Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

Professor Umbridge

  • In the Gryffindor Common Room, Hermione spots a sign advertising "a little extra gold" (12.7) for anyone who is willing to act as a test subject for Fred and George's practical joke experiments.
  • They warn, "We regret that all work is undertaken at applicant's own risk" (12.7).
  • Hermione takes the sign down, looking angry.
  • We also find out more about who believes Harry. Hermione breaks the news that Lavender Brown, another Gryffindor fifth year, thinks he's lying about Voldemort.
  • Hermione points out that this is exactly what Voldemort is best at: dividing good people against one another.
  • At breakfast, the new captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Angelina Johnson, reminds Harry that there's room on the team for a new Keeper.
  • Tryouts will be that Friday and Harry (who is the Gryffindor Seeker) has to come.
  • Ron sounds interested at the news that there's an opening on the Gryffindor team.
  • Hermione scolds Fred and George for advertising for testers on the Gryffindor notice board.
  • Fred and George reply that she'll be begging for Skiving Snackboxes at the end of this year.
  • Fifth year is when Hogwarts students take their OWLs – Ordinary Wizarding Levels.
  • OWLs are major exams in every subject offered at Hogwarts, and the stress of preparation makes people crazy.
  • Fred and George kept their spirits up. They didn't do great on their own OWLs, but it doesn't matter: they "feel [their] futures lie outside the world of academic achievement" (12.74).
  • In fact, Fred and George are planning to complete their sixth year and then drop out of Hogwarts.
  • They'll both be seventeen and of age, so they can go ahead and start their business more seriously.
  • The first lesson of the day is History of Magic with (extremely boring) Professor Binns.
  • Cho approaches Harry after class and starts trying to strike up a conversation.
  • Ron (annoyingly) jumps in: "Is that a Tornados badge? [...] You don't support them, do you? [...] Have you always supported them, or just since they started winning the league?" (12.112-4).
  • Cho walks off, offended, and Hermione shouts at Ron for being tactless.
  • Then comes Potions class with Professor Snape.
  • He warns them that they have to pass their OWL in Potions if they expect to continue on in the sixth year.
  • Professor Snape singles out Harry's potion for mockery, which is to be expected because Snape hates Harry's guts.
  • Hermione and Ron start squabbling about Snape – whether he's truly on the side of good or not – until Harry tells them to shut up.
  • In Divination Class, Ron tells Harry, "Hermione thinks it would be nice if you stopped taking out your temper on us" (12.172).
  • Harry gets immediately defensive.
  • Professor Trelawney assigns them dream interpretation, but since Harry knows "perfectly well what his regular nightmare about a graveyard meant" (12.183), he's not too eager to do the assignment.
  • Then comes their lesson with Professor Umbridge: Defense Against the Dark Arts.
  • She tells them to put their wands away and take out their books.
  • Professor Umbridge wants to follow "a carefully structured, theory-centered, Ministry-approved course of defensive magic" (12.195).
  • Did you see that bit about "theory-centered"?
  • What she means is that she does not intend for them to practice the spells they're learning; she just wants them to read about them.
  • All the students are outraged – Hermione, Ron, Harry, Dean Thomas, and Parvati Patil all speak up (even though Professor Umbridge keeps trying to shut them down).
  • Finally, Harry breaks. When Professor Umbridge tells Harry "there is nothing waiting" (12.252) to attack the students of Hogwarts, he answers, "Hmm, let's think [...] Maybe ... Lord Voldemort?" (12.255).
  • Professor Umbridge takes points from Gryffindor and tells Harry he is lying.
  • Harry can't stop, though: "So, according to you, Cedric Diggory dropped dead of his own accord, did he?" (12.268).
  • Professor Umbridge hands Harry a note to take to his Head of House, Professor McGonagall, and kicks him out of class.
  • As Harry goes to Professor McGonagall, Peeves the Poltergeist starts singing to Harry, "Oh, most think he's barking, the potty wee lad" (12.280).
  • This does not improve Harry's temper.
  • Professor McGonagall reads the note and then tells Harry that he has to be more careful.
  • She warns, "Potter, use your common sense. [...] You know where she comes from, you must know to whom she is reporting" (12.305).
  • Apparently, Professor Umbridge has given Harry detention for every night that week.

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