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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sirius Dreams

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 31

One of my daughters peeked over my shoulder yesterday to see me reading the chapter titled O.W.L.s. "Hmmm ... O.W.L.s," she said and spelled it. I was reading it as a word like you would an acronym such as NATO or Taser.

So which is it? Do you spell it when you say it or do you say it as the word it spells? A deep question, I know, but I suppose I will have to wait till I can watch the movie to know for sure. Hopefully that will be in about a week.

On to more pressing questions:

  • How long before Ron quits retelling his Quidditch heroics?
  • How long before Grawp is discovered?
  • How did everyone do on their O.W.L.s?
  • Will the High Instigator get in trouble for her midnight vigilantism that chased off Hagrid and felled McGonagall?
  • Where and when will Hagrid reappear?
The biggest question, of course, is what did Harry really see in his dream after he fell asleep during his final exam?

We know that Voldemort is inflicting the unforgiveable Crucio! curse on Sirius. Nasty old V wants Sirius to give him something. Not sure what it is or if I should know. But it must be crucial. I do think Harry finally saw more because he wasn't trying to fall asleep and his guard was down.

The other question is will Harry tell anyone what he saw? Maybe because Sirius was in trouble he will tell him. But you never can tell with this bunch what they will share and what they will keep to themselves. They live by a code of need-to-know and afraid-to-tell.

Whatever happens, I'm sure such a public display by Harry will produce more questions than you can shake a wand at.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Giant questions

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 30

Some apparently unrelated items find their way into our latest musings about our young heroes.

Harry unwittingly helps Ron by giving his Triwizard winnings to Fred and George to open a joke shop in Diagon Alley. Their conspicuous exit from Hogwarts apparently took pressure off Ron as the Quidditch goalie.

They'll be sorry they weren't there to see little brother lead the Gryffindors to the Cup.

Umbridge and Filch are still doing battle with all of the curses and spells left behind by Fred and George and continued by others. Those two were apparently quite inspirational.

But let's talk about the giant in the room.

I wonder what purpose Grawp serves in the story. I suppose something down the road, but it's hard to imagine what. Maybe just another misstep to get Hagrid in more trouble.

Hagrid's heart, though, is as big as his girth. The way he cares for creatures that no one else does is admirable. Though he sure doesn't care much for centaurs.

I suppose all of this is somehow helping to lead us to the book's climax. At some point I expect Umbridge to be gone. We will learn more about Harry's dreams. And we'll see if Harry's claims of the return of Voldemort will be believed outside of the Order. It might take a conspicuous act by Voldemort for that to happen.

Only eight more chapters to go.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In the words of George ...

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 29

If I had the displeasure of introducing Dolores Umbridge to a crowd, it might go something like this:

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dolores Umbridge, the most hated headmistress in the history of Hogwarts.

Or, Dolores Umbridge, the wicked witch of the Ministry of the Magic.

But I think I would most like to introduce her in the words of George Weasley: Dolores Umbridge, the old bat.

Yes, that would give me pleasure.

As readers we, of course, side with Harry and all his friends. And we root against their opposition. And Dolores is definitely the opposition. I hope Harry gets to be an auror, especially after her display in the career counseling session. Talk about your micro-managers. Oh, and good for McGonagall standing up to the boss.

Harry's talk with Sirius and Lupin should calm him down about his dad. Their insistence on resuming his Occlumency lessons was revealing. Everyone believes this is serious business, but they won't tell Harry exactly why. Tell the boy already. Don't you know by now that this approach doesn't work with Harry. He will just go off in another direction if he doesn't understand why.

And then there's Snape. He needs to grow up and forget the past. Move on. Let it go. And just take one for the Order.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Time to be close-minded, I think

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 28

Didn't take long for the High Instigator to become the Headmistress. We have as many educational decrees as we have chapters in this book. Time to order a new ream of parchment and another batch of quills.

And while it's illegal for students to form the DA, it's OK for Her Majesty to form the Inquisitorial Squad, which is just a fancy name for tattletales. Fortunately, Fred and George are roaming the castle spreading their special brand of mayhem. They are quite clever, and now that they don't care if they get in trouble ... a distinct advantage for the good guys.

What a terrible and obvious interrogator the inquisitor/instigator is. Could she have been more obvious with the tea, no doubt laced with some sort of truth serum, and her impatient and direct questions. Seems old Mad-Eye's influence on Harry had some purpose. I think Fudge will one day regret sending Umbridge to Hogwarts. She is devious but ultimately not smart enough for those of the Order.

Not sure what to make of Harry's trip into Snape's Pensieve. We already knew that Snape didn't like Harry and that James Potter had something to do with it. Now we know why. It served to get Harry out of Occlumency lessons. Will that be good or bad? No doubt Harry's dreams and the Voldemort factor in them will continue. Is that good or bad?

As Dumbledore left at the end of the previous chapter he warned Harry to close his mind. "You will understand," were his last words to Harry.

Dumbledore is probably right. He always is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Office (Season 10, Episode 1): The SNEAK

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 27

I suppose the Firenze-Hagrid business will be revealed and be of some consequence, but let's move on to the more sensational happenings of the gotcha crew and Harry in Dumbledore's office.

Memo to Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic aka Counselor of Corruption, and Dolores Jane Umbridge, High Inquisitor aka High Instigator and soon to be, I'm sure, Headmaster of Hogwarts:

You got played.

Dumbledore outwits you at every step. He's got stealth skills, defense-attorney skills, make-things-go-poof skills and flair skills.

You probably think you won by pushing Dumbledore out of the Headmaster's lair. But Dumbledore is like a great coach. He doesn't wait to till halftime to make all of his adjustments, he makes them at timeouts when he needs them, not when it's too late. He's been two steps ahead of you from the beginning.

He's got vision. You're wearing blinders.

He's got an army of believers in the cause. You've got minions only believing in avoiding your wrath.

Really, it's not a fair fight. But keep trying with your educational decrees, your traps, your overconfidence and your corruption.

Your reign has the shelf life of a tomato. Sooner or later it will rot.

Signed: A Muggle Meddling in Magic

Monday, June 15, 2015

Back from Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 26

Yes, it's been almost two years since I have posted my thoughts on the Harry Potter series. I have been held prisoner in Azkaban on trumped-up charges. But I have been released. I can't reveal the circumstances because of the non-disclosure agreement the Ministry forced me to sign. I did, however, visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando upon my release. No Azkaban attractions there, thankfully, but it was a good time. If you are a Harry Potter fan (and I presume you are), it's worth the trip. Now back to seeing how this all turns out for Harry and his friends:

Harry's tell-all in the Quibbler caused quite a stir and got the delivery owls' feathers up. And the High Instigator got her feathers predictably ruffled. She doesn't want to believe that the cover-up is worse than the crime, or in this instance, worse than the truth coming out, perhaps, too late. Or somebody at the Ministry is blackmailing her.

Harry sees more through Voldemort's eyes though I'm not sure what it all means. Perhaps I should, but my memory of previous events is muddled from my Azkaban confinement.

Any way, I don't understand why Harry seeing these things as Voldemort is a bad thing. If he is seeing things accurately, wouldn't that be good for the Order and the DA? But maybe it's just a dream meant to confuse Harry. Maybe it's the result of a Voldemort spell. Again, maybe I'm forgetting something that would help me understand better.

Any help to clear this up for me would be appreciated, but only if it's something previously revealed that I have forgotten.

Back to the High Inquisitor, it was good to see Dumbledore was prepared for her firing of Trelawney. This Firenze chap sounds interesting. I expect he will be more thoroughly introduced in the next chapter.