chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry’s first day of classes is a disaster, as Hermione confronts Fred and George about testing their products; Cho seeks him out but Ron drives her away; Snape unfairly gives Harry a zero; Binns and Trelawney are outrageously boring; and Umbridge informs her class that they will not be performing magic and that Harry is a liar – leading to a week’s worth of detentions for him, and a confrontation with McGonagall.
“Hi,” said Harry, feeling his face grow hot. At least you’re not covered in Stinksap this time, he told himself. Cho seemed to be thinking along the same lines.
“You got that stuff off, then?”
(by Michael Greenholt)
“What d’you reckon that means?”
“Probably that you’re going to be eaten by a giant marshmallow or something,” said Harry… without interest.
When they entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom they found Professor Umbridge already seated at the teacher’s desk, wearing the fluffy pink cardigan of the night before and the black velvet bow on top of her head. Harry was again reminded forcibly of a large fly perched unwisely on top of an even larger toad.
(by Leela Starsky)
“As I was saying, you have been informed that a certain Dark wizard is at large once again. This is a lie.”
(by Laurence Peguy)
[McGonagall] stood up, nostrils wide and mouth very thin, and he stood too. “Have another biscuit,” she said irritably, thrusting the tin at him.
“No thanks,” said Harry coldy.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she snapped.
He took one.
(by Heather Campbell)
Professor McGonagall eyed him closely for a moment, then sniffed, walked around her desk, and held open the door for him. “Well, I’m glad you listen to Hermione Granger at any rate,” she said, pointing him from her office.
about the chapter
Some Things You May Not Have Noticed
It’s interesting that Cho is seeking Harry out to say hi to him even when he’s as unpopular as he’s ever been at Hogwarts. The previous year, when she seemed torn between Harry and Cedric, she seemed like she might be attracted to the glamour of the Triwizard champions. But now that she’s still seeking out Harry, it sheds new light on her interactions with him the previous year, too. For example, Cedric was much nicer to Harry than the other Hufflepuffs were, and even helped Harry out in the Tournament – I don’t doubt that he was a decent guy either way, but I can’t help but wonder if her influence might have had something to do with that?
Another thing I love about this chapter is the last line – when McGonagall tells Harry, “Well, I’m glad you listen to Hermione Granger at any rate.” On first read this sounds like an offhand, sarcastic remark intended to show her displeasure at the fact that Harry didn’t listen to Umbridge’s speech. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that McGonagall really does have a reason to be glad Harry’s listening to Hermione. Hermione’s much more analytical and thoughtful than Harry at this point in their lives, and she’s the one, more than anybody, helping guide Harry in the right direction from day to day. So while McGonagall may be speaking sarcastically, she definitely means what she’s saying.
The Power of Magic
I think of all the many, many lies that Harry hears this year, this one might be my favorite:
“Good-day,” said Professor Trelawney in her usual misty, dreamy voice…. “And welcome back to Divination. I have, of course, been following your fortunes most carefully over the holidays, and am delighted to see that you have all returned to Hogwarts safely – as, of course, I knew you would.”
This from the woman who’s spent the past two years predicting Harry’s imminent death. How does this woman take herself seriously? And for that matter, how can anybody else?
Life at Hogwarts
I can’t help but wonder sometimes what the Gryffindor girls’ dormitory in Harry’s year is like. Harry gets on well enough with Neville, Dean, and Seamus (well, usually anyway), but Hermione is so different from Lavender and Parvati, and we don’t even know who the other two Gryffindor girls are (though Rowling has said she intended them to exist). We get a slight glimpse into their culture when Hermione mentions here that she told Lavender to “keep her fat mouth shut” about Harry, but even when they aren’t at odds, the conversations they have must be interesting. Can’t you see Parvati and Lavender just annoying the heck out of Hermione with questions about boys, not to mention incessant giggling?
The Boy Who Lived
It’s funny that after Snape is extra cruel to Harry in Potions class, Harry bolts out the door by himself, and leaves Ron and Hermione to catch up to him in the Great Hall. It seems like a very rare occurrence indeed that he walks between his classes without his friends, and it’s certainly an indicator of his mood this year. But it’s not hard to envision the eye-rolling look that Ron and Hermione must give each other when he storms out – “ohhh, there he goes again. Guess we’d better go after him.” Harry’s got some pretty special friends to keep chasing after him, that’s for sure.
Something to Remember
I find it a bit frightening that Umbridge is so convinced that Harry is a liar that she completely disregards every word he says without a second thought. She seems to simply think she’s infallable, and that sounds to me like a dangerous sort of person to be in a position of power….