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Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

- Chapter 4

"His life's ambition is to have his head cut off and stuck up on a plaque just like his mother. Is that normal, Hermione?"
-- Ron Weasley referring to Kreacher (OP4)

OP4: Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

Harry is reunited with Ron and Hermione, learns of the Order of the Phoenix, and is also reunited with his godfather, Sirius Black.

Calendar and Dates

The chapter picks up on the same night where the previous one left off, the evening of 6 August. The action happens in real time through part of the evening.

Interesting facts and notes

In this chapter, members of the Order of the Phoenix meet in their Number Twelve Grimmauld Place headquarters, but without any of the Hogwarts students as none are yet of age.

....a battered door emerged out of nowhere between numbers eleven and thirteen, followed swiftly by dirty walls and grimy windows....
He could smell damp, dust and a sweetish, rotting smell; the place had the feeling of a derelict building.
....old-fashioned gas lamps sputtered into life all along the walls, casting a flickering insubstantial light over the peeling wallpaper and threadbare carpet of a long, gloomy hallway, where a cobwebby chandelier glimmered overhead and age-blackened portraits hung crooked on the walls. 

No, we're really not supposed to like the feel of this house at all - the owner obviously doesn't love it as a home either. The house lives up to its address of "grim old place".

A large umbrella stand that looked as though it had been made from a troll's leg....

On one level, this is analogous to an elephant's foot being made into an umbrella stand. As far as I can determine, this kind of ornament was fairly common in Britain during the Victorian era, and unfortunately is still being produced today at the cost of various endangered species.

But this ornament goes beyond being a symbol of old-fashioned decor that has become tacky by modern standards - trolls are people, although wizards do not consider them to be very intelligent and historically have resisted granting them 'being' status (FB, OP31). Consequently, the umbrella stand is just as telling an indicator of the family's prejudiced attitude as are the house-elf heads on the wall.

Lupin and Mrs Weasley darted forward and tried to tug the curtains shut over the old woman, but they would not close and she screeched louder than ever, brandishing clawed hands as though trying to tear at their faces.
"Filth! Scum! By-products of dirt and vileness! Half-breeds, mutants, freaks, begone from this place! How dare you befoul the house of my fathers –"

This is the portrait of Walburga Black - Sirius' mother. Even dead, they are all having to tiptoe around her.

Exceptional character moments

Ginny, calmly flinging Dungbombs at the kitchen door, then lying bare-faced about it to her mum, blaming the cat.

No big surprise: Fleur and Bill are an item

Harry losing his temper and not really getting it back.

Hermione trying to explain to Harry about the Daily Prophet's undermining campaign - without angering him even more.

Memorable lines

"I don't want you to wake anything up."

"Hello, Harry," said George, beaming at him. "We thought we heard your dulcet tones." "You don't want to bottle up your anger like that, Harry, let it all out," said Fred, also beaming. "There might be a couple of people fifty miles away who didn't hear you."

Harry's impression was that Percy had not made a great success of his first job at the Ministry of Magic. Percy had committed the fairly large oversight of failing to notice that his boss was being controlled by Lord Voldemort.

"His life's ambition is to have his head cut off and stuck up on a plaque just like his mother. Is that normal, Hermione?"

The old woman's screeches died and an echoing silence fell. Panting slightly and sweeping his long dark hair out of his eyes, Harry's godfather, Sirius, turned to face him. "Hello, Harry," he said grimly, "I see you've met my mother."

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

Commentary

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The Harry Potter Canon