Chapter Twenty-Five: The Beetle at Bay
Better Title: I Hate Cho Chang
Don’t you hate when a blog starts with an apology about the lateness of the blog? For that reason, I will not start off this blog by saying how sorry I am that it's been a few weeks since the last article. Nope. Not gonna do it. That's not my style.
Instead, here's a poem about a lady dolphin.
By Daniel Adam Bergstein
If you scramble up the letters
In the word "friendship"
It spells "dip her fins"
It can also spell "Nerd Fish Pi"
This is poignant
Back to Harry Potter. This chapter deals with the Ministry, and Umbridge, and Harry's Occlumency lessons with Snape. But the real meat of the chapter is about sad, awful Cho Chang and her disastrous Valentine's date with Harry.
The two head off to Hogsmeade for a romantic lunch at Madam Puddifoot's Tearoom. Inside the den of love, many of the other students are snogging. It seems the tearoom is make-out central for Hogwarts students, but Harry is beyond nervous, and isn't sure what to do.
So, instead of making mouth love, Harry and Cho talk, and then Cho cries.
I understand that Cho is going through a lot. It must suck to have your first boyfriend killed by a Dark Lord. But the Cho-sen one needs to chill the hell out. Harry's had to deal with more than any other student at school. If anyone has the right to tear up, it's Potter.
Cho is an attention-hogging whiner. The added fact that she's a prattling bore is reason enough to shove her over into a Twilight book and let Luna date Harry.
Does anyone actually like Cho? Am I being a pig-headed man who doesn't understand women? I make fun of Ginny for being a boring lamp, but at least she never complains. She's a tough lil' lamp. But Cho? My god! I just want to shake her till she pukes.
The date ends horribly, when Harry tells Cho that he's going to meet Hermione later. Cho doesn't take this well, and storms off, even though Harry did invite Cho along to the secret meeting.
With Cho probably off reading Wuthering Heights while playing volleyball poorly and discussing souls, Harry meets up with Hermione.
Hermy's been doing some rather interesting, sneaky work. She's blackmailing Rita Skeeter into writing a truthful story about Harry. The Daily Prophet seems hell-bent on calling Harry a liar, but if Skeeter writes a truthful interview with Harry, everything would change. However, Skeeter says the Prophet won't run such a story.
Luckily for the entire universe, Luna Lovegood is there. Her dad is the Editor-in-Chief of the Quibbler, a tabloid paper, and she can convince her dad to run the article on Harry.
Luna, thank you for existing.
Favorite Part of the Chapter: When Cho cries, it makes me laugh. I'm mean.
CHO: No one understands me. No one knows how hard it is being pretty and popular. If only there were someone who could…
BELLA SWAN: I felt the same way.
BELLA: I know how hard it can be to have everything. I know the difficulties of dating a great man.
CHO: And when that man dies…?
BELLA: I don't know anything about that. My husband is alive forever and always. Nothing bad ever happens to me or my loved ones.
CHO: Oh…that must be nice.
BELLA: It's horrid. Every day my mind is filled with agony as I must make love to a supermodel and be flooded with money and riches and super powers.
CHO: Do you have a picture of your husband?
BELLA: Of course. Here. [Shows picture]
BELLA: No. That's Edward.
CHO: Oh. Looks like Cedric.
BELLA: They probably shop at the same JC Penny's.
CHO: You seem very uninteresting. I like that. May I live with you?
BELLA: You belong with us. But first, you must answer me this question: What is your favorite dessert?
CHO: Plain, cold toast.
BELLA: Come with me, my sister-friend.
Chapter Twenty-Six: Seen and Unforeseen
Better Title: Horsy Men!
Harry's interview in the Quibbler is all the talk at school. Everyone is shocked to finally learn Harry's side of the story, and even those who doubted Harry are now listening to reason. The only people who hate the interview are Umbridge and the Minister of Magic.
Umbridge goes to great lengths to forbid the newspaper, but that only entices the students, and soon everyone has read and re-read the damning report. It's fantastic to see Umbridge upset. I love it.
Go cry about it, Umbridge! Ha! You suck! You suck! Boo!
Other important highlights of the chapter include Harry's stupid dreams.
Harry has another vision of Voldemort. Voldy's is still after a secret weapon and Harry still doesn't know what that weapon is. To be honest, all these dream sequences blur together. The gang tries to figure out who was snooping around the Ministry and where so-and-so was on such-and-such evening. I don't care. I know it all works out in end, but I'd rather be reading about Umbridge falling down stairs than reading about Potter's dumb dreams.
The chapter ends with poor Professor Trelawney being fired by Umbridge. It's a sad, sad scene, and you just want to smack Umbridge in the throat. Dumbledore steps in, and while he can't re-hire Trelawney, he can name her replacement. And that replacement is…Firenze! Firenze the centaur is one of the more interesting characters in this book. He's like a cryptic hippie who knows everything about the universe. I wish he were in the book more. (Take offense, Trelawney. Take great offense.)
All the centaurs in books and in movies have six limbs. That's just flat-out silly. Centaurs should, logically and biologically, have only four limbs: two horse legs, and two humans arms. Though that would make traveling difficult. Still, we should demand accuracy in our mythic beast! Centaurs do not have six limbs! Dragons should not have arms and wings. Unicorns cannot fly! And leprechaun meat does not taste like custard!
Favorite Part of the Chapter: Umbridge trying to one-up Dumbledore, and Dumbledore one-upping Umbridge.
HARRY: I had a strange dream last night.
RON: We have to tell Dumbledore!
HERMIONE: Agreed. Harry, you need to tell him what's happening.
[They go to Dumbledore]
HARRY: Professor, I had a strange dream last night.
DUMBLEDORE: Is that so, Harry? Tell me, what happened in this dream.
HARRY: Well…at first I was in this long dark hallway.
HARRY: And then Johnny Depp showed up and he gave me a hammer. I asked him "Onions?" and he just pointed to his shoes. And then I was riding a trolley, and the trolley was purple, and there was a lamp on my lap. And then it was raining, but everyone said it was only snow. Bill Cosby was dancing in the corner. Oh, and in the dream I really had to pee, and when I woke up, I had to pee for real!!!
DUMBLEDORE: I see…
HARRY: What does it mean?
DUMBLEDORE: Nothing, Harry. That was just a regular dream. You needn't worry me about such…
[McGonagall bursts into the door]
McGONAGALL: Albus! Bad news! We just learned that Johnny Depp gave a hammer to someone while pointing at his shoes, and Mr. Bill Cosby was seen dancing, and it's snowing! And there's trolley outside! It's ever-so purple! Whatever will we do!?
HARRY: I have to pee.
DUMBLEDORE: We're doomed! That was no dream!!!!!
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Centaur and the Sneak
Better Title: Dumbledore, You Are My Hero
Dumbledore is about to be arrested by the Ministry of Magic when he calmly says, "You seem to be laboring under the delusion that I'm going to—what's the phrase? Come quietly."
I first read this chapter on a crowded subway in 2005, and cheered out loud when I read that line. And then I blushed. And then I probably said, "Sports are what I'm all about. Sports and beer. And ladies!" and that proved to the crowd that I was a real man.
This chapter is one of my favorites of them all. When Umbridge and Minister Fudge think they finally won, and Dumbledore takes the blame for Dumbledore's Army, I'm sure we all thought Mr. D was going to be thrown into Azkaban. Instead, he smiles and talks and then says that great line.
And then he makes a magical explosion and tells Harry and McGonagall to stay at Hogwarts while he escapes to help find information about Voldemort. It's heroic. It's thrilling. It's a perfectly fine reason for a grown man to yelp with joy on a subway.
Let's read this chapter again!
The other part of the chapter deals with the mighty Firenze and his first Divinations class. It's a fun scene, as Firenze explains the mysteries of the world, but doesn't quite compare to Dumbledore knocking out the Minister of Magic and Umbridge, and then flying away on Fawkes' tail.
Favorite Part of the Chapter: Do I even need to say it?
FIRENZE: And so the universe is actually a wave of particles on a deep ocean of reality.
RON: Great. But isn't that a bit too abstract and complicated for us? We're only teenagers.
FIRENZE: The elements in your body are older than time. You are no more a teenager than a mountain is an infant.
RON: OK. Hey, if you had a baby with a mermaid, would that make a normal human?
FIRENZE: No. It would make…a seahorse. A-ha! Firenze got's mad jokes, y'all!
House Bergstein School Announcements
Prom is approaching and attendance is mandatory. We must decide on a theme. Our options are:
A Night in Wyoming
The King's Speech (Everyone dresses as their favorite character from the movie.)
Lots of Wagons
Falcons and Hippos
A Night in a Windmill
Rainbows and Paper Cuts
The Floor is Lava!
Girls Dress Up as Ninjas, Boys Dress Up as Astronauts
Things You Can't Taste
The South Pole
The Circus of Pants
Trap Doors and Fruit
An Evening with Ferrets
Lesser-known Tom Hanks Films
The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen
Stop making that face.
Make a new face.
Describe the very best time in your life in which floss was involved.
Is this your all-time favorite Dumbledore moment in the entire HP series?
Related post: Blogging Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix