HOGSMEDE, INVERNESS--Student concerns about the Filch/Norris relationship first surfaced when the school caretaker suffered a breakdown after his feline companion Mrs. Norris was left petrified. Though the attack was later confirmed to be the work of a basilisk, students whispered among themselves: “Why such a fuss over a silly cat?”
Why indeed is the long-haired tabby always close to Mr. Flich’s heels? And why the very human name?
Sources close to the pureblood Norris family now confirm the shocking truth: the feline stalking the halls of Hogwarts was in fact once named Clothilde Katz, a Durmstrang graduate and former undersecretary to the Minister of Magical Animal Welfare.
Katz met her late husband Archibald Norris at a Ministry of Magic holiday party. There, witnesses say, Mr. Norris conjured an entire thicket of mistletoe in which he privately wooed the young Miss Katz, a great beauty fifteen years his junior. Within six months, Katz and Norris wed in Durmstrang’s famed Gothic chapel, honeymooned in the Alps and settled in Ottery St. Catchpole.
A broomstick collision claimed Archie Norris’s life less than a year later, leaving his widowed bride heartbroken. The neighboring Filch family soon took her under their wing, frequently inviting her to join them for meals and conversation. It is also believed that they hired Mrs. Norris to provide private tutoring to their then-teenaged son, Argus.
Why tutoring? Ottery St. Catchpole resident Thomas Peepington explained, “Start of every term, them Filches all pretends like Argie gone to King’s Cross with the rest of the Hogwarts lot. Ah, but don’t I see ‘im plain as you please practicing stunning spells with the pretty young widow in ‘er back garden? He ain’t never got no letter from Hogwarts, did he? We always says Argie’s naught but a common squib.”
Clothilde Katz Norris was last seen in human form leaving the Ministry of Magic offices to respond to an emergency call for the Ministry of Magical Animal Welfare. According to the Ministry logbook, she was sent to investigate an illegal cerberus-fighting ring. And she was not alone. An unnamed “assistant” was also logged as accompanying her, via the Floo network, to the alleged fight-ring site.
Newspapers of the time claim that upon arriving at the scene, Mrs. Norris was vaporized by an unknown dark-magic curse. A quiet, corpse-less funeral was held and the Norris estate divvied out among Archie Norris’s surviving nephews. Soon after, Argus Filch left Ottery St. Catchpole to join Hogwarts staff as caretaker. He was accompanied by a handsome tabby he claimed to have “named after” his slain neighbor.
Our investigation has led us to new evidence that Clothilde Katz Norris did not in fact die on that fated emergency call. She was instead transfigured with a spell so powerful, no counter-curse is known. Seventh-year Slytherin Piers Whithin, who took a first in the legilimency O.W.L., earned five double-detentions with Mr. Filch in order to ascertain the whole truth.
According to memories expertly pried by Piers, Mr. Filch had purchased a black-market wand from Lichtenstein when none of Ollivander’s wands would choose him. Upon arriving at the site of the supposed cerberus-fighting ring, Filch turned the wand on his pretty tutor and spoke a spell he believed was a love-enchantment. Instead, Mrs. Norris was fixed in feline form. Mr. Filch sought help from Professor Dumbledore, who thought it best to offer Mr. Filch asylum at Hogwarts and hush up the entire incident.
"They're together forever all right," Piers said. "Just not the way the poor sod had been wishing."
Laurel Garver is Thestral Gazette's editor-in-chief and communications secretary for S.P.E.W. She sings in Hogwarts choir, dabbles in Mermish poetry and tirelessly campaigns for an intramural Pegasus polo team.
Who else at Hogwarts do you suspect is not who he or she seems to be?