After about two weeks, Hermione brings up the extra Defense lessons with Harry again.
Harry asks, "You did listen to what I said about a load of it being luck, didn't you?" (16.12).
Hermione reassures him: "there's no point pretending that you're not good at Defense Against the Dark Arts, because you are. You were the only person last year who could throw off the Imperius Curse completely, you can produce a Patronus, you can do all sorts of stuff that full-grown wizards can't" (16.13).
So finally, Harry agrees. But he doesn't think anyone will want to come to his lessons because everyone thinks he's crazy.
As their off-campus weekend to Hogsmeade approaches, Harry worries that Sirius will appear even though it's dangerous.
Finally, the morning of the Hogsmeade visit arrives.
Hermione leads Harry and Ron to the Hog's Head pub.
She thinks they'll be less likely to be seen at the Hog's Head because the Hog's Head isn't as popular (or as respectable) as the Three Broomsticks (their usual place).
The Hog's Head is a gloomy, filthy place with some odd customers – "a man at the bar whose whole head was wrapped in dirty grey bandages" and "two figures shrouded in hoods" (16.51) who look like Dementors.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron settle down at a table.
A crowd of people soon comes rushing in: Neville; Dean; Lavender; Parvati and Padma Patil; Cho and a friend; Luna; Katie Bell; Alicia Spinnet; Angelina Johnson; Colin and Dennis Creevey; Ernie Macmillan; Justin Finch-Fletchley; Hannah Abbot; a Hufflepuff girl; three Ravenclaws boys called Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner, and Terry Boot; Ginny; a Hufflepuff Quidditch player; Fred and George; and Lee Jordan.
Harry is stunned by the turnout.
Hermione calls them to order: "I had the idea – that it might be good if people who wanted to study Defense Against the Dark Arts [...] took matters into our own hands" (16.83).
The blond Hufflepuff Quidditch player – Zacharias Smith – gets aggressive right away.
He demands evidence that Voldemort really has come back.
Harry announces, "If you've come to hear exactly what it looks like when Voldemort murders someone I can't help you [...] I don't want to talk about Cedric Diggory, all right? So if that's what you're here for, you might as well clear out" (16.100).
Hermione looks very uncomfortable.
Another girl asks Harry excitedly if he really knows how to produce a physical Patronus.
She is Madam Bones's niece, Susan Bones. Madam Bones told her all about Harry's trial.
Everyone is impressed at Harry's magical abilities.
Harry tries to be modest, but Zacharias takes it completely the wrong way: "we've all turned up to learn from him and now he's telling us he can't really do any of it" (16.133).
Fred and George threaten to thump Zacharias, and he shuts up.
Hermione wants to set up a schedule, but all of the Quidditch players insist that it can't interfere with practice for Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff.
Luna tells the assembled group that Cornelius Fudge has his own private army of Heliopaths, spirits of fire.
Hermione tells Luna almost point-blank that she's crazy.
They also can't figure out where they are going to meet.
Hermione promises to send around a message with their first meeting place and time.
Hermione hands around a list, but she also warns them, "if you sign, you're agreeing not to tell Umbridge or anybody else what we're up to" (16.131).
Some of the students look a little nervous about writing down their names, including Ernie Macmillan (since he's the Hufflepuff prefect).
The group starts to leave in twos and threes, but Cho also hangs back and waves at Harry.
Hermione makes a passing remark about Michael Corner dating Ginny.
Ron is outraged: how can Ginny not have told him? And he thought Ginny had a crush on Harry? (Ron is getting all protective-older-brothery.)
Hermione also asks what's going on between Cho and Harry? She tells him, "[Cho] just couldn't keep her eyes off you, could she?" (16.207).