In the Hog’s Head
chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Hermione convinces Harry to lead a Defense Against the Dark Arts group, and on the next Hogsmeade weekend, twenty-eight students converge on the Hog’s Head to hear what he’s got to say. Finally they agree to participate, and the trio walks back to school talking about Ginny and Cho.
They… turned left onto the road into the village, the wind whipping their hair into their eyes.
“What makes me say You-Know-Who’s back?” he repeated…. “I saw him. But Dumbledore told the whole school what happened last year, and if you didn’t believe him, you don’t believe me, and I’m not wasting an afternoon trying to convince anyone.”
Zacharias said dismissively, “All Dumbledore told us last year was that Cedric Diggory got killed by You-Know-Who and that you brought Diggory’s body back to Hogwarts. He didn’t give us details, he didn’t tell us exactly how Diggory got murdered, I think we’d all like to know-”
(by Heather Campbell)
It had just dawned on [Harry] why there were so many people there. He felt that Hermione should have seen this coming. Some of these people – maybe even most of them – had turned up in the hope of hearing Harry’s story firsthand.
“And that’s not to mention,” said Cho (Harry’s eyes snapped onto her, she was looking at him, smiling; his stomach did another somersault), “all the tasks he had to get through in the Triwizard Tournament last year – getting past dragons and merpeople and acromantulas and things….”
“I-I think everybody should write their name down, just so we know who was here. But I also think,” [Hermione] took a deep breath, “that we all ought to agree not to shout about what we’re doing. So if you sign, you’re agreeing not to tell Umbridge – or anybody else – what we’re up to.”
(by Amanda Grazini)
about the chapter
Something You May Not Have Noticed
The list of students that come to the Hog’s Head to hear Harry is an interesting one. There are several students we would have expected, of course, like Neville, Ginny, Fred, George, Lee Jordan, and Luna, who have all stood by Harry through everything. But some of the others are a little more surprising. For instance, Dean Thomas, who came despite the fact that his best friend, Seamus, clearly doesn’t believe Harry; Lavender Brown, who came despite telling Hermione less than a month ago that she too thought Harry was a liar; the Quidditch team, who have turned on Harry in the past but are clearly showing support for one of their own; and a big group of Hufflepuffs, including Justin Finch-Fletchley, who three years previously were the primary group that suspected Harry of being the heir of Slytherin (perhaps they’re more likely to believe him because he’s proved them wrong before?) To have so many show up – including almost half the students in Harry’s own year – is a huge vote of confidence in him.
Life at Hogwarts
Despite the fact that Harry’s year only has forty students at Hogwarts, he really isn’t good with his classmates’ names. Some of this can be chalked up to students’ living in different dormitories, to be sure, but some of it can only be due to a combination of Harry’s ignorance and the general indifference of Hogwarts students toward those not in their houses. After all, Harry’s had classes with Susan Bones for five years, and he’s certainly attended Quidditch games that Zacharias Smith would have played in (not to mention strategized against him). Yet when they walk into the Hog’s Head, Harry doesn’t know either of their names. He really doesn’t pay attention to anything in classes, does he?
Another of Rowling’s rare true mistakes in writing the books was Dennis Creevey coming to the Hog’s Head – despite his being a second year, and a well-established rule that only third-years and up are allowed to attend. Come to think of it, once the group begins meeting, he’ll be working on some pretty outrageously advanced magic for a student his age.
Something to Remember
Most of the students who showed up at the Hog’s Head today probably came out of little more than a mild curiosity, and there are surely some who heard it was happening but elected not to attend. After all, in the moment, it seems like a fairly innocuous thing; the group may or may not end up existing at all, and at best it seems it might be a temporary, short-lived club (not to mention one that might get its members into more trouble than it’s worth). But it turns out this seemingly mundane meeting is an event that its attendants will remember for the rest of their lives.