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Fridge: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Warning: Marked and Unmarked spoilers ahead. Read at your own discretion.

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     Fridge Brilliance 
  • Nymphadora Tonks is Rowling's answer to Mary Sues! Think about it! Her hair and eye color literally changes according to her mood, she ends up with one of the most wanted characters in the series, and in the end, she becomes a martyr!
  • How the entire school basically rallied against Umbridge... by rallying against Umbridge, they were rallying against the Ministry. If Umbridge hadn't been the DADA teacher, there would have been no reason for Dumbledore's Army to form. Dumbledore's Army was kind of its own family, and Umbridge helped form an allegiance between the entire student body and the teachers, as well as the ghosts. Without the family of DA or the entire schoolwide allegiance already established, nobody besides a few teachers would have been so willing to take up arms against Voldemort, both at the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, or the Second Wizarding War. Harry's support system would have been severely diminished, especially at the end of the seventh book. Harry would probably have not so eagerly led a group in rebellion, if it hadn't been for Dumbledore's Army. Basically, the whole reason anything in the sixth or seventh book worked at all, not to mention with as relatively few casualties as there were, was because of Umbridge, and her Ripple Effect over the entire school in the fifth book.
  • Making the character Tonks so clumsy. Being a Metamorphmagus, her center of gravity must be constantly changing as she changes shapes, thus leaving her continuously unable to find her balance.
  • There was more to Harry's angst in Order of the Pheonix than just being a broody teenager. In Deathly Hallows, while taking turns wearing the locket Horcrux, whoever is wearing it feels miserable, and their situation seems even worse than it is (and it's pretty bad to begin with). Near the end of Deathly Hallows, we learn that part of Voldemort's soul is attached to Harry's soul. So imagine having the locket Horcrux inside you at all times with no way to remove it. And this was coupled with the fact that Voldemort had come back to full power, which strengthened the connection between his soul and the piece of it in Harry. So it wasn't just Harry wangsting and whining, it was being so close to Voldemort that it made everything seem worse to him. This also opens up more Fridge Brilliance about why Harry was more upset over Cedric's death than Sirius's. Because of Harry's connection with Voldemort, it made Cedric's death more tragic to him than to anyone else, except probably Cho. Harry was very upset after Sirius died at the end of Order of the Phoenix, but didn't seem to be afterwards. Voldemort started using Occlumency against Harry sometime between the fifth and sixth books. When Harry took off the locket in Deathly Hallows, he immediately felt much less miserable. After being directly connected to Voldemort's soul for an entire year, having Voldemort blocking himself from it was enough of a relief that he was able to get over Sirius's death faster than he could have with Cedric's.
  • The reason for Harry's unusual Jerkass behaviour this whole year? Harry is having PTSD from seeing Cedric get killed!
  • When Snape reads Harry's mind during an occlumency lesson, he looks back to the time when Harry was an infant and Voldemort is attacking their house. Why? Snape wanted to see the last time Lily, the woman he loved, was alive!
  • At the end of the book, Harry is in Dumbledore's office and yells that "People don't like being locked up!" in reference to Sirius. But at his words, Dumbledore immediately shows his first sign of emotion: "Dumbledore closed his eyes and buried his face in his longfingered hands." Why did he react so strongly? He was thinking of his younger sister, Arianna, who we learn in Deathly Hallows spent her life locked up. At this point, now two of the people Dumbledore tried to keep locked up for their own good had died because of him.
  • In the movie, Harry sarcastically comments to Dudley, "Five against one, very brave," in reference to Dudley and his friends beating up a ten-year-old. Later, not counting Harry and the Order members who arrive, it's five against one, and yes, it truly is very brave. Instead of five or six large teenagers picking on a small kid, it's one large man doing far worse than trying to beat up five teenagers, and the teenagers try to fight back, not just out of self-preservation but to help the one singled out.
  • Order of the Phoenix came out three years after Goblet of Fire — the longest gap between any of the two books, which was especially frustrating because Goblet of Fire ended on a cliffhanger. In the first few chapters of Order of the Phoenix, Harry spends a lot of time angsting about being kept in the dark and not knowing what's going on in the wizarding world. This wasn't just to set up Harry as a character that was going to do a lot of angsting, but a way for JK to acknowledge the audience's frustration — "Yes, I know, writing this did take longer than expected, and yes, I'm sorry, and see? Harry is frustrated too!"
  • Regulus Black's name hints at his redeeming actions directly before his death. Regulus is a star in the constellation Leo, the lion. Specifically, it's a red star that represents the lion's heart. HE HAS A LION'S HEART.
  • Remember that spell that James used to humiliate Snape? Well, in "Half-Blood Prince", this very spell is in the Half-Blood Prince's text book as one of the jinxes that the Prince had invented. And, since Snape is the Half-Blood Prince, James must've learned it because Snape had been casting this spell himself! Hell, he'd most likely have used it on James himself. Suddenly, the whole incident doesn't seem quite as unprovoked as Harry had believed.
  • When Umbridge orders Snape to give her more Truth Serum (after finishing it), Snape responds that it will take a month before he can make more, and then says "Unless you wish to poison him - and I assure you I would have the greatest sympathy if you did - I cannot help you.". This is not only a jab at Harry, but it could be taken as a jab to Umbridge herself: "If you harm him, even I'll be sorry for you after what the entire Order will do to you."
  • Why are a celebrity divorce and a water-skiing budgie considered important enough to be on the evening news programme that the Durseleys are watching? Because it's Silly Season.
  • In the first book, Harry notes more than once that he sometimes gets the feeling that Snape can read minds. In this book, we find out that Harry is actually completely right about this when Snape is teaching him Occlumency.
  • Why Snape's Worst Memory is left out of the film. The context is different. In the book Harry enters the Pensieve which Snape is using so that Harry won't have access to his private memories. In the film Harry uses the Shield Charm like he does in the book. He doesn't witness Lily in there because Snape had removed the memory and put it in the Pensieve.
  • The significance of Snape and Lily's interaction in his worst memory. He calls her "Mudblood", essentially calling her the wizard variant of the n-word. Lily responds by pointedly calling him "Snivellus". Up until that point, she has been his friend and Snivellus is what people who bully him call him. She's essentially firing back with the worst thing she could think of calling him, wanting to hurt him as much as he has hurt her. That's also her symbolic way of ending their friendship.
  • The chapter called "Snape's Worst Memory" is entirely accurate, but not for reasons you'd initially expect. After reading Deathly Hallows, you may realize that it's not his worst memory because he was bullied beyond humiliation by James and Sirius (in fact, it's implied that said bullying was a regular occurrence- though also that James and Snape were sworn enemies and therefore always at each others' throats), but because in his rage, he called Lily (who he was in love with) a Mudblood, which totally and completely destroyed his chances of getting together with her.
  • It may seem odd that Umbridge is so indulgent to the Slytherins right from the start as compared to every one else. But then you realize that her entire life is based around petty ambition. Ambition is the defining trait of Slytherin House; she would have been a Slytherin in school.
    • Not to mention that while this book doesn't tell us that she shares the "pure wizarding blood" obsession characteristic of most pure-blood Slytherins, her contempt for part-humans is a rather nasty likeness. And based on the last book she may indeed have had contempt for "Mudbloods," though YMMV - her enthusiasm might have simply been because of her desire for power in "the Establishment" regardless of what form "the Establishment" takes, or even just out of pure nonspecific sadism.
  • After Harry's actions accidentally lead to Sirius's death, Dumbledore tells Harry that he knows how Harry feels. In Deathly Hallows, we find out that Dumbledore also accidentally got someone he loved killed.
  • Rowling's Leaning on the Fourth Wall in this exchange:
    "I am not aware that it is any of your business what goes on in my house—"
    "I expect what you're not aware of would fill several books, [Vernon] Dursley," growled Moody.
    • Just think about Moody's wording for a second. Then laugh to yourself and wonder if it was intentional.
  • The students who used the snackboxes claimed they had "Umbridgeitis". In other words, Umbridge was making them sick! Or they were sick of Umbridge, either way. . .
  • Fudge asks "Squibs can't see Dementors, can they?" File that right in there with Wizards being clueless about Muggles - despite the fact that they are at the ministry they don't even seem to have a "Department of Squibs" who can answer that question immediately.
    • Also, imagine being Argus Filch during Prisoner of Azkaban, where the school is surrounded by Dementors that everyone but him can see, and he has no defense against them at all. He's a jerk, sure, but that's very harsh.
  • While Harry is using the fire in Umbridge's office to talk to Sirius, he very quickly finds himself in some pain because of the awkward position of having his head in the fire. He even wonders how Sirius has managed so easily. Then Sirius arrives at his end and without ceremony, drops to his hands and knees to converse. Well, of course. After years as an Animagus, he's probably pretty comfortable being on all fours.

     Fridge Horror 
  • Possibly a Wham Chapter Ending: Boggarts were previously only a problem for Harry because he was scared of Dementors as opposed to spiders, mummies, or clowns like the other students. Then Molly tries to get rid of the boggart in Grimmauld Place, and she is so cripplingly devastated when it takes the forms of her family's dead bodies that she can't even speak coherently enough to make the charm work. How could anything make the sight of your dead family funny?
    • Change it to them sleeping and snoring in a comically loud fashion? The other half of this is that unlike Harry and co, Molly wasn't attempting to get rid of the boggart in a safe, classroom environment. She's in a big creepy house and is doubtless on edge already (she even says so herself after Lupin gets rid of the boggart). There's a theory I've seen floating around that boggarts don't necessarily take your very worst fear, just whatever is currently lurking closest to your consciousness. Granted, in Molly's case, it's probably both of those at the same time, her greatest fear and something that's been on her mind lately.
    • Potential Fridge Brilliance for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, given how Lupin made a point of having the students think about their worst fear beforehand, ensuring they'd know what to expect.
    • And that everyone would have something silly on their minds, instead of the much, much worse image of seeing their family dead.
  • You don't realize it until Half-Blood Prince, but the nonverbal spell Snape uses on James during the flashback to cause a gash to appear on his cheek is likely Sectumsempra. The spell that, if cast correctly, causes deep, painful and profusely-bleeding blade wounds, irreparable severing of body parts and is overall very tricky to use in any way that DOESN'T kill your target if you get a clear shot. He was aiming that at James' head. One mistake on his part or a slower reaction time on James' could have resulted in the later getting decapitated right there. True, James' bullying was certainly despicable, but still, you know, MURDER. Snape was being the guy who smuggles a .45 to school and pulls it out during a schoolyard brawl, and we're supposed to sympathize with him?
    • The incident from the flashback happened in Snape's fifth year at Hogwarts, while Sectumsempra was written in his 6th year Potions textbook. None of the descriptions of James Potter as an adult mention him having a nasty cheek scar, which that spell would surely have left. So isn't it more likely that Snape used a weaker spell at the time, that inflicted lesser wounds, and later developed a stronger version "for enemies" once he'd seen how easily the infirmary undid the damage James had suffered?
  • Dolores Umbridge's eventual comeuppance. She is abducted by the centaurs after Harry and Hermione lead her into the Forbidden Forest. Anyone who knows the mythology of centaurs knows that they RAPE human women. This totally explains her mood when she is in the infirmary later on in what can only be described as a traumatized state. It also lets you know that you should never fuck with Hermione or her friends, as it was HER idea.
  • Minor Fridge Horror compared to those above, but: Nobody in the wizarding world receives much education about mundane matters, basic human physiology included. Fred and George repeatedly tested their Skiving Snackbox treats, both on one another and on ill-informed volunteers. We know there was at least one accident with Katie's unstoppable nosebleed; how easily might the twins have put themselves or others in the infirmary, or even St. Mungo's critical-care ward, if they kept making people bleed, puke, or suffer fevers in complete ignorance of the very real dangers of anemia, dehydration or hyperthermia?
    • Presumably the twins don't want to kill off their potential customers. It's likely that the symptoms their snacks create are purely cosmetic effects; bleeding or barfing, for example, might actually conjure up what's expelled rather than taking it from the user's own body.
  • Sirius gave Harry a magic mirror as he left for Hogwarts, which Harry chose not to open and forgot about. Poor Sirius, cooped up alone at Grimmauld Place, probably wondering if Harry was ignoring him.
  • Consider this one. In the fifth book, Harry sees a vision of Sirius being attacked, then proceeds to freak out and do everything in his power to go save him. When Hermione tells him that he needs to verify that Sirius is actually missing first, he hatches a plot to sneak into Umbridge's office and use her fire to check if Sirius is at headquarters. This leads to the entire climax, and ultimately Sirius' death.
  • In Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge is not shown to be a particularly talented witch, being utterly unable to combat Fred and George's wild array of spells, but she has complete confidence in her ability to cast the Cruciatus Curse (described as a very hard curse to bring off) on Harry. The most likely explanation? She's had plenty of practice using it before.
  • The listing of floors at St. Mungo's suggests that the hospital is equipped to deal with every possible kind of magical malady, but not to deal with common mundane ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Going by Ron's reaction to the word, wizards don't have any faith in Muggle doctors' capabilities, and none of them know any mundane biology beyond what a ten-year-old Muggle would've been taught, so if a wizard or witch comes down with a non-magical illness, they're going to be stuck with whatever crude home remedy their medically-ignorant families can whip up. Mrs. Crouch's terminal illness might well have been averted if she'd ever thought to go to a Muggle hospital.
    • However there is some indication that wizards are pretty resilient against mundane physical threats, their innate magic acting to protect them. For instance, a young Neville is saved from death-by gravity when his latent magic causes him to bounce off the ground instead of splatting. Harry too is pritected by his innate magic before he ever knows he even has it - chased by bullies, he flies or apparatus to a place of safety. Since we never see wizards or witches suffering from mundane maladies, it's reasonable to infer that magic works without the bearer's conscious effort to protect them from illness as it does from injury.
  • The love room in the Department of Mysteries sounds tame enough, but it's been permanently locked with extremely powerful enchantments. Which brings up the question: why is it there if it's not used? The answer is that something went wrong in there that was so horrible that they can't chance going in there ever again. Remember, love in the Potterverse is an extremely powerful magical force. And as they say in the Narnia books, good does not mean safe. Especially when contrasted with the Veil of Death, which is not under additional lock and key.
  • The more you learn about Sirius Black's life, the more horrifying it gets. Recap: he grew up with an awful, racist, emotionally abusive family that treated him like a disgrace (and had Bellatrix Lestrange over for dinner). At the age of 16, he ran away from home to live with James Potter. A year or two later, he graduated Hogwarts and joined the Order of the Phoenix at the height of Voldemort's power, when he was picking off those who opposed him one by one. Then one of his friends betrayed Sirius' best friends/surrogate family to Voldemort, framed him for it, and got him sent to a prison where he spend the next twelve years reliving his worst memories. Of which there were probably quite a few, by this time. He broke out, managed to prove his innocence to his remaining living friend and godson, then was forced to go on the run again. Finally, he spent the last year of his life shut up in the very house he ran away from as a teenager, unable to take part in the fight against Voldemort because the rest of the world still thought he was a Death Eater who had betrayed his best friend to Voldemort, alone except for Buckbeak, his memories of Azkaban, and an alcohol problem. When you look at it, the best years of Sirius' life honestly seem to be in the midst of a war and on the run eating rats.
  • The students claimed they had "Umbridgeitis", ie: Umbridge made them sick, or they were sick of her. Either way. . .

     Fridge Logic 
  • It took the DA several hours to fly to London — why didn't Snape 'n' pals get there earlier?
    • It took longer. Harry's takeoff time is at sunset; when Dumbledore portkeys Harry back to his office, dawn is breaking. The kids must have been in the air all night and well into the early AM. Now has a Headscratchers entry.
    • Harry and co were riding on the Thestrals - who have an amazing sense of direction. It took some time for Snape to find out that Harry and Hermione had gone into the forest. He would have had to hunt them down, probably question a few centaurs (and that can't have been easy) and contact all the Order members, including Dumbledore. That's probably an extra hour onto Harry and co at least. And they probably had to run around the Ministry for a good bit before they found everyone. Remember they probably went to the Hall of Prophecy first and had to run around looking for the right room.
  • Why is there no-one guarding the Ministry of Magic overnight?
    • Considering a half-dozen heavyweight Death Eaters are hanging around inside, I think we can assume something very bad happened to the night security people. Harry himself notes that there should be someone at the security desk.
    • Fridge Brilliance: They need Harry and co to get to the Hall of Prophecy so he can take the prophecy off the shelf personally. They deliberately took out all the employees so Harry would have a free path to the room. They were probably following them around the whole time (Disillusionment Charms perhaps?).


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