Mr and Mrs Granger, of number seven, Bunney Close, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they were wealthy and well-educated and just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
Mr Granger was a dentist, as was Mrs Granger. They had met while studying dentistry at Barts and were married in due course. Together, the Grangers had a successful dental practice and one daughter, whom they’d named Hermione as a testament to their cleverness and taste.
The Grangers had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. It simply wouldn’t do if anyone found out about Hogwarts.
Hogwarts was a boarding school. The very best, they’d been told, but it had also been made clear that they would never be able to judge for themselves; in fact, the Grangers often pretended that Hogwarts did not exist, because acknowledging its existence only ever led to more questions, even between the two of them. The Grangers shuddered to think what would happen should the neighbours learn of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There was some sort of gag order, to keep the truth of magic wands and magic potions and magic spells outside the realm of common knowledge, and one could imagine the consequences of letting anything slip would be very grave indeed.
The Grangers knew that Hermione was doing well at Hogwarts, earning top marks and making new friends, but it was still strange to think of their daughter as, well, a witch. This was another reason the Grangers rarely spoke of Hogwarts, even to each other; neither wanted to be the first to own to the niggling feeling that their relationship with the clever, bookish girl they’d raised would never be quite the same again.
When Mr and Mrs Granger woke up on the dull, grey morning our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things had come to pass in the night. Mr Granger hummed the unmistakable opening of the Eroica as he moved about the kitchen fixing another cup of tea and Mrs Granger consulted a neat diary to remind herself it was today that Mr what’s-his-name with the dreadful halitosis was coming in for a new crown.
Both of them noticed immediately when a large tawny owl fluttered past the window.