Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Chapter Summary and Analysis - Part One
Well she's done it again! The longest book yet, and children lined up around the block at midnight to buy it as soon as it was released. Filled to the brim with new people, more places than we dared to imagine, and troubles - more than we can stand. It continued, faithfully, the Harry Potter saga with "authority," as though this might not be fiction at all, but a narrative history lesson. Characters blossomed more fully in our minds; and places, we've only heard mentioned, expanded full screen into our imaginations. The subject matter is darker: the rise of tyranny and fall of freedom; child abuse; death. The children are growing up; and, unfortunately, so is the "evil" in the books. Therein, as they say, lies the rub.
If I'm perfectly honest, however, this is the first of J K Rowling's books that I can only cautiously recommend to parents, with a disclaimer. Never mind my predilection toward revulsion of all tyrants coming to power (Nazi's, Viet Cong, Hussain) that I have come by honestly through all-too-personal relation to war. Rowling's depiction of Harry's "child abuse" took such center stage with me, that it was difficult to stay focused on what I'm sure she would rather have the reader be thinking about. Those parents who have enjoyed reading books about "Harry" to their younger children, should probably READ THE BOOK FIRST - if for no other reason than to decide before-hand how they will explain or discuss it with them. Yes, I understand the need to "move the plot along" and focus on Harry's extraction of the "prophecy"; but, in this day and age when the "abuse card" is played in children's literature it demands handling in certain critical ways, and with proper "resolution." Both of which, I found a bit lacking, if one is to consider this "children's" literature.
Teens, on the other hand, seem to be finding the book's action somewhat entertaining. In many aspects, the plot-line for "Order" is similar to Orwell's "Animal Farm," frequently required reading in many U.S. high schools. And certainly most teens either know about or have even experienced some form of bullying or abuse in their lives - all to many times in the school setting. What IS needed today, is mentoring on what actually to "expect" from healthy relationships with parents, teachers and other adults; and, how to obtain that type of relationship one way or the other. The closure provided in this book was inadequate. Perhaps the tyrant's will "get it" in a later book …. We can only hope!
- Dudley Demented
- It had become increasingly difficult for Harry to weasel around his Aunt and Uncle's demeaning prohibitions against watching the television news with them in order to see if Lord Voldemort was doing anything now that he was back. Lurking outside their television room window, Harry was startled by the loud "crack" of someone apparating which made him stand quickly, bang his head, and have to endure another Uncle Vernon tirade. He got away from his uncle only by insulting him (for which he knew he would pay later) and going for a walk. He had become so frustrated by Ron and Hermione's letters which told him absolutely nothing, that he had not opened his birthday presents from them before he threw them away. Walking in the park he met his cousin, Dudley- who had taken to boxing, and Dudley's gang- who had taken to beating up other children on the playground. Harry wasn't in the least bit frightened anymore of Dudley so, while they walked home, he exercised his new found, freedom-from-fear by baiting his cousin; and, was taken off guard when Dementor's suddenly appeared in the alleyway to attack them. Dudley could see nothing except Harry and his wand, so of course he began threatening Harry stupidly, but very loud. Blindly, Dudley threw a punch at Harry and knocked the wand out of his hand. He, despite Harry's warnings he ran into the alley, directly toward the Dementor's! Harry yelled at him to "keep his mouth shut" no matter what happened, then began looking for his wand in the dark. He had difficulty producing a patronus, while he was being attacked, until he thought of Ron and Hermione. Those thoughts helped him produce his protective, white Stag. After he was released, Harry directed the stag into the alleyway to save Dudley who was within an inch of receiving the Dementor's kiss. As the Dementor sailed away, their batty, old neighbor, Arabella Figg, appeared, babbled threateningly about killing Mundungus Fletcher, took charge, and, much to Harry's amazement, told him: "don't put your wand away, idiot boy."
- A Peck of Owls
- Agitated, lest more of the Dementor's appear, Figg revealed that she was: actually a squib, had kept watch over Harry under Dumbledore's orders, and had warned Mundungus Fletcher not to leave his guard post for an illegal business deal. She told Harry that it was Mundungus who he had heard apparate outside his window. When Mundungus finally appeared- drunk- she chastised him severely about the head with her bag; then, sent him on to warn Dumbledore so that he could do "damage control" with the ministry, who, apparently, were eagerly awaiting Harry breaking a rule so they could punish him. She helped Harry carry the massive and blithering Dudley back to Privet Drive where, as usual, his aunt and uncle blundered accusingly through demeaning insults and threats, while forcing him to explain- but not listening to him. Uncle Vernon was just getting warmed up in his tirade when an owl flew in with a letter from Malfalda Hopkirk, of the improper use of magic office, telling Harry they "knew of his use of magic and that he was expelled from Hogwarts." Officials would be there momentarily, she wrote, to destroy his wand! His stupefied brain was just clear enough to decide to run away before that could happen; but, uncle Vernon grabbed him. He told them that the school had "just chucked him out" so he could now use whatever spell he wanted, and he had better be let go! He had almost counted to three when a second owl flew in with a "crack." This time with a letter from Arthur Weasley, Ron's dad, who said that Dumbledore was trying to sort it out. Do not leave your aunt and uncles house. Do not do any more magic. Do not surrender your wand."
So, there was nothing he could do but to numbly sit back down, say he was staying and explain about the Dementor's. When uncle Vernon began belittling him about "dementy-whatzits" aunt Petunia shocked them all into silence by explaining "they guard Azkaban, the wizard prison." She immediately followed by clamping her hand over her mouth, stunned herself. Harry demanded to know "how do you know that" and she said "I heard that awful boy tell it to my sister." The awkward silence was broken by a third owl from the ministry advising that they had rescinded his expulsion of their first letter, but that he was still summoned to a hearing on the 12th of August." Now Harry could think of nothing else to do but try and escape to his bedroom; except, he was forcibly stopped by his uncle who demanded to know what had happened to Dudley. Resignedly, Harry explained about the Dementor's, how they effected people and that they "sucked out your soul with a kiss"- to which Petunia grabbed Dudley and shook him (to see if she could still hear his soul rattling around inside?) He was just getting to the part about conjuring the Patronus when a fourth owl flew in with a letter from Sirius saying: "Don't leave the house again, whatever you do." This was such an unbelievably inadequate response that Harry nearly exploded with anger. His two worlds had become fused and turned upside-down! His magic world was shutting him out and his muggle world was more magic than they ever admitted. He decided to get it over with uncle Vernon as quickly as he could and forced himself to make an explanation about how the Patronus he made had saved them both and that the Dementor's had probably been sent by Lord Voldemort, who was back. Then uncle Vernon did explode bellowing for Harry to "get out of my house" because he was not going to "put my family in danger!" Harry sat dazed and stupefied over what was happening and about how he was going to get around his uncle's expulsion when a fifth owl "zoomed down the chimney so fast it actually hit the floor" before it delivered a "howler" to aunt Petunia. She didn't open it so it exploded with an awful voice which filled the kitchen saying: Remember my last, Petunia!
Trembling, Petunia reversed herself saying: "The boy will have to stay" to Uncle Vernon's utter befuddlement. As Harry burst with questions about who the letter was from and what it meant he was ordered, threateningly, up to bed!
- The Advance Guard
- In his bedroom Harry wrote angry letters to Ron, Hermione and Sirius then told Hedwig to deliver them and "keep pecking them until they had all written lengthy replies." For three days he stayed in his bedroom only going out to the bathroom. Aunt Petunia slid his meals in through the cat flap in his door and solidly refused to answer any questions. On the fourth night his uncle locked Harry in his room and announced that they were leaving the house to go accept a "best kept lawn" award. This turned out to be only a ruse so that a guard of witches and wizards could escort him to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix where he was to stay for the rest of the summer. There was: Alastor Moody, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore and Hestia Jones. While they waited for the "all clear" signal, Tonks helped him pack his trunk. She explained that she was a Metamorphmagus and could change her appearance at will which had helped her become an Auror. When Harry said that he wanted to do it, so he could remove his scar, she said he would have to "learn how to do it the hard way." After Moody had "disillusioned" Harry to look like his surroundings, they began their flight on their brooms. The guard had a plan to give their lives, if needed, in the journey and nearly froze to death before they finally landed in front of some shabby London homes. Moody used the put-outer he had borrowed from Dumbledore to douse the streetlamps; then, handed Harry a note, in Dumbledore's hand, which said "the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix can be found at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, London."
- Number Twelve Grimmauld Place
- But, there was no house between numbers 11 and 13 on Grimmauld Place, until Harry thought of the note from Dumbledore. When he did, an old building sprang up looking and smelling like something . Doorknockers, chandeliers, candelabras and doorknobs were all in the shape of serpents. When inside, Mrs. Weasley greeted him in a rib-cracking hug. Afterward she shunted him upstairs to his room while his guard joined an Order of the Phoenix meeting already in progress. Ron and Hermione were excited to see him and apologized profusely over not being able to communicate anything to him claiming it was on Dumbledore's orders. Harry, finding the anger which he had stored up for weeks, vented all his frustrations at them. He shouted about all the things he had pent up inside him. About how he had been excluded, neglected and demeaned, until Fred and George apparated into the room and quieted him. The house they were in belonged to Sirius Black now and was used by the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society formed by Dumbledore to fight against Voldemort the last time he was active. They had used some Extendable Ears, invented by Fred and George, to listen in on meetings until Mrs. Weasley found out about their intended joke shop and confiscated almost all their assets. Bill had come back from Egypt and was now working with Fleur DeLacour at Gringott's. George was still in Romania trying to win members for the Order. And, Percy had moved out after a fight with his father. Fudge had offered him a job as junior assistant in his office in order to spy on the Weasley's and Dumbledore, and Mr. Weasley had told Percy so. Percy, however thought so much of himself that he left in a huff and blamed his father for their poverty. He now espouses the Fudge line of thinking, which was that Dumbledore etc were traitors to the ministry.
Hermione told Harry of the maligning things the Daily Prophet had been writing about Dumbledore and him, all summer long. Under Fudge's orders the paper had been making him out to be a lying, attention seeking, great tragic hero and sort of a standing joke. They didn't report about the Dementor's and were keeping quiet about Voldemort. They told him that a "nutter" house elf named Kreachur served in the Black house who had a "life ambition to have his head cut off and stuck up on a plaque just like his mother," which had been the Black family tradition when house elves got too old to carry a tea tray. After being called for supper, they stopped on the stairs to eavesdrop on Snape who was also in the Order. But Snape left because "he never eats at the Order." Tonks clumsily smashed into a trolls-foot umbrella stand and set off a tirade from a portrait of a miserable old witch in the hallway. The wailing set off all the other portraits in the hallway and Mrs. Weasley had to use her wand to stun them silent. The foul witch screamed insults about "blood traitors befouling the house of my fathers" until the curtains were wrestled back over her by Sirius and Lupin. Panting and out of breath, Sirius greeted Harry saying, "I see you've met my mother!"
- The Order of the Phoenix
- Sirius explained that the portrait of his mother, a pure blood Slytherin if ever there was one, must have been bewitched because they couldn't remove it from the wall. Offering his house to the Order, he said, was about the only useful thing he had been able to do. He was the only Black left alive and Kreachur only reluctantly obeyed him because of the enchantment placed on house elves. In the basement kitchen he saw what looked like plans to a building, still left out from the meeting, until Bill hurriedly vanished them. Mundungus half-heartedly apologized to him. When he told Sirius that his summer had been lousy he didn't get any sympathy and Sirius said that he would have welcomed a Dementor attack to break the monotony. He had been inside for a month on Dumbledore's orders. Mundungus, a thief, longed after the solid silver, goblin-wrought, goblets embossed with the Black family crest on the table. Fred and George nearly stabbed Sirius when they used magic to help set the table and were reprimanded by their mother. She said none of the other children had been like them, but stopped short when she referenced Percy. Tonks provided her usual meal time entertainment by repeatedly changing the shape of her nose. Bill was working with the goblins, specifically Ragnok, trying to prevent them from siding with Voldemort who might be offering them freedoms which wizards were denying. Mundungus regaled them with tales of his less-than-honest business dealings and Sirius explained that he was in the order because he "knew all the crooks" and owed Dumbledore, "who helped him out of a tight spot once." Harry's wanting to know more of what was going on precipitated a substantial argument between Mrs. Weasley and the other adults present. Dumbledore had ordered that Harry not be told "more than he needs to know" which upset Harry. Molly accused Sirius of thinking Harry was his childhood friend James. Then Sirius retaliated with "he's not your son" to which Molly bristled "he's as good as." Finally Ginny was taken to bed and Sirius explained "adult order things" to the other kids.
Basically- Voldemort has been keeping low because Fudge was conveniently ignoring that he was back and Harry had messed it up for him because he wasn't supposed to survive his return in the cemetery. Now, Dumbledore, who was the only person Voldemort was scared of, was the first one to know that he was back; and, was able to recall the Order. Dumbledore had a "shrewd idea" of what Voldemort was up to and the Order was trying to prevent him using enticement, befuddlement and coercion to recruit any more followers, or creatures like the Giants. Fudge is afraid of Dumbledore, thinking that he wants the ministers job, and was coercing the news media not to report any of Dumbledore's "rumor-mongering." They were all keeping a low profile but Dumbledore had lost his Wizengamot and International Federation positions for making speeches that "Voldemort was back." Bill said that Dumbledore wasn't concerned about it "as long as they didn't take him off the chocolate frog cards." They let slip that Voldemort was trying to obtain "a weapon that he didn't have last time" and Molly broke up the session; but, not before Lupin had told them that only overage wizards (who were out of school) could join the Order.
- The Nobel and Most Ancient House of Black
- Mrs. Weasley put them to bed and Harry noticed a blank painting on his wall which had heavy, slow breathing coming from it as if someone was asleep. Ron locked the door because Kreacher had a habit of coming in unannounced. Fred and George apparated into the room to confabulate with them about what the "secret weapon" could be, and where it was. The next thing they knew it was morning and they were in the drawing room helping Mrs. Weasley clean out the doxies and nests of dead Puffskeins. While they were all spraying Doxycide on the Doxies, Sirius came in on the way to his mothers old bedroom to feed Buckbeak some dead rats. Being very polite to each other, Mrs. Weasley and he agreed that a locked cabinet contained a Boggart. The doorbell rang setting off a cacophony of screams and wails from Sirius' mother's portrait in the hall. It was Kingsley Shacklebolt who said he had just been relieved and wanted to leave a report for Dumbledore. The Doxies put up a fight and, despite their mothers prohibitions, Fred put an unconscious creature in his pocket. He explained to Harry that they wanted to experiment with it's venom for their "skiving snack boxes" which they were going to sell. The boxes contained a two sided piece of candy. One side produced an "illness" which would get the eater out of a boring school class the other side was the antidote to take once you were out. Mundungus tried to store some stolen cauldrons at the house and was soundly expelled by Mrs. Weasley.
Kreachur, the house elf, slipped into the room and, as was his habit, muttered all the insulting thoughts he was thinking without realizing he was doing it. It was clear he was disgusted with all the Mudbloods and "blood traitors" who had come into "his mistresses house." Hermione was solicitous of him despite his insults, saying that "it wasn't in its right mind." Sirius came in and realized that the elf was trying to secret some more of the things that they were all trying to throw away. He pointed out the tapestry with the black family tree. All the "normal" people, including himself, had been blasted off the tapestry as they were disowned by his mother. He said that he had run away from home at 16 to live with James's parents. His uncle Alphard helped him get his own place when he became 17. His brother Regulus Black had been killed 15 years ago when he tried to quit the Death Eaters. "He was killed by Voldemort, or on his orders more likely," Sirius said, because he "wasn't important enough to be killed by Voldemort himself." Phineas Nigellus, his great-great-grandfather, was the least popular headmaster of Hogwarts. A cousin of his mothers, Araminta Meliflua, tried to force through a bill to make Muggle-hunting legal. Aunt Elladora started the tradition of beheading house elves when they got old. Tonks' mother, Andromeda, was Sirius' favorite cousin but had married a muggle. Narcissa Black married Lucius Malfoy and produced Draco. Bellatrix Black had married Rodolphus Lestrange who were both in Azkaban. Sirius said that Mrs. Weasley was his cousin by marriage and Mr. Weasley was his second cousin once removed. He said he hated being forced to come back to live in the house but had no choice. The house was unplottable, had many protective spells and had Dumbledore as its "secret-keeper" so no one could know its address unless Dumbledore told them personally. Harry asked if he could come back and live with Sirius if he was expelled. Sirius said he "would see." The house put up a fight at being cleaned. A silver snuff box bit Sirius giving him a rash that he had to magically cure. George surreptitiously took a box filled with Wartcap powder. There was a curious music box whose music made them all sleepy and a heavy locket that no one could open. Sirius prevented Kreachur from retrieving a large golden ring bearing the Black crest which had belonged to his father.
In their "cleaning war" with the house to clean it, Sirius had to threaten Kreachur to leave things alone. When he threatened to give him clothes the elf muttered that he wasn't worried because he knew to much about their "treachery against Lord Voldemort." Even though he was still having unsettling dreams about corridors and locked doors that made his scar prickle, Harry was having fun. When he thought about his upcoming Ministry hearing he had fear that jabbed at his insides like needles. The night before the hearing Dumbledore came to the house but didn't ask to talk to Harry which made him feel, if it were possible, even worse. Mr. Weasley was going to take him to work with him the next day.
- The Ministry of Magic
- Harry worried himself wide awake at half-past five and quietly dressed to more sniggers from the blank picture on the wall. He left Ron still asleep and found Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Sirius, Lupin and Tonks waiting for him in the kitchen. They were just coming off duty and saying Scrimgeour was "asking funny questions" so they needed to be careful around him. Harry could only eat toast and Mr. Weasley, dressed as a muggle, bracingly told him "It'll all be over soon… you'll be cleared." He said that the hearing would be on his floor in Amelia Bones' office who was head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. While Mrs. Weasley tried to comb down his unruly hair, Lupin counseled that "even underage wizards are allowed to use magic in life-threatening situations." They left early and took the underground train with the muggles to Mr. Weasley's absolute delight. In the very heart of London and headed down a side road to some shabby looking buildings, a pub, a dumpster and an old red phone box. Inside the phone box they dialed 62442 (magic) and told a woman's voice who they were and why they were here. A badge labeled "Harry Potter, disciplinary hearing" ejected from the money chute and he was told to submit to a search and register his wand. The box descended deep into the ground stopping in a splendid hall lined with fireplaces and a fountain depicting a wizard, witch, centaur, goblin and house elf. Harry desperately told himself that if he was not expelled he would donate ten Galleons to the fountain for St Mungo's hospital. A watch wizard "wanded" Harry with a long gold rod then weighed his wand on a machine which produced a receipt describing his wand. They took another elevator upward and the same woman's voice announced each floor and what it contained. Seventh- Magical Games and Sports, Gobstones, and Ludicrous Patents. Six- Magical Transport, Floo Network, Broom regulatory control, Portkey and Apparition offices. Office memos in the form of paper airplanes flew in and out on each floor. Five- International Magical Cooperation, Office of Law and Confederation of Wizards. Four- Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Goblin Liaison and Pest Advisory offices. Three- Magical Accidents, Reversal Squad and Obliviator Headquarters. And, finally, two- Law Enforcement, Improper use of Magic, Auror and Wizengamot services. Mr. Weasley's office was very obscure on the other side of the building. Kinsley Shacklebolt pretended to barely know Mr. Weasley and said they had received a tip that Sirius Black may still be using his old motorcycle. He mentioned an article in the Quibbler which Sirius might enjoy.
As he was telling Harry about some regurgitating toilets that he needed to investigate, Perkins, an old wizard panted into the office saying a memo came changing Harry's hearing. It was now earlier and down in courtroom ten. They were late and took the elevator back down to the 8th floor atrium where a sallow-skinned wizard named Bode got in. They went down further to the ninth floor- Department of Mysteries, down the hall to a plain black door then right down some stairs into a dungeon like corridor with rough stone walls and torches in brackets. Panting, Mr. Weasley said he couldn't go in and directed Harry through a door with a heavy Iron handle.
- The Hearing
- Harry was stunned! He was in the same courtroom that he had seen in Dumbledore's Pensieve where the LeStrange's were sentenced to Azkaban. About fifty people were in the high benches behind Fudge wearing the plum-colored, monogrammed robes of the Wizengamot. Fudge began an obviously mean-spirited, abusive inquisition of Harry with complete disregard for common legal procedure, rule of law or human rights. His agenda was clear: to abuse, slander and railroad Harry into expulsion from Hogwarts without the opportunity to defend himself. Percy, showing his true self, anxiously served as scribe. Unexpectedly to Fudge, Dumbledore appeared as Harry's Witness for the defense. Fudge lied that he had sent Dumbledore a message about the time and place having been changed; but, Dumbledore merely said he "fortunately arrived three hours early so no harm done." Fudge read the charges that Harry had illegally produced a patronus in front of a Muggle then brow-beat him, not allowing Harry's explanations. Mrs. Bones was impressed that Harry could make a Patronus. Fudge belittled Harry's explanations with his own conjectures given as evidence in the trial. Dumbledore had to embarrass Fudge into allowing the "accused to present a witness on his behalf." Mrs. Figg came in and told them that she was a Squibb and had seen the Dementor's attack Harry and his cousin. Fudge belittled her testimony and that Dementor's "just happened to be in a muggle suburb." Dumbledore parried his dismissive attitude by discussing that they must have been either ordered there OR they were acting outside of Ministry control. Fudge blustered and couldn't accept either possibility but wouldn't call Mrs. Figg back to question her more fully. Delores Umbridge, looking like a toad, pressed into the conversation with her sickenly sweet voice. Dumbledore flustered Fudge further by reminding them about avoiding a miscarriage of justice but Fudge just tried to bring up other untrue charges, like when Dobby did magic at Harry's house. Panicked when Dumbledore offered to bring Dobby in to testify, Fudge brought up activities at Hogwarts. Dumbledore pointed out that the Ministry had no authority to punish students at school, expel students or confiscate wands until charges are proven. He then opinioned that Fudge had "inadvertently overlooked a few laws himself." Fudge bellowed that "laws could be changed," and Dumbledore observed the fact that Fudge had "already begun holding a full criminal trial to deal with simple underage magic!" Dumbledore could see that many in the Wizengamot were uneasy over what they were doing to Harry, so he asked for a vote. Harry was understandably anxious over not being allowed to present any of his defense but his "swollen heart constricted his air passages" every time he tried to speak as the people whispered amongst themselves. Finally, Madame Bones took a vote. Fudge and a half dozen others, including Umbridge and the heavily mustached wizard and the frizzy haired witch in the second row voted that he was guilty. The rest voted that he was not. Looking at the vote, Fudge lowered his hand and said, in a voice distorted by suppressed rage, "Very well… cleared of all charges." Dumbledore merely said "excellent," vanished his armchairs, and said "good day." All without looking at Harry... even once!
- The Woes of Mrs. Weasley
- With Dumbledore's hurried departure, Harry sat alone struggling with his feelings of both relief and shock. Everyone in the room completely ignored him and it was minutes before he got the understanding that he could get up and leave. Mr. Weasley stood outside the door numb as well, because Dumbledore didn't say anything to him either. As people began filing out the door past them, Mr. Weasley was completely aghast that Harry had been tried by the full court! As they reached the Department of Mysteries corridor they found Lucius Malfoy talking to Fudge. Of course he maligned them both and claimed that he and Fudge were discussing matters of privacy. Gold jingled in his pockets as he straightened his robe. Mr. Weasley tried to reassure Harry that Fudge wasn't under the Imperious curse even though he was meeting in unusual places with a Death Eater, at least that was what Dumbledore said. Harry dumped his entire bag of money into the fountain, more than fulfilling his promise. Back at Sirius' house everyone was jubilant and said that "he was bound to be cleared." But Harry realized that everyone seemed quite relieved considering they knew he would get off. He agreed with their assessment of Dumbledore's help; but, when he thought how disappointed he was becoming that Dumbledore never spoke or looked at him, his scar hurt. When he winced, he had to explain that it was "happening all the time now." Over the next few days Harry noticed that Sirius was becoming more testy and solitary and Hermione proffered that it was because he was hoping Harry would have been able to stay. They continued to clean and try to eavesdrop on Order members, who were talking in whispers, using the twin's extendable ears that they had invented. However, they didn't learn much more and they longed to be back at school. Book lists came and the fact that a DADA book had been assigned meant that Dumbledore had finally been able to find a new teacher despite the trouble he was having. Ron and Hermione were excited, and stunned, that they received appointments (and badges) as prefects. Mrs. Weasley was ecstatic, offered to buy Ron a reward, then kissed him. He asked for a new Cleansweep broom. Harry had to deal with his jealousy over Ron's appointment but quickly resolved it when he realized what a good friend Ron had always been to him and that he didn't usually get much recognition.
Mrs. Weasley gave a little party of celebration for all the good news of the day. Many of the Order were there and even Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody came. He used his magical eye to check inside a cabinet and identify that it did, indeed, contain a Boggart. His words of encouragement to Ron involved that Dumbledore must feel that Ron was strong enough to handle most major jinxes or he wouldn't have appointed him a prefect. Tonks said that she was never chosen prefect, lacking the ability to "behave myself." Sirius also confessed that he couldn't have been chosen prefect because he spent too much time in detention with James. Lupin was the prefect, possibly hoping, he said, that he might have been able to influence the rest of the Marauders. When Mundungus came, he brought some illicit Venomous Tentacula seeds for the Twin's skiving snack boxes. He tried to shake them down for more money but Harry pointed out Moody's roving eye to make him honor his first commitment. Mrs. Weasley went up to "sort out the Boggart" and go to bed. Moody showed Harry a photograph of the original Order of the Phoenix members, inclusive of his mother, father and Wormtail. Many of the members were dead, including Edgar Bones, Marlene McKinnon and some Weasley relatives. The Longbottom's were tortured into insanity and were in St. Mungo's. Dorcas Meadowes was killed by Voldemort personally and Dumbledore's brother Aberforth worked in Hogsmead but wasn't seen much by the Order. The photograph made Harry uneasy and he excused himself to go to bed. Upstairs, he found Mrs. Weasley weeping inconsolably in the drawing room with a dead Ron on the floor in front of her. Harry realized it was a Boggart when it turned into Bill's body then Arthur's, twin's, Percy's and even Harry's. Lupin came upon them and his spell turned it into a silvery orb before it vanished in a puff of smoke. Still crying Mrs. Weasley confessed that she saw her family members dead all the time and was greatly fearful for them being in the Order. Lupin tried to console her that the Order was much more prepared this time and knew what Voldemort was up to. Last time "we were out numbered," he said, and "Percy will come around." He softly rebuked her for not realizing that he and others would take care of her family if she and Arthur were harmed. Alone in his bedroom Harry thought of the people in the photograph and that Mrs. Weasley had included him with her family in her Boggart worries. His scar seared with pain again and he said "cut it out" to himself. "The first sign of madness, talking to your own head," said a sly voice in the empty picture on the wall. Harry ignored it, thinking how trivial his worries were over who was made prefect, compared to the worries of Mrs. Weasley.
- Luna Lovegood
- Being too lazy to lift them, Fred and George tried to levitate their trunks down the stairs and knocked Ginny down two flights. The portrait of Mrs. Black wailed at them but not as loudly as did their mother for possibly injuring her daughter. Harry had walked, again, down a long corridor to a locked door in his dreams, which was frustrating; but, not so much as the massive undertaking of getting themselves and all their guards to the train. Sirius bounced around them as a dog, and Tonks was disguised as an old, gray-haired woman with a purple hat shaped like a porkpie. King's Cross station was a 20 minute walk away from headquarters and Moody was upset that Sturgis Podmore had missed his assignment to guard with them. Ron and Hermione had to go to the Prefect's coach leaving Neville, Ginny and Harry to find their own. They found one with another girl, Luna Lovegood, who was Ginny's age but in Ravenclaw. To say that she was odd would be a terrible understatement. She was oddly dressed and her father was the publisher of the "Quibbler," a wizard tabloid of dubious credibility. Neville showed Harry his "Mimbulus Mimbletonia" plant which his uncle Algie had given him for his birthday. He poked the plant with his wand and massive amounts of thick, stinking, dark-green liquid jetted all over Harry from it's boil like spines. At that precise time, Cho Chang chose to drop in and say hello, but decided it wasn't a good time and quickly left. Ron and Hermione finally came to their compartment and explained that there were two fifth-year prefects from each house. Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy were the prefects from Slytherin and were already abusing their power. Luna had an uncanny knack of saying embarrassingly true things about people mixed in with amazingly absurd beliefs about mythical animals. She believed, and espoused, the things that her father wrote in his tabloid, such as Fudge trying to take over Gringott's and cooking goblins in a pie. The Quibbler claimed that Sirius Black was innocent because he was really Stubby Boardman, lead singer for the Hobgoblins. Hermione had denigrated the publication before she realized that Luna's father wrote it.
They received their customary harassment visit from Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy told Harry to "watch himself" because he would be "dogging his footsteps," which they believed was referring to Sirius being the dog. Hermione and Ron left Harry to take care of their pets when they arrived at Hogwarts station, and Luna offered to help. They were upset to find that professor Grubbly-Plank was greeting the first year students instead of Hagrid. In the rain, there stood the hundred or so "horseless" carriages that always took them to the castle. But they were no longer horseless. They were being pulled by sort of reptilian-like horses with black coats which clung to their skeletons without any flesh. Despite standing right in front of one, Harry couldn't get Ron to see the beasts. Luna could see Harry's dilemma and offered that she could see them as well. In fact, she said, she had seen them ever since the first year. So, "you're just as sane as I am," she said, giving little comfort to Harry.
- The Sorting Hat's New Song
- Not wanting to talk about being able to see the same things as Luna, Harry changed the subject in the carriage to Hagrid's absence. Without malice, Luna said that most Ravenclaw's thought Hagrid's lessons were a bit of a joke. When Ron lashed back at her for her statement, Luna didn't seem perturbed by Ron's rudeness at all; but, simply watched him for a while as though he were a mildly interesting television program. Hagrid wasn't at the feast either and they speculated that he might not yet be back from his "mission for Dumbledore" over the summer. Harry was appalled to see the toad-like form of Delores Umbridge sitting next to Dumbledore. The sorting had sang a unique and lengthy song this year about how the school was founded by four friends who had different ideas about which type of students they should matriculate. They got along until Slytherin had too great of difference with Gryffindor and left the school. It said that it sorted students into houses because that was its job, but it wondered if separating students into rivalries wouldn't bring an end to the school. It warned them that they must be united from within in order to combat the dangerous foes from without. Nearly Headless Nick told them that the hat feels honor bound to warn students whenever it feels necessary. Ron and Hermione continued their continual bickering by sniping at each other over Ron's rudeness to their house ghost about how "he didn't have blood in his veins." Harry was used to it so he just continued eating. Dumbledore announced staff changes this year, welcoming Professor Grubbly-Plank for Care of Magical Creatures and Umbridge for DADA. Unexpectedly Umbridge gave her annoying "hem, hem" behind him, her desire to make a speech. Her words were pontifical and condescending as if the students were 5 years old. In a dull learned-by-heart speech she rambled about how things must change back to "tried-and-true" methods, and "pruning" and "practices which ought to be prohibited." It seemed as if only Hermione was listening or paying attention, and she interpreted for them that, basically, the speech meant the ministry was interfering at Hogwarts. Harry became aware that some students, especially the younger ones, were staring at him and even frightened. He had to be let in the common room by Neville who knew the new password: Mimbulus Mimbletonia.
Getting undressed for bed Seamus Finnigan revealed that his mother hadn't wanted him to come back to school this year because of Harry and Dumbledore. Harry flared in anger about his mother believing the Daily Prophet. Seamus asked him "what really happened" that night with Cedric Diggory and Harry made things worse for himself by spouting that Seamus "should just read the paper, like his mommy!" Harry suggested that he ask McGonagall to move him to another room just as Ron came in. Seamus called Ron "mad too" for believing Harry, and Ron responded that, unfortunately, he was also a prefect who would put him in detention if he kept it up. Neville stood up for Harry and none of the others seemed to have problems with Harry. As he laid on his bed trying to get to sleep Harry commiserated with Dumbledore who had been ousted from the Wizengamot and Federation for believing him. He wondered if that was why Dumbledore had seemed angry with him all summer.
- Professor Umbridge
- Seamus was out of the dormitory before Harry had got his socks on the next morning, possibly fearful of contamination from Harry. Hermione said that Lavender thinks Harry is lying too, which is exactly what Dumbledore said Voldemort would make happen: "spread discord and enmity." Angelina told them that she had been made Gryffindor Quidditch captain and now needed a keeper. The twins had a sign up advertising for testers of their new products which Hermione made them take down or she would write to their mother. They argued that she would be singing a different tune now that their O.W.L. year was upon them. Half their year had minor breakdowns worrying about the tests. They said that they were not going to come back next year to finish their N.E.W.T.s because they were starting their joke shop. Ron said it would be nice to be an Auror and Harry agreed. Hermione said she wanted to so "something worthwhile" like take SPEW further. In their History of Magic class Hermione threatened to not share her notes with them, when she saw Harry and Ron playing hangman. Cho came up to Harry to say hello and said she had an "alright" summer when he asked. Ron saw her "Tornado" Quidditch team badge and was rude to her, then argued, again, with Hermione when she pointed the fact out. Snape gave a warning about studying hard to get at least an "acceptable" on their Potion's OWL and assigned them to make the Draught of Peace, a potion to calm anxiety, in class. It was a most difficult and meticulous potion and Harry didn't do well. When Snape came around the class he maligned and harassed Harry then "evanesco'd" it away so he would get a zero on the assignment. Ron and Hermione began another of their arguments and Harry, finally exploded "give it a rest, will you?" when he couldn't take it anymore and left them alone. In Divination Ron apologized but said that "Hermione says you should stop taking your temper out on us." Trelawney had them use the Dream Oracle to interpret a recent dream. They couldn't remember one so they made one up. As they went to DADA they commiserated that every class had assigned them massive amounts of homework and they hoped that "Umbridge woman" didn't give them any.
Umbridge looked every much a toad as she had at Harry's hearing. She treated them all like babies having them all recite "Good Afternoon" to her. She criticized their previous training and posted her course objectives which didn't include any practical experience. Assigning them all to read the chapter in class she ignored Hermione's hand until she couldn't any longer. Hermione challenged the lack of actually practicing spells in the objectives and Umbridge merely ridiculed her and said "if you study hard enough" reading the book is enough to pass your OWL exams. She broke the students train of questioning by engaging them in battles over raising their hands; and, instead of answering their questions, she merely ridiculed that they weren't as smart as either her, the ministry or the author of the book. Questions came at her from many students until she said that Voldemort being back was a lie. Of course that engaged Harry (which is what she wanted) and began taking points from him, and continued calling Harry a liar and telling the class that they should report anyone spreading lies about Voldemort to her; because "I am your friend." She was able to finalize her scheme against Harry by calling Cedric Diggory's death an accident. When Harry exploded that "it was murder and you know it" she called him to the front in a sickenly sweet voice, gave him a letter of detention and sent him to McGonagall. He ran into Peeves, who taunted him, on the way to show McGonagall the note. McGonagall asked if the note, that claimed Harry had called Umbridge a liar, was true. Without defending himself adequately Harry said "yes." She merely said "have a biscuit" and told him that he needed to be careful. "Misbehaving in Delores Umbridge's class could cost you more than House points and a detention." She told him that Umbridge was reporting to the minister and that "this isn't about truth or lies, but about keeping your head down and temper under control." Then with no more adequate explanation or advice than that, she pointed him out of her office.
- Detention With Dolores
- Hermione's explanation of why the other students were, without much stealth, were whispering behind Harry's back, came across as condescending and set him off again. She asked him to '"stop biting my head off," as they strode the corridors of rain blown windowpanes back to their common room and the "mountain of homework" he had to do before bed. He felt as though his first day had lasted a week and was developing a dull pounding pain over his right eye. Hermione was clearly angry that Dumbledore had "let them" bring someone like Umbridge into the school- "especially in our OWL year" when we need to pass the tests. She and Ron began arguing again, to Harry's dismay, until she spied Fred and George testing their "Fainting Fancies" on first year students. She began ragging on them without effect until she threatened to write their mother. She was then so upset she couldn't study so went up to bed, first hiding some knitted hats for house elves to pick up and "be free" over Harry and Ron's objections. Completely exhausted they both went up to bed as well. The knitted hats were all gone in the morning but it was still raining and each class gave them more homework than they had ever had before but not before the professor had lectured them about the importance of their OWLs to their whole lives. Neither Harry nor Ron could do the vanishing spells which were supposed to be easier than conjuring spells. Professor Grubbly-Plank taught Care of Magical Creatures for the still absent Hagrid. Despite the excellent lesson on Bowtruckle's, which live in wand-quality trees, they had to put up with Draco Malfoy's arrogant taunts hinting that he knew Hagrid had been having trouble with giants. Luna Lovegood, with her hair tied in a knot and radishes hanging from her ears, expressed her belief in Harry telling the truth which Harry could only take with mixed emotions. Ernie Macmillan also loudly voiced support and belief in Harry. Angelina Johnson, Quidditch captain, jumped on Harry for "landing in detention" on the day of the Quidditch trials and demanded that he ask to be allowed to attend.
A sugary voice told Harry to "come in" when he knocked on Umbridge's third floor office door. He didn't recognize the room as it was covered in lace. Umbridge, as toad-looking as ever, refused his request to do detention another day in order to be at Quidditch try-outs. She maligned, demeaned and otherwise taunted him then set him to "writing lines" with an abusive magical quill that etched, on the back of his hand, in blood, the words he wrote on the parchment: "I must not tell lies." The wound healed then reappeared with the next written line, over and over for hours, until after midnight. Finally she made him show her his reddened hand and released him until tomorrow. He skipped breakfast to scribble some made up dreams for Divination class and found a disheveled Ron who hadn't done his homework either. Harry lied to Ron and just said that Umbridge was making him do lines. He gave up lunch to finish Care of Magical Creatures homework then got more from each class in addition to Angelina's tirade over missing tryouts. The second night his wounds didn't heal so quickly but he made no moan of pain and left, again, past midnight. He didn't finish Snape's essay until after two-o'clock then worked on McGonagall's questions and Grubbly-Plank's assignments before he fell, fully-clothed, on his bed. Thursday, the third day, passed in a haze of tiredness, unexplainably along with Ron. His hand didn't fully heal but remained scratched, oozing droplets of blood. The pause in the pointed quills scratching made Umbridge look up and, upon seeing the blood, dismissed him. He was telling himself that "she's evil… an evil, twisted, mad, old…" when he saw Ron hiding in the bushes from Fred and George who had gone by with a group of first years. Ron finally admitted that he had been practicing to try out for the Quidditch team keeper now that he had a broom. Then Ron saw Harry's hand and made him tell the truth about the abuse he was receiving from Umbridge. Harry refused to go to McGonagall or Dumbledore -- for reasons barely believable. On Friday, he set himself where he might be able to catch glimpses of the tryouts but couldn't see much. When night had fallen the parchment was now shining with drops of blood from the back of his hand which was searing in pain. As Umbridge touched the words cut into his skin, pain seared across the scar on his forehead and he had a most peculiar sensation somewhere around his midriff. He pulled his hand away then ran back to the common room to tell Ron and Hermione, only to find Ron celebrating that he made the team.
Angelina told Harry that Ron wasn't the best player but the other had problems so she wanted Harry to help him as much as he could. Hermione had fallen asleep in the chair after making and hiding more hats to set house elves free. He awakened her to tell her about Umbridge but she thought his scar hurting was just a coincidence and that he should tell Dumbledore. He flatly refused saying "that's the only bit of me Dumbledore cares about, isn't it, my scar?" He said he would write to Sirius until she reminded him that he couldn't put something like that in a letter.