Warning: Marked and Unmarked spoilers ahead. Read at your own discretion.
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- 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.
- Cho and Harry's relationship leads to Ship Sinking in this story. It ultimately comes down to how they treat their friends.
- Harry ALWAYS gives his friends the chance to back out of a dangerous situation; we see this from Book One, where he wants to go on his own to face Voldemort and stop him from stealing the Stone, and Hermione and Ron insist on going with him. When he even starts teaching DA, he's not willing to accept that Hermione and Ron have faith in his teaching abilities and his leadership skills. As a result, Harry's not afraid to call out Hermione and Ron when any of them are in the wrong, or when they cross an arbitrary line (say with the Firebolt) while remaining loyal to them. This also extends to the rest of Gryffindor House; they all choose to come to the DA when they come and believe in fighting Umbridge. The other Gryffindors have their faults, but they all have each other's backs, at least where serious issues are concerned.
- Cho in contrast FORCES Marietta to come to Dumbledore's Army, probably by badgering her and guilting her into learning proper spells. Marietta by having less of a choice has less loyalty to Dumbledore's Army and to Cho, eventually selling her out with the rest of the DA to Umbridge after six months of learning valuable spells. Most tropers would call this The Farmer and the Viper if it weren't the fact that Marietta gets little screentime, but Marietta had a lot of time to decide her loyalties and probably benefited from the lessons.
- Another nail in the coffin of Harry/Cho's relationship was how Cho responded to Marietta's transgression. Harry has always been in danger, and needs to surround himself with people he can trust. Harry doesn't accept half-friendships or friends that you secretly dislike. Cho doesn't feel as strongly and doesn't see it as a life-or-death betrayal like Harry does.
- What ends up breaking Harry and Cho, in addition to the Cedric PTSD? Their respective loyalties to Hermione and Marietta, their best friends. Cho becomes a Clingy Jealous Girl every time Hermione is mentioned, and Harry cannot believe that Cho would stand by someone who stabbed her in the back, considering fake!Moody did the same thing to him in Book Four. Small wonder that Cho and Harry become incompatible.
- There was more to Harry's angst in Order of the Phoenix 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! And being tortured by a spell that causes unimaginable pain. And watching a pleading man cut off his own arm. And seeing Harry's nemesis, the most feared wizard in the wizarding world return. It must have been like finding out the bogeyman was real.
- 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!
- 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.
- It's stated in the sixth book that various spells go "in and out of fashion," so that was one that many of James' school mates had probably used to bully someone. Sort of the wizarding equivalent of stuffing a nerd into a locker or giving a swirly.
- 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.
- This is the book which has Petunia showing some Hypocritical Humor (with J.K. making sure it won't go unnoticed). This is also the book with the two most significant bits about her connection with the magical world (Dumledore's letter and her referencing "that horrible boy"). After finding out, in the last book, that her contempt for the magical world came from her wanting to go to Hogwarts and not being able to, it was hardly a coincidence.
- 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. Just think about Moody's wording for a second. Then laugh to yourself and wonder if it was intentional.
"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.
- 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. . .
- 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.
- Why does Snape explain to Harry that he must control his emotions and discipline his mind? Because at his age Snape's own inability to do that cost him what could have been a happy life with Lily.
- It seems very apparent that Harry is looking for Sirius in row number 97. The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997.
- How is Umbridge a Karma Houdini so that in book six she's still working at the Ministry and even had the gall to mention to Rufus Scrimgeour that Harry wants to be an Auror when she said she would do anything to make sure he would never become one? Because anyone who would speak against her like Harry, Hermione, and the Gryffindors that suffered directly under her role have lost faith in the Ministry's competence, namely in how the Ministry tried to run the school like a dictatorship, and face bigger problems with Voldemort's return made public. Dumbledore puts the Ministry out of mind once he gets his school back, and focuses on finding Voldemort's weakness, Mc Gonagall is still recovering from her four Stunners to the chest, and Hagrid wants nothing to do with Aurors that tried to forcibly remove him from his post. As for the students that benefited, like the Slytherins, it's best for them to keep their mouths shut since even if they have the gold to bribe politicians, like the Malfoys did.
- Snape's Never My Fault attitude about failing to teach Harry Occlumency, since it was as much his fault for kicking Harry out as it was Harry's for not trying to learn falls in line with The Reveal that after he switched sides he begged Dumbledore not to tell anyone about why he switched, as well as his hatred for Harry, James and Sirius overcoming The Needs of the Many. While he knows that it's important that Harry needs to learn Occlumency, Snape doesn't shed tears over the fact that Sirius died as a consequence of Harry not learning to block his mind and for him Sirius wasn't exactly a valuable member of the Order, so in his mind the outcome wasn't as terrible as it could have been.
- 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. And as the Badass Bookworm she is, she definitely would have known beforehand.
- Except the centaurs in Harry Potter are nothing like the centaurs in greek mythology. The centaurs in Harry Potter are proud creatures who like to predict the future using the stars. The centaurs in greek mythology are chaotic and out of control. Also, due to the lack of women's rights in Ancient Greece, rape wasn't considered a serious crime back then, so if JK Rowling was trying to copy the centaurs from greek mythology, which she wasn't, she probably wouldn't have made them rapists.
- 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 fact she calmly states that the use of an illegal curse won't be a problem if nobody finds out it's been used doesn't help.
- 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.
- Not necessarily. Pepper-Up Potion is mentioned as curing the common cold (something human doctors haven't done) and Ron decries doctors as "Muggle nutters who cut people up". Presumably, they have magical ways of dealing with things such as cancer and the like - potions and spells in place of chemotherapy and surgery. One would also think that studying how magic affects the body in terms of illness and injury would require a great deal of knowledge about anatomy and physiology. Muggles and wizards are both human, after all.
- 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.
- Presumably, the door is unlockable at certain times by certain people who are doing the study and experimentation at that moment and none other. It merely has stronger protection than the other rooms, like a bank having both a safe and a vault.
- 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 scene with Mrs. Weasley's boggart, which turns into various members of her family, lying dead. Even she couldn't imagine Fred and George dying separately.
- This book introduces Vanishing Charms, which makes the target vanish "into non-being, which is to say, everything" - in other words, you are destroying the physical form of the thing you are vanishing and scattering its atoms. They practice this on animals with Hermione vanishing a kitten at one point. Keep in mind Hermione owns a cat. Despite the fact that this is essentially a more terrifying version of Avada Kedavera, it's taught to fifteen-year-olds. Imagine if a Death Eater used that on a human- come to think of it, a lot of people vanished in the last two books and were never explicitly heard from again...
- Considering the actions of the Inquisitorial Squad, they dealt in Troubling Unchildlike Behavior as Umbridge's secret police by condoning her actions and turning a blind eye to her torturing students or preparing to do so. After the war, all it would take is a few words from the entire Hogwarts student body to make sure that the former members never received respectable positions in the Ministry. Malfoy's pretty lucky to have his family fortune as an adult so he doesn't need to work.