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Jan 06, 2005 11:57

Chapter Sixteen

* What were they going to do if the great black dog came bounding up the street towards them in Hogsmeade, perhaps under the nose of Draco Malfoy?

Um, didn't it already? Hence the ‘dogging’ and WHAT DOES HE KNOOOW?

* To his slight surprise, Hermione found this story highly interesting, much more, indeed, than he did himself.

Also more interesting than me. I might have found it more interesting if there was any kind of resolution - did Malfoy tip off Filch? Was it Umbridge? Did JKR forget?
Either way, it's kind of a retread plot, complete with Hermione's CoS-style reaction:

'He said he was tipped off you were ordering Dungbombs? But who tipped him off?'
'I dunno,' said Harry, shrugging. 'Maybe Malfoy, he'd think it was a laugh.'
'Malfoy?' said Hermione, sceptically. 'Well…yes…maybe…'

Basically reasserting what we already knew - Harry instinctively blames personal enemies, especially Malfoy, for everything negative (not that he ever considers him! Except when he does! Like just now!) Hermione is Ever So Clever and considers other options.

* They walked…past Zonko's Wizarding Joke Shop, where they were not surprised to see Fred, George and Lee Jordan...

You know what I wonder? Why don't Fred and George just get a job there? I mean, in a realistic series, there wouldn't be room for two joke shops within presumed feet of another, and their talent seems to be for inventing - why not apply? It'd cut down overheads, promotional costs... Perhaps Gryffindors just aren't suited at working under or for others?

* All three of them hesitated outside the door. 'Well, come on,' said Hermione, slightly nervously. Harry led the way inside.
It was not at all like the Three Broomsticks, whose large bar gave an impression of gleaming warmth and cleanliness. The Hog's Head bar comprised one small, dingy and very dirty room that smelled strongly of something that might have been goats.

Heh. This just brings home to me how boarding-school, upper-class the kids are.
I presume the barman is Aberforth, what with the familiar face, goat smell and the way he listens when Dumbledore’s name comes up.

* 'And anyway, even if Umbridge does come in here there's nothing she can do to stop us, Harry, because I've double- and triple-checked the school rules...And I've looked up everything I can think of about study groups and homework groups and they're definitely allowed. I just don't think it's a good idea if we parade what we're doing.'
'No,' said Harry drily, 'especially as it's not exactly a homework group you're planning, is it?'

Harry! Keep the pretence up at all times, even to yourself!
And the logic Hermione is using here is not our earth logic.
You knew a “defense” club wouldn’t be allowed, so you check the rules for the nearest approximation that is? That’s like saying you killed someone, but since you knew murder would be punished more harshly, you’d prefer it if you were tried for manslaughter.

* ‘I’ll get them,' said Harry quickly, passing over the silver.
'…I've always wanted to try Firewhisky -'
'You - are - a - prefect,' snarled Hermione.
'Oh,' said Ron, the smile fading from his face. 'Yeah ...'

Heh. Did Ron forget for a moment? I suppose it’s not surprising, given the amount of fuss Harry and Hermione have made over him being prefect at all.

And I love that Hermione’s problem with underage drinking is that it might damage the image of the school and the holy prefect badge; rather than some other mumsy complaint about her ickle boys’ welfare.

I also like that Ron and Seamus (the most normal Gryffindor boys) have this fervent wish to get drunk, rather than anything particularly noble or selfless like Harry and Hermione. That was totally my ambition at 15. And I'm not even being sarcastic!

* …a tall skinny blond boy with an upturned nose whom Harry recognised vaguely as being a member of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team…

I love that Harry has no idea who anyone outside his insular little circle is, and never speaks to any of them, yet somehow their impression of him is incredibly positive. And not even in a 'That's famous Harry Potter. He's rich and talented and a Quidditch star!' but that he's a truly friendly, sweet person, on no evidence whatsoever.
Like in CoS, when Ernie and the Hufflepuffs are discussing who the heir is, and one of them is all 'But he seems so nice!' Huh? I mean, I get how someone would have a lovely opinion of Harry, especially fans, since they're privy to all his innermost thoughts and detailed backstory; but someone he's never spoken to? Nobody thinks 'Wow, this Harry Potter kid strikes me as a bit big for his boots - he's too important to talk to us, he only converses with people in his house or his little clique.'
Zacharias appears to have an incredibly realistic view - he wants to learn DA, he obeys Harry, but not blindly. Which I guess makes him a "wart", who even the supposedly reasonable Hermione dislikes.
Also his hair colour, of all things, is asserted about three times - he’s EVIL I tells ya! ;) He also flushes and gazes at Harry and glares and is supercilious.
He should be marked with a sign that says ‘Red Herring’.

* 'A couple of people?' said Harry hoarsely to Hermione. 'A couple of people?'
'Yes, well, the idea seemed quite popular,' said Hermione happily.

A couple is not 25. I'd be pretty livid with Hermione too, especially since she doesn't want to do the talking herself, it appears.
And one of the twenty-five is Lavender. Aw, she's repented from her former evil!

* …Her friend, who had curly reddish-blonde hair, did not smile, but gave Harry a thoroughly mistrustful look which plainly told him that, given her way, she would not be here at all.

Why is Marietta there, anyway? Cho must be one forceful friend.

* ‘…not the rubbish that Umbridge is doing with us -' (Hermione's voice became suddenly much stronger and more confident) '- because nobody could call that Defence Against the Dark Arts -'

Yeah. What good is theory, as the last few chapters pointed out so eloquently?
As I seem to be pointing out endlessly, JKR's treatment of this issue, as well as many others, seems bizarrely mixed.

For example, Dudley and the Dursleys are firmly criticised by the authorial voice for being anti-intellectual.
His books are the only thing untouched in Dudley's room, he masters computers (ouch! Don't hate on geeks, JKR, they're half your audience!) and watches television constantly but is "stupid" and fails both academically (his poor report in GoF) and to display any kind of practical intelligence (at eleven, he can barely count). His parents actively encourage this, with Petunia believing that the teachers don't "understand" her "sensitive" son, and Vernon taking pleasure, dismissing school success as something for "swotty little nancy boy(s)". In OotP, Vernon describes Dudley's ignorance of politics as "normal", doubting he even knows who the prime minister is; and the narrative fairly drips with contempt for the whole family.

At Hogwarts and in the wizarding world, our superior counterpart, there appears to be a masculine, warrior culture, with emphasis on physical and magical power.
Not wildly different. Might makes right, brawn over brain.
In fact, Harry himself becomes more of a mirror to Dudley - Dudley recieves acclaim for his sports achievements in OotP; achievements he appears to have a natural advantage in, with his inborn strength and weight advantage (Dudley is described as large even from babyhood).
Harry's strongest talents are also inborn - his Defense Against the Dark Arts and Quidditch prowess.
Although he practices regularly, his gifts are natural and result, not through hard work, but inheritance.
(Ironic that his opposite is of course, Draco Malfoy, who's experience and, an audience presumes, practice of both the magical skills and Quidditch are no match for Harry's; and who's wealth, for which the authorial voice criticise him, is from the same source as Harry's, and James before him - inheritance.)
Harry is not an academic high-flier, and for all the author's attempts to contrast him positively with his various enemies, actually appears to have little more interest or inclination for academia than the Dursleys.
In fact, the most prominent example of intelligence and what it has to offer is, of course, Hermione.

Hermione is extremely unpopular her first year, continuing up until GoF when she appears much more conformist, dating an internationally famous sports star and showing herself to be conventionally attractive.
Post GoF, she's much more popular with her classmates, despite still possessing all the characteristics that irritated everyone around her previously.
In the very chapter we're discussing, it's Hermione who invited the soon-to-be DA members, and not only do more than she anticipated arrive, but they're almost all in thrall to her personal charisma (for example, when Ernie is nervous about signing her parchment, Hermione specifically asserts her own personal trustworthiness, mollifying Ernie immediately) with at least three Ravenclaws apparently interested in her and her formidable intellect.
An intellect she herself has dismissed as being unimportant next to Harry's superior qualities; and which she demonstrates with a plea for 'practical' knowledge over 'useless' theory.

Wizarding education appears to bear this out, teaching no arts courses or even basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Even the house system appears divided down the lines of feelers and thinkers, and it doesn't look good for the thinkers.
The betrayer of the DA isn't the obvious suspect Zacharias the Hufflepuff, but Marietta, the Ravenclaw.
To make matters worse, rather than ending the friendship, Cho defends her, questioning rather Harry and Hermione's sure moral highground.
Luna, the most positive, is a Not-Ravenclaw, a pariah, picked on by members of her own house.
Even Ravenclaw's trait, cleverness, the one so quickly dismissed by Hermione, fits in better with the nasty Slytherins, the opposite 'bad' side, whose 'cunning' is merely an inferior, bastardized form of the Ravenclaws' brains.
The Hufflepuffs, with their frightened mob mentality and keeness to find a leader (anyone else find that bit in this chapter where the whole table stares eagerly, fixedly at Harry; just a little bit...creepy? I mean, I can imagine the Ravenclaws were keen to learn new information and spells, but Hufflepuff? What was going through their heads? A hero for us to blindly follow and worship!
If anything, they sound like a bunch of Peter Pettigrew's, and it's interesting that they appear to be the only house who's turned against both Harry (and thus The Gryffindor Way) and Slytherin (their suspicions of Malfoy as the heir in CoS and their attack in Harry's name ((*shudders* Like Umbridge Crucio'ing Harry for Fudge. Or Bellatrix for Voldemort)) on the Slytherin trio.) fit in much better with the Gryffindor desire for leadership over the masses; and indeed, once Harry proves himself to them, they're willing to literally fight for him, no further questions asked.

* 'Zacharias Smith,' said the boy, 'and I think we've got the right to know exactly what makes him say You-Know-Who's back.'
'Look,' said Hermione, intervening swiftly, 'that's really not what this meeting was supposed to be about -'

Heh. You’d almost think Hermione was purposely trying to make Harry look bad, what with her first example of proof being ‘Well, Dumbledore believes it’ and now ‘STOP QUESTIONING PLEASE!’

Also interesting that Ron is singled out by the narrative voice as being rude rather than Zacharias.

* The whole group seemed to have held its breath while Harry spoke. Harry had the impression that even the barman was listening.


* 'If you've come to hear exactly what it looks like when Voldemort murders someone I can't help you,' Harry said.
His temper, always so close to the surface these days, was rising again.
He did not take his eyes from Zacharias Smith's aggressive face, and was determined not to look at Cho.

Aw. Once again, Harry gains strength from selecting an enemy and vowing to embarrass or defeat them however possible. Almost beautiful, in a way.
Also, I thought it was Pettigrew that killed Diggory, not Voldemort. Oh well, I guess it makes for a more attention-grabbing, dramatic story if the Big V had done it.

* 'I don't want to talk about Cedric Diggory, all right? So if that's what you're here for, you might as well clear out.'

I'd be a lot more impressed with this assertion, which seems at least partially intended to convey how much more respectful Harry is of Cedric's memory and Cho's presence; if he didn't constantly keep bringing Diggory, or indeed, any of the dead people he knows, every time he wants to win an argument; or if he hadn't sold the story of how Cedric died to a national newspaper.

* 'So...like I was saying...if you want to learn some defence…’

Defence. In case you got confused and thought they were teaching hexes. If you missed the point Harry and Hermione try to subtly assert, don’t worry. The term ‘defense’ with regards to the DA’s specific planned activities is mentioned at least five times.
Except when Harry slips up again and refers to them practicing ‘jinxes’ in the library. The term is counter-hex, don’t you know?

* 'She's my auntie,' she said. I’m Susan Bones. She told me about your hearing.’

Interesting that Madam Bones, who’s respected and asserted as fair (much like McGonagall) and unbiased by the Order (despite having, ooh would you believe, Order sympathies, since her brother was a member) has a niece who’s especially friendly and admiring to Harry and is one of the most radical members of the DA (iirc, Susan is one of the siz “counter-hexing” the Slytherin trio at the end of this book)…

* 'Blimey, Harry!' said Lee, looking deeply impressed. 'I never knew that!'
'Mum told Ron not to spread it around,' said Fred, grinning at Harry. 'She said you got enough attention as it was.'
'She's not wrong,' mumbled Harry, and a couple of people laughed.

Poor shy, retiring Harry.
As Magpie pointed out, since Harry performed his Patronus on three students, at a packed game, in full view of both faculty and pupils (including Lee the Quidditch announcer) I’m confused as to why everyone has suddenly forgotten. I guess because they didn't have time to compliment him on it at the time. This way, they all get to flatter and embarrass the Humble Harry with all his heroics.
And why would Molly ask Ron not to spread it around? Is Ron in the habit of gossiping about Harry’s various skills? Why this one in particular, as opposed to his nine hundred other amazing abilities? Why does Molly even know?

* Is it me, or is Cho's 'warm' rehash of the Triwizard events just a little bit creepy? She's macking on him and his huge bravery and brains in getting through the maze that lead to her first boyfriend's death?

* Harry's insides were squirming. He was trying to arrange his face so that he did not look too pleased with himself. The fact that Cho had just praised him made it much, much harder for him to say the thing he had sworn to himself he would tell them..

Lots of mentions of how Very Shy And Modest Harry is, really!
He hates attention!
Even Hermione's in on it, with the nerves at public speaking.
Because Harry and Hermione strike me as quiet, background people.
That's why Hermione avoids people looking at her by not carrying out vocal protests about social inequality, and why she would never be comfortable being a Cinderella style belle of the ball, dating a famous champion who everyone would likely stare at all night.
It's also why she never puts up her hand in class, or has a reputation as bossy and a know it all, and why she was horrified at being in a national newspaper and branded a scarlet woman (she sure wouldn't giggle!)
And Harry? Of course he's retiring and introverted and wants a quiet life! That's why he has daydreams of being on a national Quidditch team, and why he gets so horribly nervous before matches where hundreds of people will be watching (heh, even Malfoy, the 'arrogant bully' goes pale. The Gryffindor team and it's star seeker enter to cheers across the hall. Which no doubt they all blushed at.) and why he and Ron immediately failed to discuss entering the Triwizard competition, and why he could never pose for a magazine telling all the stories he doesn't want to talk about, and why him winning the House Cup in first year made him bury his head (nope, that was Hermione, iirc). Um. Go white? No, that was Neville...
Oh, and of course why he worries he'll look too pleased with himself and why he finds it really, really hard to tell the group he had any assistance whatsoever with his heroic deeds.
Yup. I'm convinced. Aren't you?

* 'Look,' he said, and everyone fell silent at once, 'I...I don't want to sound like I'm trying to be modest or anything, but...I had a lot of help with all that stuff...'
'Not with the dragon, you didn't,' said Michael Corner at once. That was a seriously cool bit of flying...'
'Yeah, well -' said Harry, feeling it would be churlish to disagree.

Oh god yes. Someone might get an accurate view of events, rather than a flatteringly heroic one.
And lord forbiud someone try and be "modest or anything".
I also like that when Harry speaks, everyone immediately falls silent. It's a lovely microsm (sp?) of the entire group and it's purpose.

* Zacharias flushed. 'Well, we've all turned up to learn from him and now he's telling us he can't really do any of it,' he said.
'That's not what he said,' snarled Fred.
'Would you like us to clean out your ears for you?' enquired George, pulling a long and lethal-looking metal instrument from inside one of the Zonko's bags.

I love that Fred and George, of all people, suddenly reveal how expertly they can divine intent and meaning in others words.

And See? Zonko’s sells long and lethal looking metal instruments to school pupils! Perfect, responsible employers for the twins!

And a short sharp lesson for people who might want to question Harry about anything. And yet somehow people keep saying ‘OMG Marietta was The Evol!!!111 she should have just reasonably told the Trio she resigned. Like, they probably wouldn’t have threatened or hexed her at all! Even if that’s exactly what happened to the very first person to broach a contrasting viewpoint!’

* 'Or any part of your body, really, we're not fussy where we stick this,' said Fred.
Zacharias folded his arms and said nothing, though perhaps this was because he was too busy keeping an eye on the instrument in Fred's hand.

Ew. Now Fred sounds like a scary rapist. Perhaps he’d fit in in some kind of prison. *crosses fingers and toes*

* 'Well said!' barked Ernie Macmillan, who Harry had been expecting to speak long before this.

In support or just because Ernie's so pompous?

* ‘They don't exist, Neville,' said Hermione tartly.

Ha. I love how everyone treats Neville like the idiot child. Because he is.

* ‘I’m sorry, but where's the proof of that?' snapped Hermione.
'There are plenty of eye-witness accounts. Just because you're so narrowminded you need to have everything shoved under your nose before you -'

Where's Hermione's proof that Voldemort's back? Surely all she has in cold, concrete evidence is what Luna has - eye-witness accounts.
Also I warmed to Luna more here than I would from a dozen empathy sessions with Harry.

* 'Hem, hem,' said Ginny, in such a good imitation of Professor Umbridge that several people looked around in alarm and then laughed.

Cause Ginny is cool.
Look at her, all the talents she has at jinxing and Quidditch and romance and impressions! And not even a sign of them prior to this book!
Breaking up the tension, reminding and uniting the group against a common enemy. Brings a tear to my eye. OF BLOOD! ;)

* 'I can't see Madam Pince being too chuffed with us doing jinxes in the library,' said Harry.
For all that Hermione had said about study and homework groups being allowed, he had the distinct feeling that this one might be considered a lot more rebellious.


* She...produced parchment and a quill, then hesitated, rather as though she was steeling herself to say something. 'I - I think everybody should write their name down, just so we know who was here. But I also think,' she took a deep breath, 'that we all ought to agree not to shout about what we're doing. So if you sign, you're agreeing not to tell Umbridge or anybody else what we're up to.'

See how it goes from a fairly sensible ‘We probably shouldn’t parade or shout about this group’ to ‘You’re agreeing not to tell anybody about this group’ to the never-mentioned ‘Telling someone means surprise disfigurement!’
Is the deep breath and hesitation tiny misgivings of Hermione's near-dead conscience? ;)

* Fred reached out for the parchment and cheerfully wrote his signature, but Harry noticed at once that several people looked less than happy at the prospect of putting their names on the list.

Yes, it’s interesting how all the wary people are members of other houses. The Gryffindors would probably sign in blood if you asked them.

* It was as though they had just signed some kind of contract.

Muhahaha! Watch out for JKR's similes, isn't there one at the beginning of Grimmauld Place about it being "like they'd entered the home of a dead person"? And of course, (paraphrased) "it was as if Winky was being held back by invisible forces" in GoF.

* 'George, Lee and I have got items of a sensitive nature to purchase, we'll be seeing you all later.'

I bet. Actually, that description sounds more like porn, but if I think about that too much, I’ll kill myself.

* '...but he overheard me talking to Ernie and Hannah at the Hufflepuff table and he seemed really interested in coming, so what could I say? But the more people the better really - I mean, Michael Corner and his friends wouldn't have come if he hadn't been going out with Ginny -'

Why the more people the better? Since it's not an army, why should any more people than those specifically interested in DADA attend?
Zacharias appears to have a genuine interest in learning DADA.

* Ron, who had been draining the last few drops from his Butterbeer bottle, gagged and sprayed Butterbeer down his front.
'He's WHAT?' spluttered Ron, outraged, his ears now resembling curls of raw beef.

Poor old Ron. Never a moment of suavity, is there?
Elkins wrote a piece on how Ron doesn't benefit much from 'hurt-comfort', and his descriptions sure aren't flattering.
Interestingly in this book, both Harry and Draco, the pair of this generation to recieve the most sympathy (obviously Harry's the clear winner on this one, but on a meta-level from the audience, which JKR doesn't combat, Draco doesn't do too badly. Certainly his portrayal, however negative morally, is more attractive in descriptive terms than his friends, or arguably even Ron.)
Both) both get a share of embarrassment and unsympathetic portrayal this time around.
Harry goes from the heroically tight-lipped boy who bravely refused to cry or complain and resisted all manner of Unforgiveables and tortures 'straight backed'; to running from Umbridge, whining, screaming, vomiting, bullying and considering using his wounds for a pity-fuck (of sorts).
Draco, while never particularly macho or fearless, managed to escape some pretty fierce beatdowns (hippogryffs and ferrets and twins, oh my!) with a small amount of dignity; this book brings whimpers and moans (and you thought Movie!Draco was wimpy!)
He gets beaten regularly and with ease - even Neville tries. And while George and Harry's success was pretty much guaranteed since they were working in tandem ((something that would no doubt condemn Crabbe and/or Goyle as heartless cowardly bullies ;)) Malfoy gets his ass handed to him albeit while outnumbered, by a bunch of Hufflepuffs.
And a ferret transfiguration was embarrassing? Slugs.

* ‘They met at the Yule Ball and got together at the end of last year,' said Hermione composedly.

Classy! I love the bit on the train where Ginny's all 'Don't criticise yourself, Neville. Anyone would want to know you, even though last year I was "miserable" at the idea of having to associate with you for an evening.'
I guess somewhere between meeting Michael and attempting to slit her wrists at the lameness of her date, she and Neville found time to make an eternal bond of friendship, adding to the general impression of her among the Gryffindors suddenly as Teh Kewliest Girl Ever!11

* '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…
Harry, whose head was still full of Cho's parting wave, did not find this subject quite as interesting as Ron, who was positively quivering with indignation, but it did bring something home to him that until now he had not really registered.

Ron/Ginnycest? ;)
Also a little battering of H/G there, as Harry is bored by the mere subject of Ginny, and unaware of *cough* the massive changes in her personality the way she’s always been all along!
Seriously, though, from a girl who was shy and slightly too intense, Ginny now appears fairly indifferent so romantic relationships as a whole.
As no_remorse pointed out:

"Instead of wanting to meet and spend time with her boyfriend after a three-months separation she rather hangs around with Luna, Harry, Neville and stinksap. Her relationship with said boyfriend is so casual that no one even suspects it, when not told about it. The break-up with him doesn't seem to bother her either, she rather looks for the next candidate in a disinterested manner."

Somewhat far cry from sending syrupy valentines and get well cards. From an interest in Harry was so obvious that even he, the boy so self-centred and uninterested in her, that he forgot her near-death experience which he himself saved her from, noticed, that even Ron noticed...

* 'Ron,' she said severely as she turned and trod on his feet, 'this is exactly why Ginny hasn't told you she's seeing Michael, she knew you'd take it badly...'

This posits again the community of women, the solidarity of women who understand each other and who keep secrets and act to male pride.

* 'Well,' said Hermione, smiling slightly, 'she just couldn't keep her eyes off you, could she?'

Thanks Captain Exposition! For those of us who missed the actual, um, canon.

And Hermione's smile seems to indicate not much H/Hr subtext going on, but since I've never seen that, I guess it's unsurprising!
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