In Chapter 6, we attend our first Divination class, find out what that big black dog might be, and see how Hagrid does as a teacher (spoiler alert: not great). Let’s go!
The Slytherins are such little punks. They’re still teasing Harry at breakfast about how he reacted to the dementors. Like they weren’t scared at all. Jerks. Also mentioned at breakfast: Hermione’s crazy class schedule. She literally has three classes scheduled for 9:00 AM that day. Ron can’t believe it, but Hermione brushes it off, saying she’s fixed everything with McGonagall and he shouldn’t worry about it.
Speaking of classes, it’s off to their first class, a new one this year: Divination. Of course, they have to find it first. They can’t find the North Tower, but they are aided in their “quest” to find it by a very amusing portrait named Sir Cadogan.
“A quest!” The knight’s rage seemed to vanish instantly. He clanked to his feet and shouted, “Come follow me, dear friends, and we shall find our goal, or else shall perish bravely in the charge!”
Sir Cadogan is one of the funniest things in this book.
They finally reach the tower, climb a ladder, and enter the smoky, perfumy classroom of Professor Trelawney. She is described as looking like “a large, glittering insect” with multiple scarves, beads, and rings along with very large glasses. She makes several predictions, including that something might be wrong with Neville’s grandmother, Parvati should be afraid of a red-haired man, the class will deal with the flu in February, and “around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever.” Oh, and the thing that Lavender Brown is dreading will happen on October 16th.
She’s a bright ray of sunshine, Trelawney is.
Their first assignment is to try and read tea leaves, which goes absolutely great, as you can imagine. Harry and Ron are not destined to be great seers, I’m afraid. But at least they are trying?
“Right, you’ve got a crooked sort of cross . . .” He consulted Unfogging the Future. “That means you’re going to have ‘trials and suffering’ – sorry about that – but there’s a thing that could be the sun . . . hang on . . . that means ‘great happiness’ . . . so you’re going to suffer but be very happy . . .”
Actually, I don’t think they’re trying all that hard.
Professor Trelawney is a bit miffed about the fact that they are not taking her class seriously and begins to read Harry’s tea leaves. She sees . . . an attack . . . an enemy . . . danger . . . and . . . THE GRIM!!!
The Grim is an omen of death that takes the appearance of a giant dog. Maybe sort of similar to the one Harry saw the night he took the Knight Bus? Everyone in the class is astonished and scared, except for Hermione, who doesn’t seem to believe it for a second.
Next class is with McGonagall (my personal favorite teacher) who demonstrates her abilities as an Animagus (wizards who can transform into animals). She turns into a tabby cat, but no one is particularly impressed. Hermione explains that they had just come from their first Divination lesson.
“Ah, of course,” said Professor McGonagall, suddenly frowning. “There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?”
Yeah, this is apparently something that Professor Trelawney does on the regular, predicting the death of a student at the beginning of term.
“Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic. I shall not conceal from you that I have very little patience with it. True Seers are very rare, and Professor Trelawney -”
She stopped again, and then said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don’t let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in.”
Love her so much!
Ron is still concerned about the Grim though, especially when Harry tells him that he has actually seen a big dog. Hermione still doesn’t believe it, and says that she doesn’t think that Divination is all that great. In fact, it was no where near as good as Arithmancy class! As she flounces off, Ron is confused. She hasn’t been to an Arithmancy class yet – Divination was their first one.
Next up is their first Care of Magical Creatures lesson with brand new Professor Hagrid! The one who assigned a book that attacks you. That no one could open. All you need to do is stroke the spine and it lays flat, but honestly, how are you supposed to figure that out? And how many fingers are you willing to lose in the process? Malfoy, of course, is being a jerk because that’s the only way he knows how to behave. Harry is concerned because he really wants Hagrid’s first class to be a success. Their first assignment?
Once you got over the first shock of seeing something that was half horse, half bird, you started to appreciate the hippogriffs’ gleaming coats, changing smoothly from feather to hair, each of them a different color: stormy gray, bronze, pinkish roan, gleaming chestnut, and inky black.
They are really amazing creatures. Hagrid is right on this one. They are also very proud creatures. In order to interact with them, you have to bow. Show them respect. Hagrid asks for a volunteer and, when no one else jumps in, Harry agrees. He bows to a hippogriff named Buckbeak, who not only bows back, but lets Harry pet him and even ride him around the paddock.
As the class breaks off to work in groups with the beasts, Malfoy decides to act up again. Because of course he does. He calls Buckbeak a “great ugly brute,” which Buckbeak takes offense to and claws up Malfoy’s arm with his big talons. Malfoy is taken to the hospital wing where, let’s face it, Madam Pomfrey will make easy work of a simple cut, even if it is from a hippogriff. The Slytherins in the class all cry out for Hagrid to be sacked, even though this was Malfoy’s fault for not following instructions.
Later that evening, Harry, Ron and Hermione all go down to Hagrid’s hut to see how he’s doing. Drunk. That’s how he’s doing. He laments that he only lasted a day, sure that Malfoy will cause enough trouble to get him sacked. The three kids all assure him that they will be his witnesses that Malfoy was at fault, which makes Hagrid very happy, until he realizes that Harry came out after dark. It’s dangerous, after all, and they shouldn’t take a risk like that.
See you next time for Chapter 7!