Order of the Phoenix chapters 34-38 FINAL discussion
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34: The Department of Mysteries
35: Beyond the Veil
36: The Only One He Ever Feared
37: The Lost Prophecy
38: The Second War Begins
This is also a great thread for any concluding thoughts on the book as a whole. Next week begins our discussion of chapters 1-5 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!
LG's official OotP rant. Sorry, this might be long.
First of all, I don't get what the prophecies in the Dept. of Mysteries actually are. So, it speaks the prophecy again if it's broken? Does that mean it's a one-time only recording system? Muggles have way better technology in this regard.
Voldemort's name is on the damn thing. He can pick it up himself. I know they feebly address this in the text, but I'm not impressed. Why can't Lucius Malfoy break him in? Why not use polyjuice potion? How about a memory charm? Hell, it's obviously not very well guarded, just kill whoever sees you. Jeeze. There seem like lots of other ways that Voldy himself can get into the Dept of Mysteries, much easier and more reliable than trying to convince Harry remotely to do it.
And besides that, on the night Harry goes to the Ministry, Voldy is there anyway!!!!!! Dude, it's so stupid that he's there in the atrium! If he's so worried about being seen down in the basement in the Dept of Mysteries, why is it safe to go there?!!!!?! Surely that's the most likely place to be populated with someone who will be believed if they say they saw you. When Dumbledore asks, Voldy says he will be able to kill them and get out before anyone arrives. Surely if the ministry finds a dead Harry Potter and a dead Dumbledore in their atrium, they'll know who did it. Even if he doesn't leave their bodies, if they're both dead or missing, who else would do it?
What happened to the Order members guarding the Dept? Did I miss something? When Harry arrives, NO ONE is there. There is mention of the guard in the atrium being missing, but there's no one downstairs. I don't recall that the Order stopped guarding after Mr. Weasley's attack. Even more reason to post someone there, actually.
Also, if Voldy is so convinced there's important information about Harry in the prophecy, why is he taking the risk of using Legilimency on him? For all he knows, any contact with Harry could be bad for him. He should be aiming to read the prophecy first before tangling with Harry again.
ARRRRRRHGHGHGHGHGH! Just pausing to express my frustration with the plethora of plot holes. JKR is usually better than this.
I do think Harry has a point that DD is more forgiving of Snape than he is of Sirius.
I can see DD waiting to tell Harry, but once Voldy is obviously in his mind, and Snape can see that he is planting images of the Dept of Mysteries, it's time to tell him. Duh.
This line of the prophecy has always bugged me "neither can live while the other survives." Well obviously that's not true, since both of them were alive at the same time for 17 years. JKR needed to clean up this language. I can't believe this one got through editing.
The mirror! The mirror!! I'm just gonna let foggi rant about that one.
Phew! I feel better. Thanks for letting me vent. Now, bib, have at me.
I have comments written on the first three chapters, which I will be posting in between office-cleaning sessions, when the dust gets the better of me (my office has been nominally unoccupied for a year, which means that there have been three people shoving stuff into it for that amount of time. It also has not been dusted or vacuumed, as far as I can tell, for that amount of time). But I'm supposed to be ranting about the book!
- I am amazed at how easily Harry and his team get in. Shouldn't the Visitor's Entrance be closed? I guess the Death Eaters took out the security guard, but I can't believe that there are no more security measures in place, somewhere as important as the seat of magical government for Britain.
- The fact that the search and fight sequence takes place in the Department of Mysteries is highly convenient -- I can't really quibble on the improbability of any given obstacle.
- So, the "mysteries" that we see (or are later told about) include thought (the brain room), death (the veil), love (the locked door), time (the clock room), the future (hall of prophecy), and the universe (planets). I'm guessing that there are rooms we didn't see -- anyone want to hazard guesses as to what "mysteries" they study? I'd imagine there's a room for dreams.
Okay, back to cleaning and organizing!
I do want to say I think maybe rage got the better of Voldy upon realizing that the prophecy was lost and that's what made him head to the ministry after all. I'm not saying it was smart, but I think he was relying on being able to get in and get out before anyone even knew he was there. Remember, he didn't know DD was there until he saw him, though Bellatrix tried to warn him. I'm sure he thought he could easily get in, kill Harry and get out and I don't know that Fudge would have been willing to admit it was LV if it was just Harry dead on the Ministry floor, I'm sure it would be some story about Harry breaking into the Ministry and getting what he deserved. Then of course, DD was there and Voldy should have gotten out of there, but he was feeling cocky and I think hatred took over for his brain once again. But yes, this whole last section requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. I give it because it all becomes integral to the remainder of the story.
Foggi: I have some notes on the rooms in the Dept. of Mysteries as well, although in later chapters. I'll address that later. The Death Eaters did have at least one current and one former Ministry employee with them, perhaps they had "alarm codes" as it were. But I do agree with LG that it's weird no Order Members were standing guard. Were they putting all their eggs in the Occlumency basket? That might just be dumber than everything else DD does in this book! I can't really understand your second note, I guess by the very nature of literature and Hero with a thousand faces I would just expect obstacles and I think these are very interesting, but like I said, I'll get to that in my notes.
I had stuff I had to do as soon as I got in, so I don't know how long it's going to take me to post everything. :)
1. Apparently dumpsters are called skips in the UK. This was not a term I knew, so it caught my attention.
2. I know we all love the badges, but they make me laugh every time. HARRY POTTER- RESCUE MISSION.
I agree. But I can't stop my brain!
I was disappointed with the explaination of DD and Voldy's fight/ spells. (Although, I LOVE the fight itself.) Leading up to book 7, I thought Harry would learn some of those nonverbal, kick-a$$ spells like DD and Voldy used; alas, he didn't. Jo has yet to explain what those spells are as well. It seems like some of those spells should be vital, since Voldy says "You do not wish to kill me, DD?" and other stuff that foreshadows the ending of the series.
3. I always thought it was interesting that not everyone was effected in the same way by the veil. Harry and Luna are the only ones who say that they can hear the voices, Neville and Ginny seem mesmorized by it, and Hermione and Ron don't seem effected at all. I have no guesses as to what Neville and Ginny's reactions mean, but I wonder if Harry and Luna can hear the voices because they need to. What I mean is that they each lost parents at a young age, maybe they can hear the voices because they need to believe in and afterlife. Or, maybe only people who have lost someone closely related can hear them. Or, maybe only someone who has lost someone important to them can hear them. Or maybe only someone who has lost someone unexpectedly can hear them. I'm intrigued. Does anyone else have any theories?
4. I also wonder why Neville is so adamant that Harry not touch the prophecy. Is it just because he's really scared and the stress is getting to him, or is it something more? I probably just wonder that because I know the prophecy could have applied to him, it could be his name on there. His reaction just always strikes me as slightly excessive.
#8 I actually didn't put it in my notes, but I do always wonder exactly when people learn these spells. All the "adults" seem to know all kinds of spells that are never mentioned. Then again, we don't sit through every single class with them, so I'm sure we do miss a lot of spells. I also wonder if their....disjointed (for lack of a better word) D.A.D.A. classes have something to do with not knowing as many spells. Of course, in HBP Ron and Hermione wonder if the classes Harry will be taking with DD will be really advanced magic...it definitely makes one wonder...
1. I know it is instinct, but I can't help but think it's a little silly that the other "close in around Ginny" when Bellatrix threatens her. I'm sure she would have no problem toturing any of them, or killing them to get to her.
2. I wonder how the Ministry felt about the loss of all those prophecies.
3. Curious: When Hermione says "You can't hurt a baby." do you think she's right or wrong to have stopped Harry? I'm torn, on the one hand, the death eater is pretty well incapacitated, on the other hand, it seems possible that one of the other Death Eaters could probably fix it pretty easily, grab him shove him in the jar and yank him out when he's back to normal, and then you've got another Death Eater to worry about again. Of course, there are counter-curses to all the spells the kids are using, so perhaps its moot and I've been babbling for no reason. What do you think?
4. I think this is where we truly start to see why Neville is in Gryffindor. He refuses to leave Harry alone even though he knows that he can't articulate spells. While one might argue that this makes him a liablility, it's still very brave and he does end up saving Harry. He makes me cry.
5. When Harry climbs up on the dais, the Death Eaters pause. It makes me wonder if they're afraid of what he might do. I wonder what would happen if he were to throw the prophecy through the veil, would it roll out the other side? Or would it be trapped in wherever it is?
6. The battle is so much more exciting in the book than in the movie, but then, many of you have witnessed my complaints about this fight/the apparition thing in the movie watches. If any of you have missed them though and want to hear my rants, let me know and I'll be happy to oblige!
7. How do all the adults know what the veil is? I know that the name Department of Mysteries actually refers to the fact that they are studying the great mysteries of life, however, I did think that their "experiments" were supposed to be secret. No one knows what an Unspeakable does...blah blah blah. I could understand that it could be a rumor, but that wouldn't explain why they were all so immediately certain that Sirius was gone. Is it one of the those open secrets that everyone know and no one talks about? That doesn't make much sense either given what has been said about Unspeakables.
1. What makes me cry is not Sirius' death, but Harry's reaction to it. I think JKR writes these emotions so well, that I'm willing to forgive her for a lot of the rest!
2. Fawkes. He's the best "pet" ever.
3. The possession was very disappointing in the movie. I talked to a couple people who hadn't read the books who had no idea what was going on. DD having to kneel and talk to Harry about love just doesn't work. However, there really was no way to do this in a movie, we needed to know not just Harry's thoughts but his emotions, which just couldn't be done here.
4. I admit it, there is a small part of me that feels a little sorry for Fudge at the end here. He made the colossol screwups of all colossol screwups and he has to know at this point that his career is over, no matter what. Of course there's the other part of me that says "that's what you get for being a tunnel-visioned, power-mongering fool of a dictator!"
- Lucius says of Harry: "He has a great weakness for heroics; the Dark Lord understands this about him." We've discussed, at various other times, Harry's "saving-people thing" -- one's greatest strength can also be one's greatest weakness.
- For a second time (the first being CoS), Ginny is threatened in order to get to Harry. This gives just that little bit more credence to Harry's attempt to break up with her at the end of Book 6.
- I notice that Bellatrix seems slightly more articulate/coherent in the book than she does in the movie.
- The prophecies confuse me, too. As LG mentioned, it seems like an awfully fragile storage medium. I also wondered if the prophecies just appear there, or if they have to be reported? For example, Trelawney made a prediction to Harry in Book 3 about Pettigrew's return to Voldemort's service -- is there a copy of that prophecy somewhere in the Hall of Prophecy, or would Harry have to tell the Dept. of Mysteries about it in order for them to record it?
- The kids get much more action in the book than they do in the movie (unlike Bib, I don't fear repeating m movie-related rants) -- in the book it seems like they do a lot of fighting before the Order shows up.
- Sirius' death, like Cedric's, comes as a complete shock. Most of the deaths in the series do, come to think of it. Rowling doesn't go for the big heroic death scene very often. Bib, I had never thought about how everyone knows that the veil = death, but it's a valid question!
A critic mentioned how stupid it looks having the adults just waving their hands around and it's supposed to be exciting. Very true.
I did like all the glass breaking and the water etc. in the DD/Voldy duel. Ralph Fiennes is incredibly scary to me. But I missed the statues helping out.
What was weird about it was the amphitheatre, which wasn't shown in the movie. Do they have seances in there?
It would have been nice to show more rooms in the Dept of Mysteries in the movie. All you get is Prophecy and Death.
Does anyone have a problem with the way it is broken in the movie as opposed to the book? I like the way Neville is involved in the book. And I don't think Harry voluntarily surrenders it in the book, which seems more faithful to the character.
*note* When taking notes on the last 2 chapters I had just finished the group rewatch of OotP, my notes may reflect my mood at the time.
1. There's been a lot of complaining (myself included) about the plot holes and DD not telling Harry about what was going on...in the end though I wonder if there was any other way to get to the point where Fudge and the Ministry would finally see (and have to admit the Truth? I can't think of any, but I'd love to hear if anyone else can.
2. Reading right after watching the movie is putting more of Dan into my Harry than there usually is. It made me even more aware of how talented JKR is at letting her characters mature correctly (and also how much I wish Dan had gotten a chance to do this scene in the movie, not that weird, calm, boring scene.
3. This is a quote that struck me..."Indifference and neglect often do far more damage than outright dislike." How true this is. Many of the moments that stick out in my memory as having caused me pain were times when I felt ignored or neglected, not the times when I felt disliked. For instance, some girlfriends were supposed to go with me to a bridal show a few months before my wedding. It snowed that morning, but not hard. Neither of them showed up or called to say they weren't coming. This was far more hurtful than having someone actively dislike me.
4. DD says the weapon is "the knowledge of how to destroy Harry", but the Prophecy says nothing about that. I suppose Voldy doesn't know that but I think there could be a better explanation.
5. I find DD's arguments for not explaining what was going on very weak. I can understand his reasonings for not explaining in previous years, at least not at the ends of the years...but as soon as he knew what was going on with the Harry/Voldy connection there should have been a talk. I know DD says this (more or less) himself, but that really doesn't excuse it. I suppose JKR could be trying to show him as human so that his death will be slightly less shocking.
6. Something that bothers me about the Pensieve. Memory is fallible, yet they seem to rely on the Pensieve (especially in HBP, but for the Prophecy as well) for accuracy. Is the Pensieve retrieving something a bit more than what we think of as memory then? I'm unclear.
7. I always think it's interesting, the things that they study in the Dept. of Mysteries; time, death, thought, forces of nature (DD mentions this one), love; it's an interesting combination of Science and Spirit, almost as if they're really studying God, just in a different way then theologians do. I also wonder what is in the Love room. Any guesses?
#15: The Saruman/Gandalf fight in FotR managed to be interesting. I'd probably be mad if they'd had DD and Voldy making each other fly around like in that fight, but at least it would have been somewhat climactic!
#16: I don't know lg. The first time I was reading it, I had no idea what was up with the veil and I had just as hard a time as Harry believing that you could fall through a veil and not come back out.
Come to think of it, in the next book they learn about non-verbal spells. I would think that the kids should have been at a severe disadvantage having to verbalize their spells, but the death eaters were verbalizing all their spells too. In that first DADA class with Snape they were trying to do non-verbally spells that they already knew how to do verbally so you might conclude that all spells could be done non-verbally. If that were the case though then the death eaters should be doing non-verbal Avada Kadavra's.
#20 I'll check it out when I get home tonight!
1. Another quote I like: "thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else." How true! I wonder if this idea, like the Dementors, stemmed from JKR's Depression. I've had problems with depression in the past and it's horribly painful to feel trapped in your own head with your worst thoughts. The scars that are left after that may not be visible, but I still feel them.
2. I love Harry's retort to Malfoy's threats! "I suppose Voldemort's nothing compared to you." Great!
3. I got to thinking while reading this that when Harry was asking to live with Sirius if he got expelled was the perfect time to have at least explained to him why he had to stay with the Dursleys, and if you're already doing that, then you may as well just explain the whole thing. Now I'm thinking how annoying DD's edict that they not tell Harry more than "he needs to know" is! Harry needs to know it all!
4. Aaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!!!!!! The mirror! I think Harry's decision that the only reason the mirror doesn't work when he tries it because he didn't have it on him is interesting. If he had died in a more normal way, I'm sure this wouldn't have crossed his mind, but it does make you wonder. Well, it makes me wonder, I don't know about you! ;)
5. I know some of you don't like the conversation with Nick but I think its very interesting. Basically, people who decide to become ghosts are afraid of the afterlife. What really catches my notice about this is the fact that a Friar and a group of nuns (Deathday guests in CoS) are ghosts. I also think this is an important conversation because people, especially children, are bound to wonder why none of the people who are dead (or die later in the series) come back as ghosts.
6. The scene with Luna is perhaps the scene that best reminds me that they are in high school (now) in all the series. I can definitely remember kids doing things like this to the "weird" kids.
7. This is probably my favorite of all the book endings. The threatening is fun and makes me happy, but even more I like Harry accepting that he has to go to the Dursley's now that he finally knows why. It's a great way to end the book that has been all about his journey from childhood to adulthood.
- Bellatrix says, ofVoldy, "I learned the Dark Arts from him" -- though I know she means informally, it fits with our Adventure thread scenatio of Voldy teaching at Durmstrang. Aren't we clever? ;-) (If you don't follow our recent adventure threads, this note will make no sense to you -- on to the next, then!)
- Bellatrix says that she knows lots of powerful spells, and that Harry has no hope of winning against her. However, when the kids are fighting the DEs, it seems to be a much more even fight than you'd expect. As others have mentioned, the adults don't seem to have the advantage of being able to use nonverbal spells. Granted, this is NEWT-level DADA, but you'd think that most of the Death Eaters would know how to do them. Up until the DD/Voldy fight, the only "new" spell I see is the one that creates a purple streak of light and puts Hermione out of commission. That spell actually reminds me of Sectumsempra, but without the blood. However, on the main, the DEs seem to be using "Stupefy" and "Impedimenta" just like the kids. One even uses "Tarantallegra" on Neville -- a spell that was used in the Harry/Draco duel in Book 2. I agree with whoever said that I would have expected a lot more Unforgivable Curses from the DEs. I do think they're more draining to use, but then again, you'd only have to use them once, really, to put an enemy out of commission.
- DD is awesome. I don't have a lot of notes on the DD/Voldy fight, though many of you have posted excellent ones. I did want to mention that I love the line, "Letters addressed to the headmaster will find me."
I had another thought about the veil, but I have to just check something first to see if I remember right.
But I was reading the part with Sirius's death and I saw a parallel between Sirius's death and Fred's. Right before both of them died, they were laughing (true, for much different reasons). Just a creepy thought that came to me while reading that chapter. I think that I had always had no doubt that when Sirius fell behind the veil, that was it. He was dead and gone.
I liked that when the prophecy breaks, you get a clue about who said it:
A pearly-white figure with hugely magnified eyes
Harry is such nice comfort reading, well, except for OotP.
- Phineas Nigellus is the cynical voice in the back of my head. "Never try to understand the students. They hate it." While it was undoubtably the wrong moment, there's certainly a part of me that agrees with him! (I don't let that part out around the teenagers all that much.)
- This is the CAPSLOCK OF RAGE chapter. It doesn't bother me the way it does some, but I don't have any terrible fondness for it, either. I do agree that DD should have explained things to Harry sooner, like at the beginning of the school year. I also agree that part of Harry growing up in this book means seeing Dumbledore as falliable, really for the first time.
- I like DD's line: "Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young." As a librarian, I find that the best children's books are written by people who have not forgotten what it was like to be a child.
- Snape raised the alarm, sent the Order to the Ministry, and then went to search the forest for Harry. Could this be Snape trying to protect Harry yet again? Why yes, I think it could!
- Dumbledore says that Kreachers life has been "as miserable as" Dobby's. While I agree that Kreacher is a pitiable character, I don't know that I buy that comparison. The Malfoys made Dobby punish himself; Sirius merely ignored and neglected (and sometimes shouted at) Kreacher. Yes, neglect is bad, but isn't physical cruelty worse? This could open a whole can of worms . . .
- Dumbledore credited Sirius with more maturity than he actually possessed -- the ability to ignore Snape's taunts. This is a common Dumbledore mistake, as he made a similar one regarding Snape and the Occlumency lessons. I suppose this is another case of age forgetting how youth feels and thinks -- but it's also a question of different temperaments. We learn in DH that DD made his mistakes early on, and I think that, from that point on, he worked really hard at mastering himself, controlling his emotions. On the other hand, both Snape and Sirius have less success at this -- Sirius is a bit emotionally stunted from Azkaban, and Snape, though he's accomplished at hiding his thoughts and emotions, still rather wallows in them.
- I'm bemused by DD's grand plan, here -- yanno, the plan that Snape called him on, the one where he basically raises Harry as a lamb for slaughter. Did he really think he would be able to distance himself from any student to that extent? If that was his plan, he should have taken a much more hands-off attitude toward Harry from the beginning, rather than meeting him by the Mirror of Erised and having long talks about dreams and desires, back in PS/SS. (I realize that, in my previous point, I gave DD credit for having better control over his emotions, and this seems contradictory. My point is that it is contradictory.)
- I agree with LG -- the wording of the prophecy is clumsy. But then again, it's prophecy. It's supposed to be ambiguous.
- I'm always confused as to what part of the prophecy Snape overheard. DD states that he overheard the first part, and was intercepted. Trelawney, on the other hand, indicates (in HBP) that she knew that Snape was caught listening; that Aberforth brought Snape in during her "interview" -- wouldn't that have been after she had given the prophecy? I guess Aberforth kept Snape from overhearing the last part, by pulling him away from the door or asking him what he was doing, and then brought him in to confront DD? We can discuss this when we do our HBP discussion, but having just listened to HBP, and then read this chapter, it confused me. That's what I get for mixing up rereads like that!
- DD says, "In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you." While his capacity to love may have saved him from Voldy possessing him, his inability to close his mind got him into the situation in the first place, so I'd say it mattered! But then again, perhaps that's why I'm a Ravenclaw.
- Does DD choose the prefects, then? I would think their Heads of House would have a say in the matter -- but maybe DD holds the veto. In general, I would think that the Heads of House would know their students better than the headmaster.
Okay! I'm done! I'll try to post my notes on the last chapter later this evening.
Doesn't DD say that the interview was first? I think he says something about, after speaking with her he was disappointed and wasn't going to hire her until the actual Prophecy occured. We know from PoA that she doesn't remember making these prophecies, so to her it probably seemed like the "middle" of the interview.
I'll probably have more things to say once I'm home and I no longer need to use the loo.
But don't the mention that before voldy came back he wasn't really alive. Not alive or dead so for the 13 or so years before he returned he was not really alive. Now that he is alive i took it as the fight is inevitable because they can not both be alive at the same time and it is only them that can kill each other.
Did that make sense...feel free to argue and point out flaws.
LG I was always upset that they left the marked him as his equal out of the movie because it makes it clear that it could have been Neville which I think is why Neville can touch the prophecy as well. I fully expected that to be key to the plot but it wasn't it was one of those sort of red herrings she threw out there.
I agree that the prophecy could be worded better. It essentially fills the role of the prophecy in MacBeth (No man of woman borne can kill me I was siezed untimely from my mother's womb which was lifted by Tolkein for his prophecy with the Nazgul King being killed by a woman) It seems like the loophole needs to be in the prophecy instead the loophole is in the plot.
I agree that it is important that this is where Harry learns DD is faliable and where Harry learns that to some extent he is on his own. The tension between we need friends/ we all face death alone is key to the last book in which he is alone. But I do think that there are too many ways in which Dumbledore is wrong it really undermines who he was in the first 4 books.
I felt this way about all of the things we learned about DD in the seventh book. He's still one of my very favorite characters, despite his flaws, but I just hated reading about all of the mistakes and unhappy times in his youth.
- So, were there wizard jailers as well as Dementors at Azkaban? I'm guessing not, and that everyone being held there escaped when the Dementors revolted. However, Azkaban can't have stayed closed/unguarded for long, since Lucius got sent there pretty quickly. Did Fudge scramble around and find guards? I'd think that guarding a wizard prison would be a job requiring some pretty specialized skills.
- Harry's line, "I'm trying to decide which spell to hex Malfoy with, sir," is always good for a chuckle.
- I think I was that weird kid when I was in middle school. I didn't handle it nearly as well as Luna, though. She's really an admirable character -- sure, she's weird, but she's secure in her personality.
- McGonagall rocks. Have I said this enough yet?
- I also love the Order of the Phoenix meeting the Dursleys. There are a lot of feel-good moments in this chapter.
I love that JKR has her in there not just as proof that her hero is compassionate, but gives Luna a fully realized character and special moments of her own. This is where JKR really shines, in loving all her characters and giving them all depth.
Have I mentioned how I love Luna?