The Hogwarts Express has a lot of compartments. It has to take about 400 students back and forth between Scotland and London every year; that means a long train. This particular compartment contains a boy, looking like someone took a normal eleven-year-old and put a Stretching Jinx on his spine, staring out the window and twisting his long black wand in his fingers. He looks painfully bored.
"Most wizards... don't think of muggles as people. Half of them have never met one, not and really talked to them. To them, those reasons you dismissed sound perfectly sensible. If the muggles aren't people, and they don't have anything to offer us, and they'd try to kill us or get us to solve all their problems, what'd be the point in showing ourselves?"
"That's stupid, what would they be if they're not people?"
"Like moving pictures," David says darkly. "Things that act like people but don't matter."
"Yes, that," Edmund agrees.
"...okay but it's different, moving pictures don't, they don't remember and, and stuff?"
"And muggles don't do magic, and stuff. There's always a reason for things, even if it's a stupid reason."
"It's very stupid."
The boat turns a corner, and Hogwarts comes into view.
Edmund stares at the castle, his eyes full of wonder and shining with sudden tears.
It's huge and it's beautiful and James cannot wait to see it all and -!!!!!!!
David's face is unreadable as he beholds the castle.
"C'est très beau..."
James scoots closer to Tintin and leans over to whisper, "Can you imagine all of the secret passages?"
"So many! It is so exciting!"
"Y-yeah," Edmund says, tearing his eyes away from Hogwarts and wiping his eyes with one sleeve. "Peter knows about a few, and he never even went looking for them, far as I know, they just sort of happened to him."
"- happened? How do secret passages happen."
"I think that's one of the things we'll learn when we get there."
The boat docks in a small, apparently natural cavern lit by glowing crystals and ensconced torches. There's a massive set of double doors across from the pier.
This is already extremely aesthetic; the way James falls on his face the moment he gets up and tries to exit the boat unassisted is perhaps less so.
He might need gremlin help.
Gremlin is available.
"You alright, mate?"
"Yeah, got some temporary nerve damage, the hospital wing will figure it out after Sorting." He rests his weight on Tintin.
After a few minutes of the crowd of first-years slowly accumulating, a tall man steps out of a side door. He's wearing plum-colored robes covered with silver stars and moons, his hair is rust-red streaked with silver, and he has a beard tied with a golden cord.
"Good evening, students," he says brightly. "My name is Albus Dumbledore, deputy headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and head of Gryffindor House, and it is my privilege to welcome you all to these hallowed halls. You are all to be Sorted, which I regret to inform you is a very simple process not involving combat with any trolls. The House into which you are sorted will be your home for the next seven years, and will continue to influence your life long after. Your Housemates will be your family, even more than Hogwarts itself. That said, I encourage you all to make friends outside your own Houses - but know that you will always have a place where you belong."
He waves his wand, and the doors open. He strides through them.
"I guess realistically now would not be a good time for a battle against a troll."
"I do not know, it would have to be rather badly handicapped to be a fair fight for the average eleven-year-old. I think you could do it."
Tintin more or less carries James into the Great Hall as he whispers back.
"Are you flirting with me?" James asks with a half-smile.