Harry wakes up early the next morning to write to Sirius.
He realizes that it's harder than he expected: how do you tell someone top secret information in a letter while still being secure?
He manages to get across that Professor Umbridge is a horrible person and that his scar ached while he was in detention with her.
He goes to the Owlery to find Hedwig.
Nearly Headless Nick warns him not to go up a certain flight of staircases because Peeves is acting up.
So, Harry goes up a different flight of stairs, where Mrs. Norris, caretaker Argus Filch's cat, sees him and trots off to "report to her boss" (14.11).
Harry gives Hedwig the letter for "Snuffles"/Sirius.
Cho Chang happens to walk into the Owlery just as Harry is looking out the window.
They start chatting.
Cho whispers to Harry, "That Umbridge woman's foul [...] Putting you in detention just because you told the truth about how – how – how he died. Everyone heard about it, it was all over the school. You were really brave standing up to her like that" (13.33).
Harry feels like a million bucks.
Suddenly, Filch comes running in to say, "Aha! [...] I've had a tip-off that you are intending to place a massive order for Dungbombs!" (14.36).
Harry flatly denies this, but Filch wants to search Harry's pockets.
Cho claims that she saw Harry send his letter away already – she's lying for Harry! She really likes him!
Harry has no clue who gave Filch the idea that he was ordering Dungbombs, since (obviously), he wasn't.
In that morning's Daily Prophet, there's an article that Sirius has been spotted in London.
Harry thinks it's Lucius Malfoy who tipped off the paper after recognizing Sirius's dog form on the train platform.
There is also an article about Sturgis Podmore, who has been charged with "trespass and attempted robbery at the Ministry of Magic" (14.85).
He's been sentenced to six months in Azkaban.
Ron is shocked because Sturgis is a member of the order.
Harry points out that Sturgis was supposed to be part of their guard to King's Cross train station, but he never showed up.
Then comes Quidditch practice.
And it's a complete, total, utter disaster.
The Slytherins are watching, and they all roar with laughter every time Ron makes a mistake, which is often.
Among many fumbles, he manages to throw the Quaffle so hard at Katie Brown that she gets a bloody nose.
Fred hands Katie something to take to make it clear up in no time.
But it doesn't clear up – she just keeps bleeding and bleeding.
Fred and George look at each other with shock.
(It looks like Fred handed Katie the wrong end of a Skiving Snackbox.)
The twins volunteer to take her to the hospital wing.
Ron and Harry spend all of Sunday trying to catch up on their stacks of homework.
Hermes, Percy's owl, arrives completely out of the blue with a letter for Ron.
The letter congratulates Ron for becoming a prefect.
He thinks Ron has "stopped flouting authority and [has] decided to shoulder some real responsibility" (14.189).
Percy believes that Ron's new job as prefect is a promising sign that Ron is thinking seriously about his future.
To protect that future, Percy continues, Ron should start separating himself from Harry.
He encourages Ron: "It may be that you are afraid to sever ties with Potter – I know that he can be unbalanced and, for all I know, violent – but if you have any worries about this, or have spotted anything else in Potter's behavior that is troubling you, I urge you to speak to Dolores Umbridge, a truly delightful woman" (14.193).
Percy tells Ron that, "Dumbledore's regime at Hogwarts may soon be over" (14.194), and that Ron should be loyal to the Ministry.
Ron tears the letter into little pieces and throws it on the fire.
Hermione is so moved by this that she agrees to correct both Ron and Harry's essays.
As they sit in front of the fire, Harry suddenly sees a flash of Sirius's face.
It is, in fact, Sirius! He has been "popping into the fire every hour" (14.221) to check if the coast is clear.
Sirius reassures Harry that the scar pain is probably nothing to worry about. Now that Voldemort's back, "it's bound to hurt more often" (14.235).
Sirius also tells Harry that, two years ago, Professor Umbridge was responsible for a piece of anti-werewolf legislation that makes it almost impossible for Lupin to get a job.
Apparently, Professor Umbridge "loathes part-humans; she campaigned to have merpeople rounded up and tagged last year" (14.244).
Sirius informs them that the reason Professor Umbridge isn't training them in real spells is because Fudge is afraid Hogwarts students are being trained in combat to form a private army for Dumbledore.
Sirius confirms that Hagrid was supposed to be back from his mission by now, but Sirius is sure that Hagrid is fine.
Sirius wants to meet Harry in Hogsmeade in his dog form during their next Hogsmeade weekend off campus.
Harry and Hermione both say it's too dangerous – didn't he see the Daily Prophet article about his whereabouts in London?
Sirius is clearly offended by Harry's refusal.
He tells Harry, "You're less like your father than I thought [...] The risk would've been what made it fun for James" (14.273).