Order of the Phoenix chapters 21-24 discussion

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Order of the Phoenix chapters 21-24 discussion

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apr 14, 2008, 7:03 am

Good morning! This week, we're discussing chapters 21-24 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

21: The Eye of the Snake

22: St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

23: Christmas on the Closed Ward

24: Occlumency

Lots of good stuff here -- dig in!

apr 14, 2008, 7:45 am

Okay, I don't have time to post all of my thoughts right now, but I want a show of hands: who among us thought that the gum wrappers were important, and/or that the Longbottoms would make a comeback in a later book?

apr 14, 2008, 8:22 am

I just thought it was a sweet way to show Neville off, as he's the "important" Longbottom.

Okay, I'll be putting my thoughts down by chapter in quick succession as usual, hopefully all before 9 a.m.

Chapter 21:

1. Can Hermione already do Non-Verbal spells? It says she "gave her wand a complicated wave" and steam came out. She doesn't seem to speak incantations all that often.

2. It's really a shame Umbridge ruined the thestral lesson, it seemed like it was going to be a good one!

3. Poor Harry. No 15-year-old boy should have to figure out the "complicated infrastucture known as the female mind" (Reliant K, I love that phrase.)

4. I prefer that we don't see the kiss and just hear about it afterwards. I think they made it way too long in the movie. I think it's good that we don't actually see Harry kiss anyone in the books until he kisses Ginny.

5. Ron's immaturity is astounding! I also find it sad that it was described as an "unusually shrewd" expression. Poor guy!

6. A class on how girls brains work might have a place in a school of magic. I'm not sure that I understand it and I am a girl!

7. Now I picture neck-acting when I read the dream!

8. I wonder if male Heads of Houses can enter the girls dormitory in an emergency.


apr 14, 2008, 8:32 am

Chapter 22:

1. I think I would like Fizzing Whizbees. They sound fun.

2. I love the smoke machine and that it totally makes sense after you've read the book.

3. Can you imagine how you would feel if you were a Weasley? Woken from a sound sleep to find your friends saw your father get mortally wounded in a "dream"?

4. Sirius' speech about things worth dying for gets me teary.

5. I always wonder what the cover stroy they came up with for Mr. Weasley is.

6. One of the things I love about this book is learning more about the wizarding world. We see the MoM and St Mungo's and learn a lot more about the everyday workings outside of Hogwarts.

7. I wonder which wizard found clothes ugly enough for muggles to ignore. We know they don't have the greatest taste, so how did they know the Muggles would ignore it?

8. How do people with elephant trunks "blend into the crowd"?

9. I wish I could talk to people like the "WelcomeWitch" does, maybe I wouldn't hate my job so much.

10. Hippocrates Smethwyck wasn't given much choice in his career after his parents named him Hippocrates did he?

11. Why would the inventor of the "Entrail-Expelling Curse" get his picture in the hospital? It doesn't sound very healthy to me!

12. Okay, this bugs me. In CoS, Lockhart talks about a "complicated charm" that he does to turn a werewolf harmless (cure?) and save a village. Even though we know he doesn't actually do this, it is one of the stories mentioned when he talks about the witches and wizards who actually do it, so it is a true story. I always wondered why no one did this for Lupin. And now here is Mr. Weasley saying there's no cure. I'm so confused!

apr 14, 2008, 8:38 am


1. Harry is stupid and annoying in this chapter.

2. Harry does make a good point about adults not telling him anything. I think we're all agreed that there needs to be more communication in this book. However, a lack of communication is what creates many stories. Just think how much different Romeo and Juliet would be if she had just sent him a note saying, "Darling, I'm going to be faking my own death so we can be together. Don't get upset and do anything rash!"

3. Sirius. That's all I wrote. I'm not sure what I meant.

4. Thank goodness for Hermione showing up.

5. This is a big "You go girl" moment for Ginny. YAY for making Harry realize what an idiot he's being.

6. That homework planner would be really annoying.

7. Ron got Hermione perfume. I always love that!

8. I adore Mr. Weasley!

9. I always wonder just what constitutes a "fancy" hippogriff!

10. Is there anyone who doesn't get a little teary at the Neville scene?

apr 14, 2008, 8:47 am


1. LG: They're playing chess!

2. Isn't it interesting how childhood prejudices and feuds can stick with you? I had my own Sirius/Snape feud and I still get a feeling of dislike if her name is mentioned.

3. I really would have like to see a Rickman/Oldman showdown in the movie!!!!!

4. I hadn't noticed before how often Tonks and Lupin are assigned to do things together in this book.

5. Why wouldn't Molly approve of the mirror? It seems like a great way to maintain communication without Umbridge finding out. PLOT HOLE!

6. Why can't they use magic to keep chairs from falling on the Knight bus?

7. Harry is a mo-ron. (This is in reference to Cho's blatant hints.)

8. I LOVE Snape's description of the mind and why you can't "read" it. It's beautiful and true.

9. How do they know that Voldemort knows about the connection?

10. I completely disagree with Snapes saying that emotion equals weakness. It reminds me of a Garth Brooks song, Standing Outside the Fire.

11. Do you think Snape and McGonagall know about the D.A.? Other Order members know. I just wonder, because of how often Snape sets Occlumency for.

12. I love the image of Hermione "beaming" at the homework planner. It really makes me laugh.

I thought I would mention know that we're getting near the end, I've been looking ahead and have a suggestion for finishing the read that cuts the book best. I think next week 4 chapters and then 5 chapters each of the following two weeks would work best. This puts the cut as they leave Hogwarts for the Ministry. Also, as an added bonus, we would be finishing the final chapters the same weekend as the group watch of OotP. What does everyone else think?

apr 14, 2008, 11:03 am

3. I really would have like to see a Rickman/Oldman showdown in the movie!!!!!


bib, they know that Voldy knows because Snape is a double agent, remember?

I like your idea for how to cut up the end.

I'll have more later.

apr 14, 2008, 11:09 am

Oh yeah lg, thanks!

apr 14, 2008, 11:10 am

I wonder if this is going to be good chapters of the book

Redigerat: apr 14, 2008, 11:18 am

They're all good chapters. Except maybe for Hagrid's Tale, but we already did that one.

ETA: Sorry mkayla! Just looked at your profile and saw that you just joined today! Welcome! If you're interested in joining our reread jump right in! Or you can catch up on past discussions here. Feel free to add anything to any of those discussions too!

Redigerat: apr 14, 2008, 11:47 am

re: bib 5 #2 ah Juliet did send Romeo a note but it missed him by minutes when his freind went flying on horseback past the monk who was carrying the message just FYI

apr 14, 2008, 11:56 am

Yeah, I was saying a bit more advanced notice would have been good, but you're right that was a bad example. You know what I mean though right? Most stories wouldn't be stories if people had done the smart thing and just talked to each other!

apr 14, 2008, 11:58 am

exactly! Think of Gone with the wind, if Ashley had simply said "Look Scarlett, Your not my type, go away, there wouldn't have been any story at all!

apr 14, 2008, 12:00 pm

Yes, but Ashley did have the hots for her, and he was a coward so he couldn't bring himself to do it. Even if he had, she wasn't going to hear it anyway.

apr 14, 2008, 12:11 pm

I don't think he did really, but anyway this is about HP

apr 14, 2008, 12:12 pm

You brought it up! ;-)

apr 14, 2008, 12:15 pm

I know I know

apr 14, 2008, 12:21 pm


BTW I missed you in last weeks discussion polly, I'm glad you're back!

apr 14, 2008, 12:21 pm

Actually, polly, if we want, we can blame bib.

apr 14, 2008, 12:27 pm

Hey, it was just an observation! I was trying to head off the talk about plot holes that I felt would inevitably come up, by pointing out that it is not a phenomenon specific to JKR. So really, it's your fault lg, because I knew you would have something to say about plot holes otherwise! ;)

apr 14, 2008, 12:52 pm

Plot holes are my fault?

Miscommunication is a device for generating plot points, but it's not necessarily a hole. Depends upon the situation. If it seems in character for the miscommunication to happen (such as Ashley, IMO), then I dont' think it's a hole. Everything DD does in OotP is a hole, if you believe him to be as wise and powerful as is claimed by other characters.

In Romeo & Juliet it's a pure plot device, since J tries to communicate and fate intervenes.

apr 14, 2008, 1:01 pm

LOL! Is that how it came across lg? It is a plot device in this book too though, because if DD hadn't been such a bleeding moron, this book would have been "Listen Harry, there's this prophecy about you and Lord Voldemort, he's probably going to try to have you get it for him at some point, so be on the lookout for possible tricks. Oh and also, I'm worried about this connection you seem to have with Voldemort, so I'm going to have you learn Occlumency, but I'm a little busy at the moment, so Professor Snape will be doing it. I know you two don't get along, but this is really important so please try!"

apr 14, 2008, 1:34 pm

It is a plot device in this book too though, because if DD hadn't been such a bleeding moron,

My point, bib, is that, prior to this book, DD isn't a bleeding moron, he's the smartest wizard around. The "I didn't want you to feel pain" excuse doesn't carry enough weight to balance out the many, many miscues he stages here. DD acting out of character is what makes it a hole, as opposed to a device.

MHO, of course.

apr 14, 2008, 1:35 pm

yes I know you all miss me, I can only get online at the library or at Marys house so its kinda spotty attendance for me

Bib #22 exactly! thats the way it should have gone but then there wouldn't be a book!

apr 14, 2008, 2:31 pm

But it can be infuriating when Harry just broods and won't talk to anyone about how he's feeling. It is certainly in character though, and you could certainly see how his being raised in an environment where no one cares how he is feeling or what he thinks can lead to him being that way. It's amazing that Harry isn't more screwed up then he is and didn't end up being more like Tom Riddle.

Redigerat: apr 14, 2008, 3:20 pm

you know jj, you are so correct, Tom Riddle grew up in an orphange but I'm willing to bet that he got more personal attention then Harry ever did! I mean at the least he got to go to the beach once a year which Harry didn't, for instance and even in an orphanage you would get a token on your birthday

apr 14, 2008, 5:02 pm

Excellent point jj! That's one of the things I love about this series, it really outlines the importance of our choices. Voldy and HP did have such similar childhoods that Harry could have very easily ended up like Voldemort but it's his choices and his ability to feel love.

apr 15, 2008, 8:34 am

Did nothing else I said spark anything conversation wise? I try to mix some stuff that we can discuss in with all the "I love Hermione!" and "Ginny rocks" statements. Anybody out there? Heeelllllooooo?????!!!!!

apr 15, 2008, 9:03 am

I had a really full day yesterday, but today I plan to post all of my thoughts and my reactions to your thoughts. In the meantime, of course this statement (from post #6) got my attention:

"10. I completely disagree with Snapes saying that emotion equals weakness. It reminds me of a Garth Brooks song, Standing Outside the Fire."

I think that Snape associates his emotion with weakness. I always remember the scene from DH, where he pleads with DD never to reveal how he felt about Lily: "But never . . . never tell, Dumbledore! . . . . I want your word!" "My word, Severus, that I will never reveal the best of you?" Considering how things went with Lily, I can see where he's coming from. I don't consider all emotion as weakness, but I can see how it would seem that way for Snape -- his feelings for Lily made him vulnerable, though, ironically, they prompted him to do the most noble and courageous things that he did in his life. That's the part of emotion that Snape does not understand. All he can see is the pain.

Gosh, I think about this character too much! ;-)

apr 15, 2008, 9:20 am

LOL foggi, of course you don't! I can see your point about how Snape would see emotion, but at the point I'm looking at he's sneering at Harry for not being abole to control his emotion, which is so silly. We know that it is Harry's emotions that makes him who he is. (Also really, name a 15 year old who can control their emotions and I'll show you a zombie!) But yeah, Snape's definitely been through the ringer. He's a bit like the middle ground between Harry and Voldy, they all really had such similar childhoods. I think it would be really interesting to explore their similarities and what choices they made, that had them all turn out so differently...I think that could be its own thread, but I would want to wait until I'd reread HBP and DH again first.

Redigerat: apr 15, 2008, 10:55 am

All right -- my belated chapter-by-chapter commentary. . . .

Chapter 21:

- Espy always says that he wishes someone would "inspect" Umbridge's class the way she inspects Hagrid's. I agree!

- Love Dobby's Christmas decorations!

- Poor Cho -- she's another case of a teenager who can't control her emotions (as Bib noted in post #30).

- I think it's great that Hermione has Cho all figured out, and can "explain" her to Harry and Ron. I also think that Harry's and Cho's expectations for this relationship are completely different. Harry, as we know, wants Cho to be happy, to enjoy herself. Cho, on the other hand, wants Harry to comfort her, to understand how she feels about Cedric, to pat her back when she cries and make her feel better. Yup, they're doomed.

- Hermione writing to Krum -- I wonder what they do write about? Probably standard pen-pal fare, but interesting to speculate on.

- I still don't completely understand the connection between Voldy and Nagini. He has a body now, so he doesn't need to possess her in the way he possessed other animals (and Quirrell) -- so I'm guessing he's controlling her through some combination of Parseltongue and Legilimancy?

apr 15, 2008, 10:20 am

Yay! More to discuss!

I was actually thinking the same thing about Cho and Harry but thinking how I have a tendency to want a relationship like Cho, someone to let me cry on their shoulder. But I also like having fun. I might have gotten this out of my system on my last relationship though, I hope!

Hmmmm.....what could they be writing? Now I want a book of letters!

Nagini is a Horcrux, so she has a piece of his soul in her. Also, while he doesn't have to posess her, I think in this case it was the best way. As someone said to Harry later, Voldemort couldn't just walk into the ministry when they helpfully ignoring his return. After having issues with minions and imperioused people, he decided to have Nagini check it out because he could see through her eyes and get a better lay of the land as it were.

apr 15, 2008, 10:31 am

Sorry, bib, I was helping Kerian with her taxes last night, so I didn't have time to apply myself to OotP. Besides, you covered practiacally everything.

One thing I really do love about this book in particular, is that it seems very accurate as to the emotional maturity of people of that age. Ron is totally clueless, like most males. Harry, too, although he's ready to listen. I love how he has no idea that Cho is hinting around. And of course, Hermione, being female, is more mature and can interpret for the boys.

I think Hermione is playing Ron about Viktor, trying to make him jealous.

I love Ron's reaction when Hermione kisses him.

apr 15, 2008, 10:49 am

Grrr...I need to work more on making my observations conversation starters! No problem lg, I'm glad you and suge were able to help her. I wanted to, but I'm no good up late, I just get punchy, and that's not what you need to do your taxes!

Anyway, I agree about the emotionaly maturity thing. And, yes, Hermione probably was trying to make Ron jealous, otherwise whe wouldn't have written the letter right in front of him!

As you guys know, I'm relistening to the books and it's striking me how silly these two were for so long. In PoA they send Harry mail on his birthday, but that seems to be the only mail he gets from either of them all summer, whereas we know that Ron and Hermione have been writing to each other because Hemione references Ron's letters in her birthday card to Harry. I wonder why this never bothers Harry, probably because he's a guy. Also this is why I completely disagree with Ron telling Hermione he won't write her at the end of the GoF movie. I'm way digressing however as this is the discussion of the OotP book!

Redigerat: apr 15, 2008, 10:55 am

Chapter 22:

- I think that, if I were the Hogwarts headmaster, I might be slightly put off by the fact that all of those portraits were constantly watching me and listening to me. I know they're bound to support the current headmaster, but still!

- Again, this is a case of Harry's emotions being stronger than his common sense, but I get a little annoyed with him blaming himself for the attack. I can completely understand why he would be afraid to go back to sleep, though.

- The "Closed for Refurbishment" sign at St. Mungo's always reminds me of one I saw at one of the hotels I stayed at in Russia: "Sorry to trouble according the repairs."

- In our continuing discussion of where vanished things go, I notice that "Vanishing Sickness" is listed as an ailment on the floor guide (2nd floor).

- Yet another scene where the "real" Moody proves himself not nearly as likable as the impostor Moody.

apr 15, 2008, 11:05 am

I never had a problem with real Moody adn I was quite upset about the eye thing in DH.

What struck me about the Headmaster portraits was the duty thing. Imagine the difference in servine Phineas Nigellus and DD!

Yeah, the not sleeping part is completely understandable, I wouldn't sleep either. But not talking to anyone is dumb.

apr 15, 2008, 11:13 am

The Neville scene is just heartbreaking to me, especially how embarrassed he is to be "found out." Harry really shows his compassion in this scene. He's outwardly kind to Luna and generally tries to play fair (except with Slytherins, of course) but with Neville at St. Mungo's he truly shows empathy. Sign of creeping maturity, despite his many temper tantrums.

apr 15, 2008, 11:14 am

And since it first appears in this section, can I express my first frustration with the goddamned mirror.


apr 15, 2008, 11:19 am

Chapter 23:

- Phineas Nigellus reminds me strongly of Snape in this chapter. How on earth did he end up as Hogwarts headmaster, though, if he hated teaching so much?

- Spattergroit -- isn't that what Ron pretended to have, in DH, when he set the ghoul up as his double? Wonder if this is where he got the idea?

- Neville's Gran is a great character.

- As I mentioned above, I was one of the one who thought that, possibly, the gum wrappers were significant. After all, so many other little things turned out to be important, in the end. Red herring!

apr 15, 2008, 11:35 am

I think you might be right about the spattergroit! Man I can't wait to reread that book! I've forgotten so much!

I love Neville's Gran. I love it even more though in HBP when McG tells Neville how she did on Charms! That was a great moment.

I'm not sure how he wound up as Headmaster, but it seems you don't have to have taught to become Headmaster (Phyllis Derwent). My guess is that some, Phineas included, see the post more as a status thing.

#38 LG, could you perhaps explain your mirror issues. I admit it's a huge hole but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

apr 15, 2008, 11:41 am

Chapter 24:

- I love how everyone keeps correcting Harry (Molly, Lupin, DD) -- "Snape?" "Professor Snape, Harry."

- The scene between Snape, Harry, and Sirius is one of my favorites in this book. "Just a friendly little chat between two old school friends. . . ."

- The mirror: ARGH! Idiot, Harry! I will rant more on this later.

- "Remedial Potions." *snork*

- I want Occlumency lessons! ;-)

I feel like I should have a lot more to say on this chapter, but really, the rest of you have covered it pretty well.

apr 15, 2008, 11:42 am

I'm mosty just mad that it's a total red herring. Such a great idea wasted. So many opportunities to save Sirius, yet he still gets it. Urrrghgghghghghghg!

Perhaps JKR was only saying, "if you don't calm down and think clearly before acting, you may be missing something obvious." But jeeze, what a long way to go to make that point. I mean, was screaming at the book, "use the effing mirror, Harry!!!" and he wouldn't listen.

But that's for later. ;-)

apr 15, 2008, 11:52 am

Okay, we'll wait till we get there. See post 6, #5 for my biggest issue with the whole thing. If he could have just opened it then and seen what it was, maybe he wouldn't have forgotten about it!!!!!!

apr 15, 2008, 3:43 pm

Phineas explained about adults so well to Harry. True, he was not nice about it at all, but it was something that Harry desperately needed explained to him. Too bad he didn't listen.

I think the mirror could have been just to instill a little guilt and regret. Harry goes through all this trouble, he doesn't manage to save Sirius, and then he finds out that all along he had something that could have helped. And we're not even sure that the mirror would have made much of a difference. Kreacher could have picked up the mirror. Because that wasn't used though, we will never know what could have happened.
I hope that makes sense. ;)

apr 15, 2008, 4:12 pm

It does cat, except I think the mirror only worked if the right people were holding it, kind of like the Map.

apr 15, 2008, 4:20 pm

But Aberforth was able to use it. If he was able to use it, others might have been able to use it too.

apr 15, 2008, 7:27 pm

you probably needed a spell to make it work you know

apr 15, 2008, 7:54 pm

i think that the reason molly would have disapproved (response to post #6, query #5) is the exact reason Harry chooses NOT to use it - she would anticipate Sirius rashly running to aid Harry if he were to hear about some of what happened at Hogwarts during the school year.

foggi, your points about Snape and emotion are spot on, IMO. his emotions have always betrayed him and caused him pain, so he has no respect for them in others.

apr 15, 2008, 8:52 pm

#46 & 47 I don't think there was a spell, they certainly didn't need one in DH, but I think it likely that Sirius probably carried it around with him.

#48 I still think the reasoning is weak. I just don't see why he couldn't have opened the mirror then. I recognize the plot device and that it was needed for the rest of the story, but I think there maybe could have been another way for him to have lost the mirror. This story relies on Harry forgetting about a lot!

apr 15, 2008, 9:00 pm

Wasn't there that one theory that the gum wrappers had a hidden massage in them (Gold Bribes Beneath St. Mungo's, I believe)?

apr 16, 2008, 11:14 am

You know, maybe JKR uses the mirror to make sure that the reader is just as angry as Harry by the end of the book. Sure worked for me.

apr 16, 2008, 11:17 am

LOL, maybe lg!

BTW, other than lg who already said something, did anyone else have any comments about my idea for finishing the book?

apr 19, 2008, 4:57 pm

I was just thinking that I never responded to other people's comments on this thread! Better late than never . . .

#3 -- I agree about the kiss.

#4 -- Point 2: I wonder if DD invented the machines in his office? Bet he did!
Point 8: No kidding! But I'd imagine that there would be some sort of "emergency" entrance, connected to the Floo network, as well as some place to apparate inside, and the entrance Harry and the Weasleys used was more a "visitor's entrance." I get the feeling that wizards don't mix with the general Muggle population much.
Point 11: I agree, that seems a strange thing to be recognized for in a hospital!
Point 12: I'd have to go back and reread. My assumption is that Lockheart's subject managed to subdue a maddened, transformed werewolf, and in turn the "authorities" were able to restrain it -- but I may just be rationalizing a slip on JKR's part. ;-)

#6 -- Point 2: Yes! Adolescent trauma looks so trivial to the outside observer, but it can be really hard to get past it -- especially if, like both of these characters, you've had a lot of events in your life that build on the traumatic events of your adolescence.
Point 3: Heck, yeah!
Point 5: I am in total agreement on this, as evidenced by my brief rant earlier in this thread
Point 6: Good point -- I think that it's supposed to convey a general air of incompetence. After all, it's kind of a last-ditch mode of transportation!
Point 8: Yep. Sev has a way with words -- which is why he's so good at irritating peole (James, Sirius, Harry . . .)
Point 9: I think it's an educated guess, really.

Will post more later!

apr 22, 2008, 11:12 am

Hey do any of you know any good books that are good for book reports?

jul 20, 2009, 10:51 am

Reread all this stuff yesterday and found myself looking at Snape's Occlumency lessons objectively instead of through Harry's bias and discovered that Snape was actually pretty nice to Harry through most of it. Particularly in the first lesson. Yes, he probably could have given Harry a few more tips on how to do it, but he answered most of Harry's questions quite reasonably. It made me like him that much more!