The Centaur and the Sneak
chapter twenty-seven of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
After an interesting first Divination class with Firenze, Harry holds another D.A. meeting but is interrupted when Umbridge finds out what’s going on. Harry is then dragged to Dumbledore’s office, where he meets Fudge – but Dumbledore takes the fall for the group’s existence, and escapes.
“Centaurs are not the servants or playthings of humans,” said Firenze quietly.
(by Marta T)
“Trip Jinx, Potter!” [Malfoy] said. “Hey, Professor – PROFESSOR! I’ve got one!”
“He was heading back to Gryffindor Tower,” said Umbridge. There was an indecent excitement in her voice, the same callous pleasure Harry had heard as she watched Professor Trelawney dissolving with misery in the entrance hall.
(by White Elzora)
Harry fully intended to respond with a defiant “yes” … but as Harry stared at [Dumbledore], he shook his head a fraction of an inch to each side. Harry changed direction mid-word. “Yeh – no.”
“I beg your pardon?” said Fudge… “You don’t know why you are here?”
“No, I don’t,” said Harry.
Marietta gave a wail and pulled the neck of her robes right up to her eyes, but not before the whole room had seen that her face was horribly disfigured by a series of close-set purple pustules that had spread across her nose and cheeks to form the word “SNEAK.”
(by Ani Bester)
“Well – it’s just that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going to – what is the phrase? ‘Come quietly.’ I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course – but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing.”
As [the door] swung closed behind them, Harry heard Phineas Nigellus’s voice.
“You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts… but you cannot deny he’s got style….”
about the chapter
When only five Harry Potter books had been released, the end of this chapter was hands-down my favorite passage of the books. After chapters and chapters of pain and frustration on Harry’s part, not to mention the entirety of Hogwarts taking Umbridge’s tyranny lying down, for someone to finally fight back in some way, and just do something about all the corruption and injustice, was immensely satisfying. And while I would no longer call this my favorite passage, it’s still on the list – and as I’ve been spending the last full month thinking and writing about Umbridge, it’s all the more satisfying this time around, too. There’s just no way around it: Dumbledore is just plain awesome.
Something You May Not Have Noticed
Dumbledore’s mind is pretty incredible, when you realize how quickly he had to think to concoct a convincing story around the circumstances of the D.A. But it’s also fun to read through his fake confession and look for the moments that the other characters pick up on exactly what he’s doing. McGonagall and Kingsley realize instantly that he’s letting himself get kicked out instead of Harry, exchanging quick looks of fear as soon as he mentions it. Fudge takes a little while longer before “understanding blaze[s] suddenly in his face;” Harry takes even longer before he figures it out and protests; and Umbridge is completely silent through the whole affair (perhaps trying to figure out what the heck is going on, but not wanting to look as stupid as she is?). It’s a brilliant piece of writing.
The Power of Magic
I absolutely love Firenze’s style of Divination, not to mention his blunt admission that most of what students have studied in the class for three years is “human nonsense.” But this type of Divination is one that makes sense for the magical world; after all, if someone could truly look into a crystal ball and divine what would happen the following day – and if doing so were simple enough to be effectively taught to any teenager interested in learning – the world would be a very, very different place. Rather, the way the centaurs look a things is muddled, incredibly difficult to discern, and open to a wide degree of interpretation (not unlike another “real” type of Divination we’ll be hearing about down the road).