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Hermione sorting--first draft - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Hermione sorting--first draft
Well, here's a draft of Hermione's Sorting. The run-on sentences are deliberate, to mimic her fast-talking with no breaths.

Is there anything that seems out of canon to anyone?

~Hermione Granger~

She'd meant to learn Latin.

There was even a book sitting neatly on the corner of her desk at home. She'd got through the first few lessons, but she'd let herself get distracted trying spells and trying to convince herself that that they'd really meant, "No magic around people who don't know about it" rather than simply "No magic." Professor McGonagall had appeared after her fourth spell and given her a very strict warning, saying she was jeopardizing her chance to attend Hogwarts at all by doing magic out of school, and when Hermione had first seen her standing here at the top of the stairs, her sharp eyes taking in all of the first years, she had nearly stopped breathing, convinced that McGonagall would straighten her glasses and say, "Miss Granger believed herself above the rules. I believe she should be escorted out."

Of course, she'd said no such thing. Of course she hadn't. If such a thing was to be said, it certainly would have been before they allowed her to board the Hogwarts Express.

But someone would know. Someone would know, and in the end, she'd learned all sorts of simple spells that she'd never be allowed to do again, and she hadn't learned the one thing that would be really useful, she'd never be able to make up a spell on the spot, and that would certainly be what she would need, as none of the spells she'd memorized had anything to do with sorting or choosing and she'd never be able to figure out how to get into Gryffindor, where Dumbledore--

"Bit of a mystery, isn't it?"

Hermione turned, blinking, and only when her lips stopped moving did she realize she'd been muttering spells out loud. Dean Thomas gave her a nervous smile. McGonagall had spoken to them at the same time (the first time), along with a boy called Andrew, whose parents had decided not to let him come. "A bit," she said. "Yes. Just a bit."

"No one knows about it," Dean said quietly, looking around. Hermione noticed that not many people were talking at all, and most looked decidedly green, including--to her surprise--Harry Potter. The redheaded boy who was standing near Harry, Ron Something-Or-Other, looked like he might vomit. Dean shrugged and pointed toward the blond boy Ron had called "Malfoy" on the train. "That one might know something," Dean said, "but he looked at me like I was something nasty on his shoe when I tried talking to him."

Malfoy glanced over and saw them looking at him, then wrinkled his nose and turned away.

Dean made a face, exaggerating the sneer, then whispered, "Aren't we so la-di-da?" He wandered over to Neville Longbottom and Susan Bones. Hermione thought about following, but she didn't want to be thought needy, and besides, she didn't entirely trust her feet. It didn't help matters that she hadn't been able to eat breakfast and hadn't realized there would only be sweets on the train. Her head was light with hunger. Dad had tried to warn her, but of course she had thought he was joking. He always joked.

"Well," he'd said at the table this morning, "if you don't eat now, you'll have to cut your hair off, dip it in treacle, and eat it for shredded wheat."

Hermione patted her awful, unruly hair down and the little bite of egg she'd taken threatened to come up.

Mum gave him a sharp look. "Honestly, Edwin, she's nervous enough." She fixed Hermione's hair clips and kissed her cheek. "Your hair is just beautiful, dear, and you'll make ever so many friends where everyone is like you."

"And if you don't," Dad said, "I'll come up and break their magic wands for them." He winked.

Mum shook her head. "I wonder about you sometimes, dear. What kind of lesson is that?"

"The sort where she still knows her old dad can be counted on, even if he can't float teacups around the kitchen."

Hermione took a bite of toast and thought about meeting other witches, who wouldn't think anything of the fact that odd things seemed to happen when she was around. No one would call her a freak or say, "Best be on the lookout, Granger's coming." No one would know--or care--about the time she'd got scared and her hair had stood on end for the entire school day. And if she happened to see a talking weasel--a jarvey, according to the books--she wouldn't be sent to a counsellor to talk about her "vivid imagination." They would be kind and understanding and she had absolutely no warning when the toast rebelled. She barely had time to clamp her mouth shut on it before she ran to the toilet and emptied her stomach of what little she'd been able to swallow.

Dad came in and held her head, pulling her hair back so she wouldn't get it dirty, and Mum stood in the door, biting her lip. "Would you rather to the state school this year, Hermione? We can get you into someplace better next year, I'm sure..."

"No," Hermione said, sitting back on her heels. "No, I can do it. I can."

"We're so proud of you," Dad said.

They'd got her cleaned up and settled, and somehow, everything got into the car, and they'd driven to King's Cross. Dad had pestered her to eat, talking about getting so lightheaded she wouldn't need broomsticks to fly, and of course she hadn't listened, because the thought of vomiting in front of her classmates hadn't been appealing, but of course he was right.

Dean and his family had been waiting near the barrier--their parents couldn't go through, of course, but they could provide a bit of cover, and of course they wanted to say goodbye, and Hermione had stopped when she saw them, before Dean saw her, and taken taken a very deep breath.

"Are you all right, Hermione?" Mum asked.

Hermione swallowed hard and straightened her back. She knew as much as it was possible to know, and Professor McGonagall had told her she had an extraordinary talent. "I'll be fine," she said. "Fine." She smiled. "I'll write to you tonight and tell you which house I'm in. Gryffindor, I hope."

"Oh, but Ravenclaw sounded lovely..."

"But so many great wizards come from Gryffindor..." Hermione shook her head. "There are post owls at the school. Look, the Thomases are here." She went ahead of her parents, then led Dean through the barrier.

Then lost Neville Longbottom's toad, made a fool of herself in front of Harry Potter and his friend, and started talking to herself in a language she hadn't even bothered to learn properly.

This was going brilliantly.

She glanced over her shoulder, where Ron was shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot. He gave her a twitch of the mouth that might have been a smile, and she chose to interpret it that way. She returned it, but he'd already looked away.

Hermione leaned back against the wall, then jumped away with a screamed as something deathly cold touched her... and then went right through her arm. A little grey monk, transparent, was involved in a conversation with another transparent man.

She swallowed hard. "Ghosts," she muttered. "House ghosts... Hogwarts, A History..."

The ghosts took no notice of her. They were deeply involved in a conversation about someone called "Peeves." She tried to recognize them from the slowly moving pictures she'd seen in her book--the Friar had to be Friar Francis of Augurbury, an all-magical monastery that had closed five hundred years ago. He'd been the ghost there, and asked if he might return to Hogwarts to help his old House, Hufflepuff. He would be fascinating to speak to. They all would. They would have seen so much, and--

"New students!" the Friar said, noticing them with a fond smile. "About to be Sorted, I suppose."

Hermione, who had a thousand questions for him on the tip of her tongue, including quite a bit about magic and the monastery, found herself utterly unable to speak. She nodded vaguely.

"Hope to see you in Hufflepuff!" he said eagerly, and then Professor McGonagall came back and shooed all of them off.

"Now form a line," she said when they were gone, "and follow me."

Hermione had read about the Great Hall of Hogwarts, but nothing had prepared her for the splendor of the room Professor McGonagall led them into. She wasn't the only one--the girl beside her, who'd seemed comfortable in the magical world, was entirely thrilled by the enchanted ceiling. Hermione whispered the explanation of it that she'd read in Hogwarts, A History, but it didn't seem the right time to go into any depth. She hoped there would be a storm soon. She was looking forward to watching one here, seeing the fantastic claps of mountain lightning while remaining dry and warm.

Professor McGonagall made a gesture indicating that they should line up in front of the head table, and while she moved about, Hermione looked out at the sea of faces before her, most looking at the first years with friendly curiosity, some with narrowed and suspicious eyes. Something thudded, and she saw that Professor McGonagall had set down a four-legged stool. On it, she placed a patched and frayed wizard's hat.

It sang.

Oh, you may not think I'm pretty...

Hermione listened to the song, something warm and light and huge building up in her chest. It was wonderful. Wonderful.

The entire hall burst into cheers as the hat finished its song, and then Professor McGonagall began to call out the names of the first years, beginning with one "Abbot, Hannah." The hat called out "HUFFLEPUFF!" and Hermione felt her mouth curling into a wide smile. There was no spell, no requirement that she'd missed... it was magic. Real magic. She wanted to try it on. She wanted to see everything and do everything. It seemed an age before McGonagall finally called out, "Granger, Hermione!"

She could barely keep her feet still, nearly running to the stool as soon as a boy called Seamus Finnegan left it for the Gryffindor table. She pulled the hat eagerly over her hair, and the moment it spoke to her remained in her mind all of her life as the moment when it all became real.

"Ah," it said, "you take a great deal of pleasure in discovering knowledge."

Yes, Hermione thought. Yes, I do. How do you... I mean, what do... I don't even know what I mean to ask.

"I see into your mind. I see who you are." It squirmed for a moment. "There is Ravenclaw," it mused. "You would enjoy it."


"Yes... and yet."

Hermione didn't answer in words, and the Hat said nothing. Instead, images flew through her mind: straightening her back under the taunting glare of her classmates, taking a deep breath at King's Cross this morning and leading Dean ahead of her, helping Neville, bursting into the compartment with Ron and Harry and asking them about the toad, refusing to "admit" that she was lying about seeing a fairy, even though her teacher had punished her for it.

"You have the courage of your convictions," the Hat said. "It runs through everything you do, everything you learn, and everything you think."

Courage? Hermione thought hopefully.

"And I see, it's something that you value as well. In which case, my dear, for you I see no choice but... GRYFFINDOR!"
48 comments or Leave a comment
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kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: May 6th, 2006 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Spare quotation mark at the end of Hermione patted her awful, unruly hair down and the little bite of egg she'd taken threatened to come up."

Otherwise, just lovely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 6th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Got it, thanks.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 6th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
"Would you rather to the state school this year, Hermione? We can get you into someplace better next year, I'm sure..."

go to?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 6th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dear fingers,
Please wait for brain before typing.

I'll catch that.

in_a_tizzy From: in_a_tizzy Date: May 6th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful. I really felt like I was in her head.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 6th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good. I was a little worried about the deliberately horrendous sentence structure, but it just felt like Hermione to me.
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: May 6th, 2006 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I see now why you said getting in eleven-year-old Hermione's head was a little exhausting...the passage was distinctly Hermione-ish in the best sort of way. I love the part about her refusing to lie about the fairy she'd seen, I hadn't thought about it, but I'm sure something like that must have happened :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 6th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm going to change that back to the jarvey she mentioned earlier. Something's telling me that I've read a fic involving Hermione and fairies, and it's better if I stay away from things I may have read.

But yeah... it would almost have to have happened!
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 6th, 2006 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
You've got the excitable Hermione down pat! I like the narrative style following her constant talking.

As well as requiring a "go", as someone else commented,her father would probably refer to the state school as a comprehensive. You're right, it would be a state school (ie not private) rather than public (as they have here in Australia and I think you have in the USA) but "comprehensive" sounds more natural in the context, especially as they are looking for somewhere better!

ie"Would you rather go to the local comprehensive this year, Hermione?"

From: (Anonymous) Date: May 6th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
And I've forgetten to sign my post (comprehensive schools) as usual.

Sorry, TDU
From: tunxeh Date: May 6th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
It feels like her thoughts are going a mile a minute. The bit about how she thinks everyone at Hogwarts will be like her and kind and understanding is kind of poignant.

Is there anything that seems out of canon to anyone?

Not to me. It's interesting how you make her conversation with the hat much more visual and less verbal than Harry's, but it makes a lot of sense that it would have some similarity to Harry's experiences with legilimency. Definitely a worthy addition to Of a Sort.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: May 6th, 2006 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I really like this. It helped me identify with Hermione, which I haven't really done that much before--which is odd, as I'm quite a bit like her in many ways. It was sad, though, to see her so hopeful about making friends and to know she'd end up running crying to the bathroom. It's a comfort to know that she ends up being part of such a close trio of friends only a few months later.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: May 6th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Would it be more likely that Hermione was going to a grammar school?

I think Abbott has a double t in Hannah's case.

Otherwise, very cool! I loved that Hermione's persistence and joy put her in Gryffindor.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 6th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)

"Would it be more likely that Hermione was going to a grammar school?"

Not at short notice. They would have had to have got it organised, selective exam sat etc. I presume that would be an option for the "something better next year", possibly even sooner with Hermione's extraordinary academic talents, but not to start that week.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 6th, 2006 08:32 am (UTC) (Link)

More Brit-picking!

Probably "therapist" or "psychologist" is more natural English English usage than "counsellor".
From: tree_and_leaf Date: May 6th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: More Brit-picking!

Educational psychologist? I have a vague memory of one visiting my (Scottish) school once a fortnight.
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: May 6th, 2006 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)
She's adorable, I very nearly started giggling to myself when she ran for the stool

fortunately I restrained myself, cos, sleeping roommate, but yeah =)
greyathena From: greyathena Date: May 6th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
the first sentence is the best opening of a Hermione fic ever. :)

sunsethill From: sunsethill Date: May 6th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree completely!
lucie_p From: lucie_p Date: May 6th, 2006 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, lovely - and very much Hemione-like.

I cannot find anything that does not fit completely into canon.

Just one little thing I noticed, right at the beginning: ... trying to convince herself that that they'd really meant ... - seems like there is one "that" which is not needed there. ;)
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: May 6th, 2006 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hermione patted her awful, unruly hair down and the little bite of egg she'd taken threatened to come up.---my first thought was that she patted down the bit of egg too. Just felt awkward.
then jumped away with a screamed as something ---change screamed to scream?
I love the foreshadowing of Ron and Hermione. you characterize Hermione really well.
This is a great addition to your other installements of Of A Sort. I love tthis fic.
From: anatomiste Date: May 6th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's wonderful! I've been waiting for you to do Hermione's Sorting and it's as good as I'd hoped. :D
From: magnolia_mama Date: May 6th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was wonderful, Fern. I love the way you described Hermione's breathlessness and queasiness and excitement, and how the Hat showed her what made her deserve to be in Gryffindor.
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