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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter Summary and Analysis - Part Three

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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!

5 - Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
Pages: 870

The Centaur and the Sneak
Pavarti told Hermione that she thought Firenze was a "gorgeous" Centaur, even though part of her allegiance was still to Trelawney who, she said, was crying in the tower over not "wanting to be here if Umbridge is still here. Hermione said she thought Umbridge "was just getting warmed up" and would take retribution against Dumbledore's appointing a DADA instructor himself. Dumbledore had "arranged" a first floor classroom to be a replica of the Forbidden Forest for their Divination class. Firenze had a hoof shaped bruise on his chest and explained that his herd had banished him from the forest for his willingness to "work for Dumbledore which they see as a betrayal of our kind. He then had to explain, heatedly, to Dean that Centaurs were "not bread by Hagrid" and were not the "playthings of humans." He kindly, but thoroughly, "debunked" Trelawney's "self flattering nonsense humans call fortune-telling." However, he then taught them "interpretation" of the stars, observation of "fume and flame," and capped it off with "don't put too much faith in it anyway because "even Centaurs get it wrong." "A weird lesson," Ron observed. Firenze asked Harry, after class, to take a message to Hagrid that: "his attempt is not working" and he should "abandon it." When he finally was able to give the message, Hagrid said that Firenze "is a nice bloke" but the "attemp's comin' on fine" and "there's things more importan' than keepin' a job." Pressure to do well on the O.W.L. exams was causing everyone stress but some students were breaking down in hysterics. The only thing that was getting Harry through it all was the D.A. where everyone was making great progress. Some were even able to make patronuses, especially Hermione who loved her otter. Neville was unsuccessfully trying hard to think of something happy when Dobby appeared to warn Harry that he had heard Umbridge find out about the D.A. and was coming to catch them. Everyone fled from the room but Malfoy used a trip jinx on Harry outside the door and delivered him to Umbridge.

Gleefully, she took him to Dumbledore's office where McGonagall, Fudge, some Auror's and Percy were waiting. Although not looking directly at Harry, Dumbledore warned him to keep quite with a slight shake of his head. Harry claimed no knowledge of any wrong doing so Umbridge brought in Marietta Edgecombe who had "tattled" on the group. As she did it, however, she broke out in purple pustules in the shape of the word "SNEAK" and she was refusing to speak further. Umbridge recalled that the heavily bandaged Willy Widdersham's had "tattled" on their first Hogshead meeting (which is why he wasn't prosecuted for his toilets). Finally, Dumbledore broke in and pointed out that "holding the meeting wasn't 'illegal' at the time." When Umbridge tried to ask Marietta if there had been continued meetings, Harry felt something waft against his cheek from Shacklebolt's direction and Marietta became blank and shook her head "no." Angry, Umbridge seized the apparently dreamy Marietta and shook her until Dumbledore cause her hands to burn and said he "couldn't allow her to manhandle my students." Recovering her composure she brought out the list of D.A. member names which was pasted to the wall and Pansey had retrieved from the room. Not missing a step, Dumbledore offered his 'confession' that it was the first meeting of 'Dumbledore's Army.' Fudge gloated to believe Dumbledore was actually plotting against him as he had feared; but, when Harry shouted "NO," he was told to "be quiet or be thrown out of the office." Fudge told Percy to send word to the Daily Prophet then take Dumbledore back to be charged and taken to Azkaban. Dumbledore calmly said he wasn't going to let that "little snag" happen then used spells to knock everyone but Harry, He and McGonagall unconscious and make the room look like a blast. He told McGonagall to pretend they had just been knocked down when they woke up and that he "wasn't going into hiding" and "Fudge will soon wish he'd never dislodged me from Hogwarts." He cut off Harry's apology with instruction that he "should learn occlumency." When Harry didn't immediately promise he would, Dumbledore touched Harry's arm which caused a pain to shoot through his scar and "a terrible snake-like longing to strike, bite or hurt the man." Dumbledore grasped a long tail feather of Fawkes and disappeared in a flash of fire. Fudge sent the others down to look for Dumbledore then told McGonagall to get the children to bed.

Snape's Worst Memory
It was Fudge's Educational Decree number twenty-eight which pronounced that Umbridge was now Headmistress of Hogwarts… officially… no, really! A "minor" problem was that no one really knew where Dumbledore had gone, and the headmasters office had mysteriously closed itself off completely so Umbridge (or anyone) couldn't get in to see or use any of its equipment or talk to the portraits. Fudge was now in the same class as Lucius Malfoy who had "gotten rid" of Dumbledore in their second year, so the students didn't really believe he was gone… really. As Hermione conjectured with Ernie that Umbridge was "Lording it over all the teachers, the stupid puffed-up, power-crazy old"… Malfoy introduced them to the fact that there were now "new rules" at Hogwarts by docking points from Gryffindor in his new role as a member of Umbridge's "Inquisitorial Squad." Five each for maligning Umbridge, contradicting him, having shirt not tucked into pants, not liking Harry and ten for being a "mudblood." As they stood dazed at the incredibility of Malfoy's action, Fred and George told them of forcing Montague's head into a broken vanishing cabinet before he "could get all the words out" of his docking. They said that they didn't care about getting into trouble anymore and "a bit of mayhem is exactly what our new Head deserves." "We would walk out now," they said, "if we weren't determined to do our bit for Dumbledore first." The twins told them all to get to where they could be seen so they wouldn't be blamed for… "phase one!" Just as they were leaving, Filtch came to retrieve Harry for Umbridge. The old man was in an exceedingly good mood muttering about "things changing, filthy beasts, power to whip you raw, hang by ankles" and "Educational Decree #29." Without worry, she could now use illegal means to obtain information from Harry, so she forced pumpkin juice on him which she had surreptitiously laced with truth serum. Remembering the lesson from Mad-Eye Moody, about drinking something offered from a known enemy, he only pretended to sip it, so was able to tell her he didn't know where Dumbledore or Sirius were located. Puffed with frustration she said it was she who had nearly caught Sirius in the Gryffindor fire and now all fires, except hers, were being monitored by the Floo Network. The "Ministry stands behind me," she gloated, all communication in and out are monitored, inquisitorial squad is reading all mail and Filtch is observing all secret passages. In her mid-pontification Fred and George's "phase one" began with a BANG. Magical, indestructible, long-lasting fireworks- Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-Bangs- went off all over the school which only multiplied with any attempt to remove them. Attempts at vanishing made them multiply by ten and teachers would summon Umbridge to remove them because "they didn't have the authority." Harry had just dozed off in bed that night when he had another vision of going into the Department of Mysteries; opening the black door into the circular room lined with other doors; opening another door into a long, rectangular room full of "clicking;" opening yet another door on the far end of the room; and entering a cathedral-like room full of towering shelves laden with small, spun-glass spheres. He was disappointed, however, when a bang from a firework startled him awake.

On the way to another Snape Occlumency lesson, Harry met Cho who called Marietta "a lovely person" who made a mistake," and a "terrible trick of Hermione." Harry told her not "to start crying again" and she stormed off angrily. Just as Snape was going to curse him again, and find out that he hadn't been practicing, Malfoy came to get Snape for Umbridge, who had just found Montague. As Harry was leaving the room he spotted the Pensieve and, convincing himself that Snape would be gone for awhile, he decided to take a look inside at Snape's memories that he didn't want Harry to know about. He saw the teenage Snape (along with Harry's father and friends) taking an O.W.L. exam. When finished, they went outside to the lawn; and, being bored, James began taunting Snape calling him "snivellus." Snape reacted as thought he was expecting an attack from James but was disarmed of his wand then knocked down to the laughter of other students who were watching. Then when Snape reacted with profanity, James magically filled his mouth with soap only to be stopped by Lily Evans (Harry's mother) who had been watching from the lake and had "startlingly green almond shaped eyes." James said he would stop if Lily would go out with him but was refused. Snape recovered his wand and produced a gash on James' face but was again disarmed and turned upside-down, hanging by his ankle, his fallen robe showing his graying underpants. Lily stopped him again so he was dropped onto the ground where he scrambled to his feet. James petrified him again. Then, when Lily shouted "leave him alone" he was released but said "I don't need any help from filthy little mudblood's like her." She told Snape that she "wouldn't bother in the future" then turned on James for his arrogance and stormed off saying "you make me sick." Just as James turned Snape upside-down again and asked if anyone wanted him to "take off his pants," Harry's arm was grabbed by the "real" Snape who had returned to the office and caught Harry in the Pensieve. Snape was so livid with anger that he could hardly speak. He demanded Harry never speak of what he saw then threw him out of his office "never wanting to see him in here ever again!" Harry ran but didn't want to go back to the tower. He "knew how it felt to be humiliated in the middle of a circle of onlookers," how Snape had felt by the taunting's of his father, and realized that, judging from what he had seen, his father had been just as arrogant as Snape had always told him!

Career Advice
It was Easter holidays which meant that Hermione spent the day in drawing up study schedules for the three of them. It was easier for Harry to let her do it than to suffer the arguments; but, even so, this year she badgered him mercilessly about not having Occlumency lessons anymore until he shot back at her to "give it a rest" and lied, saying Snape wanted him to "carry on by myself." Harry's otherwise quiet mood concerned Hermione until Harry told her about his "row" with Cho which set her and Ron off on their own animated discussion, thankfully leaving his own mind to ponder his father's actions in the Pensieve. The memory was "eating him up from the inside." How could his father have done that to Snape? Just because he was "bored"... and Lupin just sat there and let it happen… and his mother. The look of anger and disgust on her face bothered him as well. Where once he had felt pride and comfort at being told he "was like his father," now he just felt cold and miserable. Ginny, who had joined him at a library table and was finally able to extract him from his reverie, commented on his depressed mood and asked if he thought he should talk to Cho. Harry said it wasn't her but Sirius that he wanted to talk to. She surprised him by saying they would have to think of a way to do it explaining living with Fred and George taught her that anything was possible if "you had enough nerve." While they were pondering their upcoming interview with McGonagall to discuss preparation for their future careers, the twins appeared with news that they were going to cause a diversion so Harry could use Umbridge's fire to talk to Sirius. Completely aghast at the plan, Hermione gave them a nagging unlike they had ever seen before, right up until the time Harry used the magical lock-opening knife Sirius had given him to enter Umbridge's office. He had endured the "silent treatment" and another "zero" from Snape, and advice on how to be an Auror from McGonagall (continually interrupted by the ravings of Umbridge); but, now, he was going to talk to Sirius.

Umbridge fled from her office at the appointed time of the "diversion" and shortly afterward Harry threw Floo powder into her fireplace calling for Sirius. Lupin was startled by Harry's head and went to get Sirius, who was looking for the disappeared Kreachur. Harry told them the whole story, which he had seen, then didn't take kindly to their attempts to minimize it. They said that James and Sirius had been the "best at whatever they did" and were thought the "coolest." Snape and they hated each other from the outset, they said. Soon, Harry had them confessing that "they weren't proud of what they had done," admitting that Sirius and James were "arrogant little jerks," and saying that they were "bit of idiots." Lupin even remonstrated himself about "never telling you to lay off Snape." Harry asked how his parents could have gotten married, with her disliking him so much. Sirius said they "started going out in seventh year" after James had "deflated his head a bit, and stopped hexing people for the fun of it." "Snape was a special case," Lupin answered, "Lily didn't know much about their fights; but, Snape never lost an opportunity to curse James, so you wouldn't really expect him to take that lying down, could you?" Harry told them about Snape's reaction to his witnessing the memory and was just placating Lupin by saying he would try and get Snape to give him lessons again, when Filtch was heard coming toward Umbridge's office. Harry hurriedly put on the cloak and saw Filtch rummaging for an approval form for whipping. He followed Filtch back to where, just like the night of Trelawney's sacking, students and teachers were standing around something in a commotion, some of them covered in goo, like stinksap from Neville's Mimbulus Mimbletonia plant. Umbridge had Fred and George cornered and was telling them that they were "about to learn what happens to wrongdoers" in her school as Filtch, almost crying with happiness, told her that he had the forms and the whips ready. Almost nonchalantly the twins said: "you know, I don't think we are," and magically retrieved their brooms, which came crashing through doors and walls from Umbridge's office. They told the students they could buy a swamp from them at their new Diagon Alley premises, and they would get a discount on anything they purchased if they used it to "get rid of that old bat." As they flew out of the castle, they told Peeves to "give her hell from us"; and, never having done it before, the poltergeist doffed his hat and saluted as the students all applauded.

Dumbledore's prediction of chaos was proven to be grossly understated. The twin's exit became instant legend and hundreds began "trying-out" for their vacated title of "Troublemakers-in-chief." Teachers, who "didn't have the authority," preferred to watch Umbridge and Filtch struggle instead of helping so the swamp remained. Filtch patched the holes in Umbridge's door, left by Fred and George's brooms; but, didn't know where to turn in order to use the whip, he began carrying around to punish miscreants. Harry's Firebolt was taken to a dungeon and guarded by security trolls. Someone inserted a Niffler into Umbridge's office which tore it apart and then jumped on the witch when she returned. The castle air so thick with Dungbomb's and Stinkpellet's students routinely used Bubble-Head Charms in the corridors. The Inquisitorial squad became targets for spells and curses and developed cornflake-like skin eruptions or antlers. The Twins had sold so many skiving Snack boxes that entire classes (especially Umbridge's DADA) fainted, swooned, vomited or spouted blood and had to be let out. Despite using whole class detentions they would only tell her that it was "Umbridge-itis." But, taking their parting words to heart, Peeves took the lead in mayhem. After a hard day of smashing tables, juggling torches over screaming students, locking Mrs. Norris inside suits of armor, flooding the second floor, dropping tarantulas in the Great Hall and unscrewing chandeliers he "rested" by floating after Umbridge making rude sounds and remarks. Montague was still dazed and confused from being stuffed into the vanishing cabinet by Fred and George and had to be taken home by his parents. Ron and Hermione began thinking the twins had gotten their money for premises dishonestly so Harry had to tell them that he had given Fred and George his tri-wizard winnings. Not being allowed to nag on Harry for that she, instead, nagged on him about going back to Snape for occlumency lessons saying that Ron had overheard one of his dreams. Because of a Slytherin loss, Gryffindor played Ravenclaw for championship; and, without Fred and George, Ron had found a new optimism saying: "I can't get much worse so there's nothing to loose now." At Ron's first missed save the Slytherin's began their chorus of "Weasley is our king," but Harry and Hermione were interrupted by Hagrid's urgent request to accompany him.

He took them into the forest "while people were lookin' the other way." He took his crossbow with him because, he said, "the Centaurs are riled at me" for saving Firenze from their attack when he went to work for Dumbledore. After going deep into the forest he stopped to "fill them in" about possibly being "sacked" by Umbridge any day now. Seeing how upset Hagrid was, the two promised they would help him before they realized that what he wanted from them was to "look after" his half-brother: Grawp! He didn't want to come, Hagrid told them, but "I knew if I jus' got him back… an' taught him a few manners… I'd show ev'ryone he's harmless." They realized this was where Hagrid had been getting all his injuries when they saw that he was over 16 feet tall. Hagrid had him tied to trees for "his own good" and asked them "jus' to talk to 'im" so he can learn English. The other giants were bullying on him because he was a "runt." Having seen Grawp's size and misshapen appearance, Harry realized what Firenze had meant "the attempt is not working." In spite of their pleading not to do it, Hagrid woke Grawp up in order to "introduce them." It wasn't too clear that "Grawpy" understood all of Hagrid's instructions and he amused himself by bending down trees to look at bird nests. Hagrid introduced Hermione as "Hermy" because it was "easier to pronounce." Grawp shot his hand out at Hermione as Harry pulled her to safety and Hagrid scolded him with: "BAD BOY GRAWPY… YEH DON' GRAB-- OUCH!" Getting up from the ground with a bleeding nose, Hagrid said "I reckon tha's enough fer one day." On the way back they were confronted by the Centaurs who said "we thought we told you that you were not welcome here, Hagrid." They argued that Firenze had gone into "servitude" with Dumbledore and "there can be no return from such disgrace." Bane argued for killing Hagrid, but Magorian held that "the slaughter of foals is a terrible crime… we do not touch the innocent" so let them pass… this time! In parting, they called to Hagrid that their "tolerance is waning" about him keeping Grawp in their forest. Leaving Hagrid at the edge of the forest, Hermione was nearly hysterical over his completely irrational request of them to "look after" an unsocialized giant while banished by armed Centaurs. They didn't notice, at first, that the students leaving the Quidditch pitch were singing different words to "Weasley is our king." When they realized that it was now "he didn't let the Quaffle in" being sung by Gryffindor's with Ron on their shoulders they decided to hold their news until the morning.

Neither of them wanted to bring Ron back into reality in such a brutal way so they let him reverie in his Quidditch success. Finally, however, they had to admit that they really hadn't even seen any of his saves because they had been off meeting Hagrid's half-brother Grawp. Hermione summed it up: "he's been hidden in the forest, is 16 feet tall, enjoys pulling up 20 foot trees, knows me as 'Hermy' and needs to learn English." Remembering Aragog, the spider, Ron took the news less well than did Hermione. If Lupin had ever told Snape that he must continue giving Harry Occlumency lessons, he had been ignored as thoroughly as Snape was now ignoring Harry. It was all to the better, Harry thought, because nearly every waking minute was taken up with preparation for their O.W.L. exams to nearly a 'fever pitch.' Hermione started muttering to herself, people were selling fake "brain enhancers" and some were sent to the hospital wing for nervous exhaustion. The examiners arrived, a few having faces so lined that they looked like they had been draped in cobwebs. Umbridge, they were happy to see, was acting very nervous and was told by Professor Marchbanks the "Ministry would never find Dumbledore if he didn't want to be found" and she knew because she was the one who had examined him for his N.E.W.T.s and he "did things with a wand she'd never seen before." No one slept that night and they could hardly eat the next morning. The Great hall had been set up for their Charms test exactly like Harry had seen it in Snape's memory. Surprisingly, Harry could answer many of the questions just by thinking of times he had used them in his own experiences at Hogwarts, like making a club fly to hit a Troll that was attacking Hermione. The afternoon was spent in their Charms practical exams where no one got to see how the other's did, except that Harry saw Malfoy drop his levitated cup when the examiner greeted Harry as "famous." They had Transfiguration exams on Tuesday, Herbology on Wednesday and DADA on Thursday. Harry knew he did very well on the DADA exam, especially when the examiner, out of curiosity, offered him a bonus point to produce a Patronus (which one of his friends had said Harry could perform). It was the easiest thing he'd done, as all he had to do was imagine Umbridge being 'sacked.' Ron and Harry had Friday off while Hermione took her Ancient Runes exam. She returned after the exam in a towering temper, not only for having missed one question but because someone had put another Niffler in Umbridge's office and the 'toad' had shrieked her head off. She's likely to think Hagrid did it and blame him, she told them, "she has never waited for proof." Potions exam on Monday was a lot easier than Harry had anticipated without Snape in the room and he thought he might have at least passed. Tuesday's Care of Magical Creatures also went well, as they were determined not to let Hagrid down. Wednesday's Astronomy exam went well enough, but the afternoon's Divination test was abysmal. Philosophically, Ron said "well we were never going to pass that one anyway."

That evening, however, things didn't go well at all during their Astronomy practical exam on the tower. When it was nearly completed they had to watch as Umbridge and five 'helpers' tried to take Hagrid from his cabin by force in the dark of night when no one was watching. They began firing stunning and other spells at him which seemed to bounce off of his half-giant skin. They saw McGonagall come to his rescue. But, when she told them to "let him alone" four stunning spells converged on her chest knocking her cold. Indignant, Hagrid called them "RUDDY COWARDS" and literally 'cleaned their clocks.' When Umbridge yelled "get him" the last remaining helper backed away so fast that he tripped over the other unconscious forms. Hagrid picked up the unconscious Fang and ran toward the gate. Later Lee Jordan admitted that it was he who was putting the nifflers, which Fred and George had left him, into Umbridge's office. The next day Harry was still exhausted, from only three hours sleep, while he was studying for the History of Magic exam that afternoon. He could hardly keep awake during the exam and his mind frequently wandered until, at last, there he was again… in the Department of Mysteries. He made it through the door and into the circular room. Across the stone floor and through the second door he entered the room with the mechanical ticking then through a third door on the other side. He went down the rows of shelves to number ninety-seven and turned left. There he saw Voldemort using the Crucio spell on Sirius in order to make him take down one of the glass spheres. "we have hours ahead of us and nobody to hear you scream," Voldemort said. Someone did scream and fall to the floor holding his head… it was Harry!

Out of the Fire
It was fairly easy for Harry to convince Professor Tofty that it was just "nerves" from the pressure of the examination and he really didn't need to go to the hospital wing. When he saw that the professor had disappeared from sight, Harry ran to find Professor McGonagall. But she had been transferred to St. Mungo's Hospital that morning leaving him at a loss for someone to tell. He did hurry to find Ron and Hermione and told them how Voldemort had Sirius and wondered aloud "how are we going to get there?" Her usual self, Hermione didn't think that was the responsible thing to do and tried to talk him out of it. She tried every argument she could think of to dissuade him to no avail so she told him that he "had a saving-people-thing" like when he saved "the little Delacour girl from the lake during the tournament." This deeply offended and angered Harry. Hermione told him that "this is just the kind of thing that Voldemort knows you would do." He shouted back at her that she "didn't seem to have any problem when he was saving her from the Dementor's" or Ron when he was "saving his sister Ginny from the Basilisk!" Ginny and Luna came into the room having heard all the shouting. With the extra help, Hermione was able to get Harry to commit to "just check that Sirius isn't at home before we go charging off to London." Ron offered to go tell Umbridge that Peeves was wrecking the Transfiguration department and the others would stand lookout while Harry used Umbridge's unmonitored fireplace again. Harry felt that he was making a big sacrifice for sake of argument because, as he told them, "Sirius is being tortured NOW!" Under the invisibility cloak Hermione went with Harry and stood out of the way while he used the fire. Harry found only Kreachur by the fire who told him that "master has gone out." When Harry asked if he had gone to the Department of Mysteries Kreachur said he didn't know; but with a cackle added "Master will not come back from the Department of Mysteries." Before Harry could take it in, he felt himself being pulled by the hair from inside Umbridge's office. It was Umbridge who had him by the hair and who ordered someone to take their wands. He finally saw that Millicent Bulstrode had Hermione and others had Ron, Luna, Ginny and even Neville. Umbridge gloated that "Hogwarts would soon be a Weasley free zone," and Malfoy laughed sycophantically.

When they wouldn't answer her questions, Umbridge theorized that he must have wanted to talk to someone badly: "Dumbledore? The half-breed Hagrid? Not McGonagall, she's still to ill to talk!" She sent Malfoy to "fetch Snape," then asked him to provide her with more Veritas Serum. He said that he had given her all he had when she wanted to interrogate Harry before in his pumpkin juice. She was enraged and told Snape that he was on probation for "being deliberately unhelpful!" Harry was trying to get Snape to use his Legilimency and hear his thoughts that "Voldemort's got Sirius in the Department of Mysteries," but he apparently didn't. Finally Harry blurted "He's got Padfoot, at the place where its hidden." That puzzled Umbridge, but Snape just fluffed it off saying Harry "was babbling," then left. Umbridge worked herself into a frenzy claiming "its ministry security" and "you're forcing me" then decided to use the Cruciatus curse. Hermione said "you wouldn't break the law, would you?" But burning with her own self-importance, Umbridge said "what Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him. He never knew I ordered Dementor's after Potter last summer, but he was delighted to be given the chance to expel him." She raised her wand and began, "Cruc--" but Hermione shouted "NO… Harry, we'll have to tell her!" Over Harry's objections, she claimed that: Harry was trying to talk to Dumbledore to tell him that the weapon they had made under his orders was completed and ask what they should do with it. As stunned as Umbridge, Harry realized that even though Hermione was weeping into her hands there was no sign of tears. She was able to convince Umbridge to take Harry and her, unaccompanied by any Inquisitorial Squad, into the forest to see the weapon by telling her "fine," we'll show them all and "I hope they use it on you!" Malfoy did object but Umbridge told him to stay with Ginny, Luna and Neville and see that they didn't escape.

Fight and Flight
Hermione led the three down the stairs, out the front door and into the Forbidden Forest with Harry pretending to know where they were going. When Umbridge surmised that the weapon was "hidden in Hagrid's hut," Hermione claimed that "he might have set it off" which Umbridge readily accepted and agreed with "of course he would have, the great half-breed oaf…" They walked so fast Umbridge's short legs found it difficult to keep up. When Harry realized they were not on the path to Grawp but on the path to the Acromantula's he asked Hermione point blankly "Are you sure we are on the right path" then told her to "keep her voice down or they would be heard." She merely replied that she "wanted us heard" and strode onward, finally coming into a clearing where they were stopped by the thud of an arrow hitting a tree over their heads. It was the Centaurs and Hermione had a smug grin on her face. Magorian asked Umbridge "who are you, Human?" Her own arrogance and contempt for "non-humans" escalated into name-calling and threats such as "law regulating and controlling magical creatures…,"Half-Breeds…," "near-human intelligence…," Ministry permits you certain areas of land…," and "Beasts! Uncontrolled animals!" as she tried to bind Magorian with the Incarcerous spell. The others charged her and she was still screaming meaningless threats and insults as they carried her off into the forest. Although Harry and Hermione tried to slip away in the fracas Bane and others restrained them. Ronan spoke on their behalf, "we do not attack foals" but the incensed Bane gave strong argument. Her usual self, Hermione began her manipulative weeping begging them "please don't attack up." She claimed that, "We're not like her, we only came in here because we hoped you'd drive her off for us," which, to them, was just as arrogant as Umbridge! "You already have the arrogance of your kind," they told Hermione. "We're not here to do your dirty work… act as servants, drive away your enemies like obedient hounds." Still not getting it she plead, "no I just hoped you'd help us." They informed her that they "didn't help Humans. We are a race apart and proud to be so… We ill not permit you to walk from here, boasting that we did your bidding." Planning on taking them the same place they took Umbridge they told Hermione "we are not like the traitor Firenze, or pretty talking horses! We are an ancient people… won't stand wizard invasions and insults… don't recognize your laws or acknowledge your superiority!"

The grey centaur was cut off in mid-statement, however, by a loud crash and parting of tree trunks which made them drop the kids and grab their bows. They were ready to fire at the Giants face which was looking down at them as if for something that he had dropped. "Hagger," Grawp said and eventually Hermione realized that he meant Hagrid. Finally he spotted Hermione and said "Hermy. Where Hagger? Grawp want Hagger!" When he reached to grab Hermione, she gave a real scream and backed up, which was what the Centaurs were waiting for and 50 arrows went flying toward his face. Grawp stood up, howling in pain and rage breaking the arrow shafts off with his giant hands. He yelled and stamped his feet sending the Centaurs scattering and splattering blood all over Harry and Hermione. Then he went smashing after them leaving Harry and Hermione all alone in the, now dark, and very lonely forest. Another throb in Harry's scar brought him back to realizing what they had been setting out to do. He lashed out at Hermione, "smart plan" and kicked a nearby tree producing an angry chattering from a startled bowtruckle. "Just how were you planning to get to London," Harry, still upset, asked her and was startled to hear Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville come up behind them looking battered but very pleased with themselves. They described their battle with the Inquisitorial Squad after Umbridge had left; and, said they followed them into the forest after Ginny had used the bat bogey hex on Malfoy. Harry explained about Umbridge, Grawp and Sirius; then, not knowing how to get to London Luna said "well, we'll have to fly, won't we?" When Harry informed them that there was no WE going anywhere an argument ensued about "oh, yes we ARE." Ginny was indignant and looked like a female Fred and George, and even Neville reminded him that they had all been in the DA together. Harry thought that if he had to choose three DA members to accompany him it wouldn't have been Ginny, Neville or Luna; but, merely changed the subject with "we don't have a way to get there anyway." Luna pointed out the two Thestrals who were watching them, having been drawn by the scent of blood all over Harry and Hermione. When more of the beasts arrived, and over Harry's objections, they all mounted. Luna was the only one who was taking all this in an un-impassioned manner as though it was just a "drive through the country"; and, it was she who helped all those who couldn't see the animals find and board them.

The Department of Mysteries
Harry, Neville and Luna mounted a Thestral and prepared themselves for an "adventure!" Luna sat side saddle and straightened her robes like she did this every day. Hermione, Ron and Ginny just stood there amazed and perplexed, finally exclaiming "what do we do?" Luna helped them get aboard their steeds and they were off to the ministry, most holding on for dear life. Ron exclaimed "this is mad, if I could just see it!" "You better hope it stays invisible," Harry advised. They rocketed toward London and landed near the visitors entrance to the ministry. Harry led them through the automatic phone booth greeting and they all received name badges stating "rescue mission." They burst from the crowded elevator into the empty atrium void of anything, except the "Magical Brethren" fountain, including security guard. Punching 9 in the far elevators they were soon outside the Department of Mysteries arguing that no one wanted to stay as "lookout." Inside there was a circular room with a dozen identical doors which rotated as soon as they were inside so they wouldn't know which one they came from. They tried the fist door and found only a very large tank of green water with brains floating in it, and several other doors. They went back and Hermione magically emblazoned a red "X" on the door so that after it spun they could tell where they had been. The next room was vary large with a sunken amphitheater in the center containing a raised platform with an ancient archway on it, covered with a black veil. Getting closer, Harry saw the veil wave slightly as though someone had touched it and voices murmur on the other side. Luna was the only other person who could hear the voices and Harry was drawn to step through the veil but was interrupted by Hermione who reminded him of Sirius. The next door they tried was locked and just melted the blade of Harry's magical knife that he tried on it. He recognized at once the dancing, diamond-sparkling light of the next room and exclaimed, "this is it!" He saw multitudes of clocks of every kind. A towering crystal bell-jar produced light and they found that it contained a small hummingbird egg which floated and mutated in a cycle from egg to bird and back again. Pushing the door on the far side open, Harry knew what he would find, a room high as a church and full of nothing but towering shelves covered in small, dusty, glass orbs. They carefully moved to row 97 with their wands out. Harry's scar hadn't told him that Sirius had been killed but no one was there! While Harry ran up and down the row, Ron noticed that one of the glass orbs on the row had a label dated 16 years earlier which read: "SPT to APWBD , Dark Lord and (?) Harry Potter."

Despite Hermione's dire warnings Harry reached for the orb and took hold of it. Nothing happened, until, from behind them, a voice said: "Very good Potter, now turn around nice and slowly and give that to me."

Beyond the Veil
"Give it to me, Potter," Lucius Malfoy drawled, his black shaped, Death Eater cronies popping out of thin air all around him. However, without moving, Harry demanded "where's Sirius?" In a mocking voice, Bellatrix Lestrange said "the little baby woke up fwightened and fought what it dweemed was twoo." When Harry stood his ground, she tried to Accio the orb from his hand only to be stopped by his Protego before it slipped from his fingers. Malfoy was upset and said "I TOLD YOU NO! If you smash it… !" Harry had no interest in the orb but just wanted to get them out alive. He saw right through Malfoy's placating lie that "no one need to get hurt" and retorted "yea, like you'll just let up skip off home, will you?" Lestrange stepped forward and Harry felt the others close in next to him with their wands at the ready. She said that she would "persuade" Harry by torturing Ginny but he stepped in front of her and said "you'll have to smash this if you want to attack any of us… and your boss won't be pleased." Stalling for time, Harry engaged them in conversation about the orb they were calling "the Prophecy." When he spoke Voldemort's name the others became shocked and enraged, so he continued; especially provoking Lestrange about "her boss" being "half-blood." Enraged, she cried STUPE… but Malfoy deflected the jet of red light so it hit a row of shelves, their orbs shattering and emitting ghostly figures which spoke their long held predictions, similar to what Harry had seen some out of Dumbledore's Pensieve. The damage gave Harry an idea and, as he stalled for time again, he surreptitiously moved his foot to signal Hermione. She whispered "what" just as Malfoy said that the Prophecy was about his scar, which caught him off guard. His naïveté produced another burst of laughter and he was able to mutter "smash shelves… when I say go" to Hermione, under his breath. Malfoy asked him "haven't you even wondered why the Dark Lord tried to kill you as a baby?" "Someone made a prophecy about him and me and now he's made you do his dirty work and come and get it for him?" As Malfoy was distracted into his response, Harry yelled "Now!" and five voices, from behind him, cried REDUCTO!

The shelves and orbs smashed and toppled all around them. The way now clear, Harry saw Ron, Ginny and Luna sprint ahead, then heard Hermione stupefy someone who had grabbed him. Neville and Hermione were right behind him as they ran back into the clock room and Hermione sealed the door with Colloportus. They realized that Ron, Ginny and Luna had gone another way as they heard Malfoy barking orders to Death Eaters on the other side of the door. "You can kill the others, but be gentle with Potter until we have the Prophecy," he told the pairs: Jugson and Dolohov, Bellatrix and Rodolphus, Crabbe and Rabastian, Macnair and Avery, Mulciber and himself, and Rookwood. Almost to the other side of the room, they dove under the desks as two Eaters came through the door with Alohomora. Harry knocked one of them back into a grandfather clock with STUPEFY and had to grab the other around his knees to stop him from using Avada… on Hermione. Neville, however, failed in his Expelliarmus and knocked both Harry's and the Eater's wands out of their hands. As they both ran to get them, Neville again missed with his Stupefy and smashed a glass cabinet full of various-shaped hourglasses (time-turners) which began a never-ending cycle of repairing, smashing and repairing all over again. The Eater, who had reached his wand first, had to take off his mask in order to shout STUPE…; but, Hermione beat him with her own Stupefy knocking him backwards into the Bell Jar. Instead of "crashing," his head merely popped into the jar like it was a soap bubble. While Hermione retrieved their wands with Accio Wands they watched, stunned, as the Eater's head in the bell jar shrunk into a baby's head then back into an adults over and over again. "It's time," Hermione guessed as they thought they heard Ron's voice from an adjoining room and, mistakenly, called to him. Harry raised his wand against the Eater who had pulled his head out of the jar as a baby and was flailing about; but, Hermione stopped him with "you can't hurt a baby!" Two more Eaters came in through the open door to the black circular room as they were fleeing toward it, trying to escape more footsteps outside the door from where they had come. The group diverted into a small side room; but, before Hermione could Colo… the door locked the two Eaters burst triumphantly inside yelling "IMPEDIMENTA!" They were all thrown down by the spells, Neville over and under a desk and Harry knocking his head and seeing stars. As one of the Eaters yelled for others, Hermione silenced him with Silencio. As the other Eater raised his arm to retaliate, Harry Petrificus Totalus'ed him onto the floor. The "silenced" Eater slashed his wand through the air and non-verbally sent a streak of purple flame to Hermione which crumpled her to the floor with a gasp. As Neville crawled to help Hermione the Eater kicked at him, breaking Neville's wand and his nose at the same time. The Eater took off his mask revealing Antonin Dolohov, who had murdered the Prewett's (Weasley's relatives), and, still mute, motioned for the Prophecy. He was distracted by the baby-headed Eater just long enough for Harry to PETRIFICUS TOTALUS him onto the top of his companion. Neville felt a pulse in Hermione and refused Harry's order to take her back and send help. Almost unintelligibly, through his broken nose, Neville picked up Hermione and defiantly said he was going with Harry. No time to argue, Harry gave Neville Hermione's wand to use and they went back, past the baby-headed Eater in the clock room, and into the circular room.

Hermione's marks had faded from the doors, but Ginny, Ron and Luna came crashing into the room before they could choose where to go. Ron was giggling and acting stupidly, and Ginny slumped to the floor with a broken ankle. Luna explained that four Eaters chased them into a "room full of planets" and she had to Reducto Pluto into an Eaters face when he tried to grab Ginny. A spell made "Ron go all funny" so she had a hard time rescuing him. Harry put Ron on his back and Luna tried to help Ginny exit one of the doors just as three Eaters, including Lestrange, came through a far door. Stunning spells ricocheted around the room as the kids got through a door and slammed it against Lestrange with Colloportus. They were in the "brain" tank room and tried to Colloportus the many doors before the Eaters could get in through a side way. Not reaching the last door in time Luna was knocked unconscious as five eaters came inside. Ron added to the confusion by Accio'ing a brain to him from the tank. Everyone was momentarily frozen as the brain unfurled "ribbons of images" and wrapped itself around Ron. Diffindo from Harry didn't work and as Ginny tried to help she was hit by a jet of red light from an Eater, sending her to the ground unconscious. Neville said "STUBEFY" but it didn't work mispronounced. He was narrowly missed himself and both he and Harry ran as they dodged "arrows" of silver light which left craters in walls as they hit. It was now two against five; and, holding the Prophecy above his head, Harry ran to draw fire away from the others. It worked as all the Eaters followed him into the "veil-room" with a crash down the steps. Harry backed up onto the dais as watched as the five Eaters who followed him were joined by five more. Released from body bind Dolohov sneered at him and Malfoy ordered him to relinquish the orb. Harry said he would if they would let the other go; but, Neville burst in the door garbling "Stubefy, Stubefy" to no avail before he was grabbed by an Eater. Lestrange used Crucio on Neville, like she did on his parents, to persuade Harry to hand over the Prophecy. The threats to kill Neville made Harry hold out the Prophecy toward them; but, doors above them crashed open with five more people… Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Tonks and Kingsley!

The members of the Order rained spells at the Eaters as they leaped downward. Sirius was dueling 10 feet away from where an Eater had grabbed Harry and was choking him. Tonks was battling Lestrange and Kingsley was dueling two at once. Unable to articulate Neville poked his wand in the eye-hole of the mask of the Eater strangling Harry. Dolohov, who had cut Moody on the head, knocking his magical eye across the floor, used Tarantallegra on Neville making his legs dance uncontrollably. Dolohov used the same non-verbal slashing spell he had used on Hermione, on Harry who blocked most of it with Protego, and only felt a "blunt knife" across his face. He started "Accio Prophe…" but Sirius rammed him with his shoulder and began dueling. As Dolohov made the slashing gesture that he had used on Harry and Hermione, Harry shouted "Petrificus Totalus" again dropping the Eater to the floor. Lestrange dropped Tonks and came back to the fight. Kinsgley was fighting Rockwood. Malfoy grabbed Harry and put his wand in Harry's ribs, while Neville's legs were still jumping wildly. Harry tossed the Prophecy to Neville and when Malfoy pointed at Neville, Harry pointed backward and called "Impedimenta". Lupin took on Malfoy and told Harry to "round up the others and go!" Trying to get Neville's flailing legs up the stairs, his robes tore and the Prophecy dropped out of the pocket and broke. Unheard by anyone, "a pearly-white figure with hugely magnified eyes" pronounced her "prophecy." Finally, coming from the brain room, Dumbledore arrived, his face white and furious. Those who tried to escape were brought back effortlessly by Dumbledore and all, except Sirius and Lestrange who hadn't noticed him, stopped fighting. Sirius taunted Lestrange with "come on, you can do better than that!" and she hit him with a spell that knocked him into and through the arch with the veil. He disappeared through it and Harry had to be restrained from following him by Lupin. "There's nothing we can do," Lupin said, "He's gone."

The Only One He Has Ever Feared
Lupin still held the struggling Harry tightly as he tried to convince him that his godfather was dead. As Lupin drug him away from the arch, Harry wondered why Sirius was keeping him waiting and didn't reappear into the battle. Dumbledore has most of the Eaters tied with invisible ropes and Kingsley was battling Lestrange. Harry had stopped fighting Lupin as Neville, still dancing, caught up with them. Lupin simply said "Finite" and Neville's legs became quiet. As Lupin was attempting to get Neville to help find Hermione and Ron, Harry saw Lestrange break away from Kingsley and head for the door deflecting a spell from Dumbledore. He followed her but she blasted the tank of brains all over him so that he lost time using Wingardium Leviosa away from entangling him. He arrived in the circular room of doors just as she was slamming a door behind her and the room rotated before he could get to it. Frustrated, he simply shouted "where's the way out?" and, as if it had just been waiting for him to ask, the exit door opened. Still, he missed her at the lift and saw her at the far atrium when he arrived. She notice him, turned, and fired a spell at him, which he dodged. He heard her stop fleeing and began taunting him again in a baby voice about "did you love him, little baby Potter." She told him to come out and "avenge my cousins death," so he did. He fired Crucio at her, taking her by surprise and knocking her down screaming. She, however, recovered almost immediately but was no longer laughing. Harry had dodged her counter spell which had blown the head off a statue. "You need to mean it" in order for an unforgivable curse to work, she explained. He dove again for cover, avoiding her Crucio; then, retaliated with a Stupefy on which he barely avoided the ricochet of her Protego shield charm. She said she would "give him one more chance" to give her the prophecy so he said that "you'll have to kill me then, because it's gone… and HE knows!" His scar was on fire again, unrelated to his own rage. She used Accio Prophecy frantically, to prove him wrong; but, to no avail. His eyes started to water with the pain and he thought his head would burst; but, he heard Lestrange begin begging for "her master not to punish her." Save your breath, he said, Voldemort can't hear you… but a high, cold voice answered, "Can't I Potter?" Voldemort told Lestrange to be silent then turned to Harry and said AVADA KEDAVRA to kill him without further hesitation. Harry stood there dumb, with his wand pointing to the floor making no attempt to resist. The broken wizard statue sprang to life, however, and jumped in front of Harry blocking the spell.

Dumbledore had arrived and began conversing amicably with Voldemort- only calling him "Tom." Voldemort sent a killing curse at Dumbledore which he easily deflected before he merely flicked his wand and sent a spell with such power that Harry felt it pass by him. Voldemort had to conjure a silver shield. Tom asked "you do not seek to kill me Dumbledore? Above such brutality, are you?" Dumbledore replied, "there are other ways to destroy a man, Tom. Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit." "There is nothing worse than death," Tom retorted. Calmly, Dumbledore counseled him that "your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness…" Tom shot another green jet of light at Dumbledore from behind his shield; but, the Centaur statue jumped in and blocked it, as Dumbledore used his wand like a whip to send out a long thin flame to encircle Tom, shield and all. The flame-rope soon turned into a serpent which released Tom and turned on Dumbledore. Tom vanished and reappeared on the plinth. At the same time, Tom sent another green flame at Dumbledore and the snake struck. Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore and swallowed the flame bursting into flames. Dumbledore whipped his wand around. The snake vanished and the water in the pool rose up and surrounded Tom from sight. When it dropped again, Tom was gone, baby Fawkes was on the floor, Lestrange was pleading for her master not to leave her, and, for the first time Dumbledore sounded worried as he urgently told Harry to "stay where you are!" He didn't need to have said anything, however, because his scar had burst open with unbelievable pain and he felt locked in the coils of a creature with red eyes. When the creature spoke it was by using Harry's own mouth and said "Kill me now, Dumbledore…" "If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy…" Harry was begging in his mind for Dumbledore to kill him in order to make the unbearable pain stop, and "I'll get to see Sirius again" he thought at the same time. As his heart filled with emotion, the creature's coils loosened, the pain was gone, and Harry was lying facedown on the floor, his glasses gone, shivering as though he lay upon ice, not wood."

Other voices were echoing in the hall and Dumbledore was standing over him. The tiny statues of the goblin and the house-elf were leading stunned looking Fudge and many others toward them. An old man confronted Fudge with actually seeing Voldemort to Fudge's dismay. Just noticing Dumbledore, he was about to yell "seize him" when Dumbledore advised Fudge another attack on him would be just as pointless as his first. Fudge finally capitulated and had his Aurors go down and bring up the Eaters from "the Death Chamber" who were bound by an anti-dissapaperation jinx. Fudge still blustered further when he finally noticed Dumbledore beginning to send Harry back to Hogwarts by a Port Key. Dumbledore just stared magisterially over his spectacles until Fudge calmed in submission. "You will remove Umbridge from Hogwarts," Dumbledore told him, "and you will stop chasing Hagrid." "I will give you 30 minutes of my time," he said, "before I resume my post at Hogwarts." Harry felt the increasingly familiar tug behind his navel that meant he was "Port Keying" back to Hogwarts.

The Lost Prophecy
Harry fell to solid ground again in Dumbledore's office which had apparently been cleaned and repaired since the 'battle' with Fudge. He could see dawn approaching out the window and fell into the self-depreciation which would be expected of someone in his situation and age. "It was his fault," he told himself. Sirius wouldn't have been killed if he hadn't been so stupid to succumb to Voldemort's trap. Even Hermione recognized "his love of playing the hero." Harry tried, unsuccessfully, not to think about anything and just ignore the thoughts because it was unbearable to him. His reverie was broken by the condescending question of Phineas Nigellus from his portrait. "Does Dumbledore have another message for me to take to my worthless-great-great-grandson?" Harry said nothing, only found the door locked when he tried to escape. Another portrait told him that Dumbledore "holds you in great esteem" which made his feelings of guilt physically pull him downward. His chest felt like it would explode in his anguish. The fireplace exploded in emerald-green and Dumbledore appeared, carrying the featherless Fawkes, which he placed gently on the birds empty perch. In a matter-of-fact manner he advised that "no one was going to suffer lasting damage from the night's events," which didn't help Harry's feelings. When Dumbledore told him that he knew "how you're feeling," Harry, finally began opening up with his true feelings, even though at times his 'adolescence' seem to be controlling his actions and speech. "NO YOU DON'T," he screamed with the white-hot anger leaping inside him. Phineas interjected pontifically: "You see Dumbledore, Never try to understand the students. They hate it. They would much rather be tragically misunderstood, wallow in self-pity, stew in their own…" He was politely stopped by Dumbledore who gently turned back to Harry and told him that "there was no shame in what you are feeling… the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength." Harry lashed back saying "you don't have a clue!" And, when Dumbledore told him that feeling pain like this was "part of being human," he exploded with "then I don't want to be human" and began throwing and breaking things in the office. Dumbledore sat calmly and made no effort to restrain him in his tantrum. Harry told him "I don’t' care… I've seen enough… I want out… I want it to end… I don't care anymore!"

Dumbledore peacefully said that he had lost his mother, father and now "the closest thing to a parent you have ever known, of course you care. You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it"; which, still, didn't help ameliorate Harry's emotions of guilt and anger. He just wanted to run and never look back so tried the doorknob again to escape. When it wouldn't work he screamed "let me out" and Dumbledore simply told him "No, not until I've had my say." Despite Harry's continued protests, he continued "you are not nearly as angry with me as you ought to be" which got Harry's attention. Dumbledore said that it was "nearly all my fault" that Sirius had died. He told Harry that "Sirius was a brave, clever and energetic man… not content to sit in hiding while they believe others to be in danger." "Nevertheless," he told Harry, "You should never have believed for an instant that there was any necessity for you to go the Department of Mysteries." Dumbledore blamed himself for not being "open" with Harry; because, if he had, he would have known Voldemort would have tried to lure him there. Then, Harry wouldn't have gone there, Sirius wouldn't have gone to rescue him; and, he wouldn't have been killed. Phineas was stunned by the news and ran from his portrait to go see for himself.

He said that he owed Harry an "explanation of an old man's mistakes." "Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young." He said he guessed 15 years ago that Harry's scar meant a connection had been forged with Voldemort. It gave him warnings of when Voldemort was close or feeling emotion, was getting stronger and was discovered by him the night of Mr. Weasley's attack. Dumbledore continued that he knew Voldemort would attempt to force himself into Harry's mind so hadn't even looked at Harry for months to prevent it from happening for as along as he could. "If Voldemort had realized that our relationship was- or had ever been- closer than that of headmaster and pupil, he would have seized the chance to posses you and spy on me… and not to destroy me, but you." On occasion "I thought I saw a shadow of him behind your eyes… I was trying, in distancing myself from you, to protect you. An old man's mistake…" When Sirius found that Harry had "felt Voldemort awaken" in himself they arranged for occlumency lessons with Snape. Harry's anger had, by that time, settled into more mature self-inspection and he confessed that he "didn't learn it… didn't bother…" He said he'd tried to check that Sirius was really gone but Kreachur said he wasn't there. "Kreachur lied," Dumbledore said. He had taken Sirius' order to "get out" literally and gone to visit the Malfoy's where he became part of Voldemort's plot. When Harry told Snape of seeing Sirius in vision, he contacted Sirius (using the orders method of communication), found it wasn't true then never communicated it back to Harry. Then when Harry disappeared, Snape notified the Order but Sirius refused to stay behind and ordered Kreachur to inform Dumbledore later, when he arrived at Grimmauld Place. Dumbledore used Legilimency to obtain the truth from the laughing Kreachur before going to help at the Ministry. Harry's adolescence got he best of him again and he began arguing about Snape's treachery as well. Dumbledore explained that Snape had played not to understand in front of Umbridge, then informed the order and had given Umbridge fake Veritas serum so she couldn’t interrogate Harry. Harry wasn't softened and continued to rant about Snape, Kreachur and even Dumbledore. Dumbledore said, again, that "I trust Severus Snape, but I forgot-- another mistake-- that some wounds run too deep for the healing. I thought Professor Snape could overcome his feelings about your father-- I was wrong." Then still realizing that he wasn't getting through to Harry, Dumbledore looked exasperated and asked him to "sit down… hear what I should have told you five years ago… then rage at me, if you want." He said he placed him with muggles in order to keep him alive. "You were in more danger than anyone but me realized"… Voldemort would be back… you were protected by an ancient magic which Voldemort despises so he forgets about; namely, your mother died to save you giving you a lingering protection which flows in your veins to this day. In taking Harry, Petunia had sealed the charm Dumbledore had place on him. "While you can still call home the place where your mother's blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort."

Dumbledore tried to work up the courage to tell Harry what he needed to say by gamboling a bit about a "flaw in his plan" and not being able to tell Harry the truth at the end of each year because he was either "too young" or recovering from some ordeal. Finally, he told Harry "I cared about you too much. I cared more for your happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed. In other words, I acted exactly as Voldemort expects we fools who love to act." The headmaster recounted watching Harry through all his trials and successes at Hogwarts then said "I have watched you struggling under more burdens than any student who has ever passed through this school, and I could not bring myself to add another-- the greatest one of all." Voldemort had tried to kill him as a baby because of what was said in a prophecy. He didn't know the full content and so his attempt backfired on him. Since his return, he had been determined to retrieve and hear it in its entirety. Even though the crystal-vial record of it had been destroyed, the prophecy had been made to him by Sybil Trelawney in the Hogshead tavern during her job interview 16 years previously. Using his wand, he placed his memory in his Pensieve then tapped it. Trelawney's form arose from it and spoke: "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…" To Harry's astonished questions, Dumbledore explained that it could have either been Neville Longbottom or Harry; but, Voldemort had made the choice and marked Harry. A spy, who was listening at the door during the first part of the prophecy, was caught and expelled; but, he went immediately to Voldemort with what he had heard. Harry observed that he didn't have any "powers that the Dark Lord knows not!" Dumbledore told him of the room in the Department of Mysteries which is kept locked at all times. "It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you." After a pause, Harry asked… "Does that mean that one of us has got to kill the other one… in the end?" Dumbledore replied, softly… "yes," and Harry looked to see a tear trickle down his face and into his long silver beard.

The Second War Begins
The Daily Prophet finally reported that "the wizard styling himself Lord 'thingy' was back" and Harry returned to "the boy who lived." They even reprinted Harry's interview from the Quibbler, claiming that it was "exclusive." They were all in the hospital wing, either healing or visiting, including Umbridge who Dumbledore had retrieved from the forest. The kids enjoyed making hoof beat noised with their tongues and watching her panic. They didn't see Harry's worried look as he relived the fact that he had heard the prophecy and knew that he must be either murderer or victim. He decided to make an excuse that he needed to see Hagrid and left. Malfoy and his cronies accosted him with "you're dead Potter," "You're going to pay" and "you can't land my father in prison." Harry, almost tired of their whole game, stood his ground with "You'd think I'd have stopped walking about," "I'm terrified, supposed Voldemort's just a warm up for you three" and "I thought I just had, everyone knows what scumbags they are now." Ready for him, Harry had his wand out, before Malfoy reached his pocket. Snape appeared just as rapidly, it seemed, and asked "what are you doing?" Harry stood up to him as well responding "trying to decide what curse to use on Malfoy… sir. Trying to take away points he noticed that the Gryffindor hourglass was empty so was just assigning detention when McGonagall appeared and interceded with "we'll just add some more then." She sent Crabbe and Goyle scurrying away with her bags and added 50 points for each of those that went to the ministry, much to Snape's annoyance. Harry kept the conversation on Hagrid's progress with Grawp; but, eventually Hagrid described how Sirius couldn't have lived with himself if he hadn't gone to help, and Harry made the excuse that he had to go visit Ron and Hermione in the hospital wing. He had wanted people to know he was telling the truth and now that they did he still felt isolated and alone. He sat on the bank of the lake gazing at the water for a long time, thinking about Sirius and being a 'marked man.' When the sun went down, and he finally realized that he was cold, he got up and returned to the castle, "wiping his face on his sleeve as he went."

Umbridge tried to leave Hogwarts without notice, unfortunately Peeves chased her whacking her with a walking stick he had borrowed from McGonagall. On their last evening, while packing, he noticed the package that Sirius had given him and found it was a "two-way mirror" that he and James had used to communicate. Having the thought, Harry tried to talk with Sirius- wherever he was- to no avail and realized that "he must not have his other one with him." Then he hit on the thought that Sirius might come back like a house ghost and went to find Nearly-Headless Nick. Exasperated, Nick said that he had been expecting Harry's visit. He explained that only wizards can come back as ghosts by leaving an imprint of themselves to walk palely on the earth. He said that Sirius "won't come back" because he had "gone on." Harry was devastated to learn that Nick had only stayed because he was "afraid of death" and Sirius was "really" gone. Walking miserably back to the common room he chance upon Luna who was looking for "most of her possessions" which had been taken by people and hidden." The emotions of grief and anger which he had felt since the Ministry seemed to leave him as he began feeling sorry for Luna and asked her why they did it. She matter-of-factly answered that people "thought she was a bit odd"; but, refused his offer of help to find them saying "they always come back in the end." For the first time he had met someone that he could talk to about Sirius. He asked her who she had seen die that she could see Thestrals. It was her mother, she said, who was experimenting with a spell which went badly. She still had her dad, she said, and "it's not like I'll never see her again, is it?" She was in disbelief that Harry didn't remember hearing the voices behind the veil in the room with the arch. He didn't know what to say. Luna believed so many extraordinary things… but, he had heard them too.

Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle's ambush of Harry on the train home might have succeeded except for the barrage of spells from D.A. members rushing to his aid. The three's bodies, which looked like gigantic slugs, were hoisted into the luggage rack and left to ooze. Harry and Ron whiled away the time playing wizard's chess while Hermione read the newspaper. Harry was a little surprised to realize that, after seeing Cho blush and walk off, he wasn't disappointed to learn that she was seeing someone else now. Much of what he had wanted before Sirius' death was meaningless now. Disembarking the train, he noticed Mad-Eye Moody, Tonks and Mr. And Mrs. Weasley on the platform along with Fred and George dressed in Dragon Skin jackets. The joke shop was doing great, they said, and the rest of the people had come to have a talk with the Dursley's on behalf of Harry. Moody, Tonks and Arthur told Dursley that he would have to "answer to them" if Harry was mistreated in any way. Dursley made a feeble attempt to stand his ground by asking "do I look like the kind of many who can be intimidated?" Moody, taking his question seriously by moving closer to examine him carefully with his magical eye, eventually responded: "Yes, you do." They told Harry that if they didn't hear from him for three days in a row, they would send someone along. Harry thought it felt great to have them all there, on his side; but, couldn't say anything except to raise his hand in a wave. He walked off, for a change leading the way down the platform… with the Dursley's in his wake.