The sun was shining brightly on the green meadows somewhere in England on the afternoon of September 1st. It made the land look like a royal green carpet vanishing into the hills yonder. I was once again silent, admiring the beauty of the countryside. There were a million questions inside me, like magma inside a volcano which would erupt any moment. But Jo was not giving me much hint.
All I knew till then was that I was allowed a free passage into platform 8 and three-quarters, because they wanted me to be a muggle studies professor at Hogwarts.
Were they some old crackpots? Was I worth it? What if students misbehaved? I didn’t have the slightest amount of magic to bring discipline.
“Well. Hagrid too doesn’t do magic”, said Jo.
I gaped at her. Her face was hidden behind Witch Weekly.
How did she know what I thought?
But most of the curses won’t work on Hagrid as he is so tough.
“You’re afraid some student might try a bat-bogey hex on you?”, said Jo, lowering her magazine.
I smiled and replied, “You are a Legilimens, aren’t you?”
Jo smiled back and said, “Don’t worry. We will equip you with all the essential magic you need.”
“But I thought one should have in-born talent for magic, just like music. It is impossible to make every person sing.”
“Yes and no. There are some tricks which anyone can do. For example, which spell do you say the most?”
“Try saying that with this”, she handed over her wand to me.
I carefully examined the wand, which was made of Ash.
“Go ahead. Wave it”.
“Lumos”, I said with a flick of my wrist.
“Concentrate.. Say a bit louder.”
Then it came…the bright light on the tip of her wand. I was grinning from ear to ear.
“Good!”, she said encouragingly.
“Nox”…and it was out.
“You know..you shouldn’t give your wand to others like this.”
“Heh..What are you gonna do? curse me? Try doing that!!”
My grin was so hearty as I returned her wand, that all my 32 teeth were showing.
At long last, the train hooted once again as we reached the Hogsmeade railway station.
I heard the voice I was looking forward to hearing…”Firs’ years, this way”
When the crowd of the students was gone, I saw some elderly people in cloaks standing there. There was none mistaking the lady in the front.
Jo said, “Meet the headmistress of Hogwarts, Prof…”
“Pleased to meet you Professor McGonagall”, I interrupted with a grin.
“Glad to have you aboard, Mr. Kilby”, she said without the slightest sign of “gladness” in her face.
I easily recognised Prof. Flitwick and Prof. Sprout (lots of dirt on her cloak).
“I will be very brief for the time as we have to hurry for the feast, Mr. Kilby.
Your first question will be why we invited you to Hogwarts.
We let you into our world because we want you to become our Muggle Studies professor. That is only one side of the story.
A few years after You-know-who jinxed the DADA class, Professor Dumbledore had requested him to lift that jinx. For that, he replied arrogantly, “I would lift the curse the day a muggle starts teaching in Hogwarts”, and walked off.
It took these many years for the International Convention of Warlocks to decide on improving wizard-muggle relationships. As a result, several amendments were made wherein muggles who were particularly inclined towards the wizarding world were allowed to actually see and live in it. We didn’t want to obliviate anyone unnecessarily.
Your induction as a Muggle Studies professor is an experimentation to see whether the DADA jinx is lifted or not.
“Prof. Eowyn Banks will be the DADA teacher this year”, she pointed to a charming blonde lady, who bowed to me. I smiled and nodded.
McGonagall continued, “Prof. Pithius, our present muggle studies teacher, is retiring this year, and he has kindly agreed to stay till this Christmas to give you the necessary training. You will be given a wand, which can be used to perform simple spells and defensive spells. You will learn about other basic things like using brooms and all. You will do your shopping later this week. Sorry we had to arrange all of this so fast.”
“Alright. But why me? Why not any other muggle?”
“Because you have the most wonderful kinds of magic inside you. Joanne noticed you when she came for the publication of her book, ‘Quidditch through the ages'”
“I was voluntarily working for Comic Relief at that time. I’d seen her. And she’s my favorite author”, I winked at Jo as I said this.
“She was impressed by your work for charity through laughter. Afterwards, we had several magical folks tailing you and we learnt that you had the greatest wish to be in the wizarding world. So we cleverly started showing a few hints for you to catch on and come here.”
McGonagall was smiling now.
Of course!!! All those things which I was seeing!!
“So what do you say, Mr. Kilby? Yes or No?”
“Mmmm. Let me think….Of course, yes!!”
I never stopped grinning. This day has been the most wonderful and unbelieve day in my life so far. By then, our horseless carriages had reached Hogwarts. I saw the white tomb. I closed my eyes in prayer for Dumbledore. Too bad I couldn’t meet him.
Inside the Great Hall, I witnessed the Sorting Ceremony, then got a very good applause from the students when Prof. McGonagall introduced me. It was time to go to bed soon.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to. If this was a dream, I didn’t want to wake up and realise that it was a dream. I wanted to live in that dream.
One morning, I went to the white tomb to pay homage to the greatest wizard of all time.
As I turned to go, I heard “Hello Janus.” It was Jo.
Again questions started erupting. Why did Snape kill Dumbledore?
“Jo, you are my best friend here in Hogwarts and everybody but me knows what happened to Harry Potter and others. Jo, I’m curious. Please tell me. What happened to Snape? Was he really a death eater or was it all a drama scripted by Professor Dumbledore?”
“The drama was in fact scripted by Snape himself. Didn’t you understand? It was Snape, not Voldemort, who was the main antagonist. Voldemort and Dumbledore were mere pawns in the clever game played by Snape. All of us believed that Voldemort was the main threat, while all the time, Snape was brilliantly manipulating everyone to emerge as the antagonist.”
“It…It doesn’t make sense.”
“Who overheard the full prophecy and conveniently forgot to say some major points of that to Voldemort? Snape!!
Who led Dumbledore into believing that he indeed was a spy for the Order? Snape!!
“Snape was the reason why Voldemort attacked on Harry and his parents and met his downfall in Harry. Snape was the one who killed Dumbledore.
Don’t you see it? Snape was playing the Order against the Death Eaters as mere pieces of a chessboard. Loss of either side would be a gain for him, because he wanted to get rid of both.
“Snape didn’t kill Harry on the night he killed Dumbledore, because he knew that only Harry could get rid of Voldemort. And the part of the story that you don’t know: Snape helped Harry in destroying the horcruxes and finishing off Voldemort himself. Now the main threats in his rise were removed. Except one. Harry himself.
“He cast the death spell on Harry. But Harry was again saved by the very same magic which had saved him earlier…Love. Ginny jumped in front of him. She wanted him to live from the deepest of her heart. Harry didn’t want her to die either. This mutual love and mutual magic which emanated from that created what we call Orbicular Bounding. It was old, nay, forgotten magic. The spell rebounded off the shield and hit Snape. Ginny was in St. Mungos for 5 months. She recovered, but had lost her flaming red hair. Her hair changed to a short silver and black color. They say it will be a permanent relic.”
“But is Snape vanquished? What if he too has a horcrux?”
“We can only hope that he doesn’t..that he’s gone for good,” Jo said, as we returned slowly into the castle.
A cuckoo was singing somewhere near the forbidden forest. It stopped singing suddenly. I turned back and saw the whomping willow moving ominously. Was it a sign of the end of happy days once again?