Someone who standing completely still and paying attention to the sounds around him, might have heard the grinding sound of two stones shuffling over eachother. But there was no-one in the corridor and after a brief moment, the faint noise was gone. In the deep shadows behind the large statue in the corridor, something moved. It was The Wandelgek who finally had succeeded in entering Hogwarts unseen.
With this maneuver, he had passed the entry checks (teachers used verita serum to check whether those who entered the grounds of Hogwarts through the gates, were true students or sad imposters) and most Hogwarts teachers would now look at him as a normal student. He could stop hiding and roam through the castle.
But first things first. All students were invited to the sorting ceremony in the Great Hall and he needed to get sorted into one of the houses too. He crossed the ….courtyard, and the surrounding cloister,
Then he saw the staircase that would lead him up to the Great Hall.
Quickly he climbed the beautiful stairs to the large doors.
The Grand Staircase as seen below is the one at Chrischurch college in Oxford, which was used in the first two Harry Potter movies. In the third movie the staircase was recreated at Leavesden and it was again completely redesigned for the 8th movie.
Luckily for him, he saw the last students were still entering the hall and he quickly joined the line, entered the Great Hall and walked together with the other fresh students to the head of the hall.
The great doors were really impressive, made of heavy wood and decorated with many wood carvings.
As he slowly walked through the great hall, with the fresh 1st year students towards its rear side, he walked between the long tables where the other students were sitting and he looked around. The walls on the long sides of the hall were decorated with statues of the animals that represented the four houses of Hogwarts. The Badger representing Hufflepuf, the Raven representing Ravenclaw, The Lion representing Gryffindor and the Snake representing… Slytherin house.
All stone animals were attached to the walls between large top to bottom windows and all of the carried a bowl holding a fire to light the large hall.
In front of him was the table where Albus Dumbledore; the headmaster of Hogwarts and the teachers like profesdor’s McGonnegal, Snape, Hagrid, Quirrel and Hooch were sitting. In front of that was a small stool and on it the sorting hat.
The Sorting Hat was quite intimidating, regardless of it having a worn down, rather formless shape. Nevertheless it was this hat that would determine the faith of The Wandelgek, because he now realised that it would penetrate his mind and would very likely discover that he was not a student at all. He did not even think about the fact that it would apoint a house for him.
Each after another, the students were asked to step forward and the sorting hat was placed on their head. Students like Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley and even a spectacled student that despite his young age seemed to be quite famous already! But he had forgotten the name of that boy. Something like “Barry Strotter”. Hmmm quite forgetable.
“De Wandelgek, please step forward”, he suddely heard McGonnegal say. He did and she placed the sorting head firm on his head. Then he could hear the head mumbling thing like: “Aaah a traveller and a wanderer”, and “I know just where to put youhou!”. “Not Hufflepuf!!!” The Wandelgek fantically thought. “Not Hufflepuf?”; the hat replied. “Not Hufflepuf”, The Wandelgek kept thinking and the hat countered with: “Hufflepuf could make you great, you know”. “It was the house of Newt Scamander, a soulmate of yours”. But The Wandelgek kept thinking: “Not Hufflepuf!!”, “Not Hufflepuf!!”, “Not Hufflepuf!!”.
“Well…”, said the hat, “…if you’re sure!?!, than it should be: GRYFFINDOR!!!”.
“SHIT! ” The Wandelgek thought. “That’s even worse!”.
“Why not Slytherin or Ravenclaw if you must?” But the hat had falle silent after it had announced the house name and had been taken off of his head. It was Gryffindor then. He now walked past the large fireplace that heated the hall in winter but now looked like a dark gateway into unknown territories. Suddenly he realized that because of his stark focus on not getting into Hufflepuf, he had not been thinking of his escapades to get illegally into Hogwarts and thus the sorting hat had been unable to call his bluff. Phew.
Talking to some fellow Gryffindor students, The Wandelgek learned that McGonnegal had explained about the students needing to strictly follow the rules. Whenever rules were not followed, points were deducted from the House points total, which at the end of the year would decide over which house would win the House Cup. Near the teachers table he saw some glass tube cannisters, filled with bright colored balls, representing the amount of points for each of the houses…
Dumbledore had now risen from his chair and with a short forceful speech, he opened the new school year…
After that he commenced uttering the words: “Let the feast … begin”…
…and wow, suddenly the tables were nicely set and full of all sorts of delicious food…
Although te roof of Christchurch College’s Great Hall is made of wood, the Harry Potter filmmakers didn’t think it was impressive enough and they went to London’s Westminster Abbey and its 13th century hammer-beam roof. The roof below is the roof that was created in the studio. It is not the roof above the set of the Great Hall as you can see in the pivture above. The hammer-beam roof was created as a smaller model and it was digitally inserted into the scenes that showed the roof, e.g. the scene from Sorcere’s Stone where the owl’s arrive carrying the mail…
After the dinner, the students gathered behind the head boys of their house. The head boys were leading them to the common rooms of every house.