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Quotes

Quote #1

"Deep down, Fudge knows Dumbledore's much cleverer than he is, a much more powerful wizard, and in the early days of his Ministry he was forever asking Dumbledore for help and advice," said Lupin. "But it seems he's become fond of power, and much more confident. He loves being Minister for Magic and he's managed to convince himself that he's the clever one and Dumbledore's simply stirring up trouble for the sake of it" (5.183)

Professor Umbridge is Book 5's greatest proof that power attracts bad people, but Fudge comes in a close second. He started out okay – kind of bumbling, but generally a good man. However, by this time, he has grown so accustomed to being Minister for Magic that he doesn't want to let it go, regardless of the cost he has to pay to keep it. He's willing to blacken the name of the man who helped him in the early days of his administration just to avoid competing with Dumbledore. However, Fudge's outright denial can only get him so far. Do you think Fudge truly believes that Voldemort has not returned? Do you think he really believes that Dumbledore is lying throughout Book 5?

Quote #2

"I did think [Professor Snape] might be a bit better this year," said Hermione in a disappointed voice. "I mean ... you know ..." she looked around carefully; there were half a dozen empty seats on either side of them and nobody was passing the table "now he's in the Order and everything."

"Poisonous toadstools don't change their spots," said Ron sagely. "Anyway, I've always thought Dumbledore was cracked to trust Snape. Where's the evidence he ever really stopped working for You-Know-Who?" (12.161-162)

Most of Professor Snape's character development throughout the whole series hinges on the fact that he appears evil but he is supposed to be good. It seems almost impossible for Ron, with a relatively black-and-white sense of morality, to believe that Professor Snape can be a cruel, vindictive, petty guy who is still working against Voldemort. At the same time, the villain in Book 5, is a sadistic, bullying monster who works (supposedly) on the side of good, for the Ministry of Magic. As Harry and the rest are getting older, they are moving further and further away from the moral absolutes of Book 1, where evil is easily identifiable because it has Lord Voldemort coming out of the back of its head.

Quote #3

"Potter, use your common sense," snapped Professor McGonagall, with an abrupt return to her usual manner. "you know where [Professor Umbridge] comes from, you must know to whom she is reporting." (12.305)

Harry grows up a lot over the course of Book 5. But one of the worst lessons he has to learn is that the truth is not enough to convince people. As he continues to speak the truth to Professor Umbridge, all it seems to do is give her more power over him, as she throws punishment after punishment at him to break his spirit. When Professor McGonagall warns him to be careful, she doesn't want him to stop telling the truth. She just wants Harry to be more subtle and less reckless. How well does Professor McGonagall abide by her own advice to Harry? At what point does Professor McGonagall start standing openly against Professor Umbridge? What drives Professor McGonagall to her own breaking point?

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