As I walk down these long winding halls, I think of the stories being told through my mum’s laughter, of the time she had walked the same path. Beckoning me and the ones surrounding me in a journey of nervousness, thrill and hope, the Great Hall is bright with a thousand lit candles. As I stand in front of the closed door, I wonder if its as beautiful as I picture it.
Sorting in Hogwarts has always been grand. The sorting hat with its smirk sitting at the head of the room appears so menacing, it makes the smiles of all the first years simply disappear. As I await my turn, my nerves make me shake. I wonder if I will be sorted into Ravenclaw like mum. She says the Slytherins are mean and the Gryffindors are always quick to pick a fight. And what if I was a Hufflepuff? Will others just push over me to go ahead? I kept praying under my breath to be sorted into Ravenclaw. Anyway, I’d always been told I was like mom, so why would I be sorted into any other house, right?
Professor McGonagall is booming my name. With shaky steps, I walk up to the front to put on the hat. With blood rushing in my ears, I await my destiny when I hear a voice from the side saying ‘mud blood. It is immediately hushed by McGonagall, but it rings in my ear like the gong of a bell, reverberating through my veins. The sorting hat yells Slytherin and I am ushered through a haze to the table of the house, with people clapping me on my back. The rest of the day passes away in a blur, meeting new people, exploring the alcoves, being awestruck by the common room and laughing as the seniors do impressions of the teachers in the room. But amidst all this, a nagging feeling remains in my head, taking away from my ability to have fun.
Now, as I sit writing, I remember my mum’s warning of being called a mud blood. I know I am not pure-blooded, but magic is still who I am. Sorting in Hogwarts appears to be less about making us fit in, and is instead further casting me out. And on top of that, I’m a Slytherin now; a house known for the legendary evil wizards and witches it had produced.
Will my allegiance to a particular house define what people think of me? I remember that book mum had read to me years ago. It had creatures who would be abandoned and isolated because they were different. Giants had been forced to move away and the poor elves made to labour for the powerful wizards. A lot of wizards are bad, Slytherin just gets a bad rep for being popular. My blood status had been discussed on the very first day, but I had never been any different from the rest. I think I am a Slytherin because I am ambitious and nothing else should define me. This world is already so decided. Maybe the sorting in Hogwarts is also pre-determined.
It was only the end of my first day, but I was already inadequate. Will my parentage always be the first step towards how people judge my potential? Will being in Slytherin make people think of me in a particular way? I never thought school would be this hard. I want to colour it the way I want. Maybe I will transcend all to show that magic is common amongst all, no matter the house or family and that is what makes Hogwarts home for us all.