Betty in Hogwarts
Betty had done a lot of research on both Uagadou and Hogwarts and decided, with her parents help, that it would be better for her if she attended Hogwarts. She knew how the English private school system worked, so she thought that thriving in this environment would be a breeze for her. On the Hogwarts Express, she decided to do more research on the faculty and staff at Hogwarts, taking an immediate liking to Professor McGonagall, who taught Transfiguration, before the train stopped. She stuffed her book back in her bag before she followed her soon-to-be classmates as they were lead to the water’s edge, encouraged by a giant of a man to pile into the rowboats there. She was matched with Daphne Greengrass, a rather ordinary girl with blue eyes, blonde hair, and a button nose that turned up as Betty and two other witches climbed into the boat.
“It’s a shame they still let Mudbloods in,” the girl remarked just as the boat began to move. Betty frowned, looking at the two girls next to her on the boat.
“Both of our parents are magic,” the girl with the thinner face stated. Her plump mate nodded in agreement. Betty just rolled her eyes at their admission and thrust her hand in their direction.
“I’m Betty Bockarie,” she stated, watching as the twin’s eyes widened. “What?” she asked as she shook the hands of the bronzed girls in front of her.
“I’m Parvati Patil,” the slimmer sister informed her. “She’s Padma. We’re twins.” Betty nodded in confirmation. Before Parvati could question her further, their boat hit the edge of the dimly lit medieval looking castle steps and the pale girl at the front of her boat hopped off immediately as if she was running away from someone with an infectious disease. Betty climbed out of the boat, helping Parvati and Padma to the edge as well. They clumped close together as they were ushered into a room just big enough to fit all of the first years. They stood there for a moment before Parvati turned towards Betty again.
“You aren’t really a Bockarie, are you?” Parvati asked.
“Wa-Yes I am,” Betty retorted.
“No, you aren’t.” Parvati now turned fully towards Betty, a wide smile spread across your face. “There is only one Bockarie in Great Britain, and she is married. So technically, you are not a Bockarie. But I -”
“Stop it, Parvati,” Padma hissed behind her sister. “Can’t you see she’s uncomfortable?” Before Parvati could respond, Professor McGonagall came out to explain how the Sorting was going to work. Betty stared wide eyed as she followed the Professor, almost trampling over some students in her quest to get closer. Her attention was taken away from McGonagall once she entered the Great Hall. She stood in the middle of the crowd, comparing her expectations of the hall to the reality, as well as going back and forth in her head on whether she would want to be in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, when she noticed that there was a sort of silence that had fallen over the Great Hall. A dark haired, impossibly pale and frail looking boy was walking toward the stool that held the Sorting Hat. Once the young boy, who happened to be Harry Potter, sat upon the stool, McGonagall placed the hat upon his head and Betty went back to thinking about her potential Hogwarts house. She was debating whether she wanted to be in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw more.
Betty noticed the confused look on the Professor’s face as she tried to decipher what was in front of her on the roll of parchment. Her eyes widened, as if she was trying to give the text more space to make sense, and then she squinted her eyes, as if trying to break it down into legible parts. Betty, who had seen this look on many teachers and coaches faces before, squeezed by her classmates to stand next to McGonagall, peering over her hand at the name that she was confused by. McGonagall glanced down at her elbow before doing a double take at the child at her elbow.
“Betine. Just call me Betine,” she told the Professor, making her way to the stool. Professor McGonagall quickly recovered from the shock.
“Betine Bockarie-Shacklebolt.” Betty smacked her face with her hand as the Sorting Hat landed on her head with a thwack. I guess there’s no avoiding the bullseye, then, she thought. She was hoping to make her way through school without the assistance or crutch of a famous last name. That hope had died before she even started classes.
“Ravenclaw!” The hat shouted immediately.
From that moment on, Betty (whose full name was Ughwubetine Marie Bockarie-Shacklebolt) kept her head down. This could be due to that fact that though Betty was brilliant, some would say that she was also combative. And she despised a lack of knowledge. Padma was reminded of this, courtesy of some Slytherin classmates. Emboldened by the appearance of Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup and lead by Blaise Zabini (whose friendship with one Draco Malfoy blinded him to the fact that he, too, was a black wizard), the students taunted Betty and Padma all the way to the the Ravenclaw common room. After trying several times to educate the group on the existence of pure blood witches and wizards outside of Britain and Europe as a whole, she realized that the children only wanted to be bullies. She tried several times to ask them if they ever questioned Victor Krum’s pure-blood status, or if they thought that Fleur Delacour would be less qualified for the Triwizard Tournament if she was Muggle-born. She even attempted to appeal to the fact that Diggory and Dumbledore were not in the Sacred Twenty Eight, not to mention most of the students’ names. A few flights away from their destination, and fifteen minutes into this monstrous display of ignorance, Betty rounded on the group of tormentors.
“IF YOU WON’T DO THE RESEARCH THEN YOU CAN’T USE THE PHRASE!” She roared.
At once, the students went silent. At first, Padma thought that they were considering her claim and cautioned a look back as she and Betty cleared the last few flights to quiet. She was stunned to discover that the children were quieted involuntarily, as if their mouths had been glued shut. Apart from a few squeaks and grunts, their mouths remained shut, forcing them to breath through their nose. Blaise realized quickly that he had been cursed to silence, but before he could draw his wand, Padma saw Betty flick her hand in a sort of dismissive gesture. In an instant, the group of at least 10 children were seemingly yanked over the side of the railing. Since that moment, Blaise has never missed a chance to taunt Betty, but he did tread lightly around her. One could imagine that this got her into a lot of trouble with her peers, especially those who believed in the pure-blood doctrine.
Betty did explain that the Bockaries were a very powerful pure-blood family that had counseled many tribes and governments across Sub-Saharan Africa. She tried explaining this to a particularly nasty Gryffindor who kept referring to her as a half-breed. She did not want to cause a scene (or earn the ire of Madam Pince) so she pointed the student in the direction of the materials that would allow them to learn. When the student started insulting her recently deceased father, causing Betty to smear her Arithmancy homework, she picked up her Potions book and shoved it into the student, causing them to double over in pain. Madam Pince and Professor McGonagall rushed around the corner just in time to see Betty quietly slipping her Potions book back into her sack, leaving her harasser with several scrapes and bruises. An exasperated Professor McGonagall dragged Betty to Dumbledore’s office.
“I honestly don’t understand-” the Professor sighed.
“She called me a half-breed, and she made fun of my parents,” Betty simply stated. “I told her-”
“So you decided on fist to fist combat!” McGonagall shrieked, turning Betty towards her. McGonagall knew that the young witch was exceptional. Though the girl was almost always alone, she had seen her silently stick up for students being harassed by sending jinxes towards their abusers. She never actually turned her in for any of it because she thought that the young girl would grow out of it. But after the attack that Professor Moody laid on Draco and his friends earlier in the year, she should have guessed that the violent behavior would only escalate. McGonagall let go of Betty’s arms and placed them on her shoulders.
“You can’t let them get the best of you Betty,” the Professor implored. “Otherwise, the darkness wins.”
“No offense Professor, but if power goes unchecked, and ignorance is allowed to fester and grow, it’s just bad for everyone,” Betty shrugged, effectively removing the Professor’s hands from her shoulders. McGonagall sighed, taking a hold of Betty’s arm again, gently this time.
“Maybe Professor Dumbledore can sway you some.” Professor McGonagall marched right up to the staircase, tucking Betty safe inside.
Betty sat quietly in her chair as she watched the Professor and Headmaster whisper and gesture in her direction. She nodded and silently greeted the portraits, who had become old friends as many times as she had been sent to the Headmaster’s office.
“She could be very dangerous, Albus-” came a harsh whisper before someone swooped past her in a hurry. Once the door closed, Betty looked at Professor Dumbledore and beamed, causing him to chuckle, exhausted. He took the seat behind his desk and smiled back at Betty for a moment.
“They would have attacked me,” Betty blurted out. “You know they would have.” Dumbledore sighed and nodded solemnly.
“We are living in dangerous and precarious times,” he confessed. “But did you have to physically strike them?”
“Magic should not be wasted on the ignorant,” Betty shrugged. “Besides, I wanted to show them what this Mudblood can do.” Dumbledore winced at the mention of the M-word, causing Betty to shrug almost apologetically.
“You and I both know that is not true,” Dumbledore whispered. “The Shacklebolts are a very prominent pure-blood family in Britain. And the Bockaries-”
“No one here cares about the Bockaries. I mean, you did hear about the Death Eaters at the World Cup? They seem like an act first, ask later group to me. A dark lord is rising again and no one is going to take the time to go to Sierra Leone to check if I’m pure-blood. ” Betty sat up straighter in her seat, glaring at the headmaster. “Every day since I got here, I have defended Muggle-borns, half-bloods, pure-bloods from different countries, undesirable-looking witches and wizards, all while trying to make sure that I get good marks in school. And to know if I never come back, like so many others, no one would care. Do you know how exhausting it all is?” Betty’s voice was rising. “Of course you don’t. And why should you-”
“I care about all my students, Ughwubetine.” Betty was cut short by the (correct) mention of her full name. “What is the phrase that your uncle always says?”
“Walk soft and carry a big stick, you’ll go far.”
“I will not punish you for the pain you inflicted on the other students,” Dumbledore informed her. “However, in the future, try to do it out of sight of other professors.”
Betty hobbled back to the Room of Requirement after the latest lesson with the Carrows. As she walked in front of the opening, she used non-verbal incantations that her mother would use when she got hurt in her younger years to heal her broken ribs and ankle. She muttered what she needed from the wall as she thought how the cowardly Carrows confessed to attacking her parents while they slept, fueling her anger as well as her healing. The door finally appeared and she walked into a room that seemed to be more alive than it had ever been. Confused, she tapped on the nearest shoulder she could find.
“What’s going on, Padma?” Betty asked.
“Harry Potter is here,” she informed her. “He’s going to find Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem.” Betty tried to hide her disbelief at the statement.
“So where is everyone going?” Betty asked.
“Death Eaters are coming-” Padma starts.
“Death Eaters are here,” Betty pointed out.
“More of them. And He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself,” she expands. “And we’re going to fight.”
Betty stamped down her anger (because honestly, with as many students as there were, she felt they could have overpowered the Death Eaters at any time) and marched over to the corner where she had made a sort of home. She scooped up the orbs and pouches that were left there and shoved them in her bag. On her way out of the door, she handed Padma a handful of the items.
“Welcome to the fight,” said Betty brightly. “Find your sister, and give her one of these.” She grabbed two long strings with royal blue pouches on them, slinging them both around her neck. “These are for your protection. And these,” she points to the hexagonal boxes remaining, “Are Reducto bombs. Throw, Reducto, and you essentially have a grenade.” At Padma’s horrified look, Betty clapped her on the shoulder. “Time to get your hands dirty.”
Betty had heard many things about war. Her parents barely escaped a war with their lives to get to England and because she valued her education so much, Betty now had to put all of her learned skills to good use - including her non-European magic - to fight the threat she saw coming since she landed on the steps of Hogwarts. On her way to the Great Hall, Betty dropped random pouches and globes along her path. She understood that there would be some casualties (she lost her father before the war officially began), and she was prepared to fight, even if it meant the loss of her own life. In these quiet moments before the oncoming storm, she obtained clarity on what she wanted to do.
She wanted to show the world what a “Mudblood” can get done.
Ophelia Onobrakpeya is a Ravenclaw who enjoys reading, writing, arguing on Twitter, and T.V. You can find her on Twitter @ophieoNo, where she is always posting her writing projects and how much she loves podcasts.