The Chang-Yang Family – Part 1
INT. HOGWARTS EXPRESS – AISLE – AFTERNOON
STUDENTS fill the corridor. They’re talking, laughing,
kissing, holding hands, watching videos on their mobile
devices, being casual, being carefree.
INT. HOGWARTS EXPRESS – COMPARTMENT – DUSK
MICHELLE CHANG-YANG, 15, Black, sits in a compartment
with her friends. 15 year old AISHA GOLDSMAN, a girl with
rich brown skin and long, deep red braids, is reading
BLACK MAGIC, a hair & beauty magazine and laughing at:
JAMES POTTER, also 15, a tall, brown haired boy, whose
makeup keeps being altered by LYRIC SCAMANADER, 16.
Lyric’s light brown skin and bright, red afro glow as she
debates with James over the softer pallet she prefers on
his skin rather than the dark and bold color scheme he
Michelle holds a book that she doesn’t read and sits
still, her attention caught by whatever is on her mind.
The train zooms by the moors of SCOTLAND, beautiful and
bone-chilling, but she doesn’t seem to notice. Her
friends laugh raucously and still, nothing draws her gaze
from her hands.
EXT. PLATFORM 9 3/4 – NIGHT
CHO CHANG, 49, Chinese, stands on the train platform and
doesn’t interact with any of the waiting families. She is
dressed to kill in a bright, color blocked pants-suit,
hair and nails perfectly manicured. In front of her face,
a screen floats. Cho uses her wand to scroll down and
read the next few paragraphs of the report displayed.
SMALL AND LARGE GROUPS OF FAMILIES have clustered in
their winter gear, making mindless chatter about their
yule plans and stealing glances at Cho who doesn’t even
wear a coat.
In moments, the HOGWARTS EXPRESS, in all of its crimson
and black glory, roars into the station and the air fills
with anticipation. Cho waves her wand to disappear the
screen. Suddenly she is excited and scans the crowd of
students eagerly. The too-cool-for-school business woman
of 2 minutes ago completely disappears when Cho spots the
person she’s looking for.
Bones! Bones! Shelly Bones!
Cho’s waving and calling out isn’t helping. She rushes
past the crowd in front of her and catches up to
Michelle, who is moving quickly towards a column to exit.
Michelle turns around, surprise evident on her face.
Cho embraces her daughter tightly. Michelle is still
surprised but returns the hug.
Where are your friends? I told
Harry and Ginny we’d bring James
He’s going to the movies with Ish
and Lyric. So, what’s up? What are
you doing here??
Baby, it’s your 16th birthday. I
know you didn’t think I would let
someone else be here.
(rolling her eyes)
My birthday is NEXT Saturday.
Your birthday is the month of
December. And nobody is picking up
my baby from the train for her
16th birthday visit-but me. I
forced all of the UK to
accommodate my schedule only for
my daughter to be unimpressed by
(She lets out a
Ready to go?
Cho takes Michelle’s hand and begins walking towards the
There is a short line of people waiting to go through but
she goes to the front and steps in front of the family
beginning to push themselves into the brick column.
Hi, sorry, just got word. Big
emergency. Happy Christmas to you.
Cho steps through the column, leaving Platform 9 3/4
behind. Michelle glances at the stunned family,
embarrassed. She mumbles something unintelligible and
follows her mother through the column.
INT. CHANG GRANDPARENTS DINING ROOM – NIGHT
Michelle and Cho sit on opposite sides of a small dining
room table. At the head of the table is GRANDPA CHANG,
60s, kind with a bright twinkle of humor in his eyes, and
GRANDMA CHANG, 60s, the resident bearer of truth in the
family, sits across from him.
All dialogue in italics is in Mandarin
The only class I’m worried about
is Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Do you need an OWL in that?
She wants an OWL in all her
Of course she does.
(staring at her
It’s because I don’t know what
career I want.
Right now, she wants to work in
Magical Law as much as she wants
to be a Healer.
And last month, you thought it
would be fun to be an author.
You have so many interests little
It’s that curious mind you have.
The adults look at one another questioningly. Michelle is
pushing the food around on her plate but has hardly eaten
Your father said you’re doing
really well in Transfiguration.
snaps up at this)
They all look at her expectantly.
It helps that he teaches it? I’m
not afraid to try anything in that
Michelle gives them a small smile and takes a bite of
food before another question can be asked. Everyone is
quiet for a moment.
You alright honey?
Yes Mama, I’m fine.
Grandma Chang pats her daughter on the hand
understandingly. Teenage girls, what are you gonna do?
They carry on the conversation and leave Michelle to her
INT. CHANG GRANDPARENTS LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
Michelle and Grandpa sit on the floor, an elaborately
Chinese styled game of Wizards Chess between them.
Grandpa is the clear winner at this point.
Several of Michelle’s bronze pieces lie destroyed on the
floor in front of him while his red pieces stand tall
across the board.
You know, little one, I haven’t
beat you this bad since last year.
Michelle barely laughs.
Let’s call the game a draw, hm?
And talk about you.
I never draw.
Then let’s talk about what’s on
your mind then finish playing. I
don’t like playing against a
zombie. It’s not a good game.
Michelle doesn’t speak right away. Her eyes stay on the
Chess board, and the piece she’s holding. Grandpa sits
(so low it’s almost a
I’ve made a big decision but I
don’t know how to tell Mama.
Your Mama is a strong girl. Tell
her whatever it is.
What did you think when she
brought me home the first time?
This time it’s Grandpa Chang who doesn’t speak right
away. After a moment, he looks Michelle in her eye and
doesn’t look away while he responds.
I thought my daughter had went
Michelle absorbs this, still holding his gaze even though
she doesn’t want to.
32 years old, no husband, no
boyfriend. Busy job. A 2 year old
child she found in a building.
Black girl. I think ‘ah, she
finally fall apart from the school
It was an orphanage, Grandpa. And
she’s told me about him. He sounds
really nice. Do you think they
would’ve gotten married and had
their own family.
Their own children.
Who’s child are you then?
I know I’m Mama’s child. I just
wonder if she would’ve had her own
children if she could.
She can. She chose you. She said
you were born to belong to each
Grandpa Chang takes the piece from Michelle’s hands and
moves it on the board. He begins playing against himself.
Talk to your Mama, little one. She
will help you. You belong to all
of us and we belong to you.
INT. CHANG HALLWAY – NIGHT
Cho and Michelle side along apparate into the front
hallway of their home.
Pretty soon, I’m going to miss
that. You’re growing up so fast, I
lose a little bit of you every
She places a kiss on her daughter’s forehead and lets her
Mama…Mama, I need to be Chinese.
Michelle looks at her mother expectantly but Cho can’t
pretend like she understands. She can’t even follow where
this conversation is going.
Can you give me a little more?
I’ve been working on a spell.
Since last year. It’ll…make me
Baby, I don’t understand.
I want to look like my family. I
need to look like my family.
Cho finally registers what’s going on just stares. She
can’t believe this.
The spell is permanent.
Cho cries out but Michelle, unable to stop now that she’s
I’ve chosen my birthday as the
transformation date so I need to
get back to Hogwarts next week.
Dad’s going to be there to help me
and make sure nothing goes wrong.
Okay, just. Wait.
Cho puts her hands up, gesturing for Michelle to stop.
They stand there, looking at one another, each needing to
express more. More thoughts, more questions, more
beliefs, more viewpoints. But they can’t. So they stand.
INT. HOGWARTS HEADMISTRESS OFFICE – DAY
Cho is no longer standing. She’s pacing. Furiously. She
is a ball of tightly wound energy and when MICHAEL YANG,
38, Chinese, the consummate academic, enters the room,
she unleashes it all on him. The door to the Headmistress
of HOGWARTS’ office hasn’t closed before Michael has been
disarmed and pinned to the wall in a burst of incensed
magic by Cho.
HERMIONE GRANGER, 49, Headmistress, is alarmed but
instantly aware that she will have to be the voice of
reason. She quietly calls out to Cho from her desk.
Cho. Can you please let my
professor down from the wall?
(she only has
How. Dare. You.
Let me down. Now!
Cho doesn’t budge. She is all fire and fury. Hermione
disarms her, releases Michael and has them both pinned to
the seats in front of her desk in a matter of moments.
Cho watches as Hermione draws another spell with her wand
and encloses them in a large, clear cube. A thin,
transparent wall stands between her & Michael’s chairs
from floor to ceiling. Cho leaps from her chair, her rage
temporarily directed to Hermione but the air outside the
cube seems to be peaceful & undisturbed.
The cube is soundproof. I assume
this…conversation is about your
daughter so I can’t hear a word
you’re saying. Yell, scream, do
whatever you need. My office was
chosen for a reason so just let me
know when you’re done and ready to
explain what my role is supposed
Hermione turns her back on them.
I hate that bitch!
Don’t say my name! Don’t you dare
say my name! How could you
She asked me.
And the answer is no! You don’t
get to help my daughter feel like
she’s not good enough!
You need to listen to OUR daughter
about what she wants. We don’t
have the right to tell her no.
Yes we do Michael! We’re her
parents. It’s what the fuck we do!
She’s young, she wants to make a
decision that will affect her for
the rest of her life and WE TELL
Have you even talked to her about
it? She came to me because she
knew you wouldn’t listen-
AND YOU, YOU WORTHLESS ASSHOLE,
YOU SHOULD’VE COME TO ME
My name is Michael. And you’re not
the only one that cares about-
If you care about her, act like
Cho walks to the edge of the cube and bangs on it to get
(as though on a loud
Is everything alright?
Let us out of here.
She gestures, remembering Hermione’s instructions that
they can’t be heard.
Are you done? I can’t have you
throwing Professors all over my
Every portrait hanging in the office voices their support
of Hermione and their outrage at Cho’s behavior.
Just let us out.
Hermione vanishes the walls surrounding Michael and Cho.
They don’t take their seats again but they stay on
opposite sides of the room.
So…why are we here?
Professor Yang, please.
Why don’t you continue the
conversation I’m sure you’ve been
having with Professor Granger.
Certainly you and my daughter
haven’t set these grand plans to
take place on school grounds next
week and not shared them the
Michelle came to me at the
beginning of the school year and
informed me of an advanced
transfiguration spell she’s been
You knew about this in September?!
-to permanently alter her
Cho makes a noise of frustration. The Headmasters hanging
on the wall are shocked but Hermione urges Michael to
Her entire family is Chinese and
she wants to…look like the rest
Am I to understand that Michelle
is planning to perform a spell
that will permanently make her
I’m being quiet because if I say
anything, I’ll scream.
Certainly, Professor Yang, you
wouldn’t allow a student to
perform that kind of experimental,
and likely illegal, magic on the
She’s done the research, there are
no laws on record outlawing the
The spell combines 3 forms of
interchangeable magic in a way
I’ve never seen before. It’s a
transfiguration spell supported by
a charm and a potion, both of
which she also created. It’s quite
remarkable Professor Granger.
That doesn’t make it right,
As impressive as the magic sounds
-It’s a personal project and would
take place when students aren’t in
term! Michelle is not a student
next week, she’s my child visiting
me at my home.
Which is my school.
My daughter is Black, she is
beautiful and she’s going to be
both of those things forever.
Our daughter is brave and
brilliant and determined to do
That may be the case but she can’t
do it here at Hogwarts. If
Michelle wants to return to school
with a new…face, that’s a family
matter, that I would expect the
ministry to weigh in on, but I
cannot allow you to carry on this
experiment here. And I’m very
disappointed in you Professor
Yang, that you would abuse your
position in this way.
Michael Yang, you listen to me.
(she’s crying now)
You cannot do this. Don’t do this.
At 14 years old, Michelle created
a spell that most hundred year old
witches and wizards can’t fathom.
And she is very clear about her
reasons for doing so. You don’t
get to tell her who to be Cho. You
think that’s your job as her
parent but it isn’t.
I’m telling you in no uncertain
terms that she has my full support
and will have my full assistance
however SHE chooses to see this
Professor Granger, I apologize.
Michael wordlessly calls his wand to him and storms down
TO BE CONTINUED…