Hi everybody. Happy Easter! I have Chosen this Little one-shot how Hagrid's first class in COMC in Prisoner of Azkaban could have gone, had he asked for some assistance in how to set up the class in an interesting and still safe way. This was the result.
As always, I don't own Harry Potter, just this Little idea. Hope you enjoy it.
Hagrid's First Lesson
Hagrid was over the moon. Headmaster Dumbledore, great man Dumbledore, had just come down to his hut after being told by Professor Kettleburn that he wanted to retire from teaching Care of Magical Creatures as long as he still had some limbs remaining. Dumbledore had offered the job to Hagrid, even if he didn't graduate from Hogwarts, thanks to being blamed for the opening of the Chamber of Secrets when he was just in his third year. Hagrid had always wanted to teach others about the incredible creatures out there. He was going to show the students so many great creatures. Hippogriffs, thestrals, griffins, it was a true shame that Hogwarts didn't have any dragons. Of course, the students also had to learn about the less interesting creatures like unicorns, nifflers and bowtruckles, but he would make it a very good mix of them, keeping them interested.
The first thing he did was writing down all the creatures that lived around Hogwarts. He had always believed that interacting with a creature was much better than just reading a book about it. He needed until dinner for this, and once he had eaten, he started the feeding of the creatures he was still responsible for. While doing so, he had a thought. He would have to teach all houses and years, and there were many that didn't like him, simply because he hadn't graduated from school. He wasn't at fault for that, but they would hold it against him. That meant, if he didn't want to disappoint Dumbledore, and he was loath to do so, he would have to make sure that his classes couldn't be attacked in any way. And especially Lucius Malfoy would be out for revenge, as he didn't manage to sack Dumbledore during the last School year.
He pondered the issue. He wanted to show all students all the great creatures. But he would have to do so in a way that was safe. He honestly believed that many creatures were just severely misunderstood. But others, and he knew how many comments the idiots at the Ministry of Magic would make, how they saw many of the creatures, prejudiced lot, would give him trouble. He remembered all the stories about the beginnings of Newt Scamander, who had been a pioneer in making magical creatures better liked in society. He had been a student at Hogwarts when they started using his book 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' for classes.
He also knew stories that Dumbledore had told about Scamander, as the two knew each other. Dumbledore had taught him before Scamander was expelled. But he, contrary to Hagrid, got to keep his wand rights. But then again, he hadn't been blamed for getting a fellow student killed. But this gave Hagrid an idea. Scamander was friendly with Dumbledore, so probably he would be open to giving him some hints of how to go about his class in a way the Ministry busy bodies wouldn't be able to target.
Decision made, he went to his hut and started writing a letter, before he would go and see Dumbledore about the adress of Scamander.
Hagrid stood in front of his first class ever. Incidentally it was a third-year class with Harry Potter and his friends in it, to which he had a special relationship, having them over at his hut for tea regularly. But in class he had to be impartial. The advice Newt had given him, Hagrid had become friends with the man and his wife during their visit to Hogwarts in the summer, would be extremely valuable.
"Good afternoon everybody, I know you have all seen me around before, but from this year on, I'm Professor Rubeus Hagrid, for the subject Care of Magical Creatures. I'm a certified Magi-zoologist, I gained my official certificate in the subject from Newt Scamander himself last summer. I have over forty years of experience in working with magical creatures, therefore, I expect you to follow my instruction on how to behave in their company. Magical Creatures are wonderful, but if you don't know how to handle them, they can attack to defend themselves. Those of you that have cats will know that you should always be wary of their claws and teeth, which they will use, if you don't treat them properly," pointed Hagrid out.
He was also speaking slowly and as clearly as possible, as Porpentina Scamander had pointed out that his accent could be difficult for the students to understand otherwise. Newt had suggested he used an easily understandable example that most children would be able to relate to, and cats were on the approved list of pets for the students.
"For today, I will give you an idea which creatures we will be covering this year. I have prepared several examples all around here, which we will see while walking around. All of them are currently in paddocks, cages, tanks, whatever their preferred environment is and so on. As you are just beginning to study this subject, you will first be exposed to the easier to handle creatures and we will work our way up to the more impressive and interesting ones. But I didn't see any reason to not at least show you some of the latter, to give you something to look forward to in the future."
That was another suggestion from Newt. Hagrid had wanted to start with an impressive creature, but Newt and Tina had argued that inexperienced children would be better off if you at first only let them look at those creatures. Even Newt had only let Jacob Kowalski, his muggle friend, work with the harmless creatures when he was travelling to New York in the twenties to bring Frank the thunderbird back to Arizona.
"Today I want you to just look. You don't need to take any notes; therefore, you may leave your school bags at my hut until the end of the lesson. Though I advise you to listen carefully, as the information I give you will come up again in future lessons. Now, we will start with an example of a more difficult creature, it's about two minutes of walking from here. Follow me."
Hagrid showed the class, which all left their bags behind, around the edge of the forest, where several paddocks were located, in which he had assembled the first type of creatures. He liked the awed exclamations of the children when they spotted them.
"These beauties are hippogriffs. In the wizarding world, they were used for travelling, transport of large deliveries of goods over long distances, especially before portkeys were discovered, and also as guards for wizarding properties much further in the past. For a long time, the common magical folks didn't know how to properly handle them, which meant that their proud nature and tendency to attack if they felt insulted made them hard to get past. Some also considered them status symbols, as they look very impressive. Once it was spread how to handle them, the transport aspect became predominant for their position in the wizarding world.
"Today, they mostly work in businesses where you deal with sensitive things that react badly to spells being used to handle them. Common spells like the levitation charm to move crates can badly influence certain potion ingredients, which Professor Snape can tell you more about. It is also what the Hogwarts hippogriffs are used for most of the time. A grown hippogriff can carry about two hundred kilos of good easily, plus its rider. Meaning, you could have three hundred kilos of weight one of them carried each day."
The children looked interested.
"Hippogriffs will be covered in spring, as you first need to collect experience with less difficult creatures. Now let's continue."
They left the paddocks behind and Hagrid showed them to a series of small cages with a glass front, showing several small black creatures with a beak.
"Inside these cages are nifflers. They are harmless, except that they are extreme kleptomaniacs. They will steal everything shiny they find. Newt Scamander had to chase one of these little guys through New York back in the twenties, which had managed to slip into the vault of a muggle banks and stuffed all kinds of treasure into its sac. And those sacs can hold much more than you would imagine. If you work with nifflers, you have to always make sure that your valuables are either tightly secured to your body, or even better, not have any on you, as they will go after them."
The students nodded, and some girls cooed over the cute creatures. It didn't seem like them being that naughty.
"Now we will go to an aviary, as the birds we will look at now like flying around a lot," informed Hagrid and the walk around continued.
The aviary was about a minute from the cages of the nifflers and they could already see it. It was a lot larger than the cages.
"Now, inside this aviary is a rare kind of bird, which was driven close to extinction by wizards," started Hagrid when a small yellow ball seemed to zoom along the small bars of the aviary.
"What was that?" asked Parvati Patil surprised.
"That was one of the creatures I spoke of, Miss Patil," commented Hagrid, "These little guys are completely harmless and actually quite cuddly. They are golden snidgets."
"Really?" exclaimed Ron Weasley excitedly, as did several other Quidditch enthusiasts.
"Really, Mr Weasley. As I said, they were driven to extinction, and the reason why is that they were used instead of the snitches that are used in Quidditch these days. The snidgets inside the aviary are part of the breeding program that Hogwarts participates in, which is promoted by the ICW. Each year, the licenced breeding parties, Hogwarts has been licenced since the 1960s, meet and exchange the data about their snidgets. We want to avoid breeding the birds too close to their own lines, as then the offspring tends to be more prone to illnesses and the like."
Especially the muggleborns nodded at that, having been told about inbreeding in the muggle world.
"With a limited stock of birds, this requires exchanging specimens regularly. The snidgets will be covered in class as one of the earlier creatures, as they are very easy to handle and not dangerous. Though only those that have passed a test before we get to that point will actually be allowed to interact with them, as there are strict ICW rules for this, simply because of their rarity."
Even the Slytherins that didn't like Hagrid, understood why those rules were in place. Nobody wanted to be responsible for accidentally killing such a rare creature and then having to pay reparations. Not to mention that the birds were very cute. One of them had landed on a branch they could see, and it really wasn't larger than a walnut.
They continued, and Hagrid showed them bowtruckles, mentioning that they were part of the fourth-year curriculum, then crups, fire crabs, salamanders and then some abraxans to finish the tour.
"The abraxans we have here are typical examples of their species with golden fur and a silver mane. These two have been sent here because the Beauxbatons stables are undergoing renovations and they didn't have the space to keep all their school's abraxans. Where Hogwarts uses thestrals to pull our carriages from the station to the school, Beauxbatons in France uses Abraxans," explained Hagrid, "As the two will only stay here until February, they will be part of all years' Care of Magical Creature lessons until then. As you are beginners, you will learn about them in October or so."
"What are thestrals, Professor?" Lavender Brown asked, "I always thought that the carriages didn't have any creatures pulling them, as you can't see anything."
"They are special horses that can only be seen by those that have seen death, Miss Brown. They are carnivores and Hogwarts has one of the only domesticated herds in the wizarding world. Due to the aspect of only a few people being able to see them, they are considered unlucky by superstitious people. Thestrals are very useful to have around though. Professor Dumbledore regularly uses them to travel to ICW conferences in other countries, as international portkeys can be very unpleasant for the body. He also collects several of his ICW colleagues on the way there, as they agree with him that using a thestral-drawn carriage was much better than suffering the often-sickening effects of international portkeys," answered Hagrid, "Though you won't be introduced to the thestrals before fifth year at the earliest."
The students filed that information away again.
"Alright, we are done with our tour. For the next class, I want you all to read up on three creatures. The first one is the flobberworms. We will only cover them in your first lesson briefly, as, while they have to be covered in class, they aren't hard to handle and don't require any kind of actual skill. The second one is the fwooper. The third one is the occamy. We will be covering both of them during the first two lessons. I have a fwooper here among the magical creatures at Hogwarts and as Newt Scamander is still visiting Great Britain currently, he has agreed to show you all some of his occamies."
Many whispered excitedly at the chance to meet the famous, sometimes infamous, expert on magical creatures.
"Now, that's all for today. I don't require any essays for homework for today, but I will quiz you on those three creatures next class. Dismissed," announced Hagrid, and was happy to see the interested and happy faces of the children.
This was how he had hoped his first class would be going. He saw his three young friends come over.
"And, how did you like the lesson?" He asked, interested at their comments.
"It was great, Hagrid," declared Harry, "I think this will be a class I will truly enjoy."
"Good to hear," appreciated Hagrid.
"You certainly managed to show us a lot of cool creatures. I mean, real golden snidgets. I never knew that Hogwarts had any of those," gushed Ron.
"If they are part of an official breeding program, I would think they would only show them to those learning how to take care of magical creatures properly," stated Hermione, "It was good to see how you gave us an idea of what to expect in the future, while also mentioning the dangers. I think, had we just started right away, Malfoy and his goons would have disturbed the class."
Hagrid nodded, knowing he would have to look out for something like that during the next classes. But he had been given ideas of how to manage. He would share his love for all creatures and perhaps some of them would start liking them as much as he and Newt did.