Still I wonder whether Sorting
'Sorry.' said Neville again, in a small voice.
Retained friendships firm and true.
It took them twenty minutes to reach King's Cross on foot and nothing more eventful happened during that time than Sirius scaring a couple of cats for Harry's entertainment. Once inside the station they lingered casually beside the barrier between platforms nine and ten until the coast was clear, then each of them leaned against it in turn and fell easily through on to platform nine and three-quarters, where the Hogwarts Express stood belching sooty steam over a platform packed with departing students and their families. Harry inhaled the familiar smell and felt his spirits soar . . . he was really going back . . .
Seconds later, Mr Weasley emerged on to the platform with Ron and Hermione. They had almost unloaded Moody's luggage trolley when Fred, George and Ginny turned up with Lupin.
Too right it has,' said Harry.
'Does it - er - do anything?' he asked.
Harry knew that Neville's favourite subject was Herbology but for the life of him he could not see what he would want with this stunted little plant.
'I'll have it back, thank you,' said Luna coldly, and leaning forwards she snatched it out of Harry's hands. Riffling through it to page fifty-seven, she turned it resolutely upside-down again and disappeared behind it, just as the compartment door opened for the third time.
Harry and Ginny became separated as they moved off along the platform and out through the station. Jostled by the crowd, Harry squinted through the darkness for a glimpse of Hagrid; he had to be here, Harry had been relying on it - seeing Hagrid again was one of the things he'd been looking forward to most. But there was no sign of him.
'I'm nobody,' said Neville hurriedly.
'And I don't know who you are.'
'Well, there are two fifth-year prefects from each house,' said Hermione, looking thoroughly disgruntled as she took her seat. 'Boy and girl from each.'
A bear-like black dog had appeared at Harry's side as he was clambering over the various trunks cluttering the hall to get to Mrs Weasley.
Said Gryffindor, 'We'll teach all those
Rattling and swaying, the carriages moved in convoy up the road. When they passed between the tall stone pillars topped with winged boars on either side of the gates to the school grounds, Harry leaned forwards to try and see whether there were any lights on in Hagrid's cabin by the Forbidden Forest, but the grounds were in complete darkness. Hogwarts Castle, however, loomed ever
They shuffled out of the compartment feeling the first sting of the night air on their faces as they joined the crowd in the corridor. Slowly, they moved towards the doors. Harry could smell the pine trees that lined the path down to the lake. He stepped down on to the platform and looked around, listening for the familiar call of 'firs'-years over 'ere . . . firs'-years . . .'
Notorious mass murderer or innocent singing sensation?
Everyone else was watching Luna laughing, but Harry, glancing at the magazine on the floor, noticed something that made him dive for it. Upside-down it had been hard to tell what the picture on the front was, but Harry now realised i! was a fairly bad cartoon of Cornelius Fudge; Harry only recognised him because of the lime-green bowler hat. One of Fudges hands was clenched around a bag of gold; the other hand was throttling a goblin. The cartoon was captioned: How Far Will Fudge Go to Gain Gringotts?