“Raven Chronicles” Chapter 3: Diagon Alley – Part 2
It’s much the same as it was during the Potter years. The only difference is that the destroyed wand shop, Ollivanders, has been rebuilt. It’s the same stone building, sandwiched between Rowan’s Robes – a posh store with fancy work and dress robes – and Potage’s Cauldron Shop. The trim is still painted black, and the gold letters still spell “Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 BC.” The only change is the small plaque by the door that reads, “In much gratitude to the Weasley twins, who provided the means to rebuild this ancient mainstay of the wizarding community.”
The other change that Diagon Alley has seen is that Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes bought out the two stores next to it and has become something like an American mall superstore. It’s just… so massive. Wickedly massive. This is in addition to their second location in Hogsmeade.
The alley itself consists of a long row of shops, stalls, and advertisements. Most buildings are stone, brick, or wooden buildings all smushed together with many of the stores having house-like entrances. There are multiple apartments above the stores and three legitimate houses in all. One of them is owned by disgraced former Minister Cornelius Fudge, whose life consists of writing editorials for the Daily Prophet and people yelling “Wanker” at his bedroom window as they pass by on the street. He must like it or else he probably would’ve moved by now.
We’d left the day before on the train down to London and stayed the night at the Leaky Cauldron; though, we didn’t see much of the pub as Mum put us straight to sleep. I did get to see some magic as we’d arrived late enough to witness Tom, the barkeeper, wave his wand. All the tables and chairs cleaned themselves and put themselves away. We got up the morning after, ate breakfast, and then went behind to the brick wall where Mum tapped one of the bricks.
My favorite thing about the look of Diagon Alley is the multi-colored buildings on the ground floor. Lavender, puce, lemon, scarlet – painted on the storefronts, doors, signs. It’s lovely, and with a surge in spending since Voldemort’s fall, the shops put a lot of effort into keeping up their style and splendor.
This coloration was the first thing that hit me when we first arrived in mid-July, a month and a half before attending Hogwarts. I’d never been before because my mum had no reason to go to London and buy wizarding equipment and my father never took us.
As we stepped through the moving bricks, my mum consulted the list. I watched Alice’s mouth drop as she took in the sight of the alley. I glanced around as well. Gold sparks were shooting out of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, some 12 shops away from us. The sign for Montague’s Moranic Cat Company was a wooden orange cat magicked to chase after a wooden rat – complete with squeals, growls, and all. Atop Englishman’s Eatery, a humongous cutout of a giant belched, green smoke pouring out from his mouth. I wondered how my father would feel about that.
A witch waved her wand at two small children on toy broomsticks, and they instantly stopped moving. One started crying as the witch, presumably their mother, started to reprimand them. There was a great deal of hooting coming from Eeylops Owl Emporium – I wondered if that was normal or if something extra troubling had occurred. In the middle of the alley, splitting the path into a fork, was the tall and poorly structured edifice of Gringotts bank. It was made of white marble with small black windows, and it towered above everything in the area except the top of the Weasleys’ constantly moving statue of the two twins. In front of the bank, a wizard blew flame dragons, Thestrals, and hippogriffs around a circle of wizards and witches – mostly parents with small children.
It was beautiful.
Mum only glanced at it before pulling out the shopping list from a coat pocket. She wore her favorite tweed burgundy coat, a white buttoned blouse beneath, blue jeans, and tall leather boots. Atop her head, she wore a brown trilby hat that matched the brown and burgundy scarf around her neck. She looked vastly different from the witches and wizards surrounding us. She got a few glances from those nearest us. “Let’s see, first is…”
“Robes,” I answered. I had memorized the list:
First years will require:
o Three sets of plain work robes (black)
o One plain pointed hat (black)
o One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
o One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
o Please note that all student clothing should carry name tags at all times.
o The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1 by Miranda Goshawk
o A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
o Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling
o An Introduction to the Dark Arts by Hermione Granger
o A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
o One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
o Unpublished Notes on Beginner Potions by Severus Snape
o Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger
o Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
o Understanding our Muggle Brethren by Justin Finch-Fletchley
• Necessary Equipment
o 1 wand
o 1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
o 1 set of glass or crystal phials
o 1 telescope
o 1 set of brass scales
o Students may also bring an owl, in addition to a cat, toad, or pygmy puff (must be purchased from Eeylops or Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes). Other pets may be negotiated. Parents be vigilant.
My mother likes to do things in order of what the list says. So it didn’t matter that Madam Malkin’s was next to Flourish and Blotts. We had to go from Madam Malkin’s for robes first, then to Potage’s for dragon hide gloves, and then we’d be allowed to go to Flourish and Blotts.