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- Chapter 24

“Occlumency, Potter. The magical defense of the mind against external penetration. An obscure branch of magic, but a highly useful one.”
-- Severus Snape (OP24)

OP24: Occlumency

Harry and the Weasley children return to Hogwarts after the holidays and Harry begins Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape, during which Harry sees the dark corridor in the Department of Mysteries that he often dreams about.

Calendar and Dates

This chapter takes place during the first week of Spring Term, after students return to Hogwarts from the Christmas break, in January 1996.

Interesting facts and notes

This chapter could have been entitled "The Dreadfulness of Occlumency". Ouch!

"That bossy woman up front 'oo got on with you, she's given us a little tip to move you up the queue. We’re just gonna let Madam Marsh off first, though –" there was a retching sound from downstairs, followed by a horrible spattering noise ‘– she’s not feeling 'er best."

Poor Madam Marsh, she was also feeling nauseous on the Knight Bus the first time Harry was on (PA3) and obviously can't afford or doesn't have any other calmer form of magical transportation to get about.

The Knight Bus.

"I've warned you, Snivellus.... I don’t care if Dumbledore thinks you've reformed, I know better –"
"Oh, but why don't you tell him so?.... Or are you afraid he might not take very seriously the advice of a man who has been hiding inside his mother’s house for six months?"

"Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days? I expect he’s delighted his lapdog's working at Hogwarts, isn't he?"
"Speaking of dogs.... did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognised you last time you risked a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform … gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in future, didn't it?"

"....Are you calling me a coward?" 
"Why, yes, I suppose I am...."

This entire exchange between Sirius Black and Severus Snape shows how deeply they hate and despise each other. A frustrated Sirius is not able to go out of the house and help the Order - Snape baiting him doesn't help the situation. The responses Sirius makes are not great either.

Snape's office had come back into view and he realized that he had fallen to the floor...

Harry never really masters Occlumency - although perhaps with a better (ie. a more sympathetic) teacher than Severus Snape these sessions would have gone a bit less horribly for him.

Exceptional character moments

Severus Snape and Sirius Black almost duelling each other before the Weasleys come into the kitchen.

The studied cruelty of referring to Harry's Occlumency lessons as "Remedial Potions" - although it is hard to think of another excuse for Professor Snape and Harry to have to meet.

Hermione sending Ron up to the dormitory to check on Harry as she didn't like how he looked after the first Occlumency session.

Memorable lines

"You keepin' well, then, 'Arry? I seen your name in the paper loads over the summer, but it weren't never nuffink very nice.... I said to Ern, I said, ''e didn't seem like a nutter when we met 'im, just goes to show, dunnit?'" [Stan Shunpike]

"You have no subtlety, Potter," said Snape, his dark eyes glittering. "You do not understand fine distinctions. It is one of the shortcomings that makes you such a lamentable potion-maker."

"I think I'll go to bed," said Harry, stuffing the homework planner back into his bag and making a mental note to drop it in the fire the first opportunity he got.

Words and phrases

OP 24 — Occlumency
Abbreviation OP24: Occlumency
Canonicity Primary Canon


Related images:

The Knight Bus.  Snape preparing to perform Occlumency.

Pensieve (Comments)

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The Harry Potter Canon