Harry felt himself going red in the face. It was bad enough that he’d passed out, or whatever he had done, without everyone making all this fuss.
“I’m fine,” he said, “I don’t need anything—”
“Oh, it’s you, is it?” said Madam Pomfrey, ignoring this and bending down to stare closely at him. “I suppose you’ve been doing something dangerous again?”
“It was a Dementor, Poppy,” said Professor McGonagall.
They exchanged a dark look, and Madam Pomfrey clucked disapprovingly.
“Setting Dementors around a school,” she muttered, pushing back Harry’s hair and feeling his forehead. “He won’t be the last one who collapses. Yes, he’s all clammy. Terrible things, they are, and the effect they have on people who are already delicate—”
“I’m not delicate!” said Harry crossly.
“Of course you’re not,” said Madam Pomfrey absentmindedly, now taking his pulse.
“What does he need?” said Professor McGonagall crisply. “Bed rest? Should he perhaps spend tonight in the hospital wing?”
“I’m fine!” said Harry, jumping up. The thought of what Draco Malfoy would say if he had to go to the hospital wing was torture.
“Well, he should have some chocolate, at the very least,” said Madam Pomfrey, who was now trying to peer into Harry’s eyes.
“I’ve already had some,” said Harry. “Professor Lupin gave me some. He gave it to all of us.”
“Did he, now?” said Madam Pomfrey approvingly. “So we’ve finally got a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies?”
“Are you sure you feel all right, Potter?” Professor McGonagall said sharply.
“Yes,” said Harry.
“Very well. Kindly wait outside while I have a quick word with Miss Granger about her course schedule, then we can go down to the feast together.”
Harry went back into the corridor with Madam Pomfrey, who left for the hospital wing, muttering to herself. He had to wait only a few minutes; then Hermione emerged looking very happy about something, followed by Professor McGonagall, and the three of them made their way back down the marble staircase to the Great Hall.
It was a sea of pointed black hats; each of the long House tables was lined with students, their faces glimmering by the light of thousands of candles, which were floating over the tables in midair. Professor Flitwick, who was a tiny little wizard with a shock of white hair, was carrying an ancient hat and a three legged stool out of the hall.
“Oh,” said Hermione softly, “we’ve missed the Sorting!”
New students at Hogwarts were sorted into Houses by trying on the sorting Hat, which shouted out the House they were best suited to (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin). Professor McGonagall strode off toward her empty seat at the staff table, and Harry and Hermione set off in the other direction, as quietly as possible, toward the Gryffindor table. People looked around at them as they passed along the back of the hall, and a few of them pointed at Harry. Had the story of his collapsing in front of the Dementor traveled that fast?