In Chapter 15, things go from bad to worse as Umbridge takes more control over Hogwarts. Let’s go!
Everyone agrees that Dolores Umbridge is terrible, right? No one actually likes her, do they? Makes excuses for her? I can’t imagine it, but there is so much bad stuff in the world right now, I can’t rule anything out.
Harry & Co. find out exactly what Percy was talking about the very next morning by way of the front page of the Daily Prophet.
MINISTRY SEEKS EDUCATIONAL REFORM DOLORES UMBRIDGE APPOINTED FIRST-EVER “HIGH INQUISITOR”
According to Percy, who is heavily quoted in the article, plenty of parents have been concerned with the goings on at Hogwarts, so in response, the Ministry has appointed Umbridge to not just teach, but to be the High Inquisitor. As such, she will have the authority to inspect all the other teachers and basically stick her nose in everyone’s business. Lucius Malfoy is also quoted as a concerned parent, worried about some of Dumbledore’s “eccentric decisions,” like hiring a werewolf as a teacher. Which, when you put it that way, doesn’t sound like the best idea, but this is Lupin we’re talking about! We love him! And he was an awesome teacher!
Hermione is furious with the idea of the teachers being inspected, but Ron is looking forward to the inevitable showdown that will happen whenever Umbridge is scheduled to inspect McGonagall’s class. It should be . . . interesting.
The day goes on with History of Magic, followed by Potions. Umbridge is not inspecting either of those classes yet, but Snape is being his usual nasty self. He gave Harry a “D” on his assignment. Grades are a bit different at Hogwarts than they are at regular schools. As Fred and George explain, they are as follows: O for Outstanding, E for Exceeds Expectations, A for Acceptable, P for Poor, D for Dreadful, and then T. Which apparently stands for Troll.
Fred and George also tell them about their first inspected lesson: Charms.
“What was it like?” Harry and Hermione asked together.
“Not that bad. Umbridge just lurked in the corner making notes on a clipboard. You know what Flitwick’s like, he treated her like a guest, didn’t seem to bother him at all. She didn’t say much. Asked Alicia a couple of questions about what classes are normally like, Alicia told her they were really good, that was it.”
“I can’t see old Flitwick getting marked down,” said George, “he usually gets everyone through their exams all right.”
Yeah, no one is really worried about Flitwick.
Harry and Ron have Divination next, and lo and behold, there is Umbridge, ready to inspect Trelawney. And Trelawney is NOT happy about it. As the class starts, they are paired up to interpret each others dreams again, with Ron and Harry making things up as they go along. The main thing they want to do is try to overhear what’s going on between Trelawney and Umbridge. At first, it seems pretty standard. How long have you been teaching? (16 years) Was it Professor Dumbledore who appointed you? (Yes) Are you the descendant of the great seer Cassandra Trelawney? (Yes)
Things start to go off the rails when Umbridge asks Trelawney to make a prediction right on the spot. Trelawney prickles about this, claiming that the “Inner Eye does not See upon command,” but then tries to make up something about Umbridge being in danger, the same way she constantly does with Harry. I guess she’s trying to be intimidating, but it fails miserably. Umbridge is less than impressed. The whole interaction leaves Harry and Ron feeling conflicted.
They both knew that Professor Trelawney was an old fraud, but on the other hand, they loathed Umbridge so much that they felt very much on Trelawney’s side . . .
Yeah, Trelawney is annoying, but she’s not actively trying to take down Dumbledore. She’s not evil, as far as we know. Although she is so frustrated by Umbridge, and ends up taking her frustrations out on Harry, which makes him feel much less sympathetic.
They have D.A.D.A. next, so a double dose of Umbridge. Lovely. Umbridge tells them to start reading chapter 2 of their book, but Hermione isn’t having it. She raises her hand and tells Umbridge that not only has she read chapter 2, she’s read the whole thing. Umbridge tries to trip her up by asking a question from chapter 15, but clearly she’s never met someone with a nearly photographic memory like Hermione has. Hermione answers perfectly, which momentarily impresses Umbridge, but then goes on to tell Umbridge how she disagrees with the author of the textbook and his interpretation of counterjinxes. Umbridge shuts her down immediately, saying that Hermione’s opinion doesn’t matter in the slightest.
She also deducts five points from Gryffindor for Hermione disrupting class. According to Umbridge, their previous instruction was not good enough and had very disreputable teachers, some of whom may have given the students more freedom that was good for them, and who were teaching dangerous subjects. Of all their teachers, she says, only Quirrell would have likely been able to pass her inspection.
“Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher,” said Harry loudly, “there was just that minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head.”
Yep. That’s worth another week of detention, which means another week of cutting his hand open repeatedly. It also means missing Quidditch, which sets off Angelina and alerts McGonagall to the situation. McGonagall is not pleased at ALL. She takes five more points away to drive the lesson home and to teach Harry to pull it together, especially in Umbridge’s classes. Ron sticks up for Harry, but Hermione thinks she has a point. Harry cannot keep losing his temper around Umbridge. It will cause nothing but trouble.
And trouble is now heading to Transfiguration class. It’s McGonagall’s turn for inspection. McGonagall proceeds to ignore Umbridge and starts class. Umbridge tries a few times to get her attention with that simpering little cough. When McGonagall finally responds, it is absolutely glorious.
“I was just wondering, Professor, whether you received my note telling you of the date and time of your inspec –”
“Obviously I received it, or I would have asked you what you are doing in my classroom,” said Professor McGonagall.
And when Umbridge continues to try and interrupt . . .
“I wonder,” said Professor McGonagall in cold fury, turning on Professor Umbridge, “how you expect to gain an idea of my usual teaching methods if you continue to interrupt me? You see, I do not generally permit people to talk when I am talking.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love her so much!!!!!!
Umbridge doesn’t do much else throughout the lesson except take notes, and then ask McGonagall at the end how long she had been teaching (39 years). I don’t think Umbridge wanted to spend any more time with McGonagall than she had to.
Next class is Care of Magical Creatures with Grubbly-Plank, and Umbridge is there again. Honestly, when does Umbridge teach her own classes if she’s barging in to everyone else’s all the time? She has a few questions for Grubbly-Plank, although nothing too alarming. She asks about Hagrid, but G-P doesn’t know anything about it. She just took the job as a substitute teacher. Umbridge asks if she is happy with how things are run, and G-P is very pleased and thinks very highly of Dumbledore. G-P also goes through a rundown of what she plans to cover, which Umbridge seems pleased about.
And yes, her name is now G-P, as typing “Grubbly-Plank” is annoying.
After class and after Harry’s detention, which leaves his hand bleeding so bad, it’s bleeding through the scarf he has wrapped around it, Hermione gives him a bowl of murtlap tentacle solution. Which immediately helps. Ron thinks that Harry needs to complain to someone about being tortured like this, but Harry brings up a good point.
“McGonagall would go nuts if she knew –”
“Yeah, she probably would,” said Harry. “And how long d’you reckon it’d take Umbridge to pass another Decree saying anyone who complains about the High Inquisitor gets sacked immediately?”
That’s a fair point, especially since it’s not like Umbridge likes McGonagall at all anyway.
Hermione is also concerned that they will learn absolutely nothing with Umbridge as a teacher and proposes something absolutely out of the blue: Harry should teach them. Harry thinks she’s crazy, but Ron agrees that it’s a good idea. After all, Harry is the best at D.A.D.A., according to Hermione, and he’s done so much more than that. All the times he’s had to fight Voldemort, either as Voldy-Quirrell, Memory-Riddle, or last year at the Triwizard Tournament. Harry is a fighter, and that’s what they need right now.
Harry gets angry. I think he’s probably angry about lots of things, but the main thing he is angry about now is that Ron and Hermione have such confidence in him and they don’t understand. They’ve never had to go through what he has, never had their lives in danger, never watched an innocent person die in front of them. They don’t understand. Hermione points out, thought, that that’s kind of the point.
“Harry,” she said timidly, “don’t you see? This . . . this is exactly why we need you . . . We need to know what it’s r-really like . . . facing him . . . facing V-Voldemort.”
It’s true. Hermione asks him to at least think about it.
See you next time for Chapter 16!