You would need to be living in a cave to have missed the recent Mr Grey mania – ASDA bookshelves across the UK have found themselves picked clean as ladies go out in force to grab the book. But what’s it all about? I’d like to say I knew – but from reading the Kindle sample, I’ve not felt especially inspired to spend my money on the book itself. So instead – I’ve taken what little I know from work colleagues who are reading it: there’s a contract, a dungeon and lots of saucy conditions…and given the Fifty Shades… treatment to some other areas of literature.
The Gryffindor common room was buzzing with the sounds of early evening activity. Several tables were occupied by groups of students: heads down, lips pressed tightly together in concentration; diligently completing their homework. In a dark corner, away from prying eyes, the Weasley twins were testing their latest lunchbox items on unsuspecting first years. A small girl was turning blue as she had a severe reaction to a Cough-it-up Drops. “More cough, less choke needed,” Fred nodded, making notes on a dog-eared scroll. Several members of the quidditch team were playing ‘dodge the bludger’, near the stairs leading up to the dorm rooms. That is, until Katie Bell nearly got hit in the face by it and swiped the bludger away with an over-zealous bat of her textbook, directing it straight into one of the ornate, stained-glass windows.
“Fenestra Reparo,” Hermione muttered as she passed by the still shattering window, absently waving her wand in the direction of the wall. As her charm caught the glass shards, they swirled upwards and flew back into the frame, repairing the window perfectly.
There was a determined expression on Hermione’s face as she marched towards the fireplace and Lavender Brown – taking note of this – swiftly dodged out of her path. An instant later, Hermione was standing before the two boys sitting on the sofa, who up until that moment had been happily chatting about the pros and cons of performance enhancing magic in sports.
“…it’s just unethical, mate.”
“A-hem,” Hermione coughed quietly.
Two faces turned towards her, wondering at her abrupt intrusion into the conversation.
“What’ve you done now?” Harry asked, taking one look at Hermione’s face and then swivelling to look at Ron.
“What…me…?” Ron scrambled, sounding a little confused, but also a tad guilty.
“Yes, you!” Hermione confirmed, fixing him with one of her sternest frowns.
“What has he done?” Harry asked, looking to Hermione for clarification.
“Ron made a wager with me that I wouldn’t be able to cast a particular spell – I did it and now he won’t pay up!”
“Well…it wasn’t a fair spell…” Ron began to protest, before meeting Hermione’s gaze and falling quiet.
“Oh, mate,” Harry laughed, shaking his head. “You bet against Hermione on something magic? Guaranteed fail.”
“That’s not the point.” Hermione insisted. “Ron’s forfeit is to become my slave for a week and now he won’t make the unbreakable vow to do it. I have the contract ready and everything.” She brandished a sheaf of papers in front Ron’s nose to reinforce the point.
“Help me out Harry – she wants me to spend two hours a day working with the house elves to help me appreciate their situation…”
“You agreed to the terms,” Hermione reminded Ron, ignoring his pleading tone.
“She wants to dictate how long I sleep for at night…” he went on.
“It will help you perform better in lessons during the day – you’re always staying up too late, then moping around in class.”
“And I’m only allowed to eat at the times she tells me I can!”
“It’s all for your own good!” Hermione exclaimed, gesturing towards Ron’s stomach with her wand, eliciting a nervous squeak from him, before he realised she wasn’t actually going to do anything to him. “No one wants a chubby Keeper on the team now, do they?”
“What do I get if I stick to the contract?” Ron asked, looking hopeful for the first time since the conversation began.
“You get rewarded,” Hermione said.
“And what happens if he doesn’t stick to the contract?” Harry asked, inquisitive eyes darting between his two friends.
“Then he gets punished.” Hermione confirmed, with a business-like nod of her head.
“Oh, fudge,” muttered Ron, beneath his breath.
Harry nodded. “Don’t ever bet against Hermione on magic – definitely a fail, mate.”