Chapter 9 : Magic is Might
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In all four Common Rooms, students woke up to see a large notice by the exits.
All students are required to go to the Great Hall at 9 30 a.m. sharp for their first Muggle Studies lesson of the year. These will continue to be at this time for the whole school year.
Any student who is late will be punished
Any student who does not attend will be punished
Any student who misbehaves will be punished
Any student who fails to treat the lesson with due respect will be punished
'A nice cheerful start to the day' thought Neville, as he saw the message and passed through the portrait hole and headed down to breakfast. He met Ginny on the sixth floor who was talking to Luna. "Hey, Neville said as he drew level with them, "Did you see the message?"
"Yeah," Ginny said, "I was just saying that it must have been Snape who wrote it, cos there's no way that either Carrow could have spelt 'misbehaves'."
All three of them laughed, and headed together down to the Great Hall. Neville, was still curious about Ginny's behaviour, but had decided to wait a while before taking it up with her again as he had no intention of continuing to try and walk through the brick wall that was Ginny. The Hall was rather cold, dreary and depressed today, partly due to the message, and partly due to the rain falling from the enchanted ceiling which stopped a few yards from everyone’s' heads.
There was little chat from everyone outside the Slytherin table. The Gryffindor table was almost deserted when they arrived and the few people that were there spoke very little and left quickly. Ginny and Neville, by contrast to everyone else chatted light-heartedly over their bacon and eggs. “Its amazing what an effect that message had,” Ginny said. “Everyone is so scared.” They left the hall a few minutes before 9 30 and entered the Entrance Hall which was filling with students not wanting to be late. They chatted with fellow DA members, many of whom had been shaken by the aggressive nature of the notice.
"Neville!" He looked around, recognising the voice, and he looked around to see Jessica Power pushing her way through the growing crowd of students.
"Hi Jess, how're you doing?"
"Oh great thanks," she replied. "I've already made friends with this girl in my dormitory called Emma and we're helping each other with our work. Her family are all wizards, unlike mi...."
"Shhh!" Neville looked around, but no one seemed to be listening in. He continued in an undertone "My Gran got you through to the train by pretending you were related to me. You can't reveal the truth or you will be in great danger!"
"Sorry." Jess looked scared.
"Just be careful, please," said Neville.
Just then, Alecto Carrow entered the Entrance Hall. A hush rippled out from around her spreading quickly and all was silent. Her heeled footsteps echoed loudly as she approached the Great Hall. Ginny was giving her a look of such intense dislike that Neville and Luna were worried a Bat Bogey Hex was about to come her way. Carrow, however passed Ginny without incident and she opened the doors of the Great Hall with a flick of her wand and motioned for the students to follow her in.
The students entered the Hall to find it looking like a huge lecture theatre, with raised seating reaching into the enchanted ceiling. Indeed the upper seats were in the charmed pouring rain but the seats as dry as a bone. At the front of the room was a large stage with a old-fashioned blackboard in the middle.
Neville, Ginny, Luna, Jess and her friend Emma took seats in the middle row as Carrow climbed onto the stage and conjured a throne-like chair to sit on. After a few minutes while everyone found their seats, she stood up, and everyone fell silent once more.
She waved her wand at the board and words in a untidy script appeared.
Magic is Might
"This," Carrow said, addressing the student body, "is Muggle Studies. 'ere you will learn the truth about the oppression of the Muggle World throughou' our 'istory, the injustice of the our 'iding ov our world and the showing of all the lies that you've been told throughou' your lives."
"Wonder who taught her how to speak English," Ginny muttered and they all stifled laughter.
"Magic is Might," Carrow continued, "This is 'ow it should be, wizards over muggles. the power to use magic must be one that we use more openly, but we shall come to that later. In our first lessons, you will learn about 'ow muggles tried to crush wizards in our early recorded history and their bru'al treatment ov the early attempts at co-existence. Later I will teach you ov atroci'ies committed agains' us 'n ov why muggles cannot be trusted. I'll explain the injusticeness 'n stupidness ov the In'ernational Sta'ute ov Secrecy and what must be done to put wizards in our proper place."
And so it began. For 90 minutes Carrow preached in her appalling English, spreading her message to an audience growing steadily more and more disconcerted, with the exception of around a quarter of the audience, who seemed to be taking detailed notes, or else watching the Carrow speak with respect in their eyes. Neville glanced at Jess every so often, to find her looking more and more confused and bewildered.
"…and, they were dewanded and burned alive," Carrow said, "they treated 'em like animals, which makes 'em no better than animals themselves."
Jess raised her hand into the air. Before Neville, Ginny or Luna could say anything, Carrow saw and pointed at her. "Yes Miss Power."
"But surely muggles aren't all bad? I mean I know some who..." Ginny kicked Jess hard on the leg. Her face screwed up but to her credit, she did not cry out, but the rest of her offending sentence was lost.
"'Ave you been convor'ing with muggles Miss Power?" Carrow asked, a smile growing across her ugly, bloated face.
"Just in the streets and stuff," Jess said, rubbing her leg, and looking at Ginny fiercely, and receiving one in return.
"'In the streets 'n stuff,'" mimicked Carrow cruely. "No Miss Power, muggles are all, withou' exception 'all bad'. Given the information about our world, they would try 'n interfere, oppress and eventually crush us. Look at the maths of i' all. There are around a quar'er of a million witches and wizards in this country and abou' 60 million muggles. They breed out of control and are disease-ridden, problem causing troublemakers. They would want us and then destroy us, just like that." She marked the last comment with a click of her fingers
"But.." Jess began but received another kick for her troubles.
"No buts Miss Power, now stop in'errupting unless you wanna punishment, this is not up for discussion! Now in 870 BC..."
As Carrow continued, Ginny leant over Neville to talk to Jess, "I'm sorry for kicking you, but you must be more careful. You are right, of course you are right, but you can't just debate with her or her brother or Snape for that matter. You just keep your head down in these lessons and then bad mouth them later on when they can't hear, ok?"
Jess nodded, "you didn't need to do it so hard though."
"Sorry, but I had to make sure, it was for your own good. I'll talk to you later about it, there's some stuff you should know."
After the lesson ended, Ginny and Neville took Jessica to an unused classroom on the third floor. "Ok Jess," Ginny said, "I think you need and deserve an explanation. You have entered our world at the worst possible time. We are currently in a state of war, and we are losing."
"A war?" Jess looked shocked, "against whom?"
"Death Eaters and their leader, I'm sure you must have read about them."
"Yes, but the letter I got from the school said we'd be safe here."
"Unfortunately," Ginny replied, "Death Eaters have taken over the school. The Headmaster and both Carrows are followers of Him. They believe that everyone of your birth does not deserve to join this school."
"I think you must have got your letter before the school was taken over," Neville inserted. "That was why they set up an ambush at King's Cross."
"Who was that man? Was he a Death Eater too."
"No," Ginny replied, "He was my good-for-nothing brother Percy. He betrayed my family and is working for the Ministry, which is also under their control. He isn’t a Death Eater, he just does what his bosses tell him to do."
"Oh I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Ginny said, "He isn't worth thinking about. The important thing is that you must not mention to anyone that you are muggle-born. If you do, you will be sent away, dewanded and maybe imprisoned."
"My Gran told Percy that you were part of my family," Neville said, "So I think it would be a good idea if I taught you some of my family tree. I'll owl my Gran and ask her to send me a copy."
"Ok.." Jess sounded very nervous.
"So long as you are careful," Ginny said, "you have nothing to worry about, we'll look after you."
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