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.
 

Older Trio in the Fall, by bluefooted

They… turned left onto the road into the village, the wind whipping their hair into their eyes.


 

At the Hog's Head, by reallycorking

“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 Smith, by Heather Campbell

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-“


 

Harry James Potter, by Chantelle

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.


 

Cho, by LMRourke

“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….”


 

DA Meeting, by Amanda Grazini

“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.”


 

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?
 

Oops

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.
 


30 Responses to “In the Hog’s Head”

  1. I don’t generally leave my own first comment, but in this case I really wanted to write this on the page and couldn’t because of my own anti-spoiler policy. So if you’re avoiding spoilers, stop reading here!

    ‘In the Hog’s Head’ is actually one of my favorite chapters in the books, because none of the kids at this meeting have an inkling of what’s to come for the group. And none of them have any idea that this innocuous meeting will one day be viewed as a landmark event in the fight against Voldemort, or that it will almost certainly be discussed in history classes for generations. Reading it, I feel like someone must have felt who was on Rosa Parks’s bus when she refused to stand; witness to an event that didn’t even seem like it could be significant at the time, yet one that everyone present will remember with pride for the rest of their lives. This quote from J.K. Rowling gets at what I’m talking about, when she was asked post-Deathly Hallows whether the members of the D.A. kept their coins:

    “Naturally. They would be like badges or medals of honour — proof that the owner had been at the heart of the fight against Voldemort from the start! I like to imagine Neville showing his to his admiring pupils.” (July 2007)

    Those same pupils can then visit Hogsmeade on the weekend, and stop by the Hog’s Head where I imagine a plaque by the door, reading something like: ‘The Hog’s Head Inn was the site of the inaugural meeting of Dumbledore’s Army, led by Harry Potter. He and twenty-seven other students first met here to plan their subversive group, October, 1995.’

    It doesn’t get any cooler than that.

  2. John: Wow. One of the reasons I love history is because it happens every day, all around us. Sometimes it takes years to understand the significance of an event, but I’m sure that even though these students didn’t know that they would be directly involved in a battle in a wizard war in just a couple of years, they did know that their goal was not only to learn magic “behind” Umbridge’s back, but to be prepared to fight Voldemort and his followers. How incredibly brave and good of each of these participants! I love this chapter. ^_^

  3. It really doesn’t get any cooler, I’m literally having trouble thinking of something. I love geeking out about history and visiting that plaque (if it was real) I’d be all ‘I was two when this happened!’ ahh it’d be awesome, I love those little pockets in time, like Natalia said that seem everyday, then everyone goes crazy over them a few years later.

    I love this book and this website :D

  4. This is probably my fave chapter in OotP because, amid all the darkness going on, with Umbridge and Voldemort around, Harry FINALLY starts to do something about it, and is finally joined by more than Ron and Hermione. This was such a great way of bringing together all the minor characters from the previous books.
    In my opinion, the Epilogue would be much better if it featured a DA reunion instead of a trip to Platform 9 and 3/4. That way we would know that mos tof our favorite characters are okay.

  5. hpboy13, that’s basically what I pictured whenever I thought about the epilogue, right up to the point when I actually read it. For some reason, I just KNEW that the final pages of DH would tell me what ended up happening to Ernie MacMillan. In the end, I understand why she wrote what she did (and I love it), but I am excited to see these people’s stories revealed in the coming encyclopedia. I think that the DA members are some of the best characters that Rowling created. They are fairly normal and remain in the background, but they are all so real and flushed out non-the-less. It is fun to imagine what they all might have ended up doing.

  6. John, your comment made me appreciate this chapter even more!
    Also: How could I have completely missed this massive oops?

    hpboy13, that’s a nice idea for an epilogue to the series.

    Two things worth mentioning about the Hog’s Head, which go unnoticed by most on the first reading: The bartender looks slightly familiar and the place smells somewhat of goats.

    Also: Luna accuses Hermione of being narrow minded in always needing proof. Hermione is indeed very rational and it will be something to keep in mind for DH.

  7. As a former history student, I think that’s a really perceptive point. When you think about it, for the entire series Harry is making history. And history — real history — is a story. Your average war has all the excitement of a novel, with heroes, villains, a plot, climax, denouement, action, romance, tragedy and everything else you would expect to read in fiction. And the most interesting part is that its all true.

    Heck, that comment just made me appreciate the whole series more. It also made me want prequels.

  8. I loved this chapter, but also because it shows a huge difference in thinking between Harry and Hermione. I mean, Hermione is a great theory-student, but when it comes to practical stuff, like strategic thinking, she’s overruled by Ron (think about chess) as well as Harry, who immediately can guess what personal motivation most of the students had to come… :)
    John, you said it’s weird Harry doesn’t know that lot of students…. can you blame him? In his first year he was stared at from every direction and he had to be careful whith whom to make friends, in his second year people were actually avoiding him, in his third year he was too busy with his godfather-issues, and also missed out on most of the trips to Hogsmeade (which would be ideal to meet new people from other houses) and in his fourth year he was the champion and hated about it for multiple reasons by his fellow students. So when did he have time to mingle?
    x-kim-x

  9. John, is it really an “oops”? I think Dennis Creevey would have been very capable of breaking the rules on purpose if the goal was Harry Potter. I would put this one in the Marcus Flint category, i.e. that JKR probably did make a slip of the pen, but the problem has an easy solution that makes a positive contribution to character development.

    The moment when Harry could not name Susan Bones is more jarring. He has spent three hours a week with her for over three years in a class where she is one of only ten names to learn. It reads more like JKR’s attempt to remind the reader about Susan than a serious assertion that Harry did not know her name. If JKR knew how much pre-OotP fanfiction had been written about Susan Bones, she would not have worried about readers having forgotten her.

    I loved the character portrayals in HP. The clear, solid, parsimonious characterisations are a massive strength of JKR’s writing. In this chapter we had 28 students to track, and every single one emerged as an individual. Who can forget Anthony’s “Hear, hear!”? Or Ron’s over-protective, “Which one was Michael? I didn’t like him!”

  10. Grace, good point – that we have 28 people, and yet each one comes across as a character, instead of one of the “people.” Each one has a name, a characterization, something to say, and (knowing Jo) an intriguing backstory.
    The Susan Bones thing is irritating, not on its own, but because of a later line in this book – one of the girls Hermione is called up for OWLs with is “Daphne Greengrass.” Now, Susan is a Hufflepuff (House that Harry gets on very well with outside of CoS), we hear her full name and house during the Sorting, we’ve been constantly hearing about Boneses, and Harry doesn’t know her. Yet he apparently knows Daphne Greengrass, since she merits no introduction – even though she is a Slytherin (someone with whom Gryffindors don’t get along with) and has never even been mentioned before. If it weren’t for the class list, we’d all still be asking “Daphne who?” Jo really slipped up here, IMO.

  11. Grace has Victory, an interesting question. It’s also possible, of course, that the third-year rule has changed by now. But I think it’s far more likely that it was just a mistake.

  12. And I still think that Dennis might have crawled through a hole in the hedge to escape to Hogsmeade!

    Is my classlist essay an appropriate contribution to this site? The version on the Lexicon was pre-HPB; I’ve updated it since.

  13. This is one of the most awesome chapters in an otherwise very bleak book. Harry becomes proactive in his fight against Umbridge and, long term, Voldemort. As he slowly comes into his own as the DA “teacher”, it’s interesting to see how confident he gradually becomes, and how he is able to instill confidence in his classmates, some of them older and more knowledgeable about magic than him. (Remember the pre-kiss conversation with Cho, when she said she had never been able to Stun anything before?)
    On the other hand, what really bothers me is that coward Zacharias Smith and traitor Marietta Edgecomb got to keep their coins and could boast their participation in the DA. (We don’t know if they did, but I can totally imagine Smith doing so. Marietta, however, I think it would depend on whether she could finally get rid of those unsightly pustules.)

  14. And, seriously, how pompous is Ernie that his biggest concert is that such a “useless teacher” was foisted on him during his fifth year? I mean, what about the N.E.W.T. students? Or any other class, for that matter? Why didn’t he care when it was Lockhart being the useless teacher back in his second year?

    And maybe pompous isn’t the word I’m looking for. Maybe self-involved is better?

  15. I love this chapter, its one of my favourite in the books. However I was reading it again the other day and there is a major clue when the trio are ordering drinks at the bar. When the barman is being described Harry says the barman looks familiar and he is of course Dumbeldore’s brother!!!
    I don’t know if anyone else has spotted this but I’ve never noticed it before. :D

  16. With Denis Creevey coming to Hogsmeade for the meeting, I guess I always assumed that Fred & George would have snuck him in through the passage way.

  17. I wonder what it says in the British version of this chapter when Neville mispronounces “Sorcerer’s Stone”? Does he say “Phosphorus Stone”?

  18. One thing I hate about this chapter, though, is knowing they are being overheard in the bar, as they are taking zero precautions and also (as noted) chose to meet in a bar that rarely sees large groups. I know it turns out okay, but I cringe every time.

  19. Roonil, he says “Philological Stone”.

  20. How do we know that there are only 40 people in Harry’s year? I never remember stuff like that.

  21. Ragmar Dorkins, there was a TV special a few years back titled ‘Harry Potter and Me’ in which J.K. Rowling flashed up the list that she had used to plan all the students in Harry’s year. Part of it was obscured off the right side of the screen, but it clearly had exactly 40 names on it, most likely divided 10 per house, and it’s been borne out in the books (20 brooms in Flying class with the Slytherins, 20 earmuffs in Herbology with the Hufflepuffs, etc.).

    ETA: There’s a screencap of the class list here.

  22. Just a note- I always got the impression that Colin (and maybe some other DA members-to-be) helped Dennis sneak out- after all, without the Dementors, it’s probably a little easier to do. I think that I remember Rowling saying something to that effect somewhere, but I don’t remember where.

  23. Maybe no one has noticed this but I feel a bit sorry for Seamus in this chapter. ALL his friends and pretty much everyone he knows (including Dean) is sneaking around and joining secret societies (and will be doing so for the rest of the year) while he has NO IDEA what’s going on and propably is upset that Dean is keeping secrets from him. Most of my friends are like “whatever it’s his own fault he shouldn’t have been so awful to Harry” but to me it seems like he was trying to be loyal to his mother by choosing to believe what she believes.

  24. Wevl, maybe Seamus hung around with the other two Gryffindor girls? Just a thought. One of them seems to have been Lil Moon, which is an Irish name. I like to think (although this is pure speculation) that she’s Seamus’s cousin and has therefore been charged with keeping him out of trouble. That would explain how two people who are actually quite brave egg each other on in the wrong direction, pleading family loyalty even though their family is wrong. If Miss Moon was always at Seamus’s elbow, this may also explain why the other girls in the Gryffindor dormitory didn’t invite her.

  25. Didn’t Seamus join the DA later on in the year, after he starts to believe Harry? Or could this be something the filmmakers slipped in, and I’m merely remembering the wrong facts?

    We should also remember that a few of the students that show up at the Hog’s Head, are really there just so they can hear Harry’s side of the story, and then if they believe it, they’ll join him. Just being there wasn’t necessarily a show of confidence until they had actually decided to sign the parchment.

    One thing this momentous occasion reminds me of (I’m not sure if this is in the book later on, or if it was another addition by the filmmakers): when Neville says to Harry, before convincing him to allow them all to head off to London with him, “Dumbledore’s Army was about doing something *real*. Or were all those just words to you?” Sends a chill down my spine =]

  26. @Casey
    Seamus joins Harry when 10 top security death eaters escape from Azkaban and Harry gives an article in the quibbler on his account of how Voldy came back. in seamus’ first class the DA is caught.
    in the book i dont think neville says that to harry.

  27. ud, Neville does say it to Harry in the book, but in different words. The quote is:

    “We were all in the D.A. together,” said Neville quietly. “It was all about fighting You-Know-Who, wasn’t it? And this is the first chance we’ve had to do something real — or was all that just a game or something?”

    Personally, I like the way to movie phrases it more, but that’s just me.

  28. @casey thanx!!!

  29. it makes me laugh when I read that the place smells of goats. Who was it who had a bit of a run in with goats…?

  30. John – nice comment on the history thing. And I can just see ol’ Dung Fletcher boasting in three or so years time, “I was there following Harry Potter that day…” (Conveniently forgetting to tell them how he became a scumbag later).
    I so would’ve loved to see that plaque. I wonder, did the DA members of DH get coins too, or would there be some other method?

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