Chapter 13: Longbottom’s Regurgitation
Neville Longbottom didn’t know why Snape hated him so much, but every Monday morning he woke to find his sheets soaked with sweat from night terrors. Today was no exception. He tried to roll from his bed, nearly squishing Trevor the toad, who let out an angry “ribbit” and hopped deeper into the moist folds of his sheets.
“Soooorry Trevor,” he moaned under his breath. He looked at the clock on his nightstand and saw his grandmother shaking her finger at him. “Already late for potions,” he mumbled while pulling on his knickers.
On the way to the dungeons Neville’s bad day turned worse when he remembered the blog post Snape had ordered them write was to be returned today. Neville had done poorly all semester, as usual, and being in a group with Harry Potter did not bode well for receiving a good mark. Snape jeered and made fun of Neville, but he truly hated Harry Potter. And besides the requirement of 20 inches there was little in the way of instructions.
He entered the Potions room just as the bell in the clock tower rang and sat with a thud next to the other Gryffindors.
“You’re nearly late,” whispered Hermione with a scowl, “you need to be more careful, Neville, or you’ll cost us points.”
Neville mumbled an apology and pulled out his wand.
A voice dripping with venom struck Neville somewhere near his navel and he felt queasy.
“Longbottom” called Snape across the room. The potions class fell silent. “No need for your wand, boy.”
Neville died a little inside as he placed the wand back in his bag. The class was supposed to be working on an antidote to the Ponytail Pox today that would require a wand. Or was it?
Snape left his desk and begin to walk towards the Gryffindor table. “Today’s lesson will be on how NOT to write a blog post,” he intoned. “Our example will be this document, which just so happens to have been written by the Gryffindor group.”
The faintest smile flickered across Snape’s waxy lips.
“You wrote the post as if it were a final examination essay question in which you tried to regurgitate everything you learned in or knew about constitutional law irrespective of its relevance to the topic at hand,” sneered Snape. “In short, you mistakenly wrote the post for my consumption rather than the audience.”
Snape approached the Gryffindor table and stood directly in front of Neville, who in turn stared directly at the floor, wishing he had missed his alarm entirely.
“Not only did you fail to set forth the basic issue between the two views, but you failed to do any research beyond the constitutional law casebook and the class to discuss the question. You provided no examples other than Sibelius to contrast the various views of federalism. In short, you misperceived your audience, mistook the assignment, and failed to do any research and give any thought to go beyond what you learned in class. In fact, the piece hardly discusses the different views of feudalism voiced in Champion v. Ames nor how they apply on a legal or political stage beyond the Sibelius case.”
Neville didn’t understand what Champion v. Ames or the Sibelius case had to do with anything. Their assignment had been to write about the construction of Polyjuice Potion.
Snape’s monologue was interrupted by Hermione’s hand shooting up and waggling vigorously.
“GRANGER,” spat Snape. “Do NOT interrupt me.”
“But Professor Snape,” Hermione interjected, “we came to your dungeon during office hours with our blog post and you refused to look at it.”
“5 POINTS FROM GRYFFINDOR,” snapped Snape. “And there will be more if you interrupt again.”
“I have awarded you each a 4.25 out of 10 for your blog post, which is relatively meaningless at this point since the grade will depend on the relative quality of the work of the other teams by comparison.”
Snape paused to give a withering glare to the Hufflepuff table, before returning his attention to the Neville’s quickly downcast eyes.
Snape’s upper lip curled as he continued in a sinister baritone: “to date, however, that grade is the lowest one yet awarded since this post was the first one I received that apparently failed to grapple seriously with the precise problem or to go beyond the course readings in thinking about or analyzing the issues. Put simply, a blog post is not an exam answer and your post treated it as if it was, thereby almost ignoring and certainly not defining the nature of the issue posed. The post went off the rails in its first sentence for the reasons explained above and veered further off course from there.”
The entire Gryffindor table appeared downcast, but Hermione looked utterly distraught, as if she received news of a death in the family.
Turning on his heel, Snape’s cape snapped behind him.
“Soooo sorry to be the bearer of bad news. And Neville, you were late. 10 more points from Gryffindor.”
A tiny moan escaped Neville’s white lips and a yellowish pale crept up his cheeks. He grabbed the closest cauldron and lost the breakfast he didn’t eat.
This was the worst Potions class to date. Wait ‘till Gran heard about it. He’d be sure to get a howler.
Chapter 14: Memorandum Vomitus
Harry was exhausted.
He was supposed to be working on his memorandum, but his self-writing quill had been confiscated and he had waited to the last minute to write the manuscript. Despite the deadline quickly approaching, Harry couldn’t bring himself to concentrate. He kept daydreaming about what it would be like to be chasing the Golden Snitch somewhere up in the clouds…