"Raining...in your office? That's - that's not good, is it?
-- Ron Weasley (as Reg Cattermole)
After weeks of planning, Harry, Ron and Hermione ambush three Ministry of Magic workers, assume their identities, and sneak into Ministry headquarters. To their horror, they learn that Ron has assumed the identity of a man whose wife is about to be interrogated about her blood status, and who faces a sentence in Azkaban for being a Muggle-born with a wand.
Calendar and Dates
Continues from previous chapter, so begins on 5 August. Most of the action occurs on 2 September.
Interesting facts and notes
Half a dozen men in long cloaks stood silent and watchful, gazing as ever at houses eleven and thirteen, but the thing for which they were waiting still appeared elusive.
I can only imagine how intimidating and uncomfortable it must have been for the Muggles living in Grimmauld Place to see those creepy cloaked strangers staring at their homes for days on end.
The man with the twisted face pointed and his closest companion, a podgy pallid man ...
We can't specifically identify either of these men. They might be Death Eaters or possibly Ministry wizards assigned to this boring task.
Alecto Carrow will take over the post while her brother, Amycus
So now we have confirmation of the identity of the Carrows.
And who are these Carrows?
Harry encountered them during the battle of the Tower less than three months ago, but Ron wasn't with him at the time.
This extremely mild expletive, followed by "Merlin’s most baggy Y Fronts," are references are to the style of men's underwear also known as "briefs."
Ron glanced at his watch. “I’ve been thinking about that all day. It left nearly six hours ago. Weird, not being on it, isn’t it?”
She was carrying a large, framed picture, which she now lowered to the floor before seizing her small, beaded bag from the kitchen sideboard.
“Wouldn’t make any difference to her, she was so evil in the first place,” Harry shrugged.
Turns out this is true. When the Trio took turns wearing the locket they suffered severe negative effects. Umbridge doesn't seem to feel these effects at all, or maybe the Horcrux simply amplified the evil that was already part of her warped personality.
“Well, if all three of us go we’ll have to Disapparate separately,” Ron was saying. “We can’t all fit under the Cloak anymore.”
It's likely that they would have all fit, since the Cloak was not an ordinary Invisibility Cloak. Dumbledore explains that the true magic of the Cloak is its ability to conceal more than one person. He explains this to Harry:
“And the Cloak . . . the true magic of which, of course, is that it can be used to protect and shield others as well as its owner …” (DH35).
Harry and the others don't know this yet, however.
Harry glanced into the cracked, dusty mirror
Apparently Kreacher's new interest in cleaning doesn't extend to this bathroom.
They gulped down their breakfast, then set off upstairs, Kreacher bowing them out and promising to have a steak-and-kidney pie ready for them when they returned.
Sadly, they would never arrive to eat that steak-and-kidney pie.
before Hermione’s silent Stunning Spell hit her in the chest and she toppled over.
Hermione, not surprisingly, has mastered non-verbal spells.
a small card that identified their victim as an assistant in the Improper Use of Magic Office
Nice bit of irony there. I'm surprised Harry didn't mention that he recognized the name from the letters she had sent him on previous occasions.
Previously a golden fountain had filled the center of the hall
There's a nice bit of symbolism for you - the statue previously represented all the official magical races (witch, wizard, centaur, goblin, and house-elf) and was smashed during the duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort.
You realize that I am on my way downstairs to interrogate your wife, Cattermole?
That is a very nasty unintended consequence of ambushing poor Cattermole, who has nothing to do with anything. He's no longer going to be able to be present to support his wife today. No wonder he fought so hard to try to go in to work.
Fifty yards along the crowded pavement there were spiked black railings flanking two flights of steps, one labeled GENTLEMEN, the other LADIES.
This type of public toilet was built in the Victorian era in London. Nearly all of them were closed by the mid-1900s but the entrances are still there, fenced and locked. This excellent article describing these relics of London's past is found on Mental Floss website. The photos in that article (also found on the photographer's website) show the exact type of abandoned underground public toilet Rowling describes here.
The photo below shows a similar disused public toilet in Glasgow (from the Secret Scotland website).
Now a gigantic statue of black stone dominated the scene. It was rather frightening, this was sculpture of a witch and a wizard sitting on ornately carved thrones, looking down at the Ministry workers toppling out of fireplaces below them. Engraved in foot-high letters at the base of the statue were the words MAGIC IS MIGHT.
"Blooming pain in the bum, this, eh? Forcing us all to get to work this way! Who are they expecting to turn up, Harry Potter?"
"'What am I going to do?' Ron asked the other two at once; he looked stricken. 'If I don't turn up, my wife - I mean, Cattermole's wife -'"
Words and phrases
From the Web
Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore): Polyjuice Potion
- Small Sad "Potter" Moments That I Can’t Stop Thinking About
- MuggleCast Episode 129: Pensive Possibilities
- Worrying About the Cattermoles: How Growing Older Has Changed the Way I Read "Harry Potter"
Harry Potter Wiki:
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) feature: