Feb 28, 2020 12:12 PM
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Matt Coulter is starting at Hogwarts this year. He is currently sitting alone in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express.

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A girl who, like him, has no House colors on her robes yet, knocks. She has a trunk, a barn owl in a cage, and two wands, crisscrossed in her hair.

"Can I sit here?"
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“Uh… yeah, sure, if you want to.”

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She sits. "I'm Miranda, what's your name?"

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“Matt.”

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"It's nice to meet you. What House are you hoping for?"

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Matt is muggle‐born, and no‐one’s mentioned the Houses to him yet.

“What do you mean?”
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"Oh, are you - okay, in regular schools there's often houses, right, to subdivide the students? But I think in Muggle schools they don't mean anything; in Hogwarts they mean things. There's four. Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Slytherin. If you're Muggle-born you'd probably want to stay out of Slytherin - or not tell anybody if you wind up there anyway."

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“Oh. I’ve never been in a school that’s had houses. What things do they mean?”

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"Er... I've been out of the country for a couple of years and I have strong opinions anyway, so some of the things I say might just be stereotypes, right? But the quick version is that Ravenclaw is for intelligence and Hufflepuff for hard work and loyalty and Gryffindor for bravery and Slytherin for ambition but there's also a lot of blood prejudice and such mixed in with Slytherin in the last several decades so you don't want to go there if you're Muggleborn. I want Ravenclaw, like my mum."

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“Hmm… I like to think I’m intelligent, so I guess I’d want Ravenclaw, though Hufflepuff sounds okay too.”

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"You don't get to pick your own house. A magic hat does it, Mum said, but if you're not really obviously one thing it will sort of talk to you for a bit and let you help it pick. It gets final say though."

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“I see. Well, then, I just hope it puts me in a house I’d want.”

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"Yeah. Anything else you want to know and don't yet because of being Muggle-born? I don't know how much they tell you in your versions of the letter."

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“Well, nothing really springs to mind immediately. I have trouble thinking of something I don’t know unless it becomes noticeable that I’m missing something.”

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"Okay. You can ask me if you want, I know enough about Muggle things not to be confused. Probably, anyway. It's going to be really different, Muggle London and wizarding London are more different than Muggle London and Muggle Melbourne."

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“Yeah, I’ll ask you if I think of something.”

Matt wonders what to say in reply to the other part. He’s never been good at making conversation. The result of this is that he doesn’t say anything else in reply.
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Miranda apparently isn't that great at making conversation either, or she's done trying for the time being. She pulls out One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi and starts reading from a bookmark partway in.

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Matt takes this to mean that she’s not interested in talking to him any more. He withdraws a muggle fiction book from the backpack on the seat next to him and starts reading, also from a bookmarked page.

They’ll probably stay like this until the Food Trolley arrives.
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When the food trolley arrives, Miranda puts down her book and buys a package of six wriggling Chocolate Frogs and a pumpkin pasty.

"Be careful of the Every Flavor Beans," she warns Matt. "Sometimes 'every flavor' is chocolate, but sometimes it's sawdust, or worse."
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Matt looks confusedly at the chocolate frogs. “Those aren’t living frogs made of chocolate, are they?”

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"No, they're just enchanted to move around. They're really tasty. You can have one of mine if you don't want to buy six."

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“Alright.”

He declines to buy anything from the food trolley himself.
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The trolley lady departs.

Miranda offers him a frog.
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Smiling slightly, he takes the chocolate frog, bites it, seems to deem it palatable, then sets about eating the rest.

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Inside the frog is a card, with a moving photograph on the front captioned Harry Potter, and a description on the back:

The first and only known wizard to survive the Killing Curse, earning the title "The Boy Who Lived." Youngest Quidditch player in the last century after gaining the spot of Seeker in the Gryffindor Quidditch Team in his first year at Hogwarts in 1991. Also known for having found Salazar Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets and defeating the monster within, which was a basilisk, in his second year at Hogwarts. Only known Gryffindor student able to speak Parseltongue. Youngest competitor of the Triwizard Tournament and winner of said Tournament at the age of 14 in 1995. The last master of death for having gained true possession of all three Deathly Hallows. Most famous for the defeat of the most dangerous dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort, in 1998.
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