Hogwarts. Just the name makes me all wistful and warm.
As does the word ‘butterbeer.’ Which I really want to try. I should find/make a recipe. Although, I feel like that would be a lot better in the fall. It just sounds like a winter drink, don’t you think?
Anyway, back to Hoggy Warty Hogwarts.
Imagine a giant, beautiful, old castle somewhere in an open field/on a hill in Scotland. Or somewhere around there. Now imagine fires in every available spot, snow falling, all your greatest friends around you, and a party in some hidden corridor or secret room. Sound amazing?
It certainly does to me!
Harry spends about twenty long pages anticipating Hogwarts; the friends, the food, the teachers [except for the bad ones, like Snape], Hagrid, and all of his favorite hidden hide-outs. Of course, his first day is dampened a bit by a slightly furious row with Seams, the Irish [Scottish?] boy in his dorm.
“Don’t have a go at my mother,” snapped Seamus.
“I’ll have a go at anyone who calls me a liar,” said Harry.
“Don’t talk to me like that!”
“I’ll talk to you how I want,” said Harry, his temper rising so fast he snatched his wand back from his bedside table. “If you’ve got a problem sharing a dormitory with me, go and ask McGonagall if you can be moved, stop your mommy worrying–”
“Leave my mother out of this, Potter!”
To me, it sounds like typical teenage fighting: “Your mom!” is a pretty often heard phrase right now, seems like. Poor Ron walks into the middle of this particular fight, completely oblivious to what has happened. He finds out what Seamus has been saying, however, and instantly backs Harry. That’s loyalty, right there. Ron has gone through so much for Harry, and there he is, standing up for him even after Harry takes his anger out on him over and over.
Then there’s Neville, who gains a lot of respect all around in this book. Ron looks around the room furiously, asking if anyone else’s parents have a problem with his best friend. Neville, lying in bed, pipes up for the first time for the evening;
“My gran says that’s rubbish,” piped up Neville. “She says it’s the Daily Prophet that’s going downhill, not Dumbledore. She’s canceled our subscription. We believe Harry,” he said simply…”My gran’s always said You-Know-Who would come back one day. She says if Dumbledore says he’s back, he’s back.”
That’s a pretty brave speech for Neville, who was terrified to stand up to his friends [or rather, is terrified].
Then there’s the whole matter of the welcome back speech. Dumbledore always saves announcements and the ‘boring stuff’ until after everyone’s already eaten, so once all the plates are clean and everyone is pleasantly drowsy and stuffed like a Christmas turkey, he speaks. His speeches are short, to-the-point, and informative; the warning not to go to the woods, the reminder about Quidditch try-outs, and just some general need-to-know things. But, unfortunately, Dumbledore’s speech is cut off by the most annoying character any book has ever seen:
Dolores Jane Umbridge.
Just the name alone is unpleasant enough. The fact that she’s there on Ministry business to keep students in line and remind them that there’s no threat of Moldy coming back pushes her over the edge on the annoyance scale. Hermione is, of course, the only one who listens to the frog lady’s speech [the book says she’s short and squat and has a face like a frog]. She’s frowning and grumpy after the speech is over, and tells Harry and Ron [somewhat huffily] that the Ministry is interfering. That, I think, would be enough to put me on edge about taking an actual class from this lady; her girly, giggly, annoying way of talking doesn’t help at all.
So how does Harry take being in such a miserable position?
Well, coincidentally enough, Umbridge’s name is chapter twelve and thirteen. That is to say…next.