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The Second War Begins

- Chapter 38

"Are you threatening me, sir?"
"Yes, I am"
-- Vernon Dursley and Mad-Eye Moody (OP38)

OP38: The Second War Begins

Ron and Hermione are recovering from their injuries. Fudge publicly admits to Voldemort‘s return, McGonagall returns from St. Mungo’s, and Harry asks Nearly-Headless Nick about ghosts. Harry rides home with Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna on the train. Moody, Lupin, and Tonks meet him at King’s Cross Station and warn the Dursleys to be good to him during the summer.

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter title is interesting. In a way, the war actually began in July or August of 1994, when Wormtail lured Bertha Jorkins into a trap, then turned her over to his master.

"`It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself Lord - well, you know who I mean - is alive and among us again," said Fudge,

The Ministry admits the truth at last.

The Ministry is currently publishing guides to elementary home and personal defence which will be delivered free to all wizarding homes within the coming month.

If "wizarding home" is defined as any household with at least one wizarding person living in it, Dean Thomas' family are in for a shock. The Dursleys won't be too happy, either.

'Albus Dumbledore, newly reinstated Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, reinstated member of the International Confederation of Wizards and reinstated Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot,..'

How would Dumbledore have felt about getting his titles back? Vindicated? A feat of karmic justice? Bitter that he had lost them in the first place, for doing nothing but telling the truth? Perhaps seeing how quick the organizations he was in charge of (the ICW and Wizengamot) were to turn their back on him tarnished the value he'd once attached to the titles, even as he was nonetheless willing to return and recover his influential status.--KT

`There you are, Harry, I knew they'd drag you into it somehow,' said Hermione, looking over the top of the paper at him.

They were in the hospital wing. Harry was sitting on the end of Ron's bed and they were both listening to Hermione read the front page of the Sunday Prophet. Ginny, whose ankle had been mended in a trice by Madam Pomfrey, was curled up at the foot of Hermione's bed; Neville, whose nose had likewise been returned to its normal size and shape, was in a chair between the two beds; and Luna, who had dropped in to visit, clutching the latest edition of The Quibbler, was reading the magazine upside-down and apparently not taking in a word Hermione was saying.

'...we're going to go on an expedition to Sweden this summer to see if we can catch a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.'

Hermione seemed to struggle with herself for a moment, then said, `That sounds lovely'

Hermione's getting better at relating to Luna. Props to her for not saying whatever she was really thinking.

how he had done it - how he had emerged from the trees supporting Professor Umbridge without so much as a scratch on him - nobody knew,

Dumbledore is one of the most powerful wizards of the age. If anyone could do such a feat, it would be him.

'Is Firenze staying?'

`He's got to,' said Harry, `the other centaurs won't take him back, will they?'

Poor Firenze, being ostracized for sharing knowledge with humans.

`Mind you, the whole subject's useless if you ask me, Firenze isn't a lot better…'

`How can you say that?' Hermione demanded. `After we've just found out that there are real prophecies?'

How quick she is to turn around and find (at least some parts) of Divination useful!

He was finding it hard to decide whether he wanted to be with people or not; whenever he was in company he wanted to get away and whenever he was alone he wanted company.

Perfectly understandable after all he's gone through.

"You think you're such a big man, Potter" said Malfoy, advancing now, Crabbe and Goyle flanking him.

Ironic, that Malfoy uses the same words that Dudley used to Harry at the beginning of the school year.

`The Dementors have left Azkaban,' said Malfoy quietly. `Dad and the others'll be out in no time…'

The prisoners might be alone to their own devices now, but how are they to get off that island? There's not land to be found for miles, and surely there are plenty of enchantments to prevent escapes. The Ministry also should be on high alert to make sure that those followers they've already captured don't escape...right? --KT

`Well, I think Potter and his friends ought to have fifty points apiece for alerting the world to the return of You-Know-Who! What say you, Professor Snape?'

Contrast this with the fifty points she each took from Harry, Ron and Hermione four years ago.

Students...looked up at him as he passed; some called out to him, or else waved, clearly eager to show that they, like the Prophet, had decided he was something of a hero. Harry said nothing to any of them. 

Students who all year had believed he was a liar are trying hard to show him admiration. Such an about-face, without any sign of genuine apology, is of little consolation for Harry now.  Indeed, as Harry himself says later,

"A few days ago, before his exams had finished and he had seen the vision Voldemort had planted in his mind, he would have given almost anything for the wizarding world to know he had been telling the truth, for them to believe that Voldemort was back, and to know that he was neither a liar nor mad. Now, however…" (OP38)

What a difference a few days can make. --KT

Seemed right pleased ter see me when I got back, ter tell yeh the truth. He's a good lad, really… I've bin thinkin' abou' tryin' ter find him a lady friend, actually…'

....the prospect of a second giant taking up residence in the Forest, possibly even wilder and more brutal than Grawp, was positively alarming,

Harry has a valid point, although Hagrid is in his own way trying to look out for his brother.

'he was never one ter sit aroun' at home an' let other people do the fightin'. He couldn've lived with himself if he hadn' gone ter help.’

This is very true. It doesn't make the loss any easier to bear, though.

He walked a short way around the lake, sat down on its bank, sheltered from the gaze of passers-by behind a tangle of shrubs, and stared out over the gleaming water, thinking…

Harry feeling sad after Sirius' death.

Even though he now understood exactly why he had to return there every summer, he did not feel any better about it. Indeed, he had never dreaded his return more.

Being back with the Dursleys, besides just being a difficult experience in and of itself, would be a painful and constant reminder of the conversation he had with Dumbledore. So much for trying to have a relaxing summer holiday.

Professor Umbridge left Hogwarts the day before the end of term. It seemed she had crept out of the hospital wing during dinnertime, evidently hoping to depart undetected, but unfortunately for her, she met Peeves on the way, who seized his last chance to do as Fred had instructed, and chased her gleefully from the premises whacking her alternately with a walking stick and a sock full of chalk.

Good riddance!

Harry sank down on to his bed and unwrapped the package. Out fell a small, square mirror. It looked old; it was certainly dirty....He turned the mirror over. There on the reverse side was a scribbled note from Sirius. 

This is a two-way mirror, I've got the other one of the pair.

Oh Harry! Why didn't you find this mirror sooner? How much time and heartache could this have saved you!

`Wizards can leave an imprint of themselves upon the earth, to walk palely where their living selves once trod,' said Nick miserably. `But very few wizards choose that path.'

Nick chose to stay behind because 'he was afraid of death.' It would make sense for, say, Myrtle too, because she was only a young teen and was not ready to die. Is that why the other ghosts have remained as well? Is this a choice that can be rescinded later--as in, if one comes to accept one's death later they can 'move on' to the other side and disappear from ours? --KT

[Luna] shook her head in disbelief.

`Oh, come on. You heard them, just behind the veil, didn't you?....In that room with the archway. They were just lurking out of sight, that's all. You heard them.'

This gives us a hint that the veil is a portal to the other side. However, this hint opens up many more questions than it answers. Who were the people Harry and Luna heard? Is it different for each person, like the Mirror of Erised? Or would it be a common gateway? What was the portal doing open in the first place? Is it perpetually so, or was it unfortunately open at the wrong time? Why would a living person disappear (and presumably die) if they step through the veil? Is it because living beings are not meant to be in the world of the dead? If so, why would the veil not have some kind of barrier preventing anyone living from going through? Was this portal, like a certain item in Book Seven, used as a way to communicate with the dead? --KT

Cho was passing, accompanied by Marietta Edgecombe, who was wearing a balaclava.

Poor Marietta--was Madam Pomfrey not able to help her get rid of the scarring? Will she continue to wear coverings like that one for the rest of her time at Hogwarts? Perhaps someday Hermione can forgive her and, if she knows how, reverse the charm. --KT

Wanting to impress Cho seemed to belong to a past that was no longer quite connected with him; so much of what he had wanted before Sirius' death felt that way these days…

Harry has lost two important relationships in the same year--the girl he'd been pining for for years and one of the few regular caring adults in his life. No wonder he doesn't feel like himself.

Next to Tonks was Lupin, his face pale, his hair greying, a long and threadbare overcoat covering a shabby jumper and trousers.

Poor Lupin. He must be dealing with so much right now--not only his usual dire finances and monthly transformations, but now extra stress from the war and the aftermath of losing the last of his schoolfriends.

turning from Hermione's parents, who he had just greeted enthusiastically, and who were now taking it in turns to hug Hermione.

One of the few moments we see the whole Granger family together.

`So, Potter… give us a shout if you need us. If we don't hear from you for three days in a row, we'll send someone along…'

It's too bad that Harry didn't have these allies the first eleven years of his life. How much better might he have been treated if the Dursleys had been given such a warning then? if afterwards they were regularly checked-in on to make sure they were complying? if Harry had known earlier there were people he could reach out to if they didn't? --KT

Exceptional character moments

Filch, quoted as saying that Umbridge was the best thing that ever happened to Hogwarts.

Harry shattering the mirror his godfather gave him, "disappointment burning in his throat" that he wasn't able to use it.

Nearly Headless Nick admitting that he had been afraid of death, and thus became one of the few to choose to stay on as a ghost.

Members of the D.A. defending Harry and turning Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle into giant slugs on the train home.

Ron taking a keen interest in his sister's dating life (and hinting to Harry he should do the same).

Several members of the Order--Tonks, Mr. Weasley, Lupin--dressing down the Dursleys about how they treat him during the summer.

Memorable lines

"Hmmm," [Hermione] said, frowning, "I notice they don't mention the fact that it was them doing all the ridiculing and slandering in the Prophet..."

According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else...

"`I s'pose Lord Voldemort's just a warm-up act compared to you three - what's the matter?' [Harry] added, for Malfoy Crabbe and Goyle had all looked stricken at the sound of the name. `He's a mate of your dad, isn't he? Not scared of him, are you?’

"Are you threatening me, sir?" he said, so loudly that passers-by actually turned to stare.
"Yes, I am," said Mad-Eye Moody, who seemed rather pleased that Uncle Vernon had grasped this fact so quickly.

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

OP 38 — The Second War Begins
Abbreviation OP38: The Second War Begins
Canonicity Primary Canon


Related images:

Harry feeling sad after Sirius' death.

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