Ch. 2 - Inside The Leaky Cauldron
Ch.2 - Inside the Leaky Cauldron
Disclaimer: Hogwarts and the Harry Potter universe
belong entirely to JKR and Warner Brothers. I am merely playing in their world
and no copyright infringement is intended. Kit, of course, belongs to me.
Acknowledgements: Chapter 2 could not have been completed
without the help of the ladies at the Sugar Quill Workshop, the world's best
beta-reader Aquilla, and the king of all things grammatical Tommy. Thanks guys!
Your ideas and help make my life much easier and keep the story on track.
When the owl returned the next day, Kit was chasing an
enormous butterfly through her backyard. Her fingertips were a breath away from
brushing the jeweled blue wings when an envelope struck the top of her head and
ricocheted off into the grass. Kit skidded to a halt, rubbing the top of her
head as the owl swept past her and snatched the butterfly out of the air. He
clicked his beak with relish as the last hint of fragile wing disappeared.
disgusting," Kit muttered retrieving her letter. When she had
straightened, the owl wheeled back around and landed on her shoulder. He gave a
low, purring, hoot and rubbed his feathery cheek against hers. "I see
you've forgiven me for the milk bath."
Kit scratched the
owl's downy chest with her fingertips. "I wonder if you have a name? I
can't keep calling you owl."
She stood still
for a minute, thinking hard. Hadn't she read a story last year that mentioned
an owl? What had it been called? Totula? Tottani? To-to? No wait, Totoba. Yes, it
had been Totoba.
Totoba? I can call you Toby for short." A swift, sharp call beside her ear
seemed to announce the owl's agreement.
"Toby it is
then. I'm very pleased to meet you." Kit's grin was playful as she held a
hand up to the owl. Toby nipped her fingers. Kit just laughed, happy to be
wrapped in sunshine with an owl on her shoulder and a magic letter in her
pocket. She still couldn't quite believe it was real. Toby's talons gently
pressing into her shoulder reassured her, despite the slight discomfort.
They were just
inside the backdoor when her mother spotted them and let out an indignant,
"Kit!" Hands on her hips, she stood next to the sink, prepared to
defend her kitchen.
was apologetic as she looked up at the owl. "I'm not allowed to have
animals in the house." Toby seemed to understand; taking flight, he
disappeared back through the open door. Kit sincerely hoped this letter didn't
require a response. "There's another letter mom. Can I open it?"
better get your dad to come down first," her mom said, still frowning out
the door after Toby. "Don't know what's wrong with using the mail,"
she grumbled under her breath. Kit dropped the letter on the counter beside her
mom and headed for the stairs.
She supposed her
mom's irritation was understandable. Toby had left a few scratch marks on the
table yesterday that no amount of waxing seemed able to hide. Kit rubbed her
arm reflexively, the muscles still ached. She'd fallen into bed mumbling
"wax on, wax off" bitterly. Ralph Macchio should have kicked Mr.
Kit found her dad
hunched over the desk in their spare room, his tongue curled into a pink comma
at the corner of his mouth. He scrunched his eyes in concentration as he glued
a tiny wheel onto the base of a squat bi-plane. She tiptoed into the room and
waited until he'd drawn back to admire the new wheel before clearing her
Her dad looked up
in surprise and Kit couldn't help laughing. He was completely hopeless, so
absorbed in his planes it was amazing he remembered to breathe. "Don't you
get enough of those during the week?" she teased.
He growled in
mock anger, "I'll have you know this is an F-1 Camel. This little beauty
shot down more enemy aircraft in World War I than any other fighter
plane." He caressed one of the homely brown wings, his fingertips just
grazing the surface.
"If you can
tear yourself away from that ah ... um, Cardinal." Kit tried to keep her
voice serious but it wobbled as he winced and muttered "Camel!"
"The owl's brought
another letter and Mom won't let me open it till you're downstairs. But if
you'd rather work on your F-13 Canary..." The giggle she'd been
choking on finally snuck out and Kit's eyes crinkled as she laughed.
frown turned serious. Tearing himself away from the plane he followed Kit out
the door, but he kept peeking over his shoulder as they left, his eyes
lingering on the unfinished wheel. Kit was still smiling when they entered the
Her mom had moved
to sit on the couch, flicking rapidly through a magazine in her lap and
glancing up to glower at the letter every few pages. The yellow envelope sat
perfectly in the center of the coffee table, its top parallel to the table's
Kit reached for
the letter but her dad plucked it out of her hands before she'd even
straightened up. He simply held it for a moment, his eyes lingering on Kit's
name scrawled across the front. Straightening his shoulders resolutely, he took
a deep breath as if about to defuse a bomb, and broke the seal, pulling out a
single page. Her mom dropped the magazine and watched him, her features tight
Kit's dad glanced
over the letter quickly before beginning to read aloud:
Thank you for agreeing to attend the Hogwarts orientation on 22
August. Prospective students and their family members will please arrive
outside Foyles Bookshop of London, located at 113-119 Charing Cross Rd, no
later than 9am. Those wishing to use the underground should exit at the
Tottenham Court Road Station. A Hogwarts representative will be on hand to
greet you and a mid-day meal will be provided.
Deputy Head Mistress
least they're feeding us," Kit joked. Neither of her parents smiled.
With a sigh her
dad slid the page back into its yellow envelope. He stared out the window for
moment while her mom began to compulsively straighten the couch pillows.
"I suppose that's it then," he said at last. "We'll just have to
wait and see what this is all about." Watching her mother pat the last
pillow into place he seemed about to add something else, but with a look at Kit
he pressed his lips together and left the room.
By August 21st
there wasn't a speck of dust left in the house. All the spiders were in
self-imposed exile, and if there had been mice, they'd probably died of
starvation weeks ago. On the day of the second letter, in a fit of nervous
energy that showed no signs of abating, Kit's mom had begun dusting mini blinds
and scrubbing base boards. Now that her mom had run out of things to
straighten, Kit had taken to hiding in her room. Only yesterday her mom had
begun eyeing Kit's uneven bangs speculatively.
Her dad, on the
other hand, acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. The spare
room had been declared out of bounds to Kit's mom after her enthusiastic
cleaning resulted in a certain World War I casualty. Consequently, Kit had been
spending a fair bit of time hiding in there as well. Her dad had begun work on
a new World War II deHavilland Mosquito. Kit's eyes glazed over listening to
him describe each of the plane's features. His voice was filled with the same
excitement a young boy has for a sloppy mud puddle. "They were made using
plywood and balsa-"
While her dad's
enthusiasm for model planes was undimmed by the approach of their London trip,
his eyes seemed to linger on her more often lately. More than once she'd wanted
to snap at him about it.
The night before
the trip to London, Kit yanked open her closet door and stared inside. A row of
t-shirts stared back, jeans folded precisely on a shelf beneath them. Her mom
had already been through here. Even her shoes were lined up like recruits for
an inspection, laces perfectly tied, each pair evenly spaced from the others.
Had her mom used a ruler?
For the first
time Kit regretted that her wardrobe didn't contain a single dress or
skirt. She wanted to make a good impression tomorrow and somehow her prized
Wile E. Coyote t-shirt just didn't seem right.
She closed her
eyes and picked a t-shirt at random. Bart Simpson grinned mockingly back at
her. That wouldn't do either. Who could possibly make a good impression in a
t-shirt that said 'underachiever: and damn proud of it' across the front. She
threw Bart on the floor and made a blind grab for another shirt. Miami
Dolphins. How about I just write, 'Hi y'all, I'm from America' across my
forehead. T-shirt after
t-shirt ended up at her feet, until she was staring at the back wall of her
She spun around to find her mother standing in the doorway, looking dangerous.
"Pick those up now! I did not spend two hours ironing them just so you
could throw them on the floor."
word, pick them up right now."
can't find anything to wear for tomorrow..." Kit glared down at the mound
of t-shirts covering her bare feet. Her mom's stern expression melted.
I'm sure that's not true. What about those tops Aunt Elinor sent you last
Christmas?" Her mom moved to the dresser and pulled open the bottom
drawer, revealing a white clothes box. "I know they're not in your usual
style," she said as she drew two shirts out, "but I think they'd be
just the thing." She smoothed a hand over the soft blue and yellow fabric
of each top. They were made of some loose, floaty material that caught the
light and reflected it back in tiny bursts of iridescent color.
"I'd forgotten all about those," Kit said. She
moved closer and reached out to touch one of the filmy sleeves. The tops were
completely useless for climbing trees, but they'd be perfect for
"I think the
blue would look really lovely with your hair, dear." Her mom moved Kit in
front of her dresser mirror and held one of the shirts up.
Kit shook her
head. "No, I like the yellow better." The yellow just seemed more
– optimistic. Giving in to impulse, she turned and hugged her mom.
"Thanks," she breathed out with a sigh, forgiving the past couple
weeks of neurotic cleaning.
Later that night,
Kit was still thinking about the orientation as she got ready for bed. She let
her clothes fall in an untidy heap on the floor, changed into a clean pair of
pajamas and pulled back the covers. There, waiting for her, was a teeny brown
vole, nose twitching in interest.
Kit plucked the
vole from the sheets and took him downstairs. With a distracted little pat she
set him in the backyard and headed back to her room. She was too used to
finding odd creatures in her room for the vole's presence to have interrupted
her thoughts. She couldn't help worrying the school representative would take one
look at her tomorrow and say, "There's been a mistake, you don't belong at
Kit was careful
to put her invitation letter and school list on top of the clothing she'd
set out for the next day. The invitation was bent and creased, its edges ragged
and a smudge of strawberry jam partially obscured the word "Dear."
She let her fingers linger for an extra moment on the parchment, tracing her
"beep, beep" announced the taxi in front of their house. Kit checked
her pocket one last time to make sure she had the letter. "Mom, Dad,
taxi's here," she yelled, as if they weren't capable of hearing the
taxi. Her mom's face appeared at the top of the stairs.
be a minute, Kit. I can't seem to find your windbreaker."
Kit pointed to
the coat hanging beside the door as it always did. A blush crept across her
mom's cheeks and she hurried down the stairs chased by another irritable
"beep, beep" from the taxi. Kit's dad was right behind her.
August," Kit said when her mom pressed the coat into Kit's hands.
rain." Her mom grabbed her purse and urged Kit out the door. Kit glanced
skeptically at the cloudless sky and then glared at her dad's empty
hands. Neither of her parents was bothering to bring a jacket. Her dad shrugged
as he caught her look.
The journey to
Huntingdon station was accomplished with little conversation. It only took them
a few minutes to locate the correct train and purchase their tickets. Kit
pressed her face against the window as the train pulled out, jiggling in her
a while before we reach London. Please try not to leap out of the window,"
her dad said in a dry voice. Kit turned to sit properly in her seat, pulling
out the letter to read it one more time.
When they reached
Kings Cross Station and switched to the underground, the only thing that kept
Kit from running to her seat was her mom's hand planted firmly on her shoulder.
However, as she watched the tunnel signs flash past, Kit felt her stomach start
What if no
one's there? What if it's a prank? What if I'm not good
enough to get into the school? Kit's doubts and fears circled in her mind like a pack of wolves,
ripping apart her enthusiasm. She was subdued by the time they reached
several other families waiting just to the left of the main entrance when they
arrived at the bookshop. Each family had claimed a tiny section of concrete.
Kit and her parents selected a spot near the door as the adults in the groups
on either side watched them suspiciously.
tentatively at a handsome, sandy-haired boy nearby. He grinned back, rolling
his eyes at his parents who were whispering like actors in a bad spy movie
behind him. He turned to say something to the girl beside him. She must have
been his sister because she had the same sandy hair and cheerful face. She was
dressed as if she'd walked out of an ad for one of the expensive department
stores. Kit tried not to hold this against her. It was a real struggle,
however. Kit's faded jeans, with their frayed cuffs and worn knees, suddenly
seemed unforgivably scruffy.
Kit ran her eyes
over the gathered families counting silently. There were eleven other children
around her age. Some families had also brought along an older or younger
sibling. There wasn't a single pair of jeans among them. Kit hunched her
shoulders, self-consciousness clamoring inside her.
Her eyes were
drawn to a small mousy-haired boy on her left. He danced in place with
excitement, quivering so much Kit would have thought he was having a seizure if
he hadn't been smiling and talking in a shrill, high voice. "Dad,
dad, do you reckon all these people are witches and wizards? Can we go in the
bookshop? Can I –" he rushed on, the words coming so fast they
tumbled together. An even smaller and younger version of the boy stood beside
him, looking just as excited as he stared up at his brother with wide eyes. Kit
felt exhausted just watching them.
do you think the school representative is?–"
down! I can't answer all your questions. You'll just have to wait." The
boy's father looked harassed as he tried to stop his son from bouncing around
the street, but he was smiling as he spoke. Lucky Colin, his Dad didn't seem
freaked out at all. Kit stole a glace at her parents. They looked as if someone
She felt someone
watching her and fought the urge to duck behind her mom. Her eyes searched the
crowd before settling on a figure directly across from her. It was like looking
at a black and white photograph: dark hair fell straight to the girl's
shoulders framing her colorless face and just brushing the collar of her black
dress. Even her eyes were some sort of light, washed out gray. Like the photo
Kit had imagined, the girl stood absolutely motionless, as if the stillness was
a part of her. Not even the slight breeze dared to ripple her dress or tug
playfully at her hair. Kit felt a small shiver race down her back and turned
She was trying to
sneak a look at her dad's watch when a voice spoke from their left, just past
the bookshop steps and the small crowd.
"If I could
have your attention please," said a tall black-haired woman in a green
tartan suit. She looked like a stern librarian with her lips tightly pinched.
"I am Professor Minerva McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress of
Hogwarts." She paused for a moment, looking assessingly at the small
crowd. "If the students and their families would please follow me."
The professor led
them briskly over to a grubby looking pub that Kit hadn't noticed before. It
was clear from the arrested look on the faces around her that she wasn't
the only one to have overlooked it. I suppose we were too busy looking at
each other. A sign
hanging above the door read "The Leaky Cauldron" in cracked and
peeling gold paint.
Kit followed her
dad through the narrow double doors with her mom pressed uncomfortably close
behind her. The dimly lit room they entered had a bar at one end and clusters
of small wooden tables and chairs scattered about. Other than the families and
the professor it seemed to be deserted.
McGonagall led them past the bar and through one of the inconspicuous wooden
doors in the back. A large, oval table, its oak surface scarred and dark with
age, dominated this new room. Old-fashioned gas lamps set into the walls provided
a warm, peachy glow.
With a sweep of
her hand the professor invited them all to have a seat and closed the door with
a snap. Kit was surprised when she eased into one of the ridged-backed chairs
to find the seat warm and soft, far more comfortable than it had looked.
for taking the time to come to London today," the professor began.
"I am sure that you have many questions. I hope that soon most of them
will be answered." She moved to one end of the table, which had been left
devoid of chairs, and folded her hands primly at her waist. "I am also
sure that many of you are highly skeptical of the letter your children have
received. You don't believe that there is magic in the world today let alone
that it can be taught. The magical community has taken great pains to ensure
that you think exactly that." She let her eyes roam the table, daring
someone to contradict her. No one did. Apparently satisfied, she continued in a
less challenging tone. "We do not find it... prudent to make our presence
known to the non-magical population, for various reasons.
"Magic is a
talent that each person is either born with or not. The majority of people will
never know that magic exists, possessing none themselves. Your children, however,
were born with that
special ability. If each of you will take a moment to think, I am certain you
can come up with many instances when curious things have happened around your
children without apparent explanation. In the untrained witch or wizard magic
is unfocused and unpredictable. It will reveal itself during times of high
emotion, such as when a child is angry or afraid." Professor McGonagall
paused for breath.
Most of the
parents were now staring at the professor intently, several nodding their heads.
"I must impress upon you how special your children are. They each possess
incredible potential. In the magical world that potential can be fully realized
and children are taught to control their abilities." She said the last
rather pointedly and her eyes flicked briefly to Kit's right.
Kit looked as
well and felt her chest ache with the effort of holding in laughter. Colin was
floating an inch or so above his chair, his expression so excited it was
painful to watch. Kit doubted whether anyone other than herself and the
professor had noticed. She was wrong. On the other side of Colin's family, the
sandy-haired boy from earlier elbowed his sister and jerked his head in the
other boy's direction, smiling widely. Kit met the siblings' eyes for a moment and
the three of them grinned.
School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is one of the finest establishments of
magical learning in the world today. The curriculum is divided over the course
of seven years; similar to the non-magical school systems with which you are
familiar. In their first year students will attend Astronomy, Herbology,
Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Charms and Transfiguration classes.
They will also be given instruction on broomstick flight." Kit thought
there was a twinkle of humor in the professor's eyes, but it disappeared so
quickly she was probably mistaken.
There were looks
of open disbelief all around the table and Kit distinctly heard a woman down
the table from her whisper loudly, "She's mad, absolutely out of her mind.
I told you this was a waste of time-"
it is a lot to take in," the professor's voice cut the woman off,
returning the room to silence. "Perhaps before we go any further you would
like a short demonstration?"
McGonagall pulled a long, thin stick out of her inside pocket, and Kit realized
with a start it was a magic wand. The professor raised the wand and with a
slight flicking motion of her wrist said "Wingardium Leviosa" pointing at a cup on the table.
There were gasps of astonishment as the cup floated into the air and Colin gave
a high-pitched squeal of delight.
motioned the cup back to the table and with another flick transformed it into a
frog. The frog croaked at them and hopped forward with a heavy thump, causing
several people to edge backwards. The professor returned the cup to its
original state and waited. Kit could hear her mom's breath coming in short,
tight puffs and noticed that her father had gone white.
you..." stammered a stout woman to Kit's left, mopping at her face with a
handkerchief. She seemed unable to finish her question.
this is shock for you, how difficult it must be to understand. My purpose here
today is merely to introduce you to the magical world so that you can
understand how important it is for your children to receive the proper
training," Professor McGonagall said kindly. "Why don't I try to
answer a few of your questions?"
hand shot into the air. "What will happen if we decide not to let our
daughter attend your school?" Kit's stomach clenched, twisting into an
angry knot. They wouldn't.
"We will not force your children to attend Hogwarts.
It is ultimately a decision that each of you must make for yourselves. If at
the end of today's orientation you decide not to let your children attend, then
you will be free to walk out that door and go about your lives just as you have
before. I assure you we are not monsters out to steal your children," the
professor replied in a sharp voice.
were fired at Professor McGonagall but Kit was too busy trying to remember how
to breathe to hear them. Her parents weren't going to let her attend. She'd
never considered the fact that they might accept the existence of magic and
still refuse to let her attend Hogwarts.
Kit watched her
father's face grow harder with each question, felt her mother trembling in
distress beside her. The reality of their refusal grew more solid with each
passing moment, until she felt crushed under the weight of it, her mind
battered. She wasn't going. She would get back on the train today and be expected to attend
the base school this fall as though there had never been a magic letter.
Something hot and
dark swelled in her chest, rage bubbling and churning. How can they! How can
they do this to me? For
one wild moment Kit wanted to strike out at them, to hurt them as much as they
were hurting her. She turned to her mother, not quite sure what she was going
to say but needing to say it nonetheless. Her mom's eyes looked back, clinging
to Kit like a lost child. The rage melted away leaving her cold and empty.
The churning in
her stomach now came not from anger but the realization that she had actually
wanted to harm her mother. She had never felt that kind of rage before, never
imagined she was capable of it. Kit wanted to weep almost as much for her near
loss of control as for the lost opportunity to study magic. After a while, the
professor's voice filtered back through to her brain.
it's time for our mid-day break. If you will please look at the menus in
front of you," Professor McGonagall was saying. Kit watched with
astonishment as menus printed on scrolls of cream parchment appeared in front
of each of them. "You may order whatever you like by stating the item
the professor looked over her own menu and then said very clearly, "Steak
and kidney pie and a small gillywater." A plate appeared in front of her
with a thick square of pie and a glass of some bluish-colored liquid.
Kit's despair was
momentarily forgotten in her excitement at this new magic. She grabbed her menu
and looked over the items. She recognized many of the dishes listed but had
never heard of most of the drinks. Pumpkin Juice, bleck that sounded horrible.
And what was Butterbeer? You probably had to show an ID to order it.
She'd better stick with water.
"Shepard's Pie and a glass of water, please,"
Kit requested. Both appeared instantly. With a sigh that didn't even begin to
express the magnitude of her misery, Kit tasted the Shepard's Pie and tried to
enjoy her meal. Carefully searching her emotions, she was relieved to discover
no trace of her earlier rage.
While they ate,
many of the families discussed the morning's events excitedly. Some of them
even began to share stories with one another. "And when he was two Hugh
got the cookie jar down off the fridge. Found him in the kitchen sharing
macaroons with the dog. Never did figure out how he'd done it," said one
woman, beaming at her round-faced son while she spoke with the couple next to
hadn't spoken since her father's question. They ate in steadfast silence after
ordering their meals, refusing to look at the other families, Professor
McGonagall or Kit.
closely to the conversations around her Kit was able to discover the names of
some of the other children. The sandy-haired boy and girl were Spencer and
Ellie. She'd already heard the mousy-haired boy called Colin, but she also
learned his brother's name was Dennis.
girl with the odd manner remained a mystery, however. Her mother, like Kit's
parents, wasn't speaking. The woman looked around at the other diners,
her eyes wide. She reminded Kit of a startled rabbit, unsure if it should run
back to its burrow or just run away all together. Oddly enough, it seemed to be
the children that frightened her most, her eyes skittering away from them.
their empty plates and glasses vanish again, Professor McGonagall once more
stood up to address the families. "Before we continue on to the second
half of this orientation I must ask each of you to make a decision as to
whether or not your child will be attending Hogwarts. Those not wishing their
children to attend are welcome to leave at this point; the rest of you may stay
in your seats for the moment please."
There was some
general muttering and discussion around the table. Kit saw several couples
openly arguing. Kit's dad stood up at the same time as her mom. They didn't
need to say anything; their decision had been made long before now. Maybe even
before they'd arrived in London.
pleading with them, crying, yelling, anything to make them reconsider. Her dad
made a preemptive strike however, his eyes locking on hers and warning her not
to create a scene. He'd only used that look on her once before; she'd ignored
it then and hadn't been allowed out of the house, except for school, for a
whole week. To someone that loved being outside as much as Kit, that was a
severe punishment indeed. She briefly entertained the thought of defying him
anyway, but finally just stood, her shoulders slumping in defeat.
had also risen, their son with them, and were already making their way across
the pub floor. Kit grudgingly trailed behind her parents, ignoring the eyes
that watched them. Her dad was halfway across the front room, when Professor
McGonagall's voice stopped them.
Mrs. Ellsington, please wait a moment," she said, hurrying after them. The
professor looked at Kit with an unreadable expression and then drew her parents
closer to the bar. They were standing close to the kitchen door, where the
clink of glasses, and what sounded like an old radio, muffled their
conversation. Her mom never took her eyes off Kit, as if afraid she might be
snatched away. Kit turned to watch the other family disappear through the front
door unimpeded. When they were gone she glanced toward the back room and
discovered Spencer and Ellie watching her from their seats. Uncomfortable with
the identical sympathetic looks they were giving her, Kit turned away and
looked around the bar.
had entered the pub while they were in the back room. They all seemed to be
wearing what looked like graduation robes, but very few of them were a traditional
black. Most fell somewhere between dark purple and dark green, and some of the
robes even had fancy embroidery and various elegant embellishments. She was
looking with halfhearted interest at a handsome, smiling man in a particularly
gaudy robe of brilliant turquoise when her parents returned.
Her father was
looking even paler than earlier, his face now the splotchy color of oatmeal.
Kit glanced curiously from her parents to Professor McGonagall, just reentering
the back room. Wonder what that was all about, Kit thought, shoulders sagging as she
lost sight of the professor and prepared to leave. Her parents, however, didn't
move toward the entrance.
Her mom grabbed
Kit's hand as if she was two and her parents marched back into the other room,
following the professor. The fact that they were staying made up for Kit's
embarrassment at being treated like a baby. Almost. She wriggled her fingers
trying to get free but stopped as she heard one of the boys snicker unkindly.
Kit straightened her shoulders and tried not to blush. Even when they were
sitting down again, Kit's mom refused to let go of her hand, cradling it in her
"I am very
pleased that you have all decided to remain," Professor McGonagall said
smiling around the table tightly. "We will presently be taking a brief
tour of Diagon Alley, the magical world's version of Charring Cross Road. There
are many magical shops in Diagon Alley where you will be able to find all of
your children's school supplies. After our tour you may make your purchases or
you may come back later in the week for the supplies if that is more
convenient. If you would all please follow me." The professor swept out of
the room and took them farther back into the bar. Passing through another
narrow doorway they found themselves in a small walled courtyard with a ratty
looking dustbin set against one wall.
McGonagall tapped one of the bricks above the dustbin with her wand and stepped
back. The brick wriggled, a tiny hole appeared in its center and then grew
bigger until Kit was looking out through a large archway onto a cobbled street
crowded with more people in robes. Kit gaped at the pointed witches' and
wizard's hats and had to bite back a giggle when she noticed an old woman
wearing a particularly ugly hat with a stuffed green vulture perched above the
McGonagall took a few steps forward into the street, and turned to address
them. "Welcome to Diagon Alley," she said, with the first real smile
Kit had seen her use all morning.
Shops were shoved
close together, some with quaint balconies and little chimneys, others large
and imposing. The shop windows all held interesting things like barrels of newt
eyes, cauldron displays and large brass telescopes. Kit could spend hours here
and never see enough. Professor McGonagall beckoned them through the archway
before turning to address them again.
future, if you need to get into Diagon Alley, Tom the barkeep at the Leaky
Cauldron can let you in. You are welcome to come back and explore anytime you
would like, although I would caution you that just as with the other side of
London there are dangers to be found here as well. It is best if you visit
Diagon Alley mainly in the week before term starts at Hogwarts or when
accompanied by an experienced witch or wizard."
squeezed Kit's hand, making it go numb. Kit wasn't going to say anything though
and risk her parents trying to leave again. Even the continued smirks aimed at
her by several of the other children couldn't stop Kit from smiling as her head
swiveled back and forth trying to take it all in.
End Notes: In Philosopher's Stone JKR tells us that the
Leaky Cauldron sits next to a bookstore. In that same book, and again in PoA,
we learn that the pub is also located on Charring Cross Road. Conveniently
enough, Foyles Bookshop of London fits the bill
perfectly. Is this the bookstore JKR was referring to? While I'm not
certain, it's certainly likely. Foyles is often called the world's
greatest bookshop and has called Charring Cross home since 1906.
Totoba is the Menominee word for owl. The Menominee are a Native American tribe located in Wisconsin and
Totoba features in their legend of the origins of night and day. This is the story that Kit is
referring to when she names Toby.