"Welcome!" [Professor Dumbledore] said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words, and here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"
"Well, I can certainly see why we're trying to keep them alive," said Malfoy sarcastically. "Who wouldn't want pets that can burn, sting, and suck blood all at once?"
"How're we getting to King's Cross tomorrow, Dad?" asked Fred as they dug into a sumptuous pudding.
"The Ministry's providing a couple of cars," said Mr. Weasley.
Everyone looked up at him.
"Why?" said Percy curiously.
"It's because of you, Perce," said George seriously. "And there'll be little flags on the hoods, with HB on them--"
"--for Humongous Bighead," said Fred.
"Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs."
One of them was a very old wizard who was wearing a long flowery nightgown. The other was clearly a Ministry wizard; he was holding out a pair of pinstriped trousers and almost crying with exasperation.
"Just put them on, Archie, there's a good chap. You can't walk around like that, the Muggle at the gate's already getting suspicious--"
"I bought this in a Muggle shop," said the old wizard stubbornly. "Muggles wear them."
"Muggle women wear them, Archie, not the men, they wear these," said the Ministry wizard, and he brandished the pinstriped trousers.
"I'm not putting them on," said old Archie in indignation. "I like a healthy breeze 'round my privates, thanks."
"Harry!" said Fred, elbowing Percy out of the way and bowing deeply. "Simply splendid to see you, old boy--" "Marvelous," said George, pushing Fred aside and seizing Harry's hand in turn. "Absolutely spiffing." Percy scowled.
"That's enough, now," said Mrs. Weasley.
"Mum!" said Fred as though he'd only just spotted her and seized her hand too. "How really corking to see you--"
"Half an inch of skin and sinew holding my neck on, Harry! Most people would think that's good as beheaded, but oh, no, it's not enough for Sir Properly-Decapitated-Podmore."
Lee Jordan was finding it difficult not to take sides.
"So -- after that obvious and disgusting bit of cheating--"
"Jordan!" growled Professor McGonagall.
"I mean, after that open and revolting foul--"
"Jordan, I'm warning you--"
"All right, all right. Flint nearly kills the Gryffindor Seeker, which could happen to anyone, I'm sure..."
"Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?" said Fred.
"That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!" said Percy, going very red in the face. "It was nothing personal!"
"It was," Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. "We sent it."
"Er -- thanks very much, Ernie," said Harry, taken aback. Ernie might be pompous on occaisons like these, but Harry was in a mood to deeply appreciate a vote of confidence from somebody who was not wearing radishes in their ears.
"Has Ron saved a goal yet?" asked Hermione.
"Well, he can do it if he thinks no one is watching him," said Fred, rolling his eyes. "So all we have to do is ask the crowd to turn their backs and talk among themselves every time the Quaffle goes up on his end Saturday."