I was born on a wet and blustery day in September 2005 in the small hours of the morning. I was the fourth, and youngest child of Nicholas and Tina Tourmaline. My father is a well-known wizard for his care of magical creatures. We have several at home, and they have always been considered part of the family. It is quite normal to walk into wellies being pecked by hungry chickens at the door step, Bowtruckles in the house plants and Willow our Kneazle taking up the whole sofa. My three sisters are already at Hogwarts, all in Ravenclaw. Sophia, Amelia and Rowena. Sophia and Amelia are twins in fourth year and are quite inseparable. They are quite often seen in the music block playing their various instruments, or in the potion lab coming up with the latest love potion. Rowena’s a bit like me, in the sense that she is quiet and likes to get on with her studies. She’s doing her NEWT exams so is quite often in her room revising. When she’s not revising she likes to visit the magical creatures and pet them, or go out with her friends to Honeydukes. With five of us being magical in our house my mother is quite often overwhelmed. She works as the local librarian in Pitlochry, and is quite fed up of cleaning after magical pets and failed potion homework! On the other hand, she does love us to bits. Particularly when she found a magical housekeeping book to keep us all busy during the holidays!
Receiving my letter:
My magic came to me quite late. In fact, my mother was beginning to think she had finally produced a regular muggle child and was all set for sending me to the local secondary school. (Much to my dislike!) Although I got on relatively well with my sisters listening in awe as the re-enacted some of their favourite times at Hogwarts, they would tease me about my magical difficulty. One day when Rowena had just got her OWL exam results through the post, and it was 3 months until my eleventh birthday, my sisters were in a particularly bullying mood.
“Wow! All Outstanding!” My father said with glee.
“Yeah. Us next Dad.” Said the twins. “Pitty about Gwen though. She isn’t even a proper muggle with her learning difficulties!” Then they started chasing me round the dinner table with their wands threatening to turn me into a frog if I didn’t do something magical.
“Hey cut it out you two, or none of you will be going to Hogwarts!” Mum yelled.
Understandably I was quite upset about this, and burst into a fit of tears and anger. I was fed up of not being magical, let alone having the difficulties of Autism.
“I hate this!” I yelled. “Why can’t you two just be like me, and then you’ll know how difficult it is living in this family.”
I then picked up Willow and went sobbing to my room. Normally during a meltdown, I would pick up anything breakable and throw it hard against the wall. This time though the object that I was holding in my hand went flying through the air, and then back like a boomerang instead of crashing into the wall. Stunned, I chucked it again and again. The same thing happened. Willow at this point was watching the object in fascination, trying to catch it as it flew back and forth.
That night I lay in bed, thinking things over. It could just be one of my sisters’ stupid pranks. It wouldn’t be the first time. Once they made me believe that I was making a teaspoon hover in the air when actually it was a piece of invisible thread, being buoyed up by a pully attached to the lamp. Amelia turned out to be behind the sofa tugging the other end of the thread. This time though, I had been on my own. I then decided to do something more stupid. ‘My magic’, if I did have any, seemed to be wanting to protect me. I then decided to climb all the way up to the roof and jump off. A mattress on the ground just in case I did fall. Taking a deep breath, I jumped and thought I was going to hit the mattress when all of a sudden, I was flying back up to the roof. Laughing in disbelief I did it again. My father suddenly came out from the kitchen patio doors, with a mug of cocoa in his hands wondering what all of the noise was, and shouted ‘STOP!’ just before I was going to make another jump.
This time I fell, but like before I just landed back up on the roof again. My father gasped and dropped his cocoa in shock. This time my mother came through the doors. “Hey Nick come back to bed, it’s probably just Willow…” She then looked up and saw me on the roof, then back to my Dad, who was white in the face. “Are you two OK? Why are you on the roof Gwen?”
“She can do it!” My father said. “She’s magic!”
“What?” My mother said.
“Watch Mum. I really am a witch.” I said, making to do another jump.
“NOOO!” Mum yelled. She then watched in awe, with the same look on her face as Dad. At this point I had woken the whole house up, and my sisters came just in time to see me land back on the roof. My family then all cheered and hugged each other. Tears were running down my parents faces in disbelief.
The next few weeks were extremely busy. I finally got my long-awaited through the post a few days after the roof incident, and Mum was in a flap worrying about school.
“You certainly surprised us all, Gwen dear.” She said, rooting through my sister’s old school uniform. “Just as well I hadn’t got around to fully signing that form for Pitlochry High. We’ll have to make a trip to Diagon Alley to get your school books. The twins are in need of new robes anyway.”
The week before school started we all made a family trip to Diagon alley. My Mum and I normally didn’t go as she always wanted me to help her out in the library before the big school run started again. This time though she had got the nosy old lady next door to keep watch, so we could all make the trip.
“Now keep by my side.” My father said. “There will be a lot of people in Diagon Alley, and I don’t want to lose you. Rowena, you can take the twins to Madam Malkins to get their new robes whilst your mother and I get Gwen’s wand. Then meet us in Flourish and Blots.”
They ran off excitedly hoping to stop at Eelops Owl Emporium to stock up on owl food for Feathers and Specks (Our school owls) before getting their robes.
I entered Ollivander’s in excitement. Eager to get my first wand. My mother was looking around in amazement. “He’s not very organised is he. Could really do with a library assistant to categorize the wands. Mind you keep yours safe dear, they are rather expensive and we can’t afford you to lose it.”
Ollivander himself came around the corner, with bits of wood on his work apron.
“Well, well!” He said. “Finally managed to find your magic! You must be proud Nicholas.”
He then started to measure me, (or rather his measuring tape did) then got out a series of wands laying them out on the small counter. It seemed like I had gone through half the shop of wands picking each one up and waving it in excitement before I found a wand chose me. No sooner had it been placed in my hands and the boxes were suddenly levitating in the air.
My father laughed in amusement, and said “About time!”
“Ooh, I must take a picture to send Aunt Isabelle. Where’s my camera?” Mum said rooting through her handbag.
“What wand did you get then?” My sisters asked when we met them outside Flourish and Blots.
“Fir and Unicorn hair, 10 3/4 inches.” I said with a smile. Proud to see the look on my sisters faces when they heard how I had levitated all the boxes.
“I couldn’t do that spell for weeks, and you’ve done it just a month after getting magical powers!”
“Now, now. I knew Gwen had magic, she just took her time.” My father said.
Arrival at Hogwarts:
The first of September finally came, and after what seemed like years of preparation I finally boarded the famous school train.
“Now look after your sister.” Dad said. Loading my heavy trunk onto to the train. “I will be needed in the Ministry to help out with the Department of regulation and control of magical creatures, so will be quite busy to deal with any shenanigans. See you at Christmas love, and be sure to send one of the owls back home with letters.” He said, giving me a kiss on the cheek.
The train then started to leave the station, and for the first time I was making my way to Hogwarts. As it was my first time, I sat in a carriage with Rowena. The twins had already scarpered to sit with their friends. At lunch time we were joined by two girls about my age, looking just as nervous as I was. They turned out to be cousins, and were quite happy to share the chocolate frogs and pumpkin pasties when the trolley came. Soon we were at Hogsmede, dressed in our new uniforms and anxiously awaiting the sorting ceremony. My sister left me to meet her friends, and together with my new-found friends, Rachel and Samantha, we went up to meet Hagrid and get onto the boats.
Hogwarts was more amazing than I pictured it to be! The building looked quite majestic in the moonlight, and as we walked up the steps we all chattered in amazement at the sheer size of it. We were met by one of the teachers who escorted us to the Great Hall to be sorted. The tables were all laid out as if for Christmas Dinner, and I stared in nervousness at all the faces staring in on the small bunch of first years scuttling to make a small horseshoe around the stool with the old, and rather dishevelled, sorting hat on it.
“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts” said the Head, smiling kindly down on us. “I am sure you must all be starving after your long journey, but first, the sorting!”
"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 Hufflepuffs 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!"
It seemed like ages before my name was called up, but despite my nerves I was rather calm about it. My sisters had already recounted their experiences, which were no way near as bad as people on the train made out to be.
Finally, it was my turn to sit on the stool, and I sat in eagerness as the Sorting hat made its decision.
“Hmm. Tricky. Not at all like your sisters, but full of eagerness I see. Fair bit of bravery too… would make a good Gryffindor. Due to your determination though, better be RAVENCLAW!”
In relief I slid off the chair and happily sat to join my sisters at the bench. All of whom hugged me. My two friends that I had found on the train were unfortunately sorted into Gryffindor, but gave me a smile as they walked past.
“Don’t worry. You’ll see them in class!” My sister said, looking at my disappointed face.
The food was incredible! Everyone seemed to demolish it like ravenous wolves, but instead of running out it just kept refilling. I chose some of the steak pie, and for desert a tempting piece of chocolate cake decorated in gold stars. I can barely remember the walk to our dorms. Everyone was too tired to do much else, so we slid happily into bed dreaming of the next day.