Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 25: The Beetle at Bay
- “Each picture was captioned with a name and the crime for which the person had been sent to Azkaban. Antonin Dolohov, read the legend beneath a wizard with a long, pale, twisted face who was sneering up at Harry, convicted of the brutal murders of Gideon and Fabian Prewett.” – Gideon and Fabian Prewett were the brothers of Molly but I don’t think it is mentioned that Molly had brothers until book 7, when she gave Harry Fabian’s watch as a birthday present. Ron or any of the other Weasley children never mentions that their two maternal uncles were murdered by Death Eaters. We can only assume that Molly rarely spoke about them and that it had been a bit of a taboo in her family to mention them. It would certainly explain why she is so overly protective towards her family, as she had already lost family members during the first Wizarding War.
- “There they all were, talking about homework and Quidditch and who knew what other rubbish, when outside these walls ten more Death Eaters had swollen Voldemort’s ranks.” – The sad thing is that Harry as well should only be concerned about homework and Quidditch, that he should be allowed to be a normal teenager, instead of being right in the middle of a war.
- “The fact that Hagrid was now on probation became common knowledge within the school over the next few days, but to Harry’s indignation, hardly anybody appeared to be upset about it; indeed, some people, Draco Malfoy prominent among them, seemed positively gleeful.” – Draco of course is happy because he is a dick. But other students are happy about it as well, and we can assume not all of them are Slytherins. Luna mentioned that most Ravenclaws don’t think very well of Hagrid as a teacher. And well, with all my love for him, he isn’t exactly the best teacher.
- “Those who came from wizarding families had grown up hearing the names of these Death Eaters spoken with almost as much fear as Voldemort’s; the crimes they had committed during the days of Voldemort’s reign of terror were legendary. There were relatives of their victims among the Hogwarts students, who now found themselves the unwilling objects of a gruesome sort of reflected fame as they walked the corridors: Susan Bones, whose uncle, aunt and cousins had all died at the hands of one of the ten, said miserably during Herbology that she now had a good idea what it felt like to be Harry.” – It is said that those from wizarding families would have heard about the Death Eaters and the crimes they committed, but Ron did not know about Neville’s parents and that they were tortured into insanity. Neville of course would be now in the spotlight as well. We only hear now about Susan Bone’s family, so even if Ron knew he never mentioned it. Of course as readers we only learn those facts about the First Wizarding War at the same time as Harry, but it doesn’t seem to be much of a topic in wizarding families as well. In book 4 Ron did not know what the Dark Mark was. It is very likely that because the First Wizarding War is not that long ago (everyone’s parents were alive during that time) that not enough time has passed to talk about. Everyone was involved in it somehow; as a victim or offender. It took an entire generation in Germany until people started talking about the Second World War and the Nazi regime, until enough time had passed to reflect on their own history.
- “Harry was pleased to see that all of them, even Zacharias Smith, had been spurred on to work harder than ever by the news that ten more Death Eaters were now on the loose, but in nobody was this improvement more pronounced than in Neville. The news of his parents’ attackers’ escape had wrought a strange and even slightly alarming change in him. He had not once mentioned his meeting with Harry, Ron and Hermione on the closed ward in St Mungo’s and, taking their lead from him, they had kept quiet about it too. Nor had he said anything on the subject of Bellatrix and her fellow torturers’ escape. In fact, Neville barely spoke during the DA meetings any more, but worked relentlessly on every new jinx and counter-curse Harry taught them, his plump face screwed up in concentration, apparently indifferent to injuries or accidents and working harder than anyone else in the room.” – I think that the only solace as a child for Neville was that at least the people responsible for his parent’s fate were in prison, a prison that was impossible to break out from. Just as the murder of Harry’s parents, what has happened to Nevile’s family was a nightmare. Until it became very very real. The same horror Harry feels since Voldemort’s return is Neville now experiencing. The story of how he has lost his parents has become reality. Neville’s improvement is based on fear and anxiety, it is the only way he can deal with the knowledge that the women responsible for his parent’s fate is out there again.
- “‘Dumbledore trusts him,’ Hermione repeated. ‘And if we can’t trust Dumbledore, we can’t trust anyone.’” – Except that you can’t really trust Dumbledore, see book 7. But that is the pain of growing up: to realize that the people we put our trust in not always deserve our trust and that sometimes the only person you can trust is yourself.
- “On the morning of the fourteenth he dressed particularly carefully.” – So, the nicest of Dudley’s well-worn clothes? Because as far as we know Harry still has never bought clothes for himself.
- The whole date with Cho is just… super awkward. From Harry who doesn’t get that Cho tried to make him jealous, to him not understanding why she wants to talk with him about Cedric, and finally Harry realizing too late why Cho was irritated by the fact that Harry would meet Hermione later. And look I can feel Cho’s pain for being interested in the most oblivious guy ever, because I’ve been there. And from Harry’s perspective it might look like she is overreacting but… girl has been through a lot. And obviously people deal very different with their trauma. Harry tries to shut it down, because we hardly ever see him talking about Cedric. In the first part of the book he is angry all the time, because this how he deals with the situation. But Cho is different. She cries and she wants to talk about it (which is probably more healthy than shouting at everyone, but then again Harry has never learned how to deal with his feelings). And she thought that Harry of all people was someone she could confide to because he suffers from the same trauma as she does. Except of course that Harry was there, that he had to witness Cedric’s death. I really wish Hogwarts would had offered counselling.
- “‘Women!’ he muttered angrily, sloshing down the rain-washed street with his hands in his pockets. ‘What did she want to talk about Cedric for, anyway? Why does she always want to drag up a subject that makes her act like a human hosepipe?’” – Unfortunately it is impossible to hit fictional characters in a book. Trust me, I’ve tried.
- “‘So the Daily Prophet exists to tell people what they want to hear, does it?’ said Hermione scathingly. Rita sat up straight again, her eyebrows raised, and drained her glass of Firewhisky. ‘The Prophet exists to sell itself, you silly girl,’ she said coldly.” – Do you ever wonder if there were any journalists working for the Prophet who wanted to write the truth or at least suspected that some things didn’t add up but they could not because otherwise they would lose their job? We like to think that media is independent, that is why we put our trust in the things we read. But nobody ever is. Stories never just get told because people want to tell the truth – they got told because there is a market for them, to get attention etc.