A Professor of Magic at Hogwarts - C.12: Undecoded Conversation

A Professor of Magic at Hogwarts

C.12: Undecoded Conversation
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The scene rewinds to an hour earlier.

Severus Snape strides into the Headmaster's office, his face tense, but it's evident that he's quite infuriated at the moment.

"Headmaster! Headmaster Dumbledore!"

Dumbledore raises his head from the desk. "Ah, Severus, do you have something on your mind?"

Snape stands before him, not taking a seat. He kicks aside an obstructing chair and, with the desk between them, he asks with a fiery tone, "You brought Felix Harp in to teach at the school? What were you thinking?"

Dumbledore sets aside the book in his hand. "Severus, I don't see any issue. Mr. Harp is exceptionally talented, and his abilities are widely recognized in the wizarding world, including by me."

Snape shows impatience. "I didn't say he lacks ability! I taught him before; I know what kind of person he is."

"Indeed, you've evaluated him as 'a quintessential Slytherin' – quite a high praise," Dumbledore responds with a smile.

Snape's expression darkens. "I wasn't complimenting him," he retorts – it's more of a mockery.

Dumbledore nods. "We both have a certain understanding of Mr. Harp. I also know your concerns. Since he's to teach at Hogwarts, this is a matter worth discussing. Let's sit down and talk it through." He waves his hand, conjuring the chair back.

Snape sits down stiffly, as if there were a fire-breathing dragon cushion beneath him instead of a chair.

"Pumpkin juice? Tea? Or perhaps a glass of butterbeer?" Dumbledore inquires, and with each word, a corresponding cup appears out of thin air.

"I don't need anything," Snape replies, unyielding.

"In that case, a cup of tea. Mr. Harp quite enjoys it." Dumbledore places a cup of tea in front of Snape.

But judging by Snape's expression, he seems to have swallowed a fly.

Dumbledore speaks gently, "Let's have a good talk. I, too, had some misconceptions about Mr. Harp in the past. However, as he grew, my perspective on him evolved. Just recently, after a thorough conversation, I finally made up my mind to hire him."

"I think you've gone senile," Snape sneers.

"Though I might be getting old, I've become more clear-headed over the years. We're prone to making mistakes when we're young, aren't we?"

Snape huffs but remains silent.

Of course, he knows. Back then, Felix's situation was dire, even worse than his own in those days. At least his enemies didn't come from within his own house.

Dumbledore spoke calmly, "Minerva once complained to me, saying that the Sorting Hat doesn't accurately place students into the right houses. She always believed Mr. Harp should have been sorted into Gryffindor. What do you think?"

"That lad is the epitome of Slytherin," Snape said with a mocking tone, repeating the same words from years ago.

"I agree on that point," Dumbledore nodded. "Mr. Harp... he's an exceptional wizard, remarkably so. He's one of the most gifted individuals I've ever encountered. He's always been driven by the pursuit of power, and I see that quite clearly. Even though he's shown it less after his fifth year, he never ceased his quest for power."

"Even after graduation, it's been the same. That's what worried me the most at the time."

Snape listened quietly, not denying Dumbledore's wisdom. The old man's experiences were legendary, and Snape intended to listen first, to understand what had changed his perspective.

"When he applied to stay at the school after graduating, truth be told, he was more than capable. Even in the subject of curses, he outshone even my former self. But I refused, not just because he was too young, but also due to the ambition hidden in his eyes. I feared he might take the wrong path."

"But luckily, he heeded my advice. After his first year of travels, he settled in the Muggle world, delving into Muggle studies. It was during this time that we exchanged letters continuously."

Snape listened silently, not expecting such experiences between the two. Considering his reaction when he learned that Felix had become an expert in Muggle studies, his eyes nearly popped out!

"Perhaps he's masquerading," Snape reluctantly interjected.

"No, no, Severus," Dumbledore countered, "I'm rather skilled at reading people. Longevity has its perks, even without magic, I can discern the thoughts of most people."

"From his enrollment until now, he's shown no prejudice against Muggles. Quite the opposite, his understanding of the Muggle world is profound. His books bear clear evidence of this. He doesn't see wizards as superior beings; instead, he continuously draws wisdom from the Muggle world."

"I didn't say he discriminates against Muggles, Dumbledore! But his ideology is equally perilous. Do you know how he expressed himself in the book 'How Muggles Think'?"

Almost reciting, he swiftly recited a passage: "In the Muggle world, while the nobles make up about one unit, the commoners exceed ten thousand units. And once the rulers emancipate the commoners, their efficiency surges with an unstoppable force, aided by their productivity hundreds and thousands of times greater than before. Abundant resources have provided a solid foundation for the spread of education, and those commoners who lack noble lineage exhibit exaggerated potential, propelling the Muggle world's development like riding on a flying broom."

Seeing Dumbledore about to interject, Snape pressed on, disregarding him, and recited more: "In the Muggle world, if the ratio of aristocrats to commoners is one to a thousand, the power and potential of the commoners outweigh the aristocracy a thousand times over. And once the barriers are shattered, they surge forward with an irrepressible force, their advancements sweeping away all obstructions!"

The Headmaster's office fell silent.

Even the portraits on the walls, including the one that was eavesdropping, had their mouths wide open. While these words seemed to talk only about the Muggle world's progress, they were laden with allusions to the current wizarding world.

One of the portraits was indignant, shouting loudly, "This is betrayal! Betrayal of pureblood honor!"

Other portraits began to chatter as well.

Snape glanced at that particular portrait, sarcastically remarking, "Headmaster Black, that lad isn't pureblood!"

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