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The Centaur and the Sneak

- Chapter 27

“His attempt is not working. He would do better to abandon it.”
-- Firenze about Hagrid (OP27)

OP27: The Centaur and the Sneak

Harry and his classmates have their first Divination lesson with Firenze in a new classroom, Marietta Edgecombe tells Professor Umbridge about the meeting of Dumbledore’s Army, but suffers the effects of Hermione’s jinx, Dobby warns Harry that the D.A. has been found out, and Harry denies the meetings to Cornelius Fudge and Umbridge. Kingsley Shacklebolt modifies Marietta’s memory, Albus Dumbledore takes the blame and leaves Hogwarts.

Calendar and Dates

Since the previous chapter ends on Monday, March 8, this chapter begins "a few days" later, and Harry had Occlumency that evening (which he has only on Mondays and Wednesdays), we can guess that this is Wednesday, March 10. Unfortunately, all we know about the end of the chapter is that it happens in April and that it's a Monday (because it's a weekday, and Harry has Occlumency two nights later).

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter outlines how centaur divination differs from the principles of Divination they had been learning from Professor Trelawney and then slides past a few weeks - not even mentioning Harry's detentions with Umbridge after the Quibbler article - to an interrupted D.A. meeting.

"Sybill Trelawney may have Seen, I do not know.... but she wastes her time, in the main, on the self-flattering nonsense humans call fortune-telling. I, however, am here to explain the wisdom of centaurs, which is impersonal and impartial. We watch the skies for the great tides of evil or change that are sometimes marked there. It may take ten years to be sure of what we are seeing."

Right, so it probably isn't possible for the human students to learn this type of Divination from Firenze. I still don't get why these classes aren't an O.W.L. or N.E.W.T. level subject choice only for those witches and wizards who have an aptitude for it.

"Hagrid, what're you up to?" asked Harry seriously. "Because you've got to be careful, Umbridge has already sacked Trelawney and, if you ask me, she's on a roll."

Firenze has given Harry a warning to pass on to Hagrid, but Hagrid isn't going to pay attention. This is the usual way Hagrid reacts when he is confronted about dangerous creatures. We will find out exactly what the danger in question is a few chapters from now (OP30).

"They're not supposed to be pretty, they’re supposed to protect you.... What we really need is a Boggart or something; that's how I learned, I had to conjure a Patronus while the Boggart was pretending to be a Dementor –"
"But that would be really scary!"

Hermione is able to produce a otter Patronus with her happy memory, but Neville Longbottom and Lavender Brown are both struggling. Still, Harry is also right that what they have covered in D.A. meetings will help them earn "Outstanding" in their upcoming Defence Against the Dark Arts exams - and, more importantly, be vital skills for the real battle to come.

Marietta gave a wail and pulled the neck of her robes right up to her eyes, but not before everyone had seen that her face was horribly disfigured by a series of close-set purple pustules that had spread across her nose and cheeks to form the word 'SNEAK'.

The Snitch Jinx that Hermione put on the list of students signed up to Dumbledore's Army has worked perfectly. Does Marietta Edgecombe deserve this punishment? It is a bit cruel, but....

"See what they’ve named themselves?" said Fudge quietly. "Dumbledore's Army."
Dumbledore reached out and took the piece of parchment from Fudge. He gazed at the heading scribbled by Hermione months before and for a moment seemed unable to speak.

Ginny Weasley was right - Dumbledore's Army is "the Ministry’s worst fear" (OP18). However, it is not really the type of army that Minister Cornelius Fudge thinks it is. Albus Dumbledore evades him and escapes with the help of Fawkes, but the hearts and minds of these students are already on an opposing path.

Exceptional character moments

Dolores Umbridge emphasising that Marietta Edgecombe's mother works at the Ministry of Magic - and that they both are helpful to Fudge and Umbridge's campaign against Dumbledore and the school.

Albus Dumbledore's initial surprise (and pleased recognition) that they named the D.A. after him - and his quick thinking to use it as his "reason" to be leaving.

Dumbledore sacrifices himself for Harry but in the face of the Minister for Magic and several Aurors, manages to control the situation and turn it to his advantage.

Memorable lines

"There's things more importan' than keepin' a job" [Hagrid]

Fudge turned back to Dumbledore. "You will now be escorted back to the Ministry, where you will be formally charged and then sent to Azkaban to await trial!"
"Ah," said Dumbledore gently, "yes. Yes, I thought we might hit that little snag."

"You seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going to - what is the phrase? 'Come quietly.' I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course - but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing."

"You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts... but you cannot deny he's got style." [Phineas Nigellus Black]

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

OP 27 — The Centaur and the Sneak
US Edition 599-623
Abbreviation OP27: The Centaur and the Sneak
Canonicity Primary Canon


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