Order of the Phoenix discussion Chapters 13-16
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13: Detention with Dolores
14: Percy and Padfoot
15: The Hogwarts High Inquisitor
16: In the Hog's Head
I'm going to post this and then the next post will be what I have to say!
1. In regards to SPEW, I think that parts of it are great and other parts not. I think that in trying to free the elves against their will, Hermione is doing exactly what she is trying to fight against. If she were to focus on the treatment of elves, so that they weren't beaten (or forced to beat themselves) and mistreated, then that would be a righteous cause. And of course if she were to come across any other elves like Dobby who wanted freedom, than she could work for that.
2. I'm always fascinated by how much Malfoy knows. From what we see of their interaction, is father doesn't seem likely to tell Draco about these things, I think he must spy on his parents a lot.
3. I wish they had had bowtruckles in the movie. I know they're not important to the story, they just sound cool.
4. I get teary everytime someone publicly supports Harry, be it Luna in her weird wishy-washy way or Ernie in his overbearing pomposity.
5. Does anyone else feel that Umbridge's punishment is more horrifying in the book than it was in the movie? I feel physically ill when I read about it but then I'm fine watching the film.
6. Angelina drives me nuts in this chapter!
1. Poor Katie! First the ridiculous bloody nose. Next year the necklace. Poor, poor girl.
2. Who do you all dislike more? Percy or Umbridge?
1. I think one of the worst things about Umbridge being inquisitor is that she is not a teacher. I had a teacher...a math teacher no less...in high school who thought teaching was telling the students to read the book and do homework. This is not teaching. Anyone could do that! The irony of her therefore judging other teachers is not lost on me!
2. I rarely feel bed for Trelawney, but I do here.
3. I vastly prefer this McG/Umbridge meeting to the one in the movie. In this one McG comes out on top.
4. I get teary when Hermione and Ron start hatching their plan to have Harry teach. I wish I had friends who had that much faith in me.
5. I love that it's the name Voldemort that calms Harry, especially since it get the opposite reaction from most people.
1. Okay, I know everyone probably always notices this, but it really bugs me that Dennis Creevy is there, he's a second year!
2. I did the math, a full 10% of the student body of Hogwarts is at the Hog's Head for this meeting!
3. Zacarias Smith is annoying (I know, I'm deep)
4. This is one of my favorite chapters in all 7 books and yet I have nothing of value to say for it. I think in the end, while I love the stories and yes the angst, what I really love are the friendships and interactions, and this chapter is chock full of those.
Again, I apologize for posting so much so early, but it's about to get too busy at work to post. In fact, it just started. I'll check in as I can!
The line about Angelina "channeling Wood's spirit" always gets a chuckle from me.
I get so irritated with Harry for not telling anyone about Dolores' punishment in this chapter. He seems to think that nothing could be done to stop her, but I'm sure that if the majority of Hogwarts parents had known that sort of punishment was going on, there would have been a real outcry. I mean, if I were a parent and there was even the possibility that someone would be punishing my kid that way, look out. But nooooo, Harry has to be all tough and martyred.
In response to Biblio's excellent points on this chapter:
I agree that trying to free house-elves against their will is a bad idea, but Hermione, for all her smarts, is still a young teenager. She just hasn't thought this through.
Good point about Malfoy! I'll bet you're right about him spying. Also, his parents probably talked in front of him pretty freely -- especially with an only child, parents can sometimes get caught up in conversation and forget the kid is there.
I also agree that the punishment seems worse in the book that the movie. I think part of that is that in the book we see Harry's horror at it, as well as his pain.
Post 2, Point 1: I never liked SPEW and was finally glad when something was left out of the movies.
2,2: You are right about the relationship Draco has with his father. I hadn't thought about the spying, but you are probably right there, too.
2,4: Ernie Rocks!
3,2: Umbridge! Percy is just a prat, she is evil!
4,2: I think Harry feels the same way, even after all the death predictions.
5,4: The entire Dumbledore's Army bit is one of my favorite things in the book. I was really hoping Harry would become a professor at Hogwarts someday, and then maybe headmaster.
I love Harry's letter to Sirius -- particularly the line, "She's nearly as nice as your mum."
Again, we have the Big Mystery of the Thestrals -- I think this was overdone. I really think a short scene at the beginning would have been enough, then she could have resolved it with Hagrid's lesson. Throwing it in here just feels like she's harping on it.
The bit with Filch and the dungbombs is peculiar. I mean, obviously Umbridge sent him because she wants to know what's in that letter, right? But why tell him it was dungbombs? I can see her saying something like "Confiscate the letter and bring it to me. Tell him whatever you like -- tell him that you suspect he's ordering dungbombs or something. But get me that letter!" But Filch seems really convinced that it was dungbombs (as shown later, when he's sniffing Harry, looking for evidence) -- why convince him that Harry was ordering dungbombs? If Filch had read the letter, it would obviously not have been an order for dungbombs, and he would have had to give it back.
I'm over-thinking this.
Percy is a prat, but a well-developed prat. I will always like him better than Umbridge -- but not much!
Much discussion of O.W.L. grades here, and I have many problems with it. I must first say, though, that Fred's pun, "There's nothing wrong with a good, healthy P" is much funnier when listening to the audiobook. On the other hand, I thought that "T" standing for "Troll" was a joke on the part of the twins, and a dumb joke at that, until the sixth book when Harry gets his results, and it's listed as an actual grade. I still think it's dumb. I also have a problem with Hermione asking the twins about grades -- wouldn't she know all of this already, from some book? Those lines could have gone to Ron, if we really needed an exposition dump about grades.
I don't think I properly appreciated McGonagall before this book. I want to be like her with I grow up!
In response to Biblio's points: I agree, I agree, I agree (but the scene in the movie rocks because it's so well-played by two really excellent actors), I agree, I agree.
They're learning vanishing spells -- where do vanished things go? I mean, with invisibility spells, the thing is there, you just can't see it -- but with vanishing spells (I'm guessing it's Evanesco that they're learning?) the thing that's vanished goes away completely. Where does it go?
And we get a cameo in this chapter by Aberforth, though of course we don't know it's him at the time. He "looked vaguely familiar to Harry" -- hint, hint! Do you think he told Dumbledore about the meeting?
I love that Ginny can do an Umbridge imitation. That's pure Weasley!
I have to laugh at Ron finding out that Ginny's dating. He gets all big-brotherish and protective.
And, of course, Hermione's cool comment about how Ginny used to like Harry was a big hint/confirmation for people like my father, who had been Harry/Ginny shippers since the second book (he had all of the rest of us convinced, too, but he was the first one in the family who spotted it).
#8 I thought maybe Umbridge doesn't know whether she can really trust Filch or not yet, she has only been there for a week and he is a Squib (we know how she feels about halfbreeds, how do you suppose she feels about Squibs? So she came up with a reason she knew he wouldn't pass up. Once Educational decree whatever is passed she has the "right" to look at mail and no longer needs to worry about.
#10 I think for me its when Harry realizes that's why Ginny talks now. I realized that that was going to be what made all the difference. I've also always wondered where vanished things go, especially after hearing about the "wiggling" mouse tail. How is it wiggling?
To answer my own question in this book, I think I actually dislike Percy more, because Umbridge is evil. It's almost like she can't help it, but Percy knows Harry I was completely unable to forgive him until Fred forgave him, and then....but we'll talk about that horrible moment when we get there.
Oh yes the movie was definately lacking in several areas which makes me worry that the other movies will be just as dissapointing.
I also agree that Harry being quiet about his punishment was totally wrong but I can understand he didn't want to be considered a crybaby tattletale either which at his age is very important. He didn't trust the ministry and in a lot of ways he didn't trust his teachers either.
FD I agree about "..she's nearly as nice as your mum..." I laugh heartily each time I read that part.
and yes Draco is definately the kind of person who "lurks and listens" His own father obviously doesn't like Draco all that much but he tries to work with what he got. and of course Narcissa spoils him terribly.
Aberforth may have told Albus about the meeting but I don't think so since they had Mundungus there (As a witch no less!)
and I totally agree about umbridge not being a teacher, but then neither was Lockhart, Lupin, or Moody
Now lets see the skiving SB were a laugh but very dangerous, don't you think?
Ginny is very much like her twin brothers! and I had Ginny and Harry pegged from book 2
Lupin was a great teacher! He gave the kids informative lessons with hands on experience. The wizarding world doesn't seem to care about teaching certificates so what I'm judging on is whether what they do actually ends with the kids learning, which I think Lupin does. For that matter, they did actually learn things from imposter Mad-Eye too.
ETA IMHO of course! :)
I completely agree, I don't know why DD keeps him around, he seems to offer nothing positive to the school. If only we had some explanation for him like we get later for why Trelawney is still around!
I love the movie version of Umbridge's office, almost exactly how I pictured it. I agree that the torture scenes are worse in the book than the movie. I think that Harry not telling anyone is very common behaviour for abuse victims.
Why does his scar hurt in Umbridge's office? I'm not sure they fully explain that.
I hate SPEW.
JKR often has her characters show loyalty by lying to authority figures. Similar to Hermione in SS/PS, Cho shows she's on Harry's side by lying to Filch.
Percy is a PRAT!!!
I am so sick of the everyone winces at Voldy's name thing. For one thing, it's just stupid and overdone. For another thing, why would muggleborns like Hermione or Dean have that reaction? They never heard of Voldy till they went to school. What would probably happen IRL would be that the kids would throw his name around to show how tough they are, kind of like how kids use swear words.
I also wrote a note about how much Malfoy knows. I don't know how he could know about Padfoot....how does Lucius even know? If Lucius knew because Peter told all the Death Eaters, then why wasn't it common knowledge during PoA?
Harry keeps on arguing with Umbridge....why is he such a dolt?
I love Ron wanting to order a fire whiskey and Hermione having to remind him he's a prefect. and Ron being an obnoxious big brother about Ginny.
Umbridge's movie office is great, it's not exactly what I had in my mind, but it's close!
I think it hurts because Voldemort is happy (the stomach sensation) and is completely unrelated coincidence, I think they'll talk about it later.
True, she does often have people lie, in this case it was a white lie though, didn't hurt anyone, except perhaps Umbridge, and who cares.
I've always wondered myself why Muggleborns should have that reaction to Voldy's name. I almost said something in my notes, but I thought it might have already been discussed, I wasn't sure.
I honestly think Harry can't help myself. I remember having no control over my emotions or when they would show themselves when I was 12 and 13. It's a learned skill and Harry just hasn't learned it yet (hence his horrible attempts at Occlumency).
I think it's important to see Ron behaving this way (which I also love) when he finds out about Ginny dating so that we could reasonably believe that Harry might be afraid that dating her could ruin his relationship with Ron (because I had a hard enough time believing it even with Ron's reaction here). Harry's a moron. (but I love him)
#21 -- Excellent point about Harry's inability to control his emotions, and the tie-in with occlumency. I also think that teenagers see adults who have learned that control, and they think that the adults don't have any emotions. We see that later in this book (but I'm desperately trying not to jump ahead, so I'll make that point when it comes up).
Besides, Harry can't learn anything from Snape. His animosity just gets in the way. Remember how he is able to learn potions from Slughorn?
I also love the whole Ron trying to order whiskey-thing. But, you'd think that, sense the book is set in Britian where there's a lower drinking age and a tolerance for alcohol, and sense the kids regularly drink butterbeer, that fire whiskey wouldn't be too bad. Maybe Jo is saying something about underage drinking here...
I did think it was like rootbeer, and maybe it was something other than alcohol that has that effect on house-elves.
Also, and a Brit will have to back me up on this, but I do believe they differentiate between alcohol and liquor in their drinking ages. Meaning I think you are allowed beer and wine at like 16 or something and have to wait till 18 for liquor. (I'm not positive on the ages...LadyN?)
#32 Yep, near-beer is like that.
He uses Snape to do his dirty work, tries to get Snape to teach Harry about occlumency because DD himself is scared. He knows Snape is the more powerful wizard when it comes to Legilimency/Occlumency. Never mind that Snape instructing Harry is doomed to failure.
DD really comes off as a dolt in this book. The more I think about it, the more it just bugs the hell out of me. Everyone is always going on about how powerful DD is, how accomplished, how Voldy fears him, yadda yadda. In this book, I'm not seeing it at all.
Either way, his head is up his nether regions.
About Dumbledore and Snape: if I recall correctly, in book 7, Dumbledore knew of Snapes dislike for Harry (Snapes memory).
Also we are always given Harry's perspective and he doesn't understand why Dumbledore is keeping his distance and is pretty surly about it. I found I got surly just reading about it.
Okay, that's a bit rambling, but I think I made my point at some point. If not let me know and I'll try it again when I have sleep.
#39 -- I tend to agree with you -- but of course, as we all know, I tend to see both of those characters (DD and Snape) in the best possible light. Like DD, I have a tendency to hope for the best.
#40 -- I do remember DD talking to Snape, in his own mild way, about Snape's treatment of Harry in one of the memories we see in Book 7 (the specific reference was to the amount of detention he was giving Harry in Harry's sixth year). I imagine that a similar conversation took place when DD asked Snape to give Harry occlumency lessons. I also don't think DD knew how unpleasant Snape was, at points. I think DD gave both Snape and Harry more credit than was merited for maturity in that situation. It's DD's most persistent weakness: foolish optimism.
As to the question of Filch, and why he still works there, I think that when DD was headmaster, the amount of unpleasantness Filch could perpetrate was severely curtailed. DD was giving a job to an unhappy old man who didn't fit in either the Muggle world or the Wizarding world. He limited Filch's power, and I think he was amused at Filch and his endless lists of forbidden items. I seem to remember a comment somewhere in the seventh book about Squibs, and the question of whether they should be "mainstreamed" into Muggle culture, or places created for them in the Wizarding community. I think Mrs Figg is an example of the former, Filch is an example of the latter. Only when Umbridge came into power did Filch have the ability to be really unpleasant.
And not even Dumbledore could get rid of Peeves!
Snape has a point about Harry getting away with murder at school. He is cheeky and arrogant, especially to Snape. What Snape does to torment him is mostly snide comments in class (which he levels at all Gryffindors) and a few extra detentions. He really does try to teach him occlumency, but gives up after he himself is exposed.
Let's not forget the many, many times he saves Harry's a$$. Harry would be toast several times over if not for Snape.
edited to fix italics
#45 -- Exactly!
edited to fix parenthesis
I have more I was about to say about Occlumency, I but I'll wait, it won't be too much longer now.
I've found everything you all are saying really interesting, and feel that I want to join in, unfortunately I have a splitting headache and am unable to form coherent sentences. I need a nap.
(Acutally, it's not....why don't they just let him have it for cripes sake.)
I agree about just giving him the stupid prophecy, the only thing I can come up with is that it did distract him from, you know, killing people and stuff for a year.
And you accomplish this easily by TELLING HARRY ALL ABOUT IT. (sorry, this book makes me lapse into CAPSLOCK ANGST.)
I agree that there are so many things in this book that just make me want to throw it across the room. The mirror pops into mind.
This is a case where adults have decided not to burden Harry with the knowledge that he will either be murdered or Voldemort will have to die. Most adults want to shield children from horrible painful things so it is not that odd that they do so. In this they underestimate the importance of honesty and the ability of Harry to cope. So having things withheld from Harry serves a character function and shows him growing up and being able to handle the information. (Much as information was withheld about Sirius in PoA).
As for the prophecy as a plot device there are lots of confusing bits here- like why not go for the prophet?
But I think in the overall series the prophecy is important because it brings in the issue of choice and freewill and how one chooses to face almost certain death.
When Trewlany made her only other real prediction she seemed to think she had some sort of fit come over her, and she denied what she'd said.
#56 -- Dumbledore made a pretty firm point of keeping the prophet safely within Hogwarts grounds, even after Umbridge sacked her. (Getting ahead of myself again -- but this is such a great discussion!)
I don't seem to have as many rants about this book. The government is turning into a stasi state. I figured Dumbledore has his hands busy on a lot of fronts before knowing anything about the horcruxes.
As for keeping Harry in the dark to save him pain....well, jeeze, it's not as if Voldy has not already tried to kill Harry many times over. I don't see it as such a big secret. Harry's not stupid.
I have more ranting to do about the prophecy itself, but that's for later.
I'll liken it to a personal example when i was about 12 I got very sick and the illness I had and still have- people die from (It turns out I have a painful but non-life threatening illness but we didn't know that then). I felt misearable for a year but when we got the actual diagnosis it was real and I saw my parents and the adults around me look scared and that is when I grew up. Because they couldn't protect me anymore and I knew they couldn't help me.
That is what the prophecy does as a plot point for Harry. Yes it really should have come with Cedric's death or earlier but I can see it's literary function even if the execution is problematic on many fronts.
I get what you're saying, and yes, the whole book is about growing up and learning that your elders are flawed and you're basically on your own. But like you, I think this part could have been handled much better.
I agree that's what the prophecy was supposed to do for Harry. I don't think it was as well-realized as JKR intended.