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The Eye of the Snake

- Chapter 21

"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have."
-- Hermione Granger (OP21)

OP21: The Eye of the Snake

Hagrid’s class is observed by Umbridge, Ginny Weasley replaces Harry as Gryffindor’s Seeker, Dumbledore’s Army meets again, and Harry and Cho kiss. In a dream, Harry witnesses Arthur Weasley being bitten by a huge snake.

Calendar and Dates

The chapter begins on the Sunday in November immediately following the Gryffindor-Slytherin match and continues through to the evening of the final D.A. meeting. We know it's a Wednesday because Hermione says two days later that it's the last day of term, so with the calendar we've been using for the term, that would make this 18 December.

Interesting facts and notes

Again we see thestrals and the entrance to the Department of Mysteries in this chapter, although the two are not yet linked.

the bruises that had been purple on Saturday night

Consequently, the Gryffindor-Slytherin match (as usual) was held on a Saturday, Hermione's Sunday meeting with Hagrid was the next day, and this is Hagrid's first Monday back.

students were enjoying themselves skating on the frozen lake, tobogganing and, worst of all, bewitching snowballs to zoom up to Gryffindor Tower and rap hard on the windows.

Bewitching snowballs is a favorite trick of George and Fred. In Harry’s first year they enjoyed making snowballs hit the back of Quirrell’s turban, which meant that they were unknowingly pelting Voldemort’s face with them:

The lake froze solid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban (PS12).

She pulled out her wand and gave it a complicated little wave so that hot air streamed out of the tip; she then pointed this at her robes, which began to steam as they dried out.

Apparently she is performing this useful spell non-verbally.

There were only two other people who seemed to be able to see them: a stringy Slytherin boy standing just behind Goyle was watching the horse eating with an expression of great distaste on his face; and Neville, whose eyes were following the swishing progress of the long black tail.

Although it doesn’t say so here, the “stringy” Slytherin boy is Theodore Nott, as revealed by Rowling in her response to the Lexicon/MuggleNet “open letter”:

Is Theodore Nott the "stringy" Slytherin mentioned in the Thestral class scene? If he isn't, who is that boy?
Yes, he is. In my notes Nott is also described as ‘rabbity’ in appearance (JKR-FAQ).


… he did not like to think of Sirius alone in his mother's old house, perhaps pulling a lonely cracker with Kreacher.

For American readers, this line makes little sense. However, any British reader will tell you about Christmas Crackers, which break open when two people pull on the opposite strings to reveal a few treats and a small prize. Magical crackers tend to include somewhat more ostentatious prizes than their Muggle counterparts:

These fantastic party favors were nothing like the feeble Muggle ones the Dursleys usually bought, with their little plastic toys and their flimsy paper hats inside. Harry pulled a wizard cracker with Fred and it didn't just bang, it went off with a blast like a cannon and engulfed them all in a cloud of blue smoke, while from the inside exploded a rear admiral's hat and several live, white mice. Up at the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard's hat for a flowered bonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick had just read him (PS12).

Harry arrived early in the Room of Requirement for the last DA meeting before the holidays and was very glad he had, because when the torches burst into flame…

So the torches light themselves magically when someone enters the room.


'I really like you, Harry.'

He returned to the common room half an hour later to find Hermione and Ron in the best seats by the fire; nearly everybody else had gone to bed. Hermione was writing a very long letter; she had already filled half a roll of parchment, which was dangling from the edge of the table. Ron was lying on the hearthrug, trying to finish his Transfiguration homework.

'Well, obviously, she's feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she's feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can't work out who she likes best. Then she'll be feeling guilty, thinking it's an insult to Cedric's memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she'll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can't work out what her feelings towards Harry are, anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that's all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she's afraid she's going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she's been flying so badly.'
A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, 'One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.'
'Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have,' said Hermione nastily picking up her quill again.

I don't have anything to add to this. I just love these lines so much ...

'Who're you writing the novel to, anyway?' Ron asked Hermione, trying to read the bit of parchment now trailing on the floor. Hermione hitched it up out of sight.


Exceptional character moments

Umbridge, who again speaks to Hagrid as though he is mentally deficient.

Memorable lines

"Well Hagrid," [Umbridge] turned to look up at him again, speaking once more in that loud, slow voice, "I think I've got enough to be getting along with.... You will receive" - she mimed taking something from the air in front of her - "the results of your inspection" - she pointed at the clipboard - "in ten days' time." She held up ten stubby little fingers, then, her smile wider and more toadlike than ever before beneath her green hat, she bustled from their midst.

"[Thestrals] are very interesting, aren't they? The way some people can see them and some can't! I wish I could." "Do you?" Harry asked her quietly.

Dobby had taken it upon himself to decorate the place for Christmas. He could tell the elf had done it, because nobody else would have strung a hundred golden baubles from the ceiling, each showing a picture of Harry's face and bearing the legend HAVE A VERY HARRY CHRISTMAS!

"Mistletoe," said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry's head. He jumped out from under it. "Good thinking," said Luna very seriously. "It's often infested with nargles."

"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have."

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced


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The Harry Potter Canon