Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Truth and Lies

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Truth and Lies

SIRIUS BLACK: Fudge is using all his power, including his influence at The Daily Prophet, to smear anyone who claims the Dark Lord has returned.


REMUS LUPIN: The Minister thinks Dumbledore's after his job.

HARRY POTTER: But that's insane! No one in their right mind could believe that Dumbledore...

REMUS LUPIN: Exactly the point. Fudge isn't in his right mind. It's been twisted and warped by fear. Now fear makes people do terrible things, Harry. The last time Voldemort gained power he almost destroyed everything we hold most dear. Now he's returned, and I'm afraid the Minister will do almost anything to avoid facing that terrifying truth.

And there you have it. The truth can be a scary thing. After all, Voldemort is back. The lie is much easier to stomach. And much easier for Fudge to pass off to the wizarding world.

DUMBLEDORE: I don't think anyone would believe the Dementors were there by coincidence, Minister.

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: So silly of me, but it sounded for a moment as though you were suggesting that the Ministry had ordered the attack on this boy.

DUMBLEDORE: That would be disturbing indeed, Madam Undersecretary which is why I'm sure the Ministry will be mounting a full-scale inquiry into why the two Dementors were so very far from Azkaban and why they mounted an attack without authorization. Of course, there is someone who might be behind the attack. Cornelius, I implore you to see reason. The evidence that the Dark Lord has returned is incontrovertible.

CORNELIUS FUDGE: He is not back!

We love Umbridge's little passive-aggressive comment here. Isn't that kind of talk the worst kind of lie? And, of course, there's Fudge who just plain refuses to believe that Voldemort is back. This guy is gonna get us all killed with her stubbornness.

SEAMUS FINNIGAN: Me mam didn't want me to come back this year.


SEAMUS FINNIGAN: Let me see... because of you! The Daily Prophet's been saying a lot of things about you, Harry. About Dumbledore as well.

HARRY POTTER: And your mum believes them?

SEAMUS FINNIGAN: Well, no one was there the night Cedric died.

Okay, so we know Harry Potter's not a liar, but Seamus and his mom didn't see the last movie so they're getting a lot of conflicting messages. How do they know what's real and what's not? Who should they trust? Harry Potter or the fake news?

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Let me make this quite plain. You have been told that a certain Dark Wizard is at large once again. This is a lie.

HARRY POTTER: It's not a lie! I saw him. I fought him.

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Detention, Mr. Potter!

HARRY POTTER: So according to you, Cedric Diggory dropped dead of his own accord.

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Cedric Diggory's death was a tragic accident.

HARRY POTTER: It was murder! Voldemort killed him! You must know!


Umbridge freaks out at Harry when he interrupts her lies with the truth. Detention! It's not clear whether Umbridge actually has an opinion about Voldemort being back or if she's just spewing Ministry propaganda like a good little solider. She really is awful.

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: You're going to be doing some lines for me, Mr. Potter. No, not with your quill. You're going to be using a rather special one of mine. Now, I want you to write, "I must not tell lies."

HARRY POTTER: How many times?

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Let's see... as long as it takes for the message to sink in.

HARRY POTTER: You haven't given me any ink.

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Oh, you won't need any ink.

Ugh. What a terrible woman. Harry's being forced to write, "I must not tell lies," but, of course, he's telling the truth. It's Umbridge who's pushing the disinformation campaign.

HERMIONE GRANGER: You all know why we're here. We need a teacher. A proper teacher. One who's had real experience defending themselves against the Dark Arts.


RON WEASLEY: Why. Because You Know Who's back, you tosspot.


HERMIONE GRANGER: So Dumbledore says.

ZACHARIAS SMITH: So Dumbledore says because he says! The point is, where's the proof?

Harry does keep running into this, doesn't he? People just don't believe him. It's not like Voldemort's out making public speeches, so maybe people are right to be a little suspicious of him. After all, if Voldemort's back things are about to get really, really cruddy. Maybe believing the lies the Ministry and The Prophet are peddling are a whole lot nicer.

SEVERUS SNAPE: You sent for me, Headmistress?

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Ah, yes. The time has come for answers, whether he wants to give them or not. Have you bought the Veritaserum?

SEVERUS SNAPE: I'm afraid you have used up all my stores interrogating students, the last of it on Miss Chang. Unless you wish to poison Potter—and I assure you, I would have the greatest sympathy if you did—I cannot help you.

You remember Veritaserum? It's that potion that makes you tell the truth. We think it's pretty convenient that Snape doesn't have anymore (as a member of the Order of the Phoenix, there's probably info he knows that Umbridge shouldn't have). Of course, this is the also the moment that Harry realizes why Cho ratted out Dumbledore's Army. She was forced to tell the truth. Poor Cho.

HARRY POTTER: He's got Padfoot! He's got Padfoot at the place where it's hidden!

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Padfoot? What is Padfoot? And where what's hidden? What is he talking about, Snape?


This is actually a pretty excellent lie on Snape's part. Even Harry is convinced. Snape has a lot of practice walking this fine line. He clearly understands what Harry means (after all, who else would have sent the Order of the Phoenix to the Ministry of Magic to rescue Harry and friends), but he's got to play it cool in front of Umbridge. Snape: double agent extraordinaire.

DOLORES UMBRIDGE: Please, tell them I mean no harm.

HARRY POTTER: Sorry, Professor, but I must not tell lies.

Ya burnt, Umbridge.

LUCIUS MALFOY: Haven't you always wondered what was the reason for the connection between you and the Dark Lord. Why he was unable to kill you when you were just an infant. Don't you want to know the secret, of your scar. All of the answers are there, Potter, in your hand. All you have to do is give it to me, I can show you everything.

HARRY POTTER: I've waited fourteen years...


HARRY POTTER: Think I can wait a little longer.

This is Harry's big chance. He can find out the truth about who he is, his connection to Voldemort, why he has his scar. But he passes it all up in a moment of self-sacrifice. We're not sure we'd have been so strong. Is it too late to get those answers?

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