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Chapter 1 : A Letter from Hogwarts
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“It’s arrived,” Harry Potter informed his son one morning in late July.
“What has,” James replied nervously.
“What do you think? What have we spent the last two weeks waiting for? Your letter from Hogwarts, of course! McGonagall really does take her time! When Dumbledore was principal…”
James switched off. He had heard this so many times before. His father had spent the last two weeks blaming the delay on the fact that Dumbledore had finally decided to retire a couple of years back. To Harry, Dumbledore was the greatest wizard who had ever existed. James’ mother and uncles (except maybe Percy) felt the same way.
James hadn’t admitted it to anybody, but he had been worried that it had been more than a delay. He was afraid that maybe he wasn’t magic enough for Hogwarts. Well, he had sort of hinted at it, by asking his father “what if it doesn’t come?”
“Then I’ll contact McGonagall myself! Anyway, she’d never forget. She may not be of Dumbledore’s calibre, but nobody can say she’s not efficient.”
“I didn’t really mean that. I was just wondering, well, what would happen if I didn’t get to go to Hogwarts?”
His parents hadn’t taken him seriously, though. The son of Harry and Ginny Potter not go to Hogwarts!!! Wasn’t James the son of one of the most famous wizards of his age, the one who had finally defeated Voldemort; the grandson of Lily and James Potter who had been two of the greatest wizards of their time?
And then there was his mother’s side- pure-bloods, all of them magic, apart from one distant relative who was rumoured to be a stockbroker. Not that James and his sister Rose had ever been encouraged to put any store on that pure-blood thing.
“Some of the best witches and wizards I ever knew came from Muggle families,” Harry said regularly. “Look at Hermione. Top of our year at Hogwarts, she was. Lots of the pure-bloods would have loved to have her magical ability.”
Despite this, it never seemed to occur to him that James was turning out to be one of those pure-bloods who lacked ability. It wasn’t from any form of snobbery or belief in Harry’s own myth. James had to admit that his father was completely unconcerned with his own fame. It was simply that Harry and Ginny loved their children so much that they were unwilling to believe that their son was as completely useless as James believed himself to be.
Rose was another story. Almost three years younger than James, she was already showing signs of the magical ability that James lacked. She was far more dextrous than him and even at the age of eight was difficult to keep away from her parents’ wands.
That was normal enough. Most wizard children went through a phase of playing with their parents’ wands. James himself had, although it had lasted a little shorted than Rose’s. No, what annoyed James was that Rose could occasionally cast simple spells, more by accident than design, admittedly, but that wasn’t the point!
The point, as far as James was concerned was that the one time he had managed to do some simple magic with his father’s wand, he had simply succeeded in causing his bedroom window to smash into pieces. He wouldn’t have minded, but he’d been trying to bring his train set to life. The two things had absolutely no connection to one another whatsoever.
Now, he took the letter from his father, and began to read.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to study magic at Hogwarts’ School of Wizardry and Witchcraft.
The Hogwarts Express will depart from Platform 9 ¾ at 9 o’clock on September the 1st. Please ensure that you arrive on time.
I enclose a list of the books and equipment which will be required by all first year students.
I await your owl, confirming your acceptance of a place at Hogwarts, no later than August 12th.
Minerva McGonagall (Headmistress).
James found it hard to decide whether or not he was pleased to have been accepted. On the one hand, his parents, and aunts and uncles were always telling him how much fun they had had at Hogwarts. Fred and George were particularly fond of this. But on the other hand, he knew that at Hogwarts, he would be constantly compared to his father and other relatives.
It was really annoying, actually. People were always delighted to meet Harry Potter and his children and they said such stupid things. Recently people had begun saying “so you’re starting Hogwarts in September, are you? Well, you shouldn’t have any problems, should you? Not if you take after your dad!” Nobody ever seemed to consider the possibility that he might not take after his dad.
He imagined all the other students looking at him, wondering what Harry Potter’s son would be like. Perhaps they would even be pleased to see him fail, expecting him to be stuck-up after having a father like Harry.
And the teachers! They would surely compare him to his father. “Your dad never had any problems with this spell when he was at school”
Hermione would know what he was like, of course. Not only was she one of his dad’s best friends, but she was married to his uncle Ron. So that was one teacher who wouldn’t be expecting him to be top of the class simply because he had a famous father. Just as well she knew him too. After all, Defence Against the Dark Arts had been his father’s best subject when he was at school.
Hermione often teased him that he should be the one teaching the subject, not her.
“Defence Against the Dark Arts was the one subject your father beat me at,” she told James more that once. “I can’t believe that that was the subject I ended up teaching.”
“Oh, I could never be a teacher,” Harry had replied. “You know I’ve wanted to be an Auror since we were in fifth year.”
“And a very good one you make too,” Hermione admitted. “Despite not making the grades in Potions!”
After his defeat of Lord Voldemort, the most dangerous Dark Wizard in one hundred years, the Ministry had decided to overlook the fact that Harry had not received the desired grade in one subject.
James took some reassurance from that fact though. There had been one subject where his father had not been a success. At least, he wasn’t entirely perfect.
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