“Good evening, miss,” Minerva greeted the woman who answered the door. She had a kind, cheerful face, and Minerva hoped this would be easier than some of the other muggle-borns. “Is this the residence of Matilda Honey?”
“Yes, it is,” she replied. “I’m her mother, Jennifer.”
“Pleasure,” Minerva said, shaking her hand. “I’ll get right to it, Mrs. Honey—”
“Miss,” she corrected.
“…Miss Honey. My name is Minerva McGonagall, and I represent an exclusive boarding school in Scotland. We would like to offer Matilda a place—”
Then, to her surprise, Miss Honey gave an indulgent sigh and said, “We thank you for your interest, Ms. McGonagall, but Matilda’s already decided where she’s going to school this year.”
Ah. One of those. “And I’m sure it’s a fine school. However, our program is very unique, and I think you would be interested if you took a look.”
Miss Honey looked like she was resisting the urge to roll her eyes, of all things. “With all due respect, madam, that’s what they all say,” she replied.
Minerva stared. “Excuse me?”
“I know with Matilda’s grades, every school in the country is interested in her, but we’ve already made our decision. In fact, she would have been quite happy staying here at Crunchem Hall, but when she was offered a scholarship to Roedean to do her sixth form, we couldn’t very well say no.”
What? Somehow, none of that made sense to Minerva. Could she have the wrong family? She tried to pick it apart and seized on one inconsistency: “Sixth form? Isn’t that for sixteen-year-olds?”
Miss Honey stopped cold, her mouth hanging half open. She regarded Minerva carefully and finally said, “What school are you from?”
Damn, that was a suspicious question to ask in the muggle world, wasn’t it. Now, Minerva sighed: “This is going to sound very strange, Miss Honey, but I would urge you to think back: have any strange and unexplainable occurrences ever happened around your daughter?”
The woman’s eyes widened with immediate recognition, and she tensed—not frightened, but perhaps wary. “How do you know about that?” she demanded. “Not many people do, and most of them are not people I want to hear from.”
Oh, Merlin, this was going to be a massive headache, wasn’t it? “Oh, so you do know,” she said. “I apologise if you have had bad experiences with some of my peers, but I hope you’ll understand that we’re not all like that.”
“What?” Miss Honey said in utter bewilderment.
“Other witches and wizards?” No recognition at all. “Miss Honey, I am the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And I know about your daughter because she’s like me—and my students—Matilda is a witch.”
She stared a few moments longer and said, “Come in, then, Ms. McGonagall.”
Minerva walked inside and took a brief look around. It was a large house, isolated on the outskirts of town—not quite a manor, but still a place she would have expected to see a well-off older gentleman living, more so than a young, apparently single mother. The only sign of such, though, was an old portrait hanging over the fireplace. Still, the interior very much looked lived-in. Despite its size, it was cosy, with many books lining the walls plus artwork and what she gathered were muggle scientific posters, and dolls and stuffed animals scattered around the room.
“Matilda, come down, please. We have company,” Miss Honey called up the stairs, a slight quaver in her voice.
Moments later, a young girl bounded down the stairs. Well, she was the right age, at least—not quite eleven years old. She looked much like any other muggle-born girl, wearing a fashionable muggle dress and a red hair ribbon—except for the eyes. Minerva could see at once the spark of intelligence in those eyes—a spark she normally saw…well, in Albus. Perhaps in Miss Granger.
“Who is it, Jenny?” Matilda said as she hopped into the room.
Jenny? Minerva raised an eyebrow at the elder Miss Honey, but she ignored her. “This is Ms. McGonagall, Matilda,” she said. “She’s Deputy Headmistress of a Scottish boarding school.”
“Oh,” the girl said in surprise. “Thank you for coming, Ms. McGonagall, but Jenny must have told you I’m going to Roedean this autumn.” She recited it like someone who had had to say it several times before.
“I did,” Jenny said, “but Ms. McGonagall had something to say that I thought would be worth hearing out.” She looked to Minerva, prompting her to speak.
She cleared her throat and said, “Miss Honey,” and then to avoid confusion, she added, “Matilda. I work at a school that is specifically dedicated to teaching children like you. I work at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Young Matilda gasped in surprise, and she was much quicker on the uptake than her mother because she immediately said, “You mean there are more people like me?”
“There are, indeed. A whole community of us. But you seem remarkably familiar with magic for not having known about us.”
“Well I never knew that’s what I was doing, Ms. McGonagall—magic, I mean. We always just thought I was born with a superpower or something.” She grinned: “I’ve thought about becoming a superhero, but Jenny says I have to be eighteen to do that.”
“Ah…Well, unfortunately, we have rather strict laws about magic being kept secret from the rest of the world. For safety’s sake. Incidentally—” she turned back to Jenny. “Who else knows?”
Jenny thought for a moment. “Her friend Lavender is the only one who knows the whole story. A couple of her other friends have figured out hints about it, plus her birth family…and my aunt if she ever figured out it wasn’t a vengeful ghost after her.”
Minerva was once again lost, somewhere between “birth family” and “vengeful ghost.” That explained a few things, but raised twice as many questions. But she maintained her composure this time. “That should be fine, then,” she said, “but you should not tell anyone else about magic. Our cover story is that Hogwarts is merely a school for gifted children, which it sounds like Matilda is. For tonight, however, I am here to tell the two of you about our school and introduce you to the magical world.”
“That sounds wonderful!” Matilda said excitedly, but then she looked to Jenny expectantly.
Jenny smiled: “It’s your decision, Matilda, and we should at least hear Ms. McGonagall out.”
“Great! I’ll take notes.” Then, Matilda pointed her finger, and at once, a notebook and pencil leapt up from a table and flew across the room to her hand.
Minerva staggered back in shock, her hand clutched to her chest. Matilda looked up at her as if it weren’t unusual at all.
“What?” she asked.
Later, Minerva related the incident to Professor Flitwick. “I’m telling you, Filius: silent, wandless magic like I’ve never seen in a first-year student,” she insisted. “I’ve seen Albus do that sort of thing, but never a child. And what’s more, she claims she’s been able to do that since she was six years old!”
“Galloping gargoyles!” Filius squeaked. “I’ve heard rumours of powers like that on the duelling circuit. Certainly, some duellists are very skilled with wandless magic, but I’ve never heard corroboration for a child that young.”
“Nor have I,” Albus agreed, looking thoughtful. “Did the young Miss Honey happen to say what she uses her magic for?” he asked lightly.
“Not exactly,” Minerva said. “I gather there was some kind of fight with her mother’s aunt. I didn’t pry, but from the way her mother—Jennifer—talked about her aunt, it sounds like the aunt was dangerous, perhaps violent. And there might have been some magic involved with her separation from her birth family.”
That had been a surprise. There was something wrong about a little girl saying so calmly, “My dad got busted for selling stolen cars, so the rest of my family ran away to Spain.”
“But both of those incidents were some time ago?” Albus said.
“It sounded like it. According to them, she just uses it for fun, now.”
“There are worse things,” Filius said with a chuckle.
But Severus chose that moment to cut in: “And yet, I’m sure she’ll find a way to be supremely obnoxious all the same.”
Filius put his hands on his hips. “Really, Severus! You haven’t even met her.”
“I don’t need to. From Minerva’s description, she sounds like an even more insufferable version of Granger.”
“Who is a pleasure to have in class,” he insisted.
“Well, you’ll have plenty of opportunity,” Minerva told her colleague. “Ravenclaw for sure, that one.”
Matilda Honey was still trying to use her powers—scratch that, her magic—to wring out her robes from the pouring rain (which would have been easier if she weren’t still wearing them) when Professor McGonagall led her and her fellow first-years into the Great Hall. As soon as she saw it, she was distracted from her work and the funny looks the other first-years were giving her. This was absolutely brilliant. It was like walking into a fairy tale. Even after Diagon Alley, she was awestruck at the magnificence of Hogwarts. The Hall was like she’d imagined the great mead hall in Beowulf, only more so. Candles floated over their heads like twinkling stars, and in the ceiling, lightning flashed and rain fell as if it were open to the sky, and yet nothing reached the floor.
Witches and wizards in black robes lined long tables with golden plates while ghosts floated by overhead. At the Head Table sat a line of teachers in more colourful robes. Matilda picked out the long-bearded figure of Albus Dumbledore at once, sitting in the centre of the table in dark green robes covered with moons and stars, gazing up at the sky with his fingertips pressed together like Sherlock Holmes. As they approached, he looked down, and his eyes swept over the first-years. She could have sworn he winked at her.
Whatever she was expecting for the Sorting Ceremony, though, it wasn’t…this. A singing hat that could read minds. There were some very weird things in the magical world.
“When I call out your name, you will put on the Hat and sit on the stool,” Professor McGonagall said. “When the Hat announces your House, you will go and sit at the appropriate table.
Matilda wondered which House she would go to. She’d read about the histories of the Houses, and she honestly wasn’t sure which one she liked best. (Although Slytherin seemed to have some serious reputation problems.) And as confident as she’d felt coming in, she couldn’t help feeling a bit nervous now.
Finally, Professor McGonagall got down to “Honey, Matilda!” on the roll. Matilda stepped forward as dignified as she could manage and walked to the stool, where she picked up the Hat and sat down. When she placed it on her head, the oversize brim sank down over her eyes so that she could see only darkness. She didn’t know if the Hat would talk to her or just decide, but sure enough, she heard a small voice that seemed almost to come from inside her head.
“Interesting. Very interesting. And deceptively difficult,” it said. “Intellect that would make Rowena herself proud, but plenty of courage, too. And cunning, yes, but cunning in the service of justice. Some of your past exploits…” It seemed to laugh. “Oh, you’ll be a fun one; I can tell.”
It really can read minds, she thought.
“Of course I can,” it said. “I wouldn’t be much use otherwise, would I? But where to put you?”
Matilda wasn’t sure if the Hat was trying to prompt her or just thinking out loud, but she didn’t know any better than it did, so she didn’t say anything.
“Not Slytherin, I think. You’re cunning enough for Slytherin, but I fear they wouldn’t survive you.”
“What? What do you mean? I don’t hurt people or anything,” she protested.
“No, not hurt people, exactly, but Slytherin isn’t the most tolerant place. What you would do faced with them, and how they would escalate? It would turn the whole house on its head. No, in another time, perhaps, but not now.”
She wasn’t sure she liked the sound of that, but there was nothing she could do about it. The Hat took its time considering, sometimes muttering to itself things she couldn’t quite hear. “My first impulse was to put you in Ravenclaw, you know,” it continued after a time. “You’re more than intelligent enough for Ravenclaw, and wise beyond your years, and you value knowledge for knowledge’s sake. But that isn’t your only quality, and, I think, not your strongest one. If you want Ravenclaw, I’ll send you there, but I think you’re worth further consideration.”
“I don’t really know what I want, yet,” Matilda whispered.
“That’s wise. It can be difficult sometimes, Sorting children so young. But needs must. Now, Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. That’s the question. As brilliant as you are, those are where your strongest qualities lie. Hmm…still very difficult. For Gryffindor, you have more courage than you know what to do with and quite the mischievous streak, and though I shudder to place you in the same house with the Weasley twins, you would do well there.”
“Who are the Weasley twins?” she asked.
“The redheaded twins at the Gryffindor table. They’re the greatest pranksters in this school, and you would only add fuel to their fire.”
Well, that didn’t sound very nice. “I only prank people who deserve it,” she insisted.
The Hat chuckled. “True, true. And that’s the Hufflepuff in you. You never shy away from confronting injustice. Your loyalty to your friends, your sense of fair play, your self-dedication—all of these would mark you for Hufflepuff. In fact, I daresay Hufflepuff could use more people like you.”
“Why is that?”
She thought she heard a sigh. “Too often, Hufflepuff is seen as the least of the Houses, lacking in the qualities of the others. Sometimes, they themselves fail to recognise their rich history. People like you or like Mr. Diggory can show them how to excel through the values of Hufflepuff.
“That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Oh, Hufflepuff is all well and good, but I don’t know if it’s best the place for you. You could be the champion of this school in Gryffindor, you know—a champion in a broader sense than the tournament you’ll hear about in a few minutes. Power and glory equal to the Headmaster himself.”
Now the Hat was definitely prompting her, but Matilda didn’t take the bait. In fact, the idea made her vaguely uncomfortable. “But I don’t need to be a Gryffindor for that, do I?” she said. “Besides, I…I don’t want to be a champion like that. I just want to be me. I want to make friends and learn magic and have a good time like I did at Crunchem Hall.”
The Hat paused. “Ah, interesting. Very well. If that is your desire, you’d better be…HUFFLEPUFF!”
Matilda jumped as it shouted the last word to the Hall. She pulled the Hat off her head, and her awareness came back to her as she was greeted by the thunderous applause of the school. Although she heard a couple of students shouting, “Finally!” It was only then that she realised that she’d been sitting under the Hat had longer than anyone else. Handing the Hat to Professor McGonagall, she made her way to the Hufflepuff table, where some of the students had already made a gap for her to sit.
No one spoke as the Sorting continued, and a few more people joined them at the Hufflepuff table, including Laura Madley and Kevin Whitby.
“I’m so glad I’m in Hufflepuff,” Kevin breathed in relief as he sat down, the last student to be Sorted. “I know I couldn’t manage in Ravenclaw.”
“As long as it wasn’t Slytherin, I’m happy anywhere,” said Laura, grinning at everyone. They all went silent, however, as Professor Dumbledore sat up from the staff table and addressed the crowd.
“I have only two words to say to you all,” he said. “Tuck in!”
In that moment, Matilda watched in awe as the dishes and pitchers all along the tables filled with food and drink. Everyone quickly began to fill their plates and goblets. Matilda followed suit, grabbing some ham, potatoes, an ear of corn, and a roll.
The next few minutes were filled by the sounds of everyone happily eating. It was only interrupted when an older boy near her said, “Wow, a Hatstall, huh?”
“A what?” Matilda didn’t know what that meant, though she was starting to get used to that feeling.
“When the Sorting Hat takes more than five minutes to Sort someone, it’s called a Hatstall,” the older boy explained. “They’re really rare. They’re supposed to only happen once every fifty years or so.”
“Professor McGonagall was one,” an older girl beside the boy said. “I’m Beatrice Haywood, by the way. I’m the Head Girl this year,” she introduced herself, “and this is Cedric. He’s a prefect.” She gestured to the older boy. “We’ve been friends since basically forever.”
“Yeah, we met my first year when…” Cedric started, and then he trailed off. “Well, some bad stuff happened. Beatrice helped catch the one who did it.”
“You helped too,” she said.
“Sure, but you were a lot closer to Maya. She was the one who really solved the mystery.”
Matilda had no idea what they were talking about, so she said, “Is it bad to be a Hatstall?”
With a small laugh, Beatrice said, “Oh, no. Didn’t mean to worry you. It just means your personality is evenly balanced between the Houses, and the Hat had a hard time deciding for you. There’s nothing wrong with being a Hatstall, and it’s actually becoming more common.”
Matilda was relieved. She didn’t need a bad omen over her head on her very first day at school.
“I think I was nearly a Hatstall just now,” said Laura, spearing a few green beans onto her fork. “It wanted to send me to Ravenclaw, but decided I fit over in Hufflepuff more.” She shrugged.
Matilda was relieved to hear that someone else had almost been a Hatstall as she was. “The Hat thought I could fit into each House, really,” she explained. “It seriously considered Gryffindor, but it eventually decided that…” She didn’t know how she could fully explain the Hat’s decision. “It decided that Hufflepuff was the place where I could just be myself.”
Beatrice grinned. “Ooh, we got you over Gryffindor? Lucky decision, then. Hufflepuff is really a great House, despite everyone thinking we’re just pushovers. Of course, Cedric always puts in a good showing in Quidditch.”
“You play Quidditch?” Laura asked. “That’s so cool! I’ve been to a few Arrows matches, and my family went to the Quidditch World Cup last week.”
Cedric’s stiffened. “You were at the World Cup?” Cedric said, suddenly concerned. “Were you okay?”
Laura’s smile vanished. “Er, yeah. We were at the far end of the campground from the attack. We got out before things got bad.”
Everyone nodded solemnly, seemingly understanding, but Matilda just looked around in confusion. There was an attack at a sporting match? “What happened?” she asked.
Laura turned to her in surprise. “Didn’t you hear about the attack at the World Cup?”
She shook her head: “I live in the muggle world. I’m still learning.”
“Oh,” Cedric said awkwardly. “So, after the championship, some dark wizards attacked the campground. They scared a lot of people, and they hurt some muggles, but luckily, no one was killed. My Dad works for the Ministry, so he was running around all night cleaning up, though.”
“They were followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” Eleanor Branstone spoke up nervously. “Mum and Dad say they haven’t done anything like that since before I was born.”
“But you don’t need to worry about that here,” Cedric assured them. “Professor Dumbledore is really good about protecting the students.”
Matilda had a feeling they weren’t telling the full story, but before she could ask anything else, Laura said, “This is depressing. Cedric! What position do you play?”
Cedric laughed in response, saying, “I play Seeker—and I guess I’m okay.”
Beatrice gaped. “Okay? You beat Harry Potter last year in a match!”
Cedric gave her an annoyed look. “Bea, you know that was a total fluke, and in a game without those Dementors there, he would have beaten me.”
Beatrice shook her head. “The man never gives himself any credit.”
“What are Dementors?” Matilda asked.
All of the non-first-years frowned except for Beatrice who looked oddly amused. “You sure know how to pick out dark topics, Honey,” she said.
“Bea, don’t scare the firstie,” Cedric said in an exasperated voice.
“Okay, okay,” she told him before turning back to Matilda. “All you need to know is that Dementors are dark spirits that guard the wizard prison, Azkaban. They suck all the happiness out of the room, so you really don’t want to be near them. We had some guarding the school from a criminal last year.”
There seemed to be an awful lot of dark wizards and creatures wandering around in the magical world, Matilda thought, but no one else seemed to want to talk about it, so she let it go. She could always look things up in the school library. After that, her housemates turned to lighter conversation for the rest of the meal.
Before long, most of the students had finished eating, and Professor Dumbledore stood again to give some start-of-term announcements about things like contraband items and field trips.
“What’s Hogsmeade?” Matilda asked.
“A wizarding village,” Eleanor explained. “Just down the road. I heard that older students are allowed to go sometimes.”
“It’s really great,” Beatrice agreed. “You’ll get to go in third year.”
Dumbledore continued speaking. “It is also my painful duty to inform you that the Inter-House Quidditch Cup will not take place this year.”
This announcement set many people to exclaiming in outrage, especially at the nearby Gryffindor table. A pair of red-haired boys seemed to be so furious, they were unable to speak. Nearby, Cedric was also exclaiming, “There’s no Quidditch? That’s crazy!”
Dumbledore held up his hands for silence. “This is due to an event that will be starting in October, and continuing through the school year, taking up much of the teachers’ time and energy. I’m sure you will all enjoy it greatly. I have great pleasure in announcing that this year, Hogwarts—”
At that moment, however, the doors of the Great Hall were pushed open with a deafening crash, revealing a man standing in the doorway, holding a long staff. Matilda, along with every other student in the Hall, watched as the stranger made his way up to the High Table. As he passed near Matilda’s group, she caught sight of his face and flinched. The only comparison she could think of was that he looked like he’d been run over by a lawnmower. Part of his nose was gone; his mouth seemed to have been slashed wide open at an angle, and his face was so covered in scars that it was hard to guess his age.
The strangest thing, though, was his eye. Matilda was reminded of the Old Man’s eye from “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It was mismatched to the other, electric blue and unnaturally large, and it seemed to dart about in its socket independently, even rolling back in his head. A shiver ran down her spine when it passed over her.
The strange man with the false eye spoke to Professor Dumbledore for a minute before sitting at the High Table, but even as he ate, his eye never ceased warily scanning the Hall.
“May I introduce our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher? Professor Moody.” Dumbledore said, oblivious to the crowd’s mood.
Everyone began to whisper excitedly as they learnt who the man was. Matilda, however, had no idea, and said so: “Who is Moody?”
“He used to be an Auror,” Cedric said. “Er, sort of like a policeman. Best one they had, from what they say. He made a lot of enemies, though, and he’s seen a lot. Got paranoid in his old age, so they made him leave. In fact, I nearly missed the train this morning because my dad had to deal with his security system scaring his muggle neighbours. Apparently he sees everything as an attempt on his life nowadays.”
“I think I might too if I’d seen what he has,” Beatrice remarked, “but he is a bit creepy, isn’t he?”
Matilda wanted to say that it was more than just a bit, but refrained. She watched as Dumbledore continued his announcements. “As I was saying, we are to have the honour of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held for over a century. It is my pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year.”
One of the red-headed boys who had been outraged at the canceling of Quidditch yelled, “YOU’RE JOKING!”
But he was not joking. The Triwizard Tournament, he explained, was a medieval contest between Hogwarts and her rival schools, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, in which a champion for each school would compete in three dangerous, often deadly tasks.
“People died in this?” Eleanor whispered, staring around nervously. “I never knew that.” Everyone else, however, seemed pretty excited about the prospect of trying to win the competition for Hogwarts. Dumbledore assured everyone that they would ensure that the Tournament was safe this time around, although even so, only students who were of age (which was apparently seventeen) could enter. The winner would get a thousand galleon prize.
Beatrice turned to Cedric: “Hey, Ced, your birthday’s in October. You should enter! I know you could do it.”
He was dubious. “But...I don’t know, Bea. What if I end up looking silly? I’m only a sixth-year.”
Beatrice rolled her eyes: “And you could still kick my arse in a duel. Come on, you’d be better than basically anyone out there.”
Cedric shrugged: “I’ll think about it.”
Dumbledore dismissed them to bed. As the students around her began to stand, Matilda thought over everything that had been said. She was happy with not being able to enter. As cool as it would have been to attempt it, she didn’t want to join a competition where she might end up dead.
Cedric called down the table, “Come on, first years, I’ll show you to the Common Room and dorms.” Standing, Matilda joined Eleanor, Laura, and the other new students as they surrounded Cedric and Beatrice. They were led out of the Great Hall and down a few flights of stairs.
“We’re in the basement,” Beatrice told them. “Right by the kitchens, so it’s warmer than you’d think.” She led them to what appeared to be a wall of barrels. “Pay attention, now. You need to get the rhythm right.” She tapped on one of them five times, and it opened up, revealing a little, round door, which they climbed through.
“Our dorms are in a Hobbit hole?” Matilda said eagerly when she saw the Common Room.
“I guess. Muggle-borns always say that,” Beatrice laughed.
They stepped into a room that…well, looked like it could be a Hobbit hole, and a Hobbit hole meant comfort. It was very cosy, with warm colours and squashy chairs and sofas all around, and most of the fixtures were burnished copper. The windows were portholes high on the walls that would probably be very bright in the day, though the room was now lit by candles and a roaring fireplace. A moving portrait of Helga Hufflepuff was mounted over the fire, curtsying to the new first-years, and the walls were lined with plants all around, some hanging from the ceiling and even two large flower boxes on either side of the door.
"This place is amazing," Matilda marvelled. Around her, her fellow first years were agreeing.
"Alright, everyone!" Beatrice called all the new students to her. "As Head Girl, I want to officially welcome all of you to Hufflepuff House. Professor McGonagall should have told you when you were Sorted that your House is like your family at Hogwarts. Well, that’s especially true in Hufflepuff. Hufflepuffs are trustworthy and loyal, and we take care of our own.
“I know some of you have probably heard some bad things about Hufflepuff. Let me tell you right now they don’t know what they’re talking about. We may not get as many accolades as the other houses, but that’s because we’re not out there climbing over each other to get glory or power or the best marks like them. We hold each other up instead, and we’ve still got plenty of brilliant witches and wizards in our pedigree.”
She motioned to the large tapestry that hung opposite the fireplace. “We’re like our emblem, the badger,” she said. “If you leave us alone, we’ll mind our own business and not cause trouble—”
Cedric snorted. “Pfft. like you’re one to talk,” he said.
“Shut it, you. The point is, like the badger, we mind our own business, but if you cross us, you’re going to regret it. A badger can fight off a full-grown wolf if it has to. Remember that. So if anyone tells you Hufflepuff is a lot of duffers, you can tell them to go—”
“Ahem,” Cedric cleared his throat.
“—jump in the Lake,” she finished. Her hesitation was barely noticeable. Either way, most of the first years laughed, and a few cheered. From her description, Matilda thought she really would fit in well here.
“So, this is the Common Room,” Beatrice concluded. “You'll spend lots of time here. Girls dorms are down the right hallway, and boys to the left. Don't try to go into the other side’s dorms; the hallways won't let you. Now, I'm sure you all want to get some sleep before your first day of classes, so I'll bid you all good night."
Down in the dorm, Matilda doubted she would sleep, and her dorm mates seemed to be in similar moods.
"I was so excited when I found out my parents were letting me come here!" Laura exclaimed as they put some of their things away. "My parents wanted me to go to Castelobruxo. My mum’s family went there. But I convinced them to let me come here." She turned to Matilda, saying, "How about you, Matilda?"
Matilda grinned as she said, "I was about to go to a Muggle secondary school. I'm Muggleborn, you see. I always knew there was something special about me, though. I've been doing magic since I was six years old."
"Wow!" Eleanor marvelled. "I didn't start showing magic until last year, my family thought I was a Squib."
"A Squib?" Matilda questioned.
"Oh, a Squib is a person who's family is magical, but they aren't,” Laura explained. “Basically the opposite of Muggleborns.”
Matilda nodded in understanding. "I didn't realise that happened. That's interesting."
Once they all had gotten their excitement out, they quickly got into bed. Matilda stared at the ceiling for a while, thoughts still zipping around. The day had been so eventful and full of activity. Eventually, however, even she managed to fall asleep, dreaming of the next day and what classes would have in store for her.