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Saturday, January 14, 2012

The rebellion grows

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 18

This is a long book, so I hope all of this stuff about Quidditch and Harry's infatuation with Cho is leading us somewhere. Otherwise, can we cut to the chase?

Geez, I'm starting to sound as whiny as Ron. Anybody know an anti-whining charm? Wave your wand in my general direction if you do.

I guess I should've learned a long time ago that these side stories usually add up to something later. Dobby showed up again and provided a place for the clandestine class to operate. So thumbs-up to Dobby.

Little Ginny Weasley is beginning to show herself as a clever one. She came up with the name Dumbledore's Army, a stroke of genius. And she was doing well with the disarming charm. She might have a real future in the D.A.

Maybe she's been watching and learning from Harry's cleverness, which was again proved by the reminder that he beats Voldemort - not with some incredible spell - but with simple things like a disarming charm. Zacharias Smith didn't see it coming any better than V did. He's looking for a silver bullet that will vanquish Voldemort. The answer lies in lots of knowledge, common sense and resourcefulness that you can use to adapt to any situation. Voldemort wants to be grandiose, so use that against him with simple things. He doesn't see those things coming. Attack when he expects you to run, and his anger will handicap him.

If Harry's students apply themselves in this class, the Army will grow in strength.

You don't know how pleased I was to see the Marauder's Map back in use. For Harry, he should carry that with him like I carry my wallet, keys and cellphone. It is one of his greatest resources, and my favorite prop.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting a little fired up

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 17

Umbridge up to no good
She's a sneaky one that Dolores
How to make her stop

Has Dumbledore been locked in the dungeon? Where is he? A vanishing spell gone awry?

His students need him. Dolores is more than a spy for Fudge - she is staging a coup.

When she dissolved all extra-curriculars, I actually felt a twinge of anger. My emotional detachment to the story might be weakening. Make out of that statement whatever you want.

I think the Gryffs will get their Quidditch team back, but she wants them to sweat. She wants to show them who is in charge. As the High Instigator, she is off to a good start at stirring the cauldron.

Now the end of the chapter where she shows up in the Floo Network (aren't you impressed that I remember what it's called), was surprising. Is she reading the mail and maiming owls? Did she buy extendable ears from Fred and George? However she knew to find Sirius there proves she is quite dangerous to the cause.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In a class by themselves

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 16

You have to wonder what kind of trouble having an underground class is going to get these kids in to. I wonder if Umbridge's classroom is big enough to keep them all in detention at the same time. But maybe they will be able to keep it a secret from her royal highness The High Inquisitor.

You can't blame them for wanting  to learn how to defend themselves against dark arts. Knowing that V-Voldemort is out there and not knowing how to defend yourself is a vulnerable feeling, so I say good for them. What is tyranny if not something to fight against. One side will call it treason, the other will call it self-defense.

Give Hermione credit for knowing how to run a meeting. First, she picked an out-of-the-way place off of Umbridge's turf, which every good spy knows to do. Then, as soon as others got them off topic, she brought them back to the question of when and where to hold the class. They ought to meet at Hagrid's place. Umbridge won't have any surveillance cameras there. And Harry should break out that map that GPS tracks everybody during class time so they will know where Umbridge is at all times.

What they must be wary of is a snitch. Keeping the Slytherins away would be a good start.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The inquisition

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 15

Let's see, what other names can we come up with for Dolores The High Inquisitor.

The Big Buttinski.

The Officious Meddler.

The Annoying Mosquito.

The Unwelcome Intruder.

We could go on. And if you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them.

Her inquisition is sure to have some consequences and I assume is setting up another Dumbledore-Fudge confrontation. It's going to be like a team owner telling the coach who to cut or to play at quarterback. In the muggle world, the owner always wins. In the magical world, I'm betting on Dumbledore. He might let Fudge win an inconsequential battle, but Fudge, I hope, will be limited in what he can accomplish.

Yes, I suppose Dumbledore could lose his job, go underground and run the Order. Not sure whether staying in charge of Hogwarts is the best place to do battle against Voldemort.

I'm pretty sure more detention is not the best place for Harry to be right now, but at least he is standing up to Dolores. That takes the kind of guts that have been getting him out of all the scrapes he's had with Voldemort. Probably one of the big reasons Fudge and his lackeys don't believe Voldemort is back is because they can't believe Harry could actually be escaping these near-death experiences.

Harry's right though. He has had a lot of help getting out of jams. Still, his friends are correct in identifying the certain "it" factor he has in these situations. Some things you can't coach, and resourcefulness in a life-and-death situation is one of them. All he can do is give them some tools. And he probably should, because a little coaching just might save his life again some day.




Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dolores and Percy: A troublesome combination

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 13

Well, ain't she an evil one.

I did a couple turns in detention in my day, and had to write on the chalkboard a couple times too. But nothing ever as malevolent as what Dolores made Harry do. Gracious.

It's clear she's not there to teach or even cares about education, making Harry miss all of that homework time. But Harry did well to not let her see him sweat. In this case, the pen is mightier than the sword.

And what about her taste for tackiness? Of course, that is a trait with a lot of magic folk. Look at Fudge, if you can. Maybe dressing like that is how you rise in the ranks at the ministry.

The good news in this chapter is that Ron made the quidditch team as keeper. He had a rough first day of practice, but haven't we all been there. Finally, I have something about Ron to root for.

Maybe they can get Dolores on the pitch and fire the bludger at her.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 14

Percy, Percy, Percy ... will you ever learn?

Probably not as long as he is blinded by his own ambition. I'm certain he has eyes on the minister's office one day. His letter, while full of heartfelt concern for his little bro (yeah, right), is surely another attempt to score points with Fudge. The more people Fudge can get on his side, no matter how lowly their leadership position, the easier his planned coup against Dumbledore will be. At least that's what Percy Weasel thinks.

Fudge is a fool and his magic can't begin to stand up to Dumbledore's and the combined strength of the Order of the Phoenix. At least that's my take anyway.

It was good for Harry to see Sirius, I think. It always seems to calm him down. And Sirius confirmed for us how truly paranoid Fudge is about Dumbledore. Of course, he couldn't be more wrong about Dumbledore. They're really fighting the same enemy, only Fudge is too stupid or cursed to see it. Or he's corrupt.

Now who's getting paranoid.  But it is getting so you can't trust anyone these days. Why I wouldn't even trust Jack Bauer if showed up in the next chapter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Too many foes

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter 12

Help me here.

Is it worse for a teenager to deal with evil dark lords or politics?

My answer for now is politics. Luke Skywalker, I think, had it easier than Harry Potter. Luke knew who the enemy was. His battles were mostly one on one with the straight-up bad guys. Harry, however, has to dance with Dolores Umbridge and the entire Ministry of Magic. He knows Voldemort is the real bad guy, but he also has to fight against either ignorance or corruption in the ministry.

It's hard for a 15-year-old to sit on the truth and be politically correct. It's too bad that living the other way becomes easier as adults, but then Harry has had to live like an adult for a long time. So Harry has to sit and take it from Umbridge in detention and class and anywhere else they might meet. I'm sure she was the good spy and sent off a note to Fudge right after class reporting about Harry's outburst.

I assume Umbridge will be a battle this entire school year. Only a run-in with Voldemort himself is likely to make her believe that the dark side is back in business. Unless she's part of the conspiracy. At this point, who knows.

"Bring 'em on, I'd prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around." (Extra credit if you can tell me who said that.)