Chapter 1 : A Nearly-Headless Account
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You may wonder why Cuthbert Binns, a noted magical historian was not selected for this honor in my stead. To be honest, that was actually a large point of contention between us, which was finally settled by a boxing match (don’t ask how ghosts box, its complicated). Now that I have mercifully defeated my dear colleague, you may have the pleasure of reading my riveting account rather than his useless drivel.
My completed manuscript, which if you’ll excuse the shameless plug is now available for sale at Flourish and Blott’s, has come in at over 1200 pages, and is a masterpiece of Shakespearean proportions. As I am not one to give away my work for free, I will only be giving you a very brief excerpt here. However, I am contractually obligated to inform you that if you order right now through this exclusive offer, I will personally autograph your copy. In the interest of remaining unbiased, I will acknowledge that in a scathing review in the Daily Prophet, Miss Rita Skeeter was of the opinion that my work was “Duller and dryer than a Cuthbert Binns lecture, more melodramatic than Helena Ravenclaw, and as factually accurate as The Quibbler.” In response, I must say that I am of the opinion that Rita Skeeter is an ignorant tramp with no journalistic integrity.
Getting back on subject, the Battle of Hogwarts was most definitely one the most significant events I have witnessed in over 600 years of existing in one form or another. I have seen many a battle in my time. If you’ve read your Shakespeare plays about the Henry’s, well I was there for most of that. Old William did not see fit to include me in his plays, but since he’s a second rate actor rather than a true historian we can give him a pass for now. I was there with Henry V at Agincourt, gladly charging once more into the breach for good old England on St. Crispin’s Day. After surviving the entire Hundred Year’s War, it was ultimately an executioner’s axe that got me in the year 1492 (I will forever curse Christopher Columbus for stealing the significance of that date from me). But they couldn’t just give me a clean execution; no, the bastards had to cut my head three quarters of the way off. Instead of being able to participate in the glorious activities of the Headless Hunt, I have been sentenced to an eternity as a carnival attraction. My only consolation is that there is no possible way you will look this good at 600 years old.
The recent conflict was brought about by the rise of Voldemort, the dark lord who was originally known as Tom Riddle. It must be said that young Tom Riddle, while already scheming and evil, was studious and exceedingly charming, in addition to actually having a nose. Most Hogwarts professors, especially a certain Potions master who‘s name I will not mention here, (but it rhymes with Lughorn) were completely fooled by Riddle’s charms and could not see him for what he truly was.
I am ashamed to admit that, aside from my natural distrust of all things Slytherin, I too saw no reason to suspect young Tom of particular wrongdoing. Looking back, we could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble by taking action to stop Riddle before he grew so powerful. However, as they say, hindsight is always perfect. And please don’t make a joke about me being see-through; in over 500 years as a ghost I have definitely heard them all.
Voldemort’s rise to power issued in a dark era of fear and violence in the magical world. Throughout this era, Hogwarts remained one of the few places that was completely safe, thanks to the presence of our greatest headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. However, everything changed when Dumbledore was murdered by Severus Snape, who, for the record, I never trusted. Under the new regime, the hallowed halls of Hogwarts were defiled by the presence of the Carrows, dastardly and cowardly servants of the Dark Lord who were also just plain stupid. When not even Hogwarts was safe, it appeared that all may be lost for our cause.
Luckily for our side, we had a secret weapon. I am speaking, of course, of Harry Potter. I was first acquainted with Harry when he was only eleven, and he was always one of the few wizards willing to reach out and befriend those of us that are considered second class citizens in the magical world. Our friendship blossomed as I helped introduce him to the wizarding world. I helped him save the philiosopher's stone and he saved me from being petrified by that horrible basilisk. I watched with pride when he won the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and looked on in horror when that horrible toad faced Umbridge tried to discredit him. At the risk of sounding sappy, Harry Potter truly makes me proud to be a Gryffindor.
In fact, I can honestly say without a hint of irony that I would willingly die for Harry Potter. Alright, maybe there’s just a little bit of irony there. Speaking of which, it really bothers me how so many of the younger generation have a complete misunderstanding of what the term irony even means; a fact for which I squarely place the blame on a certain 1990’s pop song. Curse those Muggles and their music!
Getting back on subject, it became apparent over the years that we must depend on Harry Potter to defeat Voldemort. With the assistance of his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry was able to figure out Voldemort’s critical weakness, and took many steps to help hasten his defeat. I am not able to reveal what that critical weakness was, as it is still classified by the Ministry. If you are still curious in thirty years, it may be de-classifid at that time, and you may file a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Finally, with Voldemort nearly defeated, the conflict reached its climax, right here at Hogwarts. If I still had a functioning heart, it would have been very much warmed by Harry’s triumphant return to the school, giving us all hope, and setting the stage for the epic battle.
Voldemort brought the full force of his Death Eaters and all manner of magical creatures with him to the battle. There were giants, acromantulas, dementors, and worst of all, Delores Umbridge. It was without a doubt, the most wretched collection of villains, knaves, scallawags, scoundrels, and rapscallions that has ever been assembled. In the absence of Dumbledore, it fell to Minerva McGonagall, a true Gryffindor if I’ve ever seen one, to muster the forces of good. It was an awe inspiring scene as Minerva brought the castle to life, awaking ancient knights like myself to defend the castle. Her strong leadership was exactly what we needed at the moment.
On the subject of Minerva McGonagall, I must say a word in defense of her good name in response to rumors that have been spread by the Rita Skeeters of the world. Although she and Tom Riddle may have been contemporaries at school, I can definitively assure you that nothing romantic ever happened between them. I consider myself an ultimate authority on such matters, because when you can travel through walls, you tend to know just about everything that happens. While I understand the fascination with such rumors, I cannot allow her reputation to be besmirched. Honestly, that pairing is about as likely as Queen Victoria and a Russian Czar, myself and Moaning Myrtle, or Severus Snape and Lily Evans. (Yes, I went there. Sorry Snape fans, is it still too soon?)
Getting back on track, the forces of good, which consisted of the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Army, the Hogwarts Faculty, and the Gryffindor quidditch team, took up defensive positions against their numerically superior foes. They waited on the edge of battle, knowing they could not hold off the enemy forever, but trusting that Harry Potter would somehow come through.
I took it upon myself to rally the ghosts of Hogwarts to our cause. As you know, we are a bit of a motley bunch. Cuthbert Binns is just plain boring. The Fat Friar, while a nice enough man, is simply too obese to be of much use to us. One would think that he would have lost some weight after not eating for several centuries, but apparently it doesn’t work like that. Helena Ravenclaw is a very lovely lady, but at times like these she tends to be a little bit angst ridden. The Bloody Baron, of course, was her murderer, so I shouldn’t have to tell you the drama that goes on between the two of them. Peeves, meanwhile, is a disgrace to our kind who deserves no more mention here.
When this crew of misfits gathered together before the battle, I gave them a rousing, inspirational speech about why it was our duty as members of Hogwarts to intervene. This speech combined the greatest elements of Dumbledore, Shakespeare, Pericles, Lord Nelson, and Rocky Balboa, and was arguably one of the top five greatest speeches of all time. I have not included the transcript of this speech for copyright reasons, as I am currently in negotiations to have it included in the film version that I was allegedly left out of.
Dark clouds settled over the castle as the forces of good and evil prepared to square off against each other in an epic showdown. We did not know who would win, but we knew that it would surely determine the fate of mankind. We cast as many protective charms around the castle as we could as prepared to meet whatever the Dark Lord threw at us. The tension was as thick as a knife as we patiently waited to see who would strike first and land the first blow.
Want to know what happens next? Then buy my book, which is now available at all Flourish and Blott’s locations. Order now and you will receive free shipping and handling, in addition to a complimentary copy of Hogwarts a History. And no, it is not available in kindle version; I don’t even know what that means.
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