“Raven Chronicles” Chapter 1: The Adventure of the Hogwarts Express – Part 1
My name is Raven Husher, and you have the great misfortune of reading my memoirs. My mother, a Mrs. Christine Paula Husher, birthed me several minutes after my sister, Alice Elanor Husher, on October 31, 1994. However, my story did not get particularly interesting until after I turned nine.
The day in question? January 6, 2003. What happened? I Apparated onto the Hogwarts Express.
Before dismissing the notion that a nine-year-old Apparated at all – without Splinching, mind you – consider this: I had already been labeled, as I still am today, somewhat of a wizarding prodigy.
Proof: Three years prior to Apparating onto the Express, I built my own wand with a Niffler hair I’d taken from my father’s desk. I enchanted my mother’s broom to fly and made a slight scene out in the Muggle world. The Ministry investigated my father’s research to ensure he did not plan on creating unauthorized wands.
Why did I want to Apparate onto the train? As a nine-year-old, I had two obsessions: one, Hogwarts; two, motorized vehicles.
The two obsessions led to a fixation on that scarlet train. Most wizards don’t understand the complexity of it. The train runs at the same pace as any other train does – much to the chagrin of students who must take it at least twice a year for a whopping nine-hour ride. The Express has to traverse the terrain of England and Scotland, not be noticed, and maintain an Undetectable Extension Charm to accommodate its passengers. And since what is referred to now as “the Potter years,” the train has also been equipped with almost every security spell.
The train runs on magic, and it doesn’t just run when students take it but every day there is a demand for it. Hogsmeade locals take it quite frequently – though who knows why. Some people just hate Apparition, Floo Powder, Portkeys, the Knight Bus, and Muggle travel.
That means maintenance. All the spells wear off, and due to the mass of train – which must accommodate around 1,000 students – the length of the trip, the weather, etc., the concentration needed to keep those spells working on an indefinite status is astronomical. So unless the conductor is secretly Albus Dumbledore¹ – and there are rumors he is – the conductor would need to be constantly repairing fading spells.
From the ages of eight to nine, I consumed as much information on the Express as I possibly could. I read my father’s old copies of The Train of the Century by Miriam Hoodlin and The Scarlet Engine: The Controversy That Rocked the Decade by Bobington Roadsbath and even ran my eyes over the idiotic children’s book The Hogwarts Express That Could, a poor copy of one of my favorite Muggle books. I tried to check out more from the Hogwarts library but received a polite note declining my request as I was neither a student nor an alumnus. I couldn’t ask Mum. Being a Muggle, she had never attended Hogwarts. And my father was still mucking about in Australia studying werewolves. He did not reply to my letter asking if he would write to Hogwarts for me.
On January 6, I sat in a classroom at my school in Crail, the small coastal town where I grew up, about an hour-and-a-half-long drive from Edinburgh. The schoolhouse, an ancient building, had snow on its roof and ice on its windows. The headmaster proved too afraid of large heating bills. I wore cotton gloves and a large gray peacoat my mum loved on me, in addition to black slacks that did not warm me at all. My mum kept my hair short, so I had my crocheted cap from grandmamma as far down as it would go over my ears.
My sister Alice – a brunette, like me, with blue eyes, unlike me – sat next to me and refused the teacher’s numerous requests to put on her coat. Yet she still sat and read the poorly written textbook on Britain’s first prime minister. It did not hold my attention, and when the bell clanged for lunch, I’d taken in no more than three paragraphs.
Alice stood at the bell and asked, “You sure?”
I nodded. I had read A Practical Guide to Apparition and Apparition Do’s and Don’ts as well as Magical Theory: How Apparition is Possible. And I had already Apparated three times successfully in my back yard.
I lagged behind as my fellow classmates went to go feed on poor excuses for meals. When most everyone was gone, I rose from my own desk and pretended to trip. I spun, threw out my arms, concentrated, and Apparated.
I made it on the train. I made it into the last compartment as planned. The wood walls, the terrible patterned cushions on the seats, the sliding glass doors, scratched and dirty – evidently repaired by magic hundreds of time – it was all there, just as I’d pictured.
¹ He’s sort of the wizarding Elvis.