"I have a few last-minute points to dish out."
-- Albus Dumbledore (PS17)
Gryffindor wins the House Cup, but not the Quidditch Cup, which goes to Slytherin.
As Dumbledore starts speaking before the feast, Slytherin leads in house points with 472, Gryffindor is last with 312, and Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are in the middle. But Dumbledore recognizes the achievements of Harry and his friends. Gryffindor is tied with Slytherin after Dumbledore awards Ron fifty points for getting his friends against the giant chess board, Hermione another fifty for her ability to use clear-headed logic in a high-stakes situation, and Harry sixty points for his bravery. Dumbledore then puts Gryffindor in the lead by awarding Neville ten points for the courage of standing up to one’s friends.
Pleased to see Slytherin’s downfall after six consecutive wins, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff celebrate the Gryffindors’ victory with them. Harry feels the evening is the best he has ever experienced.
If Dumbledore had not awarded Gryffindor so many points at the last moment, if would have been Slytherin's seventh win in as many years.
When Dumbledore awards Ron fifty points, Percy is quick to make sure the other prefects know that Ron is his brother. It is easy to read this as an example of Percy trying to curry favor as he often does with his coworkers and superiors when he works for the ministry, but it is also possible to see this, which occurs as the first books draws to a close, as linked to when, near the end of the last book, Percy winds up revealing how much he really loves his brothers (DH31). -BB