Everyone was wary around Harry in their next lesson, which was Transfiguration. The Gryffindor girls would look round at him in a pitying way, as if he would drop dead at any moment. Even Professor McGonagall turning into a tabby cat and back again didn't lighten anyone's moods.
"Please Professor, we've just had our first Divination lesson-" Hermione Granger piped up.
"No need to say any more," McGonagall said shortly. "Which one of you will be dying this year?"
"Me," said Harry, from the back, looking glum.
"I see, Potter. I'll tell you that Trelawney has predicted the death of at least one student every year, and none of them have died!"
This lightened everyone's moods, as apparently Trelawney was an old fraud anyway, according to some of the older students, who liked attending Divination for a nap at the back of the classroom.
Amy was very pleased to get out the school after lunch, to go to her first Care of Magical Creatures lesson. The class would be taken by Rubeus Hagrid, who was sent to Azkaban just last year.
"How are we meant to open these books if they growl at us?" muttered Darren, as Neville Longbottom's book tried to eat him.
"Stroke the side o' course!" came Hagrid's booming voice.
He lead them slightly into the forest, so they could see a magnificent creature, with amber eyes, and silver feathers. It had a beak for a nose and talons for feet, and two massive wings, but apart from that is was mostly mostly horse shaped. There were several other of these creatures in the paddocks.
"Anyone want to volunteer?" Hagrid asked. "No one?"
"I'll do it," said Harry Potter, stepping towards the Hippogriff.
Harry made eye contact with the Hippogriff, and didn't blink, just as Hagrid instructed. He took a short bow, and looked up, but the Hippogriff didn't move. Harry began to back away, but then the Hippogriff lowered itself into an unmistakeable bow.
"Right, I think he'll let you ride him now," Hagrid said cheerily.
Harry was thrust upon the Hippogriffs back, and Hagrid slapped the Hippogriff's hindquarters. The large beast flew him once around the paddock, and thudded to the ground.
Emboldened by Harry's success, the rest of the class had a go; Amy and Darren practised on a beautiful chestnut one, which took to Amy immediately, but disliked Darren.
"You're not dangerous at all, are you, you big ugly brute!" came Draco Malfoy's drawling voice. There was a flash of steely feathers and Malfoy fell to the ground; the Hippogriff had cut him with his talons.
Many screams and gasps surrounded the forest; Hagrid would surely be sacked, and on the first day of term too. Injuring a student was terrible, even if it was Draco Malfoy.