The Journal of Paul Smith, Hogwarts Nobody: 1991-1992

Among the students of Hogwarts, for every Talented Savior, there’s a Tentative Wallflower. How would a more-or-less ordinary Muggle deal with Hogwarts? And what would he really think of The Boy Who Lived? His journal starts in 1991…

 

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Hello, reader! How is it you came upon my diary?

Never mind that! My mum said I should keep a journal in case my “kidnappers” say something incriminating. They still don’t understand, do they? A year ago, I was just passing through life, studying to one day be a Health and Safety Inspector. That is, if I could survive James’ constant bullying. Now look at me! I’m on a magical train, with magical books in tow, to become a WIZARD of Health and Safety! Magic spells should keep the bridges of London safe… and when I return, maybe I could push James into the lockers! Or turn him into a locker!

Only kidding, diary! I’m told I can’t use magic when I’m not cool. Or something like that. Maybe this isn’t a good time to write, diary, because I received some bad directions earlier. As in, I had to bump my head into every barrier at King’s Cross to find Platform 9¾. So I’ll only write if it’s really important, ‘cause I think I’ll have a lie dowmmmwwpvyqmalbusseveruszlk

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Me again, diary. I’m awake now, no thanks to those directions. Might’ve messed up my ears a bit too. This is why the world needs someone to protect everyday citizens from their own buildings.

The trains’ trolley lady came by, but she is out of sweets. Who on earth “buys the lot?”

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I’m writing this at the dining table, at the most stupendous feast in my life! Any annoyances I might have had were swept away when the giant man led us onto boats and took us across the lake, towards that magnificent sprawling castle that is… HOGWARTS!!! I know my dad wants me to use proper English as befitting a young boy, but Merlin’s Bear would you look at this shit!!! It was so cool, Professor McGonagall led us first years to this big hall, and a hat sung, I didn’t even know it could do that, and oh, if I only had my video camera, but an old man confiscated it! This is a place for the most fascinating, shining, and simply magical things to happen!

Also, I got into Hufflepuff!

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So, first day of classes is over. I survived. Figurative, literal, and wizard meanings of the word.

I tended to get average grades at Muggle School, and it seems I can do the same here with the same tricks: make the teachers half-forget you exist. Of course, this means a lot of teachers forget my name and end up calling me “Ringo Jones,” but it was actually kind of funny when a Ravenclaw told the Potions Master to call me that. Mr. Snape didn’t find it funny, though.

So far, History of Magic is my favorite subject! I don’t know why everyone else finds it boring… how many other teachers FLOAT into class? Lots of fascinating trivia to be found there too. I would’ve gotten into World War I, like my dad did, if Queen Victoria turned Bismarck into a frog. That’s all I’m saying.

I’ll talk about my other classes later. I’m feeling quiet tired now. Why? Well…

THIS SCHOOL IS A MADHOUSE!

I don’t mean any of the teachers are mad (in fact, Mr. Quirrell is the only professor smart enough to protect his head). I mean the school, the literal building, is trying to kill everyone! People back in London can easily fall down IMMOBILE staircases, how can anyone manage these! Safety Rails, universal in their practicality for Muggles, are less universal when they can BITE you! I swear I heard a door growl at me… honestly, if this is the safest place in the Wizarding World, every other school must have classes in a wasp-infested rollercoaster!

I’m going to bed. I still like this school, mind… and if I don’t have to stick out my neck, I can continue liking it.

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Halloween was… strange. Professor Quirrell ran into the Great Hall last night, proclaiming something about a toll for a dungeon. I’m learning about Goblin Revolutions just fine, but I can’t seem to remember the formula for Suckers to a Nut or some bollocks. I never thought I’d miss Math class. Anyways, this toll scares the headmaster, who ends up sending all of us back to our dormitories. That works for me, since I had homework to do. Sadly, Peeves nicked my last ballpoint pen, so I had to borrow a rather worn feather.

Why am I writing this? Well, this morning, I hear that some first-years defeated the toll (I won’t question how) and won 5 points for Gryffindor. Cool! Coincidently, that’s how many points I earned for Hufflepuff by passing Professor Sprout the watering can.

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Today, the other Hufflepuffs dragged me down to the year’s first Quidditch match, even though they know I LOATHE sports, even the ones where at worse you’ll need a Band-Aid. There’s a lot about this school that doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen my older brother do some bloody awful things, and apparently the Wizarding World thought the best way to improve on reckless preteen behavior is to let them travel 100 kilometers an hour.

Also today: I see Harry Potter. He’s in my year, and he’s already on the sports team as a pretty important fellow! According to legend, he’s the same kid who beat the toll too! I have no idea why he would sign up for this sport: if “tolls” are scary enough to frighten powerful wizards, I am never touching one of those bats. Hasn’t this kid had enough trouble for a lifetime? I’m studying History of Magic, and at 11 years old he’s already IN the History of Magic. All I could think about, watching this kid ride a broomstick like a bull, is that he’s going to die before he graduates.

Gryffindor won when Potter caught the Snitch, earning 150 points and rendering all of the other player’s efforts for naught. That does bug me a little, but, well, I’ve seen dumber American sports with worse scoring practices.

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Hey, sorry it’s been a while, diary! I hope you’re not the possessive type!

I’ve tried to stay busy with school, not pay attention to who’s popular or who’s snogging whom. But Potter played against Hufflepuff today, and he beat our team in minutes, the git. I had to walk all the way down to the pitch, squeeze myself between a pretty-boy fourth year and a bloke who makes the Fat Friar look positively miniscule… only to witness what indistinguishable from a few minutes of red and yellow bouncing balls in a wind tunnel. Anyway, I’ve got homework to do, ghosts to ignore, and a complaint to file about that tree.

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Well, diary, now it HAS been a while.

Christmas and Easter breaks came and went, though Wizards seem to interpret “break” as “break the little tykes’ hands with all the homework we give.”

Everyone’s kind of down, but the Gryffindors are positively sulking. Apparently, Potter and his friends cost the House 150 points. The official story is they were “caught out of bed,” but whatever it was, it must have been 30 times worse than the toll (though my math is a bit rusty).

Regardless of my personal feelings for Potter, I hope this convinces him to stop risking his neck every month. As if this school wasn’t dangerous enough on its own. I just hope none of the other teachers restore Potter’s points back, encouraging him to think he can break any rule he wants and still win the House Cup. I believe, even for Hogwarts, that’s pretty far fetched.

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WHAT?

But— WHAT?

HOW?! WHAT?!?!

AND THE LONGBOTTOM KID TOO!!?!?!?!

I, how can, he, what… how does ANYONE at this school even know how to COUNT!?!?!?!

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Dear Diary,

My parents are driving me home from King’s Cross. My dad’s fascinated by all my stories, though my mum kept asking questions about drugs. I tried to tell her that the whole “I was on drugs THE WHOLE TIME!” interpretation is mental, but then I started talking about wizard drugs, and, well, the point is, now there’s silent time in the car.

All in all, I liked being at Hogwarts. Magic’s an interesting study, and I can see myself furthering my Health and Safety career in a world that badly needs it. I’ll be happy to go back… as long as I never see that Potter kid again. Honestly, who on earth would like him?

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