- Maybe that was the test...
- Alternately, the Astronomy Tower itself is enchanted so that people viewing the skies from its top can see the stars as they'd appear on a clear night at whichever time, season, and location has been selected by the Astronomy instructor. That way, the students' lessons can benefit them all year round, no matter where they wind up living and practicing magic in the future.
- Is the Gleaming-bale, the curtains of Hell!
- Was originally an enchanted shower curtain that went horribly-horribly wrong.
- This...makes a disturbing amount of sense. Besides her general hatred of children and "half-breeds", it'd explain why she was empowered by one of the Horcruxes, rather than weakened (unless Hags aren't Always Chaotic Evil here), and why she seemed so profoundly ugly and intolerable.
- Since she had returned to the castle she had not, as far as any of them knew, uttered a single word. Nobody really knew what was wrong with her either. Her usually neat mousy hair was very untidy and there were bits of twig and leaf in it, but otherwise she seemed to be quite unscathed.“Madam Pomfrey says she’s just in shock,” whispered Hermione.“Sulking, more like,” said Ginny.“Yeah, she shows signs of life if you do this,” said Ron, and with his tongue he made soft clip-clopping noises. Umbridge sat bolt upright, looking wildly around.“Anything wrong, Professor?” called Madam Pomfrey, poking her head around her office door.“No… no…” said Umbridge, sinking back into her pillows, “no, I must have been dreaming…”
Interpret as you wish, but the subtext is pretty clear.
- To be honest it seemed more likely (to me, at least) that they just dragged her around through the forest. If she had been raped, I doubt she would have simply been sent to the Hospital Wing, even if no one liked her they wouldn't have been so cruel as to ignore what happened to her. Also, I highly doubt anyone would let a horde of magical rapists near a school. Even if they didn't touch children there are still female staff who would be a target. When I first read about the Centaurs (in Philosopher's Stone) they seemed more like Chiron, the Centaur who trained Greek heroes. Chiron (according to the books and myths I've read) differed from the other Centaurs in that he was more intelligent and refined. I saw this in their constant reference to astronomy and divination, which made them appear less like the brutish centaurs who carried away brides.
- I imagine that they are harmless to students in this regard, Umbridge managed to piss them off. I think both legends are in play here, they are intelligent and refined, but they do commit sexual violence, especially if annoyed. Read the quote above, and then compare it to what you know of sex scenes. The mussed-up hair, and fact she had obviously been on the ground (twigs and leaves), while she is "quite unscathed" and in shock with no apparent cause. Also, the complete panic after hearing hooves. Cracked essentially agrees with this one.
- Why would muggle mythology have any bearing on the behaviour of actual magical creatures?
A great example of this is shown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when he auditioned for the role of Judge Doom and was turned down due to fears he wouldn't be taken seriously.