Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

The Hearing

  • When Harry walks through the door, he realizes that he recognizes Courtroom Ten.
  • This is the room Harry saw in Dumbledore's memories in Book Four, where "the Lestranges [were] sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban" (8.1).
  • The room is filled with about 50 people — the full Wizengamot, which is the wizarding council.
  • Harry sees Cornelius Fudge right away. Percy Weasley is writing down everything that is going on.
  • As Cornelius Fudge starts listing off Harry's interrogators, a voice interrupts him: "Witness for the defense, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore" (8.14).
  • Fudge looks absolutely surprised to see Dumbledore.
  • He clearly thought that changing the time and place of the trial would be enough to keep Dumbledore away.
  • Dumbledore answers, "due to a lucky mistake I arrived at the Ministry three hours early, so no harm done" (8.19).
  • Fudge accuses Harry of producing "a Patronus Charm in a Muggle-inhabited area, in the presence of a Muggle" (8.24).
  • The severe-looking witch next to Fudge seems impressed that Harry is able to produce a Patronus at fifteen.
  • Harry tries to explain that he only cast the charm because he saw Dementors.
  • The Wizengamot is silent at this.
  • The severe-looking witch, Amelia Bones, answers, "Dementors? [...] What do you mean, boy?" (8.56).
  • Fudge immediately starts smirking: "Let me explain. He's been thinking it through and decided Dementors would make a very nice little cover story, very nice indeed. Muggles can't see Dementors, can they, boy? Highly convenient, highly convenient" (8.60).
  • Harry insists that he's not lying.
  • Dumbledore offers that in fact, there is a witness.
  • The witness is Arabella Figg, Harry's old babysitter.
  • She claims that, since she's a Squib, she can still see Dementors even though she's not a witch.
  • (Harry suspects that Mrs. Figg is lying on this point — she sounds unsure when she says, "They were big. Big and wearing cloaks" (8.89).)
  • But she does describe how the Dementors feel: "Everything went cold, and this was a very warm summer's night, mark you. And I felt ... as though all happiness had gone from the world ... and I remembered ... dreadful things ..." (8.92).
  • Mrs. Figg testifies that the Dementors attacked Harry and his cousin.
  • Fudge dismisses Mrs. Figg's testimony, but Madam Bones speaks up, "She certainly described the effects of a Dementor attack very accurately. And I can't imagine why she would say they were there if they weren't" (8.102).
  • Fudge can't believe a pair of Dementors would make it to a Muggle suburb.
  • Dumbledore thinks it's no coincidence. The Dementors were ordered there by someone, which is a sign that, "the Dementors are taking orders from someone other than the Ministry of Magic" (8.109).
  • A witch sitting next to Fudge, a woman who looks "just like a large, pale toad" (8.113), giggles, "it sounded for a teensy moment as though you were suggesting that the Ministry of Magic had ordered an attack on this boy!" (8.117).
  • Dumbledore agrees that it's only logical that (a) either the Dementors are outside Ministry control, or (b) "somebody at the Ministry might have ordered the attacks" (8.118).
  • Fudge looks completely enraged at both suggestions.
  • Dumbledore argues that Harry has the right to defend himself even if he is underage, so the Patronus he cast is justified.
  • Finally, Madam Bones calls a vote.
  • More than half the Wizengamot votes for Harry, with some notable exceptions including Fudge and the toad-like witch.
  • Fudge announces, "Very well, very well ... cleared of all charges" (8.154).
  • Dumbledore leaves the courtroom without looking at Harry once.

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