Chapter 2 - The Great Feast
Post 12 : Thoughts From a Ravenclaw
Author : archie_mac
Characters : Headmaster Dippet, Prof. Dumbledore, Archie MacGregor, Petra, Loretta, Taela May.
Summary : Archie’s thoughts on the new students, his fellow Ravenclaws and the ball announcement.
At the Ravenclaw table, Archibald MacGregor, better known as Archie to most, waited patiently for the sorting to end, applauding politely when a new student was sorted into Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, rather less enthusiastically when they went into Slytherin. When a new Ravenclaw was sorted, Archie saved up his best cheer, giving the new boys an enthusiastic clap on the back as they dashed down the row to find a seat. He always thought it would be rather ill-bred to do the same for the girls, so he confined himself to the sort of clapping that left ones hands stinging a bit.
The usual sorting was interrupted by two strange occurrences. Archie had felt a strange lurch in his stomach as he watched a first-year boy by the name of ‘Ruthven, Patrick’ being sorted into Slytherin. That’s the name of my Gran’s family, or it was before they disowned her
. His Gran never talked much about her family, but he had got the distinct impression they were not the nicest of wizards and witches. Archie watched the new Slytherin boy for a while, frowning the whole time. Part of him was curious enough to want to talk to the boy, but the other part, the part that deeply respected and loved his grandmother knew it would be just asking for trouble he didn’t want or need.
Finally there was but one student left. She looks a bit old to be a first year
. Professor Dumbledore - one of Archie’s favourite professors - had turned to the students. “This is Petra Weintraub” he told them, gesturing at the very nervous-looking blonde girl, “a student from Austria who will be joining us this year.”
Archie’s eyebrow’s shot up a little and all thoughts of the coming feast and his grumbling stomach were temporarily banished. He had been hearing rather a lot about that part of Europe from his Muggle grandfather. Almost daily the Colonel was at the paper; the old man did not like what he had been reading for a good long time but it seemed things were accelerating at a faster pace. “This is not good, not good at all,” he’d say shaking his head. Invariably he’d set off for the pub afterward to have a pint with his war buddies and come back looking sadder than ever.
Just before they’d set off for King’s Cross, he’d overheard the Colonel and Gran talking in hushed tones. “I know it may not mean much to your people right now, but we’re headed to war, you just wait and see. It’ll affect us all. Those damn fools, trying to negotiate. Griz, this Hitler, he’s bent on war and he’ll take us all with him.” Unlike a lot of his friends, Archie had a lot of friends in the Muggle world, friends he’d begun to worry about daily for many months now and his grandfather’s words were doing nothing to dispel his fears.
Archie was shaken out of his reverie by the sound of cheering and a sharp elbow to the ribs. His fellow third year Loretta Squab had jostled him. “Archie, wake up there. The new girl’s been sorted to Gryffindor!”
He grunted non-committally and watched as Petra was nearly bowled over by a Gryffindor third-year he thought was named Verity Thomas. He looked down the row quick enough to catch his House prefect nod and smile at the new transfer student as she disentangled herself from the welcoming arms of the Gryffindors and sought out a seat.
Finally the Great Hall fell silent and Headmaster Dippet rose. “I have one more announcement to make, but first let us eat.” Thank goodness
. Archie liked their Headmaster well enough but Dippet had a bad tendency to ramble and was prone to repeating himself - sometime three or four times! Binns may drone on but at least he had his facts all in order before talking. But then again Binns had had this life and the next to prepare his notes being as he was a ghost.
The Headmaster took his seat again and as he did the annual start of term feast began. Archie made a mental note to one day look up just how long the feast had been going on. Probably since the Founders' days. The Colonel likes to say he can't get anything accomplished on an empty stomach and can't say I disagree
! He couldn't quibble too much about the selection; no way they could really please absolutely everyone, but he'd yet to see some smoked salmon. He doubted he'd ever get tired of eating that. A quick survey of the table saw that his hopes were dashed once again this year.
He had spied out a huge, delicious smelling Dundee cake, sadly ignored - English witches and wizards weren’t great shakes at knowing good food, even when it was sitting right in front of them
! - in front of Taela May Ridgeway. He’d sometimes partnered with her in Transfiguration. She had a knack for it though she was entirely too quiet. Not like Loretta
, he thought with a chuckle. He glanced down to where the Loretta Squab was seated; chatting happily away between bites of food. Proves you should never judge by appearances
. Loretta was a tiny girl, thin and petite and fair. But she was quite outgoing, hard-headed and loved to be in the middle of everything. Archie liked her well enough but sometimes found her a bit intimidating.
Taela May was a tall girl and quiet as a mouse. A shrinking violet is what my Gran would call her. Nothing wrong with that though
. He preferred the company of the shier types. Bossy, loud or otherwise larger-than-life personalities made him nervous and he all too often was bowled over by them. I really need to find a potion for growing a backbone. Or for courage. Surely there’s got to be one. And I’ll bet ole’ Sluggy knows one - not that I could ask him. That would just ... I just couldn’t
“Miss Taela May do you think you could scoot that bit of cake my direction, please.” Taela had been picking at her dinner, alternating between looking down and sneaking quick looks up and down the various tables and even up at the dais where the teachers were seated. She looked up at Archie who favoured her with his best grin. Blushing she slid the cake his way, mumbling a quiet “Sure thing” in reply.
Daving in, Archie asked her, “Had a good summer Taela?” He was unsurprised when she seemed to shrink down even farther into her seat. He was used to that. She was too shy by half. Undaunted though, he continued on, “A transfer student, what do you make that of that, eh? Wonder if her English is up to snuff?”
Taela opened her mouth to reply but was spared the sudden diminishing volume in sound that normally filled the hall during the Great Feast. Head Master Dippet had risen (and probably had been standing for a time - he sometimes had a hard time getting the students attention) and was coughing politely. “Ahem, well now that we’ve all been fed and watered properly and are feeling drowsy - and yes, I know you’re all quite eager to head up to your dormitories and catch up with your friends and housemates - but I do have one final announcement for the evening. I am pleased to tell you that we will be having a Formal Masquerade Ball this year to be held on All Hallow’s Eve.”
A sudden explosion of sound greeted poor Head Master Dippet, who looked almost dismayed. A ball? Oh no; he’s got to be pulling my leg. He better be, but I'll be he's not. When does Dippet ever joke?
Like most boys his age the idea of dancing and girls and dressing up was rather horrifying. All the girls in Hogwarts seemed to be suddenly eyeing the male population of Hogwarts with newly discerning looks.
Coughing once again to return the students’ attention back to him, Dippet continued, “ Ah, yes, well. It’s very exciting, no? I am rather afraid it is only open to Third Years and above.” A chorus of groans followed. “I’m sorry, but there will be no exceptions. It is to be a costumed affair and house points will be awarded for the most imaginative and to the most complimentary costumes for a pair. Now, off to bed!” This is going to be an interesting year
, Archie told himself.