"The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban."
-- Mad-Eye Moody (Barty Crouch Jr)
The fourth-year students learn about the Unforgivable Curses in their first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson with Professor Moody, Moody takes Neville Longbottom to his office, Harry and Ron fake their Divination homework, Hermione starts S.P.E.W., and Harry receives a letter from Sirius Black saying he is returning to Britain.
Calendar and Dates
The chapter begins the day after the preceding chapter with brief glimpses of Tuesday and Wednesday before settling down to showing us the fake Moody's much-anticipated opening lesson in Defence Against the Dark Arts on Thursday.
Interesting facts and notes
Harry's class of fourth year Gryffindors finally get their turn for a Defence Against the Dark Arts class with the teacher they know as Professor Moody. They expect something "cool" or exciting. What they get are three frightening demonstrations of the Unforgivable Curses.
There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast, invisible something was soaring through the air – instantaneously the spider rolled over onto its back, unmarked, but unmistakably dead.
"You seem to be drowning twice," said Hermione.
"Oh, am I?" said Ron, peering down at his predictions. "I'd better change one of them to getting trampled by a rampaging Hippogriff."
Making up predictions for their Divination homework seems to be the default setting for both Ron and Harry. It is still a mystery why students aren't tested for having an aptitude for Divination before being able to take this class.
"S – P – E – W!" said Hermione hotly. "I was going to put Stop the Outrageous Abuse of Our Fellow Magical Creatures and Campaign for a Change in Their Legal Status - but it wouldn't fit. So that's the heading of our manifesto."
It's a good thing that the longer title didn't fit on the badges!
Exceptional character moments
Neville's reaction to seeing the Cruciatus Curse cast.
The fake Moody, who apparently detests the Imperius Curse so much that he makes a genuine effort to teach his students to resist it.
The fake Moody comforting Neville after class - and using the opportunity to plant a clue on him for the Second Task, which won't take place for nearly six months.
Harry and Ron making up their Divination homework.
Harry's observation that the twins usually like to be the noisy center of attention, and that it's most unusual to see them working silently and out of the limelight.
Hermione's establishment of S.P.E.W.
"But you're behind – very behind – on dealing with curses," said Moody. "So I’m here to bring you up to scratch on what wizards can do to each other."
"Because you've got to know. You’ve got to appreciate what the worst is. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you're facing it. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"
"Not spew," said Hermione impatiently. "It's S – P – E – W. Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare."
Words and phrases
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