In Chapter 7, Harry sees the Ministry of Magic for the first time. Let’s go!
There are several things about this hearing that are flat out messed up. I would be scared out of my wits if it happened to me.
So Harry wakes up that morning and is not hungry for breakfast at all. Sorry, Mrs. Weasley. You’re an awesome cook and you just want to help, but it’s not going to happen today. The others at breakfast try to make Harry feel better. The hearing will be with Amelia Bones, who Tonks likes and thinks is very fair. Sirius warns him to not lose his temper, but to stick to the facts. Lupin assures him that he didn’t really do anything wrong — he was just defending himself, which is perfectly within the law.
Mr. Weasley escorts Harry to the Ministry, but since he’s traveling with Harry, he can’t just Apparate. They will get there via non-magical means, which Mr. Weasley thoroughly enjoys, as fascinated with Muggles as he is.
“Simply fabulous,” he whispered, indicating the automatic ticket machines. “Wonderfully ingenious.”
“They’re out of order,” said Harry, pointing at the sign.
“Yes, but even so . . .” said Mr. Weasley, beaming fondly at them.
I personally love Mr. Weasley and his love of all things Muggle, but I also understand how the rest of the wizarding world finds him a little odd.
The next step is to go through the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry, which is located in an old telephone booth. They dial a number — 62442 — and an operator answers, a badge for Harry slips out of the coin return slot, and the floor sinks down into the ground like an elevator. The Ministry itself is beautiful, with golden fireplaces where wizards can arrive via floo powder, a dark polished wood floor, a bright blue ceiling with golden symbols floating on it, and a golden fountain depicting a witch, a wizard, a centaur, a goblin and a house-elf.
The last three were all looking adoringly up at the witch and wizard. Glittering jets of water were flying from the ends of the two wands, the point of the centaur’s arrow, the tip of the goblin’s hat, and each of the house-elf’s ears, so that the tinkling hiss of falling water was added to the pops and cracks of Apparators and the clatter of footsteps as hundreds of witches and wizards, most of whom were wearing glum, early-morning looks, strode toward a set of golden gates at the far end of the hall.
They go through security, which measures the specifics of Harry’s wand, and then head to the elevators, where they see several other Ministry members as well as paper airplanes flying through the air carrying messages between departments (they used to use owls, but stopped because they poop too much). They stop and talk briefly to Kingsley (pretending as if they don’t know each other all that well) before heading to Mr. Weasley’s office. Suddenly, another wizard in the office comes in to tell them that they received an urgent message: the time of Harry’s hearing has been moved up to eight o’clock and will be down in the old Courtroom. It started five minutes ago! They rush back to the elevators, running into a strange man by the name of Bode, and ride the elevator down to the lowest floor, the Department of Mysteries. Even then, they have to go down more stairs until they get to a very ominous corridor.
They reached the bottom of the steps and ran along yet another corridor, which bore a great resemblance to that which led to Snape’s dungeon at Hogwarts, with rough stone walls and torches in brackets. The doors they passed here were heavy wooden ones with iron bolts and keyholes.
“Courtroom . . . ten . . . I think . . . we’re nearly . . . yes.”
Mr. Weasley stumbled to a halt outside a grimy dark door with an immense iron lock and slumped against the wall, clutching at a stitch in his chest.
“Go on,” he panted, pointing his thumb at the door. “Get in there.”
No only does Harry have to enter a courtroom that looks like a prison cell, he has to go in alone. Mr. Weasley is not allowed to come in with him. He’s on his own.
See you next time for Chapter 8!