Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he
hated the summer holidays more than any other time of year. For another,
he really wanted to do his homework but was forced to do it in secret,
in the dead of night. And he also happened to be a wizard.
It was nearly midnight, and he was lying on his stomach in bed, the
blankets drawn right over his head like a tent, a flashlight in one hand
and a large leather-bound book (A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot)
propped open against the pillow. Harry moved the tip of his
eagle-feather quill down the page, frowning as he looked for something
that would help him write his essay, "Witch Burning in the Fourteenth
Century Was Completely Pointless discuss."
The quill paused at the top of a likely-looking paragraph. Harry Pushed
his round glasses up the bridge of his nose, moved his flashlight closer
to the book, and read:
Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly
afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognizing it.
On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning
had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic
Flame Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying
a gentle, tickling sensation. Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being
burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than
fortyseven times in various disguises.
Harry put his quill between his teeth and reached underneath his pillow
for his ink bottle and a roll of parchment. Slowly and very carefully he
unscrewed the ink bottle, dipped his quill into it, and began to write,
pausing every now and then to listen, because if any of the Dursleys
heard the scratching of his quill on their way to the bathroom, he'd
probably find himself locked in the cupboard under the stairs for the
rest of the summer.
The Dursley family of number four, Privet Drive, was the reason that
Harry never enjoyed his summer holidays. Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and