Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
How we cite our quotes:
If Dudley's friends saw him sitting there, they would be sure to make a beeline for him, and what would Dudley do then? He wouldn't want to lose face in front of the gang, but he'd be terrified of provoking Harry ... it would be really fun to watch Dudley's dilemma, to taunt him, watch him, with him powerless to respond ... and if any of the others tried hitting Harry, he was ready – he had his wand. Let them try ... he'd love to vent some of his frustration on the boys who had once made his life hell. (1.72)
Harry's getting into really dangerous territory here. Yes, Dudley has treated him badly in the past. But Harry is enjoying the idea of using his magic on Muggles who can't defend themselves. He wants to "vent some of his frustration" on people who are powerless to respond. How far away is Harry's reasoning from that of the Death Eaters who indulge in some Muggle-baiting at the Quidditch World Cup at the beginning of Book Four? The difference between Harry and those Death Eaters is that Harry doesn't give in to his wish to bully his cousin and his Muggle friends. Still, Harry's anger is leading him down a path that could turn to a Dark wizard anti-Muggle place if he isn't careful.
Halfway down the hall was a fountain. A group of golden statues, larger than life-size, stood in the middle of a circular pool. Tallest of them all was a noble-looking wizard with his wand pointing straight up in the air. Grouped around him were a beautiful witch, a centaur, a goblin and a house-elf. The last three were all looking adoringly up at the witch and wizard. Glittering jets of water were flying from the ends of their wands, the point of the centaur's arrow, the tip of the goblin's hat and each of the house-elf's ears, so that the tinkling hiss of falling water was added to the pops and cracks of the Apparators and the clatter of footsteps as hundreds of witches and wizards, most of whom were wearing glum, early-morning looks, strode towards a set of golden gates at the far end of the hall. (7.66)
This statue at the front of the Ministry of Magic demonstrates the Ministry's official opinion on the status of the different magical creatures in the wizarding world. At the center is a "noble-looking wizard," with a beautiful witch next to him. Then, beneath these magical folk are three creatures looking "adoringly up." Now, a centaur is half-human, half-horse, so how a centaur could look up at a wizard and a witch, we don't know. But this condescending view of house-elves, centaurs, and goblins – that they must all look up to magical humans – underlines Bill Weasley's suspicions in Chapter 5 that the goblins, fed up with mainstream wizard prejudice, might join Voldemort out of desperation. What is more, this statue also suggests that Professor Umbridge's prejudices about half-humans – and perhaps about all magical creatures – is more widespread than magical folk might like to think.
"I think we might have a record of it if someone had ordered a pair of dementors to go strolling through Little Whinging!" barked Fudge.
"Not if the dementors are taking orders from someone other than the Minsitry of Magic these days," said Dumbledore calmly. "I have already given you my views on this matter, Cornelius."
"Yes, you have," said Fudge forcefully, "and I have no reason to believe that your views are anything other than bilge, Dumbledore. The dementors remain in place in Azkaban and are doing everything we ask them to." (8.108-110)
Fudge has an obvious problem with logic. Because the Ministry has no record of dementors being sent to Little Whinging, he cannot believe that anyone in the Ministry can have made the order to the dementors. But he also refuses to entertain the possibility that the dementors are acting on their own, largely because he doesn't want that to be true. He insists that (a) he has absolute control over the Ministry, and (b) the Ministry has absolute control over the dementors. Later, we learn that neither is true: Dolores Umbridge did order the dementors to Little Whinging, and the dementors have gone over to join Voldemort. Fudge is living in a world made up of things he chooses to believe are facts, because to believe otherwise would mean admitting that he has lost control of both the extremist elements in the Minsitry and the dementors of Azkaban. How does J.K. Rowling depict politicians in the Harry Potter novels? What kind of general critique of career politicians does she offer in her representation of Fudge and Professor Umbridge?