I still have a hard time believing that there are people out there who do not like this book. This book is my everything. This book is me. This book continues with
CHAPTER 26: SEEN AND UNFORESEEN
There’s something about being proactive, about taking a step forward rather than simply reacting to the things happening to you, that is just so liberating. We’re still waiting for the publication of Rita’s article, but the mere fact that Harry finally did something goes a long way toward easing the tension that’s been building over the course of this story. It does not, however, help Harry understand GIRLS. Hermione breaks it down for him at dinner, though, and I love Jo Rowling for slipping in this wonderful bit of advice:
“Well, wouldn’t it have been easier if she’d just asked me whether I liked her better than you?”
“Girls don’t often ask questions like that,” said Hermione.
“Well, they should!” said Harry forcefully
Now wouldn’t this solve, like, 93% of all relationship problems? If instead of fishing around for information, we all just ASKED THE DAMN QUESTION ALREADY? I actually just went through this with a work colleague who wasted DAYS in a back-and-forth with our general counsel’s office trying to figure out if she could release client information. Do you know what solved the “crisis”? I called up the client and asked, “Can we release this information?” The client said, “Yes.” DONE AND DONE.
Oh shit, we’re not supposed to blog about work, are we? MY BAD.
Dinner conversation turns to Quidditch, as it does, and here I have to out myself as one of the Quidditch haters. It’s probably because I’m actually a real-life sports fan (Washington Capitals season ticket holder here!) that I find Quidditch matches so insufferable. Talking about Quidditch matches, however, is another story entirely. And as it turns out, the Quidditch ain’t goin’ so hot. Ron’s got the case of the dropsies, Ginny’s been breaking into the Weasleys’ broom shed since the age of six so she’s actually quite good, and now that they’re off the team, Fred and George are questioning what they’re even doing at Hogwarts still. And Hermione’s Hermione, all lamenting the Quidditch-related enmity between the houses.
“Hermione,” said Harry, shaking his head, “you’re good on feelings and stuff, but you just don’t understand about Quidditch.”
If you care about such things, Gryffindor lost the match. But not by much.
At breakfast next morning I am once again struck by the pure DISASTER owl post must be IRL, as “three, four, five more owls had fluttered down beside [the first owl] and were jockeying for position, treading in the butter, knocking over the salt, and each attempting to give [Harry] their letters first.” I can’t even tell you how crazy this would make me. OWLS, GET YOUR DAMN FEET OUT OF MY BUTTER. Turns out Harry’s story is out at last, and the wizarding world has most definitely taken notice. Umbridge, predictably, flips her shit, gives Harry some more detention, and bans The Quibbler from Hogwarts. Which, HA! But arguably the best result is Harry’s reconciliation with Seamus. GROUP HUG.
Wow, this chapter is long. So, Harry has another dream, but this time he doesn’t just see Voldemort, he is Voldemort. DUN DUN DUN. Hermione wraps up some loose ends from St. Mungo’s and Harry’s hearing in the Department of Mysteries, Harry sucks some more at Occlumency, and I am once again struck by Snape’s myopia. I mean, week after week he reads Harry’s memories, “most of them concerning humiliations Dudley and his gang had inflicted upon him in primary school,” and yet he can muster absolutely no empathy for this kid? What. A. Dick.
Finally, Remedial Potions is interrupted by a whole lot of screaming: Umbridge has just sacked Trelawney. Dumbledore proves that he would have made a wonderful Muggle lawyer and promptly incurs Umbridge’s umbrage by naming Firenze Hogwarts’s new Divination professor. You remember Firenze, don’t you? Well, let’s get reacquainted with him in
CHAPTER 27: THE CENTAUR AND THE SNEAK
Sometimes I really wish I didn’t think things through to their logical conclusion, or back to their origins for that matter (ESPECIALLY Hagrid’s), because this Parvati stuff is SQUICKY.
Divination with Firenze sounds really fucking awesome, doesn’t it? Rowling’s description of the class is so evocative, and it’s details like “When the door was closed and the last student had sat down upon a tree stump beside the wastepaper basket,” that really highlight the magic of… magic. I mean, here I am, in a forest in a classroom in a castle in Scotland, chillin’ with a centaur. Who gives very cryptic warnings to very confused students.
His attempt is not working. He would do better to abandon it.
Harry dutifully gives Hagrid this message, who promptly dismisses it. Which I probably would too, because I hate it when other people try to tell me my business.
D.A. lessons are going swimmingly, sometimes literally, as Dumbledore’s Army has started work on Patronuses! It’s a predictably fun class without the presence of Dementors/Boggarts, that is until Dobby sneaks in, bashing his head against any hard object he can get near. Luckily Harry speaks interpretive dance, and correctly surmises that the jig is up. Umbridge is on the way. The group scatters, but Harry’s the only one caught, and by Malfoy no less. And then shit, as they say, gets real.
Umbridge drags Harry directly to Dumbledore’s office where Cornelius Fudge is waiting with a pair of Aurors (one of whom is Kingsly Shacklebolt, which will be the name of my future interpretive dance troupe), the Worst Weasley, and Professor McGonagall. This whole scene makes my skin crawl. When Umbridge and Fudge get in a room together I want to scream. I feel like this is some sort of trigger for me but I can’t remember ever being acquainted with two such despicable people, but I guess that’s just how well they’re written. Rowling has actually planted false memories in my brain. It’s like she’s a wizard or something.
Turns out Cho’s curly-haired friend is a total snitch. How do we know this? She’s got the word SNEAK written across her face in horrible boils. Even better? Umbridge can’t find a counterjinx to undo Hermione’s spell. Wow, this is also a very long chapter, and I’m not actually going to bother recapping what happens next because it is SO FUCKING AWESOME you should just go back and re-read it again yourself. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
SO FUCKING AWESOME, yes?
Really, I think the portrait of Phineas Nigellus sums up Dumbledore’s escape best: “you cannot deny he’s got style.”