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Chapter 3: Letter from Hogwarts
The disappearance of the spell book gave Hermione quite a start. By the time she had realized what had happened, she jumped from her chair and headed straight for the librarian’s desk. All the while she was exceedingly concerned about what would happen to her - Mrs Betwixt has said not to let the book out of her sight and not to let anyone see it. Now she didn’t even know where it was! When she arrived in front of Mrs Betwixt she was red in the face and on the verge of tears; she had lost a library book and didn’t quite know what she was going to say.
“Is everything alright dear?” Mrs Betwixt asked her as Hermione opened her mouth to speak.
“Oh no, Mrs Betwixt isn’t alright. That special book you lent me... well, it’s disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke!” Hermione covered her face in shame.
“There, there now,” Mrs Betwixt patted Hermione on the head. “The book is right here, dear,” she said and as Hermione uncovered her eyes, she watched Mrs Betwixt take the little key out, open the cabinet and push away the door. Indeed, the little spell book was safely tucked in its original spot. “No need to fret dear, everything is fine.”
Hermione was shocked. How could it be? It was hard enough for her to believe that an object could just simply disappear but to reappear in a locked cabinet - now that seemed impossible. Slowly, Hermione placed the books back on the desk and thanked the librarian. “It’s my pleasure dear, now your father is out front. Hurry along so you can get home in time,” Mrs Betwixt said.
“Yes, ma’am,” Hermione said, curiously, and headed for the exit of the library. As she meet the light outside the door, her father pulled up in the parking lot.
“Perfect timing, sweetheart!” Mr Granger said as Hermione opened the car door and hopped in. Hermione smiled. Something was going on, Hermione decided, and she needed to get home as soon as possible to find out why she need to be home in “time.”
Jumping out of the car when Mr Granger pulled up in front of the house, Hermione raced inside. Bouncing through the kitchen door she asked Mrs Granger if someone had come to see her. Her mother replied no, there was nothing in the way of visitors or mail which had arrived. In great confusion, Hermione slumped off to her room.
As she sat at the window and looked out into the street, Hermione wondered if the woman at the library was perhaps a crazy bat. It could be possible that Hermione had fallen asleep while at the library and Mrs Betwixt could have come by and gotten the book then put in back in the cabinet - nothing unusual would have happened at all if that were the case. The purple smoke had been all a dream.
In a moment of frustration, Hermione kicked off her trainers. Immediately Hermione regretted her moment of anger and dove under the bed. While rooting around under the bed, Hermione heard a mysterious tapping on the window as if someone was throwing rocks at the window pane.
Slowly backing out from her dusty position under the bed she peaked over the window cushion. On the other side of the window, beating its wings and tapping impatiently at the glass was a large barn owl. “Oh!” Hermione said, in near shock and rushed to throw open the window.
The owl swooped in and circled the room, dropping a medium sized envelope on the bed and landed on the footboard with a squawk. Cautiously, Hermione approached the envelope (she didn’t think it was going to explode or anything but for Heaven’s sake an owl just dropped mail on her bed!). The envelope appeared to be thick and heavy made of yellowish parchment instead of normal writing paper. Upon further inspection Hermione saw that her name was written on the envelope in emerald-green ink:
Ms H. Granger
36 Whippingham Road
Hermione was surprised, though, that there was no stamp on the envelope. In a mix of excitement and nervousness, she turned the envelope over and found a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms. Hermione passed her fingers gently over the seal and marveled at the intricacy of the coat of arms which bore a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake adjacent to a letter ‘H’. Realizing she had been holding her breath this entire time, Hermione sat on the edge of the bed and broke the purple seal to open the envelope. Gingerly she pulled out two pieces of folded paper and opened the first:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwamp, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Ms Granger,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Questions began to burst from Hermione’s mind like a spring downpour. What in the world was Hogwarts and this headmaster is in the order of Merlin… Merlin! And they expected her reply by owl. How in the world did that work? “Well,” Hermione said aloud to the owl who was still starring at her intently. “If you’re still here I might as well take advantage of it – I do suppose you know where you’re going?” Hermione grabbed a piece of paper from her desk and a pen. Quickly she scrawled back:
Dear Headmistress McGonagall,
I am very excited to receive this information and attend Hogwarts.
She rolled the piece of paper up and slipped it into the leather tube attached to the owl’s leg. “Please be sure that Headmistress McGonagall receives this, thank you,” she said and stepped back from the owl who clicked in reply. With a resounding woosh, the owl was out the open window again and flying over the rows of houses. Hermione starred after it in wonder and was curious as to how quickly a reply would arrive. Shrugging, Hermione gathered up the letter and supply list and bounded downstairs to show her mum and dad.
Her parents were seated quietly in the living room. Her mum was reading a novel and her dad was eating and sandwich while finishing a crossword puzzle. “Uh,” Hermione started to gather her parent’s attention.
“Yes, honey, what is it?” Mrs Granger asked as she dog-eared her place in the book. Mr Granger also looked up from the crossword clue he had been working on (19 down five letters: “the art of appearing to perform supernatural feats”).
“I received a letter today,” Hermione said and handed the letter to her mum. Mr Granger stood up and came to stand beside Mrs Granger, reading the letter over her shoulder. “Apparently I’m quite special and they want me to go to this school called Hogwarts,” Hermione starred at her shoes sure her parent’s would think that the letter was a fake someone trying to play a joke. In fact, she wasn’t even completely convinced.
Mrs Granger stood up and a wide smile crossed her face. “Sweetheart! This is wonderful news. Your father and I always knew you were extraordinary – we just didn’t know how to help you with your talents,” Mrs Granger hugged her daughter and Mr Granger embraced Hermione as well.
“Sweetheart, if you want to go to this school we will support you one-hundred percent. Whatever we can do for you we will do it,” Mr Granger said.
Hermione was filled with joy to know that her parents seemed to be completely accepting of the idea of her going off to a school for witches and wizards. And, she supposed, of her being a witch!