Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 5

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In Chapter 5, Harry gets some questions answered, which really only leads to more questions. Isn’t that always the way? Let’s go!

At the end of the last chapter, we finally met back up with Sirius! Yay! What’s not so great is that the screaming portrait lady? His mother. Grimmauld Place? His childhood home, now belonging to him as the last Black left. Sirius has offered the place to the Order to use as a headquarters, since it’s super secretive, but he hasn’t been able to do much else.

As they enter the kitchen, Harry tries to see some papers that had been left on the table, but doesn’t get to see much. He also meets back up with Mr. Weasley, Bill, and Mundungus Fletcher, who gives Harry a sort of half-hearted apology for leaving during the dementor incident.

“See, I wouldn’t ‘ave left,” said Mundungus, leaning forward, a pleading note in his voice, “but I ‘ad a business opportunity –“

Sure you did, Mundungus.

There is still the situation with Sirius. Harry can tell that something is off. Sirius seems bitter and resentful now that he’s cooped back up in the house. He is still a wanted criminal after all, and he knows that Wormtail would have told all the Death Eaters about him being an Animagus, so he can’t even go out as a dog without his cover being blown. It makes Harry feel like Sirius can relate to how he had felt being stuck at Privett Drive, although at least Harry was able to go outside. Sirius can’t even do that right now.

It’s also not helping that whenever Snape comes around to give his reports, he makes snide comments about how Sirius is just sitting around doing nothing.

Fred and George are enjoying the fact that they are officially of age in the wizarding world and are using magic for ever little thing. It’s about to drive their mother right up the wall, until her rant brings up a sobering reality.

” — none of your brothers caused this sort of trouble!” Mrs. Weasley raged at the twins, slamming a fresh flagon of butterbeer onto the table and spilling almost as much again. “Bill didn’t feel the need to Apparate every few feet! Charlie didn’t Charm everything he met! Percy –”

She stopped dead, catching her breath with a frightened look at her husband, whose expression was suddenly wooden.

Yeah, we can’t talk about Percy right now.

Dinner goes along, with Mrs. Weasley talking to Sirius about what they should clean next (and it’s clear that Sirius really doesn’t care). Tonks is entertaining everyone by changing her nose into different shapes. Bill, Mr. Weasley and Lupin are talking about Bill’s attempts to bring the goblins to their side. Mundungus is busy telling Fred, George and Ron about one of his exploits, much to the consternation of Mrs. Weasley. Sirius gets the entire table’s attention when he asks Harry a certain question.

“You know, I’m surprised at you. I thought the first thing you’d do when you got here would be to start asking questions about Voldemort.”

That’s true, and I would have thought the same thing. Harry did ask Ron and Hermione, but they didn’t know anything. This line of questioning brings out the protective side of Mrs. Weasley. When Sirius asks if Harry has any questions, Mrs. Weasley tries to cut him off. Fred and George particularly take offense to this, as they had been trying to get information this whole time. Sirius knows that they should protect Harry, but he also acknowledges that Harry saw Voldemort return, and as such, has a right to at least know some of what’s been happening.

“He’s not a member of the Order of the Phoenix!” said Mrs. Weasley. “He’s only fifteen and –”

“– and he’s dealt with as much as most in the Order,” said Sirius, “and more than some –”

“No one’s denying what he’s done!” said Mrs. Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. “But he’s still –”

“He’s not a child!” said Sirius impatiently.

“He’s not an adult either!” said Mrs. Weasley, the color rising in her cheeks. “He’s not James, Sirius!”

Mrs. Weasley still thinks of Harry as a child. Sirius thinks that Harry is old enough to make some of his own decisions. This devolves into an argument of which one of them has Harry’s best interests at heart. Sirius is Harry’s godfather and, as such, would technically be considered Harry’s legal guardian after James and Lily were killed, but no one can discount how much Mrs. Weasley has stepped in to be a mother figure in Harry’s life either. It’s . . . not a pretty sight really. They both care about Harry so much, and frankly, I can see where they’re both coming from.

“He’s not your son,” said Sirius quietly.

“He’s as good as,” said Mrs. Weasley fiercely. “Who else has he got?”

“He’s got me!”

Lupin finally steps in, thank goodness. I don’t like it when characters I love are fighting!

“Molly, you’re not the only person at this table who cares about Harry,” said Lupin sharply. “Sirius, sit down.”

Remember, Lupin was quite the mentor to Harry during Harry’s third year at Hogwarts. He cares quite a bit about Harry too and also has an opinion about things. Mrs. Weasley realizes she is overruled and reluctantly gives up on keeping things from Harry, but there is an outpouring of outrage when she tries to send everyone else out of the room. Fred and George both claim they should stay because they are of age. Ron points out that Harry will just tell him and Hermione everything anyway. Finally, Mrs. Weasley sends Ginny out, because Ginny is the only one she can control at this point. Ginny is none too happy about it and storms out, causing the portrait in the hall to start shrieking again.

So, now that all that has been settled, what has Voldemort been up to? Well, he hasn’t killed anyone else yet. No suspicious deaths. Voldemort appears to be laying low so as not to draw attention to himself. Yeah, Harry escaping the graveyard was not part of the plan. No one, other than the Death Eaters, was supposed to know Voldemort had returned. In theory, I’m guessing that Snape would have known and would have told Dumbledore even if Harry had been killed in the graveyard, but still. Dumbledore being alerted to Voldemort’s return immediately has complicated things for our favorite Dark Lord.

Voldy’s main strategy right now is recruiting. He needs more followers if he’s going to bring down the Ministry. The Order has been trying to stop this, but also trying to convince as many people as possible that Voldemort is back in the first place. Cornelius Fudge is still in denial and refuses to budge. Harry doesn’t understand why, especially when Dumbledore was on Harry’s side.

“Ah, well, you’ve put your finger on the problem,” said Mr. Weasley with a wry smile. “Dumbledore.”

“Fudge is frightened of him, you see,” said Tonks sadly.

“Frightened of Dumbledore?” said Harry incredulously.

“Frightened of what he’s up to,” said Mr. Weasley. “You see, Fudge thinks Dumbledore’s plotting to overthrow him. He thinks Dumbledore wants to be Minister of Magic.”

Ugh. Where to begin with Fudge? He’s an idiot, for starters. He knows, most likely, deep down, that Dumbledore doesn’t even want to be Minister of Magic. Dumbledore is perfectly happy being Headmaster of Hogwarts. There had been talk back when the previous minister had retired of Dumbledore becoming Minister, but Dumbledore never even applied for the position, even though he had a lot of popular support.

Fudge, on the other hand, used to rely on Dumbledore’s advice and wisdom. He knows that Dumbledore is smarter, more powerful, and just all-around more awesome than he is. But Fudge also absolutely loves being Minister of Magic and will do just about anything to hang on to his power. Including making Dumbledore seem like a fear mongering troublemaker and Harry his attention seeking acolyte. Plus Fudge is weak. Really weak. It’s easier for him to cover his ears and pretend like Voldemort can’t possibly be back than it is to face what having Voldemort back would mean. Upheaval. Disruption. Chaos.

The Order is doing their best to get the word out and gain support, but it’s an uphill battle. Voldemort is good at operating in darkness and secrecy, but there’s also something else that Voldemort is after.

“What’s he after apart from followers?” Harry asked swiftly.

He thought he saw Sirius and Lupin exchange the most fleeting of looks before Sirius said, “Stuff he can only get by stealth.”

When Harry continued to look puzzled, Sirius said, “Like a weapon. Something he didn’t have last time.”

“When he was powerful before?”

“Yes.”

Mrs. Weasley stops them, saying that if they tell Harry any more, they might as well induct him into the Order then and there. Harry’s all for it. He wants to join. He wants to fight. He wants to be a part of things. Lupin turns him down though, saying that the Order is only made up of overage wizards who are finished with school. It’s more dangerous than they can even imagine.

See you next time for Chapter 6!

 

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 4

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In Chapter 4, Harry is reunited with Ron and Hermione and has a complete and total rage breakdown. Let’s go!

At the end of the last chapter, we ended up at number twelve, Grimmauld Place. But where is that exactly? The piece of paper says that it is the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, which you know is important since it’s, you know . . . in the title of the whole book.

Moody is being his paranoid self and burns up the piece of paper after Harry reads it and tells Harry to basically shut up. Here’s the thing though: looking at the houses, there is no number twelve. There’s an eleven. A thirteen. No twelve. Lupin tells him to think about the note that he had just read.

Harry thought, and no sooner had he reached the part about number twelve, Grimmauld Place, than a battered door emerged out of nowhere between numbers eleven and thirteen, followed swiftly by dirty walls and grimy windows. It was as though an extra house had inflated, pushing those on either side out of its way. Harry gaped at it. The stereo in number eleven thudded on. Apparently the Muggles inside hadn’t even felt anything.

They go inside, after Lupin warns Harry not to touch anything, and the place is really spooky. It looks like an abandoned building, dirty and musty and dark. There are cobwebs everywhere and moldy paintings on the walls. But who else is here? Mrs. Weasley! She can light up any room, although Harry notes that she looks “thinner and paler” than the last time he had seen her. She gives him a big hug and tells him that he will have to wait a bit for dinner because there is some sort of meeting. Harry wants to follow, but Mrs. Weasley told him that the meeting is for members of the Order only. But Ron and Hermione are upstairs, so she directs him that way, with a warning to keep his voice down in order to not “wake anything up.”

Um, that’s just weird.

Also weird, let’s just catalog the bizarre things in this house. And this is bizarre for the wizarding world, not just bizarre in general.

  1. Long moth-eaten curtains hiding a door
  2. An umbrella stand that looks like a troll’s leg
  3. A row of small shrunken house-elf heads mounted on plaques on the wall

Harry heads up to the door Mrs. Weasley pointed him to and he is immediately engulfed in a Hermione hug. Yay! They are all together again!

“HARRY! Ron, he’s here, Harry’s here! We didn’t hear you arrive! Oh, how are you? Are you all right? Have you been furious with us? I bet you have, I know our letters were useless — but we couldn’t tell you anything, Dumbledore made us swear we wouldn’t, oh, we’ve got so much to tell you, and you’ve got to tell us — the dementors! When we heard — and that Ministry hearing — it’s just outrageous, I’ve looked it all up, they can’t expel you, they just can’t, there’s provision in the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Sorcery for the use of magic in life-threatening situations –“

I get the impression she said this all in one big breath. Ron is also there, and so is Hedwig. Hedwig is a good owl who follows directions. She has pecked the heck out of Ron’s hand after Harry told her to keep at them until they wrote back detailed replies. Harry was at first very happy to see them, but starts to lose that feeling as he thinks about how Dumbledore had deliberately kept information from him. Think about it. Ron and Hermione would never keep stuff from Harry, but they did so only because Dumbledore made them do it. Dumbledore told them it was to keep Harry safe, but how safe was Harry back on Privett Drive with dementors flying around?

Harry is really, really not happy. He feels betrayed by Dumbledore, first of all, and now it seems like Ron and Hermione are trying to defend Dumbledore’s decision to leave Harry in the dark. The more they try to explain themselves, the more angry Harry gets. Sure, they were only following instructions. Okay, they were worried about putting anything in a letter that might get intercepted. Harry can’t help but wonder if Dumbledore either thinks he can’t be trusted or can’t take care of himself. He wanted to be in the thick of it, like Ron and Hermione have been, hearing the news and knowing what’s going on. When Ron tries to explain that they don’t know anything since they’ve been kept out of the meetings, Harry explodes.

“SO YOU HAVEN’T BEEN IN THE MEETINGS, BIG DEAL! YOU’VE STILL BEEN HERE, HAVEN’T YOU? YOU’VE STILL BEEN TOGETHER! ME, I’VE BEEN STUCK AT THE DURSLEYS’ FOR A MONTH! AND I’VE HANDLED MORE THAN YOU TWO’E EVER MANAGED AND DUMBLEDORE KNOWS IT — WHO SAVED THE SORCERER’S STONE? WHO GOT RID OF RIDDLE? WHO SAVED BOTH YOUR SKINS FROM THE DEMENTORS?”

Harry isn’t wrong. He’s not. He has every right to be furious with how this whole situation has been handled.

“WHO HAD TO GET PAST DRAGONS AND SPHINXES AND EVERY OTHER FOUL THING LAST YEAR? WHO SAW HIM COME BACK? WHO HAD TO ESCAPE FROM HIM? ME!

“BUT WHY SHOULD I KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON? WHY SHOULD ANYONE BOTHER TO TELL ME WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?”

All this time Ron and Hermione have been at Headquarters, Harry has been stealing newspapers and sneaking around to overhear the news broadcast to try and find out anything going on. Hermione tries to calm Harry down, saying that she understands, that she would be just as angry if she was in the same situation. It diffuses things a bit, although Harry is still not happy. He asks where the heck they are, and they tell him that it is the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society led by Dumbledore that fought Voldemort the last time he came to power. They have only met about twenty members, but they are pretty sure there are more of them.

Harry doesn’t really care about the members of the Order though. He wants to know about Voldemort. What has he been doing? Where is he now? Ron and Hermione don’t know, since they are kept from the meetings, but Fred and George have invented a thing called Extendable Ears which has helped them eavesdrop a bit. Mrs. Weasley was not happy when she found out. The Order members have been keeping tabs on Death Eaters that they know about, have been trying to recruit more members, and also have been on “guard duty” for something. That something would be Harry, by the way.

But it’s not just meetings. Since the kids aren’t allowed in the meetings, they have been spending most of their time doing other things.

“We have,” said Hermione quickly. “We’ve been decontaminating this house, it’s been empty for ages and stuff’s been breeding in here. We’ve managed to clean out the kitchen and most of the bedrooms, and I think we’re doing the drawing room tomo — AARGH!”

She is interrupted by Fred and George, who have Apparated into the room, and we’ll get to them in a minute, but I just have to say — I don’t want to be in a house that has to be “decontaminated” because things have been “breeding” in it. That makes my skin crawl. UUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!

So Fred and George. They just got their Apparation license and have been popping all over the house just because they can. Sounds just like the twins! They have brought one of their Extendable Ears to try and hear what’s going on in the meeting downstairs. It’s a pretty major meeting — Snape is there. Ginny arrives and tells them that it won’t work, because they have put an Imperturbable Charm on the door. So Snape is giving a top secret report. Bill has transferred from his job in Egypt to be local and help. He’s also apparently spending some time with Fleur Delacour. Charlie is also helping with the Order, although he is still in Romania, trying to bring more foreign wizards to their cause.

And then there’s Percy.

Percy has had a falling out with his family. It started when he was promoted at work, which was odd because he actually got in a lot of trouble with the whole Crouch situation. Now Percy is the Junior Assistant to the Minister of Magic himself. And the Minister . . . well, Fudge is not just still in denial about Voldemort being back, he has convinced others that Dumbledore is just trying to stir up trouble. Mr. Weasley thinks that Percy was only given the job because Fudge wanted him to spy on their family. Percy did not take that well at all.

“He went completely berserk. He said — well, he said loads of terrible stuff. He said he’s been having to struggle against Dad’s lousy reputation ever since he joined the Ministry and that Dad’s got no ambition and that’s why we’ve always been — you know — not had a lot of money, I mean –”

“What?” said Harry in disbelief, as Ginny made a noise like an angry cat.

“I know,” said Ron in a low voice. “And it got worse. He said Dad was an idiot to run around with Dumbledore, that Dumbledore was heading for big trouble and Dad was going to go down with him, and that he — Percy — knew where his loyalty lay and it was with the Ministry. And if Mum and Dad were going to become traitors to the Ministry he was going to make sure everyone knew he didn’t belong to our family anymore. And he packed his bags the same night and left. He’s living here in London now.”

This was really shocking to me. The Weasleys always seemed like such a tight knit bunch, and now there has been this schism in the family. It doesn’t seem possible. Here’s the other part: Percy doesn’t believe anything Harry says about Voldemort either. The Daily Prophet has been mentioning Harry several times each issue, not full articles, but little jokes here and there. Building on the rumors Rita Skeeter started. That Harry is crazy. He is looking for attention. He wants to be hero worshiped. None of which is true, of course, but a good portion of the wizarding world believes it.

It’s all pretty sobering, and Harry really wants to change the subject. They tell him about the house-elf, Kreacher, who is very strange. They also try to overhear the witches and wizards in the hall, but they don’t hear much. As they gather in the kitchen, there is a loud crash where Tonks knocked over the umbrella stand. At once, the mothy curtains from before blow apart and show a picture of an old woman who is shrieking at the top of her lungs.

“Filth! Scum! By-products of dirt and vileness! Half-breeds, mutants, freaks, begone from this place! How dare you befoul the house of my fathers –“

A man runs out and starts arguing with the portrait, finally pulling the curtains closed with Lupin’s help. It’s Sirius, who greets Harry and tells him that the woman in the portrait is his mother.

The chapter ends there, a bit abruptly, so we’ll have to see what happens next. See you next time for chapter 5!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 3

 

In Chapter 3, Harry is finally pulled out of Privett Drive. Let’s go!

Harry is really, really angry at this point and, quite frankly, who can blame him! He’s been through dealing with his relatives, a dementor attack, expulsion from school, reinstatement at school, and all anyone can do is tell him to just sit there and do nothing. No one will tell him what’s going on! He writes three letters, to Ron, Hermione and Sirius, and tells Hedwig to peck them until they’ve written long responses explaining what the heck is going on.

He hears nothing for three days, where he spends his time holed up in his room avoiding the Dursleys and worrying about the Ministry hearing. Finally, the Dursleys go out for an evening and things start to happen. At first, Harry thinks there are burglars breaking in, but it turns out to be Moody, Lupin and some other wizards: Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore, and Hestia Jones.

“A suprising number of people volunteered to come and get you,” said Lupin, as though he had read Harry’s mind; the corners of his mouth twitched slightly.

“Yeah, well, the more the better,” said Moody darkly. “We’re your guard, Potter.”

The fact that the Dursleys are gone is no accident. Tonks had sent them a letter saying they were up for the “All-England Best-Kept Suburban Lawn Competiton.” Which doesn’t exist, of course. She goes with Harry to get packed up and we find out that she is a Metamorphmagus, someone who can change their appearance whenever they want to. Which is why her hair changes color. She’s also an Auror, as is Kingsley.

After they go back downstairs, Lupin tells Harry that he left a note for the Dursleys telling them that he had gone. Moody casts a Disillusionment Charm on Harry to make him blend in with his surroundings. At the arranged signal (red and green sparks), they all mount up on brooms and take off. Just being up in the air again makes Harry feel a lot better, and after being cooped up in the Dursleys, I can certainly understand why. They fly past several towns, looking out for danger and avoiding Muggles, before landing in a square in front of a series of houses.

Moody rummages through his cloak and pulls out a small silver contraption that is familiar to anyone who read Sorcerer’s Stone – Dumbledore’s Put-Outer. Moody clicks it and turns out all the lights so that Muggles will have a harder time spotting them. As they approach the houses, Moody hands Harry something that will both help things make sense and make them more confusing.

“Here,” Moody muttered, thrusting a piece of parchment towards Harry’s Disillusioned hand and holding his lit wand close to it, so as to illuminate the writing. “Read quickly and memorize.”

Harry looked down at the piece of paper. The narrow handwriting was vaguely familiar. It said:

The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London.

So at least now we know where they are! This was a short chapter, really just a quick broom ride, but things are really going to start ramping up now that Harry’s with the Order. See you next time for Chapter 4!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 2

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In Chapter 2, we find out that Harry has been being watched this whole time, and that Petunia might know more about the wizarding world than she’s been letting on. Let’s go!

As if Harry didn’t have enough on his mind, now he finds out that his crazy cat lady of a neighbor is actually a witch. I love Mrs. Figg so much! She’s a hoot!

“I’m a Squib, as Mundungus knows full well, so how on earth was I supposed to help you fight off dementors? He left you completely without cover when I warned him —”

“This bloke Mundungus has been following me? Hang on — it was him! He Disapparated from the front of my house!”

“Yes, yes, yes, but luckily I’d stationed Mr. Tibbles under a car just in case, and Mr. Tibbles came and warned me, but by the time I got to your house you’d gone — and now — oh, what’s Dumbledore going to say?”

As a reminder, a Squib is a person born into a wizarding family, but has no magical powers of their own. Filch is a Squib. Neville’s family thought he was one for a while when he was younger. And now we have Mrs. Figg, who we heard of briefly at the end of the last book, when Dumbledore told Sirius to contact the “old crowd.” One of the people mentioned is Arabella Figg. Mrs. Figg.

Oh, and Mr. Tibbles is her cat. Who has been helping her keep an eye on things. I love this woman!

Harry hauls Dudley up and they head back to Privett Drive. Mrs. Figg babbles the whole time that Harry needs to keep his wand out, forget about trying to stay secret, or the fact that he just did major magic as a underage wizard. Harry asks why she never told him, but it was under Dumbledore’s orders. Besides, she couldn’t make his visits seem pleasant, or the Dursleys would never let Harry visit her. Mrs. Figg is highly agitated and knows they are in trouble because of Harry’s use of magic. The Ministry probably knows and will be doing something about it, despite the fact that it was done in self-defence against a freaking dementor!

At some point, Mundungus Fletcher turns back up. He seems very nonchalant for someone who has completely dropped the ball. He’s also a petty thief who left to see about some cauldrons that had fallen off the back of a broom. Hahahaha. He didn’t know about the dementors though and is shocked that something like that could happen here. Mrs. Figg is not about to let him off the hook.

Mrs. Figg raised the arm from which her string bag dangled and whacked Mundungus around the face and neck with it; judging from the clanking noise it made it was full of cat food.

“Ouch — gerroff — gerroff, you mad old bat! Someone’s gotta tell Dumbledore!”

“Yes — they — have!” yelled Mrs. Figg, still swinging the bag of cat food at every bit of Mundungus she could reach. “And — it — had — better — be — you — and — you — can — tell — him — why — you — weren’t — there — to — help!”

She is not having any of his excuses!

They get back to the Dursleys’ where Mrs. Figg tells Harry to get inside and stay there. She heads home to wait for further instructions. Petunia takes one look at Dudley and knows something is very wrong. They think that Dudley has been mugged or something, but as Harry tries to duck away, Dudley points to him. The Dursleys keep asking if Harry did any magic or anything, and Harry tries to explain something, but before he gets far, an owl swoops in with a notice from the Ministry. They have detected his use of underage magic, he has to attend a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry, and he has hereby been expelled from Hogwarts.

Oh, and Ministry officials are on their way to destroy his wand. Yikes.

Before much else can happen, another owl arrives, this one from Arthur Weasley.

Harry —

Dumbledore’s just arrived at the Ministry, and he’s trying to sort it all out. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR AUNT AND UNCLE’S HOUSE. DO NOT DO ANY MORE MAGIC. DO NOT SURRENDER YOUR WAND.

Arthur Weasley

The Dursleys are trying to figure out what’s going on. Dudley tries to explain, but since he is so addled, he’s making less sense than usual. He starts off by saying that Harry pointed his wand at him (which, in Dudley’s defense, Harry did) and everything went dark. He heard things inside his head, but can’t articulate what they were. It is an interesting question: what did the dementors force Dudley to hear? Harry hears his parents dying, but what could Dudley’s worst memory be? Dudley continues, saying that he tripped and then felt cold, terribly cold. And hopeless, like he’d never be happy again. Lovely creatures, dementors, aren’t they.

Vernon thinks that Harry put some sort of curse on Dudley. Harry tries to explain that he didn’t do anything. It was the dementors. Now Harry has to try and explain what dementors even are, to a couple of people who despise magic and want to know as little about it as possible. Harry tries to tell them what they are, but is interrupted before he can.

“They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban,” said Aunt Petunia.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! How does Petunia know about Azkaban? She claims that she heard Lily talking about them with “that awful boy,” who we know now was not actually James. It was Snape, back when he and Lily were friends as kids. Petunia’s knowledge of the dementors stuns everyone, but actually calms Vernon down slightly, now that he knows that Harry didn’t hurt Dudley.

They don’t have much time to think about that when ANOTHER owl arrives with another notice from the Ministry. Good news! Harry is not expelled and will not need to surrender his wand. All will be decided at this disciplinary hearing, so at least Harry has a bit of a reprieve and will have a chance to explain things.

Vernon is so sick of owls at this point, especially when another one arrives from Sirius, telling Harry not to leave the house, no matter what. In the meantime, Harry is still trying to explain what happened to Vernon, who can’t understand why Harry was expelled if he didn’t do any magic to hurt Dudley.

“I did the Patronus Charm to get rid of the dementors,” he said, forcing himself to remain calm. “It’s the only thing that works against them.”

“But what were dementoids doing in Little Whinging?” said Uncle Vernon in tones of outrage.

“Couldn’t tell you,” said Harry wearily. “No idea.”

Vernon is ready to blame all of this on Harry. No magical prison guards would be coming around his family if it wasn’t for Harry being there. At first, Vernon thinks they may have been coming to arrest Harry for something, but Harry thinks that Voldemort must have sent them. That’s a name that even Vernon recognizes, as the murderer of Harry’s parents. Harry confirms that Voldemort is back. Petunia in particular takes this pretty hard. She actually looks really scared. Vernon puts all of this information together and decides that Harry needs to leave right now.

“You heard me — OUT!” Uncle Vernon bellowed, and even Aunt Petunia and Dudley jumped. “OUT! OUT! I should’ve done it years ago! Owls treating the place like a rest home, puddings exploding, half the lounge destroyed, Dudley’s tail, Marge bobbing around on the ceiling, and that flying Ford Anglia — OUT! OUT! You’ve had it! You’re history! You’re not staying here if some loony’s after you, you’re not endangering my wife and son, you’re not bringing trouble down on us, if you’re going the same way as your useless parents, I’ve had it! OUT!”

Okay. Vernon is a terrible person, but I do understand his point here. He is worried about his family. In his eyes, Harry is a danger to them, so he wants Harry gone. I can completely understand that. He has no interest in protecting Harry because, as far as he’s concerned, Harry is the reason for all this trouble in the first place. So I get it, I do. It’s not pleasant, but it’s at least understandable.

The problem is, Harry has just been told that he absolutely can’t leave their house. And Vernon is ready to throw him out with his own two hands. As Vernon keeps yelling at Harry, yet another owl swoops in, this one carrying a Howler, but it’s not addressed to Petunia. Harry warns her to open it, to get it over with, even as the envelope starts to smoke. It bursts into flames and screams out the words:

“REMEMBER MY LAST, PETUNIA.”

This was such a topic of discussion back in the day! What on earth did it mean! We were so naive back then, had no idea what was in place for Harry’s protection, above and beyond Lily’s sacrifice. These cryptic words have an effect on Petunia, though. She sinks to the couch as the envelope burns and tells Vernon that Harry has to stay. That’s it. Vernon deflates completely, and Petunia tells Harry to go up to his room. Harry tries to ask her what that message meant. Is she in contact with the wizarding world somehow? They won’t answer him.

Gah, this chapter was so stressful, with so many revelations! See you next time for Chapter 3!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Chapter 1

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In Chapter 1 of Order of the Phoenix, we see just how Harry has fared at Privet Drive after the disastrous end to his fourth year at Hogwarts. Let’s go!

Here we are, starting the fifth book of the Harry Potter series! To be quite honest, when I first started doing this, I never thought I would actually keep up with it. And it hasn’t been easy. I’ve fallen off quite a few times, but kept going. Eventually. So let’s get started.

Remember at the end of Goblet of Fire how much I worried about Harry’s mental state? Yeah. Still very much worried about him here. We open up to Harry laying on the ground hiding in the Dursleys’ flower bushes. He does this so he can listen in on their news program to try and see if anything unusual has happened that might point to Voldemort. Vernon and Petunia don’t like when Harry tries to come down and watch the news; they think it’s unnatural for a boy his age.

“Watching the news . . . ” he said scathingly. “I’d like to know what he’s really up to. As if a normal boy cares what’s on the news — Dudley hasn’t got a clue what’s going on, doubt he knows who the Prime Minister is! Anyway, it’s not as if there’d be anything about his lot on our news –“

I do agree that it does seem a bit odd for a fifteen year old boy to want to watch the news, but I can’t imagine being this proud of the fact that my kid is really dumb. Also, Vernon and Petunia think that Dudley is very well liked in the neighborhood, when really Dudley is going around with his little gang of punks causing trouble.

The news comes on and talks about very mundane things, like a workers strike in Spain. Harry can relax a little bit. With Voldemort, he’s expecting disasters: disappearances, strange accidents, something major enough to be breaking news. He can’t understand why nothing has happened yet when Voldemort returned months ago.

A loud cracking sound fills the air and Harry immediately jumps up and draws his wand. The sound also startles Petunia, who drops some plates, and Vernon, who throws the window open and clocks Harry in the head. Other neighbors notice, and Vernon tries to laugh it off as a car backfiring to them before turning his anger to Harry. They give him a bunch of grief about lurking under their window, still not believing that he’s genuinely interested in listening to the news.

The thing is though, that cracking noise sounded like someone Apparating. If someone from the wizarding world had been nearby, Harry didn’t know why they hadn’t said something. He’s been trying to find out any information at all about what’s going on, even waking up early to get the newspaper every day. Was it all for nothing.

Perhaps it hadn’t been a magical sound after all. Perhaps he was so desperate for the tiniest sign of contact from the world to which he belonged that he was simply overreacting to perfectly ordinary noises. Could he be sure it hadn’t been the sound of something breaking inside a neighbor’s house?

This is the worst thing. After all the traumatic experience of the end of the last school year, Harry feels abandoned now by the very people he wants to see. He’s gotten letters from Ron and Hermione, but they aren’t able to tell him much. They have hinted that they will see him soon, so he has that. He’s heard from Sirius too, but Sirius’s letters only tell him to behave himself and be careful. It all just makes him so angry. Harry has been the one who has had to deal with Voldemort face to face, deal with his scar hurting constantly . . . and then be completely left out of anything that’s happening.

He’s also had reoccurring nightmares about Cedric dying in front of him. So that’s healthy.

Harry sits down in an old playground and it isn’t long before Dudley and his friends turn up. Dudley has been going through some changes himself. He now boxes at school and is not quite as chubby as he used to be. Now he’s just big and mean. All the kids in the neighborhood are scared of him. Harry hopes that he comes over and starts something. It would be funny to see Dudley try to act tough when deep down he’s still scared of Harry and magic in general.

Still, Harry is supposed to be back home by the time Dudley is, so he reluctantly trails behind them. After Dudley’s friends leave (they call him “Big D” of all things), Harry starts poking fun at Dudley. He’s angry and Dudley is the perfect one to take it out on. He makes fun of all the nicknames Petunia has for Dudley, the fact that he only beats up little kids. Dudley turns it around though and says that Harry is only confident because he has his wand, and then makes fun of Harry for talking in his sleep.

“I heard you last night,” said Dudley breathlessly. “Talking in your sleep. Moaning . . .”

Dudley gave a harsh bark of laughter then adopted a high-pitched, whimpering voice. “‘Don’t kill Cedric! Don’t kill Cedric!’ Who’s Cedric — your boyfriend?”

“Dad! Help me, Dad! He’s going to kill me, Dad! Boo-hoo!”

Dudley has definitely crossed a line here, even if he doesn’t realize it. Harry doesn’t care. He draws his wand and is about to use it. He tells Dudley to never talk to him like that ever again. As they argue, the air starts to get cold and dark. Dudley is afraid that Harry has used magic, and Harry actually worries that he may have accidentally done something. Then he realizes what this all feels like: dementors. Dudley can’t see, but is panicking and for good reason. There are two dementors right there in the alley with them. Harry is able to dispatch them with his Patronus, but he can’t believe it. Why would dementors be here in Little Whinging?

Dudley is not doing well. He wasn’t kissed by the dementor, but he is definitely suffering from the effects of exposure to one. Harry hears someone else come up and turns to see their old neighbor, Mrs. Figg, run up to them. Harry tries to hide his wand, but that is unnecessary.

“Don’t put it away, idiot boy!” she shrieked. “What if there are more of them around? Oh, I’m going to kill Mundungus Fletcher!”

Hmmm. So one of Harry’s neighbors has been a witch this entire time! And who is Mundungus Fletcher? See you next time for Chapter 2!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapters 35 to 37

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Okay, folks. We have three chapters left of this book and we’re gonna knock them all out at once so we can get started on Order of the Phoenix next week. Who’s with me!!

Well, I guess all of you are with me, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. So let’s go!

Chapter 35

We are going to add this entire chapter to the list of reasons why Harry Potter should have been in intense therapy for the rest of his life, or at least on some major magical medication. Seriously, how did he not end up in a private room at St. Mungos? How?

He made it away from Voldemort. He’s back at the Quidditch-pitch-turned-maze. He’s clutching the dead body of Cedric Diggory. All is complete chaos, and all Harry can say is that he did what Cedric wanted, he brought Cedric’s body back for his parents. This is horrifying! Harry hears Dumbledore saying he wants Harry to stay, but Dumbledore also has to worry about Cedric’s parents, who are in the crowd watching all this go down.

Someone larger and stronger than he was was half pulling, half carrying him through the frightened crowd. Harry heard people gasping, screaming, and shouting as the man supporting him pushed a path through them, taking him back to the castle. Across the lawn, past the lake and the Durmstrang ship, Harry heard nothing but the heavy breathing of the man helping him walk.

“What happened, Harry?” the man asked at last as he lifted Harry up the stone steps. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. It was Mad-Eye Moody.

A show of hands, who was relieved that Harry was being taken care of by Mad-Eye when they first read this. I sure was! Mad-Eye had proven himself. He took care of Harry. He was his friend. Dumbledore trusted him enough to not only allow him to teach at Hogwarts, but to demonstrate Unforgivables to the students. This guy was legit!

Mad-Eye questions Harry what had happened and Harry doesn’t hesitate to tell him. WE ALL TRUSTED MAD-EYE! At first, things seem fine. Mad-Eye is a former Auror, so of course he’s gonna want the details. He asks Harry normal questions after a thing like this, a basic order of events, more specific details on the spell ritual that brought on Voldemort’s return. But then there’s this question, after Harry says that the Death Eaters returned to Voldemort’s side:

“How did he treat them?” Moody asked quietly. “Did he forgive them?”

Why . . . why should that matter? It shouldn’t. In a legal investigation, whether or not Voldemort forgave his followers for abandoning him doesn’t mean squat, but it sure means something to Moody. Harry doesn’t even notice the question because he realizes that he should have told Dumbledore what he found out at the graveyard: there’s a Death Eater at Hogwarts, the person who made sure that Harry would be entered in the Triwizard Tournament. But don’t worry. Moody already knows who the Death Eater is. Harry immediately thinks it’s Karkaroff, but Moody tells him that Karkaroff was gone, ran away as soon as the Dark Mark burned when Voldemort summoned him. Karkaroff is a coward, too afraid to face the Death Eaters he betrayed to the Ministry to save his own skin.

So it wasn’t Karkaroff who put Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire, but Moody knows who did. It was Moody himself. Before Harry can even process that, Moody appears fixated on that one detail from before.

“I asked you,” said Moody quietly, “whether he forgave the scum who never even went to look for him. Those treacherous cowards who wouldn’t even brave Azkaban for him. The faithless, worthless bits of filth who were brave enough to cavort in masks at the Quidditch World Cup, but fled at the sight of the Dark Mark when I fired it into the sky . . .

“I told you, Harry . . . I told you. If there’s one thing I hate more than any other, it’s a Death Eater who walked free. They turned their backs on my master when he needed them most. I expected him to punish them. I expected him to torture them. Tell me he hurt them, Harry . . .” Moody’s face was suddenly lit with an insane smile. “Tell me he told them that I, I alone remained faithful . . . prepared to risk everything to deliver to him the one thing he wanted above all . . . you.”

None of this makes any sense. Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody was a renowned Auror who captured lots of Death Eaters and made sure they were put away. He was well known for fighting the Dark Arts, not supporting them. Sure, he got a reputation for being a little crazy and paranoid, but Moody a Death Eater? According to Moody, he has been guiding Harry along this whole time, hoping to get him into the maze early so he could dispatch the other champions before they got to the Cup-turned-Portkey. Moody was the one who told Cedric to open the egg underwater, knowing that Cedric would want to repay the favor Harry gave him in telling him about the dragon. “Decent people are so easy to manipulate,” after all.

He also gave Neville that book about plants hoping that Harry would find out about gillyweed, but when he didn’t, he made sure Dobby overheard him talking about the stuff so that Dobby would make sure Harry got some. In the maze, Moody stunned Fleur and put Krum under the Imperius Curse to take out Diggory, which didn’t really work. Diggory was able to overpower Krum, which is ultimately what led to him going with Harry to the graveyard. All of this was so that Moody would see himself raised up in Voldemort’s eyes, honored over all the other Death Eaters.

“The Dark Lord and I,” said Moody, and he looked completely insane now, towering over Harry, leering down at him, “have much in common. Both of us, for instance, had very disappointing fathers . . . very disappointing indeed. Both of us had the pleasure . . . the very great pleasure . . . of killing our fathers to ensure the continued rise of the Dark Order.”

This is strange, because wouldn’t there have been some sort of story about the mysterious death of Moody’s father at some point? Wouldn’t that be the type of thing people would know about, especially with Moody’s prominence in the Auror department for so long?

Moody is fully insane now though, but as he raises his hand to finish Harry off, there is a large crash. It’s Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall to the rescue! And Dumbledore is furious. It’s the first time we’ve really seen this side of him, the warrior that Voldemort feared. As he kicks over Moody so we can see his face, McGonagall goes to Harry and tries to take him to the hospital wing, but Dumbledore wants him to stay. He wants Harry to learn the truth to what he had suffered. Harry still can’t believe that all this time, it has been Moody behind all this.

“This is not Alastor Moody,” said Dumbledore quietly. “You have never known Alastor Moody. The real Moody would not have removed you from my sight after what happened tonight. The moment he took you, I knew — and I followed.”

Here comes the part where J.K. Rowling blows our minds again! Plot twists inside plot twists!

Dumbledore sends Snape to go fetch the strongest Truth Potion he has and then bring up Winky the house-elf from the kitchens. He tells McGonagall to go down to Hagrid’s pumpkin patch, where she will find a large black dog, and take that dog to his office. Snape and McGonagall must be used to following weird orders from their boss, since they don’t question him. Honestly, only the Truth Potion part makes sense. Dumbledore takes a set of keys and goes to Moody’s trunk. Each key makes the trunk reveal something different, but the last one shows an unconscious man laying inside: the real Mad-Eye Moody.

How is this possible? Polyjuice potion, of course. An almost throw-away plot point from Chamber of Secrets coming back. Moody is famous for drinking only from his flask, so no one would question him doing so every hour on the hour to keep the Polyjuice from wearing off. However, with everything going on this particular evening, it’s very possible that the imposter forgot to take it again tonight. Indeed, as they watch, the stunned Moody’s body begins to change, the wooden leg falling off, the magic eye popping out.

Harry saw a man lying before him, pale-skinned, slightly freckled, with a mop of fair hair. He knew who he was. He had seen him in Dumbledore’s Pensieve, had watched him being led away from court by the dementors, trying to convince Mr. Crouch that he was innocent . . . but he was lined around the eyes now and looked much older . . .

Snape returns with Winky and immediately recognizes the newly revealed man as Barty Crouch Jr. McGonagall can’t believe it. Winky is afraid that they killed him and is horrified. Dumbledore gives the unconscious man three drops of Veritaserum and then wakes him up with a spell. As Crouch begins to speak, a man who everyone thought was dead, he tells quite a tale.

It was his mother’s idea. She was dying and her dying wish was for his father to save their son. They used Polyjuice to switch places, leaving his mother to die and be buried at Azkaban while Crouch Jr. was kept prisoner by his father. He had to constantly wear an Invisibility Cloak and was kept under the Imperius Curse to be controlled. Winky was his constant companion and took care of him. During this time, only one person ever discovered the truth: a witch who worked with his father named Bertha Jorkins. She had come to the house and saw the truth. Crouch Sr. tried to modify her memory to make her forget and it damaged her memory permanently, which is why she got the reputation of being so wonky at the Ministry.

And now the Quidditch World Cup, where Crouch Jr. has already admitted that he set off the Dark Mark. Winky had convinced Crouch Sr. to let his son go to the game, which he did under heavy supervision. He was with Winky, tethered to her under the Invisibility Cloak, when Harry and his friends saw her up in the Minister’s box. When the Death Eaters turned up and had their fun, Winky tried to drag him away, which is how they ended up where they did and why Winky was stunned by the officials after Crouch Jr. cast the spell, which led to her being dismissed from the Crouch household. It’s all very complicated, isn’t it!

“Now it was just Father and I, alone in the house. And then . . . and then . . .” Crouch’s head rolled on his neck, and an insane grin spread across his face. “My master came for me.”

Voldemort had heard from Bertha Jorkins that Crouch Jr. was alive. Now the roles were reversed: Crouch Jr. was in charge and Crouch Sr. was the one who was a carefully controlled prisoner. This is the reason for his erratic behavior and his disappearance. He also captured Mad-Eye Moody. Remember that break-in, way back at the beginning of the book? The disturbance that Mr. Weasley went to help smooth over? Yep. That was Crouch.  By the time anyone else got there, he had already taken Moody’s place with the Polyjuice and prepared himself to go to Hogwarts. Misdirection upon misdirection upon misdirection!

At some point, Crouch Sr. is able to break free, which is when he confronted Harry and Krum down by the Forbidden Forest. Crouch Jr. was able to intercept him while everyone was running back and forth looking for him and killed him. Barty Crouch Sr. is buried in Hagrid’s garden. And then, the events of this night, the final night of the Triwizard Tournament.

“I offered to carry the Triwizard Cup into the maze before dinner,” whispered Barty Crouch. “Turned it into a Portkey. My master’s plan worked. He is returned to power and I will be honored by him beyond the dreams of wizards.”

This is incredibly messed up, y’all.

Chapter 36

So after all of that (that’s a really long chapter!), Dumbledore ties up Crouch and asks McGonagall to watch over him while he takes Harry upstairs. How is Harry still upright at this point? I would have fainted dead away so much earlier! Dumbledore also sends Snape to go get Madam Pomfrey so she can help the real Moody, who is still in the trunk, and then go get Cornelius Fudge, who will want to question Crouch himself. Dumbledore is taking Harry to Sirius, which is probably the best thing for Harry at this point.

On the way, Harry can’t stop picturing everything that has just happened: Voldemort’s return, Wormtail and his hand that he CUT OFF, Cedric’s dead body. He asks after Cedric’s parents and Dumbledore tells him that they are with Professor Sprout, Cedric’s Head of House.

They get to Dumbledore’s office and there is Sirius, ready to risk everything to make sure to be with Harry in his time of need. Fawkes is also there, ready to lend some tears to help heal Harry’s leg, which has been hurting this entire time, by the way. Dumbledore fills Sirius in on everything that Crouch had told him and then asks Harry to tell them everything that had happened after he touched the Portkey.

“We can leave that till morning, can’t we, Dumbledore?” said Sirius harshly. He put a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Let him have a sleep. Let him rest.”

Sirius is all of us at this point, let’s be honest. We all wish Harry could just rest and try to recover from this ordeal. Dumbledore points out, probably correctly, that putting off facing it is not going to help Harry in the long run. Between Dumbledore’s and Sirius’s support, and Fawkes’s phoenix song, Harry finds the strength to relive what had happened in the graveyard. He explains what Voldemort had said, about wanting to use Harry’s blood in the ritual in order to circumvent Lily’s protection. As soon as he tells them this, we get a very weird reaction from Dumbledore.

For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes. But next second, Harry was sure he had imagined it, for when Dumbledore had returned to his seat behind the desk, he looked as old and weary as Harry had ever seen him.

“Very well,” he said, sitting down again. “Voldemort has overcome that particular barrier. Harry, continue, please.”

This “gleam of triumph” was the cause of so much speculation in the HP fandom community! What on earth did it mean??? Not going to go into it here, but let’s just say that Dumbledore is like an expert chess player who is thinking three or four moves ahead of the game and this has moved him even further down the board. Wait, that’s a really bad analogy. Oh well, you know what I mean!

Harry continues until he gets to the part where their wands connected. Sirius doesn’t understand why that happened, and to be honest, we didn’t either at this point. Dumbledore does, though — a phenomenon called “Priori Incantatem,” something that happens when two wands who share the same exact core are forced to fight each other. Harry and Voldemort’s wands each have a feather from the same phoenix inside them. That phoenix also just happens to be Fawkes! The wands recognize each other and refuse to fight; instead, one of them will force the other to “regurgitate spells it has performed.” Which is why we saw shadowy figures of Voldemort’s recent murder victims.

Harry finally finishes his story and is led to the hospital wing, Sirius changing back into his dog form. They are met by Ron, Hermione, Bill, and a very upset Mrs. Weasley. Dumbledore tells them that they may stay if Harry wants them to, but they can’t talk to him about what happened right now. Harry needs to rest. Dumbledore also convinces Madam Pomfrey that the dog can stay.

As Madam Pomfrey led Harry to a nearby bed, he caught sight of the real Moody lying motionless in a bed at the far end of the room. His wooden leg and magical eye were lying on the beside table.”

“Is he okay?” Harry asked.

It really shows some merit that Harry is concerned for Moody, even given his state at the moment. Even though on an intellectual level, he knows that Moody isn’t responsible for everything that went on tonight, it was still someone who LOOKED LIKE Moody, and that would be enough for me to not really want to see him, especially right now. Harry also reassures everyone else that he is okay. Madam Pomfrey gives him a potion to help him sleep and Harry takes it.

Harry wakes up to people shouting. Fudge. McGonagall. They burst into the hospital wing, followed by Snape, looking for Dumbledore, who arrives soon after. Turns out that when Fudge heard they had caught a Death Eater, he decided to bring a dementor with him to question Crouch. Let’s just say that we don’t have to worry about Crouch any more. Dumbledore had wanted Crouch to give his testimony, but Fudge doesn’t want to hear about it. He has heard McGonagall and Snape’s version of events and thinks Crouch was just a dangerous lunatic. He also does what, in my opinion, makes him the absolute worst character in the series.

He refuses to believe Voldemort is back.

“See here, Dumbledore,” said Fudge, and Harry was astonished to see a slight smile dawning on his face, “you — you can’t seriously believe that. You-Know-Who — back? Come now, come now . . . certainly, Crouch may have believed himself to be acting upon You-Know-Who’s orders — but to take the word of a lunatic like that, Dumbledore . . .”

And here’s the thing. Fudge knows that he’s not very smart. He knows that Dumbledore is smarter and more powerful than he is. Fudge also knows that he is in a position of power, and that power is tenuous at best. It is much easier to believe that Dumbledore is lying to him and that all the crazy stories Rita Skeeter has been spreading about Harry are true than it is to accept responsibility of leading the Ministry of Magic through a dangerous time. Fudge is weak. Fudge is scared. He doesn’t want to see everything he has built up destroyed, even if doing so might save lives and actually give them an advantage over Voldemort this time around.

No, it’s easier to believe that Dumbledore is either trying to overthrow him, has gone mad, or both. Dumbledore, however, is neither of those things.

“The only one against whom I intend to work,” said Dumbledore, “is Lord Voldemort. If you are against him, then we remain, Cornelius, on the same side.”

Another round of proof comes from Snape, who shows Fudge the Dark Mark on his arm, fading now but still very visible. This mark was burned into each Death Eater by Voldemort himself as a means of summoning them. He and Karkaroff both felt the Mark burn and knew what it meant. Fudge is disgusted by everything and leaves after giving Harry the prize money for winning the Tournament.  After he’s gone, Dumbledore turns to Mrs. Weasley and asks if he can count on her and Mr. Weasley, which she confirms. Bill goes to send a message to him. Dumbledore sends McGonagall to go find Hagrid and Madame Maxime, if she will come, and bring them to his office. He also sends Pomfrey to go take care of Winky. Once the room is mostly cleared out, he asks Sirius to transform.

Really, Dumbledore should have probably given them some warning. Mrs. Weasley is horrified, but Ron reassures her that it’s okay. Snape is not happy about it at all, but Dumbledore tells them both that they need to get over their differences and trust each other. Yeah, Dumbledore. That’s not going to happen.

“I will settle, in the short term,” said Dumbledore, with a bite of impatience in his voice, “for a lack of open hostility. You will shake hands. You are on the same side now. Time is short, and unless the few of us who know the truth stand united, there is no hope for any of us.”

Very slowly — but still glaring at each other as though each wished the other nothing but ill — Sirius and Snape moved towards each other and shook hands. They let go extremely quickly.

They need to grow up, honestly.

Dumbledore sends Sirius to alert “the old crowd,” including Lupin! I wish that Sirius could have stayed with Harry longer, but they both understand that there are important matters that need to be attended to. Snape is given another assignment, one that is not defined here, but one that Snape was prepared for. If you think about it, of all of them, Snape has probably been anticipating Voldemort’s return the longest, since he could see the Dark Mark on his arm coming back. He knew what was going to happen, at least in the general sense, and he knew what would have to happen after — his role as a spy. After taking care of this, Dumbledore bids them goodbye and goes to meet with the Diggorys.

And now we come to what I think is the saddest part of this book, even more sad than Cedric’s death. Harry has been able to put off feeling the raw emotions of everything that has happened: the terror, the pain, the sadness, and the crushing guilt. It all comes out after Mrs. Weasley tells him to try and think about what he might do with his winnings. Harry doesn’t want the money. He wasn’t supposed to win. It should have been Cedric’s. Cedric should have been the champion and should have won, but instead he died because Harry suggested they take the Cup together.

Mrs. Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother. The full weight of everything he had seen that night seemed to fall in upon him as Mrs. Weasley held him to her. His mother’s face, his father’s voice, the sight of Cedric, dead on the ground all started spinning in his head until he could hardly bear it, until he was screwing up his face against the howl of misery fighting to get out of him.

Imagine what it’s like to live your entire life and not know the feel of a mother’s arms around you, holding you, protecting you, taking care of you. Setting aside the general abuse that Harry received growing up at the Dursleys, children need to have physical contact in order to grow up healthy and HARRY HAS NEVER HAD THAT EVER. He’s never been hugged by a family member. Never been touched, except to be smacked around, until he was 11 years old and left the Dursleys’ house. HOW DID HE GROW UP SO DAMN NORMAL!!!!

I could go on, but I won’t. It just makes me hate the Dursleys even more than I already do.

There’s a weird moment where Hermione slams a window, but we’ll get to that next chapter. For right now, Harry needs to take the rest of his potion and get some sleep.

Chapter 37

Oh boy. How do we wrap up this whole traumatic experience? Harry himself admits that he only remembers bits and pieces over the next several days. This boy is overloaded right now. One thing that is bothering him is this prize money he was given. He really, really, really doesn’t want it. He tries to give it to Cedric’s parents, but they don’t want it either. They also tell Harry that they don’t blame him for Cedric’s death and thank him for bringing Cedric’s body back to them.

Dumbledore does address the school at some point and ask them to please not bother Harry with the specifics of what happened. Surprisingly, the student body does just that. Harry spends a lot of time with just Ron and Hermione, knowing he doesn’t have to worry about what people are thinking when he’s with them. All they can do is wait until they hear about something going on outside of Hogwarts until it’s time to go back home.

And Harry is going back to the Dursleys. Even with everything that has happened, even with Voldemort coming back into the world, even with Mrs. Weasley trying to intervene on Harry’s behalf.

“She went to ask him if you could come straight to us this summer,” Ron said. “But he wants you to go back to the Dursleys, at least at first.”

“Why?” said Harry.

“She said Dumbledore’s got his reasons,” said Ron, shaking his head darkly. “I suppose we’ve got to trust him, haven’t we?”

They go down to visit Hagrid, and Hagrid is his usual, wonderful self. He’s also been talking to Madame Maxime again. Hagrid always suspected Voldemort would return and he’s also very proud of all that Harry has done. Also, Dumbledore has a task for Hagrid to complete over the summer, along with Maxime, if she chooses to come. Hagrid has been trying to convince her, and he thinks she’ll agree to it. He won’t give any details though, which does make one think that it might be a bit dangerous.

The end of the school year finally arrives. At the final feast, instead of celebrating the winner of the House Cup, the Great Hall is draped in black banners in honor of Cedric. Mad-Eye Moody is back — the real one this time, and he is even more twitchy and paranoid than he was before. Harry sees that Karkaroff’s chair is empty and wonders if Karkaroff was able to get away, or if he got caught by the Death Eaters he had betrayed.

And then there’s Snape.

What was it that Snape had done on Dumbledore’s orders, the night that Voldemort had returned? And why . . . why . . . was Dumbledore so convinced that Snape was truly on their side? He had been their spy, Dumbledore had said so in the Pensieve. Snape had turned spy against Voldemort, “at great personal risk.” Was that the job he had taken up again? Had he made contact with the Death Eaters, perhaps? Pretended that he had never really gone over to Dumbledore, that he had been, like Voldemort himself, biding his time?

At this point, it’s hard to say. It is one of the reasons that Snape is one of my favorite characters of the series (that, and his brilliant portrayal by Alan Rickman in the films). I will never say that he is a good person, not in the slightest, but there are so many mysteries and layers to the man. I find him absolutely intriguing and wish we could someday have his story, as told by him. Oh well. I guess that’s what fanfiction is for.

Dumbledore says some words about Cedric and they all raise their glasses to toast their fallen friend. Cho is crying at the Ravenclaw table. Dumbledore makes a decision here to not just honor Cedric, but to give the full account of exactly how Cedric died. Voldemort is back. The Ministry may not want people to know that, but it’s true and Dumbledore is going to say so. He also mentions Harry’s role in situation, fighting Voldemort and risking his life to bring Cedric’s body back to Hogwarts. Addressing their foreign guests, Dumbledore has these last remarks.

“Every guest in this Hall will be welcomed back here at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again — in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”

He does seem to be addressing this to the Durmstrang students in particular, which if you remember correctly, attend a school where the Dark Arts are much more prevalent. With the Dark Lord returning, I hope it gives some of them comfort that they would have a safe haven at Hogwarts should they choose it.

As they are getting ready to leave, Fleur comes over to say goodbye. Krum also comes over specifically to speak to Hermione, but also tells Harry that he respected Cedric. Ron also finally gets his autograph from Krum, which he’s wanted since the World Cup.

On the train, Hermione pulls out the newspaper. Harry looks at it, but oddly enough, there are no stories about him, or about any of the tragic events of the Triwizard Tournament, other than a brief mention that he won. Hermione thinks that Fudge is keeping it quiet, but Harry knows that Fudge would never be able to stop Rita Skeeter. Yeah, about that. Hermione tells them that they don’t have to worry much about Rita Skeeter. She found out how Rita was getting all her information.

“Well, it was you, really, who gave me the idea, Harry,” she said.

“Did I?” said Harry, perplexed. “How?”

Bugging,” said Hermione happily.

“But you said they didn’t work –”

“Oh not electronic bugs,” said Hermione. “No, you see . . . Rita Skeeter” — Hermione’s voice trembled with quiet triumph — “is an unregistered Animagus. She can turn –”

Hermione pulled a small sealed glass jar out of her bag.

“– into a beetle.”

Oh gods. Oh Hermione. She is keeping Rita Skeeter trapped in a glass jar. They think back and realize that yes, they had noticed a beetle during specific moments when Rita would have overheard key information. Malfoy knew about it and would feed her information, along with the rest of the Slytherins too. Hermione caught Rita, put her in the jar, and put an Unbreakable Charm on the jar so that Rita couldn’t transform back. She won’t let her out until they get back to London, and even then, Rita needs to behave herself or Hermione will let everyone know how she got her information.

At this point, Malfoy and his goons come by and start throwing around nasty words, not just about them, but about Cedric too. He doesn’t get to speak long before a whole host of spells hit them, not just from Harry, Ron and Hermione, but also from Fred and George, who saw them pass by and thought they might be up to something. They all settle in to play cards and Harry asks about who they were blackmailing earlier on in the year.

Yeah, that seems so mundane and so long ago, doesn’t it?

Turns out, they were angry with Ludo Bagman. They had made that bet at the World Cup and won quite a bit of money off Bagman, who then paid them in leprechaun gold. Which vanished, because that’s what leprechaun gold does. At first, the twins thought it might be a mistake, but then Bagman kept ignoring them, finally telling them that they had been too young to gamble in the first place. But then, he wouldn’t give them their original money back either. Yeah, Bagman is a scumbag. He owes money all over the place, including with the goblins, which is why no one has seen him since the tournament.

They pull up at Kings Cross and Harry asks for the twins to stay back a moment. He then proceeds to give them his Triwizard winnings. At first, they won’t take it, but Harry insists. It’s an investment in the joke shop.

“Listen,” said Harry firmly. “If you don’t take it, I’m throwing it down the drain. I don’t want it and I don’t need it. But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I’ve got a feeling we’re going to need them more than usual before long . . .

“Just do me one favor, okay? Buy Ron some different dress robes and say they’re from you.”

I love that so much.

As Harry leaves his friends, it’s a much different atmosphere. Harry is never happy to return to the Dursleys, but after the events of this year, it’s really hard to say goodbye. Mrs. Weasley tells him that they are going to try to get Harry with them as soon as they can. Harry knows that one day, he will have to face Voldemort again, but right now, there is nothing he can do. Just be ready.

And that’s it! The end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! This one is quite a ride, isn’t it! I’ll be starting Order of the Phoenix next week, so be on the lookout for that!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 34

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In Chapter 34, Harry has his long awaited showdown with Voldemort. Let’s go!

Voldemort is so nasty! Not only does he have Harry right where he wants him, but he has to play with him, like a cat with a mouse. After Wormtail cuts Harry free from his ropes, the other Death Eaters close in around them. There is no where to run, nowhere to hide. Voldemort asks if Harry has learned how to duel, as though this were some sort of civilized meeting.

“We bow to each other, Harry,” said Voldemort, bending a little, but keeping his snakelike face upturned to Harry. “Come, the niceties must be observed . . . Dumbledore would like you to show manners . . . Bow to death, Harry . . .”

Harry doesn’t want to give Voldemort the satisfaction, but then feels some magic power forcing him to bend — the Imperius curse. Voldemort immediately casts the Cruciatus curse at Harry, which was more pain than he had ever felt before. While Harry is trying to stand up, shaking, Voldemort asks Harry if he wants to be hit with that curse again and casts the Imperius curse to get him to answer. Harry is able to fight the curse, but only barely. He doesn’t want to look like he’s begging in any way, shape, or form. It may seem like a small thing, but his ability to throw off one of the Unforgivable curses quiets all the Death Eaters, who had been laughing up until this point.

Voldemort tries to curse Harry again, but Harry flings himself out of the way and the curse hits a nearby gravestone. It is only a momentary break. It’s not really a hiding spot — Voldemort knows exactly where Harry is. When Voldemort comes around the gravestone, Harry does the only thing he can think of, even though he doesn’t think it will work: he casts Expelliarmus. When he does, something weird happens. Voldemort had tried to cast Avada Kedavra at the same time, but the jets of light coming from both their wands connects somehow.

And then — nothing could have prepared Harry for this — he felt his feet lift from the ground. He and Voldemort were both being raised into the air, their wands still connected by that thread of shimmering golden light. They glided away from the tombstone of Voldemort’s father and then came to rest on a patch of ground that was clear and free of graves . . .

The golden thread connecting Harry and Voldemort splintered; though the wands remained connected, a thousand more beams arced high over Harry and Voldemort, crisscrossing all around them, until they were enclosed in a golden, dome-shaped web, a cage of light, beyond which the Death Eaters circled like jackals, their cries strangely muffled now . . .

This is some weird stuff, nothing like anything we’ve ever read about in this series.

Harry’s wand is vibrating violently and it’s all he can do to hang on to it. There are several large beads of light along the thread connecting them and Harry is afraid that if one of them hits his wand, it will be destroyed. He tries to force them back towards Voldemort, concentrating very hard, and it works somehow. As the beads connect with Voldemort’s wand, various shadowy shapes start to appear. First, a hand. Next, the body of Cedric Diggory, which tells Harry to hold on. Next, an old man that Harry recognizes from his dreams, who tells Harry to fight. Next, Bertha Jorkins, who tells Harry not to let go.

It’s clear that whatever these beads of light are, they are making Voldemort’s wand regurgitate the last spells it cast. For the murders, a shadowy echo of the person, more substantial than a ghost, but short lived. As such, we know who the next shapes will be.

The smoky shadow of a young woman with long hair fell to the ground as Bertha had done, straightened up, and looked at him . . . Harry, his arms shaking madly now, looked back into the ghostly face of his mother.

“Your father’s coming . . .” she said quietly. “Hold on for your father . . . It will be all right . . . Hold on . . .”

This is the first time in his memory that he has been able to talk to his mother, and it’s at a time like this!

After James Potter emerges from Voldemort’s wand, he tells Harry to get back to the Portkey. Cedric’s shadow asks Harry to take his body back to his father. Harry pulls upwards on his wand, breaks the connection and runs. The shadowy figures block Voldemort, but other Death Eaters give chase. Harry is able to make it to Cedric’s body, but can’t get to the Triwizard Cup. He casts an Accio spell, catches the Cup, and is jerked away from the scene, leaving only Voldemort’s screams of anger behind him.

See you next time for Chapter 35!