Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 20

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In Chapter 20, Hagrid is back and that’s the only thing I care about. Let’s go!

Hagrid is the embodiment of all that is good and right with this world. I adore him so much. Harry, Ron and Hermione hurry as fast as they can, while still trying to hide under the Invisibility Cloak, and arrive at Hagrid’s house to see lights in the windows and smoke coming out of the chimney. It’s true! He’s back!

Except it’s not all good. Hagrid looks awful.

Hagrid’s hair was matted with congealed blood, and his left eye had been reduced to a puffy slit amid a mass of purple-and-black bruises. There were many cuts on his face and hands, some of them still bleeding, and he was moving gingerly, which made Harry suspect broken ribs.

Oh Hagrid. I want to give him a hug except A). it would probably hurt him, and B). he’s, well, fictional.

Hagrid won’t tell them why or how he came by his injuries, keeps saying that it’s nothing even when they can obviously tell that he’s lying. Ron says he looks like he’s been attacked. Hermione wants him to go to the hospital wing. Hagrid just slaps a large steak of dragon meat on his face and tells them he’s fine.

Hermione asks him if the giants beat him up, which makes Hagrid jumpy. He wants to know how they found out, but he also knows these kids have a knack for figuring out stuff. He admits that, yes, he was sent out by Dumbledore to track down the giants. Yes, giants are a thing in the wizarding world, although they live pretty remote up in the mountains.

“Come on, Hagrid, tell us what you’ve been up to!” said Ron. “Tell us about being attacked by the giants and Harry can tell you about being attacked by the dementors –“

That makes Hagrid take notice. He didn’t know anything about that, or Harry almost getting expelled, or Harry getting a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry. Hagrid’s been out of the loop and, finally, decides to give them the details.

He wasn’t sent off to the dragons alone, thank goodness. Madame Maxime went with him. Dumbledore knew where the giants were and it took them a month to get there. They couldn’t travel a quicker way (like via Portkey) because they are being watched. They were followed by someone from the Ministry, but lost them in France. Once they got closer, they had to be careful not to use magic too much because giants don’t like it. They also had to be careful because of Death Eaters.

Oh, and giants are around 20 feet tall. And they found around 70 to 80 of them.

They met with the Gurg, which is what they call their leader, and brought them some gifts from Dumbledore. The Gurg, a giant named Karkus, seemed responsive, as did some of the others in the tribe. Hagrid and Maxime met with them over the course of several days, but then there were problems. A new Gurg took over, Golgomath, who had killed Karkus and was ready to kill Hagrid and Maxime too. They barely got away and spent a few days trying to see what had happened next, and it turns out that Death Eaters had already approached Golgomath.

Any giants who were friendly with Karkus went into hiding. Hagrid and Maxime found a few who had survived the take over, but they were soon hunted down. After that, they didn’t want to have anything more to do with Hagrid.

“So . . . so there aren’t any giants coming?” said Ron, looking disappointed.

“Nope,” said Hagrid, heaving a deep sigh as he turned over his steak again and applied the cooler side to his face, “but we did wha’ we meant ter do, we gave ’em Dumbledore’s message an’ some o’ them heard it an’ I ‘spect some o’ them’ll remember it. Jus’ maybe, them that don’ want ter stay around Golgomath’ll move outta the mountains, an’ there’s gotta be a chance they’ll remember Dumbledore’s friendly to ’em . . . Could be they’ll come . . .”

It’s not much to hope for, not really, but it’s at least a little something.

Hermione asks if Hagrid had found any sign of his mother while he was there. He did — she had died years ago. He’s okay, since he barely remembers her.

Before he can go into more of an explanation of why he looks the way he does, they see someone heading towards the hut. It’s Umbridge. Harry, Ron and Hermione rush to get under the Invisibility Cloak as Hagrid opens the door. Hagrid recognizes her name and tries to me cordial, but Umbridge is not here for small talk. She had seen footprints in the snow heading to Hagrid’s house. Umbridge starts searching the hut and questioning Hagrid about his injuries, which Hagrid explains very unconvincingly. She also asks why he has been gone, to which he says he was gone for health reasons. She makes a few pointed remarks about mountains which leads them to believe that she somehow knows about Hagrid’s mission. She also informs him that she is inspecting teachers now.

After she leaves, Hagrid asks about how she’s been inspecting people. He also gets excited because he has some very interesting animals to show them. Hermione is worried.

“Hagrid . . . please . . .” said Hermione, a note of real desperation in her voice. “Umbridge is looking for any excuse to get rid of teachers she thinks are too close to Dumbledore. Please, Hagrid, teach us something dull that’s bound to come up in our O.W.L. . .”

We all know that’s not going to happen.

See you next time for Chapter 21!

Drabbles

Disney-A-Thon TBR

Oh boy, why do I do these things to myself?? I blame Lorryn @ Reading Parental for making it sound like so much fun.

I have decided, at the absolute last minute, to join the Disney-A-Thon readathon for the month of August. I’m going with Team Tangled since I already own a copy of the group book and this will be a good excuse to finally read it.

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Here are my book choices:

  • Rapunzel: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – I’ve had a copy of this on my bookshelf almost since the day it came out and have heard nothing but good things about it.
  • Flynn Rider: Pharaoh’s Star by Olivia Ray Hardy – I have this ARC and the description says its about a strange and mysterious thing happening on a dark, lonely road. Works for me!
  • The Snuggly Duckling Crew: Stain by A.G. Howard – All of her book covers are gorgeous, but this one is really beautiful.
  • Mother Gothel: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – It’s hard to get out of my comfort zone, since I read just about anything, but I don’t read a lot of hard sci-fi. I’m also pretty sure there are many power-hungry characters in it.
  • Maximus: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I have had this one since it came out as well and can’t wait to finally read it!

Will I do any of the other team challenges? No idea. I don’t know if I can do this one, to be honest! But I’m going to give it my best shot. It should be fun in any case!

Anyone else joining in? You can find all the details on the Disney-A-Thon Twitter. Let me know so we can cheer each other along!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday -7/31/19

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

So many things, y’all. I am finding that I keep forgetting books that I am going to start reading, which is why last week for the “what are you going to read next” question, I forgot to put down Altered by Vicki Stiefel. This is for another blog tour later next month. I have several of those, which is fun. I’m also reading How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman and Perfect Pitch by Alex Hayes (Chameleon Effect series book #2),  both also for blog tours. I am also still making progress on Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas and I am still working through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling for my Chapter-A-Long feature here on the blog.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Silken Scales by Alex Hayes (book #1 in the Chameleon Effect series) the end of last week, and finished Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay yesterday. You’ll see my review for Ever Alice tomorrow, but you’ll have to wait until August 9th for Silken Scales, since it’s part of the blog tour. I also very quickly read You Were Here by Cori McCarthy, which was so good, I needed to immediately blog about it. You can find my review here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Looking at my schedule this time, I see that I have another NetGalley review coming up soon: The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot. I will be starting that one in the next week or so. After that, I’m not sure. I have a few blog tour requests I’m waiting to hear back on, as well as some more NetGalley books I need to ask about. I need to focus on finishing Kingdom of Ash, so I may just double down on it before I get too many more new reads. That would put me closer to meeting my “Complete the Series” goal for this year. I wanted to finish up three series that I had previously started, and this would be #2! Which is cool!

Please leave your WWW in comments! I love to hear what you all are reading!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 19

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In Chapter 19, the Gryffindor Quidditch team play their first match of the season, and it is a complete disaster. Let’s go!

It’s nice that Harry is feeling hopeful for once. No, check that. He’s feeling triumphant. Every time he looks at Umbridge, he knows that he’s doing the exact thing she wouldn’t want. It’s a wonderful thing. What’s even better is that they are all improving by leaps and bounds. It’s hard to come up with a regular schedule, but Harry figures that in this case, being unpredictable is probably for the best, especially once Hermione comes up with her charm on the coins so that they can alert each other.

“You can do a Protean Charm?” said Terry Boot.

“Yes,” said Hermione.

“But that’s . . . that’s N.E.W.T. standard, that is,” he said weakly.

“Oh,” said Hermione, trying to look modest. “Oh . . . well . . . yes, I suppose it is . . .”

“How come you’re not in Ravenclaw?” he demanded, staring at Hermione with something close to wonder. “With brains like yours?”

It’s a valid question. I’ve always thought that Hermione would have been better off in Ravenclaw. She even tells them that the Sorting Hat considered Ravenclaw before putting her in Gryffindor.

The first Quidditch match is also coming up: Gryffindor vs. Slytherin. And things are getting ugly. McGonagall has tried to lighten up on their homework, but Snape has been booking the Quidditch pitch so much for his team to practice, the Gryffindors can barely practice at all. There are also a lot of hexes getting thrown around. Harry is a bit concerned about how Ron will do in his first match, but he’s been improving in practice, although he still gets very flustered when he makes a mistake. This is also the first time he’s had to deal with the Slytherins trash talking him in the hallways. You gotta learn how to shake that stuff off, Ron!

On the morning of the match, Ron looks like he’s going to be sick. Harry reminds him of the spectacular save that Ron made in practice, but Ron admits that he had almost fallen off his broom and had saved the goal merely by chance. Ginny and Hermione show up to lend their support and, surprisingly, so does Luna Lovegood.

Many people were staring at her and a few openly laughing and pointing; she had managed to procure a hate shaped like a life-size lion’s head, which was perched precariously on her head.

“I’m supporting Gryffindor,” said Luna, pointing unnecessarily at her hat. “Look at what it does . . .”

She reached up and tapped the hat with her wand. It opened its mouth wide and gave an extremely realistic roar that made everyone in the vicinity jump.

Oh Luna. Never ever change.

There’s also a little part where Hermione kisses Ron on the cheek for good luck. It’s so cute!

The Slytherins are being their usual obnoxious selves, but now they are also sporting pins with the words “Weasley is Our King.” Angelina also tells them that Crabbe and Goyle are the new beaters for the Slytherin team. None of this is helping Ron’s nerves. As the game begins, it’s a tough one. Gryffindor makes several attempts at goal, but are thwarted each time. I’m not going to give a play-by-play of the game. The main thing that happens in the game is that a group of Slytherins start singing a song from the stands. It’s dedicated to Ron.

Weasley cannot save a thing,

He cannot block a single ring,

That’s why Slytherins all sing:

Weasley is our King.

Weasley was born in a bin,

He always lets the Quaffle in,

Weasley will make sure we win,

Weasley is our King.

It’s enough to throw Ron off his game. The Slytherins take a shot, he doesn’t block it, and they score. And they score again. They score four times in a row. Harry sees the Snitch and is able to dive down and get it before Malfoy. So Gryffindor wins, thank goodness. Malfoy, being the horrible loser that he is, starts spouting off about the song that he wrote, about how he wanted to talk about Ron’s mother and father as well. Fred and George overhear this and both of them lunge for Malfoy. Harry tries to hold them back, but then Malfoy says something about his mother, and that’s it. It’s go time.

It takes an Impediment Jinx, fired by Madam Hooch, to knock them all back. She sends them all up to McGonagall’s office. McGonagall is more angry than they’ve ever seen her. She reminds them that A). they know Malfoy is a horrible git, and B). he had just lost the game and was bound to be even worse than usual. Before she can even continue, they are interrupted by Umbridge, who has to stick her nose into everything, because of course she does. She offers to “help” McGonagall with a “little extra authority.” Yeah, because McGonagall isn’t scary enough on her own.

McGonagall gives them a week’s worth of detentions, but Umbridge interrupts, saying that she thinks they deserve more. What’s worse, Umbridge has yet another Educational Decree that gives her even more authority than she had before.

“As a matter of fact, Minerva, it was you who made me see that we needed a further amendment . . . You remember how you overrode me, when I was unwilling to allow the Gryffindor Quidditch team to reform? How you took the case to Dumbledore, who insisted that the team be allowed to play? Well, now, I couldn’t have that. I contacted the Minister at once, and he quite agreed with me that the High Inquisitor has to have the power to strip pupils of privileges, or she — that is to say, I — would have less authority than common teachers! And you see now, don’t you, Minerva, how right I was in attempting to stop the Gryffindor team re-forming? Dreadful tempers . . . “

She goes on to say that this new Decree gives her the “supreme authority” over all punishments and that as such, Harry, Fred and George will be banned from playing Quidditch. Forever. She sees this as reasonable, since she is not banning the other players who didn’t get involved. When Harry tells Angelina, she can’t believe it. She doesn’t know what to do. None of the Slytherins got punished for anything.

Ron is conspicuously absent, but arrives later. He has just been walking around and says that he’s planning on quitting the team. Harry tells him not to, since that would mean that there would hardly be any team left. Ron wants to blame himself, but Harry assures him the blame is all Malfoy’s. They go back and forth, Ron blaming himself, Harry trying to tell him that it’s not his fault, and only stop when Hermione interrupts them with great news.

Hagrid is back!

See you next time for Chapter 20!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday – 7/30/19

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

This week’s teaser comes from Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, the seventh and final book in the Throne of Glass series.

“Prepare this city, this keep,” Chaol managed to say through his gritted teeth. “Or you’ll deserve everything you bring down upon it.”

No Top Ten today unfortunately. Hopefully it will be back next week. Until then, please share your teasers in comments!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 18

 

In Chapter 18, Harry hosts his first “study group.” Let’s go!

The end of the last chapter was horrifying. In class, Harry, Ron and Hermione now have to worry that Umbridge was somehow behind the attack on Hedwig, since she had obviously read the note from Sirius and tried to get him. Honestly, picture that grubby little hand with all the tacky rings just reaching for him. Ugh!

They do get some good news though: Angelina got permission to reform the Gryffindor Quidditch team! She had to appeal to McGonagall to do it, but it worked!

Hermione starts worrying about this whole D.A.D.A. group, which baffles the boys.

“Hermione, it was your idea in the first place!” said Ron indignantly.

“I know,” said Hermione, twisting her fingers together. “But after talking to Snuffles . . .”

“But he’s all for it!” said Harry.

“Yes,” said Hermione, staring at the window again. “Yes, that’s what made me think maybe it wasn’t a good idea after all . . .”

She may have a point. Sirius has been cooped up for so long, of course he thinks sneaking around and forming a secret group right under the Ministry’s nose is a good idea. Harry says that he trusts Sirius’s opinion, but Hermione just isn’t sure.

Quidditch practice that afternoon is a disaster, mostly because it is pouring down rain. They try to fly for an hour before giving up, but while toweling off in the locker room, Harry’s scar starts to hurt again. This time, it comes with the strong impression of what Voldemort is feeling – he’s angry. Ron asks if it’s some sort of vision, which it isn’t, but Harry knows that Voldemort wants something to be done, and it’s not getting done fast enough for him.

Ron asks about the last time his scar hurt, back in Umbridge’s office. Harry thinks back and remembers that it had felt more like Voldemort was pleased about something. And the time before that, Voldemort had been furious. Ron thinks Harry needs to tell someone. They can’t communicate with Sirius, and Harry doesn’t want to tell Dumbledore. Which, personally, I think is a mistake. Harry is still smarting from the weird way Dumbledore was acting around him over the summer and rationalizes that Dumbledore already knows about Harry’s scar behaving like this.

They head back up to the common room to start working on the mounds of homework they have. Harry ends up staying up long after everyone else has gone to sleep, but the warmth of the fire makes it really hard to stay awake. Around midnight, he starts to drift off . . . and starts to dream . . .

He was walking once more along a windowless corridor, his footsteps echoing in the silence. As the door at the end of the passage loomed larger his heart beat fast with excitement . . . If he could only open it . . . enter beyond . . .

He stretched out his hand . . . His fingertips were inches from it . . .

He is awoken with a start by Dobby, who has come to deliver Hedwig, who is all healed up. Harry notices that Dobby is wearing multiple hats, socks and scarves, all of which look like the ones Hermione had been making. Turns out, Dobby has been taking them all, giving some to Winky, who is still drinking quite a bit. The other house-elves refuse to clean Gryffindor Tower and are insulted by the fact that clothes have been left out for them like this. So Dobby has been doing it all.

Dobby notices that Harry is not happy and wants desperately to help him. Because he’s Dobby. At first Harry dismisses his offer for help, but then wonders if maybe a house-elf, who would have the run of the whole castle, might in fact have the answer. He asks if Dobby knows of a place where their group can practice without anyone finding them. Especially Umbridge. Dobby immediately knows of a place! The house-elves call it the Come and Go Room, or the Room of Requirement.

“Because it is a room that a person can only enter,” said Dobby seriously, “when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs. Dobby has used it, sir . . . when Winky has been very drunk. He has hidden her in the Room of Requirement and he has found antidotes to butterbeer there, and a nice elf-sized bed to settle her on while she sleeps it off, sir . . .”

Anyone else think that Dobby might have a crush on Winky? They’d be so cute!

Harry remembers a time that Dumbledore had mentioned finding a mysterious bathroom and thinks this might be the same place. No one really knows about it because it appears different to different people and they can’t always find it again. Harry considers heading out that night to go and check things out, but decides that maybe he should use a bit of caution, considering all the trouble he’s about to get into. Instead, he gets Dobby to tell him exactly how to get into the room. Aw, look at that! He’s growing up!

The next day, Harry starts spreading the word. Hermione is still worried, now about this whole Room of Requirement thing. She’s not sure how safe Dobby’s ideas are, and to be fair, she does have a point. Dobby’s last attempts at “helping” involved trying to get Harry maimed enough that he’d be sent home from Hogwarts. Her worries are put to rest once Harry says that Dumbledore had mentioned the room before. Together, they all let the group know of where they were going to meet and how to get inside.

That night, Harry, Ron and Hermione head out, using the Marauder’s Map to make sure they aren’t found out. The reach the corridor that Dobby described and walk past the wall three times, thinking very hard about what they need.

We need somewhere to learn to fight . . . He thought. Just give us a place to practice . . . Somewhere they can’t find us . . .

And what do you know, it works! A door appears in the wall that leads into a very large room filled with everything you could possibly need to start a possibly illegal study group. Books on defensive magic. Cushions for stunning. Dark magic detectors. They wait while other members of the group trickle in, and everyone seems quite impressed. Actually, Fred and George remember that they had found a room here before, but it was just a broom closet for them.

Hermione says that they should elect an official leader. Cho immediately says it should be Harry, which makes Harry feel pretty good about himself. They also decide that they need a name. There are a few suggestions, but they want something that is easy to remember and also something that can be talked about in mixed company without it being obvious what they are doing.

“The Defense Association?” said Cho. “The D.A. for short, so nobody knows what we’re talking about?”

“Yeah, the D.A.’s good,” said Ginny. “Only let’s make it stand for Dumbledore’s Army because that’s the Ministry’s worst fear, isn’t it?”

It’s really fun watching Ginny come into her own in these later books. She went from being this little mousy child to having this confidence and a sarcastic streak I can really get behind.

On to the lesson. Harry figures that they should start with the Expelliarmus spell, something that is somewhat basic, but also very important to know. Zacharias Smith has to get mouthy about it – can I punch him please? – and Harry quietly lets him know that this spell is what saved his life last year. Yeah, you don’t have an answer to that, now do you Zach? They all split up into teams and start practicing. Harry works with Neville, who is pretty hopeless, but soon leaves Neville to take turns with Ron and Hermione so that he can walk around the room to give tips.

This is a new role for Harry – being the teacher instead of the taught – and it is awkward at first. Slowly, the group starts to improve. Harry walks by Cho, which makes her nervous and accidentally set fire to her friend Marietta’s robes. As Marietta scowls and walks away, Cho confides that Marietta didn’t really want to be there, since her mother works at the Ministry. What does Cho’s family think?

“Well, they’ve forbidden me to get on the wrong side of Umbridge too,” said Cho, drawing herself up proudly. “But if they think I’m not going to fight You-Know-Who after what happened to Cedric –“

It’s easy to see that Cho feels a bit conflicted, talking about Cedric to Harry. That’s got to mean something, right?

The time passes by pretty quickly and soon Harry realizes that they don’t have a lot of time to get back to their common rooms before curfew. They decide on the next time to meet and then send students out in twos and threes, Harry keeping an eye on the Marauder’s Map the whole time to make sure they all get back safely. Harry listens as Ron and Hermione go back and forth, arguing over who cast the spell better on the other person, but all he can really think about is Cho.

See you next time for Chapter 19!

Added to GoodReads

Added to GoodReads – 7/29/19

goodreads

Added to GoodReads is a weekly feature where I share the books that I heard about last week as well as the bloggers that have shared their reviews. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to be a better blog follower, liking and commenting more than I usually do, and it’s been a lot of fun. There are so many wonderful blogs out there!

See what happens when I blog hop more! My TBR explodes! Oh well. It was bound to happen eventually. Please check out these bloggers and also share any other reviews out there that you enjoy!