We all know that I
have no claim to any of these characters. Ms. Rowling has left the development of Mr. and
Mrs. Granger wide open to amateur interpretation which is what we have right
here. The good parts are all inspired by
Ms. Rowling, the plot kept on course by ZHeRoTaN and
the writing mechanics kept in check by Suburban House Elf. Any errors, contradictions or plain lousy
writing are entirely my fault. I
certainly hope you find a lot of good parts and will
tell me about the not-so-good to help me improve.
The Amazing Guest
sound of her mother’s voice, eleven-year-old Hermione Granger nearly jumped out
of her own skin. She hastily closed the
book she had been reading – English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit
– and stashed it under the sofa cushion.
She grabbed a paperback off the end table and randomly opened it just
before her mother stepped into the lounge.
her guilt did not show too plainly on her face, Hermione greeted her mother
without taking her eyes from the page she was pretending to read, “How was your
Granger draped her bag over the corner of the armchair then dropped onto the
sofa beside her daughter. Closing her
eyes and tilting her head against the back of the sofa, Mrs. Granger entirely
missed the alarm on her daughter’s face.
dreadful. Your father is still at the surgery
with an emergency root canal. Why people
wait so long to come in is beyond me.
They’re only prolonging their agony and then we have to bust our bums to
take care of them. Sometimes, I just
feel like telling them that they have to wait for the next available
wasn’t paying a bit of attention to her mother’s harangue. She was completely consumed by her fear that
her mother would discover the book beneath the sofa cushion. There had been a frightful row just a week
ago about Hermione’s propensity for reading books that were “much too serious
for an eleven-year-old girl.” Her
parents had taken her that very evening back to the library for a large stack
of “appropriate” reading material for the summer holiday. The paperback in her hands belonged to that
group while the book her mother was sitting on did not.
exaggerated sigh, Mrs. Granger pushed herself up from the sofa causing her
daughter further alarm. She continued
her rant as she left the room.
they’d just go to another dentist and we’d eventually have no more patients so
I guess we’ll keep accommodating the dental phobes. Maybe when we’re ready to retire, we’ll start
turning them down.”
dropped her hands into her lap, no longer pretending to read as her mother’s
voice faded down the hall. She sat very
still listening for her mother’s movements in the kitchen, checking the status
of the beef roast she had started when she’d been home for lunch. The moment her mother’s footsteps began up
the stairs, Hermione sprang into action.
paperback dropped unheeded to the floor as Hermione grabbed the taboo book from
under the cushion and hastened to the long line of bookshelves opposite the
front window. Scanning the shelf
furthest from the doorway and sofa, she found a spot to squeeze it between
murder mysteries. She would have to pay
better attention to the time tomorrow so it could be put safely away in her
room before her parents came home.
to the sofa, she retrieved the paperback and tried to slow her breathing before
her mother came back downstairs after changing clothes.
vegetable would you like to have with our beef?” Mrs.
Granger asked as she re-entered the room.
had given up trying to remember how far into the paperback she had appeared to
be earlier and snapped the book shut at her mother’s reappearance. Tossing the book on the sofa, she replied,
“Let’s see what there is,” and made her way to the kitchen knowing that her
mother would follow.
were duly chosen and Hermione stayed in the kitchen to peel potatoes then set
the table. She joined her mother for a
cup of tea on the small patio while they waited for the third Granger to join
them for dinner. They had just about
decided to eat without him when his deep voice rang through the house and
floated out of the kitchen window.
home! Where are my lovely ladies?”
conversation was dominated by Mr. Granger’s recitation of the complexity of the
unexpected root canal and the continuation of Mrs. Granger’s aspersions against
those avoiding routine dental care.
Hermione was used to occasional dinners when her parents could talk about
nothing but work; it did nothing to curb her appetite. She was particularly hungry because she had
been so engrossed in The Industrial Spirit all afternoon
that she’d had no snack at all. As her
parent’s conversation waned, Hermione finished off the peas. She was about to excuse herself when her
father introduced a new subject.
did my girl do with herself today?”
“Oh, just a
bit of reading,” she replied with as much casualness as she could infuse into
those nice books we got at the library?” her mother inquired.
merely nodded as she reached for her glass to wash down the lump of guilt stuck
in her throat. It wasn’t exactly a lie -
Industrial Spirit had come from the library and Hermione thought it
a very nice book – but it was deceitful to let her parents think that she was
reading the thoroughly mundane books she had checked out under their
supervision. The harsh clang of the
doorbell rescued her from further deceit.
could that be?” her father exclaimed as he stood.
father went to investigate at the door, Hermione and her mother hastily cleared
the table. In a couple of minutes, Mr.
Granger returned to the kitchen looking a bit perplexed.
“I need you
both in the lounge.”
and her mother exchanged puzzled glances before following Mr. Granger to the
front room. A woman sat rigidly in the
armchair, looking entirely out of place in the cozy room. Her black hair was pulled back into a tight
bun that matched the stern gaze peering from behind square-framed
spectacles. She wore a long wool skirt
topped by a cream-colored blouse buttoned up to her neck and loose sleeves long
enough to cover her hands. Hermione
thought the woman ought to be sweating in such warm clothes but that did not
seem to be the case
Minerva McGonagall from Hogwarts School and she’d like to talk to us about
having Hermione attend.”
face turned away from the stranger, Mr. Granger looked inquiringly at his wife
and daughter. The exchange of glances
amongst the family confirmed that none of them had ever heard of the school,
much less applied to it. Plans for
Hermione to attend Westfield School for Girls had been determined months ago. They settled themselves on the sofa confident
that there was nothing this woman could say to alter their plans.
come to our attention that Hermione possesses the special quality required of
was not impressed. They already knew
that Hermione was a gifted student and had heard variations on this statement
repeatedly during their search for a secondary school. They were not prepared, however, for the
woman’s next declaration.
is a school of wizardry and only students demonstrating magical ability are invited
words, she laid a parchment envelope addressed in flowing emerald ink on the
coffee table directly in front of the intended recipient. All three Grangers stared at it with bewildered
expressions for a moment. The stranger
sat quietly waiting for their response.
finally reached out to pick up the rather thick letter. She confirmed that it was her name and
address on the front before turning it over to discover an old-fashioned wax
seal. A bit hesitantly, she broke the
seal and removed two sheets of weighty paper handwritten in the same emerald
ink as the envelope. The first sheet was
a letter whose heading identified Albus Dumbledore as the Headmaster with a
list of outlandish titles/awards appended to his name.
itself was written by none other than Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress,
who continued to sit in silence waiting for the Grangers to review the letter. It was a generic letter of acceptance that
contained little information about the school other than the date for the start
of term—September 1st. The second sheet was a list of supplies that
students were required to bring.
skipped over the section of the list labeled “Uniform” and began to read the
titles under “Course Books.” Her heart
began to race with the sort of excitement that only came when she found a new
topic for study at the library. These
books were anything but mundane. In
fact, they were so fantastical that it was difficult to believe that a
sane—though oddly dressed—woman could so matter-of-factly hand over such a
History of Magic, One Thousand
Magical Herbs and Fungi, Fantastic
Beasts and Where to Find Them and A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration. The remainder of the list was equally hard to
take seriously: a wand, a cauldron, a
telescope, a set of phials and scales.
Broomsticks were forbidden for First Years.
here. This isn’t funny at all.” Mr. Granger had recovered from the startling
letter and supply list. “I don’t know what
makes you think we’re interested in whatever sort of voodoo your lot practices
but we’ll have no part of it!” he continued firmly and a bit more loudly than
McGonagall wasn’t listening to him but watching Hermione absorb the idea of a place
where these things were knowable rather than merely fantasy. In the silence that greeted his declaration,
Mr. Granger turned to his wife for support.
The expression on her face stopped any further speech. She was not appalled but curious.
isn’t particularly common, we have one or two students every year who have Muggle—excuse me, non-magical—parents. You have likely observed some odd occurrences
when Hermione has been especially angry or afraid.”
was honestly stunned when his wife slowly nodded her head. Hermione, who had still been staring at the
list, now looked up not at her parents but at the woman who offered a
completely new world of knowledge. Her
eyes burned with the need to understand what transfiguration meant, what sort of fantastic beasts could be found
and what was to be done with so many magical herbs and fungi that could not be
done with the normal sort.
of occurrences?” she asked tentatively, afraid that none of the things that had
popped into her head at the Deputy Headmistress’s words were odd enough to
qualify her for entrance into this school.
be almost anything,” the school representative answered. “Quite often, it is a defensive action—you
suddenly aren’t where you had been or the thing that frightens you moves away;
something you need desperately appears at hand even though you know it wasn’t
there a moment before.”
now. There haven’t been any odd
occurrences around here,” Mr. Granger exclaimed, once again struggling to put
this conversation back into the realm of observable reality in spite of the
lack of support from his spouse.
have, dear,” Mrs. Granger interjected softly.
“Remember me telling you about the bus that nearly hit us while we were
Christmas shopping in the City? I did
not tell you that the bus took a sideways jump to avoid us. It was so unbelievable at the time, I could
not admit what I saw but Hermione was the one to see the bus first and, at her
scream, I looked over to see the bus just…pop…over a lane.”
you…keep people from seeing things you don’t want them to see?” Hermione asked in a voice that was strangled
by a mixture of fear and longing. She
had forgotten about the bus but vividly recalled several narrow escapes with
books that her teachers and parents had deemed “inappropriate.” It was easy to believe that magic had been
involved in the concealment of The Industrial Spirit while her
mother had been sitting on it this afternoon.
so…if you wanted it badly enough or feared its discovery with sufficient
emotion,” replied the woman Hermione no longer thought odd but fascinating.
was not to be so easily persuaded.
I’ve had enough of this foolishness,” he declared as he stood to his feet. “I’ll ask that you leave and take your
ridiculous letter with you,” he finished, snatching the pages out of Hermione’s
In a flash,
Minerva McGonagall had whipped a wand out of her voluminous sleeve and pointed
it directly at the letter, which burst into flames. Mr. Granger dropped the flaming missive and
it immediately returned to simple parchment that floated serenely into
Hermione’s lap. Silence enveloped the
room as Mr. Granger sank back into the sofa, his eyes riveted on the pages
Hermione now stroked lovingly.
“Will I be
able to do that?” Hermione gasped.
likely,” came the reply.
can I learn to do?”
“Quite a lot of things that you and your parents would think
impossible if I told you right now.
Suffice it to say, you will learn a whole new way to think about the
things around you, meet other young people with the same gift and discover a
society steeped in magic that coexists with the world you’ve known up until
quiet filled the lounge as each of the Grangers contemplated the incredible
conversation they had been drawn into.
Hermione returned her attention to the list of course books in her hand. The visitor waited patiently for further
questions or outbursts.
Hermione looked from her mother’s curious face to her father’s baffled one.
began. “I think I’d like…”
he once again leapt to his feet but did not try to confiscate the letter a
second time. “We know almost nothing
about this place and what we do know is unbelievable. That letter was doctored to burst into flame
like that. It’s a trick, an illusion.”
that Mr. Granger had more to say but he was interrupted when the coffee table
turned into a tabby cat that began to rub against his leg. Another swish of the stranger’s wand turned a
shelf full of books into canaries that circled the room eliciting an “Oooooh” from Hermione.
The figurines on the mantle began to dance and the armchair in which the
magical guest sat rose several inches into the air.
demonstration had the desired effect, ending Mr. Granger’s tirade. He stared around the lounge clearly wanting
to disbelieve what his eyes were seeing.
He was entirely speechless but his wife and
daughter were not. It was another half
hour of listening to a flurry of questions and answers amongst the women in the
room before he rejoined the conversation.
all, we only need to know by the end of July.
You must vow not to discuss this outside of your home in the
meantime. I must also inform you that if
you choose to decline the opportunity, we will have to erase all memory of this
discussion. The longer you take to
decide, the more uncomfortable that will be.”
disturbing words, however, she took a small card from her pocket and laid it on
the coffee table that had been returned to its original state during the
further questions to this address. I
would be happy to arrange an escort to Diagon Alley
as further proof that the wizarding world actually
exists. It happens to be the perfect
place for the purchase of all the required school supplies in case the visit is
words, the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts stood and disappeared with a loud crack, leaving the Granger family gaping
at the empty armchair. It was some time
before Mr. Granger broke the stunned silence.
“I need a