He enters the class in his bedroom slippers, flings a Gandalf-esque wooden staff to the floor with a casual flick of his arm and fixates his eyes on the nervous mass of twenty somethings who sit before him, shifty and uncertain whether they are in the right room. I am one of those apprehensive twenty something year olds and happen to be sitting closer than I would like to this strange character. Someone stifles a giggle and some very unsubtle nudging spreads around the room like wildfire. Entirely unperturbed by this, the man begins to depict to us a lengthy and meticulous story to account for his tardiness. I remember only an incongruous mention of a time traveling chair, magic staff and a sentence that began ‘When I do the sorting in the Great Hall…’. After that, I didn’t hear anything else.
It seems too perfect for me to have come to Durham. In the short space of time that I have been living here, I have walked the same cobbled paving stones in Durham Cathedral Cloisters as Harry did in Hogwarts, dined in a Great Hall very very much like The Great Hall where Hogwarts students banqueted (although alas without Dumbledore, who sadly passed away in Book 6), have been sworn in to the ‘Castle’ (less affectionately known as University College) and found myself on the receiving end of a lecture in which the professor starts sprouting off about where he keeps the Sorting Hat. Perhaps you are also thinking that this fits in a little too nicely with my blog theme ‘My own little Hogwarts’. Maybe you are laughing as I did. Nervously or otherwise.
In my opinion, taking a module entitled: Harry Potter and the Age of Reason sounds like just about the most wonderful way of spending one’s time at University. This is how the strange character from my lectures fits into the story. He is, in fact, the principal – dare I say only – lecturer of the Harry Potter module, and contrary to popular belief does not talk about ‘sorting’ his pupils, without genuine substantiation. My friend Megan was quite literally ‘sorted’. She wore a robe, filed anxiously past rows of her peers sitting at lengthy wooden tables, and was well and truly sorted - into Slytherin I might add, although in her defence this was an unfortunate hereditary trait rather than a reflection of her charming personality – (her college Father was in Slytherin.) As a self-admitted Hermione (see MOLH Part 1), I would hope to find myself between Harry and Ron at the Gryffindor table. However, since my ‘Postgrad MCR’ status allows me occasional privileges, you might see me peering at you over the top of my half moon spectacles* from High Table sometime in the future.
*Substitute half-moon spectacles with glass of wine.
So once again I find myself making what you might consider to be tenuous links between my life and that of Harry Potter.