Joanna, I need your help. Harry's reply to my letter has come, and I need your help to open it.
Ginny, don't be silly. Just open it. Then copy it for me.
Right, here goes.
Thank you so much for the pictures. How did you know that I didn't have any of Ron and Hermione? And the one with all of you was wonderful. Ron just keeps growing, doesn't he? We'll have to start calling him ‘Beanstalk', or something. Thank your mother for the cake and jumper, too - life at the Dursleys' hasn't been too terrible this year, but knowing that I have other friends really means a lot to me.
Thanks for making my birthday more than tolerable.
So, what do you think?
Well, I'm sort of disappointed that he didn't say something like, "I couldn't keep my eyes off of you in the family photo."
Ginny! Be serious!
Okay, seriously, it was nice and friendly, and that's all I can really expect, isn't it? It's the first letter Harry's ever written me - I think I'll sleep with it under my pillow.
I'm not even going to answer that.
You just did. But I'm glad he liked it. Maybe we can at least be friends this year, even if nothing more. And speaking of which, I'm going to go study my DADA. Hermione's right - we're all woefully behind, and if I'm going to hang out with them, which I still hope that I will, I'd better be prepared. Bye, Joanna.
Joanna, the strangest thing happened. I'm not really sure where to start...
The beginning, Ginny. That's where one usually starts.
I'm sticking my tongue out at you, Joanna. Well, I guess the beginning is that, since I've been studying Charms and DADA a lot, I thought I'd work on a class that I'm not very good in, too, so I borrowed Ron's fourth-year Divination book. I really don't like Divination much, or our teacher. I'm not entirelysure why I signed up for the class - Dad wanted me to take Muggle Studies - but I felt drawn to Divination, like I just had to take it. But that was before my first class. Did you know any True Seers, Joanna?
Yes. One of my friends had the Sight. It's...not an unmixed blessing, Ginny. Some of the things Catrin saw...well, she wouldn't tell us most of them, and when we reached the point in time that she had seen, I always knew why. My lifetime was one of the golden ages for Wales, but that didn't mean that there weren't bad times. And now, with everything that's happening - did you have a vision, Ginny?
I'm getting there, I'm getting there. You told me to start at the beginning.
So I did.
Right. So, anyway, Professor Trelawney is not what I'd call a True Seer, and her classes always feel pretty silly, when I'm not falling asleep. I still feel drawn to Divination, though - my Aunt Tatty (well, she's a first cousin, once-removed, but we call her aunt) gave me a crystal ball for Christmas two years ago, even though I wasn't taking it yet, and I just...I don't know how to describe it.
So I borrowed Ron's book, and that was my first shock, because it turned out to be Harry's book. Ron's famous for the condition he lets his books get into, so they were sharing this one. There's lots of stuff written in the margins, mainly boring stuff like, "When will this class end? It must be four hundred degrees in here!" (Trelawney keeps her room really warm) But then, there was this one set of comments, around the time of the Yule Ball last year.
Oh, I loved to dance. That's one of the things I miss the most, actually. Did you go to the Yule Ball?
Yes, but only because a fourth-year boy asked me. It was only for fourth-years and up.
Was it Harry?
Of course not! Though I could have gone with him eventually, but by that time I was glad I couldn't. See, there's this boy in Harry's year, Neville Longbottom - well, he's really nice, but really accident-prone and forgetful, and not very good in his classes, except Herbology, Hermione tells me. But nice, and when he asked me to go, I figured I wouldn't be able to any other way, so I said yes. I knew Harry wanted to ask Cho Chang, who's a year older than he is, and really pretty. She's the Ravenclaw Seeker. Even though she's a year older, I thought she'd say yes. But she didn't, and when Harry was all broken up about it, Ron said that he could go with me. With me right there.
Oh, breila. What was he thinking?
He wasn't. But that's Ron. Then, after I left the room, Harry asked Parvati Patil - just went up to her and asked her. He also asked if she knew of a date for Ron, too, and she suggested her twin sister, Padma. I guess they arranged it between them for Ron to ask Padma, basically already knowing she would say yes. He first asked Fleur Delacour, who was here for the Triwizard Tournament from Beauxbatons. Why he ever thought she would say yes, I have no idea - I mean, she was a seventh year, and she's absolutely beautiful. And really snobby, though she did get better as the year went on, at least towards Harry. But Ron actually did ask her, and after she turned him down, he asked Hermione, but not in a nice way. Luckily, she already had a date, so she turned him down, too. Why do boys think we're all just jumping at the chance to date them, so much so that they don't have to be even remotely polite about asking?
Well...keep in mind that it's difficult to do the asking, Ginny. You had it relatively easy - all you had to do was say yes or no.
That's what the comments in Harry's Divination book are about - they must have been written the day Ron finally asked Padma. Here they are:
Ron: That's over with. It's really not that difficult asking girls to a ball.
Harry: It is when you actually want to go with her.
Ron: You know, Ginny probably would have broken her date with Neville to go with you. I can't believe I just wrote "date with Neville" and "Ginny" in the same sentence.
Harry: No, she wouldn't have.
Ron: Bet she would have - you know she's cra-
Harry: Stop. Ginny wouldn't do that, she just wouldn't.
It sounds like he thinks highly of you.
It sort of does, doesn't it? Interesting...
And that was the strangest thing?
No, of course not. That was just a little strange. The strangest thing was what happened when I started studying. I got my crystal ball out, lit some candles (for the atmosphere, Trelawney said, though I never really believed her, before) and started trying to scry. But the flickering of the candlelight in the crystal was fascinating, so I watched that instead, and then I...fell asleep. I think. Anyway, I had this dream. Harry and I were dancing in a clearing in the forest. But sometimes I wasn't me, and Harry wasn't Harry. I don't know who we were, exactly, but Harry turned into another guy with black hair and glasses, but without his green eyes, and I turned into another girl with red hair, though it was darker than mine. But it was still us - I mean, the changes were so fast, it was like flickering. First it was me and Harry, and then it was these other two people. Oh, I'm not explaining this very well.
That's okay, Ginny. I think I can picture it. Did anything else happen?
Yes, all of a sudden, a wolf bounded into the clearing. I knew I should be terrified, but I wasn't - it felt completely natural. And the wolf didn't attack or anything, it just started pacing in a circle around us. Then, a big, black dog came running out of the forest, followed by a little, gray rat. The rat looked just like Ron's old rat, Scabbers, who was eaten by Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, in my second year (and you can just imagine the fight that took place over that!). But then, I guess all rats look alike, at least to me. I never really liked Scabbers much, but I'd never tell Ron that. The dog and the rat started pacing around Harry and me, too, just like the wolf. Then, suddenly, the rat ran away, back into the forest, and the dog ran after it. The rest of us just continued on as we were (this sounds so surreal, but it felt right, while it was happening), until the dog came back with the rat in its mouth. Then, I woke up. I was still sitting in the same position, straight up on my bed, the crystal ball in front of me. Do you think that was a vision, Joanna?
I must admit it sounds like one. Does any of that mean anything to you?
Well, Harry's supposed to look just like his dad, except for the eyes, and his mum had dark red hair. I've never seen a picture of them, but I'd bet that's who the people we changed into were. What that means, I don't know, though I do know what I hope it means! And the rest of it means absolutely nothing to me. But I went up to talk to Ron about it, since he's had a year more of Divination than I have. Of course, he never pays much attention, and he usually fakes his homework - so does Harry. I felt strange, though, and I needed someone to tell me I wasn't crazy.
You don't sound crazy to me.
Thanks, Joanna. Anyway, I did feel a little weird telling Ron. I mean, here I had a dream about his best friend, but Ron actually took it seriously. And I could tell it meant something to him, though he wouldn't tell me what. When I told him about the rat, he actually shuddered, and I have no idea why. He certainly has no problem with rats - Scabbers slept in his bed, for heaven's sake! But, like I said, he wouldn't tell me. I wrote to Hermione about it - hopefully she'll tell me more.
Let me know what she says.
Of course. Whew! My hand hurts, and I'm really sleepy. Maybe once I sleep on this, it'll make more sense.
Maybe. Goodnight, Ginny.
Joanna, the strangest thing just happened.
I thought that happened yesterday.
Very funny. Another strange thing - I'm invited to spend the last two weeks of the summer in a Muggle's house.
Just a random Muggle?
No, I met her in Diagon Alley at the beginning of the summer. Mum and I went shopping, and she and her family were there shopping for her brother's first year stuff - he's starting at Hogwarts this year. We started talking, because her brother was drawn like a Summoning Charm to the Quidditch shop, and Miriam just couldn't believe it. Five minutes in the wizarding world, she said, and he's already found out the popular sport and has become obsessed. But she's a total Muggle, and she doesn't seem to mind that her brother is going to be able to do all this neat stuff, and she won't. She wants to study physics and astronomy, she told me. It'll be interesting talking to her about Arithmancy and our Astronomy, don't you think?
So, you're going?
Yes, and that's the really interesting thing. When I got the invitation, I immediately wanted to go - I mean, I really did like Miriam, and when will I have an opportunity like this again? Hermione might be Muggle-born, but she's a witch through and through now. And I could tell that Dad was just as excited as I was, but then Mum said, "Arthur," in that voice she uses when she wants to jolt him back to reality. So they went into another room, and talked about it, and I know they contacted Dumbledore, and then they told me why.
It turns out that Harry had a dream a while ago. He has these dreams that are more like visions - Dumbledore thinks he's connected to You-Know-Who by his curse scar. And he had one in which You-Know-Who said that he would kill off all of Harry's friends and loved ones in order to break him. Dumbledore had told Mum and Dad, because of how close Harry is to all of us, but they hadn't told us kids. But now with this invitation...not that I think I'm really that important to Harry, but he would be just devastated if anyone was killed because of him. Mum and Dad didn't want to let me go, but I wanted to so much, and Dumbledore asked them if they'd let me be bait. Well, not in so many words - that's how I put it. He didn't ask me, though - I do wish people wouldn't treat me like a child.
You are only fourteen, Ginny.
I know, but I think that's old enough to make a decision like this. Anyway, there's going to be lots of protection around me - Aurors around the clock and lots of protective spells. So I'll be quite safe, and maybe we'll learn something of...you know, Joanna, it's silly to keep saying You-Know-Who, isn't it? I'm going to be doing something to fight him, I shouldn't be afraid to say his name. Harry isn't. Voldemort. There, I did it. Maybe we'll learn something of Voldemort's plans.
It's odd knowing something about Harry that Ron and Hermione don't, Joanna. Dad said that Harry hasn't told anyone else, not even his godfather. I didn't even know that Harry had a godfather. I mean, if he does, why isn't he living with him instead of the Dursleys? But Dad wouldn't tell me who it was - I think he regretted saying that much.
The bad thing is that I won't be here when Harry comes to visit. He's coming for the last two weeks of summer.
I'm not sure that's such a bad thing, Ginny.
Well, you've always been there for him. You've always tagged along, worshipful, haven't you? Every time Harry needed to see someone who thought he was wonderful, he just had to look around, and there you were. Now, you won't be there, when he expects you to be. Have you ever heard of the saying, "Absence makes the heart grown fonder?"
Yes, but...I don't think it's going to happen in this case.
Maybe not, but we won't know until we try, will we? Ginny, can I ask you something that you don't have to answer? What does your password stand for?
Oh. I have to give you the background. See, Mum didn't tell me she was getting me a diary. She got you while I was talking to Miriam. She gave you to me when we'd gotten home, and Fred and George were right there in the room. Sometimes, I think that Mum isn't too bright. She said not to use a password that's too obvious, and Fred and George started coming up with obnoxious ones.
Oh, you know. GaHP: Ginny and Harry Potter. ILH: I love Harry. OHHIRaW: Over here, Harry, I'm ready and waiting - that one's actually funny. But I realized that no one really knew me, if they thought I would be that stupid and obvious, and that you would be the only one to get the full picture. I know that I'm taking a risk, writing in a diary again. But I don't have many friends, and no close ones, and, much as I love my family, I don't feel that they want to know everything in my life. Only a diary will have to sit still for that, so only a diary will know everything - or at least as much of everything as I tell it - you. Sorry. So, anyway, my password stands for: Ginny Weasley, In Her Own Words.
I'm very proud of you, breila. I'm watching you grow up before my very eyes. Or something like that.
Oh, Joanna, you do make me feel good. Good night. Next time I open you, I'll be in the Muggle world!
Good night, Ginny.
Okay, before I tell you anything about the Muggle world, I have to tell you what Hermione wrote back about my dream. She thought the same thing about the people as I did - that they're Harry's mum and dad. She didn't say much more about that, though I could tell what she was thinking. Anyway, she said that the wolf, dog, and rat signify some of Harry's dad's closest friends. I don't know why, though I think she does. She was very interested in the condition of the rat when the dog brought it back in its mouth. So was Ron, when I told him, but I couldn't tell either one of them much. I didn't see the rat move, but that didn't mean it was dead, and the dream ended so soon after they came back, that I just don't know. I wish I knew why the two of them are so interested in this - if it's just some of Harry's dad's friends, why is it so important?
I don't know.
Neither do I. Well, I can't figure anything out here, but maybe I can get more out of Hermione when I see her again. Joanna, the Muggle world is so strange! And yet, so similar.
How so, Ginny?
Well, okay, let's start from the beginning (you like that, don't you?). Mum and I came by Floo Powder, with the Longs' fireplace connected for the day. I had asked Ron to come - more to help with my trunk than anything else, truthfully - but he had just gotten a letter from Hermione, and he wanted to bond with that for a while. So we tumbled out of the fireplace (well, I tumbled out, Mum stepped out with dignity), to find all four Longs waiting for us. They were really nice and welcoming, but Mr. and Mrs. Long also looked completely freaked out. I realize that they're not used to people coming out of their fireplace, but they were expecting us! Anyway, Mrs. Long wanted to talk with Mum about Hogwarts and having a wizard child (Mum's getting lots of practice with talks like this - she should go into counseling, or something), so Miriam, William and Mr. Long helped me take my stuff upstairs.
Their house is so predictable, Joanna! I mean, I know not all wizarding houses look as haphazard as the Burrow, but the Longs' house is a box. I had to go outside and look at it from the street before I could really believe it. Don't they find it boring? I have to confess that I do.
As soon as we got my stuff into the guest room, Miriam pulled me into her room and shut the door on William. I suppose I'm glad some things are the same between the wizarding and Muggle worlds - Ron's done that to me when Harry and Hermione are over. Then, she turned on her "stereo," which plays music, like a wizard wireless, but such music, Joanna! All these bands I've never heard of - I mean, the Weird Sisters are cool, and Celestina Warbeck can be fun, but they're nothing like Queen, They Might Be Giants, or U2. Miriam says she's slightly old-fashioned, too, or at least a little strange, and that the music she listens to isn't exactly popular, so there's lots more, too. I think Dad has a stereo in his shed - he's just crazy about Muggle things in case I hadn't told you before - so I should be able to listen to this music at the Burrow, even though I can't at Hogwarts.
I knew Muggles had this thing called television, which they use instead of magic to keep from getting bored. Hermione explained it all to me, but what she didn't explain was something called science fiction. Miriam just loves this - she has books and films about it - and the whole family watches one show every night at the same time. It's called Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it's amazing. The idea is that it's the future, and humanity has become part of a galactic federation, with other species in it. What these Muggles come up with! And the show looks so real - Miriam says the space scenes and aliens are done with something called "special effects." It's all technical, she says - no magic- but that's hard to believe.
And it has been fun to compare her astronomy and physics with my Astronomy and Arithmancy. They learn much more about the processes behind astronomy - how the stars and galaxies form, and things like that - which we don't really touch. And she says that our Astonomy is almost a combination of their astronomy and something called astrology, which, once she explained it, sounded more like Divination to me. Miriam said that she'd never believed in astrology before, and, after she showed me the ‘horoscopes' in the newspaper, I had to agree with her - they were completely fake! But I showed her my Divination book and crystal ball, though she couldn't see anything in it.
She's so interested in all of my classes - she reminds me of Hermione. I wish I could show her some Charms and Transfiguration, but I don't want to get a letter from the Improper Use of Magic Office. When I told Miriam about that, and all about the surveillance the Office uses, she indignantly shrieked, "Big Brother!", which I gather is from a science fiction book where everyone is watched for some sinister purpose. I tried to explain that it's not like that, but I don't think she believed me.
Sorry to talk your head off, Joanna, but doesn't it all sound totally amazing?
Yes, it does. Have you -
Ooo - I forgot to tell you! Miriam has a book about you. It's fiction, though, so I'm sure you never said the things this Joanna said, but I'm in the middle of it now, and it's really interesting. Did you really plead with your father for him to allow your husband to surrender? How brave of you, Joanna!
Yes, I did. It didn't seem really brave at the time, just necessary. Ginny, when you get to my later life, remember that all the histories of my time were written by men, and don't judge me too harshly.
I won't. Though this novel is by a woman, and she's treating you very sympathetically. I'm sorry, Joanna, I interrupted you. What were you going to ask?
That's okay, Ginny. I was going to ask if you have seen any signs of Death Eaters, or Voldemort?
No. Maybe he doesn't know I'm here, or maybe he does, but he knows of the Aurors protecting me. I haven't seen one yet, though Miriam and I have gone to shops and the cinema (to see a science fiction film - I tell you, she's obsessed!) in the village. But I'm still here another week, so hopefully something will happen.
Um, Ginny, I'm not sure you should hope for that.
Why not? Isn't that the point?
It would be dangerous for you, breila.
Not with all these Aurors around. I'm sure I'll be fine. Oh, Joanna, I'm really sleepy. I think I'll turn the light out and go to sleep. The light - it runs on electricity - Dad would be so happy. And now I can correct his pronunciation, and now I know why Harry and Hermione flinch every time he says ‘ecceltricity,' or something else funny. You know, Ron's really lucky to have found such nice friends. I hope...sorry, just yawned there. I think I'd better go to sleep. Good night, Joanna.
Good night, Ginny.
Joanna, Miriam would like to write in you, if that's all right with you.
Of course it's all right, Ginny. I'd love to meet her.
Hi, Joanna, it's Miriam.
Hi, Miriam. It's a pleasure to meet you.
And you! I have to tell you, I'm having a hard time believing that I'm talking to someone I've read about in history books.
I'm sure it's strange. I assure you that I'm real, though.
Oh, I know you are. It's just all so weird. This is all new to me, you know. I never knew a witch until I met Ginny.
And what do you think?
About Ginny? Oh, she's just a normal girl. I'm actually really happy about that, because I was worried about my brother. He's starting at Ginny's school this year, and he's never been alone in a school before - I've always been there. Not that I was protecting him, really, but I was there. William's always been a little...different, so the other kids teased him a little. It's nice to know exactly why he's different. And it's nice to know that even though witches and wizards are different, they're also just normal kids. Ginny's told me about her brothers, and the problems she has making girl friends, and I'm just feeling very reassured.
Miriam, I haven't been Ginny's diary very long, and she hasn't told me yet that she has problems making girl friends.
Oh, well, she said that after the Chamber of Secrets -
No, no - I meant that she should tell me that.
Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't realize...but that makes sense.
...Miriam? Hello? ...Ginny? ...What's going on? ...Oh, someone say something!
Sorry, Joanna. It's Ginny. Miriam felt really bad about telling you something I hadn't yet. I had to explain to her that it just hadn't come up yet. Here she is again. I told her that you could tell her about something I hadn't yet.
But I don't know what you haven't told her, Ginny!
It's Miriam, Joanna. So, what dirt can you tell me about Ginny?
Oh, you girls. Is Ginny sure about this?
Yes. Ginny's a very...generous girl, isn't she? She really wants to make things right, and she wants everyone to be happy.
Yes, she does. And I don't think she can say that she doesn't have any girl friends anymore.
Aw, Joanna. Besides, she has Hermione. Man, we all have really weird names, don't we?
I suppose so. But to get back to telling you about something Ginny hasn't yet...well, she's obviously told you about her family and Hermione, and Hogwarts, and the Chamber of Secrets, which I'm actually a little surprised at. She must be recovering quite a bit. The only other really big thing - but I'm sure she's told you about Harry already, too.
Harry? What, Ron's best friend? Well, she's mentioned him.
Mentioned him, did she? Why don't you ask her about him? You'll get an ear full, so we might as well say good-bye now. I'm glad to have met you, Miriam.
Me, too, Joanna! The only bad part is that I won't be able to tell anyone, because no one would ever believe me.
Hi, Joanna. It's the last night before term starts. Miriam is already asleep, but I'm wide awake still.
Hi, Ginny. How has the rest of your stay in the Muggle world been?
Oh, fine. Well, a little boring. I suppose I never really realized how accustomed I am to things randomly blowing up, or flying through the air, or people turning into canaries because of something they ate. I'll be glad to get back to Hogwarts. Not that Miriam's not fun to be with, but I miss my brothers and Hermione. We've been writing back and forth, using Pig (since Harry and Hermione are at the Burrow, Ron doesn't need him), and I really think we're friends now. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's interested in my brother - she wants to get on my good side! But Hermione is actually very like me, at least in that she doesn't have any girl friends.
Do you want to talk about that?
There's really nothing much to talk about. I used to think it was something wrong with me, that I had never made any friends. But now, I realize that it's not - it was just circumstantial. Since there were so many of us at home, we never had to look outside of ourselves for companionship, and my last year at home I tried so hard to live vicariously through Ron that I didn't go looking for friends. Then, when I finally got to Hogwarts, I was already being influenced by the diary, so I was more than ready to see any slights against me for being poor or whatever. And after that year, the girls in my year thought I was crazy. They still do, truthfully. It's been hard, and I'm sure it didn't help that I've always wanted to be with Ron, Harry, and Hermione, so I didn't make the effort. Now that I have had a real opportunity, with Hermione and Miriam, I'm having no problems. So, I feel better now.
I'm glad, Ginny. So...you only miss your brothers and Hermione. Is that why you hadn't told Miriam about Harry, hmm?
Well, of course I miss Harry, too - that goes without saying. But I'm determined not to mope around after him this year. I really think that Hermione will want to spend time with me, and I hope that means I'll be spending time with Harry and Ron, too. (Really, both of them - I've missed the close friendship I used to have with Ron.) But if the boys don't want me around, I'll try to accept that gracefully, and just be a friend to Hermione. I know there have been times in the past couple of years that she's felt left out - the only girl with two boy friends. If she feels she can come to me when that happens, I'll be glad for both our sakes. Oh, I have so much to talk about with her, now that I've stayed in the Muggle world! Maybe between the two of us, we can figure out how to get computers working at Hogwarts. There's got to be a way, and just think of how much easier searching for books in the library would be with a card catalogue on computer! Miriam took me to the library at the local university, and everything's so organized. Studying would be so much easier...there's just got to be a way.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. Hermione wrote to tell me that one of my letters to her got delivered to the wrong person. Pig delivered it to Harry by mistake. I have no idea how - I don't care that their names begin with the same initial, how could even Pig confuse them? But, anyway, he did, but there were two amazing things about it. Hermione said that Harry opened it when he was half-asleep, so it took him a moment to realize who it was from and who it was to, but once he did, he didn't read it! Can you believe it? Ron would have read it in a second, I have absolutely no doubt about that. But Harry's so noble.
I must say, he sounds it. Most boys, upon opening a letter from a girl they know is interested in them, would certainly have read it. What had you said about him in the letter?
That's the second amazing thing. The only thing I said was, "I'm glad Harry's being so sympathetic about you and Ron." That's it. Aren't you proud of me? I'm getting so much better. And I'm getting really sleepy now. Maybe some of William's energy got transferred to me somehow - you wouldn't believe how excited that boy is. He keeps saying how much he hopes to get Sorted into Gryffindor. Miriam, of course, says it's to be near me (he has a bit of a crush - it's sweet, really), and that he'll be better off in Ravenclaw. I've explained all the houses to her, and I must say I agree with her. But I could see him as a Gryffindor, too, so we'll just have to see where the Sorting Hat puts him.
Sounds like William's not the only one to be excited. But you should probably get to sleep, Ginny.
I know, I know. Just think, Joanna, tomorrow I'll be on the Hogwarts Express!