Artwork Books and Writing Broomsticks Buildings Creatures Dark Magic Food and Drink Gryffindor Healing Hogwarts Magic and magical theory Ministry of Magic and the Wizard's Council Muggles Notable Witches and Wizards Order of the Phoenix Places Slytherin Transportation Wizarding Culture

Christmas on the Closed Ward

- Chapter 23

"Well, that was a bit stupid of you, .... seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels."
-- Ginny Weasley (OP23)

OP23: Christmas on the Closed Ward

Harry speculates on why Albus Dumbledore will not look him in the eye, Hermione joins Harry and the Weasleys at Grimmauld Place for Christmas, and Percy sends back his Weasley jumper. They visit Arthur in St. Mungo’s Hospital, encounter Gilderoy Lockhart, and see Neville Longbottom and his gran visiting his parents.

Calendar and Dates

Since Hermione shows up on the second day of this chapter saying it's the final Friday before Christmas, we can use the calendar with 2nd September a Monday (the first day of term) to determine that the chapter begins on Thursday 19 December. It then continues through Christmas day at the hospital, Wednesday 25 December.

Interesting facts and notes

Among other things, we see the means of Broderick Bode's death innocently delivered to him by the Healer who's making sure all the Closed Ward patients have their Christmas presents.

Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he turned on the spot to face her.

In some ways, the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black is right that "No, like all young people, you are quite sure that you alone feel and think, you alone recognise danger, you alone are the only one clever enough to realise what the Dark Lord may be planning –". Harry isn't really thinking straight at this point. It takes Ginny to set him right.

"I'm very well indeed, thank you!" said Lockhart exuberantly, pulling a rather battered peacock-feather quill from his pocket. "Now, how many autographs would you like? I can do joined-up writing now, you know!"

Molly Weasley was still using Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide to Household Pests during the summer to clean 12 Grimmauld Place. The gold coming in from book sales probably helps pay for the signed photographs that Lockhart sends out from his hospital ward. And, it's nice that Gladys Gudgeon is still such a devoted fan of his (CS7).

But Neville had already stretched out his hand, into which his mother had dropped an empty Drooble's Best Blowing Gum wrapper.

"That idea was one of the very few that was inspired by a real event. I was told what, to me, was a very sad story by someone I know about their elderly mother who had Alzheimer's, and the elderly mother was in a closed ward. She was very severely demented and no longer recognized her son, but he went faithfully to visit her twice a week, and he used to take her sweets. That was their point of connection; she had a sweet tooth, and she recognized him as the sweet-giver. That was very poignant to me. So I embroidered the story. Neville gives his mother what she wants, and (it makes me sad to think of it) she wants to give something back to him, but what she gives back to him is essentially worthless. But he still takes it as worth something because she's trying to give, so it does mean something, in emotional terms." (TLC)

But as they left, Harry was sure he saw Neville slip the sweet wrapper into his pocket.


Exceptional character moments

Sirius Black's joy at having guests and going all-out to decorate the house and celebrate Christmas.

On the other hand, Sirius not knowing and not caring where his house-elf Kreacher has got to.

Arthur Weasley and Trainee Healer Augustus Pye being willing to try Muggle medical methods of treating a wound.

Gilderoy Lockhart, who is still busily autographing anything that will hold still.

Neville Longbottom, accepting his mother's present of a gum wrapper.

Memorable lines

His hand was on the doorknob when Phineas Nigellus said lazily, "I have a message for you from Albus Dumbledore." Harry spun around. "What is it?" "Stay where you are." "I haven't moved!" said Harry, his hand still upon the doorknob. "So what's the message?" "I have just given it to you, dolt," said Phineas Nigellus smoothly.

"You know," said Phineas Nigellus, even more loudly than Harry, "this is precisely why I loathed being a teacher! Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything. Has it not occurred to you, my poor puffed-up popinjay, that there might be an excellent reason why the headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you?"

"We wanted to talk to you, Harry," said Ginny, "but as you've been hiding ever since we got back-" "I didn't want anyone to talk to me," said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled. "Well, that was a bit stupid of you," said Ginny angrifly, "seeing as how you don't know anyone but me who's been poassessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels." Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he wheeled around. "I forgot," he said. "Lucky you," said Ginny coolly. "I'm sorry," said Harry, and he meant it.

Hagrid had sent a furry brown wallet that had fangs, which were presumably supposed to be an antitheft device, but unfortunately prevented Harry putting any money in it without getting his fingers ripped off.

"Well … well, I don't know whether you know what – what stitches are?"
"It sounds as though you've been trying to sew your skin back together," said Mrs Weasley with a snort of mirthless laughter, "but even you, Arthur, wouldn't be that stupid –"

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

OP 23 — Christmas on the Closed Ward
Abbreviation OP23: Christmas on the Closed Ward
Canonicity Primary Canon


Related images:


Pensieve (Comments)

Tags: black blonde blue books brave Christmas carols Christmas decorations clever cold corridor dark decorations dinner dirty dreams embarrassment eyes freckles gold green hats holidays knitting loneliness noble party photographs pink portrait possession powerful presents pride purple relief safety scar scared scarlet screaming silver singing sleep smelly/smells smile snow surprises teeth temper terror torture trains tunnel visitors weapon white

Editors: , and

The Harry Potter Canon