As Harry stepped forward, whispers suddenly broke out like little hissing fires all over the hall.
‘Potter, did she say?’
‘The Harry Potter?’
The last thing Harry saw before the hat dropped over his eyes was the Hall full of people craning to get a good look at him. Next second he was looking at the black inside of the hat. He waited.
‘Hmm,’ said a small voice in his ear. ‘Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There’s talent, oh my goodness, yes – and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting … So where shall I put you?’
Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, ‘Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.’
‘Not Slytherin, eh?’ said the small voice. ‘Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that – no? Well, if you’re sure – better be GRYFFINDOR!’
Harry heard the hat shout the last word to the whole Hall. He took off the hat and walked shakily towards the Gryffindor table. He was so relieved to have been chosen and not put in Slytherin, he hardly noticed that he was getting the loudest cheer yet. Percy the Prefect got up and shook his hand vigorously, while the Weasley twins yelled, ‘We got Potter! We got Potter!’