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In the Hog's Head

- Chapter 16

"Or any part of your body, really, we're not fussy where we stick this."
-- Fred Weasley (OP16)

OP16: In the Hog’s Head

Harry, Hermione, and Ron hold a meeting at the Hog’s Head to discuss with other students the possibility of Harry giving them Defence lessons, and Hermione tells Ron and Harry that Ginny is dating Michael Corner.

Calendar and Dates

The action of the chapter covers about three weeks, from the middle of September to the first weekend of October.

Interesting facts and notes

The main event of this chapter is the meeting at the Hog's Head, which marked the founding of the DA.

...for two whole weeks after her original suggestion.

Consequently, the action of this chapter picks up two weeks after the end of the preceding chapter.

...Ron had had four more Quidditch practices...

Later in the chapter, it's mentioned that practices are being held twice a week, so four more Quidditch practices is consistent with about two weeks having passed.

...all three of them had managed to Vanish their mice in Transfiguration (Hermione had actually progressed to Vanishing kittens)...

It hasn't yet been established if Vanishing something is permanent. If this kind of Vanishing is the same as that performed by the Vanishing Cabinet, it's not.

"Did you know the first weekend in October's a Hogsmeade weekend?"

This would be the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year, which more usually seems to fall on or about Hallowe'en rather than the first week of October.

...they both had Quidditch practice twice a week....

Wood has been known to hold practice three times a week, but since at least three members of the team (Angelina and the twins) are supposed to be studying for NEWTs and two for OWLs (Harry and Ron), most of the Gryffindor players must have an enormous academic workload this year.

I suppose he was checking for the smell of Dungbombs...

As of OP, we have not yet had a precise description of these magical gag items; we don't know if they smell before they're used or only afterward.

...a small inn. A battered wooden sign hung from a rusty bracket over the door, with a picture on it of a wild boar's head, leaking blood onto the white cloth around it.

The name of this disreputable inn is very appropriate for a Hogsmeade drinking establishment: apart from the obvious resonance with Hogsmeade's own name, a hog's head is a cask of beer.

This introduction to the Hog's Head is a very tidy resolution to various questions raised by the dragon's egg incident back in PS - this is where Hagrid won the egg in a card game. Up until now, that was the only occasion on which this inn had been mentioned by name. It's a nice touch that Hogsmeade has both a family pub (the Three Broomsticks) and a dive like this. Note that we still don't know whether the HQ of the 1612 goblin rebellion (PA5) was the Hog's Head, the Three Broomsticks, or yet another establishment. Or even if that inn was converted into another business, such as Honeydukes, which might explain why the candy shop has a secret passage to Hogwarts...

The Hog's Head bar...smelled strongly of something that might have been goats.

Which suggests that the bartender might be Aberforth Dumbledore, who has issues with goats.

There was a man at the bar whose head was wrapped in dirty grey bandages...

As Umbridge reveals later, this was her informant about the meeting: Willy Widdershins, who used the information to plea-bargain his way out of being punished for the regurgitating toilet incidents.

...two figures shrouded in hoods sat at a tale in one of the windows...

As Harry observes, he'd have thought they were Dementors if they hadn't been speaking in strong Yorkshire accents. Although the image of an off-duty Dementor heading off to the pub and speaking with a strong accent has a certain appeal...

...a witch with a thick black veil that fell to her toes.

As Sirius reveals later, this is actually Mundungus, incognito so as to keep an eye on Harry.

I specifically asked Professor Flitwick whether students were allowed to come to the Hog's Head, and he said yes, but he advised me strongly to bring our own glasses.

Advice that they appear not to have taken.

The barman...was a grumpy-looking old man with a great deal of long grey hair and beard. He was tall and thin and looked vaguely familiar to Harry.

Aberforth appears in the "team photo" of the original Order of the Phoenix, so Harry has seen his picture before. Also, the barman's description sounds like a downmarket Dumbledore, with grey rather than silvery hair and a less cheerful attitude.

...the incoming rush of a crowd of people.

Note the selection of people: the Gryffindor team and their friends, Ginny's boyfriend and his friends, and the non-Slytherin fifth year prefects and their friends. (Parvati qualifies on two counts, as Hermione's dorm-mate and Padma's sister, of course.) I'd guess that Colin and Dennis are in because Colin and Ginny are classmates.

We know that JKR shifted Corner and his friends from Hufflepuff to Ravenclaw while writing OP (we know this from interviews showing some of her working notes). Personally, I suspect that she did this to try to keep the DA's membership more or less balanced between the three non-Slytherin Houses.

...Colin and Dennis Creevey...

Since Dennis is only a second-year, having been sorted into Gryffindor the previous September (GF12), it seems to be a FLINT that he's in Hogsmeade at all, since in previous years the school rule was that only third-years and older students could go to Hogsmeade.

Possibly he had never seen his pub so full.

The kids still have a lot to learn about clandestine activities; such a large meeting at the Hog's Head is noticeable.

"And did you kill a basilisk with that sword in Dumbledore's office?" demanded Terry Boot. "That's what one of the portraits on the wall told me when I was in there last year."

Evidently the portraits don't always sham sleep when visitors are present. It'd be interesting to know why Terry was in Dumbledore's office; Harry at this point has only been in there three times - once to be questioned after the basilisk's attack on Justin and Nick, once to report his dream from Trelawney's class, and once after the Third Task. It's not usual for a student to be sent to Dumbledore for disciplinary reasons, for instance.

Justin Finch-Fletchley whistled; the Creevey brothers exchanged awestruck looks...

Justin and Colin both saw the basilisk when it attacked them - through a ghost and through a camera, respectively - so it seems a bit odd that they're behaving as though Harry's confrontation with it later is news to them. Wouldn't they have been told what happened once they were revived from their Petrification?

"...he saved that Philological Stone - "
"Philosopher's," hissed Hermione.

In the U.S. edition of OP, this exchange uses sorcerous/Sorcerer's, respectively.

"What are Heliopaths?" asked Neville, looking blank.
"They're spirits of fire...great tall flaming creatures that gallop across the ground burning everything in front of -"
"They don't exist, Neville," said Hermione tartly.

A nice touch, that even the wizarding world has mythological creatures (whereas yeti and the Loch Ness kelpie, for instance, are quite real).

"They met at the Yule Ball and got together at the end of last year..."

We don't have any particular reason to think that Michael is in Ginny's year. Since he attended the Yule Ball, in fact, and was talking to a girl who wasn't his date (Ginny went with Neville, not Michael), there's a strong possibility that Michael is in Harry's year or above.

In fact, since he was in Harry's sixth year Potions class, we have confirmation (in addition to HPM) that Michael is in Harry's year.

There was an odd feeling in the group now. It was as though they had just signed some kind of contract.

In fact, of course, they have, thanks to Hermione having bewitched the parchment.

Note that every Gryffindor in Harry's year, other than Seamus, has signed up. JKR is setting Seamus up as a red herring for the candidate of betrayer; after months of meetings when all four of his dorm-mates were out until curfew, there's no way he couldn't have known something was going on, particularly since Dean seems to be his best mate.

...she paused outside Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop, where there was a handsome display of pheasant feather quills in the window.

This is the first mention of the use of pheasant feathers as quills.

"Which one was Michael Corner?" Ron demanded furiously.
"The dark one," said Hermione.

Ginny apparently has a thing for dark hair, or possibly Michael is black.

Exceptional character moments

Harry, who is horrified at the idea of making a speech in front of so many people.

Ginny, who breaks up the argument between Hermione and Luna with a very funny imitation of Umbridge - simultaneously making everybody laugh and reminding them of what they're supposed to be doing in the Hog's Head in the first place.

Hermione, who within a month's time goes stammering Voldemort's name to chastising Ron for flinching every time she says it.

Ron, who puts his finger on the reason for Sirius' restlessness: that although he's been on the run for two years, at least he was free before moving back into Grimmauld Place.

Ron, freaking out at the idea of his little sister having a boyfriend. It probably doesn't help that he hasn't managed to get a girlfriend himself yet...

Memorable lines

"Would you like us to clean out your ears for you?" enquired George, pulling out a long and lethal-looking metal instrument from inside one of the Zonko's bags.

"Or any part of your body, really, we're not fussy where we stick this," said Fred.

"Hem, hem," said Ginny, in such a good imitation of Professor Umbridge that several people looked around in alarm and then laughed.

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced


Among the patrons of the Hog's Head is a man drinking some dangerous-looking liquid and whose entire head is covered in filthy bandages. This is reminiscent of the beginning of H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, in which the reader is introduced to the bandage-covered title character as a mysterious and unfriendly patron of an inn. Perhaps the bandaged man in the Hog's Head is invisible. -BB

It is amusing to reread this chapter with the knowledge that the grumpy barman is Albus Dumbledore's younger brother, Aberforth. -BB

In the Hog's Head, Harry spots a veiled witch and worries that it could be Umbridge. Well, it's not Umbridge - it's not even a witch - but Harry is being spied on by that person. Sirius later reveals that the individual under the veil was Mundungus Fletcher, disguised and keeping an eye on Harry. -BB

Hermione hesitates before asking everyone to sign the parchment. She seems to have gotten past her nerves at this point, so it seems safe to assume her hesitation has to with being about to have people sign their names on a piece of parchment without telling them that it's jinxed. -BB

Related images:

Butter beer and pewter mugs.

Pensieve (Comments)

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