"...this is going to take some smoothing over."
- Arthur Weasley
They travel via Portkey back to the Burrow, Harry tells Ron and Hermione about his dream, Mr. Weasley returns home to report problems with Rita Skeeter’s articles in The Daily Prophet, and HRH prepare to return to Hogwarts.
Calendar and Dates
The action of this chapter begins on the morning after the Quidditch World Cup, and ends the evening before the kids catch the Hogwarts Express. Since the Quidditch World Cup was held on a Monday, the morning after was a Tuesday. Since the Hogwarts Express was caught on 1 September, the chapter ends on 31 August.
Interesting facts and notes
The chaos at the Ministry resulting from the Quidditch World Cup riot takes place off-stage, mostly; we see only the ripple effect on life at the Burrow, as Mr. Weasley and Percy have disrupted work schedules, and talk a little about what's going on at work.
"Sometimes, when a person's memory's modified, it makes them a bit disorientated for awhile...and that was a big thing they had to make him forget."
We have already seen evidence at this point in the story that Memory Charms - at least when misapplied - can have long term effects, as in the case of Gilderoy Lockhart. We're being informed here that even a correctly applied Memory Charm can have side effects on the victim's mind.
"Last week she was saying we're wasting our time quibbling about cauldron thickness, when we should be stamping out vampires! As if it weren't specifically stated in paragraph twelve of the Guidelines for the Treatment of Non-Wizard Part-Humans -"
Interesting. From this remark, it appears that vampires are not considered to be a threat per se by the wizarding community - they have rights and are protected by Ministry guidelines, although they're not considered to be completely human.
Whether this statement will be enough to quash the rumours that several bodies were removed from the woods an hour later, remains to be seen.
At first glance, of course, this sounds as though Rita Skeeter is making this rumour up out of whole cloth. Only later do we learn that one body was smuggled out of the woods after the incident - the Stunned body of Barty Crouch, junior.
"They want compensation for their ruined property. Mundungus Fletcher's put in a claim for a twelve-bedroomed tent with en-suite jacuzzi, but I've got his number. I know for a fact he was sleeping under a cloak propped on sticks."
We last heard of Mundungus two years ago, when he tried to hex Mr. Weasley during a Ministry raid. We will meet him properly about a year from now (OP2). We can gather from Percy's observation about Mundungus' sleeping arrangements at the World Cup that Dung did not pay much (if anything) for a ticket. It is perfectly possible thatMundungus was at the World Cup campgrounds not to watch the match, but to pursue various business opportunities - although we have no evidence on this point as yet, other than Mundungus' character and apparent financial status.
Consider how convenient the Quidditch World Cup campgrounds would be as a cover for illegal activity. Any witch or wizard could meet quite openly with any other witch or wizard and it could be passed off as an innocent, accidental encounter rather than a prearranged rendezvous.
...the grandfather clock in the corner...It was completely useless if you wanted to know the time, but otherwise very informative. It had nine golden hands, and each of them was engraved with one of the Weasley family's names. There were no numerals around the face, but descriptions of where each family member might be. 'Home,' 'school,' and 'work' were there, but there was also 'lost', 'hospital', 'prison', and, in the position where the number twelve would be on a normal clock, 'mortal peril'.
The 'clock' clearly doesn't just track physical location, since 'mortal peril' is one of the positions on the face. 'Lost' depends on the family member's mental state - does that person know his/her location? It would be interesting to know how the clock would read if, say, Ron in his dormitory at Hogwarts had a dream about being back at the Burrow. Would it read his location as being at school, or would it read his belief that he was at home?
Apart from The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 4 by Miranda Goshawk...
Since this is the only new textbook Harry needed for the coming school year, we can deduce that fourth-year Transfiguration classes use Intermediate Transfiguration as the required textbook (the book Harry needed to buy the previous year).
...he had a handful of new quills, a dozen rolls of parchment...
A dozen rolls of parchment seems to be on the low side for an entire year's worth of essays. Professor Binns (to name one) will be assigning weekly essays during the coming year, for instance.
...and refills for his potion-making kit - he had been running low on spine of lionfish and essence of belladonna.
Consequently, we know that these are potion ingredients, although we don't yet know what specific potions require their use. (They are real substances, and poisonous, as it happens.)
The analogy here is with "dress uniform" - that is (as Mrs. Weasley explains) robes for formal occasions.
Exceptional character moments
Bill, who plays chess.
Mrs. Weasley, who has been worried sick ever since seeing the morning paper.
"What if You-Know-Who had got you, and the last thing I ever said to you was that you didn't get enough O.W.L.s? Oh, Fred...George..."
"Now, Mum," said Fred, looking up at her, a pained look on his face. "If the Hogwarts Express crashed tomorrow and George and I died, how would you feel knowing that the last thing we ever heard from you was an unfounded accusation?"