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Ginny points out that Hagrid is missing. She wonders if Hagrid has left the school.
Luna adds, "I'll be quite glad if he has [...] he isn't a very good teacher, is he?" (11.3).
Ginny, Harry, and Ron leap to Hagrid's defense.
They make it in to the Great Hall and Luna goes to join the Ravenclaws.
There is someone new at the staff table, someone who looks "like somebody's maiden aunt: squat, with short, curtly, mouse-bown hair [... and] a pallid, toadlike face" (11.27).
It's the witch from Harry's hearing, the one who laughed at Dumbledore for implying that the Dementors came to Privet Drive by order of someone in the Ministry.
Harry tells the table that her name is Umbridge.
The Hall quiets down as the Sorting begins.
The Sorting Hat bursts into song.
Usually, the Sorting Hat just tells the school about the characteristics of the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor (bravery), Slytherin (cunning), Ravenclaw (intelligence), and Hufflepuff (loyalty).
But this year, it offers something slightly different.
The Hat warns the students that they have to stick together, "For our Hogwarts is in danger/From external, deadly foes/And we must unite inside her/Or we'll crumble from within" (11.39).
Even though it's the Hat's job to split the first year students into four separate houses, the divisions between houses (Slytherin-Gryffindor) anyone might weaken Hogwarts against outside enemies.
After the first years are Sorted, the Gryffindor ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, tells Harry, Ron, and Hermione, "Yes, I have heart the Hat give several warnings before, always at times when it detects periods of great danger for the school. And always, of course, its advice is the same: stand together, be strong from within" (11.56).
After the feast, Dumbledore starts making school announcements:
(1) Professor Grubby Plank is going to teach Care of Magical Creatures.
(2) Professor Umbridge is going to be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Here, Professor Umbridge interrupts Dumbledore.
She launches into one of the most boring speeches anyone has ever heard.
Nearly everyone tunes out.
But Hermione is wise enough to keep listening.
After the speech, Hermione tells Ron and Harry: "How about: ‛progress for progress's sake must be discouraged'? How about: ‛pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited'? [...] I'll tell you what it means [...] It means the Ministry's interfering at Hogwarts" (11.104-6).
As Harry walks out of the Great Hall, he realizes that people are staring at him and whispering.
It makes sense that everyone is curious: "he had emerged from the Triwizard maze two months previously clutching the dead body of a fellow student and claiming to have seen Lord Voldemort return to power. There had not been time last term to explain himself before they'd all had to go home" (11.115).
Back in the Gryffindor dormitories, Harry sees the other Gryffindor fifth years, Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas.
Seamus tells his dorm mates that his mother didn't want him to come back to Hogwarts that year.
Mrs. Finnegan reads the Daily Prophet, so she's suspicious of both Dumbledore and Harry.
Harry is furious (of course).
Just as he's getting into bed, Seamus asks, "Look ... what did happen that night when ... you know, when ... with Cedric Diggory and all?" (11.141).
Harry retorts, "What are you asking me for? [...] Just read the Daily Prophet like your mother, why don't you? That'll tell you all you need to know" (11.143).
Things rapidly dissolve from there.
Seamus finally shouts, "I don't want to share a dormitory with him anymore, he's mad" (11.155).
Ron warns Seamus that he'll give him detention if Seamus doesn't shut up.
Neville pipes up, "My gran's always said You-Know-Who would come back one day. She says if Dumbledore says he's back, he's back" (11.164).
Harry is relieved to hear that someone in the wizarding world still believes in him.
Harry lies in bed worrying over this argument with Seamus, "whom he had always liked very much" (11.167).
How many more people out there think that he's crazy?