If you walked into the Great Hall it would be hard for you to believe that there was a ceiling there at all, and that it didn’t simply open on to the heavens.
Delilah looked at the stairs as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool she put a pointed wizard’s hat.
This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Delilah’s mother wouldn’t have let it in the house.
“Do we have to do a magic trick?” she whispered to Hermione who whispered a quick ‘you’ll see.’ Noticing that everyone in the hall was now staring at the hat, she stared at it, too.
For a few seconds, there was complete silence. Then the hat twitched. A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth– and the hat began to sing.
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!
The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again. “Have you decided what house you want now?” Hermione asked quietly, while the hall was applauding.
“I honestly think any would work, but perhaps Hufflepuff or Gryffindor.”
Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment. “When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,” she said. “Abbott, Hannah!”
A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. “HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat. The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. The table was decorated with bright yellow and black. Delilah saw the ghost of the Fat Friar waving merrily at her.
“Bones, Susan!” Next up was a strawberry blonde girl, who looked very nervous. “HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah.
“Boot, Terry!” The boy had brown hair almost reaching his shoulders. He had a relaxed position, but you could tell he was anxious. “RAVENCLAW!” The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them. This table was decorated in blue and bronze.
“Brocklehurst, Mandy”, a raven haired girl went to Ravenclaw too, but “Brown, Lavender” became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left, decorated with red and gold, exploded with cheers. Delilah could see a pair of ginger identical twins catcalling. They must be Weasleys.
Upon glancing at the table, she caught the taller twin’s eye, who not so subtly winked at her. This caused a dark blush to appear on her cheeks.
“Bulstrode, Millicent”, A girl, who was not particularly fit, then became a Slytherin. Perhaps it was Delilah’s imagination, after all she’d heard about Slytherin from Hermione and the sorting hat, but she thought they looked like an unpleasant lot.
Applause from the Slytherin house were heard, but that meant that Delilah was next.
“Jackson, Delilah.” Delilah walked up the steps and sat on the stool. The sorting hat was placed on her head as a small voice started to talk in her ear. “Hmm, Difficult to decide where to put you. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. Very friendly and loyal. But I sense a deep bravery from you. Better be…”
The table erupted in cheers, as Delilah walked over in embarrassment.
“Finch-Fletchley, Justin!” A boy with dirty- blonde hair and blue eyes, walked up to the stool. “HUFFLEPUFF!”
Sometimes, Delilah noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once, but at others it took a little while to decide.
“Finnigan, Seamus,” the sandy-haired boy next to Dean in the line, sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.
“You got this, Mione!” She mouthed to her friend, who smiled back in appreciation.
She watches Hermione seat herself, McGonagall lowering the Hat. After what seemed like 5 minutes of waiting…
Hermione sat down at the Gryffindor table smiling.
When Neville Longbottom was called, he fell over on his way to the stool. The hat took a long time to decide with Neville. When it finally shouted, “GRYFFINDOR,” Neville quickly took the hat off and ran over to Gryffindor.
“Martin, Tessa” Tessa quickly walked over to the stool and sat down, not making eye contact and seemingly having a humorous discussion with The Sorting Hat. “HUFFLEPUFF!”
A boy named Draco Malfoy, who had platinum blonde hair that was greased back, swaggered forward when his name was called and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, “SLYTHERIN!” Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself.
There weren’t many people left now. “Moon, Salem” got into Gryffindor. She was a blonde girl with Doe- like blue eyes.
“Parkinson, Pansy” a girl with a nose that looks squashed, almost like a pig or a pug. She had a short bob for a haircut. She was placed into Slytherin and immediately latched herself to Draco Malfoy.
Then a pair of twin girls, “Patil, Parvati” and “Patil, Padma”. Parvati was placed into Gryffindor, while Padma was placed into Ravenclaw. It hurt Delilah seeing the twins separate. She knew that she would be devastated if she was separated from a twin.
“Perks, Sally-Anne”, a girl with curly red hair, was placed into Ravenclaw.
At last, “Potter, Harry!”
As Harry stepped forward, whispers suddenly broke out like little hissing fires all over the hall.
“Potter, did she say?”
“The Harry Potter?”
As the hat was talking to him, Harry gripped the edges of the stool, leaving Delilah wondering if he was alright.
GRYFFINDOR!” Delilah heard the hat shout the word to the whole hall. Harry took off the hat and walked shakily toward the Gryffindor table. He was getting the loudest cheer yet, but he seemed not to notice. Percy Weasley got up and shook his hand vigorously, while the Weasley twins yelled, “We got Potter! We got Potter!”
And now there were only a few people left to be sorted. “Thomas, Dean,” After making quick eye contact with her friend, and a reassuring smile sent, Delilah watched as he walked up to the stool. No longer than 10 seconds and he was placed into Gryffindor.
Delilah clapped loudly as Dean sat across from her by Seamus.
“Turpin, Lisa,” A platinum blonde haired girl, became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron’s turn. He was a nasty shade of red by now.
Delilah crossed her fingers under the table and a second later the hat had shouted, “GRYFFINDOR!”
Harry, Hermione, and Delilah clapped loudly with the rest as Ron collapsed into a spot on the bench next to Harry.
“Well done, Ron, excellent,” said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as “Zabini, Blaise,” a tall boy with his hair shaved, was made a Slytherin.
Professor McGonagall rolled up her scroll and took the Sorting Hat away.
Delilah looked down at her empty gold plate. She had only just realized how hungry she was. She had skipped an early lunch, as she was so excited to get to the train station.
Albus Dumbledore had gotten to his feet. He was beaming at the students, his arms opened wide, as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all there. “Welcome,” he said. “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!” He sat back down.
Everybody clapped and cheered. Delilah and Dean made eye contact, both of them weirded out.
“Is he– a bit mad?” Ron asked Percy with uncertainty.
“Mad?” said Percy airily. “He’s a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes. Potatoes, Harry, Delilah?”