Hogwarts Express--What's the Deal
JK Rowling has made it more than crystal clear that no one can apparate or disapparate onto/from the Hogwarts campus. (Just ask Hermione--she knows it!) It seems as though there is only one way to arrive: by the Hogwarts Express.
From my interpretation of the books, this train picks up all the students near London, travels all the way through the island up north, and then to Hogwarts' School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It sounds good in theory, but let's get realistic here: What about those students who live NEAR Hogwarts' School?
It can be inferred (and with common sense, I might add) that not every Wizard lives right near the trainstation. The Weasleys live in Ottery St. Catchpole, while Harry lives in Surrey. And I'm more than certain that the Malfoys live in some area of pureblood wizards. I highly doubt that they would ever be seen living with Mudbloods and ::gasp:: Muggles, meaning that they must live in Hogsmede village, or somewhere around there.
The book clearly says that Hogsmede village is entirely ALL WIZARD, and either one of the last or the very last around. There are shops, homes, and the like in the city itself. Students from Hogwarts are granted permission in their third year to visit the village on weekends, as long as they have a permission slip.
Think back to the Prisoner of Azkaban book--Harry didn't have a permission slip and snuck through an underground passage way. If what JK Rowling said is true (and it took Harry approximately 30 minutes to get there), then Hogsmede has to be around 1-2 miles from the school's campus. And if the Malfoy's or other families (in theory) live near the Hogwarts castle in Hogsmede, then why do they have to travel the entire distance to the trainstation, board the train, and then make the trip back up to the school? One can clearly see that they are back tracking for no reason.
This then leads me to some sort of other speculation. Is there more than one Hogwarts Express train? If so, there could be other train stations (such as the one at King's Cross) that pick up students in different areas of England, Ireland, and Scottland. Not only would this make more sense, but there wouldn't be such clutter at the train station and cause attention to Muggles. Wouldn't they figure out that there's approx. 1000 students/parents going through a wall? (Then again, those living at houses 1-3 on Privit Drive didn't notice the owls outside the Dursley's house.) However the "alternative train theory" doesn't work because if Draco lives near the school, then why is he on the same train as Ron, Harry and Hermione?
Or, could the train stop several times throughout its journey to pick other people up? Draco doesn't usually disrupt the Gryffindor Trio until about halfway through the book... but this can't possibly be true either. If he lived so close to Hogwarts, then why wouldn't he just meet up with the other students and take a carriage? Also, the Hogwarts Express is a DIRECT ride to school, with no stops.
This then leads me to believe that this is an oversight of the author.
JK Rowling didn't actually figure this out, and perhaps we've uncovered
something that she clearly missed. (And that is why folks, you always
live near the trainstation!)
By Fyre Wood
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