sarnath: Fai from Tsubasa reservoir chronicle (Default)
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She's the best villain. I don't think I've hated a fictional character more, which is a very impressive feat considering that she's a minor government official who wants to improve school results. Hm, on second thought, I think I've just pinpointed her evil right there, so never mind. I now feel comfortable in my hatred.

Harry is, of course, being tried in the courtroom where they held the Death Eater trials, because that's completely reasonable for hearing a fifteen-year-old about some self-defence magic. The MoM at its finest!

Also, he's berated for being late, of course. And then he has to sit in the chair with the chains.

His footsteps echoed loudly as he walked across the stone floor. When he sat gingerly on the edge of the chair the chains clinked threateningly, but did not bind him. Feeling rather sick, he looked up at the people seated at the bench above.

They've really done everything to terrify him. Why? Is this really all Umbridge's doing? I don't remember. And what the hell, is he being tried by the whole Wizengamot?

There were about fifty of them, all, as far as he could see, wearing plum-coloured robes with an elaborately worked silver ‘W’ on the left-hand side of the chest and all staring down their noses at him, some with very austere expressions, others looks of frank curiosity.

Also the minister for magic and- shit, I'd forgotten, Percyis there, pretending he doesn't know Harry.

‘Interrogators: Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister for Magic; Amelia Susan Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement; Dolores Jane Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister. Court Scribe, Percy Ignatius Weasley –’

‘Witness for the defence, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore,’ said a quiet voice from behind Harry, who turned his head so fast he cricked his neck.

HAH! Take that, ministry weasels! Dumbledore has the best entrances (and exits, if I'm not mistaken) and is prudent enough to be three hours early, seriously. I'm fairly sure avoiding Dumbledore was the main reason for them (Fudge? Umbridge?) wanting to change the time.

Fudge is in any case notably nervous, as he should be. Dumbledore obviously sees right through him.

In as nastily a manipulative manner as possibly he's read his charges (complete with interrupting him every time he tries to explain why he needed to use a patronus). Unfortunately for Fudge it sort of backfires.

Impressive,’ said Madam Bones, staring down at him, ‘a true Patronus at his age ... very impressive indeed.’

(Though seriously, the way everyone keeps interrupting Harry in this chapter is what's truly impressive.)

But Fudge thinks the impressiveness magic is irrelevant, and adamant that the only thing that matters is that he used magic in front of a muggle, and others agree.

Those who had been frowning now murmured in agreement, but it was the sight of Percy’s sanctimonious little nod that goaded Harry into speech.

‘I did it because of the Dementors!’ he said loudly, before anyone could interrupt him again.

And here it begins, the year of doubt and lies. Fudge is the first to accuse him of lying (a unpleasantly as possible), but it's going to be worse. Oh, so much worse. Amelia Bones, to her bushy-eyebrowed credit, is inclined to believe Harry, but it doesn't help much.

(And by the way, damnit, Percy! How could you?)

Shockingly, Fudge actually tries to prevent the defence witness to speak, but Dumbledore and Amelia Bones thankfully puts a stop to that. How corrupt is this court?

Unfortunately the witness (Mrs Figg) doesn't sound very credible.

What did they look like?’ said Madam Bones, narrowing her eyes so that the edge of the monocle disappeared into her flesh.

‘Well, one was very large and the other one rather skinny –’

‘No, no,’ said Madam Bones impatiently. ‘The Dementors ... describe them.’


... Sorry.

But it actually sounds as if she'd been told to lie to the Wizengamot (though she obviously felt the Dementors there). By Dumbledore?

She manages to be convincing enough, though, and then we have a clue! They discuss why the Dementors were there in the first place, and:

Oh, I don’t think any of us believe the Dementors were there by coincidence,’ said Dumbledore lightly.

The witch sitting to the right of Fudge, with her face in shadow, moved slightly but everyone else was quite still and silent.

Here she is, here she is!

He thought she looked just like a large, pale toad. She was rather squat with a broad, flabby face, as little neck as Uncle Vernon and a very wide, slack mouth. Her eyes were large, round and slightly bulging. Even the little black velvet bow perched on top of her short curly hair put him in mind of a large fly she was about to catch on a long sticky tongue.

I love Harry's descriptions.

Dumbledore has clearly told Fudge that Voldemort is back, Fudge refuses to believe him, and the Dementors are still at Azkaban.

The witch spoke in a fluttery, girlish, high-pitched voice that took Harry aback; he had been expecting a croak.

I just had to.

‘So silly of me. But it sounded for a teensy moment as though you were suggesting that the Ministry of Magic had ordered an attack on this boy!’

She gave a silvery laugh that made the hairs on the back of Harry’s neck stand up. A few other members of the Wizengamot laughed with her. It could not have been plainer that not one of them was really amused.

*shudder* and hm, she must have more influence than I remembered. Poor Harry, you don't know what she'll put you through!

Dumbledore, of course, is simply the master of the quiet burn.

‘If it is true that the Dementors are taking orders only from the Ministry of Magic, and it is also true that two Dementors attacked Harry and his cousin a week ago, then it follows logically that somebody at the Ministry might have ordered the attacks,’ said Dumbledore politely. ‘Of course, these particular Dementors may have been outside Ministry control –’

‘There are no Dementors outside Ministry control!’ snapped Fudge, who had turned brick red.

Dumbledore inclined his head in a little bow.

Dumbledore is awesome.

He then proceeds to thoroughly and calmly dismantle the accusations piece by piece, while dropping some seriously interesting fragments of information: Fudge trying to take and destroy Harry's wand was illegal, the ministry have (which is logical, when you think about it) no authority to expel students from Hogwarts, and Dumbledore himself was asked to actually leave the Wizengamot. Whoa.

Fudge is very upset, and turns various shades of puce, but that doesn't help and Harry is free to go. But Dumbledore is faster:

And without looking once at Harry, he swept from the dungeon.

I realise that this means that Dumbledore is aware of a few things that Harry really needed to know, and in hindsight probably would have avoided a host of problems. The avoidance of eye contact alone is constantly made a point of, so both Harry and the reader are aware that something is going on, and when you know what it is... well all right, the courtroom was not the right place. But still.

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