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Professor Umbridge

- Chapter 12

"Have a biscuit, Potter."
-- Professor McGonagall (OP12)

OP12: Professor Umbridge

Fred and George advertise for volunteers to test their products, the trio discusses their schedules and the upcoming O.W.L.s, Harry has an outburst in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Umbridge assigns him detention for a week, and McGonagall warns him to keep his temper under control.

Calendar and Dates

The entire chapter takes place on Harry's first day of classes of his fifth year, or the 2nd of September 1995.

Interesting facts and notes

Ron said nothing; Harry could tell from his glum expression that the prospect of stopping Fred and George doing exactly what they liked was not one he found inviting.

The twins are formidable indeed.

he suspected Angelina's pep talks might not be as long-winded as Oliver Wood's had been, which could only be an improvement.

Oliver's enthusiasm was nonetheless memorable to his team (and us readers).

'It's best to know what the enemy is saying,' said Hermione darkly,

Hermione, as usual, has the right idea.

'So you've got your exams coming up, haven't you? They'll be keeping your noses so hard to that grindstone they'll be rubbed raw,' said Fred...

'it's a nightmare of a year, the fifth,' said George. 'If you care about exam results, anyway.'

It will be a nightmare year for Harry, alright, but not for the reason Fred and George think.

(As an aside, one could argue that Hermione already has some experience with academic pressure from her time-traveling escapades two years ago to take extra courses. Perhaps that will make it easier for her to prepare for the OWLs?) --KT

'you got, what was it, three OWLs each?' said Ron.

hpboy13's essay delves into which subjects these O.W.L.s were most likely earned in.

'[Fred and George] bought me a new set of dress robes this summer...'

That was rather kind of them!

the memory of his death must have affected [Cho's] holiday almost as badly as it had affected Harry's.

If not more so--Harry watched him die, but Cho had been dating Cedric since the Yule Ball, and so would be dealing with not just the suddenness of the death but the loss of the person she had come to know. --KT

"Is that a Tornados badge?"

she could easily have hated Harry for coming out of the Triwizard maze alive when Cedric had died, yet she was talking to him in a perfectly friendly way, not as though she thought him mad, or a liar, or in some horrible way responsible for Cedric's death.

It *is* rather generous of her to not blame Harry. Or, perhaps she worked through her anger over the summer? Either way, this points to a strength of character.--KT

'Where's the evidence [Snape] ever really stopped working for You-Know-Who?'

This is a fair question. The answer, of course, is more complicated than Ron (or any of us) realized.

'Can't you give it a rest?' said Harry. 'You're always having a go at each other, it's driving me mad.'

Ron and Hermione's relationship has been like this since day one. Their inability to get along is pointed to as evidence by some who argue against the "Romione" pairing.

'Well now, your teaching in this subject has been rather disrupted and fragmented, hasn't it?...The constant changing of teachers, many of whom do not seem to have followed any Ministry-approved curriculum.....'

Umbridge's comments bring up some interesting points. The DADA position has been cursed for several decades, leading to hundreds of students that have had a stilted education i.g. being unable to defend themselves or others should they be attacked. Anyone interested in becoming an Auror would have had to self-study or rely on mentors like Moody to bring them up to speed. However, with the dangers of the job, how many people would stay alive to pass on their knowledge? Why was the Ministry not concerned previously about the Aurors, being the wizarding equivalent of the military/special ops, not receiving a full education at the only wizarding institution available for them to do so?

The idea of the Ministry approving the curriculum also leads us to wonder, who has been creating it? We have seen the professors choosing their textbooks each year. Do they have total license over what and how much to teach? Has Dumbledore or perhaps the board of governors ever been involved or stepped in--for instance, when dealing with potentially dangerous creatures, spells or plants? Despite there being books titled "The Standard Book of Spells," and exams that you have to pass to enter certain job fields, there does not seem to be a governing body or Ministry department dedicated to education and its related issues. It's too bad that the Ministry is only stepping in to try to curb Harry's "rumor-spreading;" otherwise it is not incorrect to say that students' DADA lessons are "far below the standard."  --KT

'Are you a Ministry-trained educational expert, Miss Granger?.... Wizards much older and cleverer than you have devised our new programme of study.'

Which experts are these? Again, there has been no authority mentioned that oversees education or trains teachers. For all we know, Hermione could in fact be just as if not more qualified to "decide the whole point of the class" than anyone else in the Ministry. --KT

Her tone of voice was not at all what he was used to; it was not brisk, crisp and stern; it was low and anxious and somehow much more human than usual.

We get a rare glimpse behind McGonagall's unflappable façade.

'Misbehaviour in Dolores Umbridge's class could cost you much more than house points and a detention.'

As Harry will discover, his reputation around school--and his sense of despair--will only worsen. He will even be (quite literally) scarred for life.

Exceptional character moments

Hermione having to remind a defensive Harry that she and Ron are on his side.

Prof. Snape expecting everyone, even the "moronic" students, to get an Acceptable OWL or risk his displeasure.

Goyle lighting his robes on fire with his attempted Draught of Peace.

Harry's war of words with Umbridge....and McGonagall offering Harry a biscuit for it.

Memorable lines

'This is school, Mr. Potter, not the real world,' Umbridge said softly.

"For heaven's sake, Potter! Do you really think this is about truth or lies? It's about keeping your head down and your temper under control!" She stood up, nostrils wide and mouth very thin, and he stood too. "Have another biscuit," she said irritably, thrusting the tin at him.

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

Commentary

Related Images:

 

From the Web

Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore): Dolores Umbridge

MuggleNet: In Defense of Umbridge

Harry Potter Wiki: Dolores Umbridge

WizardingWorld (Pottermore) features:

Pensieve (Comments)

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