In Chapter 30, we finally find out why Hagrid’s face has resembled raw hamburger meat for the whole year. Let’s go!
The Weasley twins are legends around school. I mean, they probably already were, but they really are now. The story of how they flew off into the sunset has grown immeasurably and now lots of students are fantasizing of doing something similar. Part of the reason for their fame — no one can figure out how to get rid of their swamp. Umbridge and Filch have both tried and can’t do it. Harry is pretty sure Flitwick or McGonagall could have done it, but none of the teachers feel too inclined to help Umbridge and, really, who can blame them?
Plus, now that Fred and George are gone, there are quite a few other students who want that Class Clown title and are going out of their way to cause mischief. Nifflers let loose in Umbridge’s office, dungbombs and stinkpellets dropped all over the place. It’s a mess. Filch is even walking the halls with a horsewhip, but he is vastly outnumbered, as is the Inquisitorial Squad.
Meanwhile it became clear just how many Skiving Snackboxes Fred and George had managed to sell before leaving Hogwarts. Umbridge only had to enter her classroom for the students assembled there to faint, vomit, develop dangerous fevers, or else spout blood from both nostrils. Shrieking with rage and frustration she attempted to trace the mysterious symptoms to their source, but the students told her stubbornly they were suffering “Umbridge-itis.” After putting four successive classes in detention and failing to discover their secret she was forced to give up and allow the bleeding, swooning, sweating, and vomiting students to leave her classes in droves.
Worse than the students? Peeves. The Weasley twins tasked him to do his worst, and he is more than up for the challenge. And NONE OF THE OTHER TEACHERS DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. They enjoy watching Umbridge suffer and, in McGonagall’s case, actually give Peeves some advice on how to unscrew a chandelier.
In the meantime, Ron is not looking forward to the next letter he gets from his mother. He is sure that Mrs. Weasley will somehow blame him for Fred and George leaving school. Not that there was anything he could have done, in fact, it’s obvious that the twins had been planning this for a long time if they already had a shop in Diagon Alley. Ron wonders how they got the money. Hermione wonders if Mundungus hooked them up with stolen goods. Harry decides to admit that he gave them his Triwizard winnings, which makes Ron happy because now, if his mom is mad, she can blame Harry.
Hermione also asks if Harry had gotten up the nerve to ask Snape about resuming Occlumency lessons, which of course, Harry hasn’t. He doesn’t want to go anywhere near Snape. Hermione knows that Harry is still having dreams because Ron told her that Harry was talking in his sleep. He had the dream again in the Department of Mysteries, in the room with all the glass orbs. Hermione asks if he’s still trying to practice Occlumency on his own and Harry lies and says he is. The truth of the matter is that he’s too curious about what is in that room. He doesn’t want to block out the dream, he wants to find out what it means.
The final Quidditch match of the season is Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. Ron says that since Slytherin lost to Hufflepuff in the previous match, Gryffindor still has a chance for the Cup. Besides, Ron can’t get any worse, can he? Hermione guesses that Ron might actually fare better without the twins around to tease him all the time, and she might be right. The twins aren’t there, but the Slytherins still are, singing “Weasley Is Our King” at the top of their lungs.
Harry and Hermione are both beckoned by Hagrid who asks them to come with him while everyone else is distracted by the Quidditch match. Hagrid still looks awful, this time with a nose bleed, but he also looks really sad and hopeless. Hagrid leads them into the Forbidden Forest, carrying his crossbow for protection because the centaur herd is super angry at him right now because he stepped in when they were beating up Firenze.
They go super deep into the forest, deeper than Harry had ever gone. It’s darker than darker in there. They stop for a second so that Hagrid can fill them in a bit. He’s worried that he will be getting fired any day now, especially since Umbridge thinks he put the niffler in her office. Which he didn’t, but that doesn’t matter. Hagrid isn’t worried about getting fired, and figures that he can help the Order even more once he’s left. They finally stop and hear the sound of deep, loud, heavy breathing, as though something large is sleeping. Hermione, as usual, catches on before Harry does.
“Hagrid,” she said in a whisper barely audible over the sound of the sleeping creature, “who is he?”
Harry found this an odd question . . . “What is it?” was the one he had been planning on asking.
“Hagrid, you told us,” said Hermione, her wand now shaking in her hand, “you told us none of them wanted to come!”
Harry looked from her to Hagrid and then, as realization hit him, he looked back at the mound with a small gasp of horror.
The great mound of earth, one which he, Hermione, and Hagrid could easily have stood, was moving slowly up and down in time with the deep, grunting breathing. It was not a mound at all. It was the curved back of what was clearly . . .
A giant. This is a giant. Hagrid admits that no, this particular giant did not want to come back with him, but he couldn’t leave him behind. This is Hagrid’s brother, Grawp. He couldn’t leave him because the other giants were beating him up because apparently even though Grawp is huge, he’s actually small by giant standards. Hagrid wants to prove that giants are harmless, but it’s been Grawp that’s been beating him up all this time. Not on purpose, Hagrid doesn’t think, but Grawp doesn’t know his own strength.
For everyone’s safety, Grawp has been tied down. What Hagrid wants from Harry and Hermione (and Ron) is for them to look after Grawp if Hagrid has to leave. Keep him company. Give him English lessons. Hagrid decides to wake up the sleeping giant (which doesn’t sound like a good idea at all) to introduce them. He’s not a handsome fellow, Grawp. Or, I don’t know, maybe he is for a giant. Grawp has been uprooting trees and tries to take a swipe at Harry and Hermione, catching Hagrid in the face.
They head back, now that introductions are over, and run into the centaurs. They tell Hagrid that he should not have come into the Forest, that he is no longer welcome there. They are very, very angry that Firenze has entered the “servitude” of humans. Which is nothing like what actually happened, but centaurs have strong opinions where humans are concerned, especially when one of their own is willingly sharing their secrets. The centaurs agree to not hurt Hagrid because he is accompanied by his “young.” They don’t hurt the innocent. They are, however, really upset that Grawp is in their forest.
“Hagrid,” said Hermione breathlessly, skirting the patch of nettles they had passed on their way there, “if the centaurs don’t want humans in the forest, it doesn’t really look as though Harry and I will be able –”
“Ah, you heard what they said,” said Hagrid dismissively. “They wouldn’t hurt foals — I mean, kids. Anyway, we can’ let ourselves be pushed around by that lot . . .”
Yeah, nice try, Hermione, but that’s not going to work.
Once they clear the forest, they hear the crowd coming from the Quidditch game. Hagrid tells them to quickly blend in so that no one will notice they’ve been gone. Hermione is incensed. Hagrid has made everything more difficult for them and they don’t know what to do about it. As they walk toward the crowd, they hear a chorus of “Weasley Is Our King.” Hermione wants to avoid the Slytherins, but then they listen more closely to the words they are singing.
Weasley can save anything,
He never leaves a single ring,
that’s why Gryffindors all sing:
Weasley is our King.
They see a group of Gryffindors carrying Ron on their shoulders up to the door to Hogwarts. Ron is so excited, holding the Quidditch Cup over his head. Harry and Hermione are very happy for him, but decide to save their news about Grawp for tomorrow. Let Ron have one more night of innocence before that revelation.
See you next time for Chapter 31!