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Unveiling of me, the magician that never failed [Transfiguration class]

Started by Albus Dumbledore, September 17, 2021, 06:13:57 pm

Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore found himself walking back from the hospital wing; Minerva was unwell and while it was well within the capabilities of the magical medical staff at Hogwarts to deal with her situation, it left him feeling mildly pensive: there were Transfiguration classes today that needed teaching, and, well, it was the first time he'd taught a class in a while - not since becoming headmaster, anyway. The overseeing of Hogwarts, especially with the ongoing concerns outside the school, had made it difficult to actually find the time to stay in practice of teaching.

He arrived in the Transfiguration classroom shortly before the first period of the day was to begin, though already there were a few enthusiastic students.

While waiting for the rest of the class to arrive, he pondered what the focus of the lesson should be; the class was intentionally mixed-skill levels, as it had been demonstrated that mixed-skill groups tend to level out and self-regulate about bringing behind students up to the same level as the group, and that was a trait Dumbledore could appreciate.

"Good morning!" He faced the class, beaming, and his eyes were twinkling over his glasses. "Alas, Professor McGonagall is unwell today and so I am... ah yes... filling in for her, as I believe they put it." He brought his hands together, resting them lightly on his stomach.

"I have read over Professor McGonagall's notes as to where you are all at, and I believe today's first session should be a practice session as some of you have recently been spending the class in theory rather than practical."

He drew the Elder Wand, waved it and cast a flurry of spells non-verbally - the net result was the appearance of summoning enough pin-cushions for every subject from thin air and gently laying them on each table with a flourish.

"So, for your first practical, please attempt to turn your pin-cushion into a hedgehog. I appreciate that the first-years may not have attempted this yet, and for you, I would ask that you try it anyway. You may well find that you are more accomplished than you realise and all it takes is a little encouragement."

He smiled again. "After we have all had a stretch and transfigured our pin-cushions into hedgehogs, we will look at more intricate elemental changes, but first, wands out, rotate your hand around your wrist, let it click if it wants to, and begin!" He spread his arms wide with saying this last part, trying to impart as much genuine enthusiasm for the subject as he had often felt before, it was a subject he had enjoyed and firmly believed that any amount of lacking in skill could be remedied with enthusiasm.

Grace Pemberton

Wait?! Had he just said pincushion to hedgehog? Grace looked at the headmaster with a slightly incredulous expression. She'd heard of the reverse process, hedgehog to pincushion, which she believed was a fourth year spell. In fact, she was quite sure she'd heard some of the upperclassmen complain about it in the common room not all that long ago. Apparently, it was pretty tricky and some students had ended up with pincushions that cowered in fright whenever approached one with a needle.

If that had sounded tricky though, she realised that the reverse process was an entirely different ballpark. For starters how did one turn an inanimate object into a living and breathing being? That was a big ask. Grace pulled her first year text book from her school bag and tried to look up which incantation she was even supposed to use for that. The professor hadn't said and she had no idea whatsoever as to what it could be. It seemed several of the other students had a similar problems.

Usually, spells were in Latin. Grace knew that hedgehogs were part of the Erinaceinae subfamily, but a vague idea did not make a full incantation. Erina-something probably. Just Erina-what?! Looking around she was hoping any of the other students would start transfiguring so she could just copy what they were doing, but nobody seemed keen on taking the initiative. Fine, she'd make a fool of herself then.

Grace picked up her wand and pointed it at her pincushion. "Erinamorphus!" she guessed and made up a random wand movement to go with it. She squeezed her eyes shut not even wanting to watch what would happen next. Exploding pincushion probably.

Shyla Bartlett

October 09, 2021, 12:05:23 am #2 Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 12:43:54 am by Shyla Bartlett Reason: not in third person
Shyla was quite shocked to see Professor Dumbledore in front of us teaching the lesson but she couldn't believe what she heard. pincushions to hedgehogs?! that's impossible! Hearing what we had to do, she quickly grabbed her textbook out to see if it had anything to do with the spell we needed and she couldn't find anything on the spell. Shyla loved Transfiguration and she really wanted to succeed so she kept on flipping through each page of the textbook but couldn't find anything.

Shyla sighed in annoyance and slumped in her chair, already giving up until she heard a yell two rows behind her. She turned around to see Grace Pemberton yelling out a spell with her wand pointed at the pincushion. Shyla watched the pin cushion twitch a little before watching it turn into a hedgehog. She was so shocked that she completely forgot what spell she said. Shyla smiled after a few seconds, amazed at her spell work and how she got it on first try.

She turned back around hoping she didn't see her looking at her and pointed her wand at the pincushion and tried to remember what the spell was. once she had an idea of what she said, she moved her wand in a swift and flick motion and slightly yelled the spell out "Erinamorphus!"

Shyla opened her eyes to watch the pin cushion turn into a hedgehog. she smiled proudly at herself, glad she got it first try even with a little help. She lifted her head and looked around to see if anyone else had got their pincushions to turn into hedgehogs yet and saw no one else had succeeded yet.
Shyla Bartlett

Bobby Cashmore

Bobby was quietly surprised when Professor Dumbledore announced he'd be teaching the lesson. He had a lot of respect for Professor McGonagall: she was stern and expected students to try hard, even if they couldn't necessarily perform the nuances of the discipline. Transfiguration was not for everyone - and truth be told Bobby found it hard to master compared to his other classes; it wasn't something he had a natural affinity for (unlike Charms), so he had had to work at it, though he was generally pleased with the results.

So when Dumbledore himself turned up to teach a class, Bobby sat back with a mix of curiosity and excitement. There was no denying that McGonagall was good at Transfiguration - achieving the status of Animagus is no mean feat of the discipline - but by all accounts Dumbledore was better. But he rarely taught.

Pin cushion to a hedgehog? That... was unexpected. Bobby frowned... he'd done porcupine to pin-cushion last year, and he'd heard from his house-mates that hedgehog to pincushion was something they'd do next year, as an example of taking a broader-based conjuration and specialising it.

Then with interest he noticed Grace and another Gryffindor first year whose name he wasn't sure about experimenting... it dawned on him that if he was out of his depth, he could only wonder how Grace would feel, as he'd helped her before in similar circumstances. Occasionally he had wondered about the philosophy of certain disciplines being taught the way they were at Hogwarts. Times like this, among them.

Bobby found himself covering his smile as he heard Grace put... something... together. Erinamorphus was no spell he'd ever heard of and what little Latin he had remembered from Ancient Runes at least explained the 'erina' part. Good on you, Grace, he thought... you're in a situation where you have no idea but you're willing to try it anyway. Good on you. She hadn't looked at the outcome yet, maybe she should, she'd have reason to be pleased.

He thought about it for another moment, and considered that the incantation might be more along the lines of Pulvinufors, going on the 'from a cushion' line of thought rather than 'from a hedgehog' - same way that Hystrifors was from a hystrix to a pin-cushion, he concluded that -fors could be 'from a' as a suffix.

He had to raise an eyebrow though to the first year he hadn't recognised - who had been followed Grace, presumably, and with a similar outcome: it worked.

Emboldened by Grace's determination, he decided to put his own theory to the test, setting the pin-cushion in the middle of the desk, pointing his wand at it and intoning 'Pulvinufors' and fixing his mind on the image of the hedgehog he wanted it to become, pale brown, snuffly, spiky, cute.

An earthy brown sheen washed over the pincushion as it sprouted little quills and legs and shuffled its little hedgehog self around his desk.

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla watched her pin cushion move before stopping and turns back into pincushion. She sighed before resting her head on the desk as she mumbled "I'm never gonna be able to pass this class". She turned her head so she could still see some of the students try to change their pincushion into a hedgehog. When she looked over to where a couple Ravenclaws were, she opened her eyes watching his pincushion change into a hedgehog. She sat up straight and grabbed a piece of parchment and her quill, dipped it in ink before writing a note as she thought cant believe I'm doing this.. I'm gonna be in so much trouble if Professor Dumbledore sees.

On the parchment Shyla wrote down: I know you might not want to help me... and that you don't know me but how did you transfigure your pincushion into a hedgehog? i thought i did it right but it end up transfiguring back into a pincushion again. I don't know what to do... and i was hoping you could help me. Signed, Shyla

She folded up the parchment, used an enchantment she read about in her book of spells and sent it over to the Ravenclaw's way, hoping that Professor Dumbledore didn't see it.
Shyla Bartlett

Bobby Cashmore

Bobby was quite surprised to receive a note - especially from that young Gryffindor he didn't know well. He'd watched as she had copied Grace and had had some success before it had reverted back.

The note landed on his desk, asking how he'd done it and what had gone wrong - and fretting over Professor Dumbledore finding out.

Bobby looked around the room - everyone else was either rummaging in textbooks, or waving wands or mumbling incantations that did all sorts of things - pincushions abound, large, small, different colours, different textures, different everything, as students who had no idea how to perform a spell that in some cases was years beyond them.

But he saw Dumbledore standing, just watching around the room, apparently very pleased with the chaos unfolding around him.

He scribbled a note back: "I like helping! I tried a spell called pulvinufors, pulvinus after Latin for cushion and -fors meaning 'from' like in some other spells. I didn't quite expect it to work - especially as you and Grace seemed to do better with Erinamorphus. Give it another go but concentrating on the hedgehog you want seems to help -- Bobby"

Then when the chaos around him seemed a little more chaotic than before, he used that as a cover to levitate the scroll back to Shyla and hoped ferverently that Dumbledore didn't notice... though he hadn't said anything about students not helping each other.

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla received the note back and sighed of relief when he said that he would help. He read over the note and looked at the spell he used. Something clicked in her mind when she saw that spell and remembered hearing something about that in a book. Being muggle-born meant reading ahead of coming into Hogwarts just so you could understand the spells, the school, creatures etc.

She grabbed her wand after she placed it down on the desk before taking a deep breath and focused on the pincushion, thinking about it changing into a hedgehog before speaking softly "Pulvinfors". She watched her pincushion shake a little before starting to transfigure slowly into a hedgehog. She smiled wide and internally celebrated before grabbing another piece of parchment and started writing again.

Oh my Godric thank you so so much Bobby! You have basically saved me from this lesson! i owe you so much. if you ever need help with your lessons, except with charms, you can come to me ~ Shyla. She used the same enchantment and sent it over to Bobby's desk
Shyla Bartlett

Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore watched, very contentedly, as the various students tried various things to turn their pincushions into hedgehogs, more with lesser success than others.

He raised his hands, as if to speak, but everyone was still absorbed in trying to please him and make something happen that they hadn't been taught. And of course, he had been fully aware of that.

But the commotion continued, so he drew the Elder wand, waved it in a small circle, and clearly intoned, "Finite Incantatem!"

The reaction was more violent than entirely anticipated, the largest and most misshapen pincushions snapped back to their original size and shape with a crack, while smaller pincushions and so on returned to their original size, shape and colouring with a small pop.

Beaming a smile at the class, he stowed his wand and spoke.

"I will admit to this particular class being... intentionally difficult for some of you - and for that, I apologise. I was well aware that we do not normally cover this particular spell until the fourth year. However, the world ahead of us is much more than simply what we will learn in a classroom. There are such things as friendship, camaraderie, compassion that no classroom can teach."

"But," he smiled again, "one thing we can teach is that sometimes you won't have all the answers, and it is just as important what you do when you don't have the answer, as what you do when already fully equipped. It is my happy duty, therefore, to award the following house points."

He paused, mentally tallying up the scores where the houses were currently, and not wishing to show favouritism. "To Miss Pemberton, ten points to Gryffindor for some remarkable quick thinking and deduction on her part and the bravery to attempt it whatever the outcome. Miss Bartlett, five points for showing faith in your friends, and for being the only student to be daring enough to ask another for guidance. Mr Cashmore, eight points for some fine deductive reasoning, and being willing to help another student."

He smiled inwardly at that point, knowing full well that both of them had hoped to not let on they were asking for help.

There were a litany of other students he awarded points to - some dozen points to myriad Slytherin students for getting more or less to hedgehog status, another eight or so for Ravenclaw for particularly fine points on the hedgehog quills, and a round twenty for Hufflepuff for encouraging their housemates to read and look for a solution together... it was one thing to ask for help, another to offer, but to collectively try to work together was a different skill altogether.

"Now then," he beamed. "I shouldn't think we will be needing the pincushions for the next part." With a wave of the Elder wand, and a few words muttered almost inaudibly, the pincushions disappeared from the classroom.

"I want to remind all present, help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it. I would remind everyone also that there is no shame in admitting that you do not know how to do something - I myself am a terrible gardener for example and always defer to Professor Bryce - and that by working together we can achieve more than we would by ourselves."

He left a pause to let it sink in.

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla jumped slightly watching all the pincushions changed. She turned around in her seat and faced Professor Dumbledore as he starts congratulations to the class. She blushed and looked down once he mentioned her and Bobby realising that he caught us but what were we expecting - It's Dumbledore. He basically knows everything so there's no point in hiding it from him.

Shyla ended up zoning out a bit as she started thinking about the spell that Bobby gave her and decided that once the lesson had finished, she would say thank you in person so it shows that she was actually thankful for his help and actions.

She zoned back in and just caught the last bit of what Dumbledore said about always asking people for help. She blushed again and played with her fingers as she lets it sink in and nods to herself as she realises that she shouldn't be worried about asking someone for help and stop worrying about what others would think about her
Shyla Bartlett

Bobby Cashmore

Well, that was a shade awkward. He thought both he and Shyla had been pretty surreptitious with their note exchange, but of course, it was Dumbledore and if anyone would pay attention, it was him.

Bobby thought the lesson was an interesting one, far more subtle and intricate than he had from other teachers. He remembered sitting in school assemblies before his Hogwarts letter had come, singing hymns with the other students and listening to one of the teachers trying to impart some wisdom with a story, but the reality is that like most of the kids around him, it was mostly dull and the subtlety was lost. But now he was older, and the lesson taught here today was probably more valuable than any refinement of transfiguration he could have learned in its place.

He'd always had a policy of helping others - something his dad had always taught him, "times come around for those who come around for others" and it was days like this that he realised his dad was right. Besides, helping others just felt good. House points just were icing on the cake.

Though he had to admit he was surprised; there was an element about his deduction that nagged at him - he'd have to read up on it when he got a chance, it was something that probably should be in his copy of Intermediate Transfiguration, though he'd only read the first chunk of chapters for what was being covererd in the third year, and not the later chapters. McGonagall hadn't exactly gone out of her way to encourage reading ahead, only ever stressing how complex and disciplined one had to be with Transfiguration... it occurred to him even that Professor Dumbledore might be in some sort of trouble with her after!

He was a bit concerned that Grace still hadn't opened her eyes and gently asked her if she was OK.

Shyla Bartlett

She was still quite shocked from what Dumbledore said to the point that she got nudged by Ophelia, who was sitting next to Shyla and got asked if she was okay. She nodded gently, still unsure and sends her a smile "yeah I'm okay. Just didn't expect Dumbledore to say that is all". Ophelia chuckles and shakes her head before facing Dumbledore and listens to him.

Shyla looked down at the desk where the pincushions were. She started playing with her fingers and starts subconsciously picking off skin. Ophelia stopped her and made sure that she didn't do it again. She found that she picked off her skin a lot when she was nervous or really anxious but she didn't need to be nervous right now as it wasn't a bad thing.

The whole lesson, Shyla was quiet. She didn't know what to think because of Dumbledore and what he said about "asking for help is okay". Shyla agreed that it's important to ask for help because then you never really do learn from your mistakes that you have made. She ended up having too much going through her mind that she put her hand up and asked Dumbledore to leave the classroom and head down to the Hospital wing.
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

There was no explosion. Grace waited for disaster to strike, but it didn't. She opened her eyes to find a vaguely hedgehog-looking  pincushion. It wasn't animated and moving around, but it at least looked like... a hedgehog plushie or something. She was okay with that. More than okay. It wasn't an embarrassing level of failure. It also seemed like most of the others weren't doing much better. Bobby had figured it out of course, but he was much older and a Ravenclaw. Of course he knew more stuff.

The room got pretty loud as students made their attempts, discussed the results and tried again and again. Before long, Dumbledore ended the exercise and distributed house points. Grace was very surprised to be mentioned and to be receiving any. There were so many people who has done a better job of the charm than her, but she was not about to argue with the Professor if he was feeling generous.

She was reading herself to her what the proper spell and solution for this problem was, but apparently Dumbledore was about to change subject? She knew better than to argue with the headmaster, but she now wanted to know how to do the hedgehog thing properly and apparently the class wasn't going to cover that. She supposed she could head to the library after class and look it up in one of the big transfiguration books. They were absolutely massive and covered the strangest of transformations. It was bound to be in there somewhere.

Dumbledore asked the class to reflect on working together. Grace hadn't really done a lot of that and she wanted to disagree that help was always given to those who asked for it. Those words didn't reflect her reality. It was the strangest feeling to find herself having a different view than the headmaster. He'd always been so kind and so likeable and perfect. He was probably just too good natured to understand that there were bullies even at his school.

Albus Dumbledore

The reasons for today's lesson were two-fold. Firstly, introduce a concept that was a little outside of the curriculum - though doubtlessly deeply important as a life lesson. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, as an opportunity to listen to the students. Not in the way he would usually when they raise concerns; students raising concerns in a direct manner usually did so because there was no alternative; they needed action to be taken at that stage.

But with the things he had heard recently about the muggle world and attacks on muggles and muggleborn families, he wanted to see if there were any background thoughts lingering on the nature of teamwork, solidarity and the like, and whether any of the class had any inherent resistance to the concept - such as concerns over loyalty to something a shade more insiduous. Or if not themselves, their families, their families' friends.

One might argue that spying on the thoughts of children was deeply unethical - but this was readily argued that it was only the most superficial thoughts he was looking for, and if his fears were about to be realised, he would need all the information available to him.

So while they were mulling it over, discussing it amongst themselves, he took the relative peace to listen.

For the most part, most of the superficial thoughts floated around exactly the concept of what asking for help looked like, which teachers would be helpful, which would give students hell if they so much as asked. Professor Prendergast seemed to do well on the notion of 'would give help if asked' but - and Dumbledore had to give them it - there was a concern that Prendergast's answers might take three times longer to say than necessary. Several thought Professor Montgomery would be good at teaching duelling, those of a more veterinarian bent thought Professor King could heal any creature - magical or not - and considered even asking for advice on non-magical creatures. He had been surprised by the reaction to Herbology though; the general reaction was that Professor Bryce was a good teacher and would be more than willing to help anyone with anything she could - but that Herbology itself was a subject that many just didn't enjoy engaging with.

The other subjects were more muted, with the general impression that the teachers were there to teach, not to help which was perhaps something for the next staff meeting.

There were a few thoughts that troubled him, though. Several thoughts in the room - especially from the ones not actively engaging in discourse with their classmates - had reservations that help truly was available to those who asked, and wondered if perhaps it was 'those who deserved it' without any clarity on what one had to do to deserve help.

That was something he would have to remedy.

"Well, now, we don't have a great deal more time for this lesson. So I will leave you with another thing to consider... to discuss amongst yourselves unless you feel very strongly that the entire class should know, and perhaps I would suggest you do not wish the entire class to know... one of the most intense forms of transfiguration is, of course, the animagus transfiguration. You are all, no doubt, familiar with Professor McGonagall turning into and returning from a feline form. If you were to ever spend the time and energy necessary to become an animagus, what form would you take, and why?"

He chuckled. "I have some particular affinity with this subject, having spent many years studying transfiguration and assisting some of those who are now animagi. For the more advanced students, it is something we can look at adding to your classes if you are committed to becoming one."

This was, of course, another power move on his part. For decades he had known that the wayward souls he had worked with or taught would always be seeking power above their station, and their pursuit of ability without the wisdom to understand it had been Grindlewald's undoing. And if the rumours were true - and it was Tom Riddle lurking in the shadows, so too. And so, a discussion to see who might be a potential candidate for such a feat.

He smiled warmly, enthusiastically, but under the smile he was on fine form.

Shyla Bartlett

When Dumbledore mentioned the Animagus transformation, she paid attention more clearly and smiled wide at the thought of becoming one. She stated thinking of what her Animagus form would be and ended up zoning out of the lesson. Loads of thoughts about her Animagus started roaming her mind and she didn't realise Ophelia was trying to get her attention.

She snapped out of her daze and grabbed a piece of parchment and her Quill and started writing down things about her to see if she could think of an Animagus or multiple Animagus forms matched her personalities.

Courageous, Confident but shy at first, protects her friends and family, loyal, Kind

She showed the list to Ophelia and she shrugged in response. She started thinking before grabbing a piece of parchment and started writing down on it So... ive decided to write down a list of my personality traits to see if i could find out my Animagus form but i couldn't think of anything. can you think of anything that matches this list? ~ Shyla

Shyla folds up the two pieces of parchment together, puts an enchantment on them before sending them over to Bobby's direction not caring if Dumbledore see's
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

Becoming an animagus?! How amazing was that? Grace knew immediately that if it were possible she would want to be a dog. She had a thought of playing and running with family dog Easton and how fun it would be to spend time together in that way. The could go on adventures together, not that they didn't already do that.

A little smile settled into her features. A happy thought at least and she supposed a part of the lesson she was safe from messing up. Surely, there were no wrong answers to what kind of animal you wanted to be.

Then, thinking about it again she started to second guess herself. Did people pick their animagus forms? She didn't know a lot about it, but the few animagi she has heard of seemed to have personalities that matched their animal form. By that logic, she would probably be a mouse. Something small and not particularly frightening. At least mice were cute. So there was that.

She looked at Bobby, wondering what he was going to say. He was talented enough that it maybe was a real possibility for him. Wouldn't that be exciting to have a student animagus at school!

"I think I'd turn into a mouse," she said very quietly. "What about you?"