sarnath: A hippogriff by Tapia (Harry Potter Hippogriff)
[personal profile] sarnath
Phew, this was a busy week! It's going to feel good to relax with Harry Potter for the weekend. I was, by the way, really excited by JKR's tweet the other day; I wonder if we're really getting more Harry, or if it's just a hint of the worldbuilding for the coming Scamander film?

As for OotP, I'm at the first detention chapter. And it's delightfully horrible.

Things are steadily worsening, and people are now doing their best to provoke Harry into a screaming fit in the great hall while Hermione tells him they never really believed Dumbledore about in the first place, about Voldemort being back. Peachy.

Back in the common room, Hermione has a minor rage-out too.

‘How can Dumbledore have let this happen?’ Hermione cried suddenly, making Harry and Ron jump; Crookshanks leapt off her, looking affronted. She pounded the arms of her chair in fury, so that bits of stuffing leaked out of the holes.

It's the year for it.

And poor Ron has to deal with his unruly older brothers again. Or rather avoid dealing with them.

Ron rose halfway out of his chair, hovered uncertainly for a moment or two, then muttered to Harry, ‘She’s got it under control,’ before sinking as low in his chair as his lanky frame permitted.

But he's right about the hats, and I think that deep down Hermione knows that too. It isn't on to trick someone into a situation they're wholly unprepared for and might not want. Hermione is right about it being slavery, of course, in essentials, but she's very obviously going about the whole thing backwards. As has been discussed in fandom many times, of course. I just think it's fascinating how this difficult situation is actually brought up, even though there's no real resolution within the books.

I'm really feeling the academic dread here, the constant pressure of not being able to do enough, and how every time you do anything that isn't studying you feel guilty for it. The teachers keep going on about OWLs, and the homework is overwhelming already on the second day.

Now panicking slightly about the amount of homework they had to do, Harry and Ron spent their lunch hour in the library looking up the uses of moonstones in potion-making.

Next is Care of Magical Creatures, and Malfoy is his usual delightful self.

He had clearly just said something highly amusing, because Crabbe, Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and the rest continued to snigger heartily

I'm still wondering who "the rest" are. Well, all of them are gleeful about having Harry to mock, apparently. And Malfoy is acting all superior about what he knows, when Harry tries to find out where Hagrid is from Professor Grubbly-Plank.

Smirking all over his pointed face, Draco Malfoy leaned across Harry and seized the largest Bowtruckle.

‘Maybe,’ said Malfoy in an undertone, so that only Harry could hear him, ‘the stupid great oaf’s got himself badly injured.’

‘Maybe you will if you don’t shut up,’ said Harry out of the side of his mouth.

‘Maybe he’s been messing with stuff that’s too big for him, if you get my drift.’

Malfoy walked away, smirking over his shoulder at Harry, who felt suddenly sick. Did Malfoy know something?

He pretty obviously does, yeah. Though probably not as much as he tries to make it seem; he's always had a sheltered childhood, and I don't think that has changed yet.

As always, he manages to provoke Harry like no one else, making Harry's constant testiness worse. Not to mention what the lesson itself has done.

‘Because she’ll never be as good as Hagrid,’ said Harry firmly, fully aware that he had just experienced an exemplary Care of Magical Creatures lesson and was thoroughly annoyed about it.

Oh, Harry. Your loyalty does you credit, but really.

Luna, however, is as delightful as always! Though I admit I would probably be annoyed as hell by her in reality. Awesome fictional character, though! I can't help but notice how Hermione says Harry can "do better" than her, when he asks her not to alienate the people who believe him. Knowing that Hermione is already aware of Ginny's feelings for Harry, I wonder if she was thinking along those lines already?

Anyway, Ernie McMillan also shows his support.

‘I want you to know, Potter,’ he said in a loud, carrying voice, ‘that it’s not only weirdos who support you. I personally believe you one hundred per cent. My family have always stood firm behind Dumbledore, and so do I.’

‘Er – thanks very much, Ernie,’ said Harry, taken aback but pleased. Ernie might be pompous on occasions like this, but Harry was in a mood to deeply appreciate a vote of confidence from somebody who did not have radishes dangling from their ears.

It's nice to know that not only people who, according to Ginny, only believes in things for which there is no proof whatsoever, believes in you, I suppose! Though I wonder how much truth there is to that.

Unfortunately, I don't remember a single thing about Ernie McMillan than that he's in Hufflepuff.

Another person who is deeply unhappy with Harry is Angelina; he's got himself into detention during keeper tryouts, which is naturally a disaster. Ron has a theory:

‘I think we’d better check with Puddlemere United whether Oliver Wood’s been killed during a training session, because Angelina seems to be channelling his spirit.’

But hey, Quidditch captains should take their positions with utmost seriousness, shouldn't they? I'm really loving Angelina the more we see of her; she's no-nonsense, straight to the point, Quidditch maniac, and for some reason I like how she calls Harry "Potter". Like she sees him as a team member first and foremost and doesn't really care about rumours and other irrelevant rubbish.

But here's the moment we've been waiting for! Umbridge.

Now, I love the description of the room, how it's contrasted with Lupin and Moody; when they were teaching there the room showed a lot of who they were, but all the paraphernalia Umbridge has put up just shows what she aren't: sweet, cute, and harmless. It's like hiding something rotten under a perfumed cloth.

And it's so completely evident that Umbridge enjoys punishing Harry. But is it because she really thinks she's doing the right thing? I'm inclined to think not. She's much too gleeful about it, so pleased when she can deny Harry the favour of moving one of the detentions. Also:

‘You haven’t given me any ink,’ he said.

‘Oh, you won’t need ink,’ said Professor Umbridge, with the merest suggestion of a laugh in her voice.

Because seriously.

And then he has to sit there, writing that he mustn't tell lies when all he's done is tell the truth, and do it in his own blood. I don't know if I've ever read a scene more unjust and frustrating! Harry is determined not to show the signs of weakness that Umbridge is looking for, and when he can finally leave (after being held too long to have time for any schoolwork), he's told that he has to come back until an "impression" is properly made. But for some reason it's the unspoken but clear message in this line that gets to me:

He walked slowly up the corridor, then, when he had turned the corner and was sure she would not hear him, broke into a run.

Though the exchange with Ron is also heartbreaking.

‘How was detention with Umbridge, anyway? What did she make you do?’

Harry hesitated for a fraction of a second, then said, ‘Lines.’

‘That’s not too bad, then, eh?’ said Ron.

‘Nope,’ said Harry.

Harry, you could tell him. IIRC, it does get better after this book, but Harry is always so locked up when it comes to difficulties and emotions. He doesn't easily let anyone come close. To a large extent that's just his personality, of course, but in this book it's exaggerated.

He was not really sure why he was not telling Ron and Hermione exactly what was happening in Umbridge’s room: he only knew that he did not want to see their looks of horror; that would make the whole thing seem worse and therefore more difficult to face.

Is this me imagining things, or does this read like textbook abuse victim to anybody else? Which we already know that he is, of course, but it's still shocking to see the evidence like this when the early books had such a different tone.

On a lighter note, Harry finally finds out that Ron is going to try for keeper. Harry is, of course, really happy about it, and I think it's telling that Ron though Harry would laugh at him for trying. His self esteem really isn't that much better than Neville's in some aspects, which doubtlessly is a result of having so many brothers who have all distinguished themselves in some way. I mean, Harry wouldn't laugh at Neville trying out, and Neville is a louse flier (at this point). That's just not how Harry is, and Ron probably knows that. It's just his own insecurities talking.

In any case, he's gratifyingly upset about what Umbridge does to Harry. But now at least Harry has "feeble rays of light" to help him through detention. I'm really loving how much he and Ron cares about each other.

But what's this?

And then, as she took hold of him to examine the words now cut into his skin, pain seared, not across the back of his hand, but across the scar on his forehead. At the same time, he had a most peculiar sensation somewhere around his midriff.

He wrenched his arm out of her grip and leapt to his feet, staring at her. She looked back at him, a smile stretching her wide, slack mouth.

‘Yes, it hurts, doesn’t it?’ she said softly.

I don't remember this part! What's this about, then? Voldemort's influence to be sure, but "sensation around his midriff"?

Even this horrible chapter provided me with a laugh. Dear Hermione, you mean well, but those house elf hats...

Listen, you can help me if you like, it’s quite fun, I’m getting better, I can do patterns and bobbles and all sorts of things now.’

Harry looked into her face, which was shining with glee, and tried to look as though he was vaguely tempted by this offer.

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