Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by

J. K. Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Chapter Twenty-Six Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Harry doesn't find the interview easy, but he thinks it's the best chance he has to get the truth out. Dean and Neville reassure Harry at dinner while Seamus tries to catch Harry's eye. Harry tells Hermione about his disastrous date with Cho, and Hermione patiently explains that Harry failed all of Cho's tests to see how much Harry likes her.
Seamus's attempts to catch Harry's eye suggest that he's coming around to believing Harry—something that he might have been trying to do for a while, but Harry just hadn't noticed. Once again, Hermione is much better at interpreting other people than Harry is, but she’s patient with her sometimes-oblivious friends.
Themes
Choices, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Prejudice and Discrimination Theme Icon
Up in the common room, Harry, Hermione, Fred, and George discuss the dismal state of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. George says that Ron can't save goals if anyone's watching and suggests that if Gryffindor loses the next match, he might have to kill Zacharias Smith (who plays on the Hufflepuff team). Hermione says that Quidditch just causes strife between the Houses, which earns her incredulous looks from the boys. The match is horrendous. Hufflepuff wins, but only by ten points because Ginny catches the Snitch. Harry goes to bed early and thinks of how Umbridge gloated at him during the match. This makes it hard to practice Occlumency, and Harry again dreams of reaching the door in the Department of Mysteries, but Ron snores and wakes Harry up.
Because Hermione listens and is able to reasonably interpret what she hears from a variety of different sources, she's also able to put inter-House Quidditch matches in the context of what the Sorting Hat warned them about at the beginning of the year. This then offers another example of the way in which Hogwarts is set up to encourage students to not see each other as allies, given that they're constantly in competition with each other for House points and in Quidditch matches.
Themes
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Prejudice and Discrimination Theme Icon
On Monday morning, an owl brings Harry a copy of The Quibbler and others land with letters for him. Hermione and Ron help Harry open the letters. Some people think Harry is crazy, but others believe his story. Umbridge comes over to find out why Harry is getting so much mail, and her face turns violet when she sees his face on The Quibbler. She bans Harry from Hogsmeade, takes points from Gryffindor, and gives Harry a week of detention. Hours later, she puts up signs declaring her next educational degree, which bans The Quibbler. Hermione smiles and says that this will ensure that everyone will read the article.
By censoring The Quibbler, Umbridge makes it extremely attractive to read it. This shows how attempts to silence someone can actually magnify their voice even more. The news that Harry is managing to convince wizards outside of his classmates at Hogwarts shows how meaningful and compelling it can be for someone like Harry to have the opportunity to tell their truth, while this validation also makes the punishment more bearable.
Themes
Trauma, Silence, and Speech Theme Icon
Prejudice and Discrimination Theme Icon
Even though they're forbidden from mentioning The Quibbler to Harry, several professors give Harry extra points or sweets. Trelawney even predicts that Harry will live to old age. Both Cho and Seamus thank Harry and praise him, while Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle stay quiet—Harry named their fathers as Death Eaters, but they can't say anything without admitting they read The Quibbler. Fred and George throw a party in the common room that night, but Harry excuses himself to go to bed early.
Just as Harry is forced into under-the-radar rebellion with the D.A., teachers are now forced to engage in the same quiet resistance by praising Harry in these unassuming ways. It's telling that Harry still sees the Slytherins as fundamentally unknowable. While he's not entirely off-base, it's worth considering whether Harry could also find some important allies in Slytherin if he actually tried.
Themes
War: Excitement vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Prejudice and Discrimination Theme Icon
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Harry dreams that he's in a dark room, looking at his long, white fingers. He interrogates a man named Rookwood about why Bode fought Lucius Malfoy's Imperius Curse and couldn't take "it." Harry sends Rookwood away and then looks at himself in a mirror. Voldemort's face stares back at Harry and Harry wakes up yelling. Harry tells Ron what he saw, and they realize that Bode was trying to remove the weapon. Ron is concerned that Harry saw himself as Voldemort and suggests he tell Dumbledore, but Harry refuses. When they tell Hermione about the dream the next day, Hermione says that this explains why someone killed Bode. She reasons that Sturgis was under the Imperius Curse too and tried to get the weapon. Then she scolds Harry for not practicing Occlumency.
Harry's refusal to share this dream with Dumbledore means that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are once again on their own to figure out what it means. While Harry now recognizes that he was actually sharing Voldemort's mind during this dream, just as he was the night that he dreamed of the snake attacking Mr. Weasley, Harry doesn't have any other meaningful information—such as what "it" is that Bode and Sturgis tried and failed to acquire for Voldemort.
Themes
Trauma, Silence, and Speech Theme Icon
Choices, Family, and Love Theme Icon
War: Excitement vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
A few weeks later, Harry is still no better at Occlumency. After he finds himself on the floor in Snape's office yet again, Snape scolds him for the dream in which he was Voldemort. He asks Harry if the dreams make him feel important, and then tells Harry that it's not his job to figure out what Voldemort is doing. He tries to get into Harry's mind again but this time, Harry reverses the spell. He enters Snape’s memories and sees images of a man yelling at a woman while a boy cries, and others of girls laughing at young Snape. When Snape finally stops Harry, both Harry and Snape are white and sweaty. Harry knows he'll pay for this as Snape points his wand at Harry. Harry finds himself walking down the hallway again, but this time, the door opens and he enters. Snape is furious, but stops yelling when they hear screams.
While Snape has a point—it's the Order's job to figure out what Voldemort is up to, not Harry's—he still ignores the fact that since Harry has no reliable way of getting information about what's going on, the dreams are a way for him to at least get something, and so they seem appealing to him. As the trustworthy adults around Harry continue to ignore him, Harry isn't above turning elsewhere—in this case, to questionable mind-sharing with Voldemort—to get the information he wants.
Themes
Trauma, Silence, and Speech Theme Icon
Choices, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Prejudice and Discrimination Theme Icon
Harry and Snape head for the entrance hall and Harry sees a crowd surrounding Trelawney. Her trunks are next to her and she shrieks with grief. Umbridge happily says that Trelawney is fired and needs to leave the premises. Trelawney starts to cry, but McGonagall comforts her. Dumbledore steps through the front doors and says that while he accepts that Umbridge can fire Trelawney, she can't kick Trelawney out. McGonagall, Sprout, and Flitwick escort Trelawney back upstairs and Dumbledore says he's already found a new Divination professor. He introduces the school to Firenze, a centaur.
Remember that according to an Educational Decree, Fudge can only appoint a teacher if Dumbledore can't find one himself. This means that Dumbledore knows how to read between the lines and pick out the pieces of law that do actually give him power, and use it wherever he can. Umbridge's delight in throwing Trelawney out reinforces how horrendous and evil she is, as she's happiest that she's causing Trelawney pain.
Themes
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Prejudice and Discrimination Theme Icon