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Grim Defeat

- Chapter 9

"Well, you know the Whomping Willow. It -- it doesn't like being hit."
-- Ron Weasley regarding Harry's Nimbus 2000

PA9: Grim Defeat

The students are gathered in the Great Hall for the night, Quidditch practice continues, DADA classes are taken over by Professor Snape when Professor Lupin falls ill, Peeves wakes Harry, Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff in a thunderstorm, Harry sees The Grim and Dementors invade the pitch and he passes out to awaken in the hospital wing having lost the game.

Calendar and Dates

This first match is usually scheduled for the first Saturday in November. We know that this year it definitely takes place after Hallowe’en, which is when Sirius Black breaks into the school (PA8).

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter title is a nice play on words, referring both to the fact that the defeat was grim and that it was marked by the presence of a (supposed) Grim.

"Because the castle's protected by more than walls, you know," said Hermione. "There are all sorts of enchantments on it, to stop people entering by stealth. You can’t just Apparate in here. And I'd like to see the disguise that could fool those Dementors. They're guarding every single entrance to the grounds. They'd have seen him fly in, too. And Filch knows all the secret passages, they’ll have them covered …"

As ever, Hermione has to ask "Honestly, am I the only person who’s ever bothered to read Hogwarts, A History?" in exasperation. And because this conversation takes place before Fred and George give Harry the Marauder's Map, she doesn't know about the (as yet undiscovered by Filch) secret passages out of the school.

"....we've been practising all those moves assuming we're playing Slytherin, and instead it's Hufflepuff, and their style's quite different. They've got a new captain and Seeker, Cedric Diggory –"

Some time before the match Fred Weasley observes  "Gryffindor versus Slytherin, first game of the season, remember?” (PA6), but this turns out to be wrong because of the injury to Draco Malfoy, and that match is rescheduled. The team's all-female Chasers say that while Hufflepuff's Seeker Cedric Diggory is tall and good-looking, he shouldn't especially be a problem for the team. Harry sees Cedric and notices that he is a large fifth year - and, being heavier, will fare better in bad weather. That is true, but Cedric's good looks will also cause heartache later.

"Diggory got the Snitch," said George. "Just after you fell. He didn't realise what had happened. When he looked back and saw you on the ground, he tried to call it off. Wanted a re-match. But they won fair and square … even Wood admits it."

Falling off his broom thanks to the effect the Dementors have on him, Harry did not have any idea what had happened at the match afterwards. Reviving in the hospital wing, he is told about the sad fate of his Nimbus 2000 broom - completely smashed by the Whomping Willow.

Professor Dumbledore is able to disperse around a hundred Dementors with his wand shooting out "silver stuff". It must have been an extremely strong Patronus Charm to work on that many Dementors in one go. One wonders what happy memory Dumbledore is using to cast it.

Exceptional character moments

All the students spending the night in the Great Hall and sleeping in purple sleeping bags because of the reports of seeing Sirius Black inside Hogwarts castle.

A portrait of Sir Cadogan temporarily replacing the portrait of the Fat Lady.

Harry telling Professor McGonagall that he knows that Sirius Black is coming after him.

The Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch match changing to Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff due to Malfory's injured arm.

Due to an illness Professor Snape teaching Professor Lupin's class and assigning the students a two rolls of parchment assignment on ways to recognize and kill werewolves.

Snape giving Ron a detention of scrubbing the bedpans in the hospital wing without magic.

The Gryffindor/Hufflepuff Quidditch match played during a severe, cold rainstorm.

During a time-out of the Quidditch match, Hermione putting the Impervius spell on Harry's glasses causing them to repel rain.

Harry suddenly seeing an enormous shaggy black dog imprinted against the sky in the topmost empty rows of seats during the Quidditch match.

After seeing at least a hundred dementors Harry, hearing voices in his head, falling off his broom and hitting the ground.

Waking in the hospital wing, Harry discovering that he had lost his first Quidditch match.

Harry learning that after he fell off his Nimbus 2000, it flew into the Whomping Willow and was destroyed.

Memorable lines

"It seems - almost impossible - that Black could have entered the school without inside help. I did express my concerns when you appointed --" Professor Snape to Professor Dumbledore

"I do not believe a single person inside this castle would have helped Black enter it." Professor Dumbledore

"...I'm afraid no dementor will cross the threshold of this castle while I am headmaster." Professor Dumbledore

"I know he's after me. I heard Ron's dad telling his mum." Harry to Professor McGonagall regarding Sirius Black

"He's that tall, good-looking one isn't he." Angelina Johnson referring to Cedric Diggory

"Oliver, calm down! We're taking Hufflepuff very seriously. Seriously." Fred Weasley

"Why couldn't Black have hidden in Snape's office, eh? He could have finished him off for us!" Ron

"You know, I reckon Ron was right about you. Leave Scabbers alone." Harry to Crookshanks

"Well, you know the Whomping Willow. It -- it doesn't like being hit." Ron regarding Harry's Nimbus 2000

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Lexicon list of School Quidditch Teams

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Tags: bravery cold defeat guards laughing lessons lose panic pitch portrait practice protection purple rainstorm screaming suspicion/suspicious weather

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