Chapter Twenty-Seven

Mar 17, 2005 16:59

The Centaur and the Sneak

Ugh. I hate this chapter, and stupid Word not saving my first attempt makes me hate it more. *unfairly blames for computer problem*

* ‘I’ll bet you wish you hadn't given up Divination now, don't you, Hermione?' asked Parvati, smirking.
It was breakfast, two days after the sacking of Professor Trelawney, and Parvati was curling her eyelashes around her wand and examining the effect in the back of her spoon.

Stupid Parvati. Interested in boys and looks. Look how insensitive she is. What a vain slut. Notice Hermione points out how quickly she and Lavendar are over losing their favourite teacher, now there's a sexy new man/horse on the scene. Because girls who are even slightly interested in their appearance/the opposite sex are evil harpies (like Veela!) with no souls.
(Of course, girls who are naturally ugly, like Millicent Bulstrode, are also repulsive, since their faces reflect their personalities or something.)

* 'Not really' said Hermione indifferently...'I've never really liked horses.'
'He's not a horse, he's a centaur!' said Lavender, sounding shocked.
'A gorgeous centaur…' sighed Parvati.
'Either way, he's still got four legs,' said Hermione coolly.

Excuse me? This from Little Miss Equality? Morgan_d covers this much more eloquently than I can, so I refer you to her, but…WTF?
It’s hard to work out what she’s saying here - that she personally wouldn’t find a centaur sexually attractive, which is understandable: taste is subjective; or that Parvati and Lavendar shouldn’t since ‘he’s got four legs’. I’m leaning towards the latter, mainly because she says it in response to Parvati saying how ‘gorgeous’ he is. Which is quite a different thing - that it’s alright to campaign for the rights of magical creatures, but ladies, don’t slum it and consider dating one.
She just appears keen to differentiate him from a human teacher.
I also note she's careful not to say such a thing to Firenze, or any other centaur's faces, however, and actively prevents Hagrid from insulting them. So it's okay to call people names that insult them, as long as you do it quietly! See, this is where Draco's been going wrong all these years...

(In response to Magpie:) I find Parvati and Lavender’s response to a different species refreshing after the constant swings between EVIL RACISTS and TEDIOUSLY POLITICALLY CORRECT WARRIORS.

Yes, one of the problems with Hermione and the gang’s earnest preoccupation with Equal Rights is that they’re making blood the only important thing about people/creatures. Hagrid get special standards from Hermione and so isn’t judged on his merits as a teacher (unlike Trelawney, who is after all, just another woman Hermione has a hate-on for) but because of his ‘race’ which is just as patronising as punishing him for the same issue. Likewise, Lavendar and Parvati immediately treat Firenze as a person whereas it’s Hermione who points out that you shouldn’t fancy a person who’s not a human.

(In response to Magpie:) Parvati doesn’t seem to resent the more competent teacher the way Harry resents Hagrid’s replacement. I guess that’s because she’s shallow.

Yes, Harry’s willingness to see the entire class’ education and health risked in order to keep his BFF Hagrid around is actually loyalty. And very laudable it is, too.
Parvati, of course, has none, since she’s willing to still visit Trelawney and respect her while accepting a new teacher. Bitch.

* 'How is she?' asked Harry.

Huh. I presume Harry’s asking because Ron and Hermione are even less likely to, and JKR needs to lead in the conversation, but I find this line a little OOC. Call me a nitpicker, but it just doesn’t ring true.

* 'Not very good, poor thing,' said Lavender sympathetically. 'She was crying and saying she'd rather leave the castle forever than stay here where Umbridge is, and I don't blame her, Umbridge was horrible to her, wasn't she?'

Eh. Not by Umbridge’s standards. Of course, if anyone in the WW had the slightest bit of professionalism, they wouldn’t get in the state where Umbridge could make them look bad, since all she had to do was stand there and smirk while Trelawney embarrassed herself.
It’s just kind of pathetic how the students all seem to worship, loathe or pity their teachers, who all behave like children; so the Trio ends up taking on a parental role towards Hagrid, and likewise Lavender and Parvati towards Trelawney.

* 'I've got a feeling Umbridge has only just started being horrible,' said Hermione darkly.
'Impossible,' said Ron. 'She can't get any worse than she's been already.'

It is Hermione who recognises (despite Ron’s disbelief) that Umbridge has only started being horrible - as a fellow woman, she knows the depths to which a woman may sink.

* 'You mark my words, she's going to want revenge on Dumbledore for appointing a new teacher without consulting her,' said Hermione...'Especially another part-human. You saw the look on her face when she saw Firenze.'

Oh, consider them marked, Foreshadowing from the Author Hermione.
At least Umbridge doesn’t expect part-humans to do her dirty work for her, ala our wise friends Albus and Ms. Granger.

* 'Harry Potter,' he said, holding out a hand when Harry entered.
'Er - hi,' said Harry, shaking hands with the centaur, who surveyed him unblinkingly through those astonishingly blue eyes but did not smile. 'Er - good to see you.'
'And you...It was foretold that we would meet again.'
As he turned to join the rest of the class on the ground, he saw they were all looking at him in awe, apparently deeply impressed that he was on speaking terms with Firenze, whom they seemed to find intimidating.

So Firenze has immediately shown that he appreciates Harry’s position as Most Important Student Ever. I shall take this as a sign we’re to trust him. Because a teacher who doesn't immediately demonstrate Harry's rank is a teacher not worth their paycheque.

* 'Please - er - sir -' said Parvati breathlessly, raising her hand, '- why not? We've been in there with Hagrid, we're not frightened!'
'It is not a question of your bravery,' said Firenze, 'but of my position. I cannot return to the Forest. My herd has banished me.'

Oh, it’s always a question of bravery. (And WTF, Parvati? You were all totally frightened!)
God, what do Gryffindors do when there’s no battles in which they can prove how macho they are? Get into bar fights at people who look at them wrong? Play chicken with lorries?
I told you I wasn’t a cowar - SMACK.
Or end up like the guy in Back to the Future, who can’t even get his TV repaired because he loses his temper so often when people called him ‘chicken’.
Interestingly, Firenze takes the more Slytherin-esque approach of group-thought and propriety, and appears to have left rather than cause a ‘battle’, perhaps like Salazaar. (He doesn’t appear to have fought back at whomever caused the hoof mark on his chest, for example.)

* 'Herd?' said Lavender in a confused voice, and Harry knew she was thinking of cows.

How? How does Harry know this? I mean, I said I was going to try to stop nitpicking (not least because my recaps always end up fifty pages over what they should) and I guess it’s a reasonable extrapolation: herds = cows; but I really wish JKR would stop with the constant ‘Harry knew something he would have no possible way of guessing, merely by looking at someone’s face or hearing their voice.’ (And she uses this technique with almost all of her characters, come to think of it.)
It especially doesn’t mesh well with Harry’s confusion over Cho.

* 'Did Hagrid breed you, like the Thestrals?' asked Dean eagerly. Firenze turned his head very slowly to face Dean, who seemed to realise at once that he had said something very offensive. 'I didn't - I meant - sorry' he finished in a hushed voice.
'Centaurs are not the servants or playthings of humans,' said Firenze quietly.

I don’t think that’s a particularly insulting question. I don’t see why being bred makes you a servant to the breeder: look at Aragog or the Thestrals. None of them appear any more subservient to Hagrid than Firenze himself is.

* 'I have agreed to work for Professor Dumbledore,' said Firenze. 'They see this as a betrayal of our kind.'
Harry remembered how Bane had shouted at Firenze for allowing Harry to ride to safety on his back; he had called him a 'common mule'. He wondered whether it had been Bane who had kicked Firenze in the chest.

I can kind of see why the other centaurs are pissed off. While teachers in general aren’t slaves, and it’s not a job to look down on or be ashamed of; it’s fairly apparent that working at Hogwarts is being one of Dumbledore’s minions. Adding to that Firenze’s deference towards Harry since PS…

So, in the grand tradition (Dobby, Krum) Firenze is the ‘freak’ on the ‘good’ side, who for some reason, has views completely opposing those of his communities’, for no apparent reason. I sure hope we get one of those from Slytherin! Not.

* 'Professor Trelawney did astrology with us!' said Parvati excitedly, raising her hand… 'Mars causes accidents and burns and things like that, and when it makes an angle to Saturn, like now - that means people need to be extra careful when handling hot things -'
‘That,' said Firenze calmly, 'is human nonsense.' Parvati's hand fell limply to her side. ‘Trivial hurts, tiny human accidents. These are of no more significance than the scurryings of ants to the wide universe, and are unaffected by planetary movements.'

Yes, Divination is only useful when predicting events of great importance, like Harry’s coming into the room.
Petty events in the lives of less important people, like Parvati and Lavendar, have no meaning in the grand scheme of things.
I felt kind of bad for Parvati and Lavendar. They seem to have a genuine interest in the subject, and Firenze's immediate response seemed to be 'Everyone here knows Harry, right? There's a war coming. Involving Harry. All else is unimportant and superficial. Like my students! And this subject! Tra la.' *gallops off*
I’m not surprised people looked ‘offended’. Not to mention, centaurs appear to have a massive superiority complex:

'Here is written, for those who can see, the fortune of our races…Centaurs have unravelled the mysteries of these movements over centuries…But she wastes her time…on the self-flattering nonsense humans call fortune-telling. I, however, am here to explain the wisdom of centaurs, which is impersonal and impartial.'

* 'Professor Trelawney -' began Parvati, in a hurt and indignant voice.
'- is a human,' said Firenze simply. 'And is therefore blinkered and fettered by the limitations of your kind.'

Thank goodness there are apparently no Slytherins in this class. I don’t want to imagine how well they’d take to this class.

(In response to Magpie:) Parvati is offended by Firenze, but appears to listen nevertheless, which I doubt Hermione would do.

Look how well she reacted to Divinations previously - I’m not the bestest?! "I give up! I'm leaving!" *throws toys out of pram*
And of course, Harry and Ron also never pay attention to teachers they dislike personally, even if it might be useful. Which I guess is yet another reason why ‘OMG the Slytherins totally disrespect and ignore Hagrid! How evil!’ is so stupid.

* Firenze pointed to the red star directly above Harry. 'In the past decade, the indications have been that wizardkind is living through nothing more than a brief calm between two wars. Mars, bringer of battle, shines brightly above us, suggesting that the fight must soon break out again.'

OMG!11 There’s going to be a war again? And it involves Harry?! Thank goodness you got here, Firenze, because that information is totally groundbreaking and shocking! I can see why a lesson had to be devoted to it.

* 'He's not very definite on anything, is he?' said Ron...'I mean, I could do with a few more details about this war we're about to have, couldn't you?'

Poor old Gryffs. They’re not really meant for lessons about how not everything is black and white.
And of COURSE Harry could do with more details about the war. He’s the star of it! OMG, Ron, how can you be so insensitive?!

* '...It would be unwise for me to go too near the Forest now - Hagrid has troubles enough, without a centaurs' battle.'

Hee. I do like that Firenze isn’t avoiding the forest because he’s scared of being beaten down by every other centaur in the herd or anything. Of course. He’s a good guy, and they know no fear. Cause Firenze would kill all the centaurs, and they’d sue him, and it would be a big mess and he doesn't care enough to bother!

* Firenze surveyed Harry impassively. 'Hagrid has...long since earned my respect for the care he shows all living creatures.

Except people. But we’re just trivial, I guess.
Of course, if Hagrid had shown real care towards Buckbeak rather than self-indulgent sentiment (Ooh, I can recreate my childhood over and over again with creatures that are deemed dangerous but in my opinion are fluffy and lovely, like me. Watch me christian myself 'Mummy' and heal the tragic wound my mother leaving me left. Buy a porsche or else get some therapy, Hagrid, like the rest of the world.) he might have trained it, or just frigging kept it as a personal pet, since it was his failing to do this that indirectly lead to the creature's sentencing.
Likewise, bringing up creatures in habitats which are clearly unsuitable for them and where they have no access to other animals doesn't exactly strike me as having their best interests at heart.

* I shall not betray his secret. But he must be brought to his senses. The attempt is not working. Tell him, Harry Potter.'

Are we supposed to agree with Firenze here, or not? Because he’s a centaur, wise and psychic like Dumbledore, but then again, the attempt (if he’s referring to Hagrid keeping Grawp) does succeed, technically.
It’s interesting that Firenze is one of the only adults who strikes a balance between ‘Harry must know everything in the world, now, even things that have nothing to do with him!’ and ‘Nobody tell Harry that *get this*…Voldemort’s after him!’
He answers his class’ questions, even about his own personal business; but knows when to respect confidences. (Which is more than Hagrid himself does.)

* The happiness Harry had felt in the aftermath of The Quibbler interview had long since evaporated. As a dull March blurred into a squally April, his life seemed to have become one long series of worries and problems again.

(In response to Magpie:) So if you’ve stopped feeling sorry for him for even a second you’d better start again right now. Jerks.

*is sorry and prostrates self on the altar of Harry’s ever so important and respectworthy angst*
I don’t get how he could be happy in the first place about the Quibbler, anyway, since he had such Huge Problems hanging over his head the whole time (mean teachers! Favourite teachers! Not being on the school athletics team! While everyone else is concerned with self-obsessed ‘rubbish’.) And if he could be, why isn’t he now? Everyone still believes him, don’t they? Maybe they’ve taken down the posters of him in the common room, and stopped giving him extra points.
But then, Harry’s two moods seem to be smug and whiny, so I guess the pendulum has to swing from time to time.

* 'Hagrid, what're you up to?' asked Harry seriously. 'Because you've got to be careful, Umbridge has already sacked Trelawney and, if you ask me, she's on a roll. If you're doing anything you shouldn't be, you'll be -'

Is there anything Hagrid’s not allowed to do? Because his previous behaviour and the reactions to it indicate there’s very little he ‘shouldn’t’ get up to.
And is it me, or is Harry expecting Hagrid to take some responsibility for his own actions and exercise a little caution, even considering the appropriateness of his actions; rather than encouraging him to do whatever he likes and cry ‘I’m sorry, it wasn’t my fault!’ afterwards? Surely not!

* ‘There's things more importan' than keepin' a job,' said Hagrid, though his hands shook slightly as he said this.

Where was that attitude in PoA? Or GoF? And why do we still end up with Hagrid at the end of OotP, in that case?

* Harry had no choice but to leave Hagrid mopping up the dung all over his floor, but he felt thoroughly dispirited as he trudged back.

Oh, I don’t know. The image of Hagrid cleaning up excrement rather cheers me, personally.

* All the fifth-years were suffering from stress, but Hannah Abbott became the first to receive a Calming Draught from Madam Pomfrey after she burst into tears during Herbology and sobbed that she was too stupid to take exams and wanted to leave school now.

Without male guidance, the emotionality of the female may become apparent, and the women in Harry Potter tend all too readily towards the stereotype of the hysteric.
Hannah Abbott is the first student to buckle under exam pressure and does what else but start crying in the middle of class, Trelawney starts to drink and ends up hysterical and bawling her eyes out in the Entrance Hall and even once her place at Hogwarts is made secure by Dumbledore’s authority, Parvati and Lavender state that she was still crying when they went up to bring her flowers the following week.
Emotion in females leaves them incoherent, incapacitated, incomprehensible. Frequently, it renders them inactive and passive (as with Mrs. Weasley, Hermione, Hannah, Trelawney or Cho.) Not so for men.

And for further reference, a list of tears in the series.

* He sometimes felt he was living for the hours he spent in the Room of Requirement, working hard but thoroughly enjoying himself at the same time, swelling with pride as he looked around at his fellow DA members and saw how far they had come.

I’m not sure what Harry’s getting out of this. Does he truly thrill in sharing his knowledge (if so, why doesn’t he just train to be a teacher, instead of a Punisher-style Auror?) Is it ‘revenge’ against Umbridge and his enemies, as described in an earlier chapter?

* Indeed, Harry sometimes wondered how Umbridge was going to react when all the members of the DA received 'Outstanding' in their DADA OWLs.

But the OWL papers are presumably set by…the Ministry.
I mean, there's an Examinations board, they must have standards set by either the government or the schools independently. And since Umbridge is employed by the school this year, surely what they’ll be tested on won’t be ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People with your Hilarious Hexing of Enemies’ but the theory (like Slinkhard’s ;) Umbridge was teaching.
Oh well. Like most things in HP, exams appear to have a double standard attache - I'm sure if the DA pass, it will be a testament to how smart they are, whereas if they fail, which is unlikely, it will just reassert how there's more to life than exams, ala Fred and George, and the test was liek totally unfair, anyway!)
I presume, however, that Harry is accurate in assessing this, because he is intuitive which is a characteristic of his, and not at all because JKR just wants to telegraph another future plot point (all the DA are now so good at DADA they can rise as one to ‘defend’ Harry? All the DA can fight for the Order sooner or later? All the DA are super good at lessons next year, in spite of their new teacher?) much like Ginny’s Psychic Premonition that Umbridge will leave and Harry will once again become KING SEEKER OF THE WORLD!!!!
I also assume that the DA will pass since they’re Good (umm…since they…want to learn hexes? Care about useless theory and unimportant issues like exams? I’ve got it - they all fangirled Harry and told him how they believe him and that he’s so brave!) Hence, they will succeed at everything they do, because they deserve to, whether it’s realistic or not.

* Patronuses…which everybody had been very keen to practise, though, as Harry kept reminding them, producing a Patronus in…a brightly lit classroom when they were not under threat was very different from producing it when confronted by…a Dementor. 'What we really need is a Boggart or something; that's how I learned, I had to conjure a Patronus while the Boggart was pretending to be a Dementor -'

Hee! You kids don’t know you’re born! When I was a lad, we had to learn, uphill, in the snow, with no shoes, while a Boggart was pretending to be a Dementor was pretending to be Voldemort was pretending to be SATAN!11 You don’t know how easy you’ve got it, wait until you join the real world, did I ever tell you about the time I killed a basilisk? No? Well, I was going into the Chamber of Secrets, ‘I forgot’ why, when…

* 'Oh, don't be such a killjoy,' said Cho brightly, watching her silvery swan-shaped Patronus soar. ‘They're so pretty!'
‘They're not supposed to be pretty, they're supposed to protect you,' said Harry patiently.
'But that would be really scary!' said Lavender, who was shooting puffs of silver vapour. 'And I still - can't - do it!' she added angrily.

The final part of what appears to be essential femininity in the Potterverse is a concern with appearances and objects. Hermione and Cho comment that their protective patronus spells are respectively “sort of nice” and “so pretty” to which Harry responds that they “aren’t supposed to be pretty, they’re supposed to protect you.” The females have misinterpreted the situation; Harry corrects them, because as male and thereby hero/protector/strong he has to defend the weak women.

* Neville was having trouble, too. His face was screwed up in concentration, but only feeble wisps of…smoke issued
‘You’ve got to think of something happy,' Harry reminded him.
'I'm trying,' said Neville miserably, who was trying so hard his round face was actually shining with sweat.

According to latter chapters, imagining something happy will do, as Harry achieves a Patronus thinking of Umbridge being fired. Why not picture Bellatrix Lestrange writhing in agony?
Short discussion over Neville’s inability to cast compared to Cho’s fairly quick Patronus.

* Hermione's Patronus, a shining silver otter...

Are Patroni/Patronuses always animals?
Also, an otter is a member of the same family of animals as the weasel (R/Hr? He also lives in Ottery St. Catchpole. Tenous, but worth a mention, I guess.) and the ferret.
JKR apparently has a fondness for the whole bunch (if you didn’t get that from her giving Hermione the massive honour of bearing her own favourite animal.) and is quoted here, which also tells you more than you ever wanted to know about mustelidaes.

* The elf's eyes were wide with terror and he was shaking. Everybody in the room was watching Dobby.
'Harry Potter, sir…Dobby has come to warn you…but the house-elves have been warned not to tell…'

Aw. I keep complaining about how everyone was always staring at Harry, and get this in replacement! ;)

Huh? So Marietta went to Umbridge’s office, told her of the next meeting, Umbridge quickly rounded up ‘trusted’ students and ran to catch the DA, pausing to find every house elf in the castle and warn them not to tip off the DA, in case they’d thought of it/been in the vicinity? The only reason I can think of for Umbridge to speak to the elves is if she suspected they weren’t on her side, in which case, wouldn’t she make sure by force that they weren’t going to, um…tip off the DA?

And why is Dobby scared of Umbridge when, as pointed out, he wasn’t of Lucius when freed, and he’s a frigging Death Eater?

* Hermione and a few of the other girls let out squeaks of fear and sympathy.

Oh, it would be girls nearby. Apparently boys shouldn’t/don’t feel such sissy emotions as fear and sympathy.

* …the elf tried to kick himself and fell to the floor.

That made me laugh. I’m going to hell.

* He scooped up Dobby, who was still attempting to do himself serious injury, and ran with the elf in his arms to join the back of the queue.

Hahaha. I hope they film that for the movie. It sounds even funnier than Robbie Coltrane holding that creepy dummy.
Also, Harry joins the back of the queue. He’s heroic and self-sacrificial like that (Hermione’s in the centre, naturally.)

* 'Dobby - this is an order - get back down to the kitchen with the other elves and, if she asks you whether you warned me, lie and say no!' said Harry. 'And I forbid you to hurt yourself!' he added...
‘Thank you, Harry Potter!' squeaked Dobby, and he streaked off.

Why does Dobby obey orders from students, anyway? I thought he worked for Dumbledore as some kind of independent worker, rather than being under the house elf rules of servitude?
And why is Dobby thanking Harry for telling him not to hurt himself? Why would he? Umbridge isn’t even his master at this point, unless he’s supposed to obey every student and teacher in the school in some kind of rank order, so an order from Dumbledore will outweigh one from Umbridge will outweigh one from Harry…

* 'AAARGH!' …He fell spectacularly, skidding along on his front for six feet before coming to a halt.
Someone behind him was laughing. ‘Trip Jinx, Potter!' he said. 'Hey Professor - PROFESSOR! I've got one!'

Hey! The lesser spotted Triumphant!Vaguely!Competent Draco. Good to see.
Don’t know that I’d announce exactly what I was hexing someone with, but I suppose the Exposition Curse must infect everyone.

* He rolled over on to his back and saw Malfoy concealed in a niche beneath an ugly dragon-shaped vase.

Presumably because Draco is…an ugly dragon?

* 'It's him!' she said jubilantly at the sight of Harry on the floor. 'Excellent, Draco, excellent, oh, very good - fifty points to Slytherin! I'll take him from here…'

First time a Slytherin has been awarded points in canon, for those of you who are/were curious.
It also makes me laugh that Umbridge and Draco appear to have swapped roles, so she’s all ‘OMG, it’s Harry, the most important student we could have caught!’, and ‘never…looking so happy’ (which is kind of pathetic in itself) and he’s all ‘I got some miscellaneous "one", here.’ *walks off casually*
Heh. Umbridge even infantilises the people on her side ‘hop along…off you go.’ Reminds me of Molly, in a way.

* Harry wondered how many of the others had been caught. He thought of Ron - Mrs Weasley would kill him - and of how Hermione would feel if she was expelled before she could take her OWLs. And it had been Seamus's very first meeting…and Neville had been getting so good…

Oh, look. Harry thinking of others. Make a note of it, we won’t see that again in a while.
I guess this is evidence of his ‘hero complex’ but really, I can’t feel too sorry for the DA here. Maybe it’s a side-effect of knowing in advance how they’re going to utilise their new-found skills; or perhaps because I don’t feel their exams and magical ability is at the forefront of their minds as reasons to study, so much as ‘Wah, Umbridge won’t let us learn really kewl hexes, it’s political correctness gone mad!’ Cry me a river.

* They reached the...door with the griffin knocker, but Umbridge did not bother to knock...

A griffin? Because Dumbledore is our ‘epitome of goodness’ Gryffindor versus Voldemort’s ‘evil’ Slytherin?
Or just a doorknocker? ;)

I’ll touch on this later, but there’s a lot of emphasis on how Umbridge lacks manners.

* Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk, his expression serene, the tips of his long fingers together.

I have to say, the language used to describe Dumbledore always irritates me. (Just in this chapter: cheerfully; pleasantly; calmly; gently; smiling; apologetically; kindly.) It’s a personal choice, and I can see how the intent is probably to assert how funloving and omipotent he is - nothing worries him, which I guess should promote confidence in him or something, but he just comes off to me as sadistic and almost sociopathic, like what he’s enjoying is other people’s stress. And since he can turn it off when people he likes are suffering (ie. Harry) it seems even more of an affectation to rile others.
(In contrast here, ‘Professor McGonagall stood rigidly beside him, her face extremely tense.’ So clearly whatever his plan, she isn’t in on it, as the end reasserts.)
I mean, I don’t mind if he’s intended to be seen as a god figure, ala Aslan; but since he’s shown he can and will involve himself in events, like a human; the apparent message that he has to let people die/suffer through their own mistakes seems either flawed or terribly cruel, as does his interpretation of what constitutes a ‘mistake’. Basically, if Dumbledore’s God, then I’m an atheist.

* Harry replied with the dirtiest look he could muster. His heart drummed madly inside him, but his brain was oddly cool and clear.

That is odd.
And ooh, a dirty look. I’m sure the MoM is shaking in his boots.

* Fudge…glanced maliciously… ‘There's nothing like a good witness, is there, Dumbledore?'

I like this line. I don’t really know why, it doesn’t actually make that much sense to me.

* Discussion on Marietta.
And my two cents:

I guess I don't see Marietta as 'betraying' the DA as such, since I can't see why she would owe them any loyalty.
The Gryffindor members (the Twins, Ron and Harry in particular) were openly hostile to members of other houses in the beginning, iirc; threatening people who voiced opposing opinions (for example, Zacharias), and not hesitating to use violence against people they didn't like, both within the context of the group (hexing Smith from behind during lessons) and outside (The Quidditch Pitch) later going on to attack Montague and the Slytherin Trio.
I wouldn't feel particularly loyal to them, either, or that if I felt the group was heading in a direction I wasn’t comfortable with that I could tell them without fear.
Also, I do feel this is yet again a situation that, should it have occurred to anyone else, would have been viewed completely differently. Imagine Millicent Bulstrode told Dumbledore about the Inquisitorial Squad’s formation - remembering that said Squad never stepped any further over the rules than the DA, perhaps even less so (the most violent event I recall happening on their watch was Crabbe restraining Neville by choking him, which is cruel, but not in the league of calculated sadism, imho) and was violently hexed by Pansy, while Draco gloated about what a brilliant hex it was and how proud he was of her, and how Millicent deserved it, since she betrayed them and was disloyal. (Or look at Tom Riddle, as Magpie pointed out. Or Snape. Much as I like the guy, the whole basis of Snape's character is that he's selling out the group he belongs to. And gets disfigured (by his mark) by said group. Where are all the 'OMG HE DESERVES IT FOR BEING DISLOYAL?!' commenters, since once you join a group, you should protect it and belong it in all your life, whether you like it or not.)

* 'Don't be scared, dear, don't be frightened,' said Professor Umbridge softly, patting her on the back, 'it's quite all right, now. The Minister is very pleased with you. He'll be telling your mother what a good girl you've been. Marietta's mother…is Madam Edgecombe from the…Floo Network office - she's been helping us police the Hogwarts fires…'
'Jolly good, jolly good!' said Fudge heartily. 'Like mother, like daughter, eh?’

‘The Malfoy boy cornered him.'
'Did he, did he?' said Fudge appreciatively. 'I must remember to tell Lucius.'

Kinda pathetic that Fudge presumably has to be the one to tell Lucius what his own son's getting up to.
Not that blood’s important. But look at evil evil Marietta and Malfoy, who’ve followed in the footsteps of their parents, who will no doubt be thrilled to hear about their childrens’ actions (and that they end up horribly hexed!)

* ‘Well, come on, now, dear, look up, don't be shy, let's hear what you've got to - galloping gargoyles!' As Marietta raised her head, Fudge leapt backwards in shock, nearly landing in the fire. He cursed, and stamped on his cloak which had started to smoke.

Heh. I was getting sick of all the Sue-like ‘Everyone in the whole world was staring at Harry in awe!’ and ‘Dumbledore entered, sexily framed in mist!’ but I’ve realised it’s just a habit of Rowling’s to get into the drama (much like Moody’s entrance in GoF, with obligatory LIGHTENING FLASH!11) She missed her calling writing for soap operas…

* Marietta gave a wail and pulled the neck of her robes right up to her eyes, but not before everyone had seen that her face was horribly disfigured by a series of close-set purple pustules that had spread across her nose and cheeks to form the word 'SNEAK'.

‘Horribly disfigured’. It’s an interestingly unambigious description.

As previously noted, the SNEAK hex is fairly useless apart from as a punishment.
I don’t get why Hermione didn’t make it so that it actually helped the DA as well, of course, as being apparently painful.
Maybe it was an either/or choice, or perhaps her bloodlust interfered with her usually rational thinking.

(In response to Magpie:) There’s plenty of situations, especially when you’re dealing with a group of teenagers, where telling is the right thing to do.

Yes, Hermione used to be able to recognise them, herself. (It's also kinda hypocritical to get so righteous over 'snitch'ing when that was the entire reason for the fall-out in PoA, imho.)
It's kind of repetition from Harry's experience with Umbridge, where it would of course be cowardly of him to tell another teacher.
Hear that, readers? If an adult hurts you, or causes you injury, don't tell anyone. The catchphrase of child molesters too, or so I hear. (Is there a Godwin style law about comparing things to that? Oh well, I may have invented one!)
The thing is most teenagers, especially girls, tell secrets all the time, without even a 'have to' about it.
I can't imagine that in a realistic school, the DA wouldn't have been spread around itself, and sooner or later someone who had a reasonable grudge against the psychos in Gryffindor totally racist/jealous hate on for Harry/Hermione/DA member wouldn't have told, let alone people who probably would be genuinely worried (these are people who thought Harry was a Dark Lord in training/lying nutcase/have seen him and the twins go crazy on the Quidditch pitch.)
And of course, it's run by Famous Harry Potter. Even if people didn't want to join, there'd probably be discussion about it:
'It's a private study group, for twenty-five of his closest friends, you have to know the secret details of where to meet and when, and if you're not cool enough, you can't go. Hermione Granger's helping them all pass their exams, and Harry's going to teach them all the amazing magic/Dark Arts like Parseltongue he knows, but only if you agree to be in his army and fight for him whenever someone's mean to him. And you have to pledge allegiance to Dumbledore, too!'
It’s surprising it didn’t come out before this, to be honest.

(In response to Magpie:) Hermione just had to do what she did with the curse to prevent some great wrong happening in the world.

Yes, because her hex saved everyone from losing Dumbledore and getting Umbridge as their headteacher!
No, wait…
Um…it saved everyone in the DA from expulsion?
No, because Umbridge has the list, and yet doesn’t seem to get rid of anyone, even Harry, and why would Dumbledore’s taking the blame stop her, anyway? (That’s what I don’t get about the ‘heroic Dumbledore shields Harry’ - why didn’t Umbridge just wait until the Big D had left and expel Harry anyway?!)
It made Ron, Harry and her feel much better?
…I think I’ve got it!
Seriously, though, I see a LOT of ‘Hermione’s hex and Kingsley’s memory charm were totally justified, since so much was at stake’ (or as someone put it, rather creepily: ‘Better Marietta suffer than Harry or the DA’) but I still can’t see it as a life-or-death situation. So, worst comes to worst and Harry’s expelled? What exactly would have been the difference? His education would have suffered (I guess like everyone else’s who didn’t get to study his exclusive DA lessons) for a year, until Umbridge was inevitably outsted; although he probably could have been tutored by Lupin. That’s a rough deal, and I’m not advocating it as a solution or the fair way to deal with things, but it’s not exactly the emergency I think it’s compared to.
Because if Harry (or indeed, any other members of the DA, but who really cares about them?) had been expelled, the terrorists win. (And, um...Sirius wouldn't be dead, I guess...So it really was a life or death situation. Hahahaha. *is mean*)

(In response to Magpie:) Naturally, Hermione’s hex will make no one in the DA think twice. No one will want to know why Hermione didn’t tell them they were signing up to be punished if they ever disagreed with the complete stranger who casually asked if they’d like to work on DADA together.

Kind of reminds me of the end of PS, where they're all frantically cheering on our favourite house, and no-one wonders 'Gosh, if we'd have won, would they have taken the cup away from us?'
Or really, anything that happens to the Slytherins/mean people like Marietta.
Because everyone is completely assured of their own superiority and that bad things only ever happen to bad people.
(It reminds me of how when there’s a natural disaster or a rape or something, there are always people quick to say ‘Well, they should have prayed to the right god/not worn a short skirt’ as if that’s the explanation. And since said people are praying/wearing pants, they’re safe, always. They wish.)

It’s funny that the DA, which is presumably intended to show us how there are worthwhile people outside Gryffindor and inter-house cooperation can be a good thing, gives me a sense of the complete opposite - despite appearances, everyone is a Gryffindor at heart, they’re just uncool enough to be reserve ones.

(In response to Magpie:) Don’t suppose Mr. Super-Powerful Dumbledore could undo Hermione’s spell on Marietta, huh? Yeah, didn’t think so.

She made her own choice. *looks wise* It is not Dumbledore’s policy to interfere in the running of the school too much, except when it’s something really important like who wins the House Cup or gets to play Quidditch.
But yes, wtf? I won’ t allow my students to be abused - by teachers I don’t like. Students hurting other students is fine and dandy. (Look at MWPP…Think Hermione will get to be Head Girl? And maybe Harry as Head Boy, too!)

(In response to Magpie:) I’m always kind of surprised by the satisfaction some people feel in this scene.

I’m always kind of surprised by the satisfaction some people feel at many of the scenes in this series.
And interestingly, it never seems to be enough. Like the whole ‘Kill Umbridge’ challenges and ‘I really want to see Marietta/the Inquisitorial Squad get theirs in the next book!’ Um, did you miss the part where they all got horribly punished, and frankly beyond their ‘crimes’ (and by this part of the book, even I’m sick of Umbridge, but jesus. Isn’t her apparent rape-by-centaurs and at the very least beating-into-mental-illness enough?)

* 'Never mind the spots now, dear,' said Umbridge impatiently, 'just take your robes away from your mouth and tell the Minister…Oh, very well, you silly girl, I'll tell him,' snapped Umbridge. She hitched her sickly smile back on to her face…she waved impatiently at Marietta's concealed face…'But it doesn't matter if she won't speak, I can take up the story from here.’
'Well, now,' said Fudge, fixing Marietta with what he evidently imagined was a kind and fatherly look…

I like that we’re kind of supposed to dislike Fudge and Umbridge for being unsympathetic to Marietta when we’re also supposed to be rooting for the people who caused her misery.

* 'It is very brave of you, my dear, coming to tell Professor Umbridge. You did exactly the right thing. '

I also notice Fudge and Umbridge both assert that Marietta has done ‘the right thing’. Which I presume means she has done the evillest thing imaginable. (And notice even Fudge values bravery?)

* But Marietta would not speak; she merely shook her head again, her eyes wide and fearful.
'Haven't we got a counter-jinx for this?' Fudge asked Umbridge impatiently, gesturing at Marietta's face. 'So she can speak freely?'
'I have not yet managed to find one,' Umbridge admitted grudgingly, and Harry felt a surge of pride in Hermione's jinxing ability.

Hahahaha. Someone needs a counter-jinx to fix Hermione’s spell? But all the DA ever cast is defensive hexes!
And how impressive that Hermione’s is so vicious that Umbridge, the queen of the self-mutilating quill, is out-classed and baffled.
(Note also that Harry, who’s greatest power is love and who just can’t lower himself to completing Cruciatus; is thrilled at this turn of events.)

Can Marietta even speak? Maybe discussing the list makes the spots worse? (It’s indicated by: 'Just nod or shake your head, dear…come on, now, that won't re-activate the jinx.')

* 'And what is your evidence for that?' cut in Professor McGonagall.
'I have testimony from Willy Widdershins…' said Umbridge...
'Oh, so that's why he wasn't prosecuted for setting up all those regurgitating toilets!' said Professor McGonagall...'What an interesting insight into our justice system!'
'Blatant corruption!' roared (a corpulent, red-nosed portrait). ‘The Ministry did not cut deals with petty criminals in my day...!'

I hate this chapter very much, and it’s mammoth hypocrisy is only one of the reasons.
Why wasn’t Mundungus Fletcher prosecuted for theft? Why did Otto Baggins escape any punishment for having apparently improper magical muggle artifacts? Go ask Dumbledore’s Order.
I guess their crimes were really 'petty' whereas the toilets indicated a HATE CRIME, and you can do anything you like (disfiguring people and memory-charming children just in this chapter!) as long as the reason you're doing it isn't because of their race (the colour of their tie is a great reason, though!)
Or because Willy Widdershins isn’t close personal friends with Dumbledore or Arthur?
And as Magpie noted, apparently a law enforcement official tampering with a witness isn’t corruption. (Neither is it an interesting insight into the justice system that an Auror is aiding and abetting a group such as the Order, or that Dumbledore, who seems to be our example of 'justice' avoids facing legal consequences by hexing four people unconscious.)

* 'Oho!' said Fudge. 'Yes, do let's hear the latest cock-and-bull story designed to pull Potter out of trouble! Go on, then, Dumbledore, go on - Willy Widdershins was lying, was he? Or was it Potter’s identical twin in the Hog's Head…? Or is there the usual simple explanation involving a reversal of time, a dead man coming back to life and a couple of invisible Dementors?'
Percy Weasley let out a hearty laugh. 'Oh, very good, Minister, very good!' Harry could have kicked him.

Heh. Percy’s sycophancy makes me laugh. I don’t know why. Maybe because PoA’s plot was kind of ridiculous.
And there’s another addition to the ‘evil people who think, for no apparent reason, that Dumbledore may favour Harry unfairly.’

* Then he saw, to his astonishment, that Dumbledore was smiling gently, too.

I love how shocked Harry always is that Dumbledore is never ruffled, always keeps his cool and has a smart answer to everything. It’s in the Gary Stu charter!

* Marietta shook her head.

Hmm. You know, this is described as a memory charm, but why would someone with no memory assert that there have been no meetings for six months? How would she remember? (Especially since the charm is hopefully just to erase the last few minutes, rather than a full six months…brr.) And if she didn’t recall going herself, how is that actual evidence that no other meetings have occurred? With this and Umbridge’s reaction to Kingsley:

'You want to calm yourself, Madam Umbridge,' said Kingsley, in his deep, slow voice. 'You don't want to get yourself into trouble, now.'
'No,' said Umbridge breathlessly, glancing up at the towering figure of Kingsley. 'I mean, yes - you're right, Shacklebolt - I - I forgot myself.'

I’m a little suspicious.

* 'Well,' said Dumbledore, surveying her with polite interest…'Do you have any evidence that any such meetings continued?'
...'Oh, can she tell us about six months' worth of meetings? I was under the impression that she was merely reporting a meeting tonight.'

Harry felt a horrible plummeting in his stomach. This was it, they had hit a dead end of solid evidence that not even Dumbledore would be able to shift aside.

'So you have no idea,' said Fudge...'That you have broken any school rules?'
'Not that I'm aware of,' said Harry blandly.
It was almost worth telling these lies to watch Fudge’s blood pressure rising, but he could not see how on earth he would get away with them; if somebody had tipped off Umbridge about the DA then he, the leader, might as well be packing his trunk right now.
'So, it's news to you, is it,' said Fudge, his voice now thick with anger, 'that an illegal student organisation has been discovered?'
'Yes, it is,' said Harry, hoisting an unconvincing look of innocent surprise on to his face.

Harry stared at him. He could not see how Dumbledore was going to talk him out of this one; if Willy Widdershins had indeed heard every word he had said...there was simply no escaping...

I bitterly resent this ‘What evidence have you got? No DA meetings have been run!’, hiding behind the rules; when it’s clear no-one in the room (except Percy, perhaps) has any respect for the law whatsoever. And that we know they have been run. Much like in the court case, where it’s all *moralising about how we should believe Mrs. Figg* when we know she’s lying.
It just irritates me more from the ‘Good’ side since we’re supposed to loathe Umbridge’s petty bureaucracy and yet when it’s McGonagall and Dumbledore nitpicking over every word we’re somehow supposed to cheer.
But then, that’s something I’ve hated since PS and which crops up in every single book and indeed, forms part of the ending of this one. (‘I survived four curses to the chest and nearly died, and I realise now what’s important. House points.’)
Still, imagine if we were reading about the trial, and suddenly Harry was memory charmed, or asked to provide evidence for something the audience had witnessed to be true - OH THE HUMANITY, THAT EVIL MoM, THEY SHOULD GO TO AZKABAN. (Or even Lockhart. Maybe he shouldn’t have wasted his time on books, and just became an Auror, and he could have joined the Order!)

I’m really starting to dislike McGonagall as well, who has always been irritating in her childish House rivalry (to be fair, like every other teacher), her image as the fairest teacher when she patently isn’t (which she seems to buy into a little herself, like Dumbledore and his own reputation), and her slavish devotion to Dumbledore.
However, her good point was her ability to at least make a pretence at being unbiased: her defense even of people she personally dislikes; her willingness to at least make a token effort to reason with Harry; her application to the ‘rules’ and ‘truth’; and her insistence of appropriate treatment of students. Boom, all gone.
I never expected any better from Dumbledore or Kingsley, but it disgusts me a little that McGonagall too is willing to achieve her ends through such means.
Still, like with Neville’s direction or Harry’s, or Hermione’s, or the Twin’s I guess you can at least say it’s been well foreshadowed and is IC.

* Professor Umbridge seized Marietta…and began shaking her very hard.
A split second later Dumbledore was on his feet, his wand raised; Kingsley started forwards and Umbridge leapt back from Marietta, waving her though they had been burned.
'I cannot allow you to manhandle my students, Dolores,' said Dumbledore and, for the first time, he looked angry.

Oh, what? I didn’t see him stepping in when it was what he thought to be his good old Auror buddy Moody doing the manhandling! It’s a little late to start trying for the moral highground. Perhaps you have to be one of his friends before you get that privilege?
Not to mention, Dumbledore’s apparent method of stopping violence appears to be…violence.
And that apparently, he can allow Aurors to overpower his students’ free will by memory-charming them.

* '…Miss Edgecombe tipped me off and I proceeded at once to the seventh floor, accompanied by certain trustworthy students.’

I wrote a bit a while back on some possible motivations for said students to join with Umbridge. It’s not a great piece or anything (I got my first flame for it! ;) but it does touch on what I feel helped Umbridge succeed - taking advantage of flaws already inherent in the system. Much like Lupin warning the Order that magical creatures may choose Voldemort’s side, since he’s offering them what the rest of the Wizarding World will not, Umbridge appears to have cleverly identified which students are likely to be unhappy with the current Hogwarts situation. (Of course, I’m likely giving both characters and author way too much credit, when the actual explanation is that Slytherins are power-hungry and like attracted like - they recognised their own evil in Umbridge!)

* ‘Miss Parkinson ran into the Room of Requirement for me to see if they had left anything behind. We needed evidence and the room provided.'

Alright, Pansy! And yet another example of girl-on-girl fighting: males can’t/won't harm females (literally, in Harry’s case). Females can harm males, but prefer to assist them, seeing as all males, enemies or not are below them. So it’s left to the women to fight each other. Significantly it’s Hermione that gets rid of Skeeter, Marietta, and Umbridge; and it’s these women in turn who upset her much more than males (witness Hermione’s reaction to Pansy herself, as compared to Draco. She’s moved beyond the exhausted hysteria of PoA and into ‘Oh, ignore him’ *yawns* while it’s Pansy who causes her ‘vicious’ ‘delight’ when cursed.)

Also, notice no-one, not even Harry, is irritated with Hermione for leaving a list of all their names lying around, even though it’s a monumentally stupid thing to do (imagine if it had been Ron!) And yet they’re all ‘Death to Marietta!’ who is both sufficiently punished and not even the one who caused Dumbledore to leave - that was the list.

* Harry saw McGonagall and Kingsley look at each other. There was fear in both faces. He did not understand what was going on, and nor, apparently, did Fudge. 'Statement?' said Fudge slowly. 'What - I don't -?'
'Dumbledore's Army, Cornelius,' said Dumbledore, still smiling as he waved the list…before Fudge's face. 'Not Potter's Army.'
'But - but -' Understanding blazed suddenly in Fudge’s face. He took a horrified step backwards, yelped, and jumped out of the fire again.

Ugh, enough with the fire. We get it, Fudge is a clumsy buffoon who’s not fit to wipe Saint Dumbledore’s shoes.
I’m afraid it’s hard to find sympathy for this point of view, since if Dumbledore’s so great, why didn’t he run for MoM himself?
(Because he knew he could control Fudge, who at that point was always asking him advice? Too bad, your puppet turned out to be a person with thoughts of their own, cry me a river.) If he’d rather put the school (ie. Harry) above the entire Wizarding World (again) then maybe he should lay in the bed he made and accept that he then doesn’t get to poke his head in and say every two minutes how things should be done. I don’t particularly like Fudge myself, although I don’t dislike him. I just don’t like that we never get so many mentions of his offensive policies as we do descriptions of how ugly/bumbling/unwilling he is to obey Dumbledore’s every order, as if that’s the important issue.
the_gentleman wrote an interesting essay on the two, though.

* 'NO!' shouted Harry. Kingsley flashed a look of warning at him, McGonagall widened her eyes threateningly, but it had suddenly dawned on Harry what Dumbledore was about to do, and he could not let it happen.

No, Harry! We know you’re just being selfless and modest, but you must realise your attendance at Hogwarts is the most important priority in the entire Wizarding World, even if it means we lose our hero Dumbledore!

I love how Fudge and Harry take literally five years to work out what’s going on.
‘It’s Dumbledore’s group? Buh…wha…huh?’
*eons pass, ice age begins*
‘…Wait a second, I know what’s going on here!’

* 'I came here tonight expecting to expel Potter and instead -'
'Instead you get to arrest me,' said Dumbledore, smiling. 'It's like losing a Knut and finding a Galleon, isn't it?'

Hahahaha. There’s an insult for Harry somewhere in there…

* Fudge…now positively quivering with delight…his voice still vibrating with joy…now radiant with glee.
…There was an indecent excitement in her voice, the same callous pleasure Harry had heard as she watched Professor Trelawney dissolving with misery in the Entrance Hall.
…Fudge was glaring at him with a kind of vicious satisfaction on his face.
…rocking backwards and forwards on his toes beside the fire, apparently immensely pleased…
…still ogling Dumbledore with a kind of horrified delight

You know, somehow I get the impression, subtle though it is, that these guys are…happy? In other people’s suffering? How cruel!
And not at all something every single character in the book also seems to enjoy.

* 'You recruited these students for - for your army?'

‘The bit about how he's been trying to build up an army against the Ministry, how he's been working to destabilise me?'

Jeez. I’m beginning to see why they’re so worried.

* '…Send a copy to the Daily Prophet at once. If we send a fast owl we should make the morning edition!'

OMG. Fudge is using the media as a weapon and is concerned with publicity! How superficial and unlike any tactic the Order/DA would utilise!

* 'I'm afraid that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to - what is the phrase? - come quietly.'

This line has been completely ruined for me by fandom. Thanks guys. *glares*

* ‘I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course - but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing.’

Could break out because he’s so powerful no cell could hold him (of course!) or because the Dementors have apparently left/are not enforcing restrictions anymore? I really wish we could hear more about this. Iirc, it’s only mentioned once or twice before the last scenes with the DE imprisonments, and like some of the other books endings, it feels a little tagged on (Barty Crouch is dead! It happened off-screen and will never be mentioned again. The End.) as did the imprisonment itself (I don’t recall much/any mention of what happened to the DEs until it was referred to as a past event by Draco.) Why hasn’t everyone in Azkaban escaped, anyway? I know it’s still a prison, and surrounded by sea, but still, with no guards, wouldn’t it come up more?

* Kingsley Shacklebolt and a tough-looking wizard with very short wiry hair whom Harry did not recognise…who alone of everyone in the room had remained entirely silent so far.
The latter gave Fudge a reassuring nod and moved forwards…Harry saw his hand drift, almost casually, towards his pocket.

Are we going to hear any more of Dawlish? He’s gotten a name, background and lines; which is more than some characters that have been in the books five years. (Iirc, he’s present at the end MoM scene. Perhaps he’s the counterpart to Kingsley - the evil Deatheater in disguise? Muahahaha! ;)

* 'Don't be silly, Dawlish,' said Dumbledore kindly. 'I'm sure you are an excellent Auror - I seem to remember that you achieved "Outstanding" in all your NEWTs -’

Aw. See what a great headmaster Dumbledore is? He knows the details of each and every one of his students.
He just doesn’t care about any but one.
Oh, and he’s ‘kindly’ while he threatens them, which makes all the difference. (I do love how there’s all this emphasis on how polite and courteous he is, as if that qualifies him as a nice guy. Hey, if Voldemort said please and thank you a bit more, maybe there wouldn’t be such strife in the WW?)

* The man called Dawlish blinked rather foolishly. He looked towards Fudge again, but this time seemed to be hoping for a clue as to what to do next.
…Percy looked as though he had been struck in the face by something very heavy. Fudge remained motionless in mid-bounce, his mouth hanging open.
…Fudge stared at Dumbledore with a very silly expression on his face, as though he had just been stunned by a sudden blow and could not quite believe it had happened. He made a small choking noise…
…Umbridge's face was growing steadily redder; she looked as though she was being filled with boiling water.
…Fudge looked incredulous….

The stage notes for this (and indeed, the whole series) would be very easy, wouldn’t they?

MEAN PEOPLE: *say something mean*
DUMBLEDORE (/any Good Guy): *outwits them easily*
MEAN PEOPLE: *stammer and look stupid*
*repeat endlessly*

* 'So,' sneered Fudge, recovering himself, 'you intend to take on Dawlish, Shacklebolt, Dolores and myself single-handed, do you, Dumbledore?'
'Merlin's beard, no,' said Dumbledore, smiling, 'not unless you are foolish enough to force me to.'

I guess it would be self-defense. Or counter-hexing.

* 'He will not be single-handed!' said Professor McGonagall loudly...
'Oh yes he will, Minerva!' said Dumbledore sharply. 'Hogwarts needs you!'

For what?
And once again, a female is willing to utterly prostrate herself before her male superior, literally risking her life for his; and subliminating herself utterly to his will (like Trelawney, McGonagall immediately retracts her threat when Dumbledore lays down the law and asserts his authority.)

* Harry struggled around to see who was half-strangling him and saw Professor McGonagall crouched beside him; she had forced both him and Marietta out of harm's way.

See, this is how we know McGonagall is good. She’s always willing to protect even nasty kids! Not to mention protecting them, presumably while Dumbledore is occupied with the much more important task of fighting.

* ...Harry saw a very tall figure moving towards them.

As touched on previously - Dumbledore (and indeed, Gryffindors in general) is/are tall. Because they’re Manly Men.

* Fudge, Umbridge, Kingsley and Dawlish lay motionless...

Further evidence, if anyone needed it, that Dumbledore is Powerful and Not to Be Messed With. Did I mention he’s the only one the Dark Lord feared? Don’t worry, it will come up again! And again. And again.

* 'Unfortunately, I had to hex Kingsley too, or it would have looked very suspicious...He was remarkably quick on the uptake, modifying Miss Edgecombe's memory like that…thank him, for me, won't you, Minerva? Now, they will all awake very soon and it will be best if they do not know that we had time to communicate - they will not remember -'

Why won’t they remember? WHAT DID YOU DO, DUMBLEDORE?!111 Heh.
Once more, it’s proved Dumbledore will do almost anything to achieve his goals, and is thrilled at the idea of anyone (Kingsley, Harry) following this stellar example.

* 'Where will you go, Dumbledore?...Grimmauld Place?'
'Oh no,' said Dumbledore, with a grim smile, 'I am not leaving to go into hiding. Fudge will soon wish he'd never dislodged me from Hogwarts, I promise you.'

Wonder why Dumbledore doesn’t tell them where he’s going?
And this does give the impression that Dumbledore has the mindset of the other Gryffindors: ‘I’m not going into hiding like a big coward Sirius! And my enemies are so going to get their’s and rue the day they disrupted my dictatorship shiny career as Best Headmaster Ever!11’

* He did not know what to say first: how sorry he was that he had started the DA in the first place and caused all this trouble, or how terrible he felt that Dumbledore was leaving to save him from expulsion?

Ha. Poor Harry, you have no idea at all how much you’re being manipulated.

* 'You must study Occlumency as hard as you can, do you understand me?'

Jeez. Much as I wouldn’t trust Albus as far as I could throw him, personally, you’d think that Harry would pay attention and do as he asked, since he feels guilty about getting the Big D fired and all, and since there’s so many constant reassertions about how much he respects Dumbledore’s opinion and literally puts his life in the man’s hands and all.

* 'Well, he can't have Disapparated!' cried Umbridge. 'You can't do it from inside this school -'


* A few of the portraits hissed at (Fudge); one or two even made rude hand gestures.

Ooh. Super-burn.

* ...'You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts…but you cannot deny he's got style…'

Heh. That’s what Stephen Fry says about Malfoy, though (which I guess would make JKR the unwilling Fudge figure! ;)

(In response to Magpie:) Phineas disagrees with Dumbledore on many counts. Please let some of these favor the Slytherins whose only career option at this point appears to be scapegoat for the WW.

I’m sure the disagreements are because Dumbledore wants the whole world to be a caring sharing land of rainbows and fluffy puppies, and Phineas is rooting for said puppies’ heads on sticks.
Seriously, though, this is the first sign we’ve had of someone not evil disagreeing with Dumbledore even over something minor, isn’t it? *squees* Details please, Phineas.
Previous post Next post