Draco’s Perspective

Today’s prompt, and many more, can be found here. Rewrite a book scene from a different character’s perspective.

I chose to rewrite the scene in the first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) when Harry and Draco first met in Madam Malkin’s shop in Diagon Alley before they started at Hogwarts.  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Draco as although he is definitely a little shit, the book puts him in a horrible light all the time.  The original scene is below:

One wild cart ride later they stood blinking in the sunlight outside Gringotts. Harry didn’t know where to run first now that he had a bag full of money. He didn’t have to know how many Galleons there were to a pound to know that he was holding more money than he’d had in his whole life — more money than even Dudley had ever had.
“Might as well get yer uniform,” said Hagrid, nodding toward Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. “Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts.” He did still look a bit sick, so Harry entered Madam Malkin’s shop alone, feeling nervous.
Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling witch dressed all in mauve.
“Hogwarts, dear?” she said, when Harry started to speak. “Got the lot here — another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”
In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on a footstool while a second witch pinned up his long black robes. Madam Malkin stood Harry on a stool next to him, slipped a long robe over his head, and began to pin it to the right length.
“Hello,” said the boy, “Hogwarts, too?”
“Yes,” said Harry.
“My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands,” said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley.
“Have you got your own broom?” the boy went on.
“No,” said Harry.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No,” Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”
“No,” said Harry, feeling more stupid by the minute.
“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” said Harry, wishing he could say something a bit more interesting.
“I say, look at that man!” said the boy suddenly, nodding toward the front window. Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice creams to show he couldn’t come in.
“That’s Hagrid,” said Harry, pleased to know something the boy didn’t. “He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said the boy, “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” said Harry. He was liking the boy less and less every second.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” said Harry coldly.
“Do you?” said the boy, with a slight sneer. “Why is he with you? Where are your parents?”
“They’re dead,” said Harry shortly. He didn’t feel much like going into the matter with this boy.
“Oh, sorry,” said the other, not sounding sorry at all. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?”
“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”
“I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What’s your surname, anyway?”
But before Harry could answer, Madam Malkin said, “That’s you done, my dear,” and Harry, not sorry for an excuse to stop talking to the boy, hopped down from the footstool.
“Well, I’ll see you at Hogwarts, I suppose,” said the drawling boy.

[Excerpt From: J. K. Rowling. “Harry Potter 1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” iBooks.]

Harry_Potter_and_the_Sorcerer's_Stone

This is my version, from Draco’s view:

Draco was standing awkwardly on a small stool, a witch fussing over his measurements and getting him to try on different robes.  He’d been there a long time; he knew the witch was nervous after the talk his father had given her earlier.  It had been out of earshot, but the boy knew exactly what had been said.  “Make sure these robes fit perfectly or else,” was basically how it would have gone.  His father was very passionate about the image he and his family displayed; it went hand-in-hand with being one of the most well-known wizarding families in the country.
Draco shifted his weight from foot to foot, getting increasingly impatient.  Madam Malkin was walking around the shop, fixing up displays, occasionally saying offhanded things to the witch next to him like “remind me to order in more Hufflepuff patches” and “don’t forget to allow room for growth when you measure!”.  She seemed to be doing it out of habit and with no real conviction behind it.  It sounded like she was just trying to fill in the silence.
Suddenly, the front door opened and a boy around Draco’s age entered.  He was pale and skinny, with cheap glasses perched on his nose.  He looked nervous.  Madam Malkin looked relieved for the distraction and hurried towards him, smiling from ear to ear.
“Hogwarts, dear?” she said, when the boy opened his mouth to speak. “Got the lot here — another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”
The boy looked around, his eyes landing on Draco.  Madam Malkin lead him to the stool to his right.  When he didn’t stand up on it, she gestured for him to do so.  He looked around nervously, then did as he was asked.  Before he had a chance to say anything, she pulled a robe over his head and grabbed her measuring tape, which began floating around him in the same way a tape was doing to Draco.
“Hello,” Draco started, glad for a way to break the monotony, “Hogwarts, too?”
“Yes,” said the boy.
“My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands,” Draco explained. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
He was waiting to see the boy’s reaction, to gauge whether he recognised the trademark Malfoy blonde hair.  Everyone seemed to know him if they were pureblood.  It had always been that way.  The boy was too nervous to give anything away, much to Draco’s annoyance. “Have you got your own broom?” he asked.
“No,” said the boy, once again not giving anything away.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No,” the boy said.  Draco thought he saw a flicker of confusion across his face, but maybe it was still just nerves.  Surely anyone headed to Hogwarts would know about Quiddich.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”
“No.”
Draco was growing very tired of the boy, and began to assume he was one of those filthy mudbloods who got sent a letter out of nowhere.  How else could the boy’s nerves and confusion be explained?  Despite this, Draco kept talking, knowing the boy was his only source of entertainment until this was over.  “Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” the boy murmured in agreement.
Suddenly, something caught Draco’s eye from the shop window.  He whirled around.  A giant black mass was blocking out almost all the natural light.  It took his eyes a few moments to realize the mass was actually a huge, heavy-set man in an even bigger cloak.  He was holding two ice cream cones, though they looked tiny in his colossal grasp.  “I say, look at that man!” The man began waving at the boy and pointing to the treats.
“That’s Hagrid.  He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said Draco, surprised the boy knew of anything magic at all.  “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” the boy frowned at Draco.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” the boy’s face darkened.
“Do you?” Draco sneered.  Who was this kid?  Why did he think a servant who lived in a hut is brilliant?  He’d never heard anyone describe Hagrid as that, or anything nice at all really. “Why is he with you? Where are your parents?”
“They’re dead,” the boy muttered, trying to turn away but finding it difficult with the oversized robe over his shoulders.
“Oh, sorry,” Draco said flatly, deciding it was time to ask the question that had been dancing on his lips the whole time; the only really important question his family had to anyone they met. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?”
“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”
Draco was surprised, but relieved.  His father wouldn’t take it well if he’d found out he’d been talking to a mudblood.  He still didn’t really like the boy, but he felt a lot more comfortable with him now.  “I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine.  I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families.”  Draco stopped.  As the boy was moving, he thought he saw something on his forehead.  But no, surely it couldn’t be.  “What’s your surname, anyway?”
“That’s you done, my dear,” Madam Malkin interrupted, and helped the boy off the stool.  Before Draco could ask anything else, the boy hurried out of the store, leaving with Hagrid.  He went to ask Madam Malkin who the boy was, but didn’t get the chance as his father glided back into the shop, his long, flowing hair following behind.  As his father began berating the witch for taking so long, the thoughts of the strange boy faded from Draco’s mind.

Let me know what you think 🙂

-JD

“Who is your favourite literary character of all-time?”

My favourite literary character of all time is Ellie Linton, the heroine from John Marsden’s the Tomorrow Series and later, the Ellie Chronicles.  A character a lot of Australians would know well.

john-marsden

I first read the series when I was about twelve after a recommendation from my Grade 5 teacher.  I initially didn’t think much of it.  I was young, what could I possibly like about a series based around a war?  Little did I know it would become my favourite series ever, one I’d read over and over again.

All the characters in it are great and relatable in some respects.  Fi is the innocent friend, the one you hate to see hurt the most.  Robyn is the religious friend, who is caught between her faith and her loyalties.  Lee is the smart one, who can sometimes be a little socially awkward.  Corrie is the faithful best friend, always there with a shoulder to cry on.  Kevin is the outspoken one, who let’s his words get him into trouble as much as get him out of it.  Homer is the boisterous one, the good guy with a rebellious front.  The reason I love Ellie most of all though, is because she’s the bravest and the toughest, even in her weakest moments.  Where Fi and Robyn show bravery then fall apart, Ellie doesn’t let herself do that.  Not only that, but she’s incredibly selfless, and always puts her friends first, even when it could cost her her life.  That kind of loyalty is something usually reserved for male characters.  In saying all this, though, she isn’t some sort of war robot.  She’s constantly torn between what’s right and what needs to be done, and sometimes she gets it wrong.

I love the character because it shows that it’s okay to be scared, to make mistakes, to be human.  It shows girls can be brave.  It shows girls don’t always need men around to protect them.  She’s fiery and strong and a leader, a character that I believe has shaped me into someone I’m always striving to become.  I don’t believe the books would be half as powerful to read if a male was the narrator.  It would be just another war series.  John Marsden made a fantastic choice when he put Ellie in the driver’s seat!

Who’s your favourite literary character?

-JD

Harry Potter and the Muggle who Refused to Buy Into It (and Why She Regrets It)

So, Harry Potter has been famous for what feels like forever.  I remember vividly when I was first introduced to it, a few years prior to it becoming famous.  I was in primary school, maybe Grade 4.  We had one of those Book Fairs happening, and mum agreed to let me buy one book.  Do schools still do Book Fairs?  They should.  They were awesome.  Though I guess we didn’t have iPads back then, so maybe they aren’t cool any more.  Whatever, it was after school and I was in the library, looking at all the newly-erected temporary book stands filled with the latest children’s book titles.  One of the covers caught my eye, one with a blue flying car and two kids hanging out the window.  The librarian, Mrs Bourke, came over and said that she’d recommend the series, but that I was holding the second book and should probably start with the first.  In this case, I literally judged the book by it’s cover and decided against her suggestion, intrigued more by the flying car than the train.

I got home and started to read it.  Big surprise though, I couldn’t follow what was going on.  I tried multiple times over the next year to get into it, but would inevitably give up after the first few chapters.

The book sat on my shelf for two years.  Then – out of nowhere – everyone was talking about the series.  Literally overnight, it went from nobody talking about books to it being the latest thing.  I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t understand why everyone liked it.  I couldn’t get into it at all, and at that stage, I was an avid reader.  I’d demolish book after book.  It wasn’t like me to give up on them.  So I was really confused about the whole overnight phenomenon.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but within the next couple of months, I managed to get my hands on the first book that I’d turned my nose up at years before.  I started to read it, and suddenly everything made sense.  I read the first and second book within a couple of weeks.  I really liked it, and was glad I could finally enjoy the book that I’d attempted so many times.

It took awhile for me to get my hands on the third book as there was a giant waiting list at the library for it (it’s hard to believe that was even a thing, much less that it seemed perfectly normal at the time!).  I think I was at least halfway through grade 6 before I read it, and again, really liked it.  I remember that, even at that young age, I was perplexed that the hype for the series was still going strong.  I assumed (incorrectly) that it would fizzle out like most things did.  Every kid who enjoyed reading (which was a lot back then) was hanging out for the next installment.

The next book came out and by then, my sister had also gotten into the series so mum decided it was okay to buy it instead of waiting a ridiculously long time for a copy to free up at the library.  Despite being the longest book of the series (and the longest book I’d ever read at the time) I chewed through it.

As this book was coming out, so too was the movie.  The hype for the series grew exponentially, which seemed unfathomable as it was already so high as it was.  I didn’t see the film in the cinema, but my sister bought the VHS when it came out and I watched it there.  I was disappointed – I wasn’t used to seeing films based off books and I felt it was missing a lot.  I was young and couldn’t comprehend the reasons why they’d leave stuff out.

As the second film was about to come out a year or so later, the hype became overwhelming.  You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing posters or merchandise or people talking excitedly about it.  People on the TV and radio would talk about it, kids at school couldn’t stop guessing what it would be like.

That’s when I decided I’d had enough.

This was my very first taste of going against the crowd.  I was sick of hearing about the boy wizard, sick of seeing Daniel Radcliffe’s face everywhere and mostly, sick of people expecting me to be obsessed with it.  Granted, I did enjoy the books that I’d read, and the movie wasn’t bad (if lacking), but I felt like I had to fight the world.  Part of me was a little sad, but I refused to acknowledge it.  I didn’t want to be like everybody else.

My sister didn’t share my views, and ate up all the HP goodness she could.  She’d buy the books as they came out, see the newest movies in the cinema, even write fanfiction in her free time.  We were polar opposites (which is hardly anything new).

I fought the fight for over a decade.  I didn’t read any more of the books, didn’t see any more of the movies, refused to partake in discussions about any of it.  I told people I didn’t like the series, when actually it was the hype I didn’t like.  The more films that came out, the bigger the hype.  When the last book came out, I still remember the news reports with kids who lined up for hours to get their copy.  When they got it they hugged it and bawled their eyes out.  They’d stay up all night reading it to try to be the first in the world to finish it.  I watched the report, rolling my eyes and scoffing.  What was wrong with these kids?  It’s just a book.

Last month, I decided after all these years, to listen to that sad little voice that had been within me this whole time, who kept saying “you’re allowed to like the series along with everyone else!  Please don’t stop reading!  You want to know what happens!”.  I read the books as avidly as I had the first time.  It had been so long since I’d read them that a lot of the stuff that happened was actually surprising, which was pretty cool.  It was like I got a second chance to read it for the first time.  I managed to read all 7 books within a month, and it was only then, as I finished the last one, that I wish I’d read it along with the rest of the world.  Suddenly, I understood the hysteria.  I was sad – really, really sad – that I’d come to the end of Harry’s story.  I completely understood why people wrote fanfiction, why others were obsessed with the Pottermore site, why people would hold Harry Potter themed parties.  The series was magical, in every sense of the world.  Reading it so late, though, meant I’d missed my chance to talk to others about it.  The hysteria finally subsided, and I wasn’t going to be the one to desperately try to bring it back.

All I could do to try to keep the series going was watch all the movies, and I enjoyed them (moreso than I had when I was 12) but it wasn’t the same.  I expected them to leave a lot out and change things, which they did, and I just couldn’t get the same feeling back I’d had while reading the books.  I had to accept it, I’d have to move on with my life.  It seriously felt like a weird kind of mourning.  Partly it was a mourning because I could never read the books again not knowing what was coming next…and partly because I’d missed out on going through the excitement when I was younger.  That ship had sailed and there was nothing I could do to bring either thing back.

I’d finally learnt a valuable lesson, a decade too late – always be yourself and don’t let anyone influence your decisions.  If I hadn’t let the hype get to me, and if I had of listened to that little voice, I’d have enjoyed the ride with everyone else.  Instead, I’m left to enjoy it alone…and that’s no fun!  Better late than never though, I suppose.

-JD