview.
What is your first name?
At first I thought he said “Awful,” and that is what I wrote down. But I thought that parents would have to be very mean to call their son “Awful Norfulthing,” and it might not be true. So I started looking at my papers and I found his syllabus and it said “Aphrall Norfulthing,” so that helped. So that is his name, and not Awful Norfulthing.
Where did you grow up?
He said he was born in London. He said it is big. And that it was nasty in a day. I do not know if that means it was nasty for a day, or if it was nasty before a day. Or maybe he said it was nasty in the day, or maybe nasty back in the day, so maybe it was better at night. But he also said some other things about it, though I did not understand most of the words. They did not sound like nice words. He did say it was crap, and that it was what Hogwarts would be like if the kids were all stupid and there were no Professors. So I suppose it was bad
What do your parents do?
He said they are very very dead, and they are now both rotting. Because that is what very very dead people do. If he were Professor Esper, I might call them ‘post-vital people’ or maybe ‘people in biological retirement.’ But he does not seem to care about things like that, so we can just call them dead. Or, instead, ‘very very dead.’
You teach Charms. What do you like about Charms?
He said he does not actually like Charms that much. He thinks that teaching has peace and quiet. He said he wants to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, but he can not teach that because we already have Professors for that, and that they are still living. He said he does not want to teach Potions.
But when we were talking, this is when Colin Holbrook came to the Professors’ table and asked me how he could turn into a dragon so Jericho could die in a really cool way and become a ghost. He called me ‘Professor Gwilym,’ but I suppose Professor Norfulthing had called me that already, but I do not think he was serious. I told Colin that I did not know how to turn people into dragons and I was not a real Professor, but Professor Norfulthing told him to use human Transfiguration, or maybe learn a Wicked Fire Charm, but I do not know if that is a different kind of Fire Charm than the ones they teach us already. And he suggested throwing Jericho off the Astronomy Tower because that would be like getting carried off by a dragon. That seemed to make Colin happy. I am glad he can not do any of those things, but I wonder if he can do a Fire Charm. I can do a Fire Charm, and I am a First Year, just like Colin. Anyway, the next question I asked Professor Norfulthing was:
Does that mean that if the Defence teacher dies, you will become the Defence teacher?
He said that yes, he would want to become Defence Professor if one of them dies. But he said there is not much to like about Charms, because they are French. Or like a French woman? Maybe that? Because she can be nice, but she will still be French? I thought about Colin then, and then I said that Hogwarts is weird. But I said it in Welsh, because I am Welsh and that is my first language. And suddenly Professor Norfulthing said Hogwarts was very weird, and he said it in Welsh!
You are new at Hogwarts? What did you do before you came?
He said he did all sorts of things, but he did not say what any of the things were. And I did not ask him, because some people are sensitive about things like that. He said he has been many places, or at least some places. And he said he did some good things, and some bad things. But he said he had been a student at Hogwarts many years ago, and was a year older than Headmistress O’Keeffe.
What house were you in?
He said he was in Slytherin House, same as the Headmistress, and he said that she is very very old. Now, Professor Norfulthing had been speaking Welsh, and he said he had learned it from an old wizard in the mountains. So I asked him:
Were you in Snowdonia? That is where Caermynydd is. That is where I live with my nain and my taid. There are many mountains there.
He said he had been to Pen Y Fan, which is the tallest mountain in South Wales. Yr Wyddfa, or Snowdon, is the tallest mountain in Wales. But it is in Snowdonia, and Pen y Fan is in the Brecon Beacons, which are in the Marches, far south of Snowdonia and the rest of Gwynedd, where I am from. But he said he had been all over Wales, and that Wales had lots of powerful magic in it, and that lots of people had died in Wales.
As an Englishman, why do you like Wales so much?
For this, he answered me in Welsh. He said it was the legends, and that there is more to magic than spells and enchantments: there are creatures, there are ghosts and the magic in nature. And that Wales has a lot of all of these things. Her roots run deep into the past, and through the blood of our Welsh ancestors. There is great power in Wales, but it is also dangerous. Of course, he is right. Wales is very powerful, and her power is carried in the heart of every true Welsh person. I was very surprised to meet an Englishman who loved Wales so much. It is very nice to find someone like this. Anyway, I could have talked with Professor Norfulthing about Wales all night, but this is for Owl Club so I better get back to the questions all students want to know the answers to, and not just the Welsh ones. So I asked him:
What is your favourite sweet?
At first, he said that he does not like sweets. He asked me what I thought was good, so I said Cauldron Cakes and Chocolate Frogs and of course Sugar Quills, and Peppermint Toads too because they hop in your tummy. But he also said he likes scotch cakes.
What do you like most about Hogwarts?
He said he likes Hogwarts for what it could be. He said that it is kind of safe, and he likes that.
What do you want to change about Hogwarts?
At first he said he did not want to change anything about Hogwarts. But then he said that when Dumbledore was our Headmaster, he made it feel like a safe, happy place. But it really was not. Because there are always people who will pick on you and be mean. And there are Purebloods here who still think the same things they did many years ago, and he does not like that. And he said that there are kids here who are hurting but all that happens is they are given calming draughts. He said Hogwarts is just like everywhere else in the world. This seemed very sad to me, because I have friends here my own age, and I never had friends my own age before coming to Hogwarts. I was very scared of coming here, and there are things here that still scare me, but it can be happy too, I think. So I asked him:
So you would make Hogwarts happier?
He said maybe, and he said he would make the people better. But that you can not really do that. But he said he wants everyone here to think for themselves. Especially the kids. Maybe this means no more tests? But I did not ask him that.
What is your favourite colour?
He says maybe it is red, or maybe it is green. He did not seem happy that these are Christmas colours. I would have asked him about that, but I forgot to because he asked me what my favourite colours were and I said maybe green, maybe red or white. Or all of them.
What do you think of detentions? Do you give a lot of detentions?
He thinks detentions could be useful, if he is teaching a lesson in them. But if he can not teach a class in his detention, he would rather hex the student so he is not wasting time. But he can not hex students or the Headmistress would get very very mad at him. He once gave an Ashworth boy a detention where he had to clean Dumbledore’s grave with a towel.Is there anything you want to say to the students of Hogwarts?
He says think for ourselves, and stop listening to old hags. But I do not know if any of the Professors are hags. None of them are ugly enough. Maybe they take potions for it. I did not think to ask him about which Professors were hags. If some of them want to eat kids, then that would be bad.
Do you have a pet?
He does not have a pet. But he said he might get a cat. He thinks they are useful.
Can I make a picture of you?
He said yes so here it is.
Professor Norfulthing’s full name is Aphrall Norfulthing, and definitely not Awful Norfulthing. He seems a little weird, even for Hogwarts, because he asked me to sit at the Professors’ table and told Colin Holbrook how to turn Jericho into a ghost, but of course Colin can not do any of the things the Professor told him to do. At least, I hope he can not do any of those things. Professor Norfulthing was born in London, but he does not like London. He likes Wales instead. And he likes Wales very much, more than any English I have met. Which is a surprise. He speaks okay Welsh, which is a lot better than most other English that I have met. He really wants to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, and if you do not behave in his class, he will want to hex you if he can not teach you a class in detention. But he wants us all to think for ourselves, and I think he wants us all to be nice to each other so Hogwarts can be a happy place.
Mae’n credu yn yr hud a’r pŵer sydd yng Nghymru, a chredaf y dylai fod wedi cael ei eni yng Nghymru. Ef yw’r Saesneg cyntaf i mi gwrdd â mi rydw i wedi meddwl hynny amdano.