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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter Notes

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 1: Dudley Demented

  • Ah, book 5. The longest in the series and what I feel not the most popular of the series, mostly because of teenage angst!Harry. Because just here in chapter 1 we see a very angry Harry. But, I think he has every right to be angry. Everyone deals different with trauma and this is how Harry does, because it is the least painful. He feels trapped, isolated and ignored after everything he went through. Of course there is a reason why Dumbledore especially treats him this way, and a lot of it has to do with trying to protect Harry in every possible way. But I wrote in my chapter notes for book 4 that the moment at the graveyard when Cedric died Harry stopped being a child. Of course he is not an adult either, but he lost his innocence. And Harry’s anger, his frustration is born out of the feeling that everyone still treats him as a child, despite what he had to endure. And despite not having to face trauma the way Harry did I could recognize myself a lot with his anger, with his loneliness, with his need to break out.
  • This is the first book in the series that doesn’t feature a “previously in the Potter series”-segment. By now everyone should be familiar with the character and his story. Terms like “Muggle” or “Dementor” are no longer explained; they should be known by now.
  • And to nobody’s surprise Dudley became an even bigger bully and his parents more oblivious to their son’s character and behaviour.
  • “‘Get – off – me!’ Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncle’s sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wand; then, as the pain in the top of Harry’s head gave a particularly nasty throb, Uncle Vernon yelped and released Harry as though he had received an electric shock. Some invisible force seemed to have surged through his nephew, making him impossible to hold.” – I don’t remember if it was ever explained why Uncle Vernon could no longer continue to strangle his nephew. We later learn that the loud crack had been Mundugus Fletcher disapparating, so no other wizard was around to help Harry (as Mrs Figg is a Squib). Was it Harry’s own magic, that he had no longer control over? Was it simple impossible for Vernon to hurt his nephew or almost kill him because of the prophecy saying only one (Voldemort) has to power to kill Harry? We don’t know.
  • Also, Vernon states how unlikely it is a teenager would want to listen to the news, suspecting Harry is up to something. But teenagers and young adults are interested in the world, they are political, and they use their voices and their power to change something. Thankfully.
  • I really feel like this is the first time we get more of a feeling about Little Whining, with Harry mentioning the streets he passes by and the neighbours, who all live in the same kind of houses, driving the same kind of cars etc. But despite growing up here, despite walking these streets without really looking, because he knows them so well, Harry doesn’t belong there. The Dursleys of course made sure of that, but he also never had anyone there. No childhood friend, no neighbour who had been nice to him, despite maybe Mrs Figg. This has never been Harry’s home.
  • “In the meantime, he had nothing to look forward to but another restless, disturbed night, because even when he escaped the nightmares about Cedric he had unsettling dreams about long dark corridors, all finishing in dead ends and locked doors, which he supposed had something to do with the trapped feeling he had when he was awake.” – Dream Interpretation 101. And of course if Harry was a normal boy (and we are countlessly reminded that he is not) this would be indeed what this dream means. And on a meta level I feel this is a subversion of the old trope of giving dreams meaning, of dreams being metaphors for other things. Because as we later learn there is no deeper meaning to those dream but rather it represents Harry’s connection to Voldemort. He sees what Voldemort sees. Which is also a bit ironic: Harry is so desperate to know what Voldemort is doing, what he is planning, but he sees it every night in his dreams.
  • “Harry was not remotely afraid of his cousin any more but he still didn’t think that Dudley learning to punch harder and more accurately was cause for celebration. Neighbourhood children all around were terrified of him – even more terrified than they were of ‘that Potter boy’ who, they had been warned, was a hardened hooligan and attended St Brutus’s Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.” – I wonder what the neighbours might think about the Dursleys. Both of their boys dangerous and violent – one (Dudley) oblivious to them, the other (Harry) because they spread that rumour. It probably made the neighbours wonder what kind of parents they actually are. And I wonder if some of the neighbours had been aware of the abuse Harry had to endure, if someone might had pitied Harry, if somebody had thought he was in danger.
  • Also book 5 is the birth of sass-master Harry. We see this especially in his conversation with Dudley, the way he continuously teases Dudley, knowing his cousin can’t hurt him. It’s a good look on Harry and the very least Dudley deserves for bullying Harry all those years.
  • “‘“Don’t kill Cedric! Don’t kill Cedric!” Who’s Cedric – your boyfriend?’” – Ah yes, implying someone is gay as an insult. And still I think this is the most queer text in the entire series (there is of course a lot of queer subtext, but when it comes to actual text… sadly nothing).
  • I love how the arrival of the Dementors is described – by the feelings they evoke. It takes some time before Harry sees them, before the word “Dementor” is even written down, but as a reader (just as Harry) you already know what is happening.
  • “Harry muttered frantically, his hands flying over the ground like spiders. ‘Where’s – wand – come on – lumos!’ He said the spell automatically, desperate for light to help him in his search – and to his disbelieving relief, light flared inches from his right hand – the wand-tip had ignited.” – I don’t think this counts exactly as wandless magic, but it is interesting that Harry didn’t need to hold the wand in his hand to cast the spell.
  • I love the Mrs Figg reveal. She is actually mentioned in book 4, at the end in the hospital scene, when Dumbledore tells Sirius to get the old gang together – including Arabella Figg. I wonder if between the release of book 4 and 5 some people had already speculated if Arabella Figg and Mrs Figg from book 1 are the same person, or if that would have been too obvious. But it is nice to know that at least someone had looked over Harry all those years before he went to Hogwarts.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 2: A Peck of Owls

  • Shouldn’t it be a parliament of owls? (And yes, the English language is weird)
  • Also, thevery first thing we learn about Mundugus Fletcher is that he is unreliable. Which in some ways could be a tragic foretelling of his role in Harry’s departure from Privet Drive in book 7, where Mundugus was in part responsible for Moody’s death. Obviously the more people Dumbledore can gather around to fight on his side the better but I still wonder how Mundugus earned so much trust if you can’t rely on him.
  • We learn that both Mundugus and Mrs Figg were responsible that day to keep an eye on Harry whenever he leaves the house, and later he is repeatedly told not to leave the house, so I think the protection Privet Drive provides him is really just limited to the house itself. Outside he can still become a target. (That might also be why Uncle Vernon couldn’t strangle Harry, because the house protects Harry in maybe more than just one way.)
  • So, Mr Tibbles is one of Mrs Figg’s cat, that, as she said, she put on the case, and who informed her that Mundugus had left. But unless Mr Tibbles is an Animagus (which I doubt) how could he? It seems in general that magical pets are much more intelligent than common pets. We saw that with Crookshanks, and basically with every owl, because owls are really stupid in reality (and gave the animal trainers of the movie adaptions a hard time). So is it possible that in a world where humans can be born either with or without magic animals can as well? Not in the way like magical beasts, but common animals like cats. Or maybe not magical but with a broader sense of understanding? In what way does Mr Tibbles communicates with Mr. Figg?
  • I like that despite being a Squib Mrs Figg is still part of the magical community. She uses a lot of phrases that sound typical for a witch/wizard, so she probably grew up in a wizard household. She does what she can to help, to contribute something in fighting this war. And it is possible that a lot of Squibs become outsiders, isolate themselves, might even leave the Wizarding World behind. But with Mr Filch and Mrs Figg we have two examples of Squibs who found their place in the Magical world thanks to Dumbledore.
  • “Talk about the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery … this was exactly what Dumbledore was afraid of […]“ – So Dumbledore already suspected the Ministry might use this regulation against Harry, creating a situation where we had to use magic, knowing of course that he already had used magic before in his holidays. What was the goal here? Do discredit Harry publically? To get him expelled from Hogwarts? To get him away from Dumbledore’s influence?
  • “Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia exchanged looks of utter horror. If their least favourite thing in the world was magic – closely followed by neighbours who cheated more than they did on the hosepipe ban – people who heard voices were definitely in the bottom ten. They obviously thought Dudley was losing his mind.” – It is so telling that people like the Dursleys would fear that one of them might suffer from a mental illness. Because they seem like the kind of people who are unable to understand this kind of illness, who merely think in categories of “crazy” and “sane” and everyone who isn’t like them is other. Then again, despite the repeated trauma Harry has to endure we never see him getting any kind of psychological  help and therapy, so mental illnesses might be stigmatized in the Wizarding World as well.
  • “But Dudley seemed incapable of saying. He shuddered again and shook his large blond head, and despite the sense of numb dread that had settled on Harry since the arrival of the first owl, he felt a certain curiosity. Dementors caused a person to relive the worst moments of their life. What would spoiled, pampered, bullying Dudley have been forced to hear?” – Harry, in many ways, isn’t very likeable in book 5. He is angry, he acts selfish, he only sees his own suffering. Which is actually in great contrast to book 6, and that is why the two of them complement each other. And Harry’s selfish behaviour isn’t just towards his friends, it is towards people like Dudley as well. Yes, Dudley is a bully, and our sympathy for him is limited. But Harry’s curiosity isn’t born out of empathy or care, but because he looks down on Dudley. What in the world could Dudley see and hear, when his life had been seemingly without so much less pain than Harry’s? Harry never asks, he never tries to reach out, even after he realizes that someone like Dudley has deep settled fears.
  • “‘I heard – that awful boy – telling her about them – years ago,’ she said jerkily. ‘If you mean my mum and dad, why don’t you use their names?’” – That awful boy that told Lily about Azkaban and Dementors was of course not James, but Snape. It’s a shame really that Harry and Petunia never really talk, how her pain of losing her sister to this other world (in more than one way) closed her off so completely that she could never talk about it, not even with Harry who had a right to know.
  • “‘Back?’ whispered Aunt Petunia. She was looking at Harry as she had never looked at him before. And all of a sudden, for the very first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister. He could not have said why this hit him so very powerfully at this moment. All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean. Aunt Petunia had never in her life looked at him like that before. Her large, pale eyes (so unlike her sister’s) were not narrowed in dislike or anger, they were wide and fearful. The furious pretence that Aunt Petunia had maintained all Harry’s life – that there was no magic and no world other than the world she inhabited with Uncle Vernon – seemed to have fallen away.” – I love that scene. For the longest time the Dursleys were an abstract concept for Harry, in no way related to his parents, despite knowing that Petunia and Lily were sisters. But Petunia never mentions her sister, never even showed Harry a picture of her, nothing. As if she had never existed. It is understandable that Harry never saw her as his mother’s sister. But suddenly he does. Suddenly he understands that he is not the only one who lost someone that night, that Petunia’s fear, her ignorance, her hatred are a result of the terror of that night. And now she has learned that the man responsible for the murder of her sister is back.
  • “This Lord Voldything’s back, you say.” – You know in book 7 when they can no longer use Voldemort’s name? This is the nickname they should have used.
  • And here we have Uncle Vernon, who just learned the same thing as his wife, but his reaction is to throw Harry out of the house. He only sees the danger it would cause for his family and doesn’t even think for a minute about his nephew. Harry needs more protection than ever, but his uncle refuses to give him some. It shows you exactly the kind of man Vernon Dursley is.
  • And then there is of course the Howler Petunia gets, as we later learn from Dumbledore, referring to his last letter (the one he wrote when he left Harry at the Dursleys). We learn later the reason why Harry has to return to his family every year: as long as he can call this place his home it will protect him. And I don’t think Petunia ever told Vernon about it. She finds excuses now why Harry has to stay and she found probably excuses back then to explain to her husband why they had to keep her nephew. Because Vernon made it clear that he doesn’t care about Harry’s safety. However complicated her relationship with her sister was a part of Petunia always loved her sister, mourned her, and couldn’t bear the thought to let the child die that her sister gave her life for. However horrible she treated Harry, she gave him a home, she gave him the bare minimum to survive, and with that she kept Lily’s sacrifice alive.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 3: The Advance Guard

  • I absolutely completely love Tonks, ever since her introduction. Her humour, her nonchalance, her attitude. That she is a bit messy and clumsy, and can’t manage any household spells. That she is an Auror and wears all kind of extravagant hair colours. She is… well… cool. If people say Harry had his bisexual awakening with Bill, Ginny had hers with Tonks. Tonks is so very full of life, and that is why her death later will hurt so very much.
  • “‘It’s not very neat,’ said Tonks, walking over to the trunk and looking down at the jumble inside. ‘My mum’s got this knack of getting stuff to fit itself in neatly – she even gets the socks to fold themselves – but I’ve never mastered how she does it – it’s a kind of flick –’ She flicked her wand hopefully. One of Harry’s socks gave a feeble sort of wiggle and flopped back on top of the mess in the trunk.” – We later learn that Tonk’s mother is Andromeda Black (well, now Tonks), so it is very likely she grew up with a house-elf and didn’t need to learn all those household-spells in her youth. But when she married a Muggleborn wizard her family dismissed her, so learning those spells was in a way an act of rebellion. (I also wonder if Narcissa Malfoy had to learn those spells after Dobby was freed, because it is not like you can buy a house-elf just like that, that are family heirlooms.)
  • This departure is very similar to when Harry leaves Privet Drive for the last time in book 7. This time Moody mentions what will happen if one of them dies, even though nobody does, but the tragic irony is that in book 7 it will be Moody who dies.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 4: Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

  • I wonder if Grimmauld Place has always been hidden because it is a magical house or if it is hidden because of the Fidelius Charm, only visible to those who know about it? And if the latter is true how come none of the Muggles seems to wonder where Number Twelve has gone? And speaking of Muggles, why would a Pureblood-family like the Blacks live in a Muggle neighbourhood?
  • “The others’ hushed voices were giving Harry an odd feeling of foreboding; it was as though they had just entered the house of a dying person.” – The house of course belongs to Sirius, who by the end of this book, will die.
  • “Hermione glanced at Ron and then said, ‘I thought that, too. But he didn’t want you to know anything.’ ‘Maybe he thinks I can’t be trusted,’ said Harry, watching their expressions.” – I stumbled over the phrasing of Hermione’s answer, that Dumbledore didn’t want to let Harry know anything at all. Why? I think Harry’s answer isn’t that far off. Is it possible Dumbledore suspected even back then that there could be a connection between Harry and Voldemort? Was he afraid Voldemort could use Harry as an involuntary spy? We know the reason why Harry had to stay at the Dursleys, at least for some time, but that doesn’t explain the total isolation and lack of any kind of news, except if Dumbledore had been suspicious of Harry even back then.
  • “‘SO YOU HAVEN’T BEEN IN THE MEETINGS, BIG DEAL! YOU’VE STILL BEEN HERE, HAVEN’T YOU? YOU’VE STILL BEEN TOGETHER! ME, I’VE BEEN STUCK AT THE DURSLEYS’ FOR A MONTH! AND I’VE HANDLED MORE THAN YOU TWO’VE EVER MANAGED AND DUMBLEDORE KNOWS IT – WHO SAVED THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE? WHO GOT RID OF RIDDLE? WHO SAVED BOTH YOUR SKINS FROM THE DEMENTORS? […] WHO HAD TO GET PAST DRAGONS AND SPHINXES AND EVERY OTHER FOUL THING LAST YEAR? WHO SAW HIM COME BACK? WHO HAD TO ESCAPE FROM HIM? ME! […]BUT WHY SHOULD I KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON? WHY SHOULD ANYONE BOTHER TO TELL ME WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?’” – That is a very limited way to look at these events though. Because Hermione and Ron did help Harry with the Philosopher’s Stone, Ron accompanied him in the Chamber of Secrets, they were with him when he faced Sirius and Wormtail and tried to prepare him in every possible way to get through the tournament. And yes, Harry had been alone in the most critical moments, but neither Ron or Hermione are to blame for this. Or for the current situation. It was Dumbledore’s decision that Harry had to stay at the Dursley’s, that he wouldn’t get any access to information. But Dumbledore is not there, so all that Harry has left is Ron and Hermione to yell at. Harry has every reason to be angry and anger isn’t reasonable. Book 5 shows us the most selfish version of Harry (which is rather interesting as book 4 was so much about Harry’s heroism that showed itself through his selflessness). But Harry has been left more or less alone, without any kind of information, after the most traumatic event of his life so… let him be.
  • Harry assumes that the guard duty the Order members were talking about was about him, but is it possible they guarded something else as well? Did Dumbledore already suspected Voldemort wants the prophecy and is this what they guard?
  • It is also interesting how arrogance plays an important role in this book. Fudge’s arrogance in thinking Dumbledore is after his job and wants to cause trouble. Percy’s arrogance in believing his family, especially his father, lacks ambition and is jealous, ignorant to see why Fudge really wants him close (as a spy). Harry’s arrogance towards his friends, his belief he has to do everything on his own, leading ultimately to Sirius’s death. And Sirius’s arrogance of course, in one way how he treats Kreacher, and how Kreacher will play an important role in Sirius’s death as well. If anything Hybris is the real big bad of this book.
  • “He noticed that her hands, too, bore the marks of Hedwig’s beak and found that he was not at all sorry. […]I know you don’t,’ said Hermione quickly, looking frightened. […]Ginny grimaced at the others and followed her mother out of the room, leaving Harry alone with Ron and Hermione. Both of them were watching him apprehensively, as though they feared he would start shouting again now that everyone else had gone. The sight of them looking so nervous made him feel slightly ashamed.” – That at least is something. Because we know that Harry isn’t usually the kind of person who doesn’t care if his friends are hurt (caused by his owl nevertheless), or worse, that they are afraid of him. After all the built up anger has left his body he feels rightfully ashamed. Mind you, he doesn’t apologize, but at least part of him knows he just acted like a jerk.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 5: The Order of the Phoenix

  • “Bill took out his wand, muttered, ‘Evanesco!’ and the scrolls vanished.” – But where do they end up? They have to go somewhere, they can’t simply vanish, because the Order needs those parchments again. But the more I think about magic and physics (where one body is can’t be another) I believe magic uses pocket-dimensions, because how else do you explain a house that can vanish between two other houses or the Room of Requirements or Hermione’s handbag in book 7?
  • I love that Molly is in the Order as well, which makes sense as two of her oldest sons and her husband are in it, but I wonder what her job is. We know Arthur works as a spy in the Ministry and uses his connections to recruit new members, the same as Charlie does in Romania. I suppose Bill’s job is to recruit the Goblins, as he works together with them at Gringrotts. But what about Molly? We see her preparing dinner and making Grimmauld Place habitable again, but nothing more. Once again she is stuck in the domestic space, and it is obvious that part of Sirius’s frustration comes from being trapped there as well, as if it is beneath him. And I’m torn apart between wanting to see Molly leaving this space, being more than a mother and housewife, but on the other side I think that the work she does, including raising 7 children, should be appreciated more. Because society still doesn’t see being a mother, taking care of a household, as a full-time job. It is taken for granted.
  • “She stopped dead, catching her breath with a frightened look at her husband, whose expression was suddenly wooden.” – This is after Molly accidently mentions Percy. In her argument later with Sirius we also see her demanding her husband to back her up. And it is interesting to see the Weasley family dynamic compared with the dynamic between Molly and Arthur. Their children seem to be more afraid of their mother; she is usually the one who is very strict when it comes to the rules, whereas her husband seems much more softer. But between them Arthur is the more dominant. She is frightened after she mentioned Percy, a topic that is clearly taboo. She needs him backing her up in her argument with Sirius, and after her husband expresses a different opinion than her she gives in. Molly represent a very conservative image of a woman; someone who only exists in a domestic space, someone who subordinates her opinion after her husband’s. And in contrast to her we see more modern woman like Tonks and later Ginny and Hermione.
  • “I think it depends what they’re [the Goblins] offered,’ said Lupin. ‘And I’m not talking about gold. If they’re offered the freedoms we’ve been denying them for centuries they’re going to be tempted.” – I wish we would have learned a bit more about Goblins, the way we did about House-Elves. What are the freedoms they want? And why do the Wizards deny them these freedoms? We see a bit of the complicated history between Goblins and Wizards in book 7, but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
  • So, let’s talk about the argument between Sirius and Molly, which I really loved. If we look at it from Harry’s perspective Sirius would be right. However, Harry’s view is limited, and as Molly reminds us he is still a child. I don’t think that either Molly or Sirius is entirely right. I agree with Molly that Harry is after all still a child and in her observation that Sirius treats him rather as a friend, as an equal, than as a son. We see this in Sirius’s reaction regarding the Dementor attack. Sirius makes it look like an adventure, like he would have preferred a little bit of action over being trapped at Grimmauld Place. Molly openly shows her dislike for Mundugus, which is based on him leaving Harry when he had guard duty, but we see no such behaviour from Sirius. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love or care about Harry. But he doesn’t treat him as a son, as a child, as someone who needs protection. Of course Molly is overly protective, and it is a low blow to accuse Sirius wasn’t there for Harry because he was in Azkaban. And it is impossible to keep Harry out of this war because he is already part of it. Harry witnessed Voldemort’s return and he is the one Voldemort wants to see dead. Harry needs access to information in order to survive, in order to be prepared. Does he need to know everything? No, not now anyway. But as much as Molly still sees Harry as a child, Voldemort doesn’t. Voldemort doesn’t care, and that is why they can’t afford to leave Harry out of it.
  • But it is also interesting to see all those different kind of characters inhabiting the space where Harry’s parents would be. We have the Dursleys, family by blood, but nothing else, with Petunia giving Harry the bare minimum of protection when she allows him to stay at Privet Drive. We have Dumbledore, who as we are told acts in Harry’s best interest, but appears as a cold and distant God-like figure. We have Molly who says Harry is as good as her son (which Harry finds touching), who tries to protect him in every possible way. And we have Sirius, Harry’s chosen parental figure, who treats Harry as an equal instead of a child.
  • Sirius says that Voldemort’s plan has failed because Harry wasn’t supposed to survive, wasn’t supposed to tell everyone that Voldemort is back. But, if Harry had died, it would have drawn an awful lot of attention, wouldn’t it? Did they plan to make it look like an accident? Would Voldemort really have resisted to tell everyone he had finally killed Harry Potter?
  • “‘You see the problem,’ said Lupin. ‘While the Ministry insists there is nothing to fear from Voldemort it’s hard to convince people he’s back, especially as they really don’t want to believe it in the first place. What’s more, the Ministry’s leaning heavily on the Daily Prophet not to report any of what they’re calling Dumbledore’s rumour-mongering, so most of the wizarding community are completely unaware anything’s happened, and that makes them easy targets for the Death Eaters if they’re using the Imperius Curse.’” – People believe what they want to believe, which is rather a comfortable lie than an ugly truth. And it shows the power a government and media has by completely ignoring someone, refusing to give them a platform, or by damaging their reputation. It is the creditability of one person (Dumbledore) vs the entire Ministry and the news.
  • Do they assume Voldemort is after a weapon in the Department of Mysteries or do they already know he is after the prophecy? The irony of course is that Voldemort wants the prophecy because he thinks it can tell him to kill Harry but it doesn’t really. The second part he never heard only says one has to kill the other, but not how. And for all the trouble it caused in the end only his biggest enemies, Harry and Dumbledore, know the full extent of it.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 6: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

  • I really wonder why the Order thinks Voldemort is after a weapon. Is it simply one of Dumbledore’s assumptions, that usually turn out to be right? Is it the information Snape gathered? Does Voldemort himself refer to the prophecy as a weapon, because he thinks it will help him find out how to kill Harry? The whole weapon theory is such a false lead and I wonder where it has its origin.
  • Fred and George tell Harry that the joke shop is a mail order service so far, and that they put an advertisement in the Daily Prophet, which their mother won’t see as she stopped reading the Prophet. But you would think others still read it, even members of the Order, to keep in touch with what they write, and might tell or ask Molly about it. It is not a very fool-proof plan.
  • So, let’s talk about Kreacher. It’s been said that he has lived alone in the house for ten years now, ever since Mrs Black died. The only remaining member of his family, Sirius, had been in prison, and so he took instead orders of the portrait of Mrs Black. Hermione is probably right in her assumption that Kreacher thinks they can’t hear what insults he mutters. They can’t set him free because he knows too much about the Order. And his loyalty is clearly to Mrs Black and not Sirius, so he probably would have no problems telling their secrets. (Dobby however never told anyone about the Malfoys’s secrets, and I think it is because part of him is still afraid of his old master.) Kreacher’s case is quite interesting because it is so unique. After Mrs Black’s death he legally belonged to Sirius, but obviously Sirius could not use him as long as he was prison and so Kreacher was forced to stay in Grimmauld Place, waiting for either Sirius’s return or his death. And all this time alone made him mad. Only Hermione and Dumbledore seem to pity him, though Hermione’s suggestion to set him free would be too risky for obvious reasons. Dumbledore tells Sirius to be kind to Kreacher, because he is aware of the power a house-elf has and how Kreacher’s hate for Sirius can backfire (which we see at the end of the book). To Sirius though Kreacher represents everything he hated about his former home and his family, and as he is the only one left he places all his hate on Kreacher.
  • “‘Is it true? Is it Harry Potter? Kreacher can see the scar, it must be true, that’s the boy who stopped the Dark Lord, Kreacher wonders how he did it –’” – Are house-elves political? Obviously they are not allowed to express their opinions but that doesn’t mean they don’t have ones. Dobby disagreed a great deal with his former master and even risked severe punishment in order to warn Harry. We know that Voldemort completely underestimates house-elves (and this will part of his down-fall), that he treats them as objects, and shows no real interest in them. Kreacher is loyal to his old masters, especially Mrs Black, who supported Voldemort and his ideology. But Kreacher, unknown to everyone, has his very own history with Voldemort. And in the end he will lead the house-elves of Hogwarts in the battle against Voldemort. So his question is probably genuine, as Voldemort is also responsible for the death of Regulus.
  • Harry knows Sirius for a little over a year but only now learns more about his family history because he never bothered before to ask. It is possible that Ron had at least heard about the Black family, as there aren’t many pureblood families left and it is always possible Hermione has read about them. His family and their reputation might also be the reason so many people likely believed Sirius to be a mass murderer (mostly Muggle victims on top of it), and even those who knew the full story about his assumingly betrayal of the Potters might have wondered if perhaps he had never been disloyal to his family in the first place. Harry of course immediately sees the similarities between him and Sirius; both forced to grow up in a family they hate, both found a new family through their best friends who took them in like their own. And Harry of course entertains the idea to live with Sirius again, because in his eyes everything is better than the Dursleys.
  • I always wonder about the relationship between Sirius and Regulus. Sirius calls him an idiot, but also says he was soft, and after his release of Azkaban Sirius had tried to find out more about his death. I do think that perhaps not everything was lost between them, that a part of Sirius did love Regulus and it hurt him to see what became of him. It always saddens me that Sirius never found out what Regulus did, that he played his part in defeating Voldemort.
  • “‘No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge. They weren’t alone, either, there were quite a few people, before Voldemort showed his true colours, who thought he had the right idea about things … they got cold feet when they saw what he was prepared to do to get power, though. But I bet my parents thought Regulus was a right little hero for joining up at first.’” – I don’t know if it was actually said in this book or only the movie adaption that you just can’t divide the world into Death Eaters and Others. Because they are still people who are racist, who believe in purity and have a great dislike for everyone slightly non-human, characters like Fudge or Umbridge, who are not Death Eaters, but dangerous in their own right. The Death Eaters are the most extremist group, ready to kill and torture for their ideology, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of other wizards won’t share their ideas to some degree.
  • “‘No, he was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort’s orders, more likely; I doubt Regulus was ever important enough to be killed by Voldemort in person. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don’t just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It’s a lifetime of service or death.’” – Do you see the massive parallel between Regulus and Draco? Both joining the Death Eaters on their own, both terrified by what they have to do, though obviously Regulus in the end gave his life to redeem himself. I always wonder about Draco and how different things could have been, how he perhaps at some point could have changed sides, could have interacted with Sirius and/or Tonks, members of his family who choose a different path. I always hope that after the war he got in contact with his cool aunt Andromeda though.
  • “‘The pure-blood families are all interrelated,’ said Sirius. ‘If you’re only going to let your sons and daughters marry pure-bloods your choice is very limited; there are hardly any of us left.” – It is fair to assume that there is a great deal of incest between the Pureblood families. I think at some point it has been said that wizardkind would have died out if they hadn’t started to marry Muggles. Which is why the American Wizard Society, that has a law that forbids marriage between Muggles and Wizards, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  • “[…] a heavy locket that none of them could open;[…]” – Well, I wonder what that could be? I did re-read book 1-6 before the release of book 7 and I really didn’t notice this, so respect if you did.
  • You know when Mrs Weasley says she had ironed Harry’s best clothes I assumed it to be something formal, but we learn the next chapter it is just a T-Shirt and jeans, probably still Dudley’s old clothes, because Harry can’t seem to bother to buy himself some decent clothes.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 7: The Ministry of Magic

  • “‘No, no, I’m sure it’s fine,’ said Mr Weasley, holding the receiver above his head and peering at the dial. ‘Let’s see … six …’ he dialled the number, ‘two … four … and another four … and another two …’” – You probably all already knew this but 6-2-4-4-2 spells out ‘Magic’. I wonder though if some Muggle ever accidently activated the Ministry’s visitor entrance.
  • The Ministry of Magic is one of my favourite sets in the movie adaption, and it is really close to how it is described here in the books.
  • “If I’m not expelled from Hogwarts, I’ll put in ten Galleons, Harry found himself thinking desperately.” – Rather spend the money on some decent clothes Harry.
  • Despite the fact that the Ministry must be huge, with a lot of employees, Arthur knows a lot of them by their first name and seems to be quite popular among his colleagues. Which I think tells you a lot about Arthur (he is a good egg).
  • The fact that Arthur and his colleague have the smallest office, without even a window, tells you a lot about how others belittle their work and on a larger scale Muggles. Because in the end what they do is to protect Muggles, from what Mr Weasley says are pranks. Nothing Aurors could be bothered with, and nothing serious enough to risk the State of Secrecy, so nobody really cares about it. Which again tells you a lot about the Wizarding World and also about Arthur Weasley, and his very unique look at Muggles, and the genuine respect he has for them.

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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.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 9: The Woes of Mrs Weasley

  • So Dumbledore might have his reasons why he avoids Harry (afraid Voldemort will use him as a spy) but he even walks past Mr Weasley without bothering to tell him that Harry got cleared. Rude.
  • “‘Oh, it’s a simple enough anti-jinx,’ said Mr Weasley as they mounted the stairs, ‘but it’s not so much having to repair the damage, it’s more the attitude behind the vandalism, Harry. Muggle-baiting might strike some wizards as funny, but it’s an expression of something much deeper and nastier, and I for one –’” – I know I mentioned this a couple of times before but my love for Arthur Weasley is based on his love for Muggles. His job isn’t just about keeping the State of Secrecy but for him it is about protecting Muggles. He has a genuine interest in them and respect of how they manage to live without magic, but he is also aware how helpless they are towards wizards. And he is aware what it tells about a wizard or witch if they abuse their power to torment Muggles. That is why he was so outraged when Fred and George did the very same thing in book 4 with Dudley. To them it was just a prank, but Mr Weasley deals with this every day, and knows that often it is something much more sinister.
  • “‘Malfoy’s been giving generously to all sorts of things for years … gets him in with the right people … then he can ask favours … delay laws he doesn’t want passed … oh, he’s very well-connected, Lucius Malfoy.’” – Does Lucius Malfoy actually have a job? Or is he just strolling around, spending the Malfoy fortune? It is always mentioned that he has a certain influence in the Ministry but it doesn’t seem like he works there.
  • “‘Mr Weasley,’ said Harry slowly, ‘if Fudge is meeting Death Eaters like Malfoy, if he’s seeing them alone, how do we know they haven’t put the Imperius Curse on him?’” – Mr Weasley says that Dumbledore thinks Fudge is acting on his own, but the thing is they have no proof. For all we know Malfoy could have put him under the Imperius Curse, telling him to act like usual, but to report to him regular. It is fortunate for the Death Eaters and Voldemort that the Minister refuses to see the dangers right in front of him, so that they can continue to work in the underground.
  • “He looked up into the handsome wizard’s face, but close-to Harry thought he looked rather weak and foolish. The witch was wearing a vapid smile like a beauty contestant, and from what Harry knew of goblins and centaurs, they were most unlikely to be caught staring so soppily at humans of any description. Only the house-elf’s attitude of creeping servility looked convincing.” – Ah yes, the “Fountain of Magical Brethren”. I think Dumbledore talks about at the end of the book, after the fight in the Department of Mysteries, telling Harry that the fountain represents a lie. Harry in part already notices that, realizing that neither a Goblin or a Centaur would look admiringly at a wizard or witch. But it is not just that: the word brethren would imply they are equal, when they are not. Even though they have their own kind of magic, Goblins and House-Elves are denied to carry a wand (I’m not sure if Centaurs have magic of their own as well). And their mistreatment will have severe consequences within the story (see Kreacher in this book and Griphook in book 7, but also the way Harry’s kindness towards Dobby and later Kreacher will help him defeating Voldemort). Later on, after Voldemort took over the Ministry in book 7, the fountain is replaced by the “Magic is Might”-Statue, that no longer pretends that everyone is equal but rather shows the ugly truth of Voldemort’s regime: that wizards are superior to everyone.
  • “‘I knew it!’ yelled Ron, punching the air. ‘You always get away with stuff!’ ‘They were bound to clear you,’ said Hermione, who had looked positively faint with anxiety when Harry had entered the kitchen and was now holding a shaking hand over her eyes, ‘there was no case against you, none at all.’ ‘Everyone seems quite relieved, though, considering you all knew I’d get off,’ said Harry, smiling.” – It is interesting to see how different Ron and Hermione react. I think Hermione was much more aware of the sincerity of the situation; she knew that the Ministry would use any chance to get rid of Harry, legal or not. Ron instead looks at it like it was just another instance of Harry breaking the rules, and because Harry is Harry he obviously got away with it.
  • “‘Suit yourselves. But I sometimes think Ron’s mum’s right and Sirius gets confused about whether you’re you or your father, Harry.’ ‘So you think he’s touched in the head?’ said Harry heatedly. ‘No, I just think he’s been very lonely for a long time,’ said Hermione simply.” – Harry notices that Sirius alone doesn’t seem as happy as everyone else that Harry got cleared and will return to Hogwarts. Hermione suspects that Sirius might have hoped that he and Harry could be outcasts together. And I think she could be right in some ways. I mean obviously Sirius wants the best for Harry and knows that Harry belongs in Hogwarts, but he has been very lonely. And despite his house being the headquarters for the Order Sirius doesn’t feel like he belongs. He can’t actively help them, can’t even leave the house. Sirius is no longer in Azkaban but he is still trapped. And both Hermione and Mrs Weasley have enough distance to see the things Harry refuses to see when it comes to his godfather.
  • Ron complains that they have to clean the house, that he feels like a house-elf. Mrs Wesley reminds him that he wanted to help the Order and in cleaning its headquarters he is doing it, even though Ron thinks cleaning is beneath him, which basically disrespects the work his mother is doing every day. Hermione then suggest they could clean the Gryffindor common room to help raise awareness for S.P.E.W. And that made me thinking… if you grew up like the Malfoys or other old wizard families, with a house-elf doing all the housework, and it’s the same at Hogwarts, do they never actually learn to clean? Or to cook? (And I guess in real life there are people who grew up so privileged, so used of other people doing their work, they couldn’t live on their own.)
  • “‘One sacked, one dead, one’s memory removed and one locked in a trunk for nine months,’ said Harry, counting them off on his fingers. ‘Yeah, I see what you mean.’” – Do you think Hogwarts students over the years developed a mnemonic for the ways the DADA teachers lost their jobs the same way there exists a mnemonic for the fates of the wives of Henry VIII? (“Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.”)
  • So, Ron being a prefect is… unexpected. From the point of the audience, as Harry is our main character, and therefore naturally everything happens to him, but also within the story, as Harry is special and gets special treatment. I don’t think Ron was the first choice, but rather became prefect instead of Harry. Dumbledore later explains his decision that he didn’t wanted to give Harry another responsibility. However Harry (and everyone else) sees the position of being a prefect rather as a privilege instead of a burden. Maybe Dumbledore had hoped it would give Ron more confidence, but as he has to take over more responsibility, that it would make him also more mature. Ron is the second youngest in a large family; he is not used to be in control. And I think Ron deserves something that is his own, that he doesn’t have to share with Harry, and a party for him and present. He deserves to be the special one for once. However, Kingsley argues that Dumbledore would have made a sign with making Harry a prefect, showing that he trusts Harry. There are two sides to it.
  • I think Molly reacts as overly enthusiastic to Ron becoming a prefect because  being a prefect is a reward, it is a privilege, and one that has nothing to do with money. We see the Weasley children having both academic and professional success: Bill, Charlie, Percy and Ron were prefects (is it ever mentioned if Ginny had been a prefect as well?), Bill and Percy were head boy, they all later started successful careers. They made something out of themselves, despite their parents not being able to support them financially. Their success is rightfully earned. And that is immensely important for both Molly and Arthur, that the system rewards hard work, that their children are given the same opportunities as everyone else. They are the opposite of the Malfoys in every way, whose influence and reputation is built on their wealth.
  • “But maybe, said the small voice fairly, maybe Dumbledore doesn’t choose prefects because they’ve got themselves into a load of dangerous situations … maybe he chooses them for other reasons … Ron must have something you don’t … Harry opened his eyes and stared through his fingers at the wardrobe’s clawed feet, remembering what Fred had said: ‘No one in their right mind would make Ron a prefect …’ Harry gave a small snort of laughter. A second later he felt sickened with himself.” -  And then we have Harry’s reaction, and again it shows us a less sympathetic aspect of him. He even admits that he isn’t better at anything than Ron except maybe Quidditch. And yet. I wrote about privilege before and how Harry often is unaware of his own privileges, and book 5 is the one where a lot of them are taken away. He doesn’t become prefect, he will be banned from the Quidditch team, people constantly question him and his story, thinking of him as an attention seeking liar. And Harry often reacts angry to it, which is understandable, but he also turns his anger to those who are not responsible for his situation (Ron & Hermione), which is not fair. A lot of book 5 is about growth, which we will see in book 6. It is ok to show Harry in this less sympathetic way, because it makes him a rounder, more complex and interesting character, but it also shows us the change he is going through. It makes him a better person in the end.
  • “‘Thanks,’ said Hermione. ‘Erm – Harry – could I borrow Hedwig so I can tell Mum and Dad? They’ll be really pleased – I mean prefect is something they can understand.’” – Does anyone wonder why Hermione spends her holidays with the Order instead of her family? Last year she was at the Weasley’s because of the Quidditch World Cup, but what about now? Are her parents aware of the danger she is in? That Voldemort has returned? That her best friends and their families are part of the resistance? Did she tell them that the headquarters of the Order would be the safest place for her? Or did she feed them some lie why she had to leave them earlier, afraid they might not allow her to return to Hogwarts if they would know the truth?
  • Also, one last thing about the prefects: everyone assumes Dumbledore chooses the new prefects, but then why would he make Draco and Pansy Slytherin prefects? That is more likely a choice Snape would have made.
  • “Harry’s mood suddenly lifted. His father had not been a prefect either. All at once the party seemed much more enjoyable; he loaded up his plate, feeling doubly fond of everyone in the room.” – And then of course there are expectations: Ron lives up to his family expectations, something he was always afraid he would not be able to, to be not good enough. Harry on the other hand feels better that his father had not been a prefect either; it is not something his parents would have expected of him or be disappointed about.
  • “Harry watched them go, feeling slightly uneasy. It had just occurred to him that Mr and Mrs Weasley would want to know how Fred and George were financing their joke shop business when, as was inevitable, they finally found out about it. Giving the twins his Triwizard winnings had seemed a simple thing to do at the time, but what if it led to another family row and a Percy-like estrangement? Would Mrs Weasley still feel that Harry was as good as her son if she found out he had made it possible for Fred and George to start a career she thought quite unsuitable?” – There is something quite heartbreaking with Harry being afraid to lose Mrs Weasley’s affection. But also Harry thinking about the consequences of his actions, that something that had seem right and simple could possibly lead to another huge fight within the Weasley family, that is that ideal version of family for him, but that he is also part of.
  • I wonder if Moody thought seeing his parents in an old photograph would cheer Harry up, but the opposite is the truth. Learning about all the members of the original Order, about their fates, only makes him again realize how serious the current situation is, that they are at war, and that all the people around him are in danger. I wonder if Harry ever knew that Fabian and Gideon Prewett were Molly’s brothers. I know she gave him her brother’s watch for his 17th birthday, but I don’t remember if she had mentioned his name, or if she ever talked at all with her children about her brothers and how she lost them.
  • ·         I also can’t believe that young Sirius had short hair, because every Marauders fan art always shows him with long hair.
  • “And then, to see them surrounded by all those other happy faces … Benjy Fenwick, who had been found in bits, and Gideon Prewett, who had died like a hero, and the Longbottoms, who had been tortured into madness … all waving happily out of the photograph forever more, not knowing that they were doomed … well, Moody might find that interesting … he, Harry, found it disturbing …” – Even though wizard photographs seem to be balive they only show a moment in time, forever trapped in the same state of oblivious happiness, not knowing what will happen to them.
  • “You weren’t in the Order then, you don’t understand. Last time we were outnumbered twenty to one by the Death Eaters and they were picking us off one by one …’” – Which gives you a picture of how many followers Voldemort had/still has, and how small the resistance was. And that is why it is so important for the public to know about Voldemort’s return. So they can be prepared, so that those against him outnumber his followers.
  • “But Harry, closing his bedroom door behind him some ten minutes later, could not think Mrs Weasley silly. He could still see his parents beaming up at him from the tattered old photograph, unaware that their lives, like so many of those around them, were drawing to a close. The image of the Boggart posing as the corpse of each member of Mrs Weasley’s family in turn kept flashing before his eyes. […]Harry ignored it. He felt older than he had ever felt in his life and it seemed extraordinary to him that barely an hour ago he had been worried about a joke shop and who had got a prefect’s badge.” – Things are put very hard in perspective for Harry. For how eager he was to join the Order and annoyed by Molly mothering him, he know truly realizes what it means to be in the Order. That Mrs Weasley dreads a member of her family gets hurt (it is interesting that her Boggart turned into a dead Harry as well, next to her husband and her sons, but we never see a dead Ginny), remembering the last war and how she lost two brothers. Because Voldemort doesn’t act out in the open yet Harry for a moment or two forget that they are all in danger, that the war has already started. There are no victims yet, but there will be.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 10: Luna Lovegood

  • “An old woman greeted them on the corner. She had tightly curled grey hair and wore a purple hat shaped like a pork pie. ‘Wotcher, Harry,’ she said, winking.” – Tonks ability to change her appearance even goes as far as to change her age, meaning that theoretically she could stay forever young. However I always wonder how much effort it takes for her to change. It described that her face has a pained expression every time she changes her appearance. It is possible that changing her hair is less exhausting than changing her entire appearance. I always had this headcanon that changing in a significant way (her face, her body etc) would drain a lot of energy, so we only see her change her hair mostly, as it is much more effortless. Or maybe Tonks just feels very comfortable in her body and doesn’t think there is any need to change it. (I wonder if her transformations could go as far as to change into another person or another gender.)
  • Neville doesn’t want to share a compartment with Luna, implying that he had heard about her and her reputation, unlike Harry, who is the most oblivious character ever. I also love how Ginny simply doesn’t care about Luna’s reputation.
  • “Harry knew at once why Neville had chosen to pass this compartment by. The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness.” – If I ever form a band I call it “distinct dottiness”. And a quick look at the chapter titles tell us that J.K. Rowling has a thing for alliterations (Dudley Demented, Detention with Dolores, Percy and Padfoot etc).
  • “‘I’m nobody,’ said Neville hurriedly. ‘No you’re not,’ said Ginny sharply.” – I love that Ginny stands up for Neville. She also defended him last book when Ron and Harry made fun of him because he had asked Hermione to be his yule ball date. Ginny simply doesn’t care that both Luna and Neville aren’t considered to be cool or popular, unlike Harry (at least for now). And Ginny herself is popular, she has her own group of friends, but she treats everyone with the same respect and won’t stand any kind of bullying. Which makes her awesome and you know the morally better person than Harry, just saying.
  • “Rather pink in the face, she closed the door and departed. Harry slumped back in his seat and groaned. He would have liked Cho to discover him sitting with a group of very cool people laughing their heads off at a joke he had just told; he would not have chosen to be sitting with Neville and Loony Lovegood, clutching a toad and dripping in Stinksap.” – I wrote a separate post about this, but this scene mirrors a scene in book 6, where Harry again sits with Luna and Neville, when Romilda Vane offers him to sit with her and her friends, with the difference that Harry then appreciates his company and rather sits with his friends Luna and Neville. Again, a lot of the unlikeable Harry we see in book 5 is to show us the progress he makes. People are sometimes dicks, but fortunately they don’t have to stay that way.
  • It is never stated but I think there is chance that Luna is on the autism spectrum. Her inability to understand social cues, paired with her intelligence would speak for it.
  • I love that every article in the Quibbler includes the line “BUT DOES HE?”. Obviously book 5 deals a lot with media and the power media has. This theme has already started in book 4, where Rita Skeeter’s articles had at times severe consequences for Harry and his friends (especially Hagrid and Hermione). Now we see gain how much influence media, especially the Daily Prophet, has on the public opinion. It shows how much we trust media, and how important it is for media to be independent. The two articles Harry reads in the Quibbler are based on rumours, on something someone said, without any kind of verification. They are true because someone believes them to be true, in the same way Luna believes in things nobody else does. Of course there is no absolute truth and that is what Harry has to learn the hard way. The stories in the Quibbler are as true as the ones the Daily Prophet writes about Harry and Dumbledore, with the only difference that the Prophet appears much more trustworthy than the Quibbler, so people are much more likely to believe the Prophet. Independent media is now more important than ever, and if anything the Potter books taught us to be critical of the media we consume.
  • “‘Oh, yes,’ said Luna, ‘I’ve been able to see them ever since my first day here. They’ve always pulled the carriages. Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.’” – As we later learn the carriages are carried by Thestrals, creatures that can only be seen by those who have witnessed someone dying. We also learn that Luna can see them because she lost her mother. Meaning that she lost her before the age of 11 and that she saw her dying. Which is a lot. And puts Harry’s way of thinking he is the only one who ever suffered in a new perspective. (This already happened after he had learned about Neville’s parents, to realize that he is not the only whose family got destroyed by Voldemort and his followers.)

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 11: The Sorting Hat’s New Song

  • “Harry did not want to tell the others that he and Luna were having the same hallucination, if that was what it was, so he said nothing more about the horses as he sat down inside the carriage and slammed the door behind him. Nevertheless, he could not help watching the silhouettes of the horses moving beyond the window.” – Really though how likely is it two people would have the same kind of hallucination? After all those years in the Wizarding World Harry still hasn’t learned there is always a logical explanation to everything. If anything he should have told Hermione about it, who would have read about Thestrals (and maybe they are even mentioned in “Hogwarts: A History”), and would have told Harry what they are. But Harry being Harry rather keeps this to himself, and thinks it is just another weird thing that happens to him.
  • ‘I’ll be quite glad if he has,’ said Luna, ‘he isn’t a very good teacher, is he?’ ‘Yes, he is!’ said Harry, Ron and Ginny angrily. Harry glared at Hermione. She cleared her throat and quickly said, ‘Erm … yes … he’s very good.’” – I mean Luna is not wrong, because they are probably people more qualified than Hagrid for the job. And Hermione, with all her love for Hagrid, knows that as well. And Harry to some degree as well, but he is loyal to a fault.
  • “She looked, Harry thought, like somebody’s maiden aunt: squat, with short, curly, mouse-brown hair in which she had placed a horrible pink Alice band that matched the fluffy pink cardigan she wore over her robes.” – First of all how do you wear a cardigan over your robes? Second, Umbridge is described as someone who dresses overly feminine, even more like a young girl than an adult woman, and Harry describes her voice as girlish as well. This follows a theme where unsympathetic characters are described as vain and dressed in an overly feminine way: Lockhart, Rita Skeeter, and now Umbridge. Compared to positive female characters like McGonagall, Hermione, Ginny or Tonks, who either don’t particular care about their appearances or appear very tom-boyish. And Harry himself is annoyed by girls who cry, or want to talk about their feelings, or – God forbid – giggle. And Ginny in contrast is described as tough, as fierce, someone who doesn’t cry or openly show her feelings. And I am very conflicted about this, because for one it describes the whole crying and talking about your feeling thing as something typical feminine. But also as something negative. Harry constantly keeps things to himself, he doesn’t talk about his problems until someone forces him to, he doesn’t want to appear weak or that people worry about him. And he appreciates if others act like this as well. And it is not very healthy.
  • “Said Slytherin, ‘We’ll teach just those Whose ancestry is purest.’ Said Ravenclaw, ‘We’ll teach those whose Intelligence is surest.’ Said Gryffindor, ‘We’ll teach all those With brave deeds to their name,’ Said Hufflepuff, ‘I’ll teach the lot, And treat them just the same.’ “ – Look, there is a reason why I think Hufflepuff is the best House, and it is not just because it is my house. It is based on what the Sorting Hat says here. Which is that all the founders only accepted students with certain qualities, all of them except Hufflepuff, who said she would teach everyone and treat everyone the same. Which, you know, is how it should be. Everyone should have the same right for education. And Hufflepuff’s poor reputation is based on the thinking that it is the house where everyone is sorted who is not good enough for the other house, whose ancestry is not right, who is not smart or brave enough. But Hufflepuff believed that you don’t have to special, you don’t have to be extraordinary in order to belong to Hogwarts. And despite Hufflepuff welcoming everyone, not everyone has what it takes to be a Hufflepuff. I believe the defining quality of a Hufflepuff is their kindness, and in a very competitive environment this quality is often overlooked and considered as a weakness.
  • “And now the Sorting Hat is here And you all know the score: I sort you into houses Because that is what I’m for, But this year I’ll go further, Listen closely to my song: Though condemned I am to split you Still I worry that it’s wrong, Though I must fulfil my duty And must quarter every year Still I wonder whether Sorting May not bring the end I fear.” – I think nobody has thought as much about the sorting system as the Sorting Hat, because that is after all its purpose, and he does nothing else all year than to rhyme a new song. But even the Hat admits that the sorting system might be wrong, that it doesn’t do good to divide people into houses and to let them compete against each other. And that instead of being united it would only strengthen prejudices. And people like Voldemort will always use the already existing hate among people for their own goals.
  • “For our Hogwarts is in danger From external, deadly foes And we must unite inside her” – Also Hogwarts presents as female.
  • “‘And it wants all the houses to be friends?’ said Harry, looking over at the Slytherin table, where Draco Malfoy was holding court. ‘Fat chance.’” – I know Draco is a dick and all, but imagine the Potter books if at some point Harry had reached out to the Slytherins? It is implied that Harry changed his view on Slytherin (and the sorting system as well) to some degree as an adult, in the way that he reassures his son that being sorted into Slytherin is not a bad thing. But I would have loved to see more of Slytherin in the books, in the form of allies, not as the outsider house, which is something a lot of fan fictions explore.
  • Umbridge constantly treats all students at Hogwarts like they are little children, who should not have a mind of their own, but are expected to follow the rules given by adults. Despite the fact that some of the students are already of age, therefore legally adults, and even those like Harry are no longer children. Of course you are not an adult once you reach a certain age; it is a process that takes some time. But most of the students are in this process. They are in the middle of becoming their own person, of taking responsibility over their lives and choices. And yet Umbridge belittles them and never treats them with the respect they deserve.
  • “The rare gifts with which you were born may come to nothing if not nurtured and honed by careful instruction. The ancient skills unique to the wizarding community must be passed down the generations lest we lose them for ever. The treasure trove of magical knowledge amassed by our ancestors must be guarded, replenished and polished by those who have been called to the noble profession of teaching.” – The way Umbridge talks already shows her anti-Muggle attitude between the lines, something we will see in full bloom in book 7. She sees wizardkind as something special, as something superior, and that the knowledge of it should only be passed down to those worthy of it. She never directly says so in book 5, but it is already clear that she would consider Muggleborn wizard and witches as not worthy, and that she has a great dislike to everyone she considers not human. Umbridge is not a Death Eater, but she agrees with Voldemort’s philosophy. She is not a monster in the way Voldemort is, she even appears at first like a joke, a caricature. But that is why she is so dangerous, and that makes her such a good villain.
  • “‘I’ll tell you what it means,’ said Hermione ominously. ‘It means the Ministry’s interfering at Hogwarts.’” – Thanks for Hermione and her expert reading skills. And obviously Hermione often functions as exposition character, explaining Harry (and therefore the reader) how to read a certain scene. And there is a small degree how much exposition you should use as an author. If you explain everything you underestimate the intelligence of your audience. In this case however it makes sense. Harry says Umbridge’s speech sounded like a lot of waffle to him (we don’t even hear the whole speech because his mind drifts away). If it sounds like waffle to Harry it will sound like this to a lot of the (teenage) audience as well. But it is important to know for Harry (and therefore the reader) what Umbridge’s arrival really means. And this why Hermione needs to explain the situation for us.
  • “He knew that Seamus’s mother was a witch and could not understand, therefore, why she should have come over so Dursleyish.” – Durseyish is an official word now, I guess.
  • In the whole encounter with Seamus Harry acts like a dick. Seamus asks what actually happened the night Cedric died, because he is of course curious and doesn’t know whom to believe: the Daily Prophet and his mother or Dumbledore and Harry. I don’t think he is to be blamed to be confused about that. But Harry, instead of trying to explain, attacks Seamus’s mother. Obviously Harry doesn’t want to talk about that night, but people need answers. He expects everyone to simply trust Dumbledore and himself, when all the evidence they have is their word.
  • “‘My parents are Muggles, mate,’ said Dean, shrugging. ‘They don’t know nothing about no deaths at Hogwarts, because I’m not stupid enough to tell them.’” – Dean’s parents probably also don’t know that in his second year a giant snake tried to kill all Muggleborn students or that the year later a mass murderer had entered their school. And Dean’s decision not to tell his parents about all the dangers of the Wizarding World make me wonder if Hermione did the same thing and kept her mouth shut, fearing they would no longer allow her to return to Hogwarts if they knew half the stuff her daughter was involved in.
  • “‘My gran says that’s rubbish,’ piped up Neville. ‘She says it’s the Daily Prophet that’s going downhill, not Dumbledore. She’s cancelled our subscription. We believe Harry,’ said Neville simply. He climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin, looking owlishly over them at Seamus. ‘My gran’s always said You-Know-Who would come back one day. She says if Dumbledore says he’s back, he’s back.’” – It is never stated if Mrs Longbottom was a member of the Order, but she sure had been involved enough in the anti-Voldemort-movement to know to trust Dumbledore and to know that Voldemort would return one day. Considering how much she lost during the first war, it would have been hard to bear to know that there would be a second war one day, and that might explain why she always was so strict to Neville, in order to prepare him for what would come one day.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 12: Professor Umbridge

  • “‘Well, I think it’s a pity we’re not trying for a bit of inter-house unity,’ said Hermione crossly.” – I think in all those years at Hogwarts Dumbledore’s Army is actually the only time we see students from different houses working together. (Except of course Slytherin, and I wonder how they would have reacted if a Slytherin student would have wanted to join them) There are no activities outside classes where all the students can join, where there would be a chance to form interhouse-friendships, which is a pity.
  • “‘It’s best to know what the enemy is saying,’ said Hermione darkly, and she unfurled the newspaper and disappeared behind it, not emerging until Harry and Ron had finished eating.” – I get Hermione’s point: you need to know what exactly the Prophet writes, what they say about Dumbledore and Harry, in order to understand what the Ministry wants (as the Prophet functions as the mouthpiece of the Ministry), but also to understand the people who are currently not trusting Dumbledore and Harry. You need to understand their perspective in order to reach out to them, to convince them. Not like Harry who is just angry at everyone who doesn’t believe him, even if they might have good reasons not to.
  • “Harry and Ron had so far managed to scrape passes in this subject only by copying Hermione’s notes before exams; she alone seemed able to resist the soporific power of Binns’s voice. […]‘How would it be,’ she asked them coldly, as they left the classroom for break (Binns drifting away through the blackboard), ‘if I refused to lend you my notes this year?’” – I’m really on Hermione’s side here. It is one thing to help out your friends, it is another thing if they simply take for granted that you will get them through their exams. Hermione is right when she accuses them that they don’t even try to listen. There is a difference between helping your friends and exploiting them.
  • “And yet, he thought, as they joined the queue lining up outside Snape’s classroom door, she had chosen to come and talk to him, hadn’t she? She had been Cedric’s girlfriend; she could easily have hated Harry for coming out of the Triwizard maze alive when Cedric had died, yet she was talking to him in a perfectly friendly way, not as though she thought him mad, or a liar, or in some horrible way responsible for Cedric’s death … yes, she had definitely chosen to come and talk to him, and that made the second time in two days … and at this thought, Harry’s spirits rose.” – Awww, young love. I feel that at least partly Cho was interested in Harry because of Cedric, to hear his version of events, to learn the truth. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t genuinely interested in Harry. But Cedric’s death is only two months ago, and as Hermione later that year kindly explains to Harry Cho is very much confused about her feelings, to ones she still has for Cedric and those for Harry. (Which of course leads naturally to a lot of crying which Harry can’t really deal with *sigh*)
  • “His eyes rested on Harry and his lip curled. Harry glared back, feeling a grim pleasure at the idea that he would be able to give up Potions after fifth year.” – Not if you want to become an Auror. But hey at least he will never have potions again with Snape after fifth year, so there is that.
  • Examining Harry’s potion Snape can tell what exactly Harry did wrong so this would imply it is perhaps a very common mistake, that Snape has witnessed before. Anyway, he vanishes all of Harry’s potion, giving him the same result as if Harry had done nothing at all the whole lesson, not even giving him the chance to earn any points. Did I mention that Snape is the worst teacher? Because he is.
  • “‘Hermione and me have stopped arguing,’ he said, sitting down beside Harry. ‘Good,’ grunted Harry. ‘But Hermione says she thinks it would be nice if you stopped taking out your temper on us,’ said Ron.” – Hermione of course is right, and Harry at least feels a bit ashamed. Again, anger is not logical and sometimes we hurt those lest deserving. But also it was Hermione and Ron’s bickering that had annoyed Harry, which is very common for them. And to some the reason why they can’t get behind the whole Hermione-Ron-relationship. Why would you be with someone you always disagree with, always fight with? First of all I don’t see the arguments between Ron and Hermione as fighting. They are friendly banter. But this is also how their relationship works – which is different than the one between Harry and Ron or Harry and Hermione or even Harry and Ginny. And perhaps Ron and Hermione have to work harder for their relationship to work. But I also feel that their arguments are a sign for how much they care about each other, oddly enough. They wouldn’t bother that much for anyone.
  • “‘I never remember my dreams,’ said Ron, ‘you say one.’ ‘You must remember one of them,’ said Harry impatiently. He was not going to share his dreams with anyone.” – Because Harry doesn’t talk about his feelings, yet alone his nightmares. He bottles them up until they come out all at once. Again, not very healthy.
  • Umbridge constantly reminds her students to raise their hands before they speak, trying to control the conversation, and who is allowed to speak at all. Which again shows that she doesn’t think of her students as equals, or people with their own minds. Everything about her teaching method is about power and control. She is the very opposite of Lupin (who she addresses as half-breed, showing once again her true colours), who always respected his students and encouraged them to think for themselves.
  • I also don’t get the logic behind the Ministry’s decision to only teach defensive spells in theory. According to them learning how to use those spells would imply you need them which would imply that there are actual dangers in the world you need to learn to defend yourself against. But as they deny Voldemort’s return this can’t be true. But for one thing there are other dangers out there. And the other thing is that it made me wonder why this subject exists in the first place. Because obviously the Wizarding World is dangerous enough that they think it is necessary for children to learn how to defend themselves. I never learned that at school (even though sometimes I wish I had). Does this subject exist in other schools as well? (It was said that in Durmstrang they actually learn Dark Arts, not how to defend them.) If school prepares you for life than life as a wizard/witch is dangerous enough that you need to learn defensive spells. And it is one thing to deny the truth but another to leave an entire school defenceless.
  • The other reasoning of course is that the Ministry believes Dumbledore uses his school to build up an army, and in trying to prevent this, this is exactly what happens.
  • I also wonder how much Umbridge had calculated Harry’s behaviour, that perhaps she had expected him to call her a liar and to use him to set an example.
  • “‘It was murder,’ said Harry. He could feel himself shaking. He had hardly spoken to anyone about this, least of all thirty eagerly listening classmates. ‘Voldemort killed him and you know it.’” – Ah, Hogwarts and student numbers. We never get an official number how many students attend Hogwarts in the books. I think J.K. Rowling said a number in an interview once but whatever. Many times I saw the fact that Harry shared his dormitory with 4 other students as basis: 5 boys, therefore 5 girls, therefore 10 students per house, 40 students per year, 280 students in total. Which for one thing wouldn’t be a lot. But also, I don’t think the Sorting Hat has a quota he works with. The only Gryffindor girls from Harry’s year that are mentioned are Hermione, Lavender and Parvati, so really I think there are only 8 Gryffindor students in the fifth year. So the other 22 students from that 30 students class must be from another house, as we know that two houses usually share classes. It is very likely that the houses don’t have the same amount of students. Which then makes the whole house point competition not very fair.
  • “Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, frowning at Harry. Then she said, ‘Have a biscuit, Potter.’” – This will always be my favourite McGonagall line.
  • “‘Do you really think this is about truth or lies? It’s about keeping your head down and your temper under control!’” – I think Harry is still idealistic in the way that he thinks the truth should always matter the most. That this is a fight worth fighting for. But there are times where the truth matters, and times where it is best to keep your mouth shut. Umbridge is not interested in the truth, and neither is Fudge. All they care about is power and control. And Harry learns this lesson the hard way.
  • “‘Well, I’m glad you listen to Hermione Granger at any rate,’ she said, pointing him out of her office.” – I love how easily McGonagall can tell that Harry is simply repeating  Hermione’s words. And that she is glad that he has at least someone at his side who sees the things for what they truly are, because Harry himself is too blind to see them.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 13: Detention with Dolores

  • I love that chapter title. It shows again Rowling’s great love for alliterations. But I also love the double meaning of it. Dolores of course is Umbridge’s first name. However Dolores is also a Spanish word and the plural of dolor, which means pain and/or sorrow. Harry’s detention will be indeed very painful.
  • When Hermione tells Fred & George they can’t use first-years as test-subjects for their sweets Ron doesn’t help her. He sure enjoys all the privileges he had so far as a prefect (getting a new broom, using his power over Seamus etc) but he doesn’t want to take over the responsibilities the position brings. Nobody actually likes to lecture others, but someone has to do it. It once again shows that Hermione is the most mature, most responsible of their little group (though I don’t think Harry would have supported her either against Fred & George if he had become prefect).
  • Also Hermione knows Fred & George well enough to know that the usual punishments won’t work on them (and that they don’t take her serious), so she threatens them with the one thing she knows they fear: their mother. Clever girl.
  • The fact that Hermione learned to knit is a shameful reminder that I wanted to learn to knit (I mean I could start any day now *cough*).
  • Still, Hermione hiding hats so the house-elves will find them accidently isn’t a good thing. She is right that there needs to be a change in how House-Elves are treated in the Wizarding World, but tricking them into freedom isn’t the right way. She is so utterly convinced that all House-Elves want freedom, that she is doing them a favour, ignoring every evidence this might not be true, like Winky, who suffered once she was set free. You can’t force something on others, even if you think it would be good for them, if they don’t want the thing themselves.
  • Also, once again Harry and Ron rely completely on Hermione helping them with their homework, Ron even saying he can’t do it without her. Like they don’t even try to pick up a damn book and work on their own.
  • “‘I wouldn’t bet on it,’ Ron told her cuttingly. ‘They might not count as clothes. They didn’t look anything like hats to me, more like woolly bladders.’ Hermione did not speak to him all morning.” – I mean that is how my hats would look like as well probably. But also Hermione isn’t naturally good at domestic things (I put knitting in the domestic space because the only other character we know who knits is Molly Weasley). In book 7 we learn that she is not a great cook. And Ron’s mother is the opposite of that: she is good at knitting, cooking etc. Which makes it interesting that Ron would fall in love with someone so different from his mother, someone who also refuses to mother him. Both Hermione and Molly are very empathic and caring people, but very different in most other aspects. Molly is very often reduced to her role as her mother, and Hermione is different in that she wants to be more than that.
  • “‘Because she’ll never be as good as Hagrid,’ said Harry firmly, fully aware that he had just experienced an exemplary Care of Magical Creatures lesson and was thoroughly annoyed about it.” – How dare she being a great teacher? Harry of course is loyal to a fault, and it sometimes ends up in him idolizing people and putting them on a pedestal, refusing to see their mistakes. This happens with Hagrid, with Sirius, with Dumbledore, people he is so utterly grateful for that he will forgive them almost everything. (Hagrid being not such a great teacher is of course not really comparable to how Dumbledore used Harry for his plans but Harry reacts very similar to both, in refusing to acknowledge their mistakes.)
  • Both Luna and Ernie openly show their support for Harry. I assume that during that year every student made up their minds of they believed Dumbledore & Harry or the Ministry. It’s like Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Just like way more political.
  • There are of course some students, like Draco, and other children of Death Eaters, who do know the truth for certain, but for obvious reasons don’t want everyone else to know and support the Ministry and their lies. It is also implied that Draco knows about Hagrid, at least the task Hagrid has been given, and that he knows about Sirius and his animagus form.
  • Before Harry’s first detention Umbridge was an unsympathetic annoying character, but not a real villain, yet alone sinister. But I remember reading this chapter for the first time and how disbelieving I was. There is a careful line Rowling never crossed with the Dursleys, that despite the abuse we never see uncle Vernon hitting Harry. Voldemort of course hurt Harry physically but he is the big bad of the series, it is what you expect of him. But Umbridge is a teacher. She is woman whose appearance is described as girlish, who belittles the students in every way. Who refuses to teach magic, claiming there are no dangers in the world. You wouldn’t (or at least I didn’t) expect her to physically abuse a child. For hours. Harry’s detention starts at five o’clock and he guesses it was after midnight when he left, so that makes 6 hours 4 days in a row cutting open his own hand again and again. And yet he refuses to tell anyone (Ron finds out accidently), not McGonagall, not Dumbledore, thinking of it as a private battle of will between him and Umbridge. Because Harry refuses to be weak. Which is stupid, not brave, because Umbridge should have never gotten away with this.
  • Also because of his detention Harry has no time to do his homework, so instead he does it in the middle of the night or in his lunch breaks. Even if he hadn’t had detention the students seem to have school until five o’clock, and given the amount of homework they have to do the only real free time they have is at the weekend.
  • Angelina mentions that she didn’t pick one of the students that were better at Quidditch tryouts as Ron because she is in all sorts of societies (like Charms Club), conflicting with her Quidditch practice. So there are activities and clubs (other than Quidditch) at Hogwarts, though I fail to see how anyone would have time for it with the amount of homework they get.
  • “Then Hermione said, ‘But last year your scar hurt when nobody was touching you, and didn’t Dumbledore say it had to do with what You-Know-Who was feeling at the time? I mean, maybe this hasn’t got anything to do with Umbridge at all, maybe it’s just coincidence it happened while you were with her?’” – I agree with Hermione. I mean obviously Umbridge is evil, but she is not connected to Voldemort, so this is more of a red herring than anything else, making the audience wonder if Umbridge is secretly a Death Eater.
  • “‘Yeah,’ said Harry, before he could stop himself, ‘that’s the only bit of me Dumbledore cares about, isn’t it, my scar?’” – He is not wrong, though. Dumbledore later admits that his distance was caused because he was afraid of the connection between Harry and Voldemort, but also because he was afraid he would get too attached to Harry. Something that makes more sense after book 7, because Harry is an instrument, a weapon in the war against Voldemort, not a person. Not to Dumbledore, who can’t afford to think of Harry that way.
  • “[…]I’m absolutely exhausted and I want to make some more hats tomorrow. Listen, you can help me if you like, it’s quite fun, I’m getting better, I can do patterns and bobbles and all sorts of things now.’ Harry looked into her face, which was shining with glee, and tried to look as though he was vaguely tempted by this offer.” – We are deprived from the Harry & Hermione knitting club. Someone please write that AU.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 14: Percy and Padfoot

  • So Harry wakes up early, finds the common room completely alone and uses the time to… write a letter. Damn it Harry, you should be doing your homework!
  • “‘Right, I know this says Snuffles on the outside,’ he told her, giving her the letter to clasp in her beak and, without knowing exactly why, whispering, ‘but it’s for Sirius, OK?’ She blinked her amber eyes once and he took that to mean that she understood.” – You know that in reality owls are incredible stupid animals? Getting them to fly through the Great Hall in the movies (even without a letter, which they would include later digitally) took months. I’ve already speculated that Wizard pets are in general smarter than common Muggle pets, which seems to be very true for owls.
  • First we have Mrs Norris watching Harry going to the Owlery, then some time later Filch storms in, accusing Harry that he ordered Dungbombs, wanting to see the letter he wrote. I think it is very clear that Umbridge uses Filch to spy on her students, especially Harry, giving him the order to get his hands on every letter he might write. But because Harry is too occupied with swooning over Cho he doesn’t see that.
  • I think a lot of Ron’s insecurity during their first Quidditch practice has to do with his family, with 5 older brothers he has to compete with. He is good when he practices with Harry alone, but loses his self-confidence once Fred & George are around, as well as the Slytherins watching them. Harry is someone he can trust, someone who didn’t make fun of him for trying out, unlike Fred & George.
  • “Katie’s nose was bleeding. Down below, the Slytherins were stamping their feet and jeering. Fred and George converged on Katie. ‘Here, take this,’ Fred told her, handing her something small and purple from out of his pocket, ‘it’ll clear it up in no time.’” – As we later learn Fred gave her the wrong sweet, making her nose-bleed even worse. But let’s say he did gave her the right one, it would mean that the sweets Fred & George invented would have a medical use. I assumed they contain some sort of potion and a counter-potion, but they also seem to work if for example the nose-bleed isn’t caused by their sweets in the first place.
  • “Harry turned and saw Angelina, Fred and George all flying as fast as they could towards Katie. Harry and Alicia sped towards her, too. It was plain that Angelina had stopped training just in time; Katie was now chalk white and covered in blood.” – But Hermione is right in pointing out how dangerous Fred & George inventions can be. Technically they should not be allowed to anyone underage, because they can cause severe complications if not used properly.
  • I love how perfectly Rowling finds Percy’s voice in his letter to Ron, in this very pretentious way only Percy would talk.
  • Hermione’s decision to help them after all with their homework had all to do with Percy’s letter. Ron might not have said it, but she can tell how much it must hurt him, as well as Harry, and this way she can help them having one thing less to worry about.
  • “He knew that half the people inside Hogwarts thought him strange, even mad; he knew that the Daily Prophet had been making snide allusions to him for months, but there was something about seeing it written down like that in Percy’s writing, about knowing that Percy was advising Ron to drop him and even to tell tales about him to Umbridge, that made his situation real to him as nothing else had.” – There is a difference between strangers believing the lies about Harry and Percy, the older brother of Harry’s best friend, part of the family who adopted him, someone who knows him. If people like Percy, or Seamus, don’t believe Harry and Dumbledore, how can he expect the Wizarding World to believe him? If they express doubt anybody could. Dumbledore’s trust in Harry means others trust Harry as well, they take his word for granted, and Harry has got used to it. It is yet another privilege taken from him.
  • People smarter than me (the lovely ladies of the “Witch, please”-Podcast) have pointed out how the entirety of book 5 is an example of gaslighting. Harry is repeatedly told that he is nothing but a liar,that he only tries to seek attention. He is put in the very same situation thousands of women have to face when they went public with allegations of rape and sexual abuse. Both Harry and these women are victims, but instead of believing them, instead of helping and supporting them, they get accused to made things up, to try to get attention, to ruin the lives of others, often powerful men (in this case Fudge). Which is very interesting, because despite being told from a male perspective the Potter series allow a feminist reading and put Harry in situations of violence and abuse familiar to women. 
  • One of things Hermione and Molly do have in common though (I wrote about their differences in the previous chapter notes) is their view of Sirius, how he is unnecessarily reckless and how unhealthy and unbalanced his relationship with Harry is (as they both see James in the other: Sirius who misses his best friend and Harry who longs for his father).
  • “‘Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters,’ said Sirius with a wry smile.” – It is interesting how this line is used in the movie adaption as well, but in a complete different context. Here Sirius talks about Umbridge, how she can be evil without being a Death Eater (the same way Fudge acts like a villain without being one). In the adaption this line refers to Harry himself – he is seeing visions of Voldemort and is afraid that he might becomes evil. Sirius reassures him that is not the case and that you can’t divide the world simply into good and bad people. The older Harry gets the more complex the characters we see get – the first two books had a clear black and white morality, but ever since then we get more morally grey characters. Which is why I prefer the later books.
  • Despite not being a Death Eater, Sirius tells the trio that Umbridge hates part-humans, such as werewolves. Even without supporting Voldemort she supports his ideology, which is why she had no problem working under his regime in the Ministry during book 7. Casual racism exists and the fact that both Umbridge and Fudge (who shares her views) get away with it shows that it is socially accepted to a certain degree.
  • “‘That’s exactly what he thinks you’re doing,’ said Sirius, ‘or, rather, that’s exactly what he’s afraid Dumbledore’s doing – forming his own private army, with which he will be able to take on the Ministry of Magic.’” – It shows the kind of influence and power Dumbledore has, how among wizards he is an almost God-like figure for Fudge to become that paranoid. Fudge knows that many people trust Dumbledore blindly, that they would follow his orders without questioning (I mean Harry does). He is aware that Dumbledore could abuse this power. And he does in a way, but instead of an army he builds up a soldier, Harry, and uses Harry’s trust to manipulate him.
  • “‘You’re less like your father than I thought,’ he said finally, a definite coolness in his voice. ‘The risk would’ve been what made it fun for James.’” – Sirius is fully aware how much proud Harry takes in being like his father, that learning for example that James never had been a prefect made him feel better about not being a prefect either. So this is a low blow. But after seeing Snape’s memory later in the book Harry realizes that not being like his father isn’t always a bad thing.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 15: The Hogwarts High Inquisitor

  • “As recently as 30th August, Educational Decree Number Twenty-two was passed, to ensure that, in the event of the current Headmaster being unable to provide a candidate for a teaching post, the Ministry should select an appropriate person.” – For one thing this means there are at least 21 other educational decrees, meaning that Hogwarts had never been completely independent, and that the Ministry had some influence to a certain degree. Still, it seemed that up until now Fudge had Dumbledore do whatever he wanted, trusting his judgement. The other thing is the decree itself: we know that Dumbledore had trouble in the past finding a new DADA teacher every year (this has been mentioned since book 2 and Lockhart), but now the Ministry uses this to get a bigger influence on Hogwarts and to have someone who spies for them. Even after Fudge resigned the decree would still be in place, which might explain why Dumbledore finally gave the job to Snape. Rather him then another teacher chosen by the Ministry.
  • “‘Rumours abound, of course, that Albus Dumbledore, once Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, is no longer up to the task of managing the prestigious school of Hogwarts.” – Of all the titles Dumbledore has or had Supreme Mugwump is my favourite.
  • Also, Umbridge has been around for a week when she gets promoted to become High Inquisitor, so I think the whole thing was planned from the start.
  • Is the Griselda Marchbanks mentioned here the same Madame Marchbanks that once travelled in the Knight Bus?
  • I can’t believe that Harry’s potion essay was that bad that it deserved a “D” (standing for “Dreadful”). We know he couldn’t give it the proper time and concentration because of the detention he got, but Ron got a “P” (“Poor”) and Harry and Ron are usually at the same level in Potions. So I think this was yet another attempt of Snape sabotaging Harry’s marks, making sure he would not be good enough to pass his O.W.L. in Potions. What a great teacher.
  • Again Professor Trelawney’s predictions aren’t entirely wrong. Umbridge was indeed in grave danger, considering whatever happened to her in the Forbidden Forrest. And Harry does die a gruesome and early death, he just comes back after.
  • “I am here to teach you using a Ministry-approved method that does not include inviting students to give their opinions on matters about which they understand very little.” – How dare for students to have their own minds and opinions.
  • Are you ever sad that Harry spent almost an entire school year teaching DADA and then decided to become an Auror? Give me all the teacher!Harry AU’s now.
  • “You don’t know what it’s like! You – neither of you – you’ve never had to face him, have you? You think it’s just memorising a bunch of spells and throwing them at him, like you’re in class or something? The whole time you know there’s nothing between you and dying except your own – your own brain or guts or whatever – like you can think straight when you know you’re about a nanosecond from being murdered, or tortured, or watching your friends die – they’ve never taught us that in their classes, what it’s like to deal with things like that […].” – But that’s the point. Neither Ron or Hermione know how that feels like, and you can’t teach it either. But they know, with Voldemort back, that it is only a matter of time until they have to face such a situation. That this isn’t about passing the O.W.L. exam, but about a government refusing to acknowledge that a war is going on, that people are in danger, leaving them unknowing and without protection. This isn’t just about Harry being good at DADA, it is about him facing those situations, facing near death, and surviving it. Because it takes more than just memorizing spells and skill. And it is more than just luck that got Harry through these situations. Harry is a survivor, is a fighter, someone who never gives up. And it is this above all other things why Ron and Hermione need him.
  • “‘Harry,’ she said timidly, ‘don’t you see? This … this is exactly why we need you … we need to know what it’s r-really like … facing him … facing V-Voldemort.’ It was the first time she had ever said Voldemort’s name and it was this, more than anything else, that calmed Harry.” – I never quite understood why Hermione was afraid to say Voldemort’s name. She was raised by Muggles, therefore she lacks the cultural background. And she is quite logical, knowing very well that there is nothing terrifying about a name, that in avoiding it, it just gives Voldemort more power. But it also shows Harry how serious she is; that she faces her own fear to convince him to help them.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 16: In the Hog’s Head

  • “He had given the matter a great deal of thought over the past fortnight. Sometimes it seemed an insane idea, just as it had on the night Hermione had proposed it, but at others, he had found himself thinking about the spells that had served him best in his various encounters with Dark creatures and Death Eaters – found himself, in fact, subconsciously planning lessons …” – Again, why has this boy not become a teacher?
  • “‘I meant the idea Ron and I had –’ Ron cast her an alarmed, threatening kind of look. She frowned at him, ‘– Oh, all right, the idea I had, then – about you teaching us.’ […]‘I thought it was a good idea from the start,’ said Ron, who seemed keener to join in this conversation now that he was sure Harry was not going to start shouting again.” – I think it is obvious which of the two will be the later the strict parent for their children. But it is the same as with Hermione telling Fred & George off, which she did without the support of Ron. She is the one addressing uncomfortable topics, the one who tells Harry off if she feels she has to, whereas Ron plays the role of the ever supportive friend. But I think a friend like Hermione, someone who is honest with you, who calls out bad behaviour, or brings you out of your comfort zone for your own good, is better than someone who just remains the fun friend. I mean I love Ron, and Ron and Harry’s friendship, and of course Ron gets more mature, but right here and now it is annoying to see him avoiding any kind of responsibility, both as prefect and as Harry’s friend.
  • “Harry had been looking forward to the weekend trip into Hogsmeade, but there was one thing worrying him. Sirius had maintained a stony silence since he had appeared in the fire at the beginning of September; Harry knew they had made him angry by saying they didn’t want him to come – but he still worried from time to time that Sirius might throw caution to the winds and turn up anyway.” – It is odd how Harry acts more like an adult here than Sirius. Sirius shouldn’t ignore Harry, which to Harry feels like a punishment, like he did something wrong, when in fact he is worried about his godfather. Sirius is acting reckless and impulsive and Harry is the one worried about him; their roles as child and parent are reversed.
  • “‘Don’t worry, Harry,’ Hermione said quietly. ‘You’ve got enough on your plate without Sirius, too.’“ – She is right, of course. It is not Harry’s job to take care of Sirius, it is the other way around.
  • “However, Hermione, who was taking more subjects than either of them, had not only finished all her homework but was also finding time to knit more elf clothes. Harry had to admit that she was getting better; it was now almost always possible to distinguish between the hats and the socks.” – Yeah. But also how does magical knitting work? You can bewitch the needles, but apparently not in a way to actually produce decent clothes? How?
  • Obviously Harry doesn’t even know all the names of the people coming to the first DA meeting. Like he really only hangs around Ron and Hermione, and with the exception of Luna he never makes any friends outside Gryffindor. It seems however that Hermione might be friends with some of the Hufflepuffs (she mentions she talked to Ernie and Hannah), and Ginny is friends with some Ravenclaws, including her boyfriend. Though nobody even considered to invite any Slytherins, not even assuming not all of them are the same, and that not all of them might support Voldemort.
  • So in total there are 28 members of the DA, which considering the number of students at Hogwarts, isn’t that much.
  • As a Hufflepuff I just want to distance myself from Zacharias Smith. We took him in out of pity.
  • “It had just dawned on him why there were so many people there. He thought Hermione should have seen this coming. Some of these people – maybe even most of them – had turned up in the hopes of hearing Harry’s story firsthand.” – I don’t think you can really blame anyone for this. It is like Hermione tried to explain to Harry, people had hardly time to understand what Dumbledore said before they went back home and the Daily Prophet and the Ministry painted Dumbledore and Harry as attention seeking liars. Of course they want to know the truth and to some extent they have a right to, because they know they do something illegal, they know that this isn’t just about learning spells, but about the war, about defending and risking your own life.
  • I wonder whatever happened with the list of the members of the DA? Did Hermione keep it? Did it land in some sort of museum? I’m positive that some time after the war books were written about it, about the Anti-Voldemort-movement, including the Order of course, but also the DA, and that the people who were in it are famous in their own right, because they had been part of an illegal student guerrilla group. I know that in my country, Germany, every little act of resistance against the Nazis is well documented, and I like the idea of something like this happening in the Wizarding World as well, all of these students becoming part of history.
  • “‘Ginny used to fancy Harry, but she gave up on him months ago. Not that she doesn’t like you, of course,’ she added kindly to Harry while she examined a long black and gold quill. […]‘So that’s why she talks now?’ he asked Hermione. ‘She never used to talk in front of me.’” – First of all Ron’s behaviour after learning his little sister has a boyfriend is just… super annoying and outdated. Second I love Ginny and Hermione’s friendship, because there is obviously stuff Hermione isn’t comfortable talking about with Ron and Harry, and Ginny, who is used to have so many men in her life, needs a girl-friend as well. But also, Harry would have never noticed Ginny if it wasn’t for her letting him go, living her own life, being her own person. I always loved this about their romance, how Ginny had to become her own person again in order for Harry to notice her, how she gave up on this idealistic idea of Harry, but started to see him for who he is (and isn’t afraid to tell him off), because it is what Harry needs and admires about her.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 17: Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four

  • I forgot if we ever find out how Umbridge found out about the first DA meeting, and therefore forbidding all kind of clubs and teams. Surely it wasn’t one of the members, because Hermione had jinxed the parchment. But it adds to the overwhelming feeling of being trapped, of having spies everywhere and the feeling that you can’t trust anyone. It further isolates Harry and adds to his paranoia. Psychological warfare if you want.
  • And then we learn that while girls can visit boys in their dormitory, it doesn’t work the other way around. The staircase to the girl’s dormitory transforms into a slide when a boy tries to go up there. Hermione says that it is an old-fashioned rule, and that apparently the founders of Hogwarts considered the girls to be more trustworthy than the boys. But the implications are clear here: they wanted to avoid the students having sex. And first of all, they could still meet in the boys dormitory, second that is why the Room of Requirement exists, and third gay people exist. But it makes you wonder how often Madam Pomfrey has to deal with STD and teenage pregnancies (I mean do Hogwarts students get any kind of sex education?).
  • The year before Sirius had advised Harry to use other owls than Hedwig, because it would look suspicious if the same owl would have brought him letters to his hiding place in Hogsmeade. And yet, while Harry wrote his letter to Sirius in a way to wouldn’t tell anyone any kind of sensitive information he didn’t think of using a different owl than Hedwig, because he didn’t realize what Filch’s accusation he would order Dungbombs was about: an excuse to read his letter. Umbridge knows about the DA, is reading Harry’s letters, invades his privacy in every way she can. And by infiltrating the Floo network, as she does at the end of this chapter, she makes it nearly impossible for Harry to communicate with anyone outside Hogwarts.
  • Also the fact that Professor Binns doesn’t remember Harry’s name like… Harry is living history. There are books written about him. Is Binns even aware of any kind of history that happened after his death? Does he even know he is dead?
  • “‘They’re quite within their rights to eat the foul things themselves and I can’t find a rule that says the other idiots aren’t entitled to buy them, not unless they’re proven to be dangerous in some way and it doesn’t look as though they are.’” – The fact that Katie lost lots of blood is a proof of how dangerous those sweets can be. Sure Fred & George tested them on themselves and some other students, but aren’t there any laws that you just can’t sell anything? Especially to people who are underage? I mean there are shitloads of laws about food safety in the Muggle World but apparently not in the Wizarding World.
  • Also, Lee Jordan is mentioned to take part in Fred & George’s presentation, but I wonder how much he was involved in the development of the Skiving Snackboxes, and he is never mentioned to be associated with their jokeshop either.
  • “‘You know, I don’t get why Fred and George only got three O.W.L.s each,’ said Harry, watching as Fred, George and Lee collected gold from the eager crowd. ‘They really know their stuff.’ ‘Oh, they only know flashy stuff that’s of no real use to anyone,’ said Hermione disparagingly. ‘No real use?’ said Ron in a strained voice. ‘Hermione, they’ve made about twenty-six Galleons already.’” – This is an interesting conversation. Harry simply admires Fred & George’s talent, because it takes some skill to invent those Skiving Snackboxes. Hermione dismisses them because she thinks they are of no real use, whereas Ron only sees the profit they make with it. I share the same view as Harry, that it takes some talent for those inventions, and that Fred & George’s intelligence is in a different area. And Hermione is wrong in dismissing them so easily; they will later use them in book 7 to infiltrate the Ministry. Besides you can approve of craftsmanship even if you personally see no value in the product. And of course Ron wouldn’t care about neither of those things as long as you can make money with it, which to him is a talent in its own right.
  • “Crookshanks purred loudly and approached the fire, trying, despite the heat, to put his face close to Sirius’s.” – Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
  • It is mentioned that Molly is on duty, therefore actively helping the Order, instead of just cooking for them and cleaning the house. (Which are of course important tasks, but it always underestimates Molly’s skills as a witch a bit.)
  • “‘Of course I do!’ said Sirius. ‘D’you think your father and I would’ve lain down and taken orders from an old hag like Umbridge?’” – Sirius always mentions James, which makes it impossible for Harry to separate him from his father, and Sirius always sees Harry as James’s son, compares the two, and again that is the core problem of their relationship.
  • I think Hermione asked Sirius about his opinion (“‘Well, better expelled and able to defend yourselves than sitting safely in school without a clue”), not because she looks up to him as an authority, the way she did last year, but out of curiosity, and perhaps to prove what she is already thinking: that Sirius has become reckless, and that perhaps Harry shouldn’t trust him blindly.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 18: Dumbledore’s Army

  • So, Hermione suspects the same thing as I did: that Umbridge used Filch to get Harry’s letter, to find a way to read his mail. Like, I don’t want to say I am as smart as Hermione but that is exactly what I am saying.
  • “‘Do you honestly trust his judgement?’ […]‘You don’t think he has become … sort of … reckless … since he’s been cooped up in Grimmauld Place? You don’t think he’s … kind of … living through us?’” – Hermione’s view on Sirius has changed since the last year, when she never questioned Sirius judgement. She did spent more time than Harry did with Sirius at Grimmauld Place, and unlike Harry she is way more objective when it comes to Sirius. I also think that Hermione has a social intelligence and maturity neither Harry or Ron have; she can read people. And she knows that there is some truth in Molly’s critique towards Harry. And from a reader’s perspective it is important to have a character like Hermione. We shouldn’t expect Harry to be objective about Sirius, but as the story is written from his perspective we still need a character pointing out Sirius’s flaws, a character we like and trust, like Hermione. Hearing those words from her makes us wonder if she might be right about Sirius.
  • “‘She still does not care for clothes, Harry Potter. Nor do the other house-elves. None of them will clean Gryffindor Tower any more, not with the hats and socks hidden everywhere, they finds them insulting, sir. Dobby does it all himself, sir, but Dobby does not mind, sir, for he always hopes to meet Harry Potter and tonight, sir, he has got his wish!’” – I wonder if Harry ever told Hermione this? Because obviously Hermione wouldn’t want Dobby to have extra work, to clean the Gryffindor common room all on his own. And this obviously proves that while Hermione means well, she can’t force change. The house-elves think it is insulting to trick them to pick up clothes. Also, someone should tell Dobby that it is not necessary to wear all his clothes at the same time.
  • Look the Room of Requirement is a bit of a Deux Ex Machina, or some lazy writing if you want, but I love the idea of a room that only appears when you are in need, equipped exactly for your needs. It is probably also the most used room in Fan Fictions, because who wants to make out in a dormitory?
  • “For a moment Harry was tempted to go with Dobby. He was halfway out of his seat, intending to hurry upstairs for his Invisibility Cloak when, not for the first time, a voice very much like Hermione’s whispered in his ear: reckless. It was, after all, very late, and he was exhausted.” – Sirius would probably say Harry isn’t like his father, but (again) that is not always a bad thing. Subconsciously Harry knows that Hermione is right, she is the voice of reason, and I’m glad he listens to her.
  • “At half past seven Harry, Ron and Hermione left the Gryffindor common room, Harry clutching a certain piece of aged parchment in his hand. Fifth-years were allowed to be out in the corridors until nine o’clock, but all three of them kept looking around nervously as they made their way along the seventh floor.” – First of all is the Room of Requirement on the Marauder’s Map? I don’t think it is, because that is the reason Harry never found out where Draco went in their sixth year. And I think it was also because Draco wished the room to be unplottable that Harry couldn’t see it on his map. But there is also the possibility that the Marauders simply never found the room, that there is a secret about Hogwarts they never found out but Harry did. Second, it is mentioned that fifth-years are allowed to be out in the corridors until nine, so when was the curfew the previous years? Where they meant to stay in their common rooms after dinner?
  • “‘And just look at these books!’ said Hermione excitedly, running a finger along the spines of the large leather-bound tomes. ‘A Compendium of Common Curses and their Counter-Actions … The Dark Arts Outsmarted … Self-Defensive Spellwork … wow …’ She looked around at Harry, her face glowing, and he saw that the presence of hundreds of books had finally convinced Hermione that what they were doing was right.” – Do you think Hermione sometimes just used the room on her own, thinking of all the books she needs to read?
  • “There was a gentle knock on the door. Harry looked round. Ginny, Neville, Lavender, Parvati and Dean had arrived.” – Apart from Seamus everyone from Harry’s year is part of the DA (I’m convinced there are only three girls in Harry’s year, because he never mentions more). Earlier though Hermione told Harry that Lavender wasn’t convinced about Harry’s story, just as Seamus. Did she change her mind? Did she attend the first meeting in the Hog’s Head out of curiosity, to hear Harry’s story first hand?
  • “‘The Defence Association?’ said Cho. ‘The DA for short, so nobody knows what we’re talking about?’ ‘Yeah, the DA’s good,’ said Ginny. ‘Only let’s make it stand for Dumbledore’s Army, because that’s the Ministry’s worst fear, isn’t it?’” – Cho comes up with the DA, but it is Ginny’s name that sticks in the end. Just like Cho was Harry’s first girlfriend, but in the end it is Ginny who stays at his side.
  • “She pinned the piece of parchment with all of their signatures on it on to the wall and wrote across the top in large letters: DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY” – I wonder if the list is still in that room? If people at Hogwarts can still find this room years later, the room that became history, and look at those names?
  • “‘Oh, please,’ said Zacharias Smith, rolling his eyes and folding his arms. ‘I don’t think Expelliarmus is exactly going to help us against You-Know-Who, do you?’ ‘I’ve used it against him,’ said Harry quietly. ‘It saved my life in June.’” – This feels like a bit of meta commentary against people who say Harry only knows one spell. But I love the implications: how Harry, an underage wizard, used a basic spell, simply because he doesn’t know better, and it helped him survive, and will later defeat Voldemort. A non aggressive spell, a spell to disarm someone, simply but very efficient. Harry isn’t as talented as Dumbledore or Voldemort himself, but he doesn’t need to. And I’m pretty sure that years after the war Expelliarmus is known as the spell that defeated Voldemort and becomes incredible popular among Hogwarts students.
  • Harry mentions that nobody is actually good at Expelliarmus (probably with the exception of Hermione) so I wonder at what year the spell is usually taught.
  • “Ginny was teamed with Michael Corner; she was doing very well, whereas Michael was either very bad or unwilling to jinx her.” – Like I guess it is nice Michael doesn’t want to jinx his girlfriend but that is not what the DA is about, and also not what Ginny wants in a boyfriend. Treat her as an equal not someone made of glass.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 19: The Lion and the Serpent

  • The first and well last Quidditch match of this book, at least for Harry. I feel like somewhere along the way Rowling lost the interest in writing about Quidditch. Last book we had the Triwizard Tournament as an excuse for no Quidditch, this book she found a way to ban Harry from Quidditch after his first match. Not that I complain, I couldn’t care less about Quidditch.
  • “Hermione soon devised a very clever method of communicating the time and date of the next meeting to all the members in case they needed to change it at short notice, because it would look suspicious if people from different Houses were seen crossing the Great Hall to talk to each other too often.” – Honestly, why though? Why is it suspicious if people from different houses talk to each other or even become friends? What is wrong with this school?
  • Hermione uses the Protean Charm on some fake Galleons to let the other DA members known when the next meeting is: Harry sets a date on his coin and the other coins mimic his. Hermione admits that (as Harry suspected) she got the idea from how Voldemort communicates with the Death Eaters: he touches the Dark Mark of one and all the others burn as well. Hermione, part of the Anti-Voldemort-movement, gets her inspiration from Voldemort and the Death Eaters. In book 6, Draco, a Death Eater by then, gets his inspiration how to communicate with Madam Rosmerta from Hermione again. Full circle.
  • Also Terry Boot is deeply impressed by Hermione using the Protean Charm, because, as he explains, it is N.E.W.T. – level, therefore very likely something they would learn in their seventh year. I like when we get a context for those spells, in the way how complex they are, at which age you learn them etc, because in return it tells us something about the characters who use them. Hermione is an incredible gifted witch, because she masters a spell in advance. So is Harry in performing the Patronus Charm, something most adult witches and wizards have problems with. But going back to Draco, he as well used the Protean Charm, though in his sixth year, but still in advance.
  • “‘I suppose the only danger with these is that we might accidentally spend them.’ ‘Fat chance,’ said Ron, who was examining his own fake Galleon with a slightly mournful air, ‘I haven’t got any real Galleons to confuse it with.’”- We know the Weasleys are poor, but considering how much things cost in the Wizarding World, it is still ridiculous that Ron wouldn’t even have 1 Galleon. Rowling herself said 1 Galleon is roughly five pounds, which isn’t that much.
  • I can absolute relate to Ron’s lack of confidence regarding his first Quidditch Match. Because it is not like Ron is shy or anything but he can’t handle pressure. And I think that part of it is family related, always comparing himself to his brothers, trying to be as good as them. Even Angelina admitted that she gave Ron the position as Keeper because he comes from a family of good Quidditch players. He is never just Ron, but always part of the Weasley family or Harry Potter’s best friend, he always has someone to compete against.
  • My new headcanon is that Luna had a bit of a crush on Ron. She only wishes him good luck, not Harry (though it could be because it is Ron’s first match), she even makes a lion shaped hat, she laughed about his joke on the Hogwarts train etc. If anything she finds him fascinating.
  • “‘Good luck, Ron,’ said Hermione, standing on tiptoe and kissing him on the cheek. ‘And you, Harry –’ Ron seemed to come to himself slightly as they walked back across the Great Hall. He touched the spot on his face where Hermione had kissed him, looking puzzled, as though he was not quite sure what had just happened.” – Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Also good tactic to distract him Hermione.
  • Last year it was the “Potter stinks”-badges, this year badges and a song – Draco is really into crafts and art.
  • So, Harry gets a lifelong ban from Quidditch, yet another privilege he loses. This year is extreme in what Harry loses/has to endure: he “loses” his relationship with Dumbledore, who ignores him. He can longer communicate with anyone outside Hogwarts, being spied on. He is no longer allowed to play Quidditch. Detention, including physical assault. Constantly accused to be an attention seeking liar. The biggest loss of course is Sirius at the end of book 5. And Harry so far is used to be special, to have rules bent for him, to get a special treatment. In book 5 we see all of this stripped away and taken from him. And I think it makes him look different at the world, to fully appreciate what he has, and to become more mature, which we see in book 6.
  • “Ron said nothing but sat gazing miserably at the damp hem of his robes. After a while he said in a dull voice, ‘This is the worst I’ve ever felt in my life.’ ‘Join the club,’ said Harry bitterly.” – Seriously Harry? Worst day of your life? SERIOUSLY?

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 20: Hagrid’s Tale

  • “Harry sprinted up to the boys’ dormitories to fetch the Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder’s Map from his trunk; he was so quick that he and Ron were ready to leave at least five minutes before Hermione hurried back down from the girls’ dormitories, wearing scarf, gloves and one of her own knobbly elf hats. ‘Well, it’s cold out there!’ she said defensively, as Ron clicked his tongue impatiently.” – In which Hermione is me.
  • Hagrid mentions that one of the gifts he and Madame Maxime offered the Giants was a branch of Gubraithian fire – everlasting fire. Which of course again defies the laws of physics. Magic.
  • “‘And what did Karkus say?’ asked Harry eagerly. ‘Nothin’,’ said Hagrid. ‘Didn’ speak English.’” – I feel like this is a bit of meta commentary, how some people whose native language is English don’t seem to bother to learn a foreign language, assuming everyone speaks English. And well, Hogwarts students don’t learn a foreign language either. I wonder if it is mandatory at other schools; both Krum and Fleur could speak English, though it seems like there is no spell to learn a new language (it is mentioned that Fleur moved to London to improve her English). Anyway, ironically the Potter books are the reason a lot of people improved their English. I know a lot of people whose first book in English was a Potter book, usually because they couldn’t be bothered to wait some additional months for the translation. And the Potter books are a great way to learn the language, as the vocabulary gets more complex with each book.
  • “So we bowed outta the way an’ went off an’ found ourselves a nice little cave ter spend that night in an’ the followin’ mornin’ we went back an’ this time we found Karkus sittin’ up waitin’ fer us lookin’ all eager.” – Soooooooooooo, where are all the fan fics about that night in the cave, huh?
  • Hermione urges Hagrid to teach them something that will come up in their O.W.L. exam to pass Umbrige’s inspection. Therefore it is very likely that the Ministry decides what comes up in the O.W.L. exams, and it is up to the teachers to prepare the students accordingly. However the Ministry doesn’t decide about the curriculum. Teachers are still given a lot of freedom in how they present their classes. I have mentioned it before that why I love Hagrid I don’t think he is the best teacher. For one thing because of his love for monsters and how he constantly underestimates how dangerous they are. But also how he is not interested to teach his students the creatures that are likely to come up in their exams, simply because he doesn’t think they are interesting enough.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 21: The Eye of the Snake

  • “Hagrid’s reappearance at the staff table at breakfast next day was not greeted by enthusiasm from all students. Some, like Fred, George and Lee, roared with delight and sprinted up the aisle between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables to wring Hagrid’s enormous hand; others, like Parvati and Lavender, exchanged gloomy looks and shook their heads. Harry knew that many of them preferred Professor Grubbly-Plank’s lessons, and the worst of it was that a very small, unbiased part of him knew that they had good reason: Grubbly-Plank’s idea of an interesting class was not one where there was a risk that somebody might have their head ripped off.” – So, it is not just Harry, Ron and Hermione who have a good relationship with Hagrid (though they are the ones who are closest to him), but the Wesley twins and Lee Jordan as well. Harry of course is connected to Hagrid because he is the one who introduced him to the Wizarding World, and Ron and Hermione are connected to Hagrid through Harry. I suspect that Fred, George and Lee became friends with Hagrid while sneaking into the Forbidden Forrest. But also not everybody loves Hagrid: people like Lavender and Parvati only know him as their teacher, and again he is not that good at it. Even Harry admits that.
  • I love the Thestrals and their symbolic meaning. That seeing death puts a mark on you, that it changes you and the way you look at the world, that in the Wizarding World you are literary able to see things you didn’t see before. And how terrifying it must be to see them for the first time. I know there is an ongoing discussion how Harry should have been able to see the Thestrals at the end of fourth year, but the first time he notices them is in book 5. Rowling explained that Harry needed some time to understand the death he has witnessed, and only then he could see them. Of course it is possible she simply made a mistake and didn’t think of the Thestrals before writing book 5. But I like her explanation. Because it does take time to understand death and I don’t think the human mind is actually able to fully understand that something ends, that someone is completely gone. Harry was still under shock by the time he left Hogwarts last year. And this is something that further isolates Harry from his friends: the trauma he experienced, that ugly feeling that he is through something they could never understand, that his pain is unique to him (and well, I’ve been there, so I can relate).
  • Next to Harry two other students can see the Thestrals: Neville and Theodore Nott (though his name is never mentioned). But it also seems that Hagrid can see them, so he saw someone die as well (his father?).
  • “‘And they’re cheeky little snot-rags, you know, we definitely weren’t that rude when we were in first year,’ said Ron […]” – You know that is the first sign of getting old, complaining about youngsters (I do it all the time).
  • “‘All those poor elves I haven’t set free yet, having to stay here over Christmas because there aren’t enough hats!’ Harry, who had not had the heart to tell her that Dobby was taking everything she made, bent lower over his History of Magic essay.” – Because it is so much better to let Dobby do all the work alone instead.
  • Also leave it to Harry to assume he would spent the holidays alone at Hogwarts, after Molly literary said he was as good as a son to her. And leave it to Ron to forget to mention Harry is invited to spend the holidays at the Burrow. Boys *shakeshead*
  • “‘Mistletoe,’ said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry’s head. He jumped out from under it. ‘Good thinking,’ said Luna very seriously. ‘It’s often infested with Nargles.’” – False romantic lead: Harry obviously assumes Luna mentions the mistletoe because she wants to kiss him, but I don’t think that thought had ever crossed her mind.
  • “Neville had improved beyond all recognition.” – I wonder why that is. Could it be… perhaps… maybe… all Neville needs is a competent teacher and a bit of extra time? *LookingatyouSnape*
  • Poor Hermione, having to explain complex feelings to the boys she calls her best friends. And it shows how immature Ron is compared to Hermione, thinking only in categories of ‘sad’ and ‘happy’, as if there is nothing in between or you can’t be both at the same time. No wonder it took him years to figure out his feelings for Hermione. And no wonder most teenage girls prefer older boyfriends.
  • “‘What if he doesn’t want to ask her?’ said Ron, who had been watching Harry with an unusually shrewd expression on his face.” – I feel like Ron rather talks about himself here instead of Harry. He, just as Hermione, knows very well that Harry liked Cho for ages. So this is more about the expectation of the boy making the first move and asking out the girl he likes. Which Ron doesn’t do, despite liking Hermione for ages.
  • “He did not answer. Yes, he had liked Cho for ages, but whenever he had imagined a scene involving the two of them it had always featured a Cho who was enjoying herself, as opposed to a Cho who was sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder.” – The most annoying thing about Harry is not his anger issues or his yelling, but his inability to deal with emotions, both his own and that of others. Of course nobody is comfortable when someone cries in front of you, but to Harry Cho’s behaviour is annoying and he later admits that one of the things he likes about Ginny is the fact that she hardly ever cries. Expressing your emotions is considered to be weak, to be girlish, and it is hurtful and damaging to get told to toughen up and to control your emotions, for both girls and boys. Not that Harry ever says that. And it is also very likely that the Dursleys never taught him how to react to crying properly; they probably didn’t care at all when he cried as a child or told him to stop.
  • “That’s what they should teach us here, he thought, turning over on to his side, how girls’ brains work … it’d be more useful than Divination, anyway …” – There are a lot of subjects more useful than Divination. Again, it doesn’t seem like sex education is something Hogwarts students get, and they never mention any teenager magazines who give advice in those areas (though they could still exist and Harry simply never reads them). I mean it is possible that the reason the Weasleys have so many children is simply because Molly and Arthur never learned how to use protection, for all we know.
  • Kudos to Neville for doing the responsible thing after Harry’s dream and getting a teacher.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 22: St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

  • “The instrument tinkled into life at once with rhythmic clinking noises. Tiny puffs of pale green smoke issued from the minuscule silver tube at the top. Dumbledore watched the smoke closely, his brow furrowed. After a few seconds, the tiny puffs became a steady stream of smoke that thickened and coiled in the air … a serpent’s head grew out of the end of it, opening its mouth wide. Harry wondered whether the instrument was confirming his story: he looked eagerly at Dumbledore for a sign that he was right, but Dumbledore did not look up. ‘Naturally, naturally,’ murmured Dumbledore apparently to himself, still observing the stream of smoke without the slightest sign of surprise. ‘But in essence divided?’” – I don’t think it is ever explained what exactly this instrument is, but this, along with Dumbledore’s question from which perspective Harry saw the attack on Mr. Weasley, confirms that by now Dumbledore knows or at least suspects about the Horcruxes. He might had suspected it since book 2 and the Riddle Diary and the way it worked. By now though it is confirmed to him that Harry is a Horcrux as well, which would explain we he could see through Nagini’s eyes, as all the Horcruxes and Voldemort are connected. This would also explain why Dumbledore refuses to even look at Harry, though he did ignore him ever since the start of the summer, so while Harry’s knowledge about the attack confirms his theory Dumbledore must have known for much longer. Which would also explain his emotional distance: he didn’t want to get to close to the boy he knew had to die.
  • “Dumbledore was now rummaging in a cupboard behind Harry and Ron. He emerged from it carrying a blackened old kettle, which he placed carefully on his desk. He raised his wand and murmured, ‘Portus!’ For a moment the kettle trembled, glowing with an odd blue light; then it quivered to rest, as solidly black as ever.” – I like the idea of Dumbledore having a cupboard of random things he can turn into Portkeys at any given time should he need one.
  • “At once, Harry’s scar burned white-hot, as though the old wound had burst open again – and unbidden, unwanted, but terrifyingly strong, there rose within Harry a hatred so powerful he felt, for that instant, he would like nothing better than to strike – to bite – to sink his fangs into the man before him –“ – We know that Voldemort never possessed Harry here, and that obviously Dumbledore was never in real danger to get attacked by Harry through him. So I think another reason why Dumbledore ignored Harry was because he might had suspected that his view would be enough to re-connect Harry and Voldemort and that perhaps this time Voldemort would be aware of the connection, using it against Harry, the way he ultimately does at the end of this book.
  • “[…] Sirius was hurrying towards them all, looking anxious. He was unshaven and still in his day clothes; there was also a slightly Mundungus-like whiff of stale drink about him.” – I think Harry noticed that Sirius didn’t do well, but never the full impact of it, because he was too young to understand. There are clear signs that Sirius was depressed, and also had maniac episodes, which would explain his reckless behaviour in the Ministry. Mental health is something that is largely not addressed in the Wizarding World. When we enter St. Mungos there are several floors for all kind of specific injuries and diseases, but no psychotherapeutic ward. In the next chapter we see the Longbottoms and Gilderoy Lockhart, who are both not in their right mind, but in both cases this is caused through magic, and treated as such (irreversible spell damage). Harry clearly suffers from PTSD as well, but never gets the help he needs.
  • “‘Your father knew what he was getting into and he won’t thank you for messing things up for the Order!’ said Sirius, equally angry. ‘This is how it is – this is why you’re not in the Order – you don’t understand – there are things worth dying for!’ ‘Easy for you to say, stuck here!’ bellowed Fred. ‘I don’t see you risking your neck!’ The little colour remaining in Sirius’s face drained from it. He looked for a moment as though he would quite like to hit Fred, but when he spoke, it was in a voice of determined calm.” – Low blow, Fred. And it hits right where it will hurt Sirius the most, confirming that he is useless and no help, while everyone else risks their life for the cause. Which again will lead to his downfall in the end.
  • Sirius dismisses Harry’s worries that there might be something wrong with him, and he is the one who attacked Mr. Weasley somehow. Either Sirius really thinks there is nothing to it, that Harry is just under shock, or he knew something was up and didn’t want Harry to worry. Somehow I can’t imagine that Dumbledore would have shared his theory that Harry is a Horcrux with Sirius, because Sirius would have known what that meant for Harry’s life as well. I really think Snape was the only one who knew besides Dumbledore, because Dumbledore trusted him to see the bigger picture. But it is also interesting to see how different this scene is portrayed in the movie adaption. It is then that Sirius tells Harry that you can’t just categorize people into Death Eaters and good people, meaning that even good people like Harry have a dark side, and that it matters what we choose to act on. In the book this line refers to Umbridge, meaning that even though she isn’t a Death Eater she can still be a bad person. Two very different interpretations of the same sentence.
  • “They had arrived outside a large, old-fashioned, red-brick department store called Purge & Dowse Ltd. The place had a shabby, miserable air; the window displays consisted of a few chipped dummies with their wigs askew, standing at random and modelling fashions at least ten years out of date.” – As if Harry even would know what is fashion. The kid still wears his cousin’s old clothes, despite owning a small fortune.
  • “Harry thought how absurd it was for Tonks to expect the dummy to hear her talking so quietly through a sheet of glass, with buses rumbling along behind her and all the racket of a street full of shoppers. Then he reminded himself that dummies couldn’t hear anyway.” – How did you ever manage to get through life? (Then again, this could have been me, wondering about the very same thing)
  • “‘Doctors?’ said Ron, looking startled. ‘Those Muggle nutters that cut people up? Nah, they’re Healers.’” – This kind of reminds me of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (aka the best Star Trek movie) and Bones utter horror when he learns how doctors used to treat their patients in the past (“Now, put away your butcher’s knives and let me save this patient before it’s too late!”).
  • “A harassed-looking wizard was holding his small daughter tightly by the ankle while she flapped around his head using the immensely large, feathery wings that had sprouted right out through the back of her romper suit. ‘Fourth floor,’ said the witch, in a bored voice, without asking, and the man disappeared through the double doors beside the desk, holding his daughter like an oddly shaped balloon. ‘Next!’” – This is what they should have used their CGI for, just saying.
  • ‘We’ll wait outside, Molly,’ Tonks said. ‘Arthur won’t want too many visitors at once … it ought to be just the family first.’ Mad-Eye growled his approval of this idea and set himself with his back against the corridor wall, his magical eye spinning in all directions. Harry drew back, too, but Mrs Weasley reached out a hand and pushed him through the door, saying, ‘Don’t be silly, Harry, Arthur wants to thank you.’” – It is interesting how Harry doesn’t see himself as part of the Weasley family, despite Molly saying he is like a son to her. We already saw this with him questioning where he would spend his Christmas holidays, because Ron had forgotten to invite him, not naturally assuming he would spend the holidays with the Weasleys. Harry only acknowledges Sirius as his family and at times like these feels like an intruder to the Weasley family.
  • “‘A werewolf?’ whispered Mrs Weasley, looking alarmed. ‘Is he safe in a public ward? Shouldn’t he be in a private room?’ ‘It’s two weeks till full moon,’ Mr Weasley reminded her quietly. ‘They’ve been talking to him this morning, the Healers, you know, trying to persuade him he’ll be able to lead an almost normal life. I said to him – didn’t mention names, of course – but I said I knew a werewolf personally, very nice man, who finds the condition quite easy to manage.’”- Mrs. Weasley immediate reaction is to see the patient who was bitten by a werewolf as a threat to her own family, especially her husband. Her first instinct is to isolate him, despite knowing a werewolf herself and the social stigma that surrounds him. Also I doubt that Lupin would say the condition is easy to manage. We know that by now there is a potion that will help him during his transformations, but it was also mentioned that only people as skilled as Snape can produce such a potion. Between his year at Hogwarts and his work for the Order Lupin probably had to manage without the potion (I assume Snape provides him the potion once again since they are both in the Order). And not everyone has access to said potion. The Magical Health System is very flawed.
  • It is Moody who says Voldemort possesses Harry, because assumingly not knowing about the Horcruxes (and that Harry is one) that would be the logical explanation to him. Dumbledore had to offer the Order another explanation than that though, but again I doubt anyone except Snape knew the whole truth.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 23: Christmas on the Closed Ward

  • “He felt dirty, contaminated, as though he were carrying some deadly germ, unworthy to sit on the Underground train back from the hospital with innocent, clean people whose minds and bodies were free of the taint of Voldemort …” – Sam Winchester, is that you? Seriously though this reminded me a lot of Sam’s storyline in the early seasons of Supernatural, after he learned that he had been fed demon blood and had powers and felt unclean. Many people compared that particular storyline with a coming out story. How Sam felt wrong, unnatural, isolated. How he had to come to terms with who he is. It is similar with Harry, who is afraid because of his connection to Voldemort, afraid what it might make of him, what it says about him, and how it isolates him from those around him. Harry can’t help his connection with Voldemort, but he eventually learns to use it for his own advantage. He also accepts that he has a dark side (see his use of Unforgiveable Curses).
  • “I’m the weapon, Harry thought, and it was as though poison were pumping through his veins, chilling him, bringing him out in a sweat as he swayed with the train through the dark tunnel. I’m the one Voldemort’s trying to use, that’s why they’ve got guards around me everywhere I go, it’s not for my protection, it’s for other people’s, only it’s not working, they can’t have someone on me all the time at Hogwarts … I did attack Mr Weasley last night, it was me. Voldemort made me do it and he could be inside me, listening to my thoughts right now –“ – And this is yet another theme that has been very prominent on Supernatural: the lack of agency, of control over your own body and mind. Consent in the Wizarding World is a rather delicate topic: from love potions to Veritaserum to the Imperius Curse, consent can be taken away in various forms. Harry is rather often the victim of this kind of violation. Last year alone Myrtle spied on him while he was naked, Snape threatened him with Veritaserum and Voldemort used the Imperius Curse on him. Soon Snape, and later Voldemort will read Harry’s mind without his permission. I always find the violation of consent a crime that especially women experience a lot (often in everyday situations) and I already wrote before that while Harry is a male character he often becomes the victim of violent acts that are usually experienced by women.
  • “There was only one thing for it: he would have to leave Grimmauld Place straightaway. He would spend Christmas at Hogwarts without the others, which would keep them safe over the holidays at least … but no, that wouldn’t do, there were still plenty of people at Hogwarts to maim and injure. What if it was Seamus, Dean or Neville next time? He stopped his pacing and stood staring at Phineas Nigellus’s empty frame. A leaden sensation was settling in the pit of his stomach. He had no alternative: he was going to have to return to Privet Drive, cut himself off from other wizards entirely.” – So, Harry is afraid he might be a threat to the people around him, the Weasleys or his friends at Hogwarts and his solution is… to return to the Dursleys? Like, doesn’t matter if Voldemort might attack them? He did not think this through at all.
  • “‘You know,’ said Phineas Nigellus, even more loudly than Harry, ‘this is precisely why I loathed being a teacher! Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything. Has it not occurred to you, my poor puffed-up popinjay, that there might be an excellent reason why the Headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you? Have you never paused, while feeling hard-done-by, to note that following Dumbledore’s orders has never yet led you into harm? No. No, like all young people, you are quite sure that you alone feel and think, you alone recognise danger, you alone are the only one clever enough to realise what the Dark Lord may be planning –’” – The older I get the more I can relate to Phineas Nigellus (he might be my new fave). Teenagers are just the worst!
  • Do Hermione’s parents actually like her daughter? She spent most of the summer at Grimmauld Place and now Christmas as well. I know she needs to be there for plot reasons, but still. I don’t think she has seen her parents for more than a week this year. (It is also possible Hermione finds excuses to get away from her parents, perhaps because they were never really close or she feels that they don’t understand her life in the Wizarding World.)
  • “‘Well, that was a bit stupid of you,’ said Ginny angrily, ‘seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.’ Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he turned on the spot to face her. ‘I forgot,’ he said. ‘Lucky you,’ said Ginny coolly.” – Perhaps one of Harry’s biggest flaws is that he is often so focussed on his own pain that he forgets that others suffer as well. We already saw this last year when he learned about Neville’s parents and realized that not once in four years he had asked Neville about them. We see it here, Harry nursing his own pain, refusing to acknowledge that the others might want to help him. And I just love how Ginny acts around Harry, how unafraid she is and how she voices her opinion, no matter if Harry wants to hear it or not (unlike Ron who is actually afraid to say something wrong). Harry needs someone like her, someone who tells him off whenever he acts stupid.
  • “‘Thanks for the book, Harry,’ she said happily. ‘I’ve been wanting that New Theory of Numerology for ages! And that perfume’s really unusual, Ron.’” – That is the same as to say someone’s food tastes… interesting.
  • I always loved Arthur Weasley’ love for all things Muggle, how he thinks of them as special in their very own way, and his curiosity for their inventions. Of course he would be open to try out Muggle medicine. But also think of all the Muggles that could be healed with magic. I wonder if the DNA of witches/wizards and Muggles is different. If there are certain Muggle illnesses a witch/wizard can’t get and the other way around (say Muggles could not get Dragon Pox).
  • “‘Er – how are you, Professor?’ said Ron, sounding slightly guilty. It had been Ron’s malfunctioning wand that had damaged Professor Lockhart’s memory so badly that he had landed in St Mungo’s in the first place, though as Lockhart had been attempting to permanently wipe Harry and Ron’s memories at the time, Harry’s sympathy was limited.” – It has never been mentioned if there were any kind of legal consequences for Ron or the Weasleys because of this. Was Ron responsible for his malfunctioning wand? Would this be classified as a danger to others? Is this considered as self-defence as Lockhart had tried to take away their memory in the first place? But then Harry had only protected himself against the Dementors and almost got kicked out of school. This isn’t about whether Lockhart deserved what he got, Ron still damaged his memory beyond repair.
  • That whole meeting between Harry and his friends and Neville and his grandmother is just painful. I don’t think that Neville is ashamed of his parents. But he doesn’t want anyone’s pity (not more than he already gets) and there is no way to casually bring the topic up. There is of course the fact that none of his friends ever asked, and perhaps he had assumed that at least the Weasley children would know, as Neville’s parents and what happened to them is well known. Mr and Mrs Weasley, if they know, had their own reasons no to tell their children. It was upon Neville to tell them, for him to choose the time and place, and it was taken from him, and even added conflict with his grandmother, as she misunderstood the reasons why Neville hasn’t told anyone.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 24: Occlumency

  • “Harry did not mention his vague suspicions to Sirius, whose cheerfulness was evaporating fast now that Christmas was over. As the date of their departure back to Hogwarts drew nearer, he became more and more prone to what Mrs Weasley called ‘fits of the sullens’, in which he would become taciturn and grumpy, often withdrawing to Buckbeak’s room for hours at a time. His gloom seeped through the house, oozing under doorways like some noxious gas, so that all of them became infected by it. Harry didn’t want to leave Sirius again with only Kreacher for company; in fact, for the first time in his life, he was not looking forward to returning to Hogwarts.” – “Fits of the sullen” is a very nice way to describe that Sirius is going through a depressive episode. Something Harry can’t quite understand because he is too young or because mental health isn’t something that is talked about in the Wizarding World it seems, or perhaps both. But his instant reaction is that he does not want to leave Sirius alone in his state, because he sees Sirius as his responsibility. This is something that often occurs when a parent or parent figure becomes ill (mentally or physically), that the roles are reversed and the child instantly starts to take care of their parents.
  • Also, this is the first time that Harry acts like a normal child, who doesn’t like the idea of returning to school. Hogwarts has been in the last years his safe place, the place where he felt accepted, where his friends are, his home. However Umbridge has destroyed Harry’s home. He gets isolated (no contact to anyone outside Hogwarts), his privileges are taken away from him (Quidditch) and he got physically abused in a place he considers to be safe.
  • “Harry had an unpleasant constricted sensation in his chest; he did not want to say goodbye to Sirius. He had a bad feeling about this parting; he didn’t know when they would next see each other and he felt it was incumbent upon him to say something to Sirius to stop him doing anything stupid – Harry was worried that Snape’s accusation of cowardice had stung Sirius so badly he might even now be planning some foolhardy trip beyond Grimmauld Place.” – Reading this and knowing exactly where this story ends makes you realize how cruel J.K. Rowling is (it’s like Cedric’s father talking about his future grandchildren again).
  • “‘OK,’ said Harry, stowing the package away in the inside pocket of his jacket, but he knew he would never use whatever it was. It would not be he, Harry, who lured Sirius from his place of safety, no matter how foully Snape treated him in their forthcoming Occlumency classes.” – REALLY J.K.?
  • That whole exchange between Harry and Cho, with him finally realizing she wanted him to ask her out, was super awkward and left me mortified with second-hand-embarrassment. It is also totally how I would ask someone out.
  • I’ve already talked in my previous chapter note about the Wizarding World’s huge issue with consent and Legilimency is obviously part of it, as one’s mind is intruded without giving consent, even to the point where you can manipulate what the other one sees. In order to successfully protect yourself from such an act of violence Snape informs Harry to control his emotions, to get rid of them.  Harry is unable to do so, and it is always portrayed as a weakness – if he had learned to control his emotions Voldemort could have never manipulated him, resulting in Sirius’s death. And yet his emotions are also his biggest strength because it makes it impossible for Voldemort to possess him. But I think that this general advice to show no emotions, to always be tough, to man up is not very healthy at all. Harry never had anyone to share his feelings with until he entered Hogwarts and it is still hard for him. Cho’s constant crying annoys him because he doesn’t know how to react. Hermione had to actually explain to Harry how she feels. And I think that anger, unlike crying or sadness, is considered to be an acceptable emotion for young men or men in general. It is okay if they are angry, if they are violent, and for many it is the only way to deal with their negative emotions. Harry still suffers from PTSD (and he possibly will long after the war is over) and never gets the help he needs. He never learned to deal with his emotions in a healthy way, and Snape’s advice to shut them down doesn’t help either.
  • “Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked so easily – weak people, in other words – they stand no chance against his powers!” – Funny but to me Snape is exactly the kind of guy who wallows in sad memories and gets easily provoked. I mean we talk about an adult man who lets the anger directed at Harry’s father out on Harry himself, an innocent child after all. Despite being good at Occlumency, Snape is exactly the kind of weak he describes here, and I think he knows and hates himself for it.
  • “As he opened it, he glanced back at Snape, who had his back to Harry and was scooping his own thoughts out of the Pensieve with the tip of his wand and replacing them carefully inside his own head.” – Interesting. I always assumed you can only take your thoughts out your mind, not back in. And of course the thought would not be lost, but rather be in a visible form so you can look at it from a distance. Does that mean that Dumbledore eventually put all of his thoughts back in his mind again? Do you have to or else you forget them?

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 26: Seen and Unforeseen

  • “But the breakout of Bellatrix Lestrange and her fellow Death Eaters had given Harry a burning desire to do something, whether or not it worked …” – Wait a minute. Wasn’t it Hermione who wrote to Rita after she read about the breakout? Harry didn’t even know he would be giving an interview up until 5 minutes before it started.
  • “‘Well, you see,’ said Hermione, with the patient air of someone explaining that one plus one equals two to an over-emotional toddler, ‘you shouldn’t have told her that you wanted to meet me halfway through your date.’” – Oh Hermione, I feel your pain. I mean I’m a huge fan of people just being honest about their feelings and what they want. I get Harry and his annoyance that he has to interpret and analyse what Cho might have meant with the things she said and did. But it takes a lot of courage as well to honestly tell someone how you feel, so we invent all those little games to find out how much that other person likes us instead of simply asking. And it is interesting that Hermione can read between the lines and translate what Cho meant to Harry, given that Hermione can be a bit tactless as well at times.
  • “‘You should write a book,’ Ron told Hermione as he cut up his potatoes, ‘translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them.’” – Didn’t Ron later have a book that would help him wooing Hermione? The one he gave Harry as a present for his 17th birthday? It would make sense that Ron would read such a book, when he thinks you have to speak a secret language in order to date someone.
  • “‘Come on, Ginny’s not bad,’ said George fairly, sitting down next to Fred. ‘Actually, I dunno how she got so good, seeing how we never let her play with us.’ ‘She’s been breaking into your broom shed in the garden since the age of six and taking each of your brooms out in turn when you weren’t looking,’ said Hermione from behind her tottering pile of Ancient Rune books.” – I always love those small snippets into Hermione and Ginny’s friendship, confirming that they have a relationship outside of the boys surrounding them, and obviously there are things Hermione can’t and won’t talk about with Harry and Ron.
  • “‘Maybe not,’ she said darkly, returning to her translation, ‘but at least my happiness doesn’t depend on Ron’s goalkeeping ability.’” – I used to be a sports fan (I watched a lot of soccer/football) and I can confirm how dependent your mood is on your team winning or losing.
  • “He dreamed that Neville and Professor Sprout were waltzing around the Room of Requirement while Professor McGonagall played the bagpipes.” – Why wasn’t that in the movie adaption? WHY????
  • “‘Oh, Harry, don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!’” – If you wanna make sure teenagers do something forbid it. There would be less smoking and drinking and sex if none of those things were considered a taboo.
  • “The teachers were of course forbidden from mentioning the interview by Educational Decree Number Twenty-six, but they found ways to express their feelings about it all the same. Professor Sprout awarded Gryffindor twenty points when Harry passed her a watering can; a beaming Professor Flitwick pressed a box of squeaking sugar mice on him at the end of Charms, said, ‘Shh!’ and hurried away; and Professor Trelawney broke into hysterical sobs during Divination and announced to the startled class, and a very disapproving Umbridge, that Harry was not going to suffer an early death after all, but would live to a ripe old age, become Minister for Magic and have twelve children.” – I love Flitwick’s reaction: you’ve been through a lot of trauma kiddo, here have some candy. And of course Trelawney is as always not exactly wrong. Harry doesn’t die young (or rather he doesn’t stay dead) and well he gets a job at the ministry and has a bunch of kids, the general drift is right.
  • “When Bode tried to steal this weapon, something funny happened to him. I think there must be defensive spells on it, or around it, to stop people touching it. That’s why he was in St Mungo’s, his brain had gone all funny and he couldn’t talk.” – We know that the weapon is the prophecy about Harry and Voldemort, and that only those two are able to touch it. I wonder if this specific defensive spell is put on prophecies afterwards or if it is in their nature, that they create a special kind of magic, that makes it impossible for anyone to hear a prophecy that isn’t about them. Then again there are prophecies were it is unclear who they are about. Even the one about Harry didn’t specifically mention his name, it is because Voldemort choose Harry that it became about him. And I wonder if all those people mentioned in prophecies are aware of that? Do they get a letter from the ministry? Do they have a right to know?
  • “‘That is just as well, Potter,’ said Snape coldly, ‘because you are neither special nor important, and it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters.’ ‘No – that’s your job, isn’t it?’ Harry shot at him. He had not meant to say it; it had burst out of him in temper. For a long moment they stared at each other, Harry convinced he had gone too far. But there was a curious, almost satisfied expression on Snape’s face when he answered. ‘Yes, Potter,’ he said, his eyes glinting. ‘That is my job. Now, if you are ready, we will start again.’” – Isn’t it funny though? Snape always accuses Harry that he thinks he is special, that the normal rules don’t apply to him, etc. But here Snape basically confirms that he is the one who wants to feel special and important, that he enjoys the special role he plays in the war, as a spy for both Dumbledore and Voldemort. It is about value and it is the only kind of value he can get. And ironically I think Sirius is quite similar in that: he wants to play a special role as well. Whereas Harry is right in the middle of this war, no matter if he wants to or not.
  • “Harry did not speak; he felt that to say anything might be dangerous. He was sure he had just broken into Snape’s memories, that he had just seen scenes from Snape’s childhood. It was unnerving to think that the little boy who had been crying as he watched his parents shouting was actually standing in front of him with such loathing in his eyes.” – One might say that of course years of abuse would naturally lead to a bitter hateful man the way Snape is. But Harry carries his own package of unhappy childhood memories with him and guess what? He didn’t become a dick. When Harry sees Snape as a child he also sees himself, but they both became very different men.
  • “‘It was your home,’ said Professor Umbridge, and Harry was revolted to see the enjoyment stretching her toadlike face as she watched Professor Trelawney sink, sobbing uncontrollably, on to one of her trunks, […]” – Umbridge is a sadist. She feeds on power and she feeds on her power to destroy lives. That is why she could fit in in Fudge’s ministry as well as Voldemort’s ministry in book 7: this isn’t about ideology. It is about power and the abuse of power. And every system allows people like Umbridge to come to power. And that is what makes her such a great villain.
  •  I love how all the teachers stood together to protect and help Trelawney. We know that McGonagall isn’t very fond of Divination or Trelawney, and yet she is the first to defend her.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 27: The Centaur and the Sneak

  • There is a huge difference between the kind of divination Professor Trelawney teaches and the kind Firenze teaches. As Firenze explains what Trelawney did was nothing more than fortune-telling, whereas centaurs study the stars to foretell big changes. Divination is the most vague subject at Hogwarts. Obviously true seers exist, such as prophecies that can come true. And moving ahead we learn that there are dozen of prophecies in the Department of Mysteries. But they still remain vague. The prophecy about Harry and Voldemort could have been about Neville as well. The centaurs saw that they are in a brief period between two wars, but they can’t tell details. Of course the more vague a prophecy is, the easier it can become true, because it allows more interpretations. It is the most unscientific branch of magic; no wonder Hermione isn’t interested in it.
  • I wonder why Hermione’s Patronus would have the form of an otter, as we know that the form of one’s Patronus has a special meaning. Interesting enough Harry produced a stag before he knew that this was the Animagus form of his father (it is only when he sees his Patronus that he realizes why his father was nicknamed ‘Prongs’), so this might work on a subconscious level.
  • Harry gives Dobby an order, forbidding him to hurt himself, but I wonder how that works since Harry is not Dobby’s master. Can he, as a free elf, choose from who he accepts orders besides his master? Is there a special bond between them because Harry freed Dobby? Or is it simply because Dobby respects and admires Harry that he accepts his orders? Dobby also mentions that the house elves were forbidden to warn Harry (or any other member of the DA), that Umbridge would come, but who gave that order? It is very unlikely that it was Dumbledore, but rather Umbridge herself, meaning that not only the headmaster but every teacher at Hogwarts functions as a master to the house elves, giving them the right to give them orders.
  • “’[…] Well, Potter … I expect you know why you are here?’ Harry fully intended to respond with a defiant ‘yes’: his mouth had opened and the word was half-formed when he caught sight of Dumbledore’s face. Dumbledore was not looking directly at Harry – his eyes were fixed on a point just over his shoulder – but as Harry stared at him, he shook his head a fraction of an inch to each side. Harry changed direction mid-word.” – Seriously how could the Sorting Hat ever consider to put Harry in Slytherin? He is the least cunning person ever. And look, he is brave and kind and all of these things, but imagine all the headaches Dumbledore and McGonagall had over the years because the kid didn’t know when it was best to shut his mouth or to lie. Fudge has no evidence, and yet Harry almost admitted that he had broken the school law.
  • “As it 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 …’” – No, you can’t.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 28: Snape’s Worst Memory

  • “’[…]The Fat Friar told me –’ he dropped his voice conspiratorially, so that Harry, Ron and Hermione had to lean closer to him to hear ‘– that Umbridge tried to get back into his office last night after they’d searched the castle and grounds for him. Couldn’t get past the gargoyle. The Head’s office has sealed itself against her.’” – We know that the castle has magic of its own, and apparently not everybody can simply announce themselves headmaster. I wonder how it is usually decided who is going to be the new headmaster, in case the current one retires (by the famous Hogwarts Governors?). The castle doesn’t agree with Umbridge, however we know that Snape had no problem using the headmaster’s office, despite the fact that he had killed Dumbledore. Were the portraits and the castle aware of Dumbledore’s plan? Because I can’t imagine otherwise how Snape could get in when Umbridge couldn’t (though it is possible that Snape forced himself inside the office through magic Umbridge is not capable of).
  • “‘Very well, Potter, I will take your word for it this time, but be warned: the might of the Ministry stands behind me. All channels of communication in and out of this school are being monitored. A Floo Network Regulator is keeping watch over every fire in Hogwarts – except my own, of course. My Inquisitorial Squad is opening and reading all owl post entering and leaving the castle. And Mr Filch is observing all secret passages in and out of the castle. If I find a shred of evidence …’” – The Ministry is watching you. Hogwarts is now officially a surveillance state, further isolating Harry. And there are of course much more destructive ways to gain someone’s personal information than reading their letters. Umbridge had just tried to poison Harry (illegal) with Veritaserum. We know that it is possible to enter someone’s mind through Legilimency. And I talked before how consent is a thing that is barely talked about and constantly broken.
  • “The upshot of it all was that Professor Umbridge spent her first afternoon as Headmistress running all over the school answering the summonses of the other teachers, none of whom seemed able to rid their rooms of the fireworks without her.” – All of the Hogwarts teachers are very capable and also very petty. I love it.
  • Harry acted like a jerk during his conversation with Cho. Of course he has every right to be angry, but it wasn’t Cho’s fault that her friend betrayed them. Harry doesn’t even try to see things from her perspective and even warns her not to cry again… which yeah. Don’t do that. Seriously, don’t.
  • And no anger towards Cho, Draco or Snape excuses Harry watching Snape’s memory. The first time he watched someone’s else memory he didn’t know what he was doing, but now he does. And no matter how he tries to justify his actions, he knows that what he does is wrong.
  • “Harry looked anxiously behind him again. Snape remained close by, still buried in his exam questions – but this was Snape’s memory and Harry was sure that if Snape chose to wander off in a different direction once outside in the grounds, he, Harry, would not be able to follow James any further.” – It really makes me wonder how memories in a Pensieve work. Harry is able to listen to the Marauder’s entire conversation, despite this being Snape’s memory, and Snape clearly not being part of the conversation or even close enough to listen to it. Is there a certain kind of radius you can explore within a memory? Shouldn’t a memory be more subjective, only showing what Snape remembers? How is it possible to pull a memory outside your head and to listen to a conversation you weren’t even aware was happening that day?
  • “Snape lay panting on the ground. James and Sirius advanced on him, wands raised, James glancing over his shoulder at the girls at the water’s edge as he went. Wormtail was on his feet now, watching hungrily, edging around Lupin to get a clearer view.” – Wormtail clearly enjoys watching his friends tormenting Snape, perhaps knowing that it might as well could have been him, if he didn’t have more powerful friends watching out for him. It is something Sirius accused him of in PoA, that he would always look out for the biggest bully in the playground, to serve him in exchange for protection. Of course Sirius referred to Voldemort, but part of this behaviour can be seen here already. In this moment James and Sirius are the biggest bullies, and Wormtail is their willing bystander, applauding their actions.
  • “Many of the surrounding students laughed, Sirius and Wormtail included, but Lupin, still apparently intent on his book, didn’t, and nor did Lily.” – We know that Lily had been friends with both Sirius and Wormtail, from the letter Harry found of hers in book 7, but there is no evidence of a friendship between Lupin and Lily (perhaps at this point they already suspected him to be a spy). It is clear though that they share the same principles, so it is very likely that they did get along.
  • “He had no desire at all to return to Gryffindor Tower so early, nor to tell Ron and Hermione what he had just seen. What was making Harry feel so horrified and unhappy was not being shouted at or having jars thrown at him; it was that he knew how it felt to be humiliated in the middle of a circle of onlookers, knew exactly how Snape had felt as his father had taunted him, and that judging from what he had just seen, his father had been every bit as arrogant as Snape had always told him.” – I always loved this chapter and in particular Snape’s memory, because up to this point we (and Harry) encountered James and Lily only through what people told us about them, and seeing as it was their son they were talking to it was very biased. And of course Harry wanted to believe they were good people, wanted to believe that Snape was wrong about his father. It is natural, especially given that he never had a chance to get to know them, that he created a perfect version of them in his mind. But there is a point in life, and it usually happens when you are a teenager/young adult, where you start to see your parents from a different point of view, where you realized that they are flawed and make mistakes. People can be a good person and still act like jerks. And you can see someone for who they are and accept their mistakes and still love them. I think it is part of growing up, and I love that Harry had been given the chance to see his parents unfiltered, to form his own opinion, to grow from the experience, and how it helped him shape his own identity.
  • Also, it is interesting to look at the chapter’s title with the information we gained from book 7 about Snape. We believe it was his worst memory because of what James and Sirius did to him, but in reality it was because of what he had called Lily that day (“mudblood”), which marked the end of their friendship. This was the day Snape had lost Lily long before she died, and perhaps he had wondered since then if she could still be alive if they had still be friends, if he could have protected her in some ways. I wrote a bit more about the memory, and the way Harry interprets it both here and in book 7 here

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 29: Career’s advice

  • “Harry kept reminding himself that Lily had intervened; his mother had been decent. Yet, the memory of the look on her face as she had shouted at James disturbed him quite as much as anything else; she had clearly loathed James, and Harry simply could not understand how they could have ended up married. Once or twice he even wondered whether James had forced her into it …” – I mean in a world where love potions and spells exist that thought is not entirely unreasonable. It is also obvious that Harry has never read “Pride & Prejudice”. Or any kind of fan fiction about himself and Draco, because just cause you hate somebody you can still end up together. Still though, just as we idolize our parents I think we also have a very romantic idea of them as a couple as a child, at least I did. And it is interesting how Harry looks at Lily here, at her perspective, how he identifies with her, and wonders what she saw in his father, and how she could have possibly fallen in love with him. Of course Harry only saw a single event, a small glimpse of his parents, and as Sirius and Lupin later tell him his father did change. And despite the fact that romantic relationships can be very complicated, we (and Harry) simply have to trust that Lily wouldn’t have chosen James if she didn’t think he was a genuine good man.
  • “For nearly five years the thought of his father had been a source of comfort, of inspiration. Whenever someone had told him he was like James, he had glowed with pride inside. And now … now he felt cold and miserable at the thought of him.” – Well at least Snape never meant that as a compliment. If anything it does make Harry wonder if perhaps at times he had acted like his father, making him more sensitive for his own behaviour.
  • Oh Ginny. She sees that Harry is down, and despite the fact that she obviously still has feelings for Harry, she asks if she can help, if it is Cho he wants to talk to. We know she must be jealous of her on some level, and yet she swallows that feeling down, trying to help Harry.
  • “‘What do you think about this?’ Hermione demanded of Ron, and Harry was reminded irresistibly of Mrs Weasley appealing to her husband during Harry’s first dinner in Grimmauld Place.” – Oh my. Of course both women want the man to back her up, but Hermione should know Ron well enough to know he doesn’t have the courage to speak against Fred and George, yet alone to tell Harry what to do. And look, he is the most supportive friend ever, but it is good Harry has a friend as Hermione as well, someone who is not afraid to disagree with him and to tell him what she thinks.
  • “He was not sure what Sirius could possibly say to him that would make up for what he had seen in the Pensieve, but he was desperate to hear Sirius’s own account of what had happened, to know of any mitigating factors there might have been, any excuse at all for his father’s behaviour …” – It is never a good sign if you try to justify anyone’s behaviour, if you try to think of excuses. Even if there are any, it doesn’t justify if someone acts like a jerk, and deep down Harry knows this.
  • “He had just turned away when he heard a smashing noise. Malfoy gave a gleeful yell of laughter. Harry whipped around. His potion sample lay in pieces on the floor and Snape was watching him with a look of gloating pleasure. ‘Whoops,’ he said softly. ‘Another zero, then, Potter.’” – Snape again proves how responsible and mature he is as a teacher.
  • “‘You’d need top grades for that,’ said Professor McGonagall, extracting a small, dark leaflet from under the mass on her desk and opening it. ‘They ask for a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under “Exceeds Expectations” grade, I see. Then you would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office. It’s a difficult career path, Potter, they only take the best. In fact, I don’t think anybody has been taken on in the last three years.’” – Or you could just kill Voldemort and it won’t even matter that you never finished school, so whatever.
  • “When he had finished, neither Sirius nor Lupin spoke for a moment. Then Lupin said quietly, ‘I wouldn’t like you to judge your father on what you saw there, Harry. He was only fifteen –’ ‘I’m fifteen!’ said Harry heatedly.” – Ironically Harry does act like a jerk quite often in this book, letting out his anger towards Hermione and Ron, being rather insensitive when it comes to Cho etc. A lot of people dislike Harry’s characterization in this book. I personally like it because it shows us the growth he makes, and well a lot of people are jerks when they are 15. And of course Harry’s behaviour and the reasons for it are different then how his father has acted. They had very different upbringings and of course a lot of Harry’s behaviour is caused by the trauma of witnessing Cedric’s death and Voldemort’s return. Compared to him James seems like an arrogant spoiled brat. But I think once Harry is an adult himself he will look back and see his own flaws, and how limited his perception was.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 30: Grawp

  • “For one thing, they had not left instructions on how to remove the swamp that now filled the corridor on the fifth floor of the east wing. Umbridge and Filch had been observed trying different means of removing it but without success. Eventually, the area was roped off and Filch, gnashing his teeth furiously, was given the task of punting students across it to their classrooms. Harry was certain that teachers like McGonagall or Flitwick could have removed the swamp in an instant but, just as in the case of Fred and George’s Wildfire Whiz-bangs, they seemed to prefer to watch Umbridge struggle.” – It is somewhat a repeated theme that Umbridge isn’t actual a very talented witch, which is interesting considering her pride in being a pureblood. Harry’s assumption later turns out to be right, as it only took Flitwick seconds to remove the swamp.
  • “None of the staff but Filch seemed to be stirring themselves to help her. Indeed, a week after Fred and George’s departure Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, ‘It unscrews the other way.’”- I mean like it is impossible not to love McGonagall, especially in book 5.
  • “He also suspected that part of his mind – the part that often spoke in Hermione’s voice – now felt guilty on the occasions it strayed down that corridor ending in the black door, and sought to wake him before he could reach the journey’s end.” – So Hermione is Harry’s Jiminy Cricket then?
  • “Although Slytherin had been narrowly defeated by Hufflepuff in their last match, […]” – As a Hufflepuff this completely random information makes me very happy.
  • “‘You know,’ said Hermione, as she and Harry walked down to the pitch a little later in the midst of a very excitable crowd, ‘I think Ron might do better without Fred and George around. They never exactly gave him a lot of confidence.’” – I would agree with Hermione. As much as I love Fred and George, but they haven’t exactly been known to be the most supporting brothers. Their tough love might work on others (Ginny perhaps?), but certainly not on Ron. It is not what he needs.
  • “Lee Jordan, who had been very dispirited since Fred and George had left, was commentating as usual.” – Did Lee actually had any other friends than Fred and George though? At least he only had to spend a couple of weeks without them.
  • “‘Anyway,’ he said, breathing a little more heavily than usual, ‘since then the other centaurs’ve bin livid with me, an’ the trouble is they’ve got a lot of influence in the Forest … cleverest creatures in here.’” – Shouldn’t Acromantulas be at least equally intelligent as centaurs? And if anything much more frightening? And obviously Aragog would be on Hagrid’s side. Still, imaging the entire Forbidden Forrest would revolt against Hogwarts/the humans.
  • The entire thing about Hagrid bringing Grawp into the Forbidden Forrest is just wrong. Hagrid justifies his action because apparently Grawp got bullied by the other giants, but Hagrid usually knows well enough not to interfere in such things. I think the real reason Hagrid brought him along was because Grawp is the only family he has left. And Hagrid for all of his life felt isolated, like he doesn’t belong, neither a giant or a human/wizard, but always somewhere in between. But Grawp didn’t want to leave and it doesn’t do him good to be in a foreign country, tied up, with no company except Hagrid. And Hagrid believes that he can teach him English and some manners, and that he can prove that Grawp is harmless, that Grawp in short is much more like him than their mother. Because Hagrid’s view on monsters is how he wants to world to seem himself: as a misunderstood harmless creature. Hagrid’s love for monsters is always a reflection about himself.
  • “‘You ought not to have meddled, Hagrid,’ said Magorian. ‘Our ways are not yours, nor are our laws. Firenze has betrayed and dishonoured us.’” – And that is another thing. Like obviously I get why Hagrid interfered and saved Firenze, but the centaurs have a culture and laws of their own, and it is up to the humans to respect that. Interesting enough though Dumbledore therefore should have known better than to ask Firenze to take over as Divination teacher, knowing how the other Centaurs would react to it.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 31: O.W.L.s

  • “‘Yeah,’ said Ron slowly, savouring the words, ‘we won. Did you see the look on Chang’s face when Ginny got the Snitch right out from under her nose?’ ‘I suppose she cried, did she?’ said Harry bitterly.” – Is Harry the metaphorical Snitch here? Also, I’m super annoyed by Harry’s reaction towards Cho or specifically her crying. Like somewhere in his mind she has become this girl that cries all the time (which she doesn’t, and even if she does she has enough reasons to do so). And I think that at some point later after Harry started dating Ginny one of the things he likes about her is that she hardly ever cries. Like I get that it can be very uncomfortable to be around someone who cries, feeling helpless, and like you don’t know what to do or say to make things better. But mostly it makes Harry look immature, and like he rather spends time with a girl who can control her feelings, so he doesn’t have to deal with it. And I love Ginny as a character a lot, but it presents a false image of strength when we portray Harry’s ideal woman as the one who doesn’t cry. I love Ginny’s strength, her independence, that she doesn’t need Harry. But it also ok to cry, to ask for help, or the need to talk about your feelings with your partner, which Cho wanted, but Harry was unable to.
  • “Ernie Macmillan had developed an irritating habit of interrogating people about their revision practices. ‘How many hours d’you think you’re doing a day?’ he demanded of Harry and Ron as they queued outside Herbology, a manic gleam in his eyes.” – Don’t we all know people like Ernie, trying to make us feel guilty for our lack in ambition? I surely remember this tense atmosphere shortly before exams, though I could never be bothered to do anything more than I had to.
  • It is mentioned several times how old the Ministry examiners are, which made me wonder if wizards get pension? Or do they just work until they die? What about health care? Other social benefits? How do these things work in the Wizarding World? I need to know.
  • “On the whole, Harry thought it went rather well. His Levitation Charm was certainly much better than Malfoy’s had been, though he wished he had not mixed up the incantations for Colour Change and Growth Charms, so that the rat he was supposed to be turning orange swelled shockingly and was the size of a badger before Harry could rectify his mistake. He was glad Hermione had not been in the Hall at the time and neglected to mention it to her afterwards. He could tell Ron, though; Ron had caused a dinner plate to mutate into a large mushroom and had no idea how it had happened.” – Harry is not, by any standard, the most talented wizard, and I always liked that about him, that he is average, good in certain areas, horrible in others. And it is interesting that Harry feels like he can rely to Ron, who he thinks is not better than him in any way, but he can’t tell it Hermione. We naturally tend towards people that we think are equal to us. And yet Ron would probably think Harry is above him.
  • “‘Such a lovely, sweet-tempered girl,’ said Ron, very quietly, prodding his queen forward to beat up one of Harry’s knights.” – That you are going to marry. Which reminds me of that part where Harry thought Hermione and Ron’s interaction remind him of Mrs. And Mr. Weasley. Like I’m not saying Ron married a girl that reminded him of his mother except that is exactly what I am saying.
  • “With Snape absent from the proceedings, he found that he was much more relaxed than he usually was while making potions. Neville, who was sitting very near Harry, also looked happier than Harry had ever seen him during a Potions class.” – Another proof what a horrible teacher Snape is. Like there will always be subjects you are good at and subjects you aren’t, but the right teacher can make a hell of a difference.
  • “‘Yeah,’ said Ron slowly, savouring the words, ‘we won. Did you see the look on Chang’s face when Ginny got the Snitch right out from under her nose?’ ‘I suppose she cried, did she?’ said Harry bitterly.” – Is Harry the metaphorical Snitch here? Also, I’m super annoyed by Harry’s reaction towards Cho or specifically her crying. Like somewhere in his mind she has become this girl that cries all the time (which she doesn’t, and even if she does she has enough reasons to do so). And I think that at some point later after Harry started dating Ginny one of the things he likes about her is that she hardly ever cries. Like I get that it can be very uncomfortable to be around someone who cries, feeling helpless, and like you don’t know what to do or say to make things better. But mostly it makes Harry look immature, and like he rather spends time with a girl who can control her feelings, so he doesn’t have to deal with it. And I love Ginny as a character a lot, but it presents a false image of strength when we portray Harry’s ideal woman as the one who doesn’t cry. I love Ginny’s strength, her independence, that she doesn’t need Harry. But it also ok to cry, to ask for help, or the need to talk about your feelings with your partner, which Cho wanted, but Harry was unable to.
  • “Ernie Macmillan had developed an irritating habit of interrogating people about their revision practices. ‘How many hours d’you think you’re doing a day?’ he demanded of Harry and Ron as they queued outside Herbology, a manic gleam in his eyes.” – Don’t we all know people like Ernie, trying to make us feel guilty for our lack in ambition? I surely remember this tense atmosphere shortly before exams, though I could never be bothered to do anything more than I had to.
  • It is mentioned several times how old the Ministry examiners are, which made me wonder if wizards get pension? Or do they just work until they die? What about health care? Other social benefits? How do these things work in the Wizarding World? I need to know.
  • “On the whole, Harry thought it went rather well. His Levitation Charm was certainly much better than Malfoy’s had been, though he wished he had not mixed up the incantations for Colour Change and Growth Charms, so that the rat he was supposed to be turning orange swelled shockingly and was the size of a badger before Harry could rectify his mistake. He was glad Hermione had not been in the Hall at the time and neglected to mention it to her afterwards. He could tell Ron, though; Ron had caused a dinner plate to mutate into a large mushroom and had no idea how it had happened.” – Harry is not, by any standard, the most talented wizard, and I always liked that about him, that he is average, good in certain areas, horrible in others. And it is interesting that Harry feels like he can rely to Ron, who he thinks is not better than him in any way, but he can’t tell it Hermione. We naturally tend towards people that we think are equal to us. And yet Ron would probably think Harry is above him.
  • “‘Such a lovely, sweet-tempered girl,’ said Ron, very quietly, prodding his queen forward to beat up one of Harry’s knights.” – That you are going to marry. Which reminds me of that part where Harry thought Hermione and Ron’s interaction remind him of Mrs. And Mr. Weasley. Like I’m not saying Ron married a girl that reminded him of his mother except that is exactly what I am saying.
  • “With Snape absent from the proceedings, he found that he was much more relaxed than he usually was while making potions. Neville, who was sitting very near Harry, also looked happier than Harry had ever seen him during a Potions class.” – Another proof what a horrible teacher Snape is. Like there will always be subjects you are good at and subjects you aren’t, but the right teacher can make a hell of a difference.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 32: Out of the fire

  • “ ‘She was transferred to St Mungo’s this morning. Four Stunning Spells straight to the chest at her age? It’s a wonder they didn’t kill her.’” – So apparently you can kill people with Stunning spells, if there is enough force behind it, and the person perhaps is also in a weakened state. And that is the thing: they attacked McGonagall without warning, without a real reason (she had only tried to protect Hagrid) and they almost killed her. That shows how willing the Ministry is to go, if they consider killing a Hogwarts teacher an acceptable risk.
  • “‘OK,’ she said, looking frightened yet determined, ‘I’ve just got to say this –’ ‘What?’ ‘You … this isn’t a criticism, Harry! But you do … sort of … I mean – don’t you think you’ve got a bit of a – a – saving-people thing?’ she said.” – For one thing Hermione is once again afraid of Harry and his reaction, because he just shouted at her again. Not okay. And obviously there is some truth to her words. Hermione very often functions as the objective observer in the story, who points out the things Harry is unable to see, regarding people like Sirius or Hagrid (that Harry idolizes) or regarding Harry himself. We as an audience love Harry for his bravery and it makes him who he is. Of course Harry’s first instinct is to save Sirius, without even thinking it might be a trap or trying to check if Sirius is actually at the Ministry. At the very least his first instinct was to go to McGonagall, but as always Harry and his friends are utterly alone, without any help from adults. And by now they are used to it. They were alone when they stopped Quirell from getting the Philosopher’s Stone, alone in the Chamber of Secrets, alone battling Dementors, and Harry was alone in the graveyard last year. They are used not to rely on adults by now. But this time they also wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for the Order to save them, and this marks a huge difference, because they are in the middle of a war now. But yeah, Harry doesn’t think reasonable when someone is in danger, his first instinct is always to help, no matter the risk, no matter the odds. Hermione, for all her bravery, is much more rational. She needs to think things through, she needs a plan, and it is her ability to think rational even when in danger that saves Harry’s life more than once.
  • “‘Never you mind,’ said Harry roughly. Ginny raised her eyebrows. ‘There’s no need to take that tone with me,’ she said coolly, ‘I was only wondering whether I could help.’” – Also, Harry definitely benefits from a girlfriend who isn’t afraid to tell him when he acts like an idiot.
  • “In truth, his scar was aching, but not so badly that he thought Voldemort had yet dealt Sirius a fatal blow; it had hurt much worse than this when Voldemort had been punishing Avery …” – Which is obviously a sign. If Voldemort had indeed tortured Sirius Harry would have felt much more pain.
  • “Snape looked round at Harry. His face was inscrutable. Harry could not tell whether he had understood or not, but he did not dare speak more plainly in front of Umbridge. ‘I have no idea,’ said Snape coldly.” – Of course Harry’s bias towards Snape lets him assume Snape doesn’t want to help, despite knowing that Snape can’t speak openly in front of Umbridge. The thought of consulting Snape a second time never crosses his mind again the entire evening.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 33: Fight and Flight

  • So Hermione’s plan was to make enough noise to attract the Centaurs, knowing (or rather hoping) they would not hurt her and Harry because they are still considered children, and that Umbridge of course would say something incredible insulting to focus their anger on her. And obviously that plan works until it horribly backfires once the Centaurs realize Hermione used them to drive away Umbridge. They seriously consider to hurt Harry and Hermione as well, until Grawp saves them. It shows how deep the cut between the humans and the Centaurs is.
  • “‘Smart plan,’ he spat at Hermione, having to release some of his fury. ‘Really smart plan. Where do we go from here?’” – At least she had a plan, unlike you Harry. And considering the circumstances, the plan wasn’t that bad (though perhaps a bit risky).
  • Look, Thestrals are cool and all, but wouldn’t it have been easier to go back to the castle and use Umbridge’s fireplace to get to the Ministry? Surely quicker than flying all the way to London.
  • “Harry’s eyes met Ron’s. He knew Ron was thinking exactly what he was: if he could have chosen any members of the DA, in addition to himself, Ron and Hermione, to join him in the attempt to rescue Sirius, he would not have picked Ginny, Neville or Luna.” – I mean none of them is actually qualified to fight off Death Eaters or Voldemort because you know THEY ARE STILL CHILDREN.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 34: The Department of Mysteries

  • Flying on something you can’t see must be terrifying. Though it is interesting that among their little group exactly half of the people can see the Thestrals: Harry, Neville and Luna. And the fact that they have seen Death creates a special kind of bond between them, and it will later also set them apart from the others once they enter the room with the Veil.
  • Also, remember in book 2, when Harry and Ron travelled with the Flying Ford Angelia to Hogwarts and were spotted by Muggles everywhere? Nobody can tell me no one saw this group flying all the way from Hogwarts to London, especially when they land right in the middle of London. Also, can Muggles who have witnessed someone dying see Thestrals as well? Or are they only visible to Wizards/Witches? And what about Squibs? We know for example that Muggles can’t see Dementors and but Squibs can see them.
  • “Half a dozen badges slid out of the metal chute where returned coins normally appeared. Hermione scooped them up and handed them mutely to Harry over Ginny’s head; he glanced at the topmost one, Harry Potter, Rescue Mission.” – First of all, I need such a badge. Second, apparently everyone can get inside the Ministry, at every hour? Shouldn’t there be some kind of security? Like those children simply walk into the Department of Mysteries like it is nothing (though perhaps the Death Eaters made sure they could, disabling any kind of security spells beforehand).
  • “Harry felt sure there ought to be a security person there, sure their absence was an ominous sign, and his feeling of foreboding increased as they passed through the golden gates to the lifts.” – I mean even Harry notices the lack of any kind of security to be a bit… odd. Like it is way too easy to get inside the Ministry.
  • “‘Let’s go,’ called Hermione from halfway up the stone steps. ‘This isn’t right, Harry, come on, let’s go.’ She sounded scared, much more scared than she had in the room where the brains swam, yet Harry thought the archway had a kind of beauty about it, old though it was. The gently rippling veil intrigued him; he felt a very strong inclination to climb up on the dais and walk through it.” – We can only speculate about the Veil, but I guess that if Harry had indeed walked through it I think he would have died and passed through on the other side. At least that is what I always thought would happen. And there is of course the fact that Harry is drawn to the Veil, that he wants to walk through it. The Veil is a metaphor for Death, so one could interpret this as Harry’s suicidal ideation. I don’t think Harry actually wants to die, however he has been through severe trauma (and is about to experience more) and he acts rather reckless when it comes to his own life, always ready to risk it to save others. Death and loss and grief are constant companions in Harry’s life. He is surrounded by Death and he is drawn to it.
  • Among the group Harry, Luna, Neville and also Ginny seem to be fascinated by the Veil. Only Ron and Hermione are scared of it and get the others back to the circular room. Harry, Luna and Neville of course have witnessed Death, whereas Ginny almost died in her first year at Hogwarts. They have all experienced Death in some way or another, which would explain why they are drawn to the Veil. Both Luna and Harry can hear voices behind it, both have lost parents, someone very close to them, that they long to see (or hear) again. After Sirius’s death Harry feels isolated from the rest of the world, like nobody could possibly understand how he feels. Death sets him apart, as well as the others, and it is seen in how different they react to the Veil.
  • I really really want to know how the whole prophecy thing works. Say some seer makes a real prediction then what? Trewlaney herself didn’t even remember what she said that one time in book 3 when she made another prediction. So is it up to the one hearing the prediction to go the Department of Mysteries and tell them what they heard one so they can make a record? Does a glass sphere appear every time someone makes a prediction? If only the people the prophecy is about can touch it how can you even move them? Are those people, who have prophecies about them, informed? Like do you get a letter once you are off age, that you can visit the Ministry and listen to the prophecy made about you anytime? And then of course there are so many prophecies that are unspecific who they are about, most likely until the moment until they become true and who even relabels them if you can’t touch them? And are there other ways to listen to them without destroying them?

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 35: Beyond the Veil

  • Sooooooooooooooo… only those who the prophecy is about can retrieve it from the Department of Mysteries, but once that it is done others can steal it though? Because that is the plan here: Harry gets the prophecy and the Death Eaters steal it from him. Though one wonders why Voldemort could not steal it himself. I mean apparently there is no kind of security at the Ministry at all (or none that would stop Voldemort). Looks like an awfully complicated plan.
  • “The knot in Harry’s stomach tightened. If Sirius really was not here, he had led his friends to their deaths for no reason at all …” – In the end it is not even Sirius’s death itself but the circumstances that led to it. That Harry had risked the lives of all of his friends, that they all could have died, that if it wasn’t for him Sirius would still be alive. And of course nobody blames him for what has happened, but it is a guilt he will carry with him for the rest of his life.
  • “‘Did you know he’s a half-blood too?’ said Harry recklessly. Hermione gave a little moan in his ear. ‘Voldemort? Yeah, his mother was a witch but his dad was a Muggle – or has he been telling you lot he’s pure-blood?’” – They’ve all met last summer at Tom Riddle Sen.’s grave Harry, you were there. So yeah, they know. But still, Voldemort is a bit of a hypocrite, I’ll give you that.
  • “‘Dumbledore never told you the reason you bear that scar was hidden in the bowels of the Department of Mysteries?’ Malfoy sneered. ‘I – what?’ said Harry. And for a moment he quite forgot his plan.” – I mean back in book 1 it pretty much was one of Harry’s first questions when he met Dumbledore, the reason why Voldemort wanted to kill him. Back then Dumbledore already knew but did not tell Harry because he thought he was too young. And Harry… kinda forgot about it. Even now his main priority is to get everyone out safe and he uses the prophecy as a reinsurance that nobody will hurt him. It is not that he doesn’t want to know, but there are more important things for him. It doesn’t bring back Harry’s parents and no matter the motive a murder is still a murder. Voldemort is all about prophecies and destinies and the right heritage (heir of Slytherin) and to become someone bigger than life. But Harry, the boy who lived, the Chosen One, couldn’t care less.
  • “‘Get it himself?’ shrieked Bellatrix, over a cackle of mad laughter. ‘The Dark Lord, walk into the Ministry of Magic, when they are so sweetly ignoring his return? The Dark Lord, reveal himself to the Aurors, when at the moment they are wasting their time on my dear cousin?’” – So Voldemort is sulky that the Ministry ignores his return, that’s it? Like obviously it plays into his hands that the Ministry does not intervene, but nobody can convince me that Voldemort could have not found a way to get in the Department of Mysteries to get the prophecy himself.
  • Do wizards have a liability insurance? Because Harry and the others surely need one after smashing all those prophecies. Even worse, all those prophecies are now forever lost (unlike the ones who heard them are still alive and can make another record).
  • “The baby-headed Death Eater was screaming and banging into things, toppling grandfather clocks and overturning desks, bawling and confused,[…]” – The image of this Death Eater will never not be funny to me. So is he at the mental level of a baby as well? Or is he simply unable to talk and to perform spells? The whole thing is utterly fascinating to me.
  • “‘– anyway, one of them grabbed Ginny’s foot, I used the Reductor Curse and blew up Pluto in his face, but …’” – Ahhh, 1996, when Pluto was still a planet. Those were the times.
  • It is interesting that among their group only Harry and Neville remain left fighting the Death Eaters in the Veil Room, and are also the only ones who carry the prophecy. Both of them had the potential to become the boy the prophecy refers to, both had lost their parents because of Voldemort. They are connected in so many ways and I wonder if Harry ever told Neville that the prophecy could have been about him as well.
  • “It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall: his body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil hanging from the arch. Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather’s wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind, then fell back into place.” – My first assumption was always that Bellatrix had killed Sirius with the Killing Curse, but there is no mention of it. Whatever curse Bellatrix used, it caused Sirius to fall through the Veil, and it was that what killed him, as the Veil seems to function as a passage to the Afterlife, and once you are there you can’t come back.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 36: The Only One He Ever Feared

  • “But some part of him realised, even as he fought to break free from Lupin, that Sirius had never kept him waiting before … Sirius had risked everything, always, to see Harry, to help him … if Sirius was not reappearing out of that archway when Harry was yelling for him as though his life depended on it, the only possible explanation was that he could not come back … that he really was –“ – This moment is utterly heartbreaking. And it shows how Harry saw Sirius – as the one person who was always there for him, who would always help him, always support him, someone he can trust. I think the only other two people who fit in that role are Ron and Hermione. Because Harry has learned not to rely on the adults in his life. Not even Dumbledore is always there when he needs him. He is used to handle things on his own, but he is still a child, and he still longs for a parent in his life, something he never had, and someone who can give him things that his friends can’t. I still think that the relationship between Harry and Sirius is complicated and at times unhealthy. It didn’t grow natural, the way things do between children and parents. Both had expectations and projected things at the other person. But Harry loved Sirius in the unconditional way a child loves their parents, perhaps even more, because he never had parents in the first place.
  • “‘Harry … I’b really sorry …’ said Neville. His legs were still dancing uncontrollably. ‘Was dad man – was Sirius Black a – a friend of yours?’ Harry nodded.” – On their entire rescue mission neither Neville or Luna were actually informed about Sirius. To them he is technically still a mass murderer on the run, and they simply trust their friends and support them, without asking any questions.
  • “Lupin turned away from the archway as he spoke. It sounded as though every word was causing him pain.” – Reminder that the night Harry’s parents died Lupin lost everything: James and Lily, Peter, who he believed to be dead, and Sirius, who he believed betrayed them and was responsible for the other deaths. And even though the truth comes out, Lupin still loses Sirius again, his oldest and closest friend.
  • “‘Where’s the exit?’ he shouted desperately, as the wall rumbled to a halt again. ‘Where’s the way out?’ The room seemed to have been waiting for him to ask. The door right behind him flew open and the corridor towards the lifts stretched ahead of him, torch-lit and empty. He ran …” – That’s it? They only had to ask which room is the one they were looking for? Or does it only work for the exit? There has to be some sort of system, otherwise all the people who work at the Department of Mysteries get lost the entire time.
  • “‘Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?’ she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. ‘You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain – to enjoy it – righteous anger won’t hurt me for long – I’ll show you how it is done, shall I? I’ll give you a lesson –’” – I love how complex magic works in this universe. There are incantations and wand movements, but we know advanced wizards can work magic without words, sometimes even without a wand. And there is intent. Something as cruel as an Unforgiveable Curse needs the right intent. That is what Moody or rather Barty Crouch Jun. told them, that they all could yell Avada Kedavra at him and nothing would happen, because you really need to want to kill someone. You can only cause pain or kill someone if you truly want it, which in return tells a lot about the person who successfully casts an Unforgiveable Curse. (And in book 7 we have two ‘positive’ characters who cast an Unforgiveable Curse: Harry uses both the Crutio and the Imperius Curse, Molly Weasley uses the Killing Curse, which I think is really fascinating)
  • “‘Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness –’” – There is of course a simply reason why Dumbledore can’t kill Voldemort right here and now: he needs to destroy the Horcruxes first. Voldemort believes Dumbledore is above killing him, though I wonder if he perhaps suspected that Dumbledore knew about his secret and that that is the real reason Dumbledore didn’t try to kill him. And that is of course what Dumbledore means when he says that there are worse things than death, because Voldemort has destroyed his soul beyond repair in order to become immortal, but one could debate if he is even truly alive, truly human, in the state that he is now.
  • “Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide and swallowed the jet of green light whole: he burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled and flightless.” – How handy to have a pet that can shield you from a Killing Curse (without actually dying).
  • “Let the pain stop, thought Harry … let him kill us … end it, Dumbledore … death is nothing compared to this … And I’ll see Sirius again … And as Harry’s heart filled with emotion, the creature’s coils loosened, the pain was gone; Harry was lying face down on the floor, his glasses gone, shivering as though he lay upon ice, not wood …” – Voldemort of course could never understand or even bear the kind of loss and grief Harry is experiencing right now. Perhaps he could not even have done it even when his soul was still intact. But we have again Harry’s suicidal thoughts. He longs for Sirius, longs to be reunited with him. Of course he is experiencing immense pain at this moment – both physical and psychological. But Harry is drawn to Death and surrounded by Death, so unlike Voldemort who fears death like nothing else.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 37: The Lost prophecy

  • The entire conversation between Harry and Dumbledore in this chapter remains one of my favourite in the entire season. Something J.K. Rowling is extremely good at is to write about loss and grief. In a way Harry experiences it for the first time – he was too young when his parents died and Cedric’s death left him in shock, but then again they didn’t really knew it each other. This time it is different. And my reading experience changed, because I have experienced a loss similar like Harry (like Rowling, who had lost her mother shortly before she started writing the Potter series) between the first time I read the book as a teenager and now again as an adult. It might be because Rowling had lost a parent that so much about Harry’s grief resonates with me. It feels real.
  • “It was his fault Sirius had died; it was all his fault. If he, Harry, had not been stupid enough to fall for Voldemort’s trick, if he had not been so convinced that what he had seen in his dream was real, if he had only opened his mind to the possibility that Voldemort was, as Hermione had said, banking on Harry’s love of playing the hero … It was unbearable, he would not think about it, he could not stand it … there was a terrible hollow inside him he did not want to feel or examine, a dark hole where Sirius had been, where Sirius had vanished; he did not want to have to be alone with that great, silent space, he could not stand it –“ – Sirius’s death is not what causes Harry’s depression, but it certainly factors to it. The anxiety, the impossibility to escape your own thoughts, and how he blames himself for Sirius’s death, despite all logic and rational thought saying he can’t be blamed. And it is what makes things even worse – not just losing Sirius, but the circumstances, that Harry fall for Voldemort’s trap, that it was the love they felt for each other that brought both Harry and Sirius to the Department of Mysteries to save the other. That Harry should have known better, that Hermione (who always represent logic and rational thought) even warned him it could be a trap. Harry let his heart decide for him, he did what he felt was right. And whenever we make a mistake because we let our heart decide for us we feel foolish and weak. Dumbledore will tell Harry later that it was his heart that saved him, but to Harry it is his heart that failed him.
  • “The guilt filling the whole of Harry’s chest like some monstrous, weighty parasite, now writhed and squirmed. Harry could not stand this, he could not stand being himself any more … he had never felt more trapped inside his own head and body, never wished so intensely that he could be somebody, anybody, else …” – The thing about Harry is that the moment he entered the Wizarding World, the moment he learned he was famous, he has always been confronted with the image others have of him. The boy who lived, the tragic hero. In the last year he has been portrayed as a liar, mentally unstable, attention seeking. He has never let himself defined by these things, knowing they are not true. Now though he sees himself different: as the one responsible for Sirius’s death. He never claimed to be a hero, but it has never been less true than now. Ironically it is his hero-complex, as Hermione calls it, that brought all of his friends in danger, that did cost Sirius his life (at least from Harry’s perspective). It is unbearable to connect himself with the image of a hero others have painted of him, now that he has made a terrible mistake, that he did not save the day, but is the one who brought everyone in danger in the first place.
  • “‘I know how you’re feeling, Harry,’ said Dumbledore very quietly. ‘No, you don’t,’ said Harry, and his voice was suddenly loud and strong; white-hot anger leapt inside him; Dumbledore knew nothing about his feelings.” – Dumbledore of course has experienced loss and grief himself, but he also knows how it feels to think you are responsible for someone’s else death, as he blames himself for his sister’s death. But Harry does not know this, and he does not ask Dumbledore either, because we always feel like our pain is individual, like nobody could ever know how we really feel. Grief and loss are very personal feelings, because everybody experiences them in a different way, and at times it feels like it creates a barrier between yourself and the rest of the world.
  • “‘Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human –’ ‘THEN – I – DON’T – WANT – TO – BE – HUMAN!’ Harry roared […] ‘I DON’T CARE!’ Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. ‘I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANY MORE –’ He seized the table on which the silver instrument had stood and threw that, too. It broke apart on the floor and the legs rolled in different directions. ‘You do care,’ said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. ‘You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.’” – This always reminds me of a poem by Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” Dumbledore, in his age and wisdom, knows that experiencing pain the way Harry does, is part of being human, or as he even says it is a proof of being human (and therefore would make Voldemort unhuman). We can’t understand pain like this when we right in the middle of it. Harry experiences it for the first time really and he feels like he will never get over it, like nothing will ever be whole again, that this is the final straw. In time he will learn that you can live with the pain, but you never get used to it. And once he understands what Voldemort has done to his soul, he will understand Dumbledore’s words and what a great gift it is to feel that deeply.
  • “Voldemort’s aim in possessing you, as he demonstrated tonight, would not have been my destruction. It would have been yours. He hoped, when he possessed you briefly a short while ago, that I would sacrifice you in the hope of killing him.” – But in the end that is exactly what happens: Dumbledore sacrifices Harry in order to kill Voldemort. And that might have been a part of Dumbledore’s plan as well: that after this night Voldemort was convinced that Dumbledore would never do such a thing, that when Harry sacrificed himself in the end Voldemort never assumed that it was part of Dumbledore’s plan.
  • “‘Kreacher is what he has been made by wizards, Harry,’ said Dumbledore.” – It is interesting that it was Sirius who told Harry that in order to understand someone’s true nature you should look how they treat their inferiors not their equals. Of course Sirius did not hate Kreacher because he is a house elf, but rather because he was a constant reminder of the family/home he hated so much. He could not show Kreacher even the simplest form of respect. And house-elves, bound to their families, always become a product of how their masters treat them. And Dumbledore, unlike Voldemort and many other wizards, never underestimated house-elves. They are individuals, they have feelings, and they have magic of their own. And they are always overlooked, which can make them incredible dangerous.
  • “ ‘Five years ago you arrived at Hogwarts, Harry, safe and whole, as I had planned and intended. Well – not quite whole. You had suffered. I knew you would when I left you on your aunt and uncle’s doorstep. I knew I was condemning you to ten dark and difficult years.’” – I think this is the first time someone actually acknowledges in words the abuse Harry had to endure. That what happened to him was neither right or fair, despite Dumbledore explaining the reason why he had to stay with the Dursleys.
  • “Did I believe that Voldemort was gone for ever? No. I knew not whether it would be ten, twenty or fifty years before he returned, but I was sure he would do so, and I was sure, too, knowing him as I have done, that he would not rest until he killed you.” – Imagine though it would have taken Voldemort 70 years to return, the book series would have been quite different.
  • “‘While you can still call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, whilst you are there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years.’” – First, I still can’t believe that Dumbledore could not be bothered to explain this in person, that all he did was to write a letter. Second, the very complicated relationship Petunia has with her nephew. Harry claims that she does not love him, which might be true. Regardless she loved her sister. She took Harry in because her sister gave her life to protect him, because she knew that if she wouldn’t Harry would die. And yet Harry is a constant reminder of Lily, of Petunia’s loss, of all the complicated feelings she had towards Lily. And interesting enough both Petunia and Snape help to keep Harry alive, they both protect him in their own ways, but out of respect and love towards Lily, because he is her son, nothing more. It is not just her blood that protects Harry, but also the relationships Lily made while she was alive, the people who loved her.
  • “‘I cared about you too much,’ said Dumbledore simply. ‘I cared more for your happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed. In other words, I acted exactly as Voldemort expects we fools who love to act.” – Dumbledore thinks that his flaw, that the mistake that he made, was that he cared too much about Harry, that his happiness became more important than the lives of others. And many criticized Dumbledore for his final plan: that in the end Harry had to give his own life in order to defeat Voldemort. But this is exactly what this is about: that Harry’s life is no more important than the lives of thousands. Some see Dumbledore as cruel and manipulating, and perhaps they are right. But he still cares. He cares so much about Harry and yet he knows what he needs to ask of him, knows what it will take to end Voldemort. And one could ask what is more cruel: to sacrifice one live so thousands can live or to accept the pain of the many in exchange for one man’s happiness?
  • “I had gone there to see an applicant for the post of Divination teacher, though it was against my inclination to allow the subject of Divination to continue at all.” – I mean honestly, it is the most useless subject ever.
  • So, the prophecy. It reveals something that to the readers might be obvious, but this is the first time we actually hear it: that Harry is the only one who has the power to defeat Voldemort. And Harry of course is famous because he survived the Killing Curse, but perhaps he thought that there might not be a special reason why Voldemort wanted to kill him and his parents. After all Voldemort and his followers killed so many. Perhaps Harry thought Voldemort simply wanted to finish what he had started, that this time he wants to kill Harry because of what has happened to him. Maybe deep down Harry had wondered if there might be more about it, what the real reason was that Voldemort had considered a baby as a threat. If he did he probably ignored that thought, because as Dumbledore explains, it is an incredible burden to live with this knowledge.
  • Then of course there is the fact that it could have been Neville as well. There are many speculations what would have happened if Voldemort had chosen Neville instead. I always assumed that Alice Longbottom, just as Lily did, would have sacrificed herself for her son, giving Neville the same kind of protection Harry had. Neville would have still grown up with his grandmother (and through her blood he would be protected as well) though with even more pressure put upon him. But I always loved the fact that it could have been someone else, that in a way there was nothing special about Harry, and that of course the irony is that in choosing Harry Voldemort marked him as an equal and gave him the power to destroy him (though Voldemort of course was not aware of this, as he had not heard the whole prophecy). And Voldemort did not choose the son of two Aurors, the pureblood wizard, but Harry instead, the halfblood, because as Dumbledore explains, he saw himself in Harry.
  • The thing about prophecies is of course whether or not they become true, and in fiction they usually do, especially if people try to avoid their fate. Voldemort did not hear the full prophecy, he did not know that he would be the one to mark his enemy as an equal. The question is, if he had that knowledge and never had tried to kill Harry or Neville, could he have avoided his fate?
  • Also, we don’t know it yet, but of course it was Snape who had overheard the first part of the prophecy, which made me wonder what he was doing there in the first place. Was it a coincidence? Was he there on Voldemort’s order, spying on Dumbledore? And how come he would not know or figure out that the prophecy could refer to Lily’s son, and therefore would put her in danger by telling Voldemort about it?
  • “In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.” – Harry has never been and will never be the most talented wizard, but that did not matter. It does not matter how advanced the magic is that Voldemort works. It is Harry’s ability to love, and the love of his mother, that saves him. And that is something you can’t learn or achieve. If Voldemort has ever been able to love he successfully got rid of this ability. To him love is a weakness, something he never understood and always underestimated. And in Rowling’s work it is essential our ability to love what makes us human. And losing that has made Voldemort dead long before he actually died.
  • “‘So,’ said Harry, dredging up the words from what felt like a deep well of despair inside him, ‘so does that mean that … that one of us has got to kill the other one … in the end?’ ‘Yes,’ said Dumbledore.” – Just moments before Harry told Dumbledore that he doesn’t have powers like Voldemort does, that he can’t kill someone, and yet he has to or he will be killed. In the end however he defeated Voldemort without actually killing him, and I always loved that he didn’t have to become a murderer.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 38: The Second War Begins

  • “According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else, […]”- Like obviously Ron was literary attacked by thoughts/brains, but of course metaphorically thoughts can leave scars behind, so I have always been fond of that little sentence.
  • “She winced slightly and put a hand to her ribs. The curse Dolohov had used on her, though less effective than it would have been had he been able to say the incantation aloud, had nevertheless caused, in Madam Pomfrey’s words, ‘quite enough damage to be going on with’.” – Despite the students learning non-verbal spells in their sixth year it is interesting that this particular curse is more powerful when it is spoken. Perhaps it is particular in the nature of curses that they are more powerful when spoken, as for example I can’t remember a single time an Unforgiveable Curse has been used non-verbal. Perhaps Dolohov’s curse, just as the Unforgiveable Curses, requires intent to cause harm, and therefore needs to be spoken.
  • “‘Well, Flitwick’s got rid of Fred and George’s swamp,’ said Ginny, ‘he did it in about three seconds. But he left a tiny patch under the window and he’s roped it off –’ ‘Why?’ said Hermione, looking startled. ‘Oh, he just says it was a really good bit of magic,’ said Ginny, shrugging.” – A lot of the spells and potions Fred and George used on their Skiving Snackboxes and their fireworks were rather advanced and it shows that despite being academic unsuccessful that the twins are very talented wizards. Intelligence can’t and should not be measured in grades alone.
  • “He was finding it hard to decide whether he wanted to be with people or not; whenever he was in company he wanted to get away and whenever he was alone he wanted company.”- Whenever you are alone you are trapped with your own thoughts, but being in company does not help either, as Harry feels isolated from the rest of the world after what has happened.
  • “‘You think you’re such a big man, Potter,’ said Malfoy, advancing now, Crabbe and Goyle flanking him. ‘You wait. I’ll have you. […]” – I mean he does have Harry, in like every fan fiction out there.
  • “Perhaps the reason he wanted to be alone was because he had felt isolated from everybody since his talk with Dumbledore. An invisible barrier separated him from the rest of the world. He was – he had always been – a marked man. It was just that he had never really understood what that meant … And yet sitting here on the edge of the lake, with the terrible weight of grief dragging at him, with the loss of Sirius so raw and fresh inside, he could not muster any great sense of fear. It was sunny, and the grounds around him were full of laughing people, and even though he felt as distant from them as though he belonged to a different race, it was still very hard to believe as he sat here that his life must include, or end in, murder …” – Harry feels isolated, not only in the knowledge of the prophecy, the knowledge of what he has to do, but also in his grief for Sirius. He has always been different, despite only wanting to be normal, to belong. In many ways this marks the end of Harry’s childhood. He lost the only parent figure he had and he learned about the prophecy, learned that he has to kill or to be killed. His last remaining innocence is gone. He is – in his own words – a marked man, no longer a boy.
  • Harry’s first thought when he finds the two-way-mirror while packing is that he can communicate with Sirius again, though that obviously doesn’t work. The great tragic irony though is that ever since Christmas Harry could have talked to Sirius whenever he wanted and could have also used the mirror to find out if Sirius actually was in the Department of Mysteries. And it makes you wonder why Sirius never mentioned the mirror when Harry talked to Sirius and Lupin after he saw the memory of his father.
  • “‘I was afraid of death,’ said Nick softly. ‘I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn’t to have … well, that is neither here nor there … in fact, I am neither here nor there …’ He gave a small sad chuckle. ‘I know nothing of the secrets of death, Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead. I believe learned wizards study the matter in the Department of Mysteries –’” – I wonder if ghosts can still die then. If one day they can choose to go on or if they forever remain neither here nor there. But with everything we learn about them they are to be pitied: unable to move on they are forever stuck, not part of the dead, not part of the living.
  • “Harry felt almost as though he had lost his godfather all over again in losing the hope that he might be able to see or speak to him once more.” – We actually see a number of ways for people to communicate with the dead. Ghosts, portraits, the Mirror of Erised, the Resurrection Stone, etc. Wizards, as we learn, can leave an imprint of their souls behind. I wonder though if perhaps it makes the process of grieving harder, because it gives you the impression someone is still there, when it is only a shadow of the living person.
  • “Harry nodded curtly, but found that for some reason he did not mind Luna talking about Sirius. He had just remembered that she, too, could see Thestrals.” – Grief and loss are rather personal feelings, and everyone deals with it in a different way, but it also sets you apart from people who never lost anyone. There is a bond between Luna and Harry (and Neville as well) that is quite different from Harry’s friendship with Hermione and Ron. There is silent understanding between them, something that doesn’t need to be put in words, because they all suffered in the same way.
  • “Harry was surprised to find that this information did not hurt at all. Wanting to impress Cho seemed to belong to a past that was no longer quite connected with him; so much of what he had wanted before Sirius’s death felt that way these days … the week that had elapsed since he had last seen Sirius seemed to have lasted much, much longer; it stretched across two universes, the one with Sirius in it, and the one without.” – Whenever you have to deal with a loss as big as Harry’s there is always a world before and one after. And Harry’s boyish crush on Cho belongs to his old self. It doesn’t really matter anymore.
  • “‘You’re well out of it, mate,’ said Ron forcefully. ‘I mean, she’s quite good-looking and all that, but you want someone a bit more cheerful.’” – Can we like not judge a person on a) their looks and b) their mental state? Give the girl a damn break and let her cry as much as she wants.
  • “‘Well, I always thought he was a bit of an idiot,’ he said, prodding his queen forwards towards Harry’s quivering castle. ‘Good for you. Just choose someone – better – next time.’ He cast Harry an oddly furtive look as he said it.” – This always read to me as though Ron wanted Ginny and Harry to date, despite being angry when they did. Then again nobody will ever be good enough for your baby sister, I guess?
  • “Harry nodded. He somehow could not find words to tell them what it meant to him, to see them all ranged there, on his side. Instead, he smiled, raised a hand in farewell, turned around and led the way out of the station towards the sunlit street, with Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley hurrying along in his wake.” – I love how we start this book with Harry feeling isolated and alone, and end it with him surrounded by all those people who love him and have sworn to protect him.