| Quote #1
[Harry] kept listening, just in case there was some small clue, not recognized for what it really was by the Muggles – an unexplained disappearance, perhaps, or some strange accident ... but the baggage-handlers' strike was followed by news about the drought in the Southeast ("I hope he's listening next door!" bellowed Uncle Vernon. "Him with his sprinklers on at three in the morning!"), then a helicopter that had almost crashed in a field in Surrey, then a famous actress's divorce from her famous husband ("As if we're interested in their sordid affairs," sniffed Aunt Petunia, who had followed the case obsessively in every magazine she could lay her bony hands on). (1.18)
There are two things that we find striking about this early passage: first, how pathetic is it that Harry has to lie down underneath an open window in order to be allowed to listen to the news? No wonder he's so filled with rage by the end of the summer! Second, the Dursleys are incredible hypocrites: they're terrified of the world knowing they have a weird wizard nephew, so they are always trying to keep Harry hidden from the neighbors. And they love to spy on other people around them: "Him" next door, "with his sprinklers on at three in the morning" and the famous actress with her "sordid affairs." But it never once occurs to them that what is really shameful is the emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive way they treat Harry. What must the people on their street think of the way they speak to Harry? That's really shocking.
| Quote #2
Up and down [Harry] paced, consumed with anger and frustration, grinding his teeth and clenching his fists, casting angry looks out at the empty, star-strewn sky every time he passed the window. Dementors sent to get him, Mrs. Figg and Mundungus Fletcher tailing him in secret, then suspension from Hogwarts and a hearing at the Ministry of Magic – and still no one was telling him what was going on. (3.3)
This passage at the beginning of Chapter 3 basically sums up Harry's state of mind for most of Book 5: "consumed with anger and frustration" because "no one was telling him what was going on." What is it like to read a Harry Potter novel in which Harry Potter is always mad? How does his emotional state change your understanding (and enjoyment) of the character? How is the tone of Book 5 different from previous installments in the series?
| Quote #3
Despite the fact that he was still sleeping badly, still having dreams about corridors and locked doors that made his scar prickle, Harry was managing to have fun for the first time all summer. As long as he was busy he was happy; when the action abated, however, whenever he dropped his guard or lay exhausted in bed watching blurred shadows move across the ceiling, the thought of the looming Ministry hearing returned to him. Fear jabbed at his insides like needles as he wondered what was going to happen to him if he was expelled. (6.211)
Again, we get a mini-lecture on the value of healthy activity to stop the brooding angst. As long as Harry has something to do, he's happy (or at least, happier). It's when he has too much time to think that he gets fearful about his Ministry hearing. This lesson repeats itself on a larger scale when Harry starts to participate in the D.A.: once he feels like he's helping people to prepare for the fight against Voldemort, his school year gets a hundred times better.