"The Cruciatus Curse ought to loosen your tongue."
-- Dolores Umbridge (OP32)
Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna help Harry break into Umbridge’s office, Kreacher leads Harry to believe that Sirius is at the Department of Mysteries, and Hermione tricks Umbridge into taking her and Harry into the Forbidden Forest.
Calendar and Dates
The entire chapter takes place on a Thursday, the final day of O.W.L.s. See OP31.
Interesting facts and notes
'You… this isn't a criticism, Harry! But you do… sort of… I mean - don't you think you've got a bit of a - a - saving-people thing!' she said.
This is an integral part of who Harry is. He rescues people. It’s a key part of what makes him, in his own mind, a hero. And he believes that being a hero is what will give him the power to face Voldemort. But his “saving-people thing” will soon cause the death of his godfather and even this source of false power will be taken away from him.
Though clearly struggling to understand what was going on, Ginny said immediately, 'Yeah, we'll do it,' and Luna said, 'When you say "Sirius", are you talking about Stubby Boardman?'
The infamous Stubby Boardman figured in a conspiracy theory published in the Quibbler:
"What people don't realise is that Sirius Black is a false name ... The man people believe to be Sirius Black is actually Stubby Boardman, lead singer of popular singing group The Hobgoblins ... I recognised him the moment I saw his picture in the paper. Now, Stubby couldn't possibly have committed those crimes, because on the day in question he happened to be enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with me." -- Doris Purkiss in The Quibbler (OP10)
'Luna and I can stand at either end of the corridor,' said Ginny promptly, 'and warn people not to go down there because someone's let off a load of Garrotting Gas.' Hermione looked surprised at the readiness with which Ginny had come up with this lie; Ginny shrugged and said, 'Fred and George were planning to do it before they left.'
Although Ginny makes it sound like the Garotting Gas will kill a person -- “...if you want to walk through it, carry on, then we'll have your body as proof for the next idiot who doesn't believe us” -- it must not actually be deadly. Fred and George would never have planned a prank which could kill people.
He's got Padfoot...
'I am a fully qualified Ministry official, Malfoy, do you really think I cannot manage two wandless teenagers alone?'
Umbridge puts a lot of stock in her title as a Ministry official. But her power is in name only. She lacks true power or even common sense. Soon she will try to bully a herd of centaurs with the same claim of authority, and we'll see just how far that gets her.
Exceptional character moments
Hermione's fake breakdown in front of Umbridge, and her quick read on Umbridge's character to suggest that the Slytherins shouldn't be allowed to see the "weapon."
Ginny's direct challenge to Harry's bad temper, cooly saying "There's no need to take that tone with me." We are seeing the Ginny who will become an equal partner to Harry.
Umbridge's true character coming out in full. She tries to throw her authority around, telling Snape he's on probation because he can't produce Veritaserum. She decides to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry even though she knows it's illegal because she assumes that Fudge will protect her.
Harry failing to think of Snape a member of the Order of the Phoenix, being unable to see past his many negative qualities. This failure is a key factor in the eventual death of Sirius and a key step in the re-education of Harry as he learns to rely on others and to look past their faults.
"The Cruciatus Curse ought to loosen your tongue," said Umbridge quietly.
'Hi,' said Ginny uncertainly. 'We recognised Harry's voice. What are you yelling about?'
'Never you mind,' said Harry roughly.
Ginny raised her eyebrows.
'There's no need to take that tone with me,' she said coolly, 'I was only wondering whether I could help.'
'Well, you can't,' said Harry shortly.
It was a mark of the seriousness of the situation that Hermione made no objection to the smashing up of the Transfiguration department.
'I have no idea,' said Snape coldly. 'Potter, when I want nonsense shouted at me I shall give you a Babbling Beverage. And Crabbe, loosen your hold a little. If Longbottom suffocates it will mean a lot of tedious paperwork and I am afraid I shall have to mention it on your reference if ever you apply for a job.'
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