When you spend as much time in one place with the same people as I do, you begin noticing things about them. Some witches my age look at a wizard they fancy and immediately notice the attractive parts: bums, muscles, eyes and such. Others take their time and become aware of the qualities that inherently make up a wizard’s personality. Me, I notice people’s hands. I always have and find that a person’s hands speak volumes about his/her life and the circumstances of their birth. Living at Hogwarts presents me with the opportunity to be around many people from a variety of backgrounds. As such, it’s been easy for me to observe my friends and teachers to learn personal things about each of them just by looking at their hands.
Subject One: Dean Thomas is a good friend and a fun person to be around. We have many things in common, so it’s easy to find topics to talk about with him (including our shared charade that Dean is my boyfriend, something that infuriates Ron and made Harry Potter sit up and take notice of me, but that’s an entire chapter in itself). Many times when we’re together I find myself gazing at Dean’s hands. I’m fascinated by what they can do with a quill or a brush loaded with paint. With a few quick strokes, Dean can turn ordinary doodles into a cartoon of Hagrid. With a few more, they become a caricature of Hagrid and a dragon. Add a bit of colour, and he’s drawn an entire scene down to the last detail!
The first time we shared a study table in the common room I was amazed by his illustrated lesson notes. Nothing boring there! His Muggle Studies notebook was filled with careful drawings of items he remembered from his parents’ house, while his History of Magic notes were covered in sketches of the giant wars and goblin rebellions Professor Binns was lecturing about in class. Dean caught me staring and I confessed that I was admiring his handiwork. He seemed pleased that I’d noticed and quickly drew an illustration of the common room for me.
A few nights later, we were again sharing a table and I noticed, for the first time, that Dean had specks of paint stuck to his cuticles and under his nails. He caught me staring again and remarked on it.
“I like your hands,” I admitted, blushing to the roots of my hair. I had been silently admiring how the torchlight gave the rich brown of his skin a golden undertone and how his long fingers curved gracefully around his quill as he wrote.
“Don’t be embarrassed, Ginny,” he told me, smiling. “I look at other people’s hands all the time, too. Everyone’s hands are unique; no two sets are shaped or weathered exactly alike. Take yours, for example.”
“Sure, why not?” Dean studied my hands for a moment, then said, “Even if I didn’t know you as well as I do, I can tell you’re the outdoors type.”
I raised an eyebrow. “How do you know?”
“Just look at the backs of your hands. They hardly look like Hermione’s. I mean, they’ve got the same Quidditch glove tan your brothers’ do, and the tips of your fingers are roughened from gripping your broom handle and the Quaffle. We both know that Hermione wouldn’t be caught dead handling a Quidditch ball much less flying on a broomstick!” That made me smile as I thought of my friend’s trepidation about leaving the ground.
Dean continued. “I’d also say that you’re probably fifth or sixth year just because your hands lack the baby fat that someone younger still retains. Besides, there are ink spots on your thumb and the pointer and middle fingers of your right hand where they’ve come in contact with your ink well. You’ve probably taken loads of notes today and are trying to complete a massive amount of homework.”
“You’ve got that right,” I murmured, studying the ink smudges on my right hand. For all the hands I’d studied over the last few years, I had never given my own a second thought. It had taken an outsider to make me really look at my own.
Dean smiled. “You like to make contact with people you feel comfortable with; whenever you’re with someone like Hermione or even Harry, you often reach out and touch the person on the arm or shoulder or leg. I think you want them to know how much you care about them. Am I right?” When I nodded, he continued, “I can also tell that you’re fairly self-conscious about how your hands look. Hey, don’t look at me like that. Look at your hands. They’re nothing to be embarrassed about. Your skin is quite smooth and pale above your Quidditch tan and your fingers are long and slender. I don’t often see both on the table, though; you keep them in your lap when you’re reading and stick your parchment to the table with a spell. I also know you’ve got a dictation quill in your bag charmed to reproduce your handwriting when your hand cramps up.”
I shook my head in amazement. “How long have you been noticing things like that?” I asked, slightly embarrassed because he seemed to know me so well.
“I reckon I’ve been watching people all my life. People use their hands in fascinating ways and, to me, they’re the hardest part of the human anatomy to draw.”
“Why’s that?” I queried.
Dean considered his answer. “If the hands are out of proportion to the body, they look awkward. Each finger is its own separate entity. Hands are positioned in a thousand different poses, too. Then there’s the concept of perspective; people extend their hands in front of them which can make them the unwanted focal point of a picture if the artist isn’t careful.”
“I never knew that,” I murmured.
“Here. I’ll show you.” Dean grabbed a piece of parchment and made a few quick sketches. When he finished and handed over the drawings, I could see what he meant. I thanked him and went back to my essay writing, still a little embarrassed about being caught.
An hour later, I heard, “Ginny?” and looked up to see that Dean was holding a sketch out for me to look at. I gasped when I saw what it was: a pen and ink rendering of my right hand writing my Potions essay! Dean had captured my hand down to the last detail, including the cut on my wrist I’d received that day in Herbology from a particularly nasty fanged geranium. Dean had also drawn a perfect imitation of my handwriting, capturing how my letters slanted forwards while my words seemed to be crowded onto the page.
Taking the parchment, I stared at it in admiration. “May I keep this?” I asked looking up. “It’s beautiful!”
Dean grinned. “Of course,” he said. Then, he asked nervously, “And ... erm ... I ...would you ... would you consider modelling for me sometime?”
Startled, I blushed for the second time that night. “Sure, if you want me to,” I told him, feeling flattered.
Dean relaxed visibly. “Professor Morgan, my Art instructor, wants all his sixth year students to have someone sit for them several times during the year for various projects. You really don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
Laying a hand on his forearm, I told him, smiling, “Just let me know when you need me. I’ll be glad to sit for you.”
So far, I have only sat for him once. He posed me in front of the common room fire one Saturday afternoon and made me hold certain facial expressions while he drew them in charcoal on a special piece of art parchment. I had fun that afternoon, even though I sometimes found it hard to hold a frown or a cheesy smile for five minutes while he tried to capture each expression just right. When he finished, he brought his assignment over to show me; I laughed and laughed at how ridiculous he made me look in some of them.
After he got his assignment back (with full marks nonetheless) Dean gave me the drawing as a reminder of how much fun we’d had that afternoon. I’m hoping that he’ll ask me to sit for him again soon, because I never tire of watching his hands create beautiful drawings.
Dean’s hands can work magic in other ways as well. Those long, slender fingers of his know exactly how to make a girl feel special when we’re in one of Hogwarts’ many broom cupboards or deserted staircases. They are capable of making certain green-eyed wizards rather jealous, too. I can attest to this because of the look on Harry’s face when he and Ron found Dean and me snogging one day after Quidditch practice. As I argued with a red-faced Ron, my eyes strayed to Harry’s fists which were clenched at his sides. At the time, I felt rather smug, knowing that Dean’s hands had caused Harry’s hands to react in such a manner.
I was shocked at the sight of Dean’s hands when I had the opportunity to observe them in the Room of Requirement just before the Battle of Hogwarts. Dean had always been a thin boy, but the ravages of his time on the run showed in his face and his hands, even though he’d had a good month or more at Shell Cottage to fatten up under Fleur’s care. The thing that struck me most was the fact that there was not paint under his nails or clinging to his cuticles; it made me wonder if Dean had even felt like trying to draw or paint once he was safely at Bill and Fleur’s.
I wouldn’t know the answer to this musing until well after the battle, though. I wrote to Dean, as I did many of my friends who had made it through the battle, several days after the last of the funerals.
He replied, “To tell the truth, I haven’t touch a brush or a drawing quill in months, I just haven’t felt up to it because the joy of creating something hasn’t come back yet. People keep asking me if I’m going to go to art school now that the war’s over... I just don’t know what to tell them, Ginny. I need more time. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish, but it’s the truth.”
I wrote back, “We all need more time, Dean. It’s too soon after all we’ve been through to really know what we want. Don’t let people push you into something you don’t want to do. In the meantime, do something YOU want to do, something that makes you happy. Hopefully, you’ll find the thing that gives you the joy you speak of or discover something entirely new.”
Subject Two: Ever since the basilisk petrified him in our first year, I’ve had an affinity for Colin Creevey and have taken particular interest in his hands. They’re often stained purple because of the photographic chemicals he uses to develop the prodigious number of pictures he takes around the castle each week. His work seems to bring him tremendous joy and he shares his creations with everyone he photographs; not a week has gone by, since Colin discovered which solutions to use to make his photos move, that he has not given me a copy of his latest snapshot of me, Harry, Ron, or Hermione or all four of us together. Somehow, Colin knows when to hand over a picture that will bring me out of the pensive moods I often find myself in these days.
Colin is a compact person and his hands have remained about the same size as they were when we were eleven. They’re extremely expressive, flying about as fast as his mouth runs. If he weren’t holding his camera a lot of the time, his friends would be in danger of being knocked over by Colin’s enthusiasm. Sometimes, when we’re revising at the same table, Colin makes somewhat intimate contact with his friends, often touching our shoulders or forearms. I haven’t discovered whether this is because Colin is somewhat insecure (possibly a by-product of his time spent in the hospital wing away from his friends in Gryffindor tower, for which I take complete responsibility) or whether he is just a “touchy-feely” sort of person. Either way, Colin wouldn’t be Colin without his very active hands.
It saddens me a great deal to know that Colin’s hands will never mature to their full potential. With his death during the Battle of Hogwarts, his hands ceased their energetic flight through the air. I’ll miss the many small touches and pats he bestowed on his friends while we were all gathered about a table in the library as much as I’ll miss being handed the newest photo of me on my broom or cuddled up close to Harry Potter in the Gryffindor common room.
Subject Three: Draco Malfoy. If anyone had told me at the beginning of last year that I would be writing about Draco’s hands I would have hexed them three ways to Sunday. It seems that as much as I loathe thinking about him, there’s something frighteningly attractive about Draco’s hands. I’ve talked with Hermione at length about it and as much as she hates to admit it, she’s somewhat attracted by his hands, too. Ron and Harry would never understand the attraction of Draco’s long, well-manicured, finely chiselled fingers to a witch. There’s just something about how Draco wears his rings and curls his hands around a book or his wand that just sends chills up my spine. (Hermione feels it too, sometimes.)
However, I know I could never love hands that can deliberately point a wand at someone and send forth a malicious curse; I’ve been unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of Draco’s wand hand and that’s a scary point of view to know. What I do know is this: Draco’s hands could never be like Harry’s. For one thing, Draco’s hands have never seen an honest day’s work; there are no calluses on his palms or dry skin around the nails. For another, Draco’s skin is just too pallid; it’s as though his hands have never seen the light of day, even though I know he’s had Quidditch practice. Finally, and probably most important, Draco’s hands have never seen the abuse that Harry’s took last year; they have never bled for his convictions, never given evidence of a tormented soul in their actions; they’ve never had to face Lord Voldemort!
It seems that Draco’s hands have had a tough year this year: sometime before school started last September, he was assigned a task by Lord Voldemort and probably given less than a year to complete it. Harry’s convinced that Voldemort wanted Dumbledore dead as soon as possible and it was Draco’s responsibility to make that happen. While Harry focused on the changes in Draco’s face, once he remarked on it, I took notice of Draco’s hands. They’ve always been thin, even elegant, but as the year progressed, I noticed the bones were showing more prominently under his increasingly paler skin. Then, just a week or so ago, after his duel in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom with Harry, I noticed Draco’s hands had begun to shake and I wondered if there were lingering after-effects from the curse Harry used to fell him. My answer came all too soon: If I wasn’t such a controlled witch I’d have used my own hands to strangle Draco Malfoy, rather than curse him like Harry tried to do, after Draco escaped with Professor Snape last night following Dumbledore’s plunge from the Astronomy Tower. Harry finally told me that he knows Draco is no Death Eater–even though he’s taken the Dark Mark–because of how his hands shook during the confrontation with Professor Dumbledore.
The morning after the Battle of Hogwarts revealed much about the year Draco had suffered through. I say suffered because his usual haughtiness and bravado were not present at all. Instead, his whole body radiated uncertainty–as did those of his parents–and when he pulled his hands from his pockets, they still shook, whether from exhaustion or another emotion, I do not know. What I do know is that Draco’s hands were still skin and bones; I’d seen him many times during term in the corridors and in the Great Hall, but because the other Slytherins seemed to be shunning him, he had often been alone at the far end of their table, save for Crabbe and Goyle.
From my seat next to my mum I had a very good view of the three Malfoys and I watched as Mr Malfoy said something to his son. Draco took his time answering, glancing about the Great Hall with an uncertain look on his face and a hand raking through his hair in a gesture I’d never seen him use before. I wondered what his fate would be and knew that only time would tell.
Subjects Four and Five: Two sets of hands that are never far from Draco’s belong to Crabbe and Goyle. It’s interesting that I’ve never thought about the one without the other; they always just seem to be joined at the hip or something. Also, it’s just natural that if Draco is around, those two goons are usually in the near vicinity, ready to flex their muscles or “take care” of any threat to Draco. The two are big burly sorts, which lends a heaviness to the look of their hands. Whenever the three “join” us in our compartment on the Hogwarts Express, it’s not their wands that take on the threat, it’s their hands; they’re big and muscular with short stubby fingers that easily ball into fists. Besides, it’s the sound of their knuckles cracking in unison that grates on the nerves like fingernails on a blackboard and keeps me from really focussing on how callused or pampered their hands really are. What I do know is this; I never want to have to study their hands “up close and personal” as some reporters at the Daily Prophet so succinctly put it.
The Battle of Hogwarts took its toll on the ranks of the opposition as well as our side. One of the times I went in to keep George company during his vigil over Fred’s body, I watched as Crabbe’s body was brought into the room. Those hands had been cruel to me this year before Mum and Dad made me go into hiding with them. They had levelled the Cruciatus Curse at me several times during detentions and I’d had the displeasure of seeing their puffy pudginess from the wrong end of his wand. The answer to my earlier comment is that Crabbe was a very pampered wizard. However, they are no more, for according to Harry, Crabbe became the victim of his own fiery spell in the Room of Hidden Things.
As for Goyle’s hands, they were similar to Crabbe’s, although somewhat thinner and a little more callused. The stronger of Draco’s Slytherin cronies, he was the one who man-handled the students using brute strength to cruelly position his and Crabbe’s victims during Cruciatus practice. Now, at the end of the battle, I don’t know his fate or whether he still has possession of his wand, and won’t for a while because I have not seen him since Harry duelled Voldemort and won.
Subject Six: I’ve always had a soft spot for Neville Longbottom’s hands. For most of the time I’ve known Neville, he’s been unsure of himself (probably due to his Gran’s lack of confidence in his abilities) with his gestures reflecting his uncertainty in everything he does. That seemed to change last year: through Professor Sprout’s praise in Herbology and his determination to succeed at the spells we learned during DA meetings, Neville showed everyone that he really wasn’t a Squib as we all thought! To think that he learned the Shield Charm almost as fast as Hermione! Those successes were accompanied by more confidence in his abilities as evidenced by his performance in Umbridge’s office prior to the Ministry fight. Ron is still in awe of the Stunner Neville pulled off during that fight; somehow, Neville’s aim was spot on and his victim never knew what hit him.
When I first saw Neville’s hands they looked like so many other twelve-year-old boys’ hands; plump and pink with dirt embedded around the nails. There was a difference to them, though: they moved timidly, as if they really didn’t know what they really wanted do or where their owner needed them to be. The following year, when I was twelve and Neville thirteen, I made a point to be in the common room when the third years came up to dump their book bags before lunch. On the days that the third year Gryffindors had double Potions, Neville would often come back from the lesson with nasty burns on his hands that had been covered in a thick, orange paste applied by Madam Pomfrey. (I think Professor Snape enjoyed making Neville so nervous that he inevitably moved too close to his cauldron and either touched the molten metal or scalded himself.) In any case, I felt sorry enough for Neville that I began talking to him about what happened in class each week as we all headed for the Great Hall. That, at first, put Neville into such a complete tizzy that he would stumble over his sentences and wring his hands: after about the seventeenth trip back to Madam Pomfrey, he began to relax enough around me that we became good friends as we walked back to the hall together. By the end of that year, Neville trusted me enough to let his hands swing naturally while the healing paste did what it was created to do.
That’s when I started noticing small changes in Neville’s hands. As he matured, they lost their plumpness, just like the rest of him. Over the summer between his third and fourth years, he grew taller and his fingers lengthened, although they still maintained their layer of ingrained dirt at the cuticles. Two days after the Cruciatus Curse incident in Professor Moody’s class, I happened upon Neville in the common room. He had the air of unmistakable sadness that settled over him when he didn’t think anyone was looking; his hands, which played absently with his quill, seemed to be shaking slightly. I sat down across his table from him and boldly took his hand. It was stone cold and I could feel the strength in his fingers as he curled them around mine.
“I don’t know what it was about that lesson that has affected you so much,” I said to him. “But if you want to talk about it, I’m here and I’ll gladly listen.”
“Thanks, Ginny. I just have to deal with this myself,” he told me quietly.
The subject never came up again and several months later, a very nervous Neville asked me to the Yule Ball. He was rather cute about it, too, standing in front of me with his hands thrust deep into his robe pockets while he scuffed the toe of his shoe on the flag stones of the courtyard. I somehow knew that Neville would not have the confidence to ask anyone else if I didn’t accept his invitation, so I told him I’d gladly go with him to the ball. We had a good time together that night until he trod on my toes one too many times and left the Great Hall so frustrated with himself that he didn’t come back. That’s when I met Michael Corner.
Over the last two years Neville has gained much in stature and confidence in himself as a wizard. I mentioned above how good the DA was for him during his fifth year. What I didn’t record was how well he dealt with the Ministry fight itself. Although hit with a curse that made his legs dance like crazy, he held it together, keeping the Prophecy safe until the very last moment.
But that’s not all. I was absolutely amazed at the changes in Neville’s duelling abilities when we fought the Death Eaters once again in the astronomy tower the night Dumbledore was killed. Although he was finally hit with a particularly nasty curse, up until that moment, Neville was holding his own against a string of opponents. It made me glad to know that his determination to improve his casting was turning him into a more confident wizard.
With Harry, Ron and Hermione gone who-knows-where at the start of the 1997 school term it was Neville who finally stepped in and became the real student leader against the Death Eaters. That fall, I would often see him striding purposefully through the common room on his way to rescue a first or second year from an unfair punishment, his hands swinging confidently at his sides. I don’t know how many times he came back bearing the evidence of a duel; no matter what the hour, though, he always came to me to heal his wounds because he said I was the best and the gentlest. His hands had changed so much between his sixth and seventh years just because he’d grown during the summer. Truth be told, I was rather attracted to them; the baby fat that had plagued him for so long was gone, leaving him with a set of well-sculpted fingers that were never quite free of earth and dragon dung mulch from his time in the greenhouses. As the year progressed, it was Neville’s hands that confidently drew diagrams of graffiti raid assignments on the DA’s drawing board, Neville’s hands that helped me and Luna break the glass case holding Gryffindor’s sword, and Neville’s hands that comforted me after my detentions. We held each other on the Hogwarts Express after Luna was taken: I don’t think I could have gone back to school after the Christmas hols if Neville had been taken, too. In the spring, though, it was more difficult for both of us with Luna gone; the Death Eaters started making our punishments more severe and often Neville would come back with not only his face, but his hands cut open because he’d been so defiant. After I didn’t go back to school after Easter break, I often wondered how he was faring.
My answer came the night of the battle. I was very glad to see Neville all in one piece, even though he looked a little worse for ware, and during the fighting I couldn’t help stopping to watch him as he passed me loaded down with mandrakes and other rather nasty plants to lob over the parapets at the Death Eaters. And then, when Voldemort crowned him with the Sorting Hat and set it aflame, it was all I could do to watch. Harry was supposedly dead and I realized that I was about to lose another dear friend, when Gryffindor’s sword appeared and it was Neville’s hands swinging it in a huge arch to cleave Nagini’s head from her body. A few minutes later, as Hermione, Luna and I engaged Bellatrix Lestrange in battle, I could have cheered as Neville helped Ron give Fenrir Greyback his come-uppance for what he did to Bill and so many others. In my eyes Neville is a true hero of the Battle of Hogwarts.
Subject Seven: I used to think of Michael Corner’s hands as strong and protective, and remember them to be somewhat callused with that funny Quidditch tan that covered only the very tips of his fingers. Nevertheless, whenever he touched me I felt only the softest of caresses. He’s a considerate wizard, too; never allowing his hands to stray where a witch would feel uncomfortable being touched. Even when we were practicing during DA meetings last year, Michael would often misdirect his wand hand so as not to hex me. I have mixed feelings about that because I had to wonder whether he was learning anything from the meetings or just enjoying catching me as I fell, accidentally jinxed by someone else, into his waiting hands.
Michael’s hands are patient hands. They spent many hours holding my own hand when I couldn’t bring myself to kiss him. I gave him the excuse that I was hiding from my brothers, but in truth, I had no desire to express my fancy of Michael in ways other than chaste handholding. Once we did, though, it was nice to find a secluded broom cupboard in which to snog and hold hands...
Michael’s hands are patient in other ways, too: they willingly spend hours drawing out comparison tables of Quidditch statistics and strategies or explaining concepts we’ve learned in lessons. When we revised together last year, Michael would always be ready to point out how I could manipulate my essay wording to make my point come across better. I have to admit that sometimes I deliberately worded phrases awkwardly or said something gauche just to give Michael something to do while we studied.
The only time I’ve ever seen Michael’s hands fly about in anger was after the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw game at the end of last year. I suppose mine were flailing as much as his were, pointing accusing fingers, brandishing brooms, and balling on our hips. I couldn’t help but feel a little satisfied that I would be rid of something rather clingy, and finally pointed to Cho’s retreating back saying, “Well, if you don’t like the fact that I caught the Snitch and won the game for Gryffindor, you can just go console her! She’s emotional enough for your entire House!”
Michael looked at me one last time, an angry expression on his face, his hands gripping his broom tightly enough to make his knuckles stand out in relief, and hissed, “Well, if that’s what you want, then fine!” That was the last time we spoke, civilly or otherwise. The next day, Michael and Cho were wandering hand in hand through the corridors.
Michael was another of our–Neville’s, Luna’s and my–compatriots who, along with Seamus Finnegan, went on many daring rescues of the younger students the Carrows and Filch had chained up for minor infractions. Neville told me after the battle that after I didn’t come back to school after Easter, Michael sort of took my place in what was left of the DA. However, after the Death Eaters tortured Michael rather badly, it was all any of them could do to survive day to day. Still, it was good to see him the night of the battle, all in one piece, with his arm around Cho’s shoulders and being his usual irritating self.
Subject Eight: Everyone underestimates Luna Lovegood. There’s a reason she was Sorted into Ravenclaw: she’s absolutely brilliant! What people don’t understand is that Luna cultivates her “Loony” persona, right down to her vague and somewhat outlandish hand movements. It’s all an act to her and I think she amuses herself watching people’s reactions. I also think she becomes bored quite easily since she learns so quickly. How do I know this? I’ve watched her. Luna loves Charms and Transfiguration (just as her mother did) and is the fastest of anyone in my year to learn new spells. While the rest of us struggle repeatedly to transfigure newts into notepads or make rocks become wagons, Luna learns the new spell in two or three tries and then has time to puzzle out how to apply the new spell to something else! The same thing happens in Charms and Professor Flitwick is sometimes hard-put to keep Luna’s attention for the duration of the lesson.
I also watched Luna last year during DA meetings. Harry remarked once or twice that he wondered why Luna even bothered coming to the meetings and I told him to watch her carefully during the first few minutes of practice. His amazement was apparent the next day when he told me about how she had knocked him flat on the first go with a perfect Blasting Charm. He then remarked that after that, she had played with the amplitude and direction of her wand movements just to see the results! That’s probably why we all thought Luna wasn’t very good at any of the spells Harry was teaching us, since those around her had to keep dodging flying objects!
We were both witness to a serious Luna at the Department of Mysteries. With no time to be vague and dreamy while the Death Eaters were chasing us, Luna used her wand defensively enough to rival Harry: every spell she cast was precisely aimed and perfectly uttered. When we entered the planet room it was Luna’s wand work and quick thinking that enabled Ron and me to escape with our lives. I will be forever grateful to her for that.
I finally took the time to really look at Luna’s hands when we were sitting with Ron and Hermione that Sunday after the Ministry battle. Luna is a petite girl to begin with, so it follows that her hands are small-boned and delicate. I have decided that her absent-minded movements are very much in control, just like the rest of her. I’ve also decided that I’d like to be on her side the next time I have to duel someone.
Luna went back to being nearly friendless during our fifth year, I’m sorry to say. I tried very hard to include her in as many of my activities as I could, but it was difficult because we were in different houses. The one thing that still was a constant with Luna was her love of experimentation with the spells we learned and her wand hand continued to play with the wand movements we learned throughout the year. Yet, when it came time to do battle at the end of term, Luna’s spells were the ones who most often found their marks. I must say that I’m proud to have such an inventive and brave witch as a friend.
According to Harry, Luna is as good an artist as Dean, for it was he who saw Luna’s paintings of her friends on the ceiling of her father’s house. The paintings struck Harry as being something very special because they gave him additional insight into Luna’s personality and life at Hogwarts. I wish I could have seen those paintings before the house blew up.
The thing about Luna this year is that she went from being a wall flower to a student leader in a matter of days. Once the DA was reconvened, she worked tirelessly to help us agitate Professor Snape and the other Death Eaters. It was her wandwork that overpowered the gargoyle guarding the headmaster’s office and her absolute conviction that what we had tried to do in attempting to steal the Sword of Gryffindor was the right thing, even though the task seemed impossible and our punishments rather frightening.
From what Harry tells me, Luna was the one who kept up Mr Ollivander’s spirits when they were both prisoners at Malfoy Manor. Luna has always been a gentle spirit, but I think her natural mothering instincts went into high gear as she tried to keep her companion from falling into the depths of despair.
However, I will never forget the intensity of the duel in which Luna, Hermione and I fought against Bellatrix Lestrange. If I hadn’t been so busy dodging Killing Curses, I would have stood back to watch Luna and Hermione duel: Hermione is good, but because of her creative wand work, Luna was better. That said, I think all three of us were very glad when my mother ended the duel by conquering our enemy.
Subjects Nine and Ten: Since Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil tend to be together as much as Crabbe and Goyle, no one in Gryffindor House seems to think of one without the other! I don’t know either of them very well because they are a year ahead of me, so I’ll have to rely on my Great Hall and common room observations right now. From what I’ve seen, Lavender’s hands are somewhat larger and plumper than Parvati’s and fly about whenever she really focuses on what she’s gossiping about. Parvati, on the other hand, has long slender fingers which tend to finger objects delicately as she speaks. Neither girl is ever very serious, except for that one week last year when all the fifth years were in the midst of their OWLs. At the time, I watched as Parvati caused the salt cellar before her to twitch so violently as she practiced her incantations that it threatened to fall over. Lavender, on the other hand, had stopped gossiping long enough to actually pull a book from her bag and was in fact reviewing!
Lavender Brown’s hands are disgusting! I say this because all I can see in my mind’s eye when I close my eyes and think of her is her hands roving all over my brother! I mean, at times those two were so welded together at the lips, with their hands were roaming everywhere, that it was hard to tell whose hands were whose. This, unfortunately, is the most I remember about Lavender’s hands during this time period... it’s hard to think past the images seared on one’s retinas, yeah?
As for poor Parvati, I don’t think she was around much since she seemed to suddenly be pushed aside by Lavender in favour of Ron Weasley. Hermione doesn’t say much about either of her room mates, since one was the source of her emotional pain and the other didn’t have anything in common with her.
Both Lavender and Parvati fought at the Battle of Hogwarts. Parvati seems to have risen to the occasion and done some major damage to the Death Eaters before she was hurt by a spell. It was Lavender who had the most terrifying experience that night when she was attacked by Fenrir Greyback. According to Hermione, Lavender was nearly done for when Ron, Harry and Hermione passed through the Entrance Hall on their way outside. Lavender was on the floor trying to fend Greyback off when the combination of Hermione’s spell and Professor Trelawney’s crystal ball ended the attack. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any news of Lavender since the day after the battle.
Subject Eleven: I, unfortunately, know very little about Seamus Finnigan. He and Dean are fast friends and stuck together last year when Seamus had his falling-out with Harry. I can’t tell you how much Seamus’ animosity hurt Harry. I have a feeling that was a bad period for both boys. I know that Harry feels terrible for pulling his wand on Seamus that night following the Welcoming Feast and wonder if Seamus really would have punched Harry for having a go at his mother... All those months the two of them barely tolerated each other…But I digress. During that time, Seamus and Dean would often do their homework together in the common room at the table next to mine. I noticed one day that all of Seamus’ books sported book covers with pictures of horses on them.
“Do you ride?” I asked out of curiosity.
Seamus smiled. “Yeah. My family owns six horses, all of them show jumpers.”
“It’s a Muggle sport where riders compete against each other by jumping their horses over a series of fences. They get points for each clean jump they make.”
“Do you compete?” I asked sneaking a quick look at his hands and wondering whether it took special muscles to control his horse. From what I could see, no. His hands were well-formed and rather stocky, much like the rest of his physique.
“I used to. Now that I’m at Hogwarts, I don’t get to practice except when I go home on holiday.”
“Do you miss the competition?”
“Sometimes, but not as much as I used to.” He ran a callused finger over the outline of one of the stationary horses. (The book covers were Muggle-made.) “My dad bought me a quad bike last summer,” he continued with a somewhat sheepish grin. “My mam wasn’t too happy about it, but allowed him and me to ride all over our property with my friends until I had to come back to school.”
“What’s a quad bike?”
“A motorbike with four wheels.”
“Sounds like something my dad would love to get his hands on.” I bet he’d love to try to enchant one to fly.
Seamus chuckled. “I bet he would. From what I hear, he’s nutters about anything Muggle that has a motor.”
I glanced at his hands again. He probably wears some kind of gloves and other protective gear when riding. At least I hope he does. “You could say that. My mum cringes at the thought of having to go out into his shed and look for something normal. Everything in there either has its parts strewn about or has been enchanted to do something it shouldn’t.”
I changed the subject. “Where do you go when you’re riding?”
Seamus launched into a five-minute explanation of the joys of quad biking which gave me the opportunity to really study his hands. His skin was pale and slightly freckled; it had a weathered look to it, probably due to the amount of time he spent outdoors when he was at home. The ring he wore on the middle finger of his right hand seemed to emphasize the ruggedness of his hands which naturally led me to inspect the muscles of his arms…
Ginny! Stop inspecting Seamus as if he were a hunk of meat! Consider what Michael would think if he knew you were ogling another boy! I chided myself. When Seamus seemed to be winding down, I pointedly looked at my watch and made up some sort of excuse to pack up my books and positively fled to the library.
During his seventh and my sixth year at Hogwarts, I was able to get to know Seamus much better than I ever thought I would. This is not only due to the absence of so many of his classmates, but to the increasing number of opportunities I had to observe Seamus’ hands. Along the way, I discovered he had hard working hands, hands that quickly learned to pick locks the Muggle way or could wield an axe far better than the rest of us. His hands could also be exceptionally gentle when he needed them to be while he comforted the younger students we rescued from detentions.
Seamus was an instrumental part of the DA, often risking severe detentions to rescue younger students or spray the corridor walls with DA and pro-Harry Potter graffiti. More than once, Neville and I stayed up late into the night waiting for the tell-tale rap on the Fat Lady’s frame–because more often than not, she’d either go visiting or fall asleep–that signalled the success of Seamus’ sorties, as he liked to call them. We’d let him and his party in and then inspect their hands, robes and wands for signs of magical spray paint or other evidence that would incriminate their group. More often than not, it was Seamus who needed a more thorough cleaning spell because he took his role as group leader very seriously and did his best to cover more wall-space than anyone else.
One night, several days before the Easter hols and several months after Luna had been taken, Seamus and another student from Hufflepuff went out to rescue two second year Hufflepuff boys who were being held in Filch’s office. The rescue should have been a straight-forward, quick in and out, but something went terribly wrong. The two younger boys made it back safely, but reported that Amycus Carrow had arrived on the scene and Seamus and their housemate had sacrificed themselves so that the younger students could escape. The rest of the night, Neville and I took turns standing guard while the other napped on a couch. When Seamus finally made it back just before dawn he looked terrible; his face was covered in slash marks and one of his hands was clearly broken. The black eye did nothing to improve his appearance, either. As quickly as I could, I healed his obvious wounds while he told us what had happened. He was nearly finished when I noticed a dripping sound and looked down to see a small puddle of blood between his feet.
“Seamus, is there something wrong with your left hand?” I asked in alarm. And without waiting for him to answer, I grabbed his elbow and raised his hand so I could see it better. What I saw nearly made me ill: several deep slashes crisscrossed Seamus’ palm and wrist, all slowly leaking blood.
“Carrow’s work?” Neville asked in a hardened voice.
Seamus nodded. “I didn’t think they were that bad,” he admitted. “Fatso chained us to the wall and then used cutting hexes to release me from the manacles when he was done Cruciating Greg.”
Neville growled angrily and stalked away while I gently cleaned off Seamus’ hand and healed it as best I could. As he rose to go to up to bed, Seamus looked ruefully down at his hands. “I think we’re going to have to be much more careful from now on,” he said, and I agreed.
Subject Twelve: No overview of the hands around Hogwarts would be complete without a mention of Hermione Granger. Although she’s a year ahead of me, the two of us have become fast friends: that’s not too hard to understand when it seems that we are thrown together at every possible opportunity, whether at The Burrow, at Grimmauld Place, or here at school. We’ve had some truly eye-opening heart-to-heart talks as we explored our mutual admiration for Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley and when she lets her guard down, (usually while discussing my brother) Hermione’s hands are almost as animated as Parvati’s and Lavender’s! I’ve seen her rake her hands through her hair in an exact imitation of Ron and clench her fists in indignant anger over the way the Slytherins teased him last year. I’ve also watched as she absently rubbed at invisible scars on her right hand as she discussed Professor Umbridge’s treatment of Harry. Sometimes, her hands have grown quite still as she hugs herself or her knees and at others, she fiddles with the fraying edge of her bedclothes while wondering aloud what the future will hold for herself and her friends (she phrased this particular thought this way, but I really think she was referring to her future with/without Ron).
Hermione’s hands are small and delicate with perfectly filed nails and creamy white skin. (They’re positively tiny compared with Ron’s, and the many times I’ve seen their hands side by side on the Great Hall and library tables, Hermione’s hand looked like it should be nestled in his.) Hermione’s hands always seem to know what to do, whether it’s comforting a friend, correcting someone’s homework or waving her wand in complicate spell patterns. (I think my brother has been in awe of what Hermione’s hands can do since their first day in class!) Always the Lady, Hermione’s hands are never where they shouldn’t be. Well, except for that one time in her third year when she slugged Draco Malfoy... The way Ron tells that story, Hermione was winding up to slug Malfoy a second time when he and Harry recovered enough from their shock and decided they really did have to stop her before someone besides Draco’s ego became bruised. When I asked her about the incident, she refused to incriminate herself and told me that subject was closed.
It’s been fun watching Hermione and Ron “spar” over the years. Everyone in Gryffindor tower knows to watch Hermione’s hands when their voices start to rise. If she begins to clench one or both into a fist, we know that their row will immanently escalate into a full-blown shouting match much the same as it did on the night of the infamous Yule Ball. Believe me; no one wants to be stuck in the common room when that happens! I’ve even heard that Lavender and Parvati stop their gossiping when Hermione storms into their dormitory with tears streaming down her face and her wand clutched tightly in one hand…I think she’s hexed her roommates one too many times after a row with Ron!
As Hermione’s feelings for my brother have grown over the years, she’s begun to respond more often to his gestures and mannerisms. Something happened in the hospital wing at the end of last term that has made all the difference in how Hermione’s hands react around Ron’s. As he reached out to her in comfort or restraint during those tense last few days of the term (when she was often on the verge of badgering Harry to tell them what had happened to him after the Ministry fight), her hands often sought my brother’s, either brushing his hand from her shoulder or elbow or, more often, catching hold of his hand as she gazed up into his eyes, and exchanging a special “look.” To be more specific, as Harry and the Dursleys left King’s Cross, I watched Ron and Hermione standing together tracking him with their eyes, Ron’s arm draped casually across her shoulders. When they were out of sight, Hermione glanced down at his hand, a sad little smile playing on her lips. She then reached up and began caressing the scars on Ron’s forearm, which had been exposed when he drew her close. (Since his release, Ron had not rolled up his sleeves as was his custom; rather, he just left the cuffs unbuttoned.) When he seemed to protest, Hermione gently slipped from under his arm, never letting go of his wrist. They stood there, in the middle of the busy platform, completely oblivious to their surroundings, as Hermione continued to trace each angry red welt as if it were a precious thing. Finally, Ron laid his free hand atop Hermione’s and she looked up at him with silent tears rolling down her face. Ron pulled her into a tight embrace and I turned away to give them some modicum of privacy. I have the feeling that if Ron and Hermione spend much time together over the summer holidays one or the other will finally summon his/her Gryffindor courage and move beyond simple hand-holding.
Hermione’s hands became the instrument by which I learned how she was feeling this year. Because of her estrangement from Ron, she often didn’t show her emotions in her expressions while in the common room, but many times I was able to observe her from my place next to Dean and it was her hands that betrayed her feelings. Hermione was rarely happy this year; I could tell because when she’s happy, her hands rarely fly about. However, especially in the company of my Won-Won and Lav-Lav, her hands gave away her innermost thoughts quite easily.
Mealtimes were especially trying for Hermione and I’d often come to the table to find her with her eyes glued to a text book and gulping her food as fast as she could shovel it into her mouth. One look across the table and I’d know the reason; Ron and Lavender would be sitting very close together, often feeding each other morsels from their plates. Gives a girl indigestion, you know?
All through the fall and winter terms, Hermione began exhibiting nervous ticks that were especially noticeable when she was cornered in the common room with the source of her agitation nearby–usually snogging each other’s brains out. Often, I’d see Hermione twirling a piece of her hair or shredding small pieces of parchment while glancing over the top of one of her text books. Finally, she’d have enough of the sight and quickly gather her things and flee through the portrait hole, most likely heading for the library. I think the entire common room heaved a sigh of relief when Lavender broke up with Ron.
This year on the run has been tough on Hermione’s hands. From what she tells me they’ve been burned, nearly frozen with cold, tied up, Cruciated (along with the rest of her), and covered in blood several times over. Yet, as abused as they are, they’re still very pretty, elegant hands and I love watching them perform spell work and hold my brother close. From the looks of it, I’m going to get to watch Hermione’s hands for many years to come, if the two decide to get married one of these days.
So ends this portion of my Hogwarts study. The hours I’ve spent getting to know my fellow students have been pleasurable indeed. I’ve learned much more about people than they probably would have liked, but I find it amazing to observe how much they give away through the expressiveness of their hands. In the second half of this study, I will centre on the hands of the adults I’ve met around the school. Their lives are tellingly presented in the condition of their hands and show the hardships and pleasures their owners have experienced. Without these people, Hogwarts wouldn’t be the intriguing place it is.
A/N: The information about Seamus Finnegan was taken from Devon Murray’s website and Veritaserium.com. I decided that because there isn’t very much about Seamus’ life in canon, information about the actor who plays him would make a good back story.
Also, many thanks to my beta Aggiebell for the cute comments, helpful suggestions and her eagle eye for my punctuation mistakes.