Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Harry Potter and Discworld characters are the property of their original owners.
Dear Mr. Potter:
I am replying to your letter from a few months ago regarding your utter refusal to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I do hope that your feelings concerning this have in no way altered since then, in view of the fact that due to recent events, it is my considered opinion that it would now be extremely unwise for you to ever change your mind and indeed decide to become a student here.
If this comes as something of a surprise to yourself, I must point out that your rather blunt letter and its accompanying absurd gift wound up causing more than a few unforeseen complications than you might have imagined while writing that somewhat rude note. The very fact that my own letter is now being sent to yourself so long after in response to your original communication is because this is the first time in the past month that I’ve had enough peace and quiet to finally respond to you. Allow me the courtesy to explain further at greater length.
It all began just a few seconds after I finished reading your astonishing letter for the very first time, when a house-elf then appeared on top of my desk.
Since I am unsure if in your present home you referred to as the Discworld that you know exactly what a house-elf might be, the best description I can give you is a hairless magical creature, vaguely man-like, but only a little over two and a half feet high, very large and pointed ears, bulbous eyes, a long, thin nose, and with whitish-yellow skin much in evidence, since they usually wear only a scrap of clothing. House-elves are the servants of wizards and witches, using their own magic to do much of the labor at their employers’ houses and residences. Which includes Hogwarts. This castle has had generations of house-elves working here, and every now and then, some wizard will donate an unneeded or redundant house-elf to their old school. About several months ago, such a thing happened, from a pureblood family named the Malfoys.
Given that it was my task then as Assistant Headmistress to oversee the efficient management of the castle, I was the one to welcome this creature to the school and inform them of their new duties. It seemed to have gone well, until I was suddenly asked a question by Dobby, which was this being’s name. I was rather taken aback at the time, both because house-elves are in the main incurious about anything but their work, and also due to the question itself, which was what I didn’t expect at all, as you might imagine. Here it is, in exactly Dobby’s words:
“Is great wizard Harrys Potters coming to Hogwarts?”
From what I recall, I managed to answer such an odd inquiry by agreeing that it seemed likely, since your name had appeared in the Hogwarts letters, indicating that you were indeed a wizard and in a few weeks you would be sent your invitation to the magical school. After being told this, Dobby looked absolutely delighted, and then he uttered something on the order of that he would always work very hard to make ‘Mr. Potters’ stay at the castle comfortable and secure. Once he’d said this, that house-elf used his magic to disappear, evidently anxious to begin his duties here. At that time, it seemed to myself to be merely an excess of zeal shown by this Dobby person, and I quickly forgot all about him and his rather peculiar fixation upon yourself, since I naturally had no inkling of your current situation in the Discworld.
At least, until I received your letter. That was enough of a shock, and I most certainly did not
need right after that a delirious house-elf hopping up and down on my desk, all while joyously babbling at the top of his lungs: “MR. POTTERS IS COMING! MR. POTTERS IS COMING!”
I am not ashamed to admit at that point I shoved back my chair from this apparently insane creature as quickly and as forcefully as I could. As I skidded along the floor away from Dobby, this evidently attracted his attention to me, and then while still looking down, his gaze was caught by your letter that I’d just dropped onto my desktop. Quicker than I could react, Dobby bent down and grabbed the letter, immediately starting to read it.
I’d never seen anyone’s mood change so fast, from elation into absolute dejection, as Dobby then whimpered, “Mr. Potters is not coming! He is being great wizard somewheres else without Dobby helping him!” I could do nothing but stare in amazement at him, while the house-elf now finished reading your letter. It was only at that point that I became truly alarmed, as Dobby then swiftly changed before my eyes from being a harebrained little thing into a glowing-eyed fanatic rumbling in a voice that made the walls shake, “Mr. Potters says Voldemort is problem! Mr. Potters is telling Dobby a direct….order!”
It was at that moment when Dobby finally noticed your little gift that was also on my desk. An instant later, I was lying flat on my back, with both myself and my chair knocked over by a wave of pure wandless magic accompanied by a tremendous shout of “MR. POTTERS GIVES DOBBY A SOCK!”
After that came total silence, with me warily extricating myself from the chair and getting up on my feet. I then examined my desk, which was now absolutely bare of all its former papers and keepsakes, blown off by Dobby’s surge of magic. Of the house-elf himself, he was completely gone. Along with your sock.
A few minutes’ search among the debris of my office resulting in finding your letter, which I took at once to Albus Dumbledore. Needless to say, that meeting did not go well. After methodically examining my memories in a pensieve, the school’s headmaster finally accepted my account of the recent events taking place in my office, though he remained thoroughly flummoxed over everything. As did I, particularly when Dumbledore awkwardly admitted that he’d known Harry Potter had been missing from his relatives’ home in Privet Drive for the last few years, and they’d never seen or heard from him since then.
I’m afraid that lead to something of a shouting match on my part, as I promptly lost my temper. Albus patiently waited for me to calm down, to then point out that while his discreet searches on his own ever since your disappearance had turned up absolutely no trace of yourself anywhere in the wizarding and Muggle worlds, the very fact that your name remained in the Hogwarts letters indicated you were still alive and in possession of your magic. Which meant that Voldemort and his forces had nothing to do with you going missing; in fact, they might not even know about this. Dumbledore reasonably added that was why he hadn’t disclosed the news of your absence from the Dursley home to the Order of the Phoenix, going so far as to remove the former watchers there in Little Whinging, since there was always the possibility this might allow our enemies to seize the opportunity to find you.
When I suggested that we now tell the others of our group battling against Voldemort and his Death Eaters about Harry Potter finally contacting us by his letter refusing to attend Hogwarts, the Headmaster flatly refused. He remained unwavering in his opinion that your note was some sort of youthful stubbornness or high spirits. Regardless of what you’d written, Dumbledore was beyond a doubt convinced that you would indeed appear at Hogwarts at the proper time several weeks in the future. Just why
this would take place was never fully revealed or explained by the obdurate wizard to myself, and I was startled at the Headmaster’s next actions, which consisted of him sternly ordering me to remain silent about everything, including your letter and Dobby’s reaction to this.
I reluctantly followed his wishes, until while going around my duties in the school a day later, it suddenly occurred to me that it might be worth investigating Dobby himself. After summoning to myself another one of the castle’s house-elves, I was taken to their still-missing fellow worker’s rest cubicle. What I found there was extremely….unnerving.
This cubicle was absolutely crammed
with Harry Potter memorabilia.
You may not know this, but ever since the tragedy at Godric’s Hollow and your concealment from the wizarding world, this same society has been obsessed with you. Over the years, numerous souvenirs have been created and sold in honor of Voldemort’s defeat on that Halloween night, and most of them involve Harry Potter. Books about this child -- ranging from scholarly works to fanciful tales of adventure -- came out every year, along with toys, clothing, mementoes of all kinds, and anything else that could possibly make a Galleon for the seller. Well, overflowing in Dobby’s room, there was at least one of every single keepsake ever created in there. He even slept
on a Harry Potter bedspread.
I left that room feeling genuinely worried, especially concerning how someone who didn’t have a single Knut to their ridiculous name could have ever acquired all his treasures, but there was nobody to share my fears with, not even the Headmaster. That wizard was still supremely confident that Harry Potter would show up at Hogwarts on time, to take his place as a student learning magic in that thousand-year castle.
Several weeks later, while he sat in his center chair at the staff table in the Great Hall during the Sorting Ceremony, Dumbledore seemed to be waiting expectantly for this boy to come forth. Myself, I wasn’t too optimistic, since there’d been no sign of Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express, the trek to the castle, and the gathering of the entire school in the main dining room for the sorting of the first-year students into their Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff. I was approaching the first student to go through this while seated upon their chair in the middle of the room, with the Sorting Hat in my arms, when things unexpectedly started happened.
A terrible scream coming from behind caused me to instantly turn around, as everybody in the room, save for one person, stared in horror at what was taking place at the staff table. At that spot, Severus Snape had leapt to his feet, to then stand there while clutching his left arm with his right hand, face contorted into a mask of absolute agony. As we all watched in our shock, this Potions Master then abruptly transformed from a human body into a man-shaped mound of white ash. Which next crumbled onto the floor and the table, leaving behind a heap of dust that had once been a living being.
There was absolute silence in the entire room for a few frozen moments, until an immense BANG!
resounded throughout the Great Hall. All of us then immediately directed our attention to the front of the hall, where a beaming Dobby, scorched pure black and triumphantly waving a smoking scrap of cloth, stood there in front of the main doors. Just when everybody had time to comprehend that, Dobby now said in a very smug voice that carried to all of us, “Harrys Potters work is done! Bad Voldemort, all his nasty pieces, and wicked friends be cleaned up!”
You might think that would be enough to upset anyone, but things hadn’t ended yet. At the staff table, Dumbledore managed to rise to his feet and point a trembling finger at Dobby, until this wizard’s face abruptly turned white, and he then clutched at his chest, falling limply back in his chair. I believe this was the point when I dropped the Sorting Hat during my rush to aid the Headmaster.
For the next minute or so, there was an incredible uproar in the Great Hall, what with most of the teachers trying to help Dumbledore. We anxiously tried to make him comfortable while casting healing spells, but all he did was to stare unseeingly at the ceiling and continually gasp two words: “The prophecy….the prophecy….”
It didn’t help the slightest that our efforts to help Albus during this were being done while every single one of the second to seventh year students from the Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw Houses were dancing around their tables, singing a tune started by a Muggleborn, “Ding, dong, the Snape is dead! Which old Snape? The wicked Snape!”
The Slytherin students simply remained at their own table, glaring at everyone else, even the first year students crying or cowering in fear. At least, until there came an even bigger blast of sound overwhelming all else that caused everyone to freeze in place and then turn our attention back to the center of the room at hearing: “HARRY POTTER -- GRYFFINDOR!”
There, Dobby was ecstatically grinning from ear to ear while wearing the Sorting Hat.
I am again with my quill in hand after a necessary break. Even after the passing of several months, I find that I need to have a good stiff dram of Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey while recollecting that night in the Hogwarts Great Hall. Now, let me just say a few words concerning those proceedings and their consequences.
Albus Dumbledore would have unquestionably wanted things to have been kept quiet. However, this was quite impossible, if only due to the sudden deaths then of a good many wizards and witches throughout our society exactly in the manner in which Severus Snape died. Some of those unfortunates managed to perish in the company of other people, with the shaken survivors more than willing to talk about their experiences to anyone nearby. Which soon enough included the press. Once it was noted by the Daily Prophet and other media that virtually all of the known dead included those persons formerly accused of being Death Eaters who had successfully defending themselves from this charge by claiming to be under the Imperius Curse, further digging by reporters revealed a vast web of bribery, political favors, and subversion of justice throughout the wizarding world’s government, reaching to the highest levels. Soon enough, numerous arrests throughout the Ministry of Magic took place, ending up with the former Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, one Madam Amelia Bones becoming the newest Minister of Magic. Known for being scrupulously honest, Madam Bones has successfully lead our world since then, which I can testify from personal experience, as she had ordered an immediate investigation of the events at Hogwarts.
Undoubtedly the first person to have been interrogated regarding this would have been the Headmaster. Regrettably, Albus never recovered from his collapse, both mental and physical, that took place during the night in question. Taken to St. Mungo’s Hospital, he has never left since. Nor has he reacted to anyone attempting to talk to him, or even responded to any form of magical treatment that was tried during his care. From all accounts, including my several visits, this wizard’s only form of communication has been the continuous repetition of the same baffling words he last spoke in the Great Hall: “The prophecy.” I fear that Dumbledore shall have his life end with this simple message upon his lips, as his health has now begun to rapidly decline.
Perhaps it is for the best. A scandal of equal proportions as the Ministry’s fall raged over what was discovered concerning Dumbledore during the Hogwarts investigation. At the very least, it was ill-advised to have a Death Eater in our school as the Potions Master. Other outrages were found, such as allowing a former member of the Order of the Phoenix be sent to the wizarding prison known as Azkaban without even a trial. Now that Sirius Black has been questioned under the Veritaserum Potion, this truth drug has revealed him to be completely innocent, and he has been freed and is currently undergoing rehabilitation for his fragile health.
However, Mr. Black’s attention, along with virtually all of the wizarding world, was firmly held with a far more important detail. To wit, you
, Mr. Potter.
Your letter to myself refusing to attend Hogwarts has become known to everyone, once it came to light during Madam Bones’ investigation. An immediate uproar broke out over that, with the Dursleys at once being arrested and charged by the Ministry of Magic with the abuse of their nephew. Once it was established by Veritaserum and checking their memories that all of them were indeed guilty of this, your aunt and uncle were sent to prison for several years, and your cousin has been packed off to an incredibly strict boys’ school. I believe it is named St. Brutus' Secure Centre, or something like that.
(Incidentally, regarding your indignant comment about myself in your letter about aiding the former Headmaster in placing you as a baby with a truly unfit family, I would just like to assure you, as I testified under Veritaserum during the investigation, that after observing the Dursleys, I was firmly opposed to leaving you with them. Nonetheless, for whatever unknown reasons, Dumbledore overruled me and insisted he knew best, keeping your location and existence an absolute secret from everyone after that, including myself. I know this makes up for nothing, but I still wish to offer you my most sincere apologies.)
Getting back to the subject of this letter, I’m sure you might be wondering why you haven’t been contacted further by other members of the wizarding world, now that you revealed yourself with your message to myself. Sirius Black, for one, has been most anxious to get in touch with you, considering that he is your godfather. I am not sure whether you knew this or not, but in any event, it seems that it has been found by those in our society who tried that some form of magic prevents virtually anyone at all from sending you any form of mail or other means of communication to where you presently live, this Discworld place. Save for myself.
I must confess that it took me much longer than it should have to carefully check for any magic placed upon your letter still in my files. Still, my compliments to whoever put the spell on that paper that makes me the only person able to write to yourself, provided that it is solely concerning school business. As indeed it is, since we now come to the main reason why I am replying to you while presenting the strict warning to never attend or even visit Hogwarts that was given at the start of this letter.
It all has to do with our
Harry Potter. Or as he once was, Dobby the house-elf.
For whatever unimaginable basis that might in some way have to do with the very concept of magic itself, every single spell, charm enchantment, incantation, mechanism, and anything else desperately tried by various dumbfounded wizards, witches, goblins, other house-elves and every magical person who joined in; these attempts one and all steadfastly confirmed that the being patiently undergoing the scrutiny of the examiners is nobody other than Harry James Potter, son of Lily and James Potter. Despite the definite fact that this named individual is not
in any way a human.
We first tried simply asking him about this. Harry just refuses to talk about anything that happened before the Sorting Hat put him in Gryffindor House, and we’ve been unable to change his mind the slightest about this. As can be seen by him stubbornly declining to answer or in fact react in any way to his former name. Pointing out to Harry that he’s undeniably a house-elf, most specifically unlike a certain child attacked by Voldemort years ago, only results in him pityingly regarding this speaker and then once again affirming that means nothing. He’s Harrys Potters, and can he go back to class now?
Yes, he’s attending Hogwarts. Considering he has his own innate magic, we could hardly keep him out. Making it even more difficult is that he’s a dedicated student, eager to learn, faithfully present at every first-year class, and doing very well at them, to boot. Frankly, once they got over their shock, most of the staff wished more of their pupils were just like him, human or otherwise.
Speaking of the other students, in the main, they enjoy having him around. Oh, some of the pureblood students, usually from Slytherin House, regarded our Harry with contempt and loathing and tried to hex or physically mistreat this little person, but that soon quickly ended. For one, Harry either ignored or avoided any kind of assault using his own magic, but he didn’t have to do that after the first day of this, once every other house-elf in Hogwarts Castle promptly went on strike. Apparently, those creatures now think of Harry Potter as someone not to be touched, even if they also persistently ignore the fact that he was one of them before!
Well, even the most bigoted pureblood is eventually capable of understanding the concept of no food, laundry, or cleaning, ever, unless they left a certain someone alone. Which has indeed come about, and a thirty-inch high Harry Potter now cheerfully goes around his daily business in Hogwarts, however odd this might seem to others, since it’s all become part of castle life. Since it has no bearing upon this letter, I don’t believe I need to mention the mountain troll, the dead sixty-foot basilisk dragged into the Great Hall during one breakfast, and the two-week period when every single seventh-year girl became part of Harry’s Harem.
Now, Mr. Potter (and this is specifically referring to you at that Discworld place, wherever it is), we come to the key purpose of this letter:
Please don’t ever come here.
I have absolutely no
idea what would happen if Harry Potter the house-elf and Harry Potter the human were to meet each other, but I sincerely doubt that I would enjoy it. Whatever the outcome, either happy or distressing to you both, my nerves just do not need the additional strain. I entreat you, kindly stay at your new home and I earnestly hope you have a fine life there, much better than you certainly ever had before among the magical and non-magical people in Great Britain.
You do not need to reply to this letter now or at any point in the future. In fact, the very detail that I never receive another communication from yourself ever again would only brighten my mood by confirming that you’ve decided to forever disregard the wizarding world, to peacefully live out the rest of your days with your current foster father at the Discworld. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you the best of luck in this.
Thank you very much.
Headmistress Minerva McGonagall
Hogwarts Castle, Scotland
Looking up as he finished reading the letter, Harry Potter stared off into the distance of the Library, to then softly say, “Wow.”
From his position at the other side of the worktable, a massive, red-furred eyebrow was raised in mild curiosity, as the orangutan otherwise kept his hands moving expertly in repairing a damaged book while also simultaneously peeling a banana with his feet.
“Dad, I have to say, you were right when you announced the written word was the most dangerous thing around,” admitted Harry, waving in his right hand the numerous sheets of the letter that had been delivered several minutes ago by a very exhausted owl. That bird had been lured outside with a bowl of water, since the Librarian distrusted by instinct any raptors in his territory.
Harry shook his head. “Nah, it all happened to them, and there’s no reason to answer. Well….maybe just a note to someone else. Or, a lot of notes to a great many someones. After all, since those specific people back where I was born spent nearly a decade making money off my existence, I figure it’s only fair they pay me a non-negotiable licensing fee.” Putting down the letter on the worktable, Harry allowed a gloat of pure avarice to appear on his features, as he started covetously rubbing his hands together while cackling evilly.
“Oook,” proudly said the Librarian, knowing his foster child had just behaved like a true Ankh-Morporkian, somebody who always resolutely had their eye for the main chance.
Author’s Note: I got a review after putting ‘Harry’s Rejection Letter’ on fanfiction.net, suggesting that McGonagall write a thank-you note back to Harry. I didn’t think that
sort of response was likely to have happened, but the review did cause me to create this bit of craziness. Hope you enjoyed it!