Tor.com content by

Molly Tanzer

“The Hogwarts” Before Hogwarts

Who among us wasn’t delighted by the scene, early in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry finally gets to open his letter? It is, to my mind, one of the most evocative images within the vividly drawn world of Harry Potter, and I believe that moment is memorable for a very specific reason: we are all Muggle-borns. When he gets his letter, Harry does not know about Hogwarts, and we would have been as surprised as he is to find out we need not go to middle school; that we’d be picking up quills, parchment, and a cauldron instead of pens and notepads.

I’ll confess that my first year of college, when I was feeling lost and lonely, more than once I wished an owl would come with a letter for me, letting me know I was supposed to be somewhere far more exciting than where I was.

[But what of the students at St. Custard’s?]