Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 8: The Hearing
- Not only is the Hearing three hours earlier than originally announced, with the Ministry obviously hoping Harry wouldn’t turn up or too late, it is in the same kind of dungeons they used for trials for criminals like the Lestranges, known Death Eaters. And obviously Harry’s crime doesn’t fit this kind of environment, so it is already clear that this is a show trial. They want to set an example and get rid of Harry in the process. And I think that the others (Mrs and Mr Weasley, Sirius, Lupin, Tonks and of course Dumbledore) knew this would likely happen, which is why they were so worried. They know that legally Harry did nothing wrong but that Fudge will use any excuse to hurt Harry and therefore Dumbledore.
- “The members of the Wizengamot were muttering. All eyes were now on Dumbledore. Some looked annoyed, others slightly frightened; two elderly witches in the back row, however, raised their hands and waved in welcome.” – I think it is important to remember that Fudge and Umbridge don’t represent the entire Ministry, that there are still people loyal to Dumbledore or who, as seen with Amelia Bones, act reasonable. However Fudge is the man in charge, and it makes me wonder how much power he has as the Minister. Obviously, as we see, he can’t just throw Harry out of Hogwarts or destroy his wand, because as Dumbledore says there are laws against it. But Fudge’s response is that laws can be changed, and of course they also find ways to have control over Harry and Dumbledore within Hogwarts. So how democratic is the Ministry of Magic in the end?
- I like how Madam Bones in the middle of the Hearing just compliments Harry on being able to do a Patronus Charm at his age. Like respect where respect is due.
- It is highly alarming how little control the Ministry has over Dementors. Two of them were not where they are supposed to be and they only learn now about it. They can trace down underage wizards but not Dementors. Incredible dangerous creatures they have no control over.
- It is interesting that Squibs aren’t registered as Wizards in the Wizarding Society (and that apparently the Ministry has a register where members of the Wizarding World live). And Fudge wants proof that Mrs Figg is really who she says she is, wanting details about her parents. Which is very close to what we will see in book 7, where wizards and witches have to prove they are Pureblood or at least Halfbloods (which of course is based on how Nazi Germany forced people to lay open their heritage, to prove that they are, in their eyes, pure).
- Mrs Figg says that Squibs are able to see Dementors, though Harry later notices that her description rather sounds like someone showed her an illustration of Dementors rather than seeing the real thing. But say it is true that Squibs can see Dementors; it would mean they can see and have access to everything normal wizards have, the only difference is that they can’t perform magic themselves. And yet they are outcasts of their world.
- I think Dumbledore was convinced that the Dementors attacked on Voldemort’s order, and only proposed the idea that someone within the Ministry was responsible for it as the only other logical explanation, hoping the Ministry and especially Fudge would realize that the first option makes more sense. But as it later turns out it was someone within the Ministry, Umbridge, who had ordered those Dementors, doubting anyone would believe it and probably rely on the fact that there would be no witness except for Harry, as Muggles can’t see Dementors. Harry’s reputation within the Ministry would do the rest then.