Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 17
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Educational Decree Number Twenty-four
Harry feels cheered up for the rest of the week.
But of course, things don't keep going well for long.
One morning, there's a notice on the Gryffindor bulletin board: "BY ORDER OF THE HIGH INQUISITOR OF HOGWARTS all student organizations, societies, teams, groups and clubs are henceforth disbanded" (17.4).
Students are only allowed to meet in groups of three or more if they get official permission from Professor Umbridge.
Harry assumes Professor Umbridge knows about the meeting at the Hog's Head pub.
Hermione says no one can have blabbed – if they had, everyone would know because she put a jinx on the piece of paper they all signed.
Harry tells everyone it doesn't matter – they'll meet anyway.
Angelina informs Harry that the Gryffindor Quidditch team has also been disbanded. The Slytherin team has been allowed to continue, but not Gryffindor.
In History of Magic, Hedwig suddenly appears at the window. She has been hurt.
Harry rushes to the staff room with Hedwig. He wants to take her to Professor Grubbly-Plank.
Professor Grubbly-Plank believes that something has attacked Hedwig.
Harry manages to retrieve the letter Hedwig was carrying before Professor Grubbly-Plank takes her away.
Professor McGonagall warns Harry: "Bear in mind [...] that channels of communication in and out of Hogwarts may be being watched" (17.94).
Hedwig's letter is a message from Sirius: "Today, same time, same place" (17.96).
Hermione worries that the letter has been intercepted.
Draco is talking loudly outside of Snape's classroom: "... and as for Potter ... my father says it's a matter of time before the Ministry has him carted off to St. Mungo's ... apparently they've got a special ward for people whose brains have been addled by magic" (17.112).
Neville leaps on Draco and starts attacking him physically.
Ron and Harry do their best to hold him back.
Professor Snape comes by and deducts ten points from Gryffindor for fighting.
Professor Umbridge is there today to observe Professor Snape's class.
She actually dares to tell him, "I question whether it is advisable to teach them a potion like the Strengthening Solution. I think the Ministry would prefer it if that was removed from the syllabus" (17.133).
Professor Snape looks enraged.
Professor Umbridge keeps pressing him with questions. She wants to know why Professor Snape regularly submits an application to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and why Dumbledore keeps rejecting his requests.
Professor Umbridge is very interested in Professor Snape's background.
In Divination, Professor Trelawney seems quite stressed: "Well, carry on! [...] you know what to do! Or am I such a sub-standard teacher that you have never learned how to open a book?" (17.159).
Professor Trelawney has, apparently, been put on probation.
She feels humiliated and insulted.
As usual, in Defense Against the Dark Arts, they sit quietly reading the textbook.
At dinner, Angelina tells Harry that there is still no Gryffindor Quidditch practice.
As they sit in the Gryffindor Common Room, Harry is having a hard time focusing on his essay on Strengthening Solution.
This is because Fred and George are demonstrating their Skiving Snackboxes: "First, Fred would take a bite out of the orange end of a chew, at which he would vomit spectacularly into a bucket they had placed in front of them. Then he would force down the purple end of the chew, at which the vomiting would immediately cease" (17.188).
Late that evening, Sirius appears in the Gryffindor fire.
Harry explains about Educational Decree Number Twenty-four preventing them from meeting in large groups.
Sirius already seems to know about Hermione's Defense Against the Dark Arts group.
Sirius laughs: if you want to stay incognito, it's a bad idea to go to a pub you don't usually visit where there aren't that many people.
In fact, Mundungus Fletcher was at the Hog's Head, and he overheard all of their plans.
Sirius passes on a message from Mrs. Weasley to Ron: "She says on no account whatsoever are you to take part in an illegal secret Defense Against the Dark Arts group. She says you'll be expelled for sure and your future will be ruined" (17.219).
For his part, Sirius thinks this group is a great idea – they know that Voldemort is back, so they all need to be able to defend themselves.
Suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, Sirius disappears.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione watch as a hand appears in the flames – "a stubby, short-fingered hand covered in ugly old-fashioned rings" (17.247). Umbridge is feeling around for Sirius.