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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 34

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In Chapter 34, it’s off to the Ministry of Magic! What could go wrong!

How weird would it be to ride a flying animal that was completely invisible? Harry, Neville and Luna can see the thestrals and each climb onto one. Ron, Hermione and Ginny, on the other hand? Not so much? Luna leaves her thestral to help them, but I can’t imagine any of them feel particularly secure up there. I know I sure wouldn’t!

“This is mad,” Ron said faintly, moving his free hand gingerly up and down his horse’s neck. “Mad . . . if I could just see it –”

“You’d better hope it stays invisible,” said Harry darkly.

Truth. If you suddenly see your thestral, that means you also just saw one of your friends/siblings die. Still, riding a thestral is not a comfortable experience, especially since they move really fast through the air and it’s not necessarily the smoothest ride. It’s also really cold up there in the atmosphere. Harry can’t help but wonder if they are going to get there in time. He was still pretty sure that Sirius was alive and that he still hadn’t done whatever it was Voldemort wanted him to do, but all Harry can do is guess based on how his scar is feeling.

They land in London next to the telephone booth entrance to the Ministry. Somehow, I have no idea how, the thestrals knew where that was. Maybe they have the same magical GPS that owls seem to have? You just tell them where to go and they just know? Ron swears he will never do that again, and I don’t blame him. That would have scared me half to death.

They all pile into the telephone booth. Harry remembers the number to dial and the voice replies to them, the same way it did when Harry came down with Mr. Weasley. This time, at night and given the circumstances, it’s really creepy. Harry gives it their names and says they are here to save someone. The telephone booth then gives them all badges with their names on them, indicating that they are on a “rescue mission.” I know it’s supposed to be funny, but it’s just so damn serious right now! I was freaked out the first time I read this!

Also ominous – the security guard is missing. Harry is pretty sure that there should have been someone there, even if it is the middle of the night. This is a government building, THE government building for the wizarding world. There should always be security there and they are missing. Luckily, Harry knows where to go. They head to the elevators and descend into the depths, arriving at the Department of Mysteries. There, finally, Harry sees the black door that he’s been dreaming about all year long.

“Okay, listen,” said Harry, stopping again within six feet of the door. “Maybe . . . maybe a couple of people should stay here as a — as a lookout, and –”

“And how’re we going to let you know something’s coming?” asked Ginny, her eyebrows raised. “You could be miles away.”

“We’re coming with you, Harry,” said Neville.

“Let’s get on with it,” said Ron firmly.

Nice try, Harry, but they are not staying behind.

Here’s where everything starts to get trippy. They enter the door and find a round room with lots of doors, lit by blue flamed candles. As soon as they close the door they came through, the walls start to spin really fast and then they stop. Now they have no idea which door they came through and no idea of how to get out. Hermione says that they need to keep quiet, but I don’t think that needed to be said. It’s fairly clear.

In his dream, Harry just walked right across the room and entered the door across from the entrance, but the spinning room thing has startled all of them. He decides that they will just try a few doors and see if he recognizes one of them. The first door is empty except for some desks and an enormous tank of water filled with . . . swimming brains? Really? What the heck is the Ministry doing with a tank full of brains? In any case, this is not the right room, so they head back to the round room. Before they close the door, Hermione casts a spell that puts a red X on the room they were in, and this X stays there even after the room spins again. Quick thinking there, Hermione!

The next room is really creepy. It is a stone amphitheater with a raised platform on the “stage” of it. On the platform is a stone archway that looks really, really old, like it is falling apart. Hanging from the arch is a tattered black curtain, swaying slightly . . . in a room where the air is absolutely still. Harry has a weird reaction to this thing. He thinks he can hear whispers coming from the other side of the archway, even though you can see right through it and no one is there. It’s so creepy! Luna can hear the whispers too, but no one else can. Also, Harry is strangely drawn to the archway, so much so that he actually forgets about Sirius for a minute, before Hermione reminds him and drags him away.

There has been so much speculation about this archway in the Harry Potter fandom, but I don’t know if there was ever a definitive answer from JKR. My guess has always been that this was where the Ministry conducted executions, sending condemned wizards through it to die since (spoiler alert) that’s what will happen to Sirius when he goes through. Maybe they don’t do this any longer, which is why it looks so old? The wizarding world abolished capital punishment?

They head back to the round room, which spins again. The next door they try will not open, no matter what they try to cast on it. They leave it alone. The door after that does open and Harry recognizes it immediately.

He knew it at once by the beautiful, dancing, diamond-sparkling light. As Harry’s eyes became more accustomed to the brilliant glare he saw clocks gleaming from every surface, large and small, grandfather and carriage, hanging in spaces between the bookcases or standing on desks ranging the length of the room, so that a busy, relentless ticking filled the place like thousands of minuscule, marching footsteps. The source of the dancing, diamond-bright light was a towering crystal bell jar that stood on a desk and appeared to be full of a billowing, glittering wind . . .

Drifting along in the sparkling current inside was a tiny, jewel-bright egg. As it rose in the jar it cracked open and a hummingbird emerged, which was carried to the very top of the jar, but as it fell on the draft, its feathers became bedraggled and damp again, and by the time it had been borne back to the bottom of the jar it had been enclosed once more in its egg.

It’s beautiful, but still creepy. Everything about this place is creepy. I could never work in the Department of Mysteries!

They go through the clock room to the next room, which is the last room in Harry’s dreams. The room is very large with high ceilings filled with shelves upon shelves covered in glass orbs. The shelves have numbers on them and Harry remembers seeing row 97 in his vision. They keep going, but see no one around. At row 97, they turn and head down the row of shelves, but still no one. Harry knows this is the place – he’s seen it in his visions. But this time, there’s no sign of Sirius.

He doesn’t want to hear anyone say “I told you so,” not after he was so sure they had to get here, but instead, Ron sees something. Something odd. One of the glass orbs has a label that has Harry’s name on it.

S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.

Dark Lord and (?) Harry Potter

It’s very strange. It was also dated almost 16 years ago. Ron looks around, but doesn’t see his name or any of their other names on anything. Just Harry. Harry goes to reach for it, but Hermione stops him. She doesn’t think he should touch it, and neither does Neville. I’m with them, Harry. You don’t know what this thing is. What if it’s something that could kill you instantly? You don’t know!

Harry being Harry, he reaches out and picks up the orb anyway. It’s surprisingly warm. Nothing happens when he touches it, and nothing happens when he lifts it off the shelf. They all stand there staring at this dusty orb.

And then, from right behind them, a drawling voice said, “Very good, Potter. Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me.”

Yikes!!!

See you next time for Chapter 35!

Teaser Tuesday · Top Ten Tuesdays

Teasers & Top Tens – 8/20/19

tuesday

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! 

Today’s teaser comes from Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins:

But this room looked like it had been decorated by the unholy lovechild of Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake.

A short quote, but it made me laugh. Also, yes, this is yet another book that I started last night. We had a power outage and since I didn’t want to use any of my devices (trying to conserve the batteries), I picked up a paperback (or as my friend Jess calls them, a dead tree copy). This was another series I had wanted to try to finish, so I figured why not. It’s a fairly light read.

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TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Favorite Tropes

This one was actually pretty easy for me. Over the years, I have tended to gravitate towards a lot of the same tropes or themes. I’ve been trying to break out of that a bit, but it’s hard!

  1. Boarding Schools – Preferably magical, but I like non-magical ones as well. When I was a kid, I always wanted to go to one, so I guess I live vicariously through books now.
  2. Road Trips – I love a good road trip, but I like reading about them a lot as well. Especially if the characters are searching for a specific person or a specific thing.
  3. Libraries – Anything that connects to a library, especially a magical one, is solid for me. I think libraries are magical anyway, but put a portal to another world in one, and I am good to go.
  4. Scavenger Hunts – This one is a bit different and I haven’t seen it as much, but I love it. It also typically goes along with a Road Trip. My favorite example is 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. I love that book!
  5. Urban Exploration – I love big cities. They always have a history to them that is wide a varied, usually with a darkness lurking underneath.
  6. Strong Platonic Friendships – Not every “couple” needs to fall in love, okay? My favorite example is Harry Potter and Hermione Granger (from the books, not the movies). So many people wanted them to end up as a couple, but to me, it was better that they were best friends. What’s wrong with being besties?
  7. Heists – This is a new one for me, probably from some of the newer books I’ve picked up this year. I’ve started to really dig that Mission Impossible vibe, which is funny since I’ve never really liked those movies all that much.
  8. Starting Over – Maybe this is because I have gone through this process myself, but I like seeing a character who has faced a lot of challenges in their lives take a chance and start over. Blank slate. Fresh start.
  9. Servants – This one sounds weird, but I’m talking about something like Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs. The people who take care of the aristocracy know EVERYTHING, but they are almost always taken for granted. My examples here are TV shows, but I like this trope in books as well.
  10. Chosen One: This is sometimes very cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason, and when done well, it makes for a really fun story. Bonus points if that prophesy could point to multiple people and we need to find out who the chosen one is.

Please share your teasers and/or top tens in comments!