An illustration of a cat looking at a sign that says 'Privet Drive.' Overlaid in the right-hand corner is a white box that says, in purple writing, 'Wizarding Times Nov 2020

The Beginning: Oddities of the Night

By Prof. Tarma Amelia Black

In preparation for the 40th anniversary of the end of the First Wizarding War next year, the Wizarding Times decided to cover the famous story from the perspective of a Muggle neighbor.

"This is the Wizarding Times, reporting live from Privet Drive in the Muggle town of Little Whinging. I am speaking with Miss Lily Stebnow of 5 Privet Drive about some very suspicious occurrences which happened years ago in the dead of night. Miss Stebnow, a Muggle of indeterminate years, err, a charming lady, who resides at 5 Privet Drive, saw some very strange happenings that night. Miss Stebnow, please tell us, in your own words, what you saw?"

"I was putting out my cat, you know, and it screeched as some huge thing came flying out of the sky, roaring like a dragon. It wasn't a dragon, of course, because they don't exist, but it was so LOUD and big and black. Then I could see, when it landed on the ground, that it was a motorcycle, but this absolutely huge person sort of rolled off the bike and he... I think it was a he because there was a huge BEARD and he was just enormous! He got off the motorbike and was carrying this little bundle of something. Then I noticed that there was a man and a woman standing in front of #4, just there!" She pointed with her hand. "And I'd not even seen them but it's like they popped out of nowhere. They were dressed like for a costume party, with cloaks. And the giant guy, he took that little bundle of whatever to the man and woman and handed it to them and then started wailing! Crying fit to raise up a storm! Well, I don't hold with that, you know, it scared my cat even worse and she dashed into the neighbor's yard so I had to go find her. When I got back, all there was was this basket or something on the Dursleys' front porch. I didn't go check what it was..." Here, the Muggle appeared to look away, as if maybe what she said wasn't true. "... but it LOOKED like a baby bassinet."

"You didn't go check to see what it was?"

"No, because...." She looked confused, of a sudden. "Because the guy with the long white hair looked back at me and suddenly, I found myself going back to my house with my cat in my arms. Funny, I didn't remember that until just now."

"Thank you, Miss Stebnow, for a very interesting conversation! This is Tarma Black of the Wizarding Times, reporting live from Privet Drive."

"Remember to obliviate her again, okay?", sotto voce.