So why is the Order of the Phoenix my favorite Harry Potter novel? The rich, imaginative descriptions of new places in the Wizarding World are part of it, sure, but it’s more. It’s the delicious, immensely satisfying way that evil gets its comeuppance by the end of the book. This chapter gives a little foreshadowing of that.
At the hearing, Harry is all alone and scared and clearly being set up by Fudge to be crushed. Fudge manipulates the proceedings in such a way that Harry, who is no match for the twisted guile of the Minister for Magic, is bewildered and confused. Fudge preempts Harry’s telling the truth by framing the boy’s words as contrived lies before they’re even spoken:
‘Let me explain. He’s been thinking it through and decided Dementors would make a very nice little cover story, very nice indeed. Muggles can’t see Dementors, can they, boy? Highly convenient, highly convenient… so it’s just your word and no witnesses…’
‘Enough, enough!’ said Fudge, with a very supercilious look on his face. ‘I’m sorry to interrupt what I’m sure would have been a very well-rehearsed story -‘
And then Dumbledore steps in. The Headmaster is more than equal to Fudge’s manipulations. He deftly turns Fudge’s own words against him:
“There are no Dementors outside Ministry control!” snapped Fudge, who had turned brick red.
Dumbledore inclined his head in a little bow. “Then undoubtedly the Ministry will be making a full inquiry into why two Dementors were so very far from Azkaban and why they attacked without authorisation.”
“It is not for you to decide what the Ministry of Magic does or does not do, Dumbledore!” snapped Fudge, now a shade of magenta of which Uncle Vernon would have been proud.
“Of course it isn’t,” said Dumbledore mildly. “I was merely expressing my confidence that this matter will not go uninvestigated.”
By saying “Of course it isn’t,” and also “Of course you are” to Fudge’s protests and statements, Dumbledore turns the tables on Fudge, making it appear that the Minister himself is agreeing that Harry must be innocent.
Then when Dumbledore points out the absurdity of the full Wizengamot holding an inquiry into a simple case of underage sorcery — of which we assume there are many — Fudge’s duplicity is exposed. Harry is exonerated.
The delight we feel at that moment is but a small taste of what is to come. We’ve endured the injustice against Harry for just six chapters. We’re going to endure twenty-five chapters of Umbridge’s treachery and injustice until finally we– like Hogwarts — will be liberated. Wrongs will be righted. The good guys will win! Revolution has never felt so sweet.
But … Sirius will die and Harry will face his own inability to be the hero he imagines himself to be. There is a lot of story still to come, even at the end of this amazing book. A battle will be won, but the war is just heating up.
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