11~Sorting Hat

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When we got off the train, the half-blood giant, Hagrid was standing in front of us.
"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' in a sec" it called over it's shoulder,"jus' round this bend here."
There was a loud "Oooooh!"
The narrow path opened suddenly onto the edge of the black lake. Boats appeared.
"No more'n four to a boat!"
Me, Pansy, Draco, and Ophidian got in the boat.
"Everyone in?" shouted it, who had a boat to himself. "Right then -- FORWARD!"
And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the great castle overhead. It towered over them as they sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.
"Heads down!" yelled Hagrid as the first boats reached the cliff; we all bent our heads and the little boats carried us through a curtain of ivy that hid a wide opening in the cliff face. We were carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath the castle, until we reached a kind of underground harbor, where we clambered out onto rocks and pebbles.
We walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, Oak front door.
"Everyone here?"
The thing raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door.
The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes stood there. She had a very stern face.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," said the half giant.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here."
She pulled the door wide. The entrance hall was so big you could have fit the whole of the orphanage in it. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches, the ceiling was too high to make out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led to the upper floors.
We followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. I could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right -the rest of the school must already be here -- but Professor McGonagall showed the first years into a small, empty chamber off the hall. We crowded in, standing rather closer together than we would usually have done.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.
"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rulebreaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.
"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting."
Her eyes lingered for a moment on a fat boy, the Longbottom's cloak, which was fastened under his left ear, and on Spark and Coal's ex-brother's smudged nose.
"I shall return when we are ready for you," said Professor McGonagall. "Please wait quietly."
She left the chamber.
"How exactly do they sort us into houses?" Ophidian asked
"Well my parents said you just have to try on a hat"
Then something happened that made me jump about a foot in the air -- several people behind us screamed.
"What the --?"
I gasped. So did the people around me. About twenty ghosts had just streamed through the back wall. Pearly-white and slightly transparent, they glided across the room talking to one another and hardly glancing at the first years. They seemed to be arguing. What looked like a fat little monk was saying: "Forgive and forget, I say, we ought to give him a second chance --"
"My dear Friar, haven't we given Peeves all the chances he deserves? He gives us all a bad name and you know, he's not really even a ghost -- I say, what are you all doing here?"
A ghost wearing a ruff and tights had suddenly noticed the first years.
Nobody answered.
"New students!" said the Fat Friar, smiling around at them. "About to be Sorted, I suppose?"
A few people nodded mutely.
"Hope to see you in Hufflepuff!" said the Friar. "My old house, you know."
"Move along now," said a sharp voice. "The Sorting Ceremony's about to start."
Professor McGonagall had returned. One by one, the ghosts floated away through the opposite wall.
"Now, form a line," Professor McGonagall told the first years, "and follow me."
I got into line behind a boy with sandy hair, with Draco behind me, and we walked out of the chamber, back across the hall, and through a pair of double doors into the Great Hall.
I had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first years up here, so that we came to a halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them. The hundreds of faces staring at us looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, I looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. 
It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn't simply open on to the heavens.
I quickly looked down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool she put a pointed wizard's hat. This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Mrs.Young wouldn't have let it in the orphanage.
For a few seconds, there was complete silence. Then the hat twitched. A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth -- and the hat began to sing:
"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffis are true And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!"
The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.
The hat seemed to be asking rather alot; i would be in the serpent house no matter what.
Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.
"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Abbott, Hannah!"
A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. A moments pause --
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat.
The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. Harry saw the ghost of the Fat Friar waving merrily at her.
"Bones, Susan!"
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah.
"Boot, Terry!"
The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them.
" Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Ravenclaw too, but "Brown, Lavender" became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers; I could see the Serpentine brothers groaning from the Slytherin table.
"Bulstrode, Millicent" then became a Slytherin. Perhaps it was Ophidian's imagination, after all he'd heard about Gryffindor, but he thought they looked like an unpleasant lot.
"Finch-Fletchley, Justin!"
Sometimes, i noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once, but at others it took a little while to decide. "Finnigan, Seamus," the sandy-haired boy next to Daphne in the line, sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.
"Granger, Hermione!"
Granger almost ran to the stool and jammed the hat eagerly on her head. Obviously a Mudblood.
"GRYFFINDOR!" shouted the hat. I groaned, not wanting to hear that horrid racket.
When Longbottom, was called, he fell over on his way to the stool. The hat took a long time to decide with Neville. When it finally shouted, "HUFFLEPUFF," Neville ran off still wearing it, and had to jog back amid gales of laughter to give it to "MacDougal, Morag."
Malfoy swaggered forward when his name was called and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, "SLYTHERIN!"
Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself.
There weren't many people left now. "Moon" "Nott" "Parkinson" then a pair of twin girls, "Patil" and "Patil" then "Perks, Sally-Anne" and then, at last -- "Riddle, Ophidian!"
As I stepped forward, whispers suddenly broke out like little hissing fires all over the hall, from the Death Eaters children.
"Riddle, did she say?"
The Ophidian Riddle?"
The Next Dark Lord?"
The last thing I saw before the hat dropped over my eyes were the Death Eater children craning to get a good look at me. Next second I was looking at the black inside of the hat.
Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, A my goodness, yes -- and a nice thirst for fear, now that's interesting.... So where shall I put you?"
Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Gryffindor, not Gryffindor.
"Now, why would you think I would put you there?" said the small voice. " Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that -- yes? Well, if you're sure -- better be SLYTHERIN!"
I heard the hat shout the last word to the whole hall. I took off the hat and walked confidently toward the Slytherin table. I hardly noticed that I  was getting the loudest cheer yet. Marcus the Prefect got up and shook my hand vigorously, while the Serpentine twins yelled, "We got Riddle! We got Riddle!" I sat down opposite the ghost who still had blood on him, I saw earlier. The ghost patted my arm, giving me the sudden, horrible feeling he'd just plunged it into a bucket of ice-cold water.
"This is going to be a great year"

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