Technically the crisp, white chef’s hat had been stolen twice. The first time, it had been stolen from the chef who actually owned it by a mischievous soon-to-be first year, who had slipped unnoticed into a busy kitchen out of sheer curiosity. Admittedly, the first year had actually made himself invisible (accidental magic, man) or he would have been noticed and promptly evicted by the chef, but that did not happen and instead, the hat had found itself crammed into the bottom of a trunk and at RMI. The second time it had been stolen was by an eccentric house-elf who felt strongly that “crammed into the bottom of a trunk” was no such place for such a noble hat. And thus it had ended up in a den with many other hats. And now, it was sitting right in the middle of the stage in the theater - an unavoidable, starched and white intruder.
Unbeknownst to the hat, some wayward magic had slipped into it in the time it had spent tucked away in the Secret Passageways with all the other hats in the house-elf’s collection. Anyone who came within a few feet of it would be compelled to pick it up and put it on. Worse, it was now a semi-sapient Thinking Cap and would help grease the wheels in the wearer’s mind, bringing to light as many ideas as they might possibly come up with and compelling them to share them out loud. Unbeknownst to both the original first year and the house-elf, however, this was a particularly special chef’s hat in that it belonged to a chef who was an expert at poisoning people upon request, and it was very willing and excited to share its knowledge with its new wearer.