All That Glitters
An Alternative Point of View
A faithful friend is a strong defence: and
he that hath found one hath found a treasure.
All that glitters
is not gold.
One: The Burrow
the day that Ron Weasley had been waiting for since he could remember, the day
when he was finally old enough to go to Hogwarts. Even lying in bed, keeping
his eyes closed, he could feel the excitement bubbling in his stomach. Ever since he could remember, Ron had wanted
to get on that scarlet locomotive with his big brothers and chug out of the
station. He’d spent his whole childhood daydreaming of going there, much to his
mother’s dismay. A smile grew on his freckled face.
This is IT.
The usual clanking and banging started in the wall as the Weasley family ghoul
rushed down the pipes behind Ron’s wall, moaning for good measure.
didn’t take any notice. The ghoul had said the same thing when Fred and George
were about to start at Hogwarts. Well, it had been slightly right about the
destruction. Fred and George were fond of causing havoc: their family nickname
was “the Chaos Collective”. The first day after they’d left Mum had received a letter home about them, causing shrieks and
crashing pottery. Ron and Ginny had stayed out in the garden for a whole
afternoon just so they didn’t have to encounter her and listen to her furious
promises of what she’d do to the twins when they came home. Well, he wasn’t
likely to encounter death or doom at Hogwarts, and he certainly didn’t want to
cause trouble like the twins. What he wanted was…
was a knock on the door. “Ron, are you up?”
come in!” Ron hissed as Ginny poked her frazzled head around the door.
no need to be rude,” she retorted. “Mum says that breakfast is ready. Percy’s-”
up and has been for an hour,” Ron repeated along with her. They grinned at each other, united for a
moment. Being the two youngest in a family created a certain bond, although
Ginny had it much easier, in Ron’s
opinion, because she was a girl. Fred and George didn’t tease her half so much,
Percy didn’t nag her half so much, and she got away with far more than Ron and
the twins combined simply because their mum believed little girls were better
behaved than boys.
down in a moment,” Ron promised, sitting up.
lingered in the doorway. “I wish I
was coming with you,” she said longingly. “It sounds like so much fun.”
only got another year,” Ron reminded her. “And anyway, think of all the fun
you’ll have without us here.”
looked slightly sceptical. “It was okay when Fred and George went away, but
what’ll I do without you?”
hesitated. It was true – the Weasley children separated naturally into pairs,
except for Percy. Bill and Charlie had always been a pair; Fred and George were
naturally together, so Ron and Ginny banded together half because they liked
each other and half as a defence mechanism. Percy had always been the solitary
one, shut up in his room, poring over books even before he’d gone to Hogwarts.
But he’d actually allowed Ron and Ginny into his room back then, and taught Ron
to play chess and showed him Scabbers… Ron shook his head, putting the faint
memories away, and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
be able to do plenty of stuff,” he said firmly. “Now go back downstairs before
Fred and George decide I need help waking up.”
stifled a giggle with her hand, recalling how Fred and George had woken the
whole household the year they
started Hogwarts. “Alright,” she said, “but hurry. Mum’s making your favourite
pancakes.” And she was gone in a flurry of faded blue dressing gown.
sighed, got up and stretched. It was the same every September. Percy always got
up with their father because he wanted to work in the Ministry of Magic after
school and thought it was good practice. He had also encouraged Ron to do so
(there was no point in telling Fred and George) but Ron had pretended to be
engrossed in his chess manual. Fred and George were on his case enough without
him turning into “Perfect Percy”. It didn’t help that he was tall and thin like
Percy, already catching up with the twins height-wise. At least he didn’t wear
glasses. Ron’s eyesight had always been perfect. Drawing the curtains aside, he
looked out over the meadows surrounding the house. The garden was gnome-free at
the moment, thanks to a monumental weekend effort, but that probably wouldn’t
last for long. That was one of the things he definitely wouldn’t miss:
degnoming the garden. Nor would he miss being woken up by the ghoul. He’d be
sleeping in a four-poster bed, with curtains
and there would be house elves. He
wouldn’t have to pick his stuff up or hide it under the bed, it would get
cleaned up for him. Bliss…
getting dressed, Ron quickly checked Scabbers, who was buried in straw and
snoring. A tiny hope had stirred in his chest, but the rat was unchanged, as
grey and as boring as ever. “Hogwarts today, Scabbers,” Ron whispered. “Finally. Are you excited?”
actually lifted his head and twitched his nose.
if you’re waking up,” Ron remarked and then hurried down the stairs, jumping
the fifth one as usual. Fred and George had cast a Letensco charm on it when
they came home at the beginning of the summer, which meant anyone who put their
foot on the step would get caught in it and not be able to move. Their parents
had been able to free Ron and Ginny when they got caught, but they couldn’t
take the charm off, so it was a case of waiting until it wore off. Needless to say, Mum hadn’t been pleased, and the twins’
excuse that they had been inspired by certain similar steps at Hogwarts didn’t
mollify her one bit.
he yawned, wandering into the kitchen. Percy wasn’t there, but Ron could hear
his loud voice in the next room, discussing something with Dad. Fred and George
were looking rather morose, which surprised Ron. They were always full of
energy, especially so on “Hogwarts Day”.
dear,” said his mother, pointing with her wand, “jam pancakes for you.”
Mum,” Ron answered, trying not to seem too pleased. He seated himself on the bench
in between George and Ginny, and then carefully checked his pumpkin juice for
any traces of powder or dead insects. You could never tell, sitting next to the
twins, even though George had told him they’d moved past “crude things like
that”. But all the same, it was habit. He glanced at Ginny for confirmation and
she nodded slightly, telling him that she hadn’t seen anything put in it.
another thing – he wouldn’t have to check his clothes or food at Hogwarts
because his brothers wouldn’t be able to get to it. Amazing. The pumpkin juice
seemed harmless so Ron took a cautionary sip and tucked into the pancakes.
Watching his mother’s busy back, he whispered, “What’s up with you two? You
look as miserable as Auguries.”
muttered Fred gloomily.
course, it was always Percy. Not even Mum could dent the twins like this. Ron
swallowed his mouthful. “What’s he done?”
got his prefect badge pinned on already,”
George told him out of the corner of his mouth. “We’re not even on the Express
yet! I did remind him that this wasn’t school, but he said that he wanted to
make sure that he didn’t lose it.” George made a face and Ron made a face in
return. Percy losing his badge was as unlikely as the twins deciding that they
wanted to be undertakers. Ever since the letter announcing his appointment as
prefect had arrived, Percy had guarded the badge with great care. Secretly Ron
couldn’t blame him, as Fred and George would surely have done something to it
if he’d left it anywhere, but all the same, wearing it in the kitchen?
mention that Mum’s fussing around him as if him being Prefect’s the greatest
thing on Earth,” Fred went on, stabbing his egg so that it began to bleed yolk
all over his baked beans. “As if he’s the first!”
know Mum,” Ron said, trying to make things better. It always fell to him to be
the peacemaker. “She’s happy because the Ministry will be more likely to take
him if they see he was a Prefect.”
what we need, more stuffy politicians,” George answered, tearing off a piece of
maybe we should go into the Ministry just to shake it up a little,” said Fred,
lightening up and raising his voice a little.
whipped round. “The Ministry wouldn’t take you, Fred Weasley, if you begged
Cornelius Fudge on your hands and knees!”
don’t know,” Fred answered with a slight smirk. “I think Fudge would do
anything for us if we gave him that
laughed. Ron and Ginny put their heads down and began to eat as if their lives
depended on it. Fortunately, their dad came back in before Mum could work up a
full head of steam.
must be off,” Dad announced, kissing Mum on the cheek. “Be good you two,” – to
the twins – “mind your mother,” – to Ginny – “good luck,” – to Ron, with a
slight nod and a kind smile. Ron smiled back. Dad was a bit nutty, but he was
alright really. So what if he never got promoted? He loved his job. When he was
around, Ron never really thought about the leaking pipes, the creaking steps
and the hand-me-downs he always had to wear. Dad made things like that okay:
they didn’t matter to him
, so they didn’t matter to anyone
else. When he was around, that is. But when he wasn’t around, during the day,
and at night, Ron would lie and think of his threadbare wardrobe: the robes
belonging to Bill (Percy had been bought new ones because he was Prefect); the
books belonging to Percy; even his wand, a wizard’s most personalised
possession, had belonged to Charlie. He didn’t own a single thing that was
Ron, hope you’re packed and ready,” Percy announced, smoothing his robes. “We
don’t want to be late.”
forbid that Percy miss the chance to show off his badge,” Fred jeered.
prefects are needed to make sure that everyone gets on the train,” said Percy
stiffly. “Not to mention patrolling the corridors in case of trouble-”
really important stuff,” agreed George, with such a huge yawn that Ron thought
his jaw would drop off. Fred winked at him and Ginny, and they both smiled
back, making sure that Percy and Mum couldn’t see.
“You are packed, Ron?” Mum asked anxiously.
“Robes, books, everything?”
you got everything down from the attic yourself. You wouldn’t even let me near
dear, packing is complicated…”
Ronniekins is too small to pack his own trunks, he needs his mummy to do it for
him,” Fred announced.
ickle Ronniekins want Mummy to tie his cloak too?” George joined in.
flinched inside. He should have known. Percy was at the top of the twins’ Teasing
List, but he was second, he always had been, ever since birth. But this
morning, he was granted a reprieve.
Ron alone, and make sure that your own trunks are downstairs,” Mum snapped,
watching them as they filed out of the kitchen with sharp eyes. She began to
make the sandwiches, watched by her youngest son and daughter with great
attention, although they had different motives. Ginny drank all this in as the
time-honoured “Preparation for the Hogwarts Express” ritual. Ron was trying to
see if she was giving him sandwiches which he could actually eat. He wasn’t
very fussy: he just didn’t like corned beef or peanut butter. Surely it wasn’t
that difficult to remember, especially after Percy, who seemed to only eat
chicken and that was it. The twins ate anything.
Please let it be tomato and bacon, please
let it be cheese and pickle, anything but CORNED BEEF, Ron prayed, watching the door
to the larder (cold all year no matter what the temperature outside).
go and get dressed,” Mum said without turning around. Ron had often looked to
see if she had eyes in the back of her head, but if there were, they were
hidden by her hair.
pouted. “But Mum-!”
Otherwise you won’t be able to come and see Ron off.”
paused and then sagged in defeat, her chestnut eyes catching Ron’s for an
instant. This time, she was really coming to see him off, her childhood
playmate and companion. Ron was alarmed to feel his throat thicken and he
quickly looked down at his empty plate.
pancakes, Mum,” he murmured, pushing his knife and fork together.
you always have liked them, ever since you were old enough to eat solids…” she
said wistfully, although her hands didn’t stop moving.
I’m old enough to go to Hogwarts,” Ron added, pushing the bench back and
standing up, carefully avoiding Ginny’s eye. “Mum, no corned beef, okay?”
couldn’t be sure if she’d actually heard him or if she was just replying to the
sound of his voice. Percy and the twins were so loud in their different ways,
and Ginny got special attention because she was the girl. He often felt a bit
lost in between them all.
just go and make sure that Fred and George haven’t done anything to my trunks,”
he announced, following Ginny out, hearing his mother’s faint “very well, dear”
as he closed the door.
stood alone in the grey hallway. In a house as crowded as the Burrow, it was
often difficult to get any time to themselves. Ron cast a quick glance over his
trunks. Banging and cursing meant the twins were trying to close theirs, and he
glanced up, grinning at the familiar sounds. Maybe that was the real reason why Mum had packed his for him. Then he
looked back at Ginny and his smile faded. They stood on opposite sides of the
hallway, legs stretched out in front, toes nearly touching.
have so much fun,” Ginny said, sounding completely miserable.
that much,” Ron reminded her. “I’ll have to learn things. Fred says that
Professor McGonagall’s even stricter than Mum.” Ron didn’t know how this was
possible, but Fred had sounded quite sincere. Just one glance at the twins’
Transfiguration homework had left Ron’s brain reeling, so Fred had proof to
back up his claim. “And Professor Snape’s always awarding the Slytherins points
just because he’s Head of their house,” he added. “You’re not really missing much, Ginny – I can’t even go to
Hogsmeade until the third year. Plus there’ll be exams every year.” Ron shuddered. He’d only just experienced his first
exam, testing his reading, writing and arithmetic skills for Hogwarts, plus
some basic spells. He still couldn’t get over the sheer seriousness of it all.
wouldn’t mind the exams so much,” Ginny replied with a smile.
sound like a Ravenclaw!” The utter horror in Ron’s voice finally caused her to
giggle. Ron relaxed. As much as Ginny’s energy and chatter sometimes annoyed
him, he wouldn’t have her any other way. “And remember,” he went on, imitating
their great aunt Ermintrude, whom they only saw once a year, “we Weasleys have always been Gryffindors. There may have
been a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw occasionally, but Gryffindors we are-”
Gryffindors we shall remain,” Ginny repeated with him, giggling again. “You do
her so well, Ron.”
rolled his eyes. “Considering how much time I have to spend with her – ‘Ronald!
Come here and give your old auntie a kiss! Look at these cheeks! Springing up
like a beanstalk! I hope you’re making your mother proud!’ And always pinching my cheek – I’m eleven!”
sighed at the mention of his age.
getting dressed or not?” Ron asked, gazing at the washed out blue cotton
dressing gown which hung around her ankles.
blinked, nodded and ran upstairs. There was a thud and some loud voices raised
as the twins came carrying their trunk around the corner. Ron watched them from
the safety of his own trunks. He didn’t move. He knew from previous experience
that any misguided attempt to help would end up with him having bruises, or
even worse, something broken.
bloody well near ran into us,” George complained. “I thought my schoolbooks
were going to fall on her head.”
Fred and George treated Ginny specially. They would never have worried about
books falling on Ron’s head. They would have said it wouldn’t make much
these out of your room, Ron,” Fred added, holding out Scabbers’s cage and Ron’s
wand in his left hand.
the cage with a nod and turned his wand around in his fingers. Even in the dim
light of the hall, it was a pitiful sight. A small gleam of silver at the end
hinted that the unicorn hair at its centre was almost coming through. Ron had
tried to do magic with it yesterday, and it hadn’t worked. Fortunately, he’d
tried the spell in his room, so its failure had gone unnoticed. The complete
lack of reaction from the wand hadn’t exactly made him feel better.
He remembered wandering past Ollivander’s on
the shopping trip for Percy and the twins to Diagon Alley, and looking
longingly at the dark doorway. There were new wands in there, and one of them was
just right for him. He gazed at it as long as they were outside in the street,
and then they went in to get some new books. When he came out again, Mr.
Ollivander was standing in the doorway, watching him. Ron froze, then glanced
at his mother, who was deep in discussion with Percy. He carefully crept over
to Mr. Ollivander.
“Mr Ronald Weasley.”
“Hello,” Ron said nervously.
“I assume you will not be coming to my wand
shop this year?”
Ron blushed miserably and looked away. He
couldn’t bear to admit they didn’t have the money for it. He could sense Mr.
Ollivander’s pale eyes watching him closely.
“Do not worry, Mr. Weasley,” the old man
said, stepping back. “Your wand will be waiting for you when you are able to
collect it. In the meantime… whose wand will you be using?”
“My brother Charlie’s,” Ron muttered.
“Ah yes, beech and unicorn hair, 11 inches,
quite springy. Good for binding,” Mr. Ollivander added softly to himself,
whilst Ron stared at him in open amazement. Charlie had started at Hogwarts ages
ago, when Ron was just a baby. How could Mr. Ollivander…?
“Ron!” Mum hurried over. “Terribly sorry,
Mr. Ollivander - what have I told you about wandering off?” she hissed,
grabbing Ron’s arm.
“He was not causing any trouble, Molly,”
said Mr. Ollivander calmly. “Indeed, I found the conversation… quite
interesting. I look forward to seeing him again. Good day, Molly – Mr.
Weasley.” Mr. Ollivander vanished inside his shop. Ron stared after him and
“Think yourself lucky that he didn’t get
upset,” Mum whispered fiercely, dragging Ron back over towards Flourish and
Blotts where Percy waited impatiently, a look of deep disapproval plastered on his
face. “Mr. Ollivander is a very important man, don’t go bothering him again!”
back to himself as Ginny hurried down the stairs, buttoning her cardigan. The
twins were flicking through the most recent edition of Japes, Jokes and Jests: THE Magazine for Practical Jokers. How
could he bother Mr. Ollivander again when he wouldn’t be back in Diagon Alley
for another year at least? Why would he want
to see Mr. Ollivander again? The man had creeped Ron out more thoroughly than
any spider, and that was something.
Mum said, opening the kitchen door and beaming at them all. She and Percy were
already dressed in their cloaks. “Everybody ready?” She waved her wand and
conducted all the trunks towards the kitchen fireplace where the head of one of
the wizard porters was waiting. “Luggage coming through, Steven,” she called.
you are, Mrs. Weasley.” The head vanished and the fire flamed purple. Mum
directed the larger trunks first, which vanished, and then the smaller ones
(which were Ron’s, of course).
head appeared again. “Luggage received and ready for you, Mrs. Weasley.”
disappeared, and the flames turned back to their normal colour.
Mum announced. “Ron first. Now it’s-”
Cross Station, I know, Mum. I’ve
heard Bill, Charlie, Percy and the twins say it loads of times,” Ron answered,
taking a pinch of Floo Powder and throwing it so that the fire flared green. He
stepped inside, felt the familiar tickling and cried, “Kings Cross Station!”
Gown: British English for ‘bathrobe’
British English for ‘baggage’
Pickle: a cold thick spicy sauce made from fruit and vegetables that
have been boiled, often sold in jars and served with meat, cheese, etc. (from
the Oxford Dictionary) Cheese and pickle is a popular sandwich filling, a
classic, you might say.