For my second interview this year, we have a Professor who has been here for a very, very long time: Professor Arianna von Dracheblume. Professor Dracheblume is American, and teaches Herbology. She also lives in the caretaker’s hut because she is the Keeper of Keys and Something at Hogwarts. I forgot to ask her about that. Maybe I should have. But it is too late now. I have to write this for Owl Club because it is Friday night and it is supposed to be in the paper on Saturday. So I have to write it right now.
We met in the Professors’ greenhouse. This is the one nobody ever goes in. There is a very large plant in there called Edna that probably almost everyone has heard about. But I will get to that later on. Professor Dracheblume gave me some nice apple tea. It was very good!
Anyway, since the Edna plant was right there, and it was very close, I first asked her:
Is that plant okay? It will not eat me?
She said that the plant will not eat me right now because it is ‘dormant.’ I did not know this word, so I looked it up in my Welsh-English dictionary, and there it means ‘cwsg,’ which we use to mean that someone is sleeping. So the plant would not eat me because it is sleeping. But it is a plant. Do plants sleep? I did not think so, but I suppose the dangerous people-eating plants might sleep. Except that I do not think they do. So maybe Professor Dracheblume was just trying to make me not scared. But she said that as long as I do not touch Edna, she will not bother me.
What is your first name?
She said her name is Arianna. And she spelled it for me, which is good because it is a strange name. But her last name is strange too, so I asked her:
Your full name is Arianna von Dracheblume. Do you like to be called Professor von Dracheblume or Professor Dracheblume?
Professor Dracheblume said she likes to be called ‘Professor Dracheblume’ because ‘Professor von Dracheblume’ is pretending or it is like it is pretending. She used a strange English word that sounded like maybe someone who is pretending. Anyway, she likes ‘Professor Dracheblume.’
My name is Timocleia, but nobody calls me that. They all call me Timmy. Do people call you Ari?
She said that some people do.
Your name sounds German. But you are from America? Of course, people in America have all kinds of names? Where in America did you grow up?
Professor Dracheblume said that her grandparents (her father’s parents) are from Europe. He won a coin and tossed it at her mother so he could give Professor Dracheblume her first name. And that is why she is Arianna. Or Ari. But of course to all of us she is ‘Professor.’ Anyway, her middle name is Lakota. She is not Arianna Lakota von Dracheblume, though. She is Arianna Kimimele von Dracheblume. The middle name, ‘Kimimele,’ is Lakota. The Lakota are like where she is from. I am Welsh; she is Lakota. But I had asked her where she came from, and she said it was a town called Muskogee, in a place called Oklahoma, which is a part of America.
What is Muskogee, Oklahoma like? Where is that in America?
She showed me a big map with America. And she showed me Oklahoma on the map. It is in the middle of America. So I asked her,
What is it like there? Is it… Um… Are there mountains and forests like here in Scotland? Is it… Flat like… Um… Parts of England?
She said it was both. So it has mountains and it is flat too. I do not think that she meant that it has flat mountains though. Because that would not make any sense at all. But it has forests too. She said that it was the size of nearly the whole UK. And she said it is a lot warmer than the UK. I suppose that might be a good thing. At least in winter. Winters at Hogwarts are very long.
Do they have a Wizarding school just for Oklahoma?
Professor Dracheblume said that Ilvermorny is the biggest magic school in the United States, but that it is not in Oklahoma. I do not think Oklahoma has its own school because Professor Dracheblume did not actually say it. Maybe Ilvermorny is very very big, because Oklahoma is as big as the UK, and America is much much bigger. Or maybe Oklahoma does not have many people. I forgot to ask that. Anyway, she said that America is as big as all of Europe, and that it has deserts, jungles, forests and tundra too. Then she said something about buying a sphere, but I do not know what she meant. Maybe that is an American thing.
Did you grow up in a big city? Or did you grow up in the country? On a farm?
She said that her family had a small farm, but a big ranch. I did not know what a ranch was, so I asked her, and she said it is where cats live. She said they had hundreds of acres of land for the cats. It is like a dragon preserve. But for cats. But I think she was saying cat-tail, instead of cats. I do not know why she said that. Maybe it is an American thing.
So you grew up on a farm in America… Okay… Is that why you teach Herbology?
She said it was not! But she was always good at Herbology. She loves plants and she loves teaching.
Have you been at Hogwarts a very long time?
The Professor has been at Hogwarts a very long time. Six years! That is a very long time indeed. It is more than half my life. She must be very old, but I did not ask her how old she was because some people are sensitive about things like that.
What did you do before you came to Hogwarts?
She said she taught very young kids. She taught wixen, not Muggles. She taught them how to read, and math, and history. They were Lakota children near the cat ranch. They live on something called a Reservation.
What is Lakota?
This is when Professor Dracheblume said that she is Lakota. And that Lakota people are Native Americans. Her mother is Lakota, but her father is European. They have their own language, which she speaks. She also said there are many kinds of Native American, not just Lakota. They lived in America long before any Europeans went there, and Europeans moved them from their own lands to Reservations, like they did to the Centaurs.
So you mean that it is like what the English did to the Welsh?
She did not know much about the history of Wales. I could talk a lot about Wales, of course, but I will not do that here because Professor Dracheblume is Lakota, not Welsh. If she were Welsh I might write a lot about that. Anyway, we talked about Welsh history some. But she said that the Europeans treated the Lakota like savages. They were like that with all the Native Americans, not just the Lakota. Anyway, the Lakota sound a lot like the Welsh in some ways. Maybe not in all ways. I do not think they have Welsh cakes.
What is your favourite sweet?
Professor Dracheblume likes caramels.
Why do you wear the feathers all the time? Is that Lakota? Or is it American?
She said it is a Lakota tradition. It is something that her family does, because her mother’s family name is Blue Feathers. So the feathers are blue and they are for the family. They get feathers in the family when they go to Ilvermorny, or graduate from school, or for other reasons. But I did not ask more about that, because sometimes people get sensitive about things like that.
What is your favourite colour? Is it blue?
She said it is purple. And she laughed! Her eyes are purple.
What is most different about Hogwarts from Ilvermorny?
The Professor said that Ilvermorny is like Hogwarts a lot of ways. But they have different house names. And they do not get their wands until they get into their houses. Like Hogwarts, they had four founders, but one of them was a Muggle. Except that she did not say Muggle, because Americans do not say Muggle. They say ‘no-maj,’ and I do not understand why they would have a different word. They speak English, after all. I suppose if Izzy can call shoes ‘creps’ that an American can call a Muggle a ‘no-maj.’ She said there is no blood purity in America. I do not know what that means. I forgot to ask.
What do you like most about Hogwarts?
She said that the students are not the best, but they have a band and work together and overcome problems rising. Maybe you will not know what that means. I did not know. But I did not know how to ask without getting more confused by more answers. If you know what it means, please tell me.
What do you think of detentions? Do you give a lot of detentions?
Professor Dracheblume said she tries not to give detentions. But late students have been far more disreputable in her classes. So she is failing not to give detentions now. I suppose that means she is giving lots more detentions now than she did before. Other Professors have said that to me too. Maybe there is something wrong with the water here at Hogwarts.
Is there anything you would like to say to the students of Hogwarts? It can be anything
She said that we have a world and choices. And that it does not matter what we think or our parents because we make choices and that is what we do. So we need to choose to be good and better at what we are doing. So if you are going to cheat, cheat better? I did not ask her that specifically for maybe obvious reasons.
Is there anything you would change about Hogwarts?
She said she did not know, but that kids in the UK are different because of blood purity and that sort of thing. But maybe the school is trying to fix us all, and she likes that.
Do you have a pet?
When she answered, I was really embarrassed because of course she has pets. She has lots of pets. She has the flying horse, which she says called an Aethonan. Her name is Mayip. Of course, I have fed that horse, and I am sure many others have too. She is very nice and sweet. And of course there are all the chickens and everything else at the Caretaker’s Hut. And there is the unicorn, Calypso. Calypso’s mother was killed two years ago, when she was very little, and she has been living there ever since.
I have heard many things about Edna. Is she a pet too?
The Professor said that Edna is a force. I do not know what that means. But I think it means she is not a pet. Professor Dracheblume also said the Whomping Willow was a force too. So maybe Edna is dangerous like the Whomping Willow. I have heard many scary things about Edna, and I did not like sitting right next to her. The Professor did say she had a Screech Snap called Twoie who died when a dragon attacked the Caretaker’s Hut. The other pets ran away, but Twoie was a plant that could not run so could not get away from the dragon’s fire. It happened three years ago.
There are many sad things here at Hogwarts. Is it always like this?
She said it is kind of like this sometimes and not other times. There are years when not much happens, and there are years when many bad things happen.
Is this a year when many things are happening?
Professor Dracheblume said this year is not as busy as some. And not as not busy as some.
I have a camera from Owl Club. Can I make a picture of you?
She said yes so here it is.
Anything else you want to say?
She said that her door is always open. But it is usually closed. So I am confused about that. Maybe this is an American thing. She said something about students that want to talk about anything. So maybe she means she will open the door if you want to talk about anything.
Professor Arianna Kimimele von Dracheblume is a very nice Lakota lady who likes to be called Professor Dracheblume, and not Professor von Dracheblume, because that would be pretending or something. She grew up in a place called Oklahoma that is much warmer than the UK, and is about as big, but maybe there are not so many people there. She grew up on a cat ranch which is like a dragon preserve except that it is for cats. And she called all the cats ‘cat-tail’ because that is an American thing. She wears blue feathers because her mother’s family is called Blue Feathers and they give them at important events. She used to teach Lakota kids, but now she teaches us Herbology. The Lakota sound not so different from the Welsh in many ways. She has a lot of pets, but some of them are dead now because sad things keep happening at Hogwarts. She has been here a very long time. She must be very old, but I did not ask her if she takes potions because sometimes people are sensitive about things like that.