My Creative Writing class started today, so updates will likely be fewer and farther between now. Sorry bout that.
The (True) History of Hogwarts
Summary: The 'Hat hasn't been entirely honest about the school's origins. That's probably for the best. G/S/R/H
Notes: I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. Also it's possible I wrote this entirely so that I could have a file on my computer called 'Foundorgy'.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Do I look British and obscenely rich to you?
What's wrong? Oh, I see, you're not accustomed to being addressed by a hat. You're startled. Take a minute to convince your mind that you're not imagining things. It's okay, I'll wait.
Are we good? Good. Let's try this again.
Hello. I am the Hogwarts Sorting Hat. Every year, between thirty and fifty nervous eleven-year-olds come up and, one by one, put me on their head so that I can peek into their mind and see which house will best help them meet their potential. Sometimes it's easy, and sometimes it's hard; sometimes they try to argue that they don't belong in the house I try to put them in, but I'm always quick to point out that I can see a lot more of them than they can right now, and yes they most certainly do belong.
Before the Sorting, I always sing. It's a bit of a dull life, being a hat, even being an intelligent hat, and I spend the whole year composing the new song, when I'm not eavesdropping on the Headmaster, that is. But it's always good to know what's going on in the world around me; how else can I know whether there's anything important that I should mention?
In the song, I usually give a brief history of the founding of Hogwarts, of how the four most brilliant wizards and witches of the time gathered together to form a place where youngsters could learn magic beyond the prying eyes of those who feared them, how they each favored certain traits, and of how I came into being. However, I've never given a full account of the founding. I rather think that this is for the best, as many would be scandalized by the truth. I don't mind telling you, though. You look as though you'll enjoy the story.
What's that? Of course you may have a moment to get comfortable.
Are you ready? Very good. I'll begin.
Now, the first thing you need to know is that Godric Gryffindor gave me brains far earlier than anyone realizes. In fact, this bit of very advanced magic was done completely by accident, when he was still a very young child and I was still a very new hat.
I belonged initially to young Godric's father, an accomplished Warlock in his own right; young Godric would often take me from the shelf where I sat and play at being a real wizard. As he was still quite young, his father- for in those days, the education of young witches and wizards was left to the parents, or someone else in the area, if the parents had no magic of their own- had not begun to train him, but his considerable abilities had begun to emerge.
On one such day, when young Godric was playing at being a Warlock like his father, he lamented his lack of playmates and wished for someone to join his game. No sooner had this wish been made than I found consciousness entering into me. Young Godric was delighted; here was a playmate that would not be required to leave when it came time for chores. He was able to keep my new-found consciousness from his father for almost two days, but eventually his father had need of me and put me on. Wasn't he surprised to find that his hat now had a mind of its own! However, he was a fairly indulgent man, and thought his son's bit of magic was not only impressive, but amusing. He presented me to Godric to keep and got a new hat of his own.
This started a new stage in young Godric's life- now that his father realized how talented he was, he decided to begin his magical training immediately, lest he accidentally bewitch more clothing. I will not bore you with the details; young Godric was an eager pupil, if a bit rambunctious, and when he had exhausted his father's vast knowledge he left home to travel in pursuit of more magical studies. In his travels he had a number of great adventures, and learned a great deal more than magic, but I will not bore you with those, either.
One such adventure led to him meeting a young witch by the name of Rowena Ravenclaw, who traveled as well, in the pursuit of learning as much as she could; the two joined together for some time, before they came to Alexandria, where Rowena found it difficult to leave the vast library. He also fell in once with another young witch called Helga Hufflepuff, but they too eventually parted ways, when Godric fell in love with a young maid they encountered, and Helga went on to continue her journey. After Godric fell out of love with his maiden (quite as quickly as he had fallen in love, I'll add), he resumed his travels and encountered a young warlock known as Salazar Slytherin, who was like him in many ways but unlike him in many more, and the two became fast friends.
Godric and Salazar traveled together for several years when Godric proposed to Salazar that they ought settle down and get married (no, not to each other). Salazar agreed, and while the two contemplated where they might find acceptable brides, they crossed the paths of Rowena and Helga, who had become companions as well, and who, by coincidence, were also considering the appeal of settling down.
The four took rooms in the Sleeping Bear, the inn in the village they met in, and for a week they talked in circles, debating whether they should just marry each other and be done with it, and who should marry whom in that circumstance. Eventually, after a careless moment on the part of Godric, who was always somewhat more reckless than his three companions, they were discovered for what they were and the frightened innkeepers through them out. Godric, being Godric, thought it was a great laugh, but the other three were getting tired of being chased out of town just for being magical. So Godric asked me what I thought- I had remained with him through his travels, giving him the benefit of my consciousness, though he rarely listened to me- and I suggested that they find somewhere far away from non-magical settlements and just live there, where they would be free to practice magic without anyone bothering them.
Well, Godric thought this was a bit cowardly, but he dutifully passed on my advice to his fellows, who all talked it over and finally agreed to do just that (Salazar took some persuading, as he preferred the idea of fighting the non-magical folk and it was this that convinced Godric, who never wanted to hurt anyone who couldn't defend themselves and of course, non-magical folk can hardly defend against magic) and with Salazar outvoted, he agreed to come along, if only, he said, because he didn't think it would be appropriate for Godric to live alone with two women.
They took some time to find a place to settle, because it had to be somewhere that they could all live comfortably, somewhere that would be hard to reach, and somewhere that they could easily set up magical protection around. They eventually decided on a place in Scotland, near a lake and a forest and a mountain, because it had all of these qualities, and more which appealed to the four.
As soon as they decided on where to live, they needed a house. But, Godric, again being Godric, was not content with merely a house. He pointed out, and rightly so, that if they eventually decided not to just marry each other and marry other people instead, they would need a home that all four could raise families in comfortably, without the four families being so underfoot that they drove each other to the brink of madness. The other three liked this idea, so they immediately began plans for a very big house, which quickly became plans for a castle.
Watching construction of the castle was very entertaining, and I wish you could have seen it. Though Rowena made them wait to begin until she'd drawn up plans, she failed to go into enough detail, so that when the four split up the workload, they added flourishes of their own wherever they felt the plans allowed them breathing room. The result was a mismatched, oddly endearing castle with lots of rooms, lots of dungeons, lots of towers, and an enormous kitchen.
Even with using magic, it took three years to build the castle, and during that time the four lived in a small, one-room stone hut near the construction site. It is during this three year period that the, I believe the best word would be 'scandal', came into play. As time passed, the four continued to debate the possibility of simply marrying each other, and, at Godric and Helga's prompting, experimented with the idea. At first, it was kept simple: Godric, reckless and daring, seemed a perfect match for Helga, motherly and caring, while clever Rowena found herself paired with cunning Salazar. This took absolutely no time whatsoever to fall apart, and Godric and Rowena found themselves drawn to each other, different as they were, while Salazar and Helga found they were better suited for one another, for much the same reason. As before, this fell apart, and then the real fun began, because Godric and Salazar, frustrated and ready to swear off women forever, and Rowena and Helga, who felt the same about men, did a bit of experimenting with each other. When these pairs also fell apart, the four, after some debate, entered what would today best be described as an 'open four-way', which tended to fluctuate based on how they felt any particular day.
Once the castle was built, they moved in, each taking laying claim to the bit that they liked best- Godric and Rowena claimed towers, while Helga picked an area near the kitchen, and Salazar chose the dungeons, or what would be the dungeons if they were planning to take prisoners.
For five years they lived alone, though during that time they did resume their travels at odd intervals, when the fancy took them. Finding that their current fluctuating romantic arrangement worked out well for them, and even better when they were not cooped up in one single hut, but spread out in an entire castle, they maintained it, and were in good spirits, enjoying the solitude and the freedom that came with it.
However, outside of their castle home, which Godric (being Godric) had named Hogwarts and the others had, after a lot of exasperation, agreed to, things were coming into play that they could not realize would affect them so greatly.
You see, in their travels, they began to develop a reputation among the magical community as being the greatest witches and wizards of their time. This was a fair assessment, because, as with Godric, the other three had performed great feats of magic at very young ages, and had traveled with the main purpose of learning as much of magic as they could.
In a southern bit of the island there was a boy, a very young boy, who found he could do magic. His parents had no magic of their own, but were not as mistrustful as most non-magical folk of their time, and sought out someone who could help their son. The nearest person of magic to them was an elderly witch, who was not particularly great with magic herself, but knew all of the magical community of the land through an ability to keep her ear to the ground and pay attention to what she heard. She told the parents of a group of four wizards and witches who lived to the north who might, with persuading, teach their son how to use his gifts. She told him how to come to the castle, and his parents, tear-stained and hopeful, sent him, with his brother to guide and protect him on the journey.
As the two brothers traveled north, they came across a young girl, about to be hanged as a witch. The young girl was, as it happens, a witch, but she was young and had not yet learned to control her magic. The brothers stepped in to rescue her, and when she learned of where they were going, begged her parents to allow her to go as well. They relented, because they felt she would be much safer learning in such a secluded place, and the girl joined the two brothers as they journeyed north.
Twice more they encountered magical children- one very young boy and his older sister, and another boy around the age of the first-, who persuaded their parents to allow them to travel north rather than remain around non-magical, prying eyes, and so it was a party of six that arrived at the castle some few months later, much to the surprise of the four founders, who had at that moment been in the midst of a picnic by the lake. I'm certain that if the children had arrived much later, they may have witnessed things that children really oughtn't.
The oldest girl in the group, nearly a woman herself, explained to the founders why they had come, and the troubles they'd had, and begged that the four should teach them magic. They were at first inclined to refuse, but Helga would not turn them away without so much as a decent meal and a night's rest, and as the youngest boy took ill overnight, one night became many and by the time the boy had recovered, the founders had become very fond of the children, and finally relented and agreed to teach them to use their gifts.
They divided the children among themselves; the youngest boy, sweet and gentle, captured Helga's heart, and she took him to hand. The youngest girl was cunning and shrewd- it had largely been through her that the group had evaded capture throughout their journey- and Salazar favored her over the other children. The two older boys were rambunctious but brave, and Godric was delighted to teach them all he knew. As for the oldest girl, who sought wisdom for wisdom's sake, Rowena became her master, guiding her to the knowledge she craved.
And their protector, the brother who could do no magic of his own, rode back to his parent's home, having delivered his brother to safety, and at the request of the four founders, he spread the word in every village he came to (being careful that only magical ears should hear of it) that a school was being opened in the north of the country, where children with magical ability could go to learn magic with no fear of persecution, far from the influence of those who feared them.
Of course, the founders would eventually split, but this is another story. And, as they neared the end of their life, they found that they would need to find another way to sort the children into the houses they were best suited for, but this too is another story. If you like, I could tell them to you.
It does get lonely up here, with no one for company.
This is probably why I find myself conversing with passing beetles.
Oh, are you going? Well, come back and talk to me again soon- or listen to me talk, whichever you prefer. I'll still be here- you know where to find me.
The Sunday opened bright and clear for the students at Hogwarts, all anticipating a lazy day with nothing more pressing than whether to sit beside the lake or under a tree while they studied halfheartedly on their minds. They made their way in twos and threes to the Great Hall for breakfast, and paid little more than cursory attention when the owls came in bearing the mail and, for those who subscribed, the Sunday Prophet, the front page of which read:
Exclusive, Eye-Witness Account Reveals True Story About Hogwarts' Founding, and the Nature of the Relationship Between the Founders
The murmurs started slowly, but by the end of breakfast everyone was talking about the article. At first, the main thing everyone wanted to know was who the anonymous, eye-witness source for the account was. Very soon, though, the reactions came along the lines of "we really should have known, you know" and "I always thought there was something funny about that lot" and "so does that make the Ravenclaw's daughter Gryffindor or Slytherin's?"
And up at the staff table, Professor McGonagall wondered how Rita Skeeter had gotten into her office to talk to the Sorting Hat in the first place.