Getting Back to Hogwarts: Old School
I'm currently working on a historical fic that takes place in the early sixteenth century, and I've hit a bit of a brick wall. My characters have to get back to Hogwarts, and King's Cross hasn't been built yet. Trains don't even exist.
How would sixteenth-century witches and wizards travel to Hogwarts without the Hogwarts Express?
In the series, they all meet up in one Muggle place (being King's Cross) and then are mass-transported to the school via train. However, without cars, it would be difficult for wizards and witches from all over Britain (including Muggle-borns) to all congregate in one specific place before going to Hogwarts.
I've considered having the students picked up individually, maybe by Thestrals or perhaps trained dragons, seeing as this is taking place before the outlawing of dragon breeding at the Warlock's Convention of 1709. Neither of these appeal to me very much, though.
'Til the end of the line
Kill the Spare
Perhaps flying chariots or carriages drawn by hippogriffs. Since this is before the International Statute of Secrecy (1689, IIRC), they could care less what Muggles did or did not see. Plus, the population was much less scarce outside cities and villages, so they could go for miles without being seen.
Of course, there are always flying carpets...
Or, maybe in the old days, when people were less concerned with security, wizarding parents were responsible for just getting their children to Hogwarts themselves, whether this was flying carriages or whole families riding broomsticks.
And then the Muggle-borns were brought there by the teachers in their own special vessle, which made them stand out from the beginning, which might also make for a good plot point.
Setting Off Fireworks in Potions Class
Hogwarts has a fleet of Threstral-drawn carriages. It is possible that these carriages ferried students directly to the castle from all across Britain, before the train arrived and demoted the carriages to shuffling students between Hogwarts and the Hogsmeade platform.
Or how about carriages pulled by GIANT HOGS?! I think I read a story somewhere that featured this.
I think Molly's idea of the students arranging their own transportation sounds plausible.
Tim the Enchanter
I think the giant hogs story was about Uric the Oddball.
Anyway, maybe there would be regional meet up points for the Muggleborns? I don't see why the pure and half-bloods would necessarily need to get picked up one at a time when they can just floo to a point with their parents.
I posted a similar topic a while back. The thread is here, if you want to have a look.
With the Thestrals, Hagrid says that he bred them himself, although it is possible that there used to be another herd. Also, broomsticks wouldn't have been as good as they are now, they were rather rudimentary to begin with and unreliable over long distances, so while they might be a good mode of transport for someone living close to the castle, they wouldn't have been used by someone coming from furthur afield. Something else to perhaps consider is flying carpets, which would probably have been legal back then.
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