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!