CHAPTER 3

INTRODUCTION TO WIZARDING WORLD

Disclaimer – Harry Potter belongs solely to J.K. Rowling and I am unfortunately not earning anything from it.

25th July, 2004

After continuous rain for a week, the sun had finally shown. On this sunny day, Harry Potter attended his Martial Arts and Fencing classes, returned, took a shower and went down to make breakfast. Harry quickly finished his chores of the day which took most of the morning. After that he finished his lunch and went back to his room. There he found a surprise waiting for him. There sitting on his bed was an owl carrying a small box. He cautiously went up to it and untied the parcel. He opened it carefully and found a few envelopes in it.

The first letter went like this:

Dear Mr Harry Potter

We have received your acceptance letter and therefore are sending you a few pamphlets and documents which give you a brief outlook of our world. So please read it carefully as it will answer a great deal of questions you must be having.

Also, on 30th July, at 12 o'clock you will receive a visit from a school representative who would then escort you to Diagon Alley where you will get all the things that you require for the school session.

Have a good day.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Headmistress

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

After reading the letter Harry got really excited and quickly browsed through the received documents. He found out about the ministry, its various departments, and its jurisdiction i.e. the Wizengamot and the current holders of important offices. He also found a document regarding the school detailing the history, infrastructure, subjects and future prospects. After reading about the description of Hogwarts he didn't think he would be able to wait for that long.

A permanent smile had been plastered on his face for the whole day. When Aunt Petunia saw him, she just smiled while shaking her face remembering how Lily had been the same too. The next day after having lunch, Aunt Petunia called Harry to her room and gave him a carton.

"This box contains a few things of Lily that I have, but I think you would appreciate them much more. So keep it with you. Consider this as your advance birthday gift from your aunt." She said with a smile.

Harry was shocked. He was viewing the box as if it was a bible. He slowly and very carefully took it out of his Aunt's hands and gave her a one armed hug, his eyes just watering a bit. He quickly wiped his eyes before a tear could escape and said a heartfelt 'thank you' to her. He turned around to leave but just as he reached the door he looked at his aunt and said,

"This is the best birthday gift that anyone could have ever asked for." And with that he went to his room.

As soon as he reached his room, he started opening the box. Inside the box he found a bunch of letters, a photo album and the blanket in which he came here. He quickly pulled out the album and opened it to find himself looking at a newborn. As he turned the snaps, he found his mother at various stages of her life. He saw her first walk, her sitting on the swing laughing with Aunt Petunia, her first day to school, in the Hogwarts uniform and various other snaps. In the last pages he found the snaps of his parents. He quickly noticed that he looked a lot like his father but had his mother's eyes. His mother was very beautiful and her eyes shined with intelligence. On the other hand his father looked handsome too but with mischievousness shining in his hazel eyes. His hair was much wilder than Harry's making him thankful that he had not inherited them. All in all, for the first time Harry felt that his parents were much more than just names.

Next few days were like years for Harry. He had read all the pamphlets multiple times and was waiting for the school representative with great impatience. Finally the day arrived. Harry considered it the most important day of his life. The aunt and nephew had decided that they would not tell Uncle Vernon anything and would let the school representative explain everything.

That day Harry woke up really excited. He remembered how he went to meet his friends yesterday and they gave him best wishes and gifts for his birthday as today he would not be able to go celebrate with them. He quickly got ready for the day in his best clothes and spent a bit more than usual time in front of the mirror as he wanted to look the best he could. Since today was a Sunday, Uncle Vernon was home and reading the newspaper a bit more thoroughly as compared to other days. He quickly prepared breakfast and did all his chores by eleven.

The last hour felt like a year to Harry. He revised the pamphlets one more time, did a few extra chores, cleaned his room once more and finally just sat down on his bed. He waited a few more minutes and suddenly the bell rang and he ran down at full speed to open the door and to his utter dismay found a salesman. He quickly told him he did not want anything and shut the door on his face in anger. As he reached the topmost stair on his way back to the door, the bell once again rang. This time Harry got even more angry, went downstairs, opened the door and screamed on top of his lungs,

"WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN ANYTHING YOU HAVE FOR US. SO PICK YOUR SKINNY ARSE AND…"

Harry's mouth had gone slack as for the first time he saw not the salesman but a lady who looked to be in her fifties. She was wearing a long cloak which he guessed could be called robes of bottle green color. Both of them opened and closed their mouths for a few moments till the voice of Uncle Vernon took them out of stupor. "Who is it, boy?" he asked.

Harry turned to face her and found a stern face looking down at him. It seems she only required a few moments to regain her composure. She asked in a very stern voice,

"Are you by any chance Harry Potter?"

"Yes, I am Harry Potter" he replied a bit nervously.

"Thought so" she mumbled to herself, and then drew herself to her full height before continuing,

"Mr Potter, my name is Minerva McGonagall. I am the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." She introduced herself.

'Oh shit! What a way to give a first impression!' this was the only thought going through Harry's mind.

Harry calmed himself a bit and then spoke "Hello Madam McGonagall. Sorry for earlier. It's just that the salesman was frustrating me a lot, so I….er…please come in." he said remembering his manners.

After she entered the house he asked her a bit curiously, "How did you know that I was Harry?"

"I have taught your parents and knew them well enough and you look a lot like your father that I didn't have any problem identifying you." She said with a small smile.

"Really, how…." Harry was speaking excitedly when he was interrupted by his uncle's voice,

"Who was it, boy? And why were you yelling?"

"He doesn't know that you will be coming. I thought maybe you would explain him better?"

Harry quickly said in a hushed voice to the professor. Professor McGonagall pursed her lips but nodded all the same.

Harry went into the sitting area and said,

"Uncle Vernon, there is someone out there to meet you."

His uncle looked up and said,

"OK then, what are you waiting for, call them in quickly."

Harry went to Professor McGonagall and took her to his uncle. As soon as Uncle Vernon saw her, he rose from the armchair he was sitting on and shouted,

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? YOUR KIND IS NOT WELCOME IN MY HOUSE."

"Mr Dursley, my name is Minerva McGonagall. I am the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Our school has offered a place to Mr Potter so that he could learn to utilize his gift and become a responsible wizard." Professor McGonagall spoke not even a bit fazed with his Uncle's greeting.

"I DO NOT WANT YOU TO SPEAK ABOUT THAT HOCUS-POCUS OF YOURS IN MY HOUSE. GET OUT FROM HERE BEFORE I CALL THE POLICE AND CHARGE YOU FOR BREAKING AND ENTERING." Replied his Uncle, his color turning beet red.

"Harry Potter has his name written in our records since the time he was born. So there is nothing you can do about it." She said in a no-nonsense voice.

"I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT FOOLS TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS." Uncle Vernon roared turning purple.

"His fee has already been paid for all seven years by his parents, so you don't need to spend money for the school." She argued.

Before Uncle Vernon could start shouting once more, Aunt Petunia placed a hand on his shoulder. She then asked for him to talk to her in private. They went to the parlor and as soon as she shut the door, she said "I think we should let him go to that school of his."

Vernon's eyes went round and he said "But we had decided while taking him in that we would keep him away from all that rubbish. Don't you remember?"

"I do, but now they have already found us and they won't let us live our lives normally till we agree to send him to that school. And think about it like this, we don't have to pay for his schooling and he would be away at that school of his for nine months and only come here for his summer vacations. So we are almost getting rid of him. Isn't this what we always wanted? We shouldn't let this chance get out of our hands." She explained using all her cunning.

Vernon pondered on her reasoning for a few moments and finally a grin broke out on his face. He said,

"You are a genius Petunia. I always knew I married you for a reason. I think you are completely right. I will go and tell her that we will allow the boy to go to their school."

With that both of them walked to the sitting room to find Professor McGonagall sitting on a sofa and surveying her surroundings. As Harry's eyes met his aunt's, she said nothing and just gave him a wink which he understood meant her success.

Uncle Vernon cleared his throat and said in a gruff voice "I have decided that I will allow him to be sent to that school of yours. Now take him, and go away from my house as soon as possible because I don't want you to further waste my time."

"It would most certainly be my pleasure to get away from people like you." She said with as much disgust as she could.

As she started rising, Dudley came inside after enjoying free time with his friends. As soon as she saw him she asked Uncle Vernon "Is he your son?"

"Yup, a very good boy, don't you think?" he said proudly.

Professor McGonagall snorted in disgust and said "When I was coming here, I saw him bullying small children but I neglected it because there was nothing I could do. And after your rude behavior I really wanted to teach you a lesson. It seems I found out just what I need to do."

And with that she pointed her wand towards Dudley's back and gave it a flick. As an effect a pig tail sprouted out of his back. All the Dursleys screamed as one, completely terrified. On the other hand Harry was rolling on the floor laughing very hard and clutching both sides of his stomach. He didn't remember the last time he laughed so hard.

"Until next week, every time he bullies someone he will sprout a pigtail for a day. So the only way to get rid of it is by not bullying. Also if you ever decide to blame Harry for his problem, you will find yourself facing a witch who can change you in any animal of her choice."

As if to prove the point she turned into a tabby cat for a few moments and then changed into her usual self. Harry was very surprised and looked at her in awe. He just wanted to ask her how he himself could do it. By now all the Dursleys were hiding behind the couch not wanting to face the irate witch. She had an expression of satisfaction on her face and seemed to be quite pleased with her work.

"Are you ready to go Mr Potter?" she asked him.

"Yes ma'am." Harry replied quickly.

Harry was a bit intimidated after seeing the way she handled his family. He felt that the Dursleys deserved whatever they got. He knew that whatever may happen he would never be able to forgive them for the way he was treated in his childhood. Now coming to the present Harry found himself following Professor McGonagall down the road towards the alley.

After coming to a secluded spot, she turned towards Harry and said "Whatever I did inside will not be discussed anywhere else. Do you get it?" Harry nodded and said nothing.

"We have to go to Diagon Alley where you will get everything you need for the school year. Now I'm going to call Knight Bus. This is a kind of wizarding transport that many people use every day. To call it you just have to put your wand out and give it a flick.

Then she did the aforementioned actions and there was a deafening BANG and out of nowhere a violently purple colored triple decker bus appeared. A conductor in a purple uniform leapt out of the bus and began speaking loudly,

"Welcome to the Knight bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch and wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor for the day."

"Diagon Alley for two." Professor said in a clipped voice.

"Of course, Professor McGonagall. A galleon and five sickles, but for four more you get either hot chocolate or a hot-water bottle with a toothbrush." Stan answered in a bored voice.

Professor just nodded and quickly handed over the required amount and boarded on bus after Harry. They quickly found two seats.

"Take 'her away Ern." Came the shout of Stan.

With a bang Knight Bus started moving. Harry found himself flattened in his chair and held onto it strongly. Harry was looking out of the window, feeling increasingly nervous. Ernie didn't seem to have mastered the use of steering wheels. The Knight Bus kept mounting the pavement, but it didn't hit anything; lines, lamp posts, letter boxes and bins jumped out of the way as it approached and back into position after it passed. Throughout the journey Harry kept asking the Professor more about Hogwarts and she didn't seem a least bit irritated with him at the barrage of questions. Harry found out that she taught Transfiguration which was a branch of magic of changing one thing to another. Finally after twenty minutes they arrived at their destination and filed out of the bus. Harry found himself looking at a tiny, grubby-looking pub.

"Expecting a bit more weren't you. The name is Leaky Cauldron. It has to be kept a bit shabby because we don't want any extra attention from the muggles. Now through this inn, is the entrance to Diagon alley." Said Professor in an understanding voice. With that she steered him inside.

For a famous place, it was very dark and shabby. A few old women were sitting in a corner, drinking tiny glasses of sherry. One of them was smoking a long pipe. A little man in a top hat was talking to the old barman, who was quite bald and looked like a gummy walnut. The low buzz of chatter stopped when they walked in. Everyone seemed to know her; they waved and smiled at her to which she nodded and went along. Finally she reached the barman who was talking to two other men. One was a pale young man wearing purple turban while the other was a giant of a man with his face almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild tangled beard, with eyes glinting like black beetles under all the hair.

"Hello Professor McGonagall. Escorting a new kid, eh? I have something to do for Professor Dumbledore at Gringotts but I thought I could do with the drink." Said the giant man.

"Then you should have finished it while you were still sober. Alright then come with me. I am going to Gringotts too." she commanded. The giant man flushed a little but nodded all the same and started getting up.

The barman called out to Professor, "Can I get anything for you Professor McGonagall?"

"No Tom, it's official business and we are just…" the professor started but was interrupted by a gasp. The barman had just got his eyes on Harry and was staring at him in awe.

"Bless my soul," whispered the old barman. "Is this… can this be-?"

"Yes, he is Harry Potter, now if you would please excuse us." She said in a low voice briskly while the barman grabbed Harry's hand and was shaking it enthusiastically.

"WHAT? HE HAS GROWN UP A LOT. LAST TIME I SAW YOU, YOU WERE A LITTLE TYKE." Said the giant man while shaking Harry's hand with tears protruding through his eyes.

His loud voice captured the attention of quite a few patrons who seemed to be staring in their direction. Professor McGonagall quickly intervened before the giant man could do anything else.

"Hagrid! Control yourself and lower your voice. We don't want a commotion here." She then turned to Harry and said "Mr Potter, meet Rubeus Hagrid. He is the Gamekeeper of Hogwarts. Also, the one behind him is Professor Quirrell. He teaches Defence against the Dark Arts." she said referring to the man with the purple turban.

He shuffled over and introduced himself personally, shaking his hand while stuttering.

Harry didn't know much about the subject Defense against the Dark Arts, but somehow the stuttering man didn't look like he could defend himself against anything. Professor McGonagall steered him away while motioning to Hagrid to follow them. She led him through the bar and out into a small, walled courtyard, where there was nothing but a dustbin and a few weeds. Professor McGonagall took out her wand again and began counting the bricks in the wall above the dustbin. When she found the brick she was looking for she tapped it three times with the point of her wand. The brick quivered, a small hole appeared in the middle – it grew wider and wider – a second later it was an archway large enough even for Hagrid, which led to a sight resulting in Harry's mouth to open in astonishment.

To be continued . . .