Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Power Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
BY ORDER OF THE HIGH INQUISITOR OF HOGWARTS
All student organizations, societies, teams, groups and clubs are henceforth disbanded.
An organization, society, team, group or club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. (17.4)
In the first amendment to the US Constitution, Americans are guaranteed the right to freedom of assembly. Of course, this is Britain and also the wizarding world, so those laws don't exactly apply here. But the civics lesson is the same: why is the right to assemble so important? And why is it so threatening to Professor Umbridge?
"You applied for the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, I believe?" Professor Umbridge asked Snape.
"Yes," said Snape quietly.
"But you were unsuccessful."
Snape's lip curled.
Professor Umbridge scribbled on her clipboard.
"And you have applied regularly for the Defense Against the Dark Arts post since you first joined the school, I believe?"
"Yes," said Snape quietly, barely moving his lips. He looked very angry.
"Do you have any idea why Dumbledore has consistently refused to appoint you?" asked Umbrdige.
"I suggest you ask him," said Snape jerkily. (17.137-146)
We have to give Professor Umbridge credit for one thing: it takes guts to make Professor Snape angry. We would probably avoid it at all costs, but she just barges right in, asking him questions about why he hasn't been appointed Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. She must really have an overinflated sense of her own authority. At any rate, Professor Umbridge is clearly probing Professor Snape's associations with Dark magic. Her interview with Professor Snape reminds us that she still seems to believe that she is on the side of righteousness – even if she's willing to use any means necessary to achieve her goals.
As a matter of fact, Minerva, it was you who made me see that we needed a further amendment ... you remember how you overrode me, when I was unwilling to allow the Gryffindor Quidditch team to re-form? How you took the case to Dumbledore, who insisted that the team be allowed to play? Well, now, I couldn't have that. I contacted the Minister at once, and he quite agreed with me that the High Inquisitor has to have the power to strip pupils of privileges, or she – that is to say, I – would have less authority than common teachers! (19.141)
This exchange between Professor McGonagall and Professor Umbridge really drives home how petty Umbridge is: she is so annoyed that Professor McGonagall overruled her about a Quidditch team that she actually goes to the Minister for Magic to get more official power for her role as High Inquisitor. What kind of a government structure is this, that the Minister for Magic has the time to intervene directly in the running of a school? Do you get a sense of how big (or small) the wizarding world is? How does their government work?