Chapter 8
Class Clowns

Monday, September 2nd, 1991
Great Hall – Gryffindor Table
Time: 12:30 PM

Dear Diary,

I suppose I have a few minutes to write to you before I should be headed up to the library. I already have a big essay I need to be working on! Luckily, it is free period until two, then I have to go to Charms. Right now I am in the Great Hall with the rest of the first years and those many other students who don't have classes at this hour.

I see Harry Potter and Ron Weasley have found their way into the Great Hall. I guess that isn't a surprise since this is the third time they've been here, but it seems like the only place, beside the Gryffindor Tower, they can find without getting completely lost.

They were ten minutes late to our first class today, History of Magic, because they had gotten lost! But the teacher, Professor Binns – who is an actual ghost! – just continued his lecture on a goblin named Emeric the Evil, and didn't even notice the boys were late. I asked them why they were so late, and while Ron – still quite rude, I can't understand why – told me it was none of my business, Harry told me they accidentally found themselves down the forbidden third floor corridor and the caretaker Mr. Filch had caught them. I'm not sure if he was lying about it being an accident or not, because the History of Magic classroom wasn't even on the third floor!

After History of Magic, we first year Gryffindors, as well as the Ravenclaws went out to the greenhouses for Herbology. I have to admit, I'm not really one for plants, but for our first class, Professor Sprout gave us a long introduction on different magical plants, and differences between magical and Muggle plants. I have to say it was pretty interesting. Neville Longbottom, however, seemed extremely interested. After Herbology, on our way up here to the Great Hall for lunch, he even talked to me about the class and asked if I liked it then told me it was definitely his favorite class – he's quite excited we have it three days a week.

Let's see... well, other than classes, something else has happened that you might be interested in, dear diary. It seems Parvati and Padma weren't at all very wrong about how everyone would be pretty interested in Harry Potter. Even now, I see students looking over at our table toward him, then whispering to their neighbors. It is very silly, in my opinion. Harry obviously doesn't understand it. I don't think he even read much from his school books this summer... I know he read part of his History of Magic book, because he named his owl, Hedwig, and that was one of the names in the book. Anyway, I tried to tell him just to ignore the stares and whispers, but I'm not sure if he liked my advice.

Well, I better finish up lunch so I can get to the library. That History of Magic essay is not due until a week from tomorrow, but it has to be twelve inches long and we have another round of the class tomorrow and I bet we'll be taking more notes! So I need to get my essay done before my homework starts to pile up!

Love, Hermione

Monday, September 2nd, 1991
Common Room – Gryffindor Tower
Time: 11:30 PM

Dear Diary,

Yawn. Remember when I said I feared my sleep schedule was going to be completely messed up. I was right. Already an hour-and-a-half past my usual bed-time, and my plans to go to bed around midnight don't seem very accurate. Though late-night studying, even on the first day, seems to be a common thing. Ron's brother Percy is sitting at a table nearby, and while he is working on his homework, he also had the Prefect duties of making sure everyone was in the Common Room by curfew (ten-o-clock), so every now and then, I see him counting heads of students. Must be a tough job, because he has to remember the numbers of students he's already counted who have gone to bed. Harry and Ron, apparently have not missed their bedtime, because they are not here in the Common Room.

Or perhaps, they have once again gotten lost and are somewhere in the castle, an hour-and-a-half past curfew!

Oh, nope... I just asked Percy, and he said he saw his brother and Harry go upstairs an hour ago. I wonder if they have even started on their History of Magic homework, or even read a few pages of the first chapter of "Standard Book of Spells" for Charms. They do seem like the type of boys who will put off their homework until the last minute. I hardly see the point in that!

Charms is definitely my favorite class so far. It has the most spell-work we'll be doing all year, and Professor Flitwick was giving us a preview of all the spells we'd learn this year. I, of course, read up on the spells so I knew what we'd be learning, but to actually see some of those in action was quite wonderful. Professor Flitwick is quite the amusing teacher, I must say. He's half-dwarf or something, so he is quite small, and he had to stand up on a pile of books to teach classes. He was giving out roll-call today, and when he called on Harry Potter's name, he squeaked excitedly and fell off the books!

It seems students aren't the only ones who are excited to see Harry. I still don't understand it completely. I just want to be his friend because he looks like he needs one – even though he seems to already be best friends with Ron. Everyone else – except, perhaps Ron and his brothers – want to be friends with him because he is famous. He doesn't even completely understand why he's famous! Don't they understand that?

Anyway, Transfiguration and Defense are tomorrow. Luckily there is a long free period and lunch in between the two because from the whispers I hear around, those classes seem like the two subjects that we'll get the most homework from. So I need to read up on at least one or two chapters of the Transfiguration book – even though I read it all this past summer - so I can be prepared for the class tomorrow, and I'll save my Defense reading until free period.

I really do need to get to bed sometime soon if I am going to be well-rested for class tomorrow!

Love, Hermione

Tuesday, September 3rd, 1991
Time: 4:30 PM

Dear Diary

Well, I was right. Transfiguration and Defense does seem like the two classes whose Professors will give us the most homework. I was planning on writing to you during free period today since I only had two classes today, but Professor McGonagall gave us a load of homework today.

We had to practice, as Percy Weasley had predicted, turning matchsticks into needles. It is quite difficult. Most of the class didn't get very far, but Professor McGonagall gave me a smile today when she saw that my matchstick had turned silver and nicely pointy. I guess the Sorting Hat was right about me. I do seem to be one of the students ahead of the rest of the class in a few subjects. Though I must say the best part of class today was when Professor McGonagall turned her desk into a pig at the start of class. It was quite amusing to see other students in class looking as if they thought we'd learn how to do that already. If they'd have read the Transfiguration book at all, they'd have seen that object-to-animal transfiguration is very complex. I hardly doubt we will even begin that this year – maybe not even next year!

Professor McGonagall also told us that "Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts" then warned us that if we do not pay attention, she'll remove us from class and we won't come back. My bet is on Harry and Ron to be the first two students who are removed from the class. They are the definition of class clowns! They were a couple minutes late, and Professor McGonagall threatened to transfigure one of them into a map so the other could find their way to class! It was quite amusing to see the looks on their faces.

Defense class was – well, how should I put this – kind of underwhelming. Professor Quirrel stutters and titters a lot and sometimes I could hardly understand him. He seems to be quite afraid of some of the things he teaches. For his introduction on the class, he told us his turban he wears was a thank-you gift from an African prince for frightening off a terrifying zombie. I'm not sure I can believe him or not. Because when Seamus Finnigan asked him how he fought off the zombie, Professor Quirrel laughed nervously and started talking about – of all things – the weather! Then he told us to read the first chapter of our textbook and answer questions. The first chapter didn't have anything to do with zombies. Oh... and did I mention Quirrel's classroom smells curiously like garlic? Lily Moon, one of my dorm-mates, said she heard from older students that it was to ward off vampires.

We also had another round of History of Magic today. Professor Binns talked more about Emeric the Evil, as we took notes. I learned quite a bit more today, and I might have to add more of that information into my essay. Do you think Professor Binns will mind if my essay is six inches longer than it is supposed to be? Luckily there is only two lessons for History of Magic a week. Even I am not sure how much of Professor Binns' monotone voice I can take. Today, Ron Weasley even fell asleep during class!

Do I REALLY have to be friends with him if I want to be friends with Harry Potter? Unfortunately it seems so since they are best friends already. Oh joy. At the moment, being friends with Harry doesn't seem so appetizing. I mean... he and Ron are the biggest class clowns I've ever come across!

Well, at least there wasn't as much homework for Defense as I predicted, just some book-reading. But combine that with the book-reading for Transfiguration and practicing more on the matchstick-to-needle transformation, plus reading up more in "Standard Book of Spells" since we have another round of Charms first thing tomorrow, and it starts to pile up. I've already been quite busy.

I was planning on some free time after dinner, but I took a look at my schedule for tomorrow, and our first Astronomy class takes place at midnight tomorrow and lasts until half-past-one... luckily Astronomy is only once a week, so I can wait for that homework until the weekend. But even then, it will be nearly two-o-clock Thursday morning before I will be able to go to bed! Luckily, our first class on Thursday isn't until ten-o-clock in the morning. So I definitely need to go to bed pretty early tonight. Especially since I only had about six hours of sleep last night.

Almost time for dinner... gotta go!

Love, Hermione

Thursday, September 4th, 1991
My Bed – 1
st Years Girls Dorm – Gryffindor Tower
Time: 8:15 AM

Dear Diary,

Sleep. Sleep. Wonderful sleep!

Did I mention how happy I am that my first class today isn't until ten-o-clock? Well, I am. Especially since I didn't get to sleep last night until half-past-two this morning!

In Charms class yesterday, we started practicing Light Charms, which causes the tip of our wands to light up. It has two different spells – one to turn on the light (Lumos) and one to extinguish it (Nox). I was able to light up my wand, but the downwards thrust needed to extinguish it can be a pain in the elbow... especially when you thrust your arm down and it slams onto your desk. So I didn't do very well on that spell. I just need to practice more, I guess.

I decided to sit next to Harry and Ron today, just as an experiment to see if I could stand being friends with them in the near future, and I got stuck next to Ron. This wasn't the best idea, because Ron's not very good at the wand movements needed for a few spells, and I had to duck at least twice to avoid being hit by his wand when he tried to light it up. It didn't help we were practicing the spells in the dark for most of the class either!

In Herbology, we started to draw a depiction of Devil's Snare seedlings so we could study and label the parts. We aren't having to take care of them yet – though I expect we'll be doing that on Friday. Even then, we still had to touch them to see different parts to draw, and it wasn't easy. Devil's Snare is a very dangerous plant and even baby versions put up a fight. They have a defense system where when you touch their vines, they will try to wrap themselves around you. All throughout class, students were prying vines from their fingers. Ron's plant even stole his wand away from him, and Professor Sprout said he was lucky his wand didn't snap in two.

And then there was Astronomy. I told you it took place at midnight. It also takes place on top of a tall tower, and up that high it gets quite chilly. It is very hard to look through telescopes when your hands are shivering, even when Professor Sinistra cast warming spells on us!

Today is another round of Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts. I really hope I can successfully turn my matchstick into a needle today. I've been working on it quite a bit since Monday.

Well, I better get dressed if I want to get some breakfast in the Great Hall before it disappears... literally!

Love, Hermione

P.S. One of my dorm-mates snores... I think it is Lavender Brown.

Friday, September 5th, 1991
Time: 4:00 PM

Dear Diary,

Today I discovered the delights of he who is named Professor Snape.

Wait... did I say delights? I meant horror.

He is quite possibly the most horrible teacher I have ever come across! I don't mean he is bad at teaching... he's quite good. But he is so mean... especially to us Gryffindors and one in particular – Harry Potter. He also had the nerve to yell at me too, and all I wanted to do was answer a few questions he asked!

Breathe, Hermione.

Okay, maybe I should start from the beginning.

It is a good thing we only have Potions once a week, because it is what is known as a Double Class – which means three full hours in a stifling hot classroom down in the dungeons. I was already sweating the moment I walked in there after lunch – which was earlier than usual today, because we had to be in Potions at noon.

I decided, once again, to sit next to Harry and Ron. Though I had enough sense to sit next to Harry this time instead of Ron. Class was with the Slytherins today, and the boy named Draco Malfoy seemed quite arrogant as he sat with his classmates. I have a feeling he admires Professor Snape – though it isn't surprising, since Snape is the head of Slytherin house.

Snape started class by doing roll-call. Snape only glared at me when I raised my hand in the air and said "present!" when he called my name.

I should have known then class wasn't going to go very well.

A minute later, he called out Harry's name. Well, he didn't exactly call it out like the others... he decided to comment on it too.

"Ah, yes," Snape said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new — celebrity."

Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Harry frowning and glaring at Snape. I couldn't blame him. Teachers are not supposed to taunt students, and Snape was taunting him!

It also didn't help that Draco Malfoy and his friends were snickering. Professor Snape should have told them to be quiet, but he didn't seem all too bothered by it.

After he finished roll call, he began his introduction to the class:

"You are here," he said, "to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."

Dunderheads? Really?! Well, I, of course was going to prove to Professor Snape that I was not a dunderhead!

After this speech, Snape once again set his sights on his new favorite target.

"Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

Harry looked as if he didn't have a clue what Snape had said. I did, of course, so I raised my hand. Of course, Professor Snape only ignored me. Seriously... I had my hand raised to answer the question and Snape ignored me!


"I-I don't know, sir," Harry said.

"Tut, tut," Snape taunted, "clearly fame isn't everything."

Fame? I don't even think Harry wants to be famous!

As I said, Snape ignored my hand, and just asked Harry another question.

"Let's try again," he said, "Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"

I knew what this was too. So I raised my hand higher. I don't know why I did. Snape could easily see me. But I guess I hoped he would have asked me instead and not taunted Harry, who clearly didn't know the answer.

Of course... Snape can't read minds (at least I hope not!), so he only ignored me once again... and when Harry once again said he did not know, Snape taunted him again:

"Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming, eh, Potter?"

Well, okay... he had a point there, but still! He could have asked ME if I knew!

"What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?" Snape asked.

Okay, I admit it. I was quite upset at this point that I actually stood up and kept my hand raised. The only person who cared, it seemed... was Harry.

"I don't know," Harry said. "I think Hermione does, though, why don't you try her?"

And all we got for it was more snickering from Malfoy and his friends. Our fellow Gryffindors seemed pleased.

Unfortunately Snape was not.

"Sit down," he snapped at me.

So I did. I was quite unhappy too. I don't know if Snape hates me or what, but any other teacher would have let me answer those questions. What is his problem, anyway?

"For your information, Potter," Snape continued, "asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

I was copying it down already... even though I had already known the answers. Of course Snape didn't seem to care. I'm sure the glare he gave me was because I wasn't looking at him when I was writing what he was saying. I can multitask, you know!

"And a point will be taken from Gryffindor House for your cheek, Potter," Snape added.

Cheek? Cheek! He was only telling the Professor that I knew the answers. Really... it should have been me who had the point taken away, not Harry. Harry doesn't deserve that. Snape really hates him and I wish I knew why.

I thought Snape would lecture us some more on something, since he really seems to like to hear his own voice, but he wanted us to start on the first potion of the year – a potion to cure boils.

I paired up with Lily Moon, and we started to work on the ingredients.

I thought I was doing fairly well with my ingredients... crushing the snake fangs and weighing dried nettles, but Snape had even decided to criticize me because I had not turned on the fire under my cauldron yet. I had a precise order of doing things, and I didn't want to burn my cauldron by turning it on before my ingredients were ready. He didn't seem to understand that. He also didn't seem to like my choice in partners – in fact, Snape said Lily's name in a really strange way. I wasn't sure why, but Lily seemed to think it had to do with the fact we are both Muggleborn. I didn't think that was very fair... but then again, Snape didn't seem the type to play fair.

Oh, and it seems Snape has a Professor's Pet in Draco Malfoy. Of course he does... the two seem like the perfect pair. Snape had even congratulated him and told the class just how well Draco had stewed his slugs in his potion. I was sure mine looked better.

And then, nearby, clouds of green smoke started to fill the air and I was saddened to see it was coming from Neville Longbottom's area. He and Seamus Finnigan were partnered up, and Seamus' cauldron looked as if it had actually melted! Then the potion started to seep onto the floor, and myself and the rest of the class had to get onto our stools to avoid it. Unfortunately, Neville didn't avoid it, because red boils had sprang up on his arms and legs. He looked like he was in a lot of pain too.. I really felt bad for him.

Even worse, Snape decided to yell at him.

"Idiot boy!" snarled Snape, clearing the spilled potion away with one wave of his wand. "I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?"

Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose.

"Take him up to the hospital wing," Snape spat at Seamus. Then he rounded on Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville.

"You — Potter," he spat, "why didn't you tell him not to add the quills? Thought he'd make you look good if he got it wrong, did you? That's another point you've lost for Gryffindor."

Did I not mention how unfair Snape was? Harry and Ron had been concentrating on their own potion! How were they supposed to help Neville with anything? Seamus was his partner!

The only good thing about class was Snape let us out thirty minutes early, though he did assign us a twelve-inch essay on describing the potion ingredients needed for the boil cure potion. I could tell Harry was really angry with Snape, and I wanted to talk to him about Snape, but I heard Ron ask Harry if he could go to Hagrid's with him for tea. Since I was not invited, I decided to come to the library, where I am now.

I have a bit of homework, and since I have all weekend to do it, I think I'll only finish labeling my diagram of the Devil's Snare. Right, almost forgot Herbology was my other class today. We had that this morning. Even though were were now taking care of the plants, watering them and adding dragon dung manure (which really stinks!) to the plants, we were also asked to finish our drawings. That class is going to get quite repetitive I think, especially since we have it three times a week!

I know I shouldn't put off my homework until this weekend, but I am still fuming from how mean Professor Snape is, so I can hardly concentrate, and it would be better for me to relax now and work on homework when I am calm enough to actually do some good work.

Hmm... I think I might walk around the corridors of the castle after dinner tonight and explore. Might even talk to a painting or two. I bet they have fascinating stories of the painters who did their portraits. It could be quite the learning experience. Imagine what the Louvre would be like if the paintings there moved and talked. Mona Lisa would be interesting to talk to, and The Last Supper would be quite interesting to watch if the inhabitants of the paintings moved around!

Better finish up that diagram while I'm thinking about. Maybe I'll write to you some more tonight and tell you about my explorations.

Love, Hermione

Friday, September 5th, 1991
My Bed – 1
st Years Girls Dorm – Gryffindor Tower
Time: 9:30 PM

For the first time since we spoke on the train, I actually had a – sorta - decent conversation with Harry and Ron.

They were discussing something together on the couch near the fireplace in the common room, so I decided to go over and see what they were doing.

"Writing essays getting too boring for you?" Ron asked, when he spotted me sitting down in the chair across from the couch.

"No, I just decided it can wait until this weekend," I said, "I needed some time off too, you know. I actually just got finished exploring a few parts of the castle."

"You? Explore the castle?" Harry asked, "Instead of doing homework?"

"Excuse me?" I asked, offended, "Maybe I wanted to try to find a shortcut or two so I could get to classes much faster! Maybe you could learn a thing or two about that, since you were late to over half of our classes this week! Professor McGonagall might actually turn you into a pocket-watch next time you're late!"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Harry said.

I harrumphed then noticed Harry holding what looked like a newspaper article.

"What is so important there?" I asked.

"When did you decide to be nosy?" Ron asked.

"I'm only asking!" I scoffed; god, he is such a rude little boy.

Harry looked at Ron, who shrugged. Harry handed me the newspaper article.

"Keep it," Harry said, "We memorized it."

"You actually memorized something?" I asked, earning a glare from Harry and Ron.

I still have the article... I'll copy it here to the diary.


Investigations continue into the break-in at
Gringotts on 31 July, widely believed to be the
work of Dark wizards or witches unknown.
Gringotts goblins today insisted that nothing
had been taken. The vault that was searched had in
fact been emptied the same day.

"But we're not telling you what was in there, so
keep your noses out if you know what's good
for you," said a Gringotts spokesgoblin this afternoon.

"31 July?" I asked after I had read the article, "Isn't that your birthday, Harry?"

"Yeah," Harry said.

"Isn't that the day you went to Diagon Alley?" I asked.

"How do you know that?" Harry asked, "I never told you that."

"Oh," I blushed; me and my big mouth! "I – um – heard about it."

"Never picked you out as one of those girls who like to gossip about me," Harry muttered.

"I don't!" I said, "I heard it from one of Hagrid's friends who I met in Diagon Alley, and my family had dinner with the bloke last month."

Harry looked at me skeptically.

"So... do you know what these thieves were after?" I asked him.

"All I know is Hagrid took something from a vault that day," Harry said, "Said it was 'Hogwarts business, very secret'."

"So whatever he took was whatever could have been the target!" I said, "Since the vault was emptied the same day."

"Yeah," Harry said, "that is what we thought too."

"Probably not important," Ron said, "So, hey, did you see the notice pinned up on the notice board? Flying Lessons start next Thursday! Are you going, Hermione?"

"Flying?" I asked, frowning.

"Yeah, you know – broomsticks!" Ron said.

"Oh... right," I said, "Yeah..."

"Class is optional," Harry said, "But we're going. Ron thinks I might actually be a good flier."

"You could be," Ron said, "You have the build for it. As for you, Hermione – err -"

"Flying on broomsticks sounds really dangerous," I said, "I might go... but... well, I need to think about it first. I mean, if I don't go, it would give me time to catch up on my classwork that I am sure will pile up next week!"

"You... miss a class?" Harry asked, grinning, "Are you sure?"

"It is optional!" I growled, blushing.

I stopped talking to them after that. I don't even know why I bother. I want to be their friend, but they are so rude!

So... yeah... I have nearly a week to think about whether or not I will attend Flying Lessons. I know I told you a few weeks ago that it sounds fairly interesting, and I was imagining flying on a broom when I was on that plane-ride to Paris, but... I dunno. Seems terribly frightening. So I'll think about it.

For now, I should get some sleep. Loads of homework to do tomorrow. And it is only the end of the first week.

Oh... you know, I haven't written to my parents yet, and haven't gotten a letter from them either! I really should write to them tomorrow. Maybe if I ask really nicely, Harry will let me borrow Hedwig. She is a very beautiful owl.

Good night, dear diary.

Love, Hermione

So... there's the first week of classes. It was so hard figuring out the schedule of classes, because there was no clear schedule in the book. Herbology is three times a week, Astronomy is Wednesday evening, a Transfiguration class on Thursday and Double Potions Friday, and the other classes have no clear day. So hopefully you think the schedule is okay!

Next chapter... the flying lessons and more! It will be so much fun to write!

Hope you liked this chapter. Snape's class, and the last entry (the trio discussion) was so much fun to write! Also, I have a new favorite quote in my story so far: "Sleep. Sleep. Wonderful sleep!"

Not sure when the next chapter will go up... doing this at the library right now because of no internet at home and just learned the library will be closing a week from the day I posted this, because of a new library opening at the end of the month... by then I will probably have my internet at home again, so I might not be able to update at all until closer to the end of the month!