Chapter Seven: The Boggart in the Wardrobe
- We’re back in Potions, where Malfoy is milking his Buckbeak injury for all it’s worth, and Snape’s making Harry and Ron be Malfoy’s potions slaves… And people wonder why Slytherins get a bad rep.
- Malfoy also takes the opportunity to gloat that he knows more about Sirius’s past, and therefore the ‘threat’ he presents to Harry, than Harry does. Which annoys me for a bunch of reasons: it’s snidey and none of his business and he’s an annoying little shit; as usual, he doesn’t know nearly as much as he’s letting on; and whatever he—or his parents—think they know about Sirius, they knew he wasn’t a Death Eater, and they had no interest in helping clear his name. Which, frankly, I would’ve expected from Grade A a-holes like them, but still. 12 YEARS IN AZKABAN FOR NOTHING. I am mad at everyone about this.
- (I mean, If they had said something–mentioned that even in their ‘Imperiused’ state, they never saw Sirius around, but they did see Pettigrew–Sirius might not have gone to Azkaban. And what would it have been like if Sirius had been around for Harry’s childhood?)
- (Even if Harry had had to live with the Dursleys, for the sake of the blood protection spell thing, Sirius would’ve visited, right? Maybe got a house nearby? Stayed in Harry’s life, for sure, whether the Dursleys liked it or not.)
- (But then the Dursleys might have tried to shove Harry off on Sirius, and Dumbledore probably would’ve put the kibosh on Sirius being in Harry’s life at all.)
- (Not that Sirius would’ve let that stop him.)
- (But Dumbledore is a master manipulator, after all.)
- (It didn’t even happen, and I resent Dumbledore for it a little.)
- (Do I not like Dumbledore at all? That’s seeming more and more likely…)
- (And yes, I know this whole train of thought rests on the Malfoys caring about A, someone other than themselves, and B, Harry’s childhood, neither of which were ever going to happen, but still.)
- Lupin’s first Defence Against the Dark Arts class is one of my favourite parts of the whole series. In this moment, he’s kind of wonderful—especially in how he uses Neville’s worst fear to build Neville up, right after Snape bullies him so publicly.
- It’s genius in so many ways: it boosts Neville’s mood, improves his self-esteem as he performs the spell correctly, and it’s true Marauder revenge. Sure, Lupin could admonish Snape for being an asshole—but why not enable Snape’s victim to turn Snape into a vulture-topped-hat-wearing laughingstock to the whole school? I love it.
- Hermione doesn’t get to check in with the Boggart, which I suppose foreshadows her disastrous DADA exam: she has a breakdown when Boggart McGonagall tells her she’s failed everything, which might’ve been avoided if she’d actually had a chance to battle the Boggart.
- Though Hermione’s fear seems much worse than everyone else’s. Giant spiders, mummies, banshees–that’s nothing compared to how personal and revealing a fear of failure is. I don’t think I’d want that exposed to all my classmates, to be honest.
- Now I like the whole Boggart lesson a bit less. It seems dangerous.
- Then again–danger, in Murder School? Shocker!
- Anyway. I know Hermione’s exam breakdown is part of setting Harry up as being the best at DADA, but it’s also really interesting in how it’s so consistent of Hermione’s character: she fails to beat the Boggart because her emotions get the better of her, just like they do every time she fails to conjure a Patronus.
- I like that. I love Hermione—and I love it even more that she has these little flaws and failings, rather than when she’s movie-Hermione perfect.
- And I like what it highlights in Harry, too. He wouldn’t have survived those books without Hermione, for sure–but it does always come back to Hermione’s quote at the end of Philosopher’s Stone: courage is the most important thing of all.
Chapter Eight: Flight of the Fat Lady
- I mentioned earlier how great and Marauder-y it was of Lupin to get revenge on Snape for humiliating Neville; but now I realise just how petty and pathetic Snape is, that he uses that humiliation as an excuse to bully Neville even more. Neville, an innocent child whose responsibility it is for Snape to teach, in the school where they both live. Don’t take that in and still tell me Snape was a great man.
- Don’t take that in and still tell me Harry was right to name his child after Snape. I will never forgive that.
- I so wish someone had told Neville’s nan, and she’d come and bashed Snape with her big red handbag.
- It’s Quidditch season again, and Oliver Wood’s making a speech to rouse the Gryffindor team. He points out that they’ve somehow still not managed to win the Quidditch Cup with Harry, and that actually makes me a bit emotional–and I don’t even like sports.
- It’s also Hogsmeade season; and Harry being left behind while Ron and Hermione go to Hogsmeade is genuinely sad, too. It’s the first time at Hogwarts that he’s felt that Dursley neglect.
- But I do love that Lupin takes the chance to ask Harry to tea. And I could blame him for not doing it sooner, I guess, but I don’t; it must have cost Lupin considerable pain to watch his best friend’s son roam the corridors, not having a clue that they were once basically family. It must be agony, knowing that Harry grew up not even knowing who Lupin was. And I do truly believe Lupin hoped to save Harry some pain by staying away.
- Not that he should’ve done it; but I guess when your self-esteem and sense of worth has been as battered for your entire life, like Lupin’s has, that’s as good an excuse as any.
- I love that they have tea at last in Hogwarts, Lupin’s favourite haunt; and that during tea, Lupin is honest about not letting Harry face the Dementors in case Harry accidentally conjures up an image of Voldemort. Again, I am here for adults being (somewhat) honest with Harry.
- Another Halloween feast interrupted—this is a yearly tradition now, with the troll in Stone, and the Deathday party and petrifying of Mrs Norris in Chamber, and now with Sirius trying to bust into Gryffindor Tower and kill Scabbers. Not Sirius’s best idea, murdering the only person that could clear your name, and risking getting yourself sent back to Azkaban; but I suppose he has been stuck there for twelve years. Long enough to lose any real powers of reasoning.
- Still. That feast is cursed.
Chapter Nine: Grim Defeat
- After Sirius’s attack on Gryffindor Tower, Dumbledore arranges for the whole school to sleep in purple sleeping bags on the floor of the Great Hall. And I could wax on about how Hogwarts needs an Inspector, and if I were a parent I think I’d yeet my child right out of there, but I’m really distracted wondering why I’ve never come across some sort of AU/additional content fanfic of what happened with Hogwarts students crushing on each other in this situation. Have I read too many romances, or is this forced-to-sleep-in-the-same-room-as-my-crush thing wasted in this moment?
- Also as a result, Quidditch becomes a bit more above-board: McGonagall arranges for Madam Hooch to oversee all Gryffindor practices. This is for Harry’s protection (though what Madam Hooch was supposed to do in the face of an apparent mad mass murderer, I do not know—swipe at him with her Cleansweep Seven?), but why on earth was it not practice anyway? Madam Hooch cannot have much to do all day, with only one year needing Flying lessons; and Quidditch, let’s face it, is basically Flying Murderball. Why weren’t practices overseen at all times, with or without the looming threat of a murderer?
- Snape covers Lupin’s class, and of course he rewrites the entire teaching plan to try to expose Lupin as a werewolf. The man’s pettiness has no limits.
- I don’t understand Snape apologists. I really don’t.
- Ron’s so raged about the whole thing that he wishes Sirius had hid in Snape’s office and finished Snape off—and honestly, I think if he’d asked Sirius at the right time, Sirius might just have gone for it.
- ‘Harry knew better than to think the match would be cancelled; Quidditch matches weren’t called off for trifles such as thunderstorms.’ OF COURSE THEY WEREN’T. Cancel Murderball for a bit of homicidal weather the players have to fly up into? Who’d consider such a thing?
- Oh, Sirius. I know you just want to watch Harry play Quidditch—which is so godfatherly I could swoon—but it’s not wildly helpful when the sight of you nearly scares him off his broom.
- And Harry falling almost to his death to the sound of his mother’s murder is just too painful for words.
- Almost as bad as the Whomping Willow turning Harry’s faithful Nimbus into twigs.
- This is why Murderball in Murder Weather should not be allowed to be a thing.