Chapter Thirty

Apr 04, 2005 12:02

Grawp -

This’ll be fun! Who doesn’t like Grawp?

(Am still behind a good five chapters. I’ll post them sooner or later, unless Mirabella/y’all would rather we keep moving in a more linear fashion?)

* The story of Fred and George's flight to freedom was retold so often over the next few days that Harry could tell it would soon become the stuff of Hogwarts legend: within a week, even those who had been eye-witnesses were half-convinced they had seen the twins dive-bomb Umbridge on their brooms and pelt her with Dungbombs before zooming out of the doors.
In the immediate aftermath of their departure there was a great wave of talk about copying them…Inspired by Fred and George's example, a great number of students were now vying for the newly vacant positions of Troublemakers-in-Chief.

So, the inaccurate gossip is okay again, since it’s being nice about the good guys; as is the imitation and idolisation of whoever’s presently saying/said what everybody wants to hear.

* Fred and George…had not left instructions on how to remove the swamp that now filled the corridor…Umbridge and Filch had been observed trying different means of removing it but without success.

One of the things that’s kind of annoying - Fred and George have now completely abandoned their younger siblings to Umbridge (do they know about her detentions?) who now has a grudge against their family in specific.
And have also left the entire school to enjoy their stupid swamp.
But they’ve made their point and inconvenienced their enemy (as well as screwing up their own education, not that that will matter, since theory has no use in the real world, and they’ll show everyone and become rich with their weapons manufacturing joke shop) so who cares?

Umbridge isn’t very good at magic. I think I mentioned previously how the fat characters in HP tend towards being magically inept.
Any thoughts?
(Dudley and Vernon are the overweight Dursleys, and the ones least connected with magic (it's often theorised that Lily’s sister, the coincidentally thin Petunia may be a witch in denial, however).
Crabbe and Goyle are emphasised as much stupider than both their friend Draco, and Harry and Ron ((who are equally gluttonous when it comes to food, interestingly.))
Hagrid and Peter Pettigrew are both viewed as bad at magic - Hagrid had his wand broken, Peter was a 'weak talentless thing'.
Molly can't even perform a simple 'Riddikulus!'
Neville is chubby and inept.
Umbridge is fat and 'stupid'.
Millicent looks like a 'hag' and resorts to physical fighting which is viewed as 'Muggle', presumably because she can't overpower Hermione with magic.)

* Eventually the area was roped off and Filch, gnashing his teeth furiously, was given the task of punting students across it…

Punting as in a boat, not a football; apparently. Which is a shame.

* 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.

God forbid you put the childrens’ education and safety above the thrill of watching someone struggle. Before you knew it, you’d be peacekeeping, or something cowardly like that.

* Filch…removed Harry's Firebolt to the dungeons where, it was rumoured, Umbridge had set an armed security troll to guard it.

I’d say this was obviously another example of the hysterical gossip, but after the stocks, anything’s possible. And it fits in nicely with the wish-fulfillment ‘OMG HARRY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD, any attempts at escaping this horrific prison are foiled by trolls, dragons, knife-wielding assailants! Harry Potter is the top priority of the WW and even his broom must be monitored!’ theme. (Plus it works with ‘Umbridge is an Orwellian dictator!11 Not even inanimate objects are safe from her dastardly regime!’)

* However, her troubles were far from over. Somebody managed to slip a hairy-snouted Niffler into Umbridge's office, which promptly tore the place apart…leapt on Umbridge…and tried to gnaw the rings off her stubby fingers.

I guess that’ll learn Umbridge about wearing jewellery. Or something.

* Dungbombs and Stink Pellets were dropped so frequently in the corridors that it became the new fashion for students to perform Bubble-Head Charms on themselves before leaving lessons…even though it gave them all the peculiar appearance of wearing upside-down goldfish bowls on their heads.

Heh. ‘Art’ imitates fic imitates ‘art’. (I’m actually now curious about any little canon details predicted in fic. I know UL has Dean/Ginny and Crabbe and Goyle as beaters, and lycoris has a fic with a Dumbledore/Voldemort confrontation, complete with Dumbledore referring to him as ‘Tom’.)

* Filch prowled the corridors with a horsewhip ready in his hands, desperate to catch miscreants, but the problem was that there were now so many of them he never knew which way to turn.

I love that the students are apparently completely unruffled by this (they don’t appear to be avoiding Filch and his whip if he can see them every time he turns) - I guess the WW really is a rough and tumble kind of place!

* The Inquisitorial Squad was attempting to help him, but odd things kept happening to its members.

The Slytherins are helping a Squib? I guess they supported Hufflepuff, there’s not much they won’t do.

And tee hee! Things just keep happening! How strange! Next thing you know, they’ll be walking into doorknobs and falling down the stairs.

* Warrington of the Slytherin Quidditch team reported to the hospital wing with a horrible skin complaint that made him look as though he had been coated in cornflakes; Pansy Parkinson, to Hermione’s delight, missed all her lessons the following day as she had sprouted antlers.

Aw. Perhaps the hex on Marietta, too, was inspirational to the rest of the school.

The Slytherins keep ending up with animalistic features. So if you were feeling sorry for them, stop! They’re just like dangerous beasts. And not positively cute ones, either.

* Umbridge only had to enter her classroom for the students assembled there to faint, vomit, develop dangerous fevers or else spout blood from both nostrils. Shrieking with rage and frustration, she attempted to trace the mysterious symptoms to their source, but the students told her stubbornly they were suffering from 'Umbridge-itis'. After putting four successive classes in detention and failing to discover their secret, she was forced to give up and allow the…students to leave her classes in droves.

I guess they’re really showing Umbridge. It’ll be SUCH a burn on her when they all fail their DADA exams. (Especially since they can’t all join the DA. Oh well, at least they’ve avoided being brainwashed by the evil Slinkhard and his commie peacenik crap.)

And that ‘Umbridge-itis’ line? OMG, so witty! This kind of reminds me of when she first came, and they were all irritated by being ‘treated like five year olds’. Um, guys, you’re kinding of acting like that. (You see me defending Umbridge? This is what this book has driven me to! ;)

So, did she make four classes cut themselves, or what? I doubt it somehow, surely at least one of those would be smarter cowardlier than Harry, and tell someone.

* …Peeves…seemed to have taken Fred's parting words deeply to heart. Cackling madly, he…upend(ed) tables, burst out of blackboards, toppl(ed) statues and vases; twice he shut Mrs Norris inside a suit of armour, from which she was rescued, yowling loudly, by the furious caretaker. (He) smashed lanterns and snuffed out candles, juggled burning torches over the heads of screaming students, caused neatly stacked piles of parchment to topple into fires or out of windows; flooded the second floor when he pulled off all the taps in the bathrooms, dropped a bag of tarantulas in the middle of the Great Hall during breakfast and, whenever he fancied a break, spent hours at a time floating along after Umbridge and blowing loud raspberries every time she spoke.

Christ, what a madhouse. I’m surprised none of the teachers stepped in - burning torches and screaming students? Flooding an entire floor?

So, why does Peeves hate Umbridge particularly? I can’t imagine he cares particularly about her harming the students or anything, and he wasn’t present when Filch mentioned his expulsion. I guess he just welcomes an excuse to cause havoc. Or maybe he just really likes the twins. Or Dumbledore.

* None of the staff but Filch seemed to be stirring themselves to help her…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.'

Way to go, McGonagall! That falling on someone will sure teach Umbridge a lesson! It’s all the more trouble for her, after all!
And, y’know…the person it falls on, but with luck, that’ll be one of the Inquisitorial Squad or something, and you can say ‘That was an odd thing to happen!’

* To cap matters, Montague had still not recovered from his sojourn in the toilet; he remained confused and disorientated and his parents were to be observed…striding up the front drive, looking extremely angry.

Presumably because his parents are Slytherins. They’re probably getting over-involved, coming over all Dursley-ish, and complaining about the way the place is run, blaming everyone but their own kid, who really brought it on himself by not joining the Gryffindor cheering section.

* 'Should we say something?' said Hermione in a worried voice, pressing her cheek against the…window so that she could see Mr and Mrs Montague marching inside. 'About what happened to him? In case it helps Madam Pomfrey cure him?'

This strikes me as coming from the same impulse as her 'Why don't we try for some inter-house unity, by which I mean, I'll ask you guys for permission, and if you say no, I'll never mention it again. I know the right thing to do, but I’m not going to stick my neck out doing it, since I must obey my menfolk over my own instincts.’ (Why not just tell Madam Pomfrey anyway? It’s not like the other two would have to know about it. And she risked getting them mad when it was Harry who appeared in danger. I guess it’s not worth doing that unless someone really important is hurt.)

* 'Course not, he'll recover,' said Ron indifferently.
'Anyway, more trouble for Umbridge, isn't it?' said Harry in a satisfied voice.

Gosh. The Trio come off well here, don’t they? Indifference, satisfaction and lipservice.
I’m going to vote Harry as the biggest jerk, since
a) it’s tradition for me!
b) pleasure in suffering is, imho, worse than not caring, or vaguely sort of maybe caring. Oh, and
c) he’s a massive hypocrite. Isn’t this one of the issues that makes Malfoy so objectional? A teacher hurt him so he welcomes any trouble said teacher may get in, whether the trouble harms other people or not?

* ‘That's all very well, but what if Montague's permanently injured?'
'Who cares?' said Ron irritably…

As Magpie pointed out - wow. After you met the Longbottoms and everything? Way to go Ron, you’re catching up with your friends in the Asshole stakes.

* 'Montague shouldn't have tried to take all those points from Gryffindor, should he? If you want to worry about anyone, Hermione, worry about me!'

Yeah! I have a hangnail, and everything! (Actually, here, Ron reminds me of Sirius, a bit. And of course, Harry. Determined to match any poor-me stories.)

* …'It’s a bit dodgy isn't it? They'll need loads of Galleons to afford the rent on a place in Diagon Alley. She'll want to know what they've been up to, to get their hands on that sort of gold' (said Ron.)
…'I've been wondering whether Mundungus has persuaded them to sell stolen goods or something awful.' (said Hermione)

I’m still wondering why Fred and George didn’t just go get a job at Zonko’s.

I also find it interesting that Ron, probably one of the only people other than Lee Jordan who knows the Twins better than Harry, is so quick to doubt their integrity as far as the law goes, and indeed, has been since GoF. (And Hermione, too! She’s never wrong about this kind of thing, you know! ;)

* Harry hesitated, but the moment to confess finally seemed to have come. There was no good to be gained in keeping silent if it meant anyone suspected that Fred and George were criminals.

Hahahaha! No, that would never do. Stupid Harry, what do you think blackmail is, for starters? (Or am I being a maiden aunt about this?)

* 'But this is excellent!' said Ron, looking thrilled. 'It’s all your fault, Harry - Mum can't blame me at all! Can I tell her?'

Pretty insensitive of Ron. I suppose it illustrates his fear of Molly, though. (And perhaps, how he’s been expected to take Percy’s role, both as prefect and as an ‘elder brother’ figure in the family, despite the disparity in age, now that he’s gone - Ron assumes Molly would blame him for Fred and George’s actions and that he will be considered responsible for them.)
And I guess his GoF jealousy has passed as quickly as it arrived.

* 'Yeah, I suppose you'd better,' said Harry dully, "specially if she thinks they're receiving stolen cauldrons or something.'

Weren’t they already receiving illegal substances for their Skiving Snackboxes, anyway?

* 'Yes, I did,' said Harry mutinously. 'And I don't regret it, either. I didn't need the gold and they'll be great at running a joke shop.'
…Harry interrupted her before she had even started. 'It’s no good nagging me, it’s done,' he said firmly. 'Fred and George have got the gold - spent a good bit of it, too, by the sounds of it - and I can't get it back…and I don't want to. So save your breath, Hermione.'

Notice at no point does either of the other two ask Harry if it would kill him to tell them anything once in a while.
Perhaps because, once again, he’s fairly aggressive in making clear what they can and can’t discuss.

* Harry's heart sank. Once they had exhausted the subject of Fred and George's dramatic departure, which admittedly had taken many hours, Ron and Hermione had wanted to hear news of Sirius. As Harry had not confided in them the reason he had wanted to talk to Sirius in the first place…

Shock, horror; Harry not telling his friends something, and barefacedly lying to them. Again. (He’ll be such a good match for Ginny!)

And what on earth did they find so fascinating about the Twins’ departure that they filled many hours? I can discuss it in three words: ‘They’re gone. Yay.’

* '…Ron told me you were muttering in your sleep again last night.'
Harry threw Ron a furious look. Ron had the grace to look ashamed of himself.
'You were only muttering a bit,' he mumbled apologetically. 'Something about "just a bit further".'
'I dreamed I was watching you lot play Quidditch,' Harry lied brutally. 'I was trying to get you to stretch out a bit further to grab the Quaffle.'
Ron's ears went red. Harry felt a kind of vindictive pleasure; he had not, of course, dreamed anything of the sort.

That'll teach Ron to be concerned about his friend!
(Also, I'm really beginning to loathe the 'X had the grace to look ashamed' type lines - doesn't this also happen to Hermione in this chapter? And previously Ron, over Christmas? I'd wait for Harry to have the grace to be ashamed for being such a little shit, but I think I'd be waiting a long time.
Isn't his one apology to a friend this book prompted by dissing Ginny, who, of all people, deserves better treatment, being so Cool?)

* The truth was he was so intensely curious about what was hidden in that room…that he was quite keen for the dreams to continue.

Yeah, well, curiousity’s always been one of Harry’s Big Flaws - he isn’t just a little inquisitive, he can be actively nosy (the Pensieve((s)), Filch’s letter, I’m sure there are more examples?) although he quite often masks it as concern/altruism, apparently even to himself.
I wonder if it will bring him any trouble, or whether the whole Sirius thing will cure him of it.
It’s weird, because he can also be frighteningly self-absorbed, and the reasoning for this is usually given as his upbringing, where ‘not asking questions was the rule for a quiet life’. I guess prying can work as a plot device for only so long, before you need to write a lack of interest again, since some revelations are being saved as surprises for later.

* 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 journeys end.

Harry, listen to the voice of Hermione. It’s. Always. Right!

So…Harry’s ‘good’ thoughts come from Hermione, and his ‘bad’ ones from Voldemort? Who is the real Harry Potter?

* 'You know,' said Ron, whose ears were still flaming red, 'if Montague doesn't recover before Slytherin play Hufflepuff, we might be in with a chance of winning the Cup.'

I’m never clear on the rules of Quidditch, especially concerning absences. I know Harry missed a match while in hospital and the team played without him, and that there aren’t any reserves, so if someone’s injured in-game; they’re out permanently.
But then they rescheduled a match when Malfoy’s arm was injured, and they replaced Harry, Fred and George. I guess it’s probably too late to reschedule again, but why doesn’t Slytherin get a replacement just for this match?

And I would think a win through another team's handicap would be a win without honour (doesn't Cedric have to assert his good-guy credentials by assuring Gryffindor that he doesn't deserve to win, really! The other player got ill!) but Gryffindor doesn't actually appear to have any honour. Which would be okay, if they didn't go around noting the lack of it in everyone else, and how it makes them TEH EVIL!11

* Harry…losing track of what he was agreeing to. Cho Chang had just walked across the courtyard, determinedly not looking at him.

Ha! Go, Cho! Perhaps she’s giving Harry space, since he’s ‘got enough to cope with?’

(And is Harry more interested in a girl than…Quidditch, here? I guess the thrill is gone, since He’s not in the game. That, or we’ve got a good set-up for the ‘Harry loses a game, he has More Important Things on his mind than the shallow other Seeker Cho/Malfoy/Summersby!’ next book sub-plot. ((yeah, I had to look up the last one.))

* Although Slytherin had been narrowly defeated by Hufflepuff in their last match, Gryffindor were not daring to hope for victory, due mainly (though of course nobody said it to him) to Ron's abysmal goal-keeping record.

The Slytherin games are always narrow. (Ravenclaw played Slytherin. Slytherin won, though narrowly. - PoA)
You’d almost think this meant all the houses were fairly evenly matched, or something! (There’s always that mock ‘suspense’ even when our prodigy Harry plays.)

* 'Nothing to lose now, is there?'

Good attitude, Ron!
A shame the plot ends up completely contradicting you.

That's one of the things that's so lame about this books - everytime someone appears close to making a breakthrough, it's like the author steps in and stops them, in order to 'help' them. (It’s like a kid with a rat cage - the rats are so close to work out the lever system or whatever, then the kid pokes in their big fingers and stuffs a huge morsel down their throats, and the whole point of the cage is lost…That was a fairly laborous analogy, wasn’t it? ;)
I mean, like with Hagrid, he has felt guilty about all the danger he puts people in - I remember him being upset about the lesson in PoA and telling Quirrell in PS ('I'll never drink again!') and every time the Trio are there to reassure him that he's in the right. (Which I guess is why I find it hard to sympathise with them here!)
In fact, I’ll admit, I actually thought that Hagrid might not come back as CoMC teacher. What with all the 'Trio suddenly realise, now that they're in danger, for the nth time, that Hagrid might not be such a safe guy to be in charge of a zillion other kids, none of whom have their maturity/brains/bravery/loyalty/blah blah', and G-P being better, and Hagrid himself being willing to go, and it benefitting the Order more, and them having survived his frequent absences ('It’s not the end o' the world, I'll be able ter help Dumbledore once I'm outta here, I can be useful ter the Order. An' you lot'll have Grubbly-Plank, yeh'll - yeh'll get through yer exams fine…’) I thought maybe Dumbledore himself might *gasp* admit to having made a mistake (I'm sure he only risked everyone else for so long with a teacher who's not even qualified because he loves Hagrid so much, he couldn't bear to see him sad!) but nope, at the end, Hagrid's back.

Here, Ron (and by extension perhaps Harry) could have realised that he doesn't have to emulate his brothers/Harry or succeed in athletics/insert standard test of popularity here, in order to be an okay guy, but instead it's like 'Hey, that time Ron doubted the importance of Quidditch? He was wrong! Thank goodness he can learn to live up to the others' standards!' (Also see: Neville. Or Hermione, even.)

Likewise with PS, JKR could have gone for 'Look at those petty Slytherins, they're all happy they won a house cup, but there are more important things like bravery and friendship, blah blah; and the Trio saved the school which is much more of an honour' but instead, all the Gryffindors are encouraged to care more about superficial things (something they were already taking way too seriously, what with that creepy sending to Coventry exercise they already did) specifically the Trio, who now find points a perfectly reasonable issue to provoke an assault.

* …'I think Ron might do better without Fred and George around. They never exactly gave him a lot of confidence.'

I think Hermione’s right. Because she always, always is.
I find it interesting Ron does better with Harry and Hermione around, too, albeit unconsciously.

* Luna Lovegood overtook them with what appeared to be a live eagle perched on top of her head…(She) walked serenely past a group of cackling and pointing Slytherins.

I wonder what their reaction to her first hat was?

Anyway, Luna, ignore them! Stick with the Gryffindors! They only laugh at you behind your back!

* 'Oh, gosh, I forgot!' said Hermione. 'Cho will be playing, won't she?'
Harry, who had not forgotten this, merely grunted.

More of the ‘You and Cho? It’s so unimportant that it slipped my mind she existed!’
(Although, to be fair, Harry’s pretty uninterested in Hermione’s relationships also.)

* …Harry found himself hoping…Ron would not give the Slytherins cause for more rousing choruses of 'Weasley is our King'.

Well, they don’t do it because they have cause, Harry! They do it because they thrive on other’s pain!
(I like how there’s a subtle handing of the responsibility for being picked on onto Ron, there. I won’t call it bullying, because it’s my opinion that you don’t go into sports if you can’t handle heckling/chants, and my heart doesn’t bleed particularly since it’s also my opinion that this tactic is nothing Gryffindor wouldn’t stoop to if they hadn’t thought of it, first, and then we’d be expected to cheer their quick wit or something. However, this ‘X is getting what they deserve’ reasoning is used very frequently in these books - Montague gave the Twins’ cause for assault. So did Malfoy! And Crabbe! And Goyle! - so it’s interesting to see it applied to someone Harry likes.
I recall he also found this kind of thing non-offensive when it was also applied to Hermione (probably pre-friendship, in PS, to be fair, although there’s that bit in PoA about how the Gryffindors hate Snape so much for saying what they say to her all the time.)

* Lee Jordan, who had been very dispirited since Fred and George had left…

Good. I have an unreasonable hatred for Lee, considering he’s such a minor character.

* …Harry felt his stomach perform less of a back flip, more a feeble lurch as Cho walked out…her shiny black hair rippling in the slight breeze. Even the sight of her chatting animatedly to Roger Davies…caused him only a slight twinge of jealousy…He was not sure what he wanted to happen any more, except that he could not stand any more rows.

So…Harry still wants to nail Cho, but less so, since she’s developed a personality? (Although of course, jealousy provokes a reaction still. He doesn’t want her, but damned if anyone else should!)
He also doesn't want her to attack or provoke him anymore, ala Seamus. And she seems to have all these emotions and issues of her own, and when he’s mean to her, she gets angry or hurt! It’s almost as if he’s dating a human being, not someone who meekly realises that Harry is the most important person in the world. She should be grateful for his lessening physical attraction to her at all!
He still ‘can think of a few things he should have said to her’, though, other than that Cho's a selfish hysteric who's burdening him and his brilliant friends by getting upset when hers are hexed.

* …Lee swore very loudly. 'And he's scored.'

How do the other three teams not band together and demand an impartial commentator? Oh, well, I guess Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw like it. It reminds them what to think.

* Predictably, horribly, the Slytherins…began to sing…'And I wish they'd stop singing that stupid song,' said Hermione miserably, 'haven't they gloated enough?'…'Oh, let's get in before we have to meet the Slytherins,' said Hermione.

Ha! Yeah, can’t we knock off the whole house rivalry thing, now that Gryffindor’s losing? It’s just not appropriate any longer! All the good humour have gone out of the competition. Putting someone into hospital over points (which the Quidditch games, naturally, bring in) is A-OK, but this singing is just going too far! You have to know when to stop, after all.

* Apparently, he had squeezed his way all along the row…for the first…years he had just passed had a ruffled, flattened look…
(Harry) and Hermione edged…along their row…causing much grumbling among the students who had to stand up for them. The people in Hagrid's row were not complaining, merely attempting to make themselves as small as possible.

Yet more assertions that people are scared of Hagrid. And not just because they’re prejudiced.
I’ll come back to this, but he does appear to have a real problem realising that everyone isn’t as strong/big as him.

* …'She won't, she's got her whole Inquisitorial Squad sitting with her, didn't you see? She must be expecting trouble at the match.'
'Yeah, well, a bit o' trouble wouldn' hurt,' said Hagrid… 'Give us more time.'

Why at the match particularly? Because of the last Gryffindor one?

Anyway, if Umbridge wants a rumble, Hagrid’s ready! (I don’t get this, since the whole chapter is about how Hagrid is desperate to evade Umbridge’s attention, even if it means not causing her trouble. Is he planning anything here, or what?)

* 'Hey - did someone jus' score?'
'It'll be Ravenclaw,' said Harry heavily.

(And wow, Harry really has no faith in Ron whatsoever, does he? It’s odd, considering that he’s still unwilling to face the reality of who MWPP were, or what Hagrid is like; but yet he’s come quickly to terms with Ron’s various flaws.)

* …‘The (centaurs) used ter…always turned up if I wanted a word. Not any more.' He sighed deeply.

Oh noes! The centaurs are no longer at Hagrid’s disposal! *sobs*

* 'Yeah,' said Hagrid heavily. 'Well, angry doesn' cover it…If I hadn' stepped in, I reckon they'd've kicked Firenze ter death -'
'They attacked him?' said Hermione, sounding shocked.

But he betrayed them! He’s sneaking to humans!

* …'He had half the herd on to him.'

Well, maybe the herd weren’t aware of each other attacking at the same time, which means they weren’t ganging up, OMG!

* 'And you stopped it?' said Harry, amazed and impressed. 'By yourself?'

More emphasis on what’s valued in this culture - Hagrid took on a bunch of centaurs (apparently. He could have eloquently debated with them until they looked stupid and gawped, of course.) How brave!

* …'I'd've thought Firenze mighta remembered tha' before he started sendin' me stupid warnin's!' he added hotly and unexpectedly.

Hagrid has a very Harry like attitude here - a warning is not viewed as being from concern (me, I got the impression that Firenze isn’t trying to admonish Hagrid, he’s trying to help him out, hence that he bothers at all to send this message ((and I don’t recall Harry telling Hagrid, anyway, so where did he hear this?)) but as a punishment.
Hagrid and Harry both go to great lengths to conceal information, even from their closest friends (Hagrid less successfully, naturally) not always from concern for others, but sometimes apparently because they fear being told off ('I wouldn' be tellin' yer this at all if I didn' have ter.')
And of course, the entitlement to gratitude (also seen with Lily) - Firenze is now in debt to Hagrid, of sorts, much as Ron and Hermione are to Harry (unofficially, of course - life debts don’t seem to have any clear rules!) and they won’t hesitate to remind people of this if they feel they’re being criticised, even about unrelated issues.

* ‘…An' the trouble is they've got a lot of influence in the Forest…cleverest creatures in here.'

Influence with who? What’s the power structure here? There doesn’t appear to be anyone above/equal to them who Hagrid defers to, or whom they could influence against him.

* 'Hagrid!' said Harry, fighting his way through thickly knotted brambles, over which Hagrid had stepped with ease, and remembering very vividly what had happened to him on the other occasion he had stepped off the Forest path…

That you were totally macho and TEH KEWLIEST and showed those 'not very brave' kids with your heroic standing still?

* It was a great struggle to keep up with Hagrid, what with branches and thickets of thorn through which Hagrid marched as easily as if they were cobwebs, but which snagged Harry and Hermione's robes, frequently entangling them so severely that they had to stop for minutes at a time to free themselves.

…‘He's always been a bit on the runty side fer a giant - on'y sixteen foot -'
'Oh, yes, tiny!' said Hermione, with a kind of hysterical sarcasm. 'Absolutely minuscule!'

Hagrid gave a great sniff and patted Harry wordlessly on the shoulder with such force Harry was knocked sideways into a tree.

More of ‘Hagrid finds it difficult to understand people not being strong half-giants, and thinks they’re as safe as him around danger.’

* Hermione walked right into him and was knocked over backwards. Harry caught her just before she hit the Forest floor…(and) set her back on her feet.

There’s a bit of ‘Hermione, the damsel in distress for Harry to rescue!’ in this chapter (later, she’s clinging to him, and whimpering; which funnily enough is the kind of thing that would receive great scorn from the authorial voice if it were say, Pansy Parkinson) as well as ‘Harry and Hermione communicate with looks along and move in tandem’. (…Harry and Hermione…turned to each other, their smiles fading. They climbed the steps together. At the front doors both instinctively looked back at the Forbidden Forest.)
It kind of reminds me of PoA, when they were last on a mission for Hagrid and I hope it’s not going anywhere, but rather is just more examples of ‘No matter how much girl power you have, you still need a man to protect you!’ *rolls eyes* I don’t really get that impression - after all, Ginny’s also been rescued by Harry, and at this point, H/Hr seem more like parents to Ron/Hermione as Harry’s campaign manager.

* …(Hagrid) looked nervous and sad…'Well, there's a good chance I'm goin' ter be gettin' the sack any day now,' he said.
Harry and Hermione looked at each other, then back at him. 'But you've lasted this long -' Hermione said tentatively. 'What makes you think -'

Heh. I love that ‘You’ve lasted this long!’ Little backhanded. Not to mention the shared look of what I imagine to be a complete lack of surprise.

* 'Umbridge reckons it was me that put tha' Niffler in her office.'
'And was it?' said Harry, before he could stop himself.

Bwhahaha. Does it matter? Like you wouldn’t defend him anyway. I’m surprised we didn’t get a ‘Good!’

* Harry and Hermione both made noises of protest, but Hagrid overrode them with a wave of one of his enormous hands…His voice trembled and broke. 'Don' worry abou' me,' he said hastily, as Hermione made to pat his arm. He pulled (out) his enormous spotted handkerchief…and mopped his eyes with it.
…'Of course we'll help you,' said Harry at once. 'What do you want us to do?'
'I knew yeh'd say yes,' said Hagrid into his handkerchief, 'but I won'…never…forget…'

God, does Hagrid’s constant crying strike anyone else has being emotional blackmail? That’s completely unfair and unreasonable, of course - Hagrid doesn’t appear to have the intelligence to manipulate (beyond his creepy child-like secrets), but it’s just the ‘Don’t worry about me! I’ll be fine! You guys don’t concern yourself with poor me, who everyone else is out to get. I know you have other less important things on your mind, like your own lives! Just promise me you’ll do this one thing for me! I knew you would, since you guys are so good, and if you hadn’t promised, or broke it afterwards, then my faith would be broken!’
Not to mention, how come Harry can tolerate everyone else crying except Cho?

* …Harry…thought, with a jolt of dread, was sure to be the lair of some enormous animal…He looked…with a small gasp of horror…Harry poked his head out from around the trunk.
…He glanced sideways at Hermione, who was gazing at the mound with her mouth slightly open. She looked utterly terrified.
…Harry and Hermione retreated as far as they could while still keeping the giant within their sights.
…They watched, in great trepidation…
…'Oh my!' Harry heard Hermione squeal, terrified, beside him.
…Hermione clung to Harry behind the tree, shaking and whimpering
…Hermione, her wand now shaking in her hand…sounded as though she wanted to cry…burying her face in her hands.
…'No, not at all,' squeaked Hermione.
…Any sound seemed threatening in the muffled silence. The breaking of a twig echoed loudly and the tiniest rustle of movement, even though it might have been made by an innocent sparrow, caused Harry to peer through the gloom for a culprit.
…(Hagrid) kept looking around nervously…'I jus' hope she doesn' notice us goin'.'

Everyone’s coming off a little cowardly here. Of course, now they’re just being cautious, sensible and cunning in protecting themselves, rather than wimpish, as anyone else would be.

* …'Who is he?…You told us…none of them wanted to come!'

Hermione’s worked out what’s going on already. Of course.

* 'But I had ter bring him, Hermione!…an' show ev'ryone he's harmless!'
'Harmless!' said Hermione shrilly, and Hagrid made frantic hushing noises…'He's been hurting you all this time, hasn't he?…'
'He don' know his own strength!' said Hagrid earnestly. 'An' he's gettin' better, he's not fightin' so much any more -'

See, again, Hagrid (like Hermione) is applying his own feelings to these creatures.
Hermione hates cleaning, so the house elves must also.
Hagrid feels like a parent to Norbert, so Norbert must love him back.
Hagrid doesn’t know his own strength and doesn’t intend to be violent (well, except when he loses his temper, like later on in OotP, or with Dudley, or in GoF when he was strangling Karkaroff) so Grawp (and indeed Norbert, and Buckbeak) must not intend to either.
Jesus, maybe the poor thing is fighting because IT WANTS TO GO HOME, and it’s stopped struggling because it’s giving up hope, like an animal in a zoo.

Not to mention the creepy connotations of Hagrid colluding with the person/creature harming him, much like Harry previously. (I’ll admit he mighta taken a couple o' swings at me when he's bin in a bad mood -’)

* …'Oh, Hagrid, why did you bring him back if he didn't want to come? Wouldn't he have been happier with his own people?'

Why do you give the house elves hats when they don’t want them? Because, Hagrid too, knows what’s best for others, and can think for the savages who don’t know any better.

Although, to be fair to Hermione, this is a tack she’s taken since PS, and I actually agree with her.

* ‘They were all bullyin' him, Hermione, 'cause he's so small!' said Hagrid…'He was bein' kicked aroun' by all o' them - I jus' couldn' leave him -'

Hee. Well, maybe it’s just coincidental that he’s small, and they were actually bullying him for other reasons? (‘We didn’t do it because he was small! We did it because he’s a git! It’s entirely coincidental that we giants tend to only pick on the vulnerable!’) Way to be unsympathetic to the giants, Hagrid. Maybe they bruised their knuckles hitting Grawp?

* 'Hermione, I couldn' leave him,' said Hagrid, tears now trickling down his bruised face into his beard. 'See - he's my brother!'

*cue soap opera music*

(Btw, It warms my heart and redeems my faith in this fandom that there’s Hagrid/Grawp incest fic out there, it really does. ;)

* …'Hagrid, when you say "brother",' said Harry slowly, 'do you mean -?'

Oh, god. Thick!Harry’s back. When a giant and another giant love each other very much….

* 'Did Madame Maxime want to bring him back?' asked Harry.
'She - well, she could see it was right importan' ter me,' said Hagrid, twisting his enormous hands. 'Bu' - bu' she got a bit tired o' him after a while, I must admit…so we split up on the journey home… she promised not ter tell anyone, though…"

Phew. Madame Maxime is way too good for Hagrid.

* 'How on earth did you get him back without anyone noticing?' said Harry.

A few intelligent questions from Harry, now. I guess because Hermione’s in shock, and there’s no-one else available for Exposition Duties.

* 'What do you think you're going to do with a violent giant who doesn't even want to be here!'
'Well, now - "violent" - tha's a bit harsh,' said Hagrid, still twisting his hands agitatedly. ‘…he's gettin' better, loads better, settlin' down well.'
‘What are those ropes for, then?’ Harry asked.
'You have to keep him tied up?' said Hermione faintly.

So, he ‘didn' want ter come’, 'he kep' wantin' ter go back', and he has to be physically restrained to stay. I’m sure Hagrid has Grawp’s best interests at heart.

* Harry understood now why there had been such a suspicious lack of any other living creature in this part of the Forest.

I suppose that this is intended to mean that the other animals fled from all the noise/upheaval Grawp was causing, but my first thought was that he’d eaten them! ('He can get his own food, no problem. Birds an' deer an' stuff…’) I imagine he’s upsetting the ecosystem, either way.

* 'Look after him,' said Hagrid croakily. 'After I'm gone.'

Anyone reading this the first time get their hopes up for a Dead!Hagrid? Me, I spoiled myself, so I was denied that beautiful hope, sadly, but perhaps it can still happen next book (with presumably *sigh* Grawp as Hagrid’s legacy.)

* Unlike Hagrid, who simply looked like an oversized human, Grawp looked strangely misshapen.

See, at first Grawp appears dodgy, doesn’t he? He can’t ‘pass’ as human, he doesn’t speak English, he doesn’t worship wizards like Lone Good Giant Example Hagrid. But that’s just the audiences’ prejudices. He can be saved!
Hagrid can put him in some clothes, give him a bible maybe, ‘t(each) him a few manners’ as well as the language and then show him off (‘I'd be able ter take him outside an' show ev'ryone he's harmless!') Hooray!

* …Hagrid, hopefully. "…I reckon, if he can talk ter people, he'll understand more that we all like 'im really, an' want 'im ter stay.'

Yes. If you don’t agree with him being there, you dislike him personally. And are probably a racist, too!

* 'Yeh'll do it, then?' said Hagrid, who did not seem to have caught what Harry had just said.
'We'll…' said Harry, already bound by his promise. 'We'll try, Hagrid.'
'I knew I could count on yeh, Harry,' Hagrid said, beaming…and dabbing at his face with his handkerchief again.

Aw. See, Hagrid’s all smiles and sunshine again, now he’s got his way! Like a toddler.

Gosh, the WW put a big value on promises, don’t they? There’s literal secret keepers, blood bonds, hexes if you break one…

* 'Wha - no!' said Hermione, jumping up. 'Hagrid, no, don't wake him, really, we don't need -'
But Hagrid…was proceeding towards Grawp…

Hagrid still not listening and doing exactly what he’d be horrified at with anyone else…

* He…lifted a long, broken bough from the ground…then poked Grawp hard in the middle of the back with the end of the bough.
The giant gave a roar…
Hagrid…backing away…ready to poke Grawp again.
'Oh, Hagrid, don't,' moaned Hermione, but Hagrid had already raised the bough again and gave Grawp's knee a sharp poke.
'…Look down, yeh big buffoon, I brought yeh some friends!'

* …the eyes, small by giant standards…

Buh? How do we (or Harry) know what those are? Thanks, Omnipotent Narrator!

* Gazing blearily around, Grawp…seized a bird's nest…and turned it upside-down with a roar of apparent displeasure that there was no bird in it; eggs fell like grenades towards the ground and Hagrid threw his arms over his head to protect himself…looking up apprehensively in case of further falling eggs.

Grawp’s constant bleariness is creepy. He really does come across as not having a lot going on upstairs.

And what was in that nest, a pterodactyl?!

* ‘(This) is Harry, Grawp! Harry Potter! He migh' be comin' ter visit yeh if I have ter go away, understand?'

I don’t think that ‘Harry Potter? Such an honour!’ stuff is going to work here. ;)

* 'An' this is Hermione, see? Her - ' Hagrid hesitated…'Would yeh mind if he called yeh Hermy, Hermione? On'y its a difficult name fer him ter remember.'

Don’t bother with her last name. It’s a Muggle one, after all.

And all this ‘OMG how can someone ever shorten “Hermione” in a fic’ fuss seems odder to me, since this is the second person she’s allowed to call her a nickname.

* ‘ - GRAWPY, NO!'
Grawp's hand had shot out of nowhere towards Hermione; Harry seized her and pulled her backwards behind the tree, so that Grawp's fist scraped the trunk but closed on thin air.
'BAD BOY, GRAWPY!' they heard Hagrid yelling. 'VERY BAD BOY! YEH DON' GRAB - OUCH!'
…Hagrid lying on his back, his hand over his nose…‘…I reckon tha's enough fer one day.’

Oh, be fair, Hagrid. Maybe she was annoying him?

And yet more of the not telling people information they may need to know (Hagrid opened his mouth, apparently thinking hard; there was a few seconds' pause, then he said roughly, "Tha's next lesson.”) and continuing to endanger the children, even when it’s fairly evident that Grawp is harmful.

* 'So, what is it you want Harry and Ron and me to do?' Hermione asked apprehensively…'What - what does that involve, exactly?'
Harry said nothing…
Hermione's face was pale and set.

I kind of thought they might not help him at all, for a second. (I love Ron’s reaction, soon. 'Well, you're just going to have to break your promise, that's all.’) Although I’m relieved to see a little bit of thought this time, at least, rather than total blindness.

* Harry could not think of a single thing to say. What on earth was going to happen when somebody found out that Hagrid had hidden Grawp in the Forbidden Forest?

Hahahaha. Harry’s first reaction is of course, not ‘Oh, shit, Grawp could end up killing someone, so near to the school!’ but ‘Someone’s going to find out and then me/my friends will get in trouble!’

* He pulled an arrow out…and fitted it into the crossbow. Harry and Hermione raised their wands.

If those centaurs want a fight, we’ll give them one!

* Harry recognised the black-bodied and bearded Bane…Bane gave no sign that he had ever seen Harry before.

But…but…Harry’s famous! Even Firenze knows who he is! I don’t like this Bane at all!

* 'Jus' fer stoppin' all of yeh committin' murder?'
'You ought not to have meddled, Hagrid,' said Magorian. 'Our ways are not yours, nor are our laws. Firenze has betrayed and dishonoured us.'
'I dunno how yeh'work that out,' said Hagrid impatiently.

Well, obviously. Because your ways aren’t theirs, dumbarse! Go reform the WW first.

* 'Firenze has entered into servitude to humans,' said a grey centaur with a hard, deeply lined face.

Heh. This sounds like the centaur version of Lupin. (Draco can be the white-blond Firenze, and Ron can be the red-haired Ronan.)

* 'He's doin' Dumbledore a favour is all -'

Why? What is Firenze gaining from this? Does he owe Dumbledore something? Because most people who end up teaching for him are either ‘serv(ants)’ or else people he’s gaining something from, other than their teaching expertise.

* 'Now, yeh listen ter me,' said Hagrid angrily. ‘I’ll have less of the 'our" Forest, if its all the same ter yeh. It’s not up ter yeh who comes an' goes in here -'
'No more is it up to you, Hagrid,' said Magorian smoothly.

Ooh, snap! ;)

Magorian’s smooth? He must be a Slythertaur. (Plus there’s their ‘influence’ in the forest.)

* 'Nevertheless,' said Magorian calmly, 'the slaughter of foals is a terrible crime - we do not touch the innocent.’

I wonder what defines the ‘innocent’? I mean, it can’t just be age, since they’re willing to harm Harry and Hermione later, and they must only be a few months older (and generally in the series, you can be corrupt from a very young age - would teenaged Tom Riddle be considered an ‘innocent’? ((Pre-murder, of course!)) What about Dudley - he’s portrayed as almost innately bad; even as a toddler.) And if it’s deeds, which ones? Do you have to have blood on your hands? In which case, couldn’t adults also be ‘innocent’s?
Or maybe you just have to do something to the centaurs personally?

* ‘Today, Hagrid, you pass. Henceforth, stay away from this place. You forfeited the friendship of the centaurs when you helped the traitor Firenze escape us.'

As tora_chan noted, the centaurs have turned against Hagrid not for endangering everyone (again) with Grawp, but because he’s too nice - 'Hagrid, you're so kind, we can't let you be our friend, since you're peaceful and we're more about bullying and murder.’ Like Dumbledore, Hagrid’s only mistake is loving too much!

* 'I won' be kept outta the Fores' by a bunch o' old mules like yeh!' said Hagrid loudly.
'Hagrid,' said Hermione in a high-pitched and terrified voice, as…Bane and the grey centaur pawed at the ground, 'let's go, please…!'

Yes, Hagrid, stop it! You only call them that when there’s no chance of them overhearing you!

And if you can’t reason with them, the best thing to do is insult their race. Why doesn’t Hagrid like Slytherins, again?

* 'We know what you are keeping in the Forest, Hagrid!' Magorian called after them… 'And our tolerance is waning!'

Aw, a bit of meta-commentary. The audiences’ tolerance is waning towards Hagrid, too!

* Hagrid’s…crossbow was still raised and his eyes were still fixed threateningly upon Magorian…Hagrid turned and gave every appearance of wanting to walk straight back…'Yeh'll tolerate 'im as long as he's here, it’s as much his Forest as yours!' he yelled, as Harry and Hermione both pushed with all their might…in an effort to keep him moving forwards. Still scowling, he looked down; his expression changed to mild surprise at the sight of them both pushing him; he seemed not to have felt it…'Ruddy old mules…eh?'
…Hermione breathlessly…'if the centaurs don't want humans in the Forest, it doesn't really look…'
'Ah, you heard what they said, 'said Hagrid dismissively, 'they wouldn't hurt foals - I mean, kids. Anyway, we can' let ourselves be pushed aroun' by that lot.'

Yes, otherwise you could end up on the path to negotiation. They can't back off! That'd make them look like pussies! They're not scared of anyone! Hagrid'll fight all of the centaurs, right now! Bring it ON!

* Harry saw that she looked much the worse for wear; her hair was full of twigs and leaves, her robes were ripped in several places and there were numerous scratches on her face and arms. He knew he must look little better.

Well. Maybe a little!

I guess this could be considered evidence against the whole centaur/rape possible allusion? Since Hermione hasn’t been, and her hair too, is full of twigs.

* Harry looked at Hermione, who peered back at him from between the fingers over her face. 'Kind of makes you wish we had Norbert back, doesn't it?' he said, and she gave a very shaky laugh.
…(He) had promised that he, Ron and Hermione would continue Hagrid's totally pointless attempts to civilise the giant. How could Hagrid, even with his immense capacity to delude himself that fanged monsters were loveably harmless, fool himself that Grawp would ever be fit to mix with humans?
…Harry and Hermione exchanged miserable looks, Harry uncomfortably aware that he had already promised Hagrid that he would do whatever he asked.
…'Nice try,' Harry murmured to Hermione, who looked crestfallen (and) miserabl(e).
'Good idea,' said Harry. 'Well…see you later, then, Hagrid.'
'I don't believe him,' said Hermione in a very unsteady voice, the moment they were out of earshot…'I really don't believe him.'
'Calm down,' said Harry.
'Calm down!' she said feverishly. 'A giant! A giant in the Forest! And we're supposed to give him English lessons! Always assuming, of course, we can get past the herd of murderous centaurs on the way in and out! I - don't - believe - him!'
…(Hermione) wiping her eyes angrily. '…Why does he have to make life so difficult for himself - for us?'
'I dunno -'

I’m kind of unsympathetic to Harry and Hermione here (I can hear you all gasp in surprise! ;), since they seem to have encouraged Hagrid at every turn to do whatever he wants, no matter who it endangers. (As has Dumbledore, but then he’s not here. ;)
Everytime he’s doubted his actions, they’ve reassured him that he’s correct (‘Hagrid, it wasn’t your fault you told Quirrel how to get the Stone! Don’t worry about fulfilling that empty promise never to drink again!’ ‘Hagrid, you’re a fantastic teacher, and you had no responsibility whatsoever in the whole hippogryff thing. Let us help you defend it!’ ‘Hagrid, you have to come back to teach! No-one cares that you’re half-giant and more importantly, that your stupid animals are once again injuring people!’ Did they even mention the whole Aragog thing to him?) so I can’t feel too bad that they’re having to deal with him now.
And even now, do they question Hagrid or just point blank refuse? No, Harry’s all ‘Good idea, bye Hagrid!’ and they wait until he’s gone.

* 'Oh, come off it, Harry!' said Hermione angrily, stopping dead in her tracks so that the people behind had to swerve to avoid her. 'Of course he's going to be chucked out and, to be perfectly honest, after what we've just seen, who can blame Umbridge?'
There was a pause in which Harry glared at her, and her eyes filled slowly with tears. 'You didn't mean that,' said Harry quietly.

Wow. Harry’s really teaching his ungrateful friends the error of them disagreeing with him. Not to mention, shouldn’t he be warning Hermione not to cry? He has enough to cope with!
It’s a shame Hermione immediately back downs (IC, though) because I was beginning to like her.

* 'Weasley can save anything, He never leaves a single ring, That's why Gryffindors all sing: Weasley is our King.'

Hee. This is so something that would happen in a Sweet Valley Twins book. It reminds me of the ‘Best Friend’s Game’, in which the Unicorns compete on a TV show versus their arch rivals, The Crazy Eights. Whichever team loses will have to sing "Puff the Magic Dragon" in front of the school. The Unicorns lose, but in the process of doing so, learn some valuable lessons about friendship and individuality; and teach the Eights a lesson by turning “Puff” into a cool rap song, with dance movements, which the entire middle school applauds! (Yes, I looked some of that up on Amazon, you’ll be relieved to hear. ;)

So, when did the Gryffindors plan to change the entire song in the unlikely event of Ron being solely responsible for the team’s victory? Why didn’t they tell Harry or Hermione or the team?

* …Ron, waving the silver Quidditch cup in the air and looking quite beside himself. 'WE DID IT! WE WON!'

OMG?! Gryffindor WON?! This is so unexpected! So…a show of hands? Did anyone find the Quidditch particularly suspenseful in this book? Or any? Any small amount of excitement over who would win, ever? How about the House Cup? Anyone? *crickets*
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