Episode 92 – OotP 15: McGonagall’s Verbal Smackdown

This week, Hogwarts is graced with a new position, courtesy of the Ministry of Magic. Join hosts Caleb, Kat, Michael and special guest host Megan of Magical Menagerie and Matthew-Lewis.com as they dive into Chapter 15 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, “The Hogwarts High Inquisitor.”

On Episode 92 we discuss…

→ Episode 91 Recap: Fudge manipulating; Percy’s still a prat; Racism and other prejudices; JKR’s intentions; Molly’s validation
→ PQOTW Responses
→ More Ministry schemes
→ Who thought up these O.W.L. grades?
→ Who knows what about Trelawney?
→ McGonagall handles Umbridge
Question of the Week
→ Check out the Alohomora! Store

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  • Elvis Gaunt

    Percy knows about the article because he is quoted init. He even says something like “check out for yours truly in his letter .”
    The appointment of the High Inquisitor may have in deliberation for some time at the Ministry but it is certainly a surprise for the people at the Daily Prophet and the greater wizarding community.

  • Elvis Gaunt

    Griselda Marchbanks appears in the in this very book as one of the O.W.Ls examiner. She is a friend of Neville’s grandmother and she had examined Dumbledore when he sat his O.W.Ls.

  • Elvis Gaunt

    Speaking of Umbridge’s inspections, I would have loved to see how Binns’ had gone. Would she have been able to resist the soporific effect of his class. Would he have even noticed her.

    • Hufflepug

      She probably would have “hem-hem”ed multiple times before he finally looked up, gave her permission to see Madam Pomfrey for her cough, then just continued lecturing haha.

  • Hufflepug

    You mentioned some pretty awesome Hermione moments in this episode: her first time saying “Voldemort,” her idea to start the DA, and of course her splendid defiance against Umbridge in class. Hermione has always been one of the strongest people in the series but in this book she just has these consistent shining moments that make the readers and her peers respect her intelligence along with her bravery. Later we see her performing near-genius spells to preserve the secrecy of the DA, analyzing Cho’s behavior instantly after Harry describes it to her, and coming up with the idea for the Quibbler interview which ended up being so successful. Basically, is there anything this girl can’t do? This has been your “Hermione is the best person ever” rant of the day.

  • loony_lauren

    I think the grading system is similar to American grading, with A, B, C, D, and F. Outstanding would equal A, Exceeds Expectations would equal B, and Acceptable would equal C. A, B, and C are passing grades in the US, while O, E, and A are the passing grades for the O.W.L.’s. Poor would equal D, and Dreadful would equal an F. These are the failing grades for both the US grading system and the O.W.L. grading system. A difference between the two systems though is that the O.W.L’s are only used for the actual O.W.L. tests, and the US system is used, at least in the case of my school, for most tests, quizzes, and homework assigned.

  • DolphinPatronus

    I always had the feeling that Dumbledore didn’y have too many options to pick from when he hired UMmbridge. The question is if this was soley due to the curse or because the M.O.M. “put the word out” that applying would have some kind of repercussions?

    • thegiantsquid

      It says on page 307 of the American edition that Fudge passed educational decree twenty-two just before term started that says that “in the event of the current headmaster being unable to provide a candidate for a teaching post, the Ministry should select an appropriate person.” This leads me to believe that Dumbledore hadn’t found anyone, and so the Ministry butted in.

      • DolphinPatronus

        Oh I knew that I meant that the reason Dumbledore couldn’t find somebody was because the Ministry (as well as the curse rumors). The way they’ve been bad mouthing him in the press can’t look good to potential employees.

        • thegiantsquid

          Ohhhh, I see, I’m sorry. You’re probably right though. With all the bad press, who would want to take that job?

  • thegiantsquid

    At the end of this chapter, Harry repairs the bowl he broke during his outburst, but laments that there is no returning the essence of murtlap into the bowl. Do we know why this is? What prevents a liquid from being moved from the ground (or wherever) to another place? How would you clean up a spill with magic? Just vanish it? I thought this seemed like a strange limitation.

    • spellephant

      Maybe you could clean up a spill with magic by vanishing it, as you say, but not actually move it and reunite each drop of the substance within a container such as a bowl. Or maybe it is possible, but Harry does not know how to perform the spe? It would be a very useful household spell, but it doesn’t seem like the students learn a lot of those.

      • thegiantsquid

        Good point. It may be a household spell, but who cares! That’s what they have house elves for, right? 😛

    • In HBP, when Slughorn splashed his dragon blood all over the walls, it says he, “wiped the walls clean.” He notes that it was, “my last bottle, and prices are sky-high at the moment. Still, it might be reusable.” Then, he examines a crystal bottle (so he must have “wiped it” into the bottle) and says that it’s a “bit dusty.” So obviously there’s some way to get liquid back into containers after spilling them, even if you can’t separate the liquid from all of the dirt and dust that got mixed into it while it was spilled.
      Either Harry doesn’t know the spell Slughorn used, or Essence of Murlap is useless once contaminated. I’d probably go with the first option, though. Harry just doesn’t know the spell.

      • thegiantsquid

        Hey thanks! That’s great textual evidence. I would agree with you on that; Harry probably just doesn’t know.

  • thegiantsquid

    I agree with whichever of the hosts said that Snape probably isn’t grading Harry too awfully unfairly. Snape mentions in his lecture to the class that many of the essays were “abysmal,” which leads me to believe that Harry can’t be the only D.
    Also, after this when the Gryffindors are discussing the grading system (for the benefit of the reader), does it strike anyone else funny that Hermione mixes up the order of Acceptable and Exceeds Expectations? Wouldn’t Hermione know by heart which grades were the highest?

    • Cassandra1447

      Not only Hermione, but shouldn’t everyone have known this system by now? If this is the grading system used in the Wizarding World in general?

      If it’s not, what was being used instead? How where the teachers marking all those essays they assigned?

      If a different grading system had been in use prior to 5th year, I might understand Hermione forgetting the order. I imagine she would have read about the O.W.L.s at some point, but it could have been far enough in the past and then irrelevant until 5th year. If there was another system prior, I could see her focusing on that scale to the point of forgetting the exact details of the O.W.L. system.

      • thegiantsquid

        I agree, but I’m pretty sure that’s the universal system. I feel like while it was nice for us to get a breakdown of the grades so we understand them, that information might have been given to us in a different context that made a little more sense.

  • thegiantsquid

    When Harry leaves his detention it’s “nearly midnight,” yet he walks back to the common room with no problems. It seems like in earlier books, students being out of bed at this time would have been a huge issue. Does Mrs. Norris not get suspicious? Do Hogwarts students carry magical hall passes that prove they are being responsible and not wandering?

    • Hufflepug

      In Harry’s case, word really got around about his detention so I think that most people at Hogwarts would have believed him if they happened to see him out that late, especially since Umbridge is totally the kind of teacher that would keep her students in detention past midnight. But I think if it happened in another, less public situation, Filch would try to take the students away and punish them but then learn from whatever staff member he ran into first that the student was in detention and then grudgingly let them go.

      • thegiantsquid

        I hope that’s not true about Filch, but I have a suspicion that it is. That’s a really poor system as far as that goes. The detentions ought to abide by the students’ curfew.

        • Hufflepug

          You’re probably right! Is Umbridge the only one we’ve seen hold a detention this late? I think she is… I wonder if she thought it was justified through her High Inquisitor power.

          • thegiantsquid

            I don’t think so.
            Yeah, I just checked in Chamber of Secrets, and Harry begins detention with Lockhart at 8pm and doesn’t leave until “nearly four hours” later (almost midnight). Ron gets back to the common room a half an hour after him from cleaning the trophy room with Filch. So apparently this is common practice.

          • Hufflepug

            Oh thank you, I would have checked but I’m traveling right now. Well then Hogwarts professors have some seriously screwed up practices!

          • thegiantsquid

            No problem! And yeah, hopefully hopefully there’s just a system in place that we are unaware of. Safe travels!

  • thegiantsquid

    During McGonagall’s Transfiguration class, she mentions that snails are invertebrates and therefore less complex than mice, being mammals and vertebrates. Is Transfiguration also kind of a biology class? Would the students have to study how the things they are Transfiguring function and what their composition is in order to make informed decisions when choosing items/animals/spells for a Transfiguration? I read this in the book and thought it seemed like a way to further general education within a magical environment. Thoughts?

    • spellephant

      That’s a really interesting point. It would seem the students have to have a basic knowledge of biology, like what an invertebrate even is. It could even get down to studying an animal’s chemical makeup and cells, or the properties of certain types of inanimate objects. Do they study what occurs within a creature’s cells when it is transfigured into something else? Do they have to learn about the human body–our bones, the different systems at work, etc.–to perform transfiguration on themselves? Transfiguration would be an ideal class to learn that kind of thing, it seems.

      • thegiantsquid

        I feel like it might not be necessary to get all the way down to the cellular level, but would certain enhance the power, complexity, and effectiveness of the Transfiguration. I think biology and Transfiguration makes sense together. We know that they don’t just spend every class doing spell work – theory does come into play, and I would be wiling to bet that this is a big part of it.

        • Claire Marie

          I think knowing about cell structure (maybe not all of the parts of a cell) could be helpful with transfiguration. For example, we know it is possible to transfigure something dead into something living (deskpig) so I would think that it would also be possible to transfigure a plant into an animal or visa versa. In that case, plants have a different cellular structure than animals. There are different parts to the cells – plant cells have a cell wall in addition to a cell membrane where as an animal cell only has a cell membrane, an animal cell has cilia or a flagella to help it move, where as plants are stationary so their cells usually do not need to move, etc. I imagine that the transfiguration would be harder the more different the two things are. To that point, I also think it would be very helpful to know the classification system. Obviously two things in the same genus would be easier to transfigure than two things in separate Phlyums. Just food for thought!

          • thegiantsquid

            I agree with you entirely! I was in a rush with my other post, and I wanted to kind of explain what I mean. By saying I think it’s not necessary, I meant more for like… basic Transfiguration. I’m assuming when people get to NEWT level and beyond, that kind of attention to detail would be imperative to get the spells working to their full extent.

    • Cassandra1447

      My thought is that the more complex an organism, the more careful and precise must be the transfiguration. You’d want to start the students off on as simple a organism as possible and gradually work up the scale, ending with human transfiguration which we’ve been told is the most difficult and dangerous.

  • WingardiumedPhoenix

    In regards to grading, when snape graded to O.W.L levels, I always related it to the way general assessments are graded in V.C.E. (Victorian certificate of Education, in Australia) and the final V.C.E. exams in yr 12. Throughout V.C.E., and the final exams, the work level steps up, becomes harder, and teachers mark to exam standards, which are almost always stricter than classes. An example, from methods 3/4, if you have your answer half right, you’ll lose the full mark instead of getting at least a half mark like you usually would in class. Trying to grade work harder is common practise to prepare students for exams of harder level ((often getting students to work harder because of bad grades…)), just like practising doing tests under full exam conditions.

  • SpectacularlyHypothetical

    I’m a teacher in Britain, so I thought I’d clear up the grading system thing.

    At this age, Harry and co would be studying for their General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs). These are sat at the end of Year 11 which would be the same as 5th Year. These are graded from A*, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, all of these are passing grades (in that you receive a certificate if you get one of them) but in practice people only consider C and above to be passes. There is another grade, which is a U and this stands for Ungraded and that’s a failing mark.

    You were right that these are based on percentages, with A*s being awarded to those students who get the highest percentage marks. The grade boundaries change slightly every year depending on what the chief examiner decides (it’s to try and maintain consistency of difficulty year on year). Roughly speaking A* is around 90% A is 80% and so on down. Most teachers when they are grading their students’ work will award grades like B+ or D-. These aren’t official grades, but they’re useful to allow a student to figure how strong a grade they have, whether they were close to getting the next grade up or only just got a passing grade etc.

    Before this, there are national curriculum levels which go from ages 5 to 14 roughly and they track a child’r progress. They are graded numerically and alphabetically. The lowest possible grade is 1c, then 1b then 1a then 2c etc. This goes up to 8a. In theory there are grade 9 and 10, but by this point, students will just be moved to the GCSE grading system.

    However, there are two things to note about this, 1, they have a different grading system in Scotland, and two the government has changed the law recently so that the grading system will be come numerical, with grade 9 being the top mark. That will come in to affect next year.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  • In the UK it’s very common for teachers to mark the students lower in mock exams. It’s reverse physchological affect is used to it’s advantage to make the students work harder to meet their expected grades.

    It also serves another purpose. Each school/college/uni has a set number of A’s, B’s and C’s etc. it helps the school to achieve that target. Jo reflects this when writing about OWLs.

    • thegiantsquid

      In my higher level classes in high school (US here), my teachers would do the same thing. I think a lot of that was motivated by their desire to not let us get too comfy with just spitting out assignments, but being sure we put actual effort and thought into what were were producing because we were almost in college and would have to produce high quality work. I think teachers everywhere (even Hogwarts) do something like this to students as they get older.

      • Claire Marie

        I am a high school math teacher and that pattern is just part of the general workings of my classroom. I tend to be really tough on my students on classwork and quizzes and insist that they are almost, if not entirely, perfect. On tests, I am a little more lenient and the questions are not always as difficult since they have already proven they can do the work on the quizzed and classwork. On the exams, I tend to ask more surface level questions so as to cover a broader range of topics. I would love for my students to come out of my classes with as much detailed knowledge as possible, but the general idea is that they leave the class with a broad knowledge that is as in depth as possible. If they don’t know all of the details, that’s alright and hopefully they can figure it out using the knowledge they have.

        As to Snape grading the classes essay with an OWL standard, I would imagine that would be similar to teachers giving rubrics for projects. If the project spans the length of a unit or something similar, I often will give my students a rubric detailing how their grade is calculated. The rubric is only valid for that one assignment so I think that would be a Muggle example of project-to-project grading.

  • DisKid

    Good points you made back towards my comment guys! I didn’t even think about Lucius in that fact. I still think she’d have trouble when it comes to not wanting to be told what to do though 😉

    And I agree I love Mcgonagall! She may be strict, but she can sure put people in their place! It’s great.

  • Casey L.

    I do believe McGonagall is still alive. J.K. Rowling said in an interview that, by the time the epilogue takes place, in 2017 based on what we know from the books, she had retired, because she was getting on a bit. So as of right now, she should still be alive and might even still be headmistress at Hogwarts.
    I know I’m getting into something that comes up later in the book, but I find Jo’s (and other characters’) portrayal of McGonagall’s age as kind of odd. The wiki says she was born in 1935, which means (if true) she is turning 79 this year. Knowing that Dumbledore (and several other characters) live to be well over 100 years of age and that this is not out-of-place in the wizarding world, it seems she is treated as being unusually old, when the lifespan of magical people suggest she may be “just” at the tail-end of midlife.
    That is, of course, unless witches and wizards age the same as muggles and just enjoy a much longer period in old age. Then again, knowing what McGonagall has lived through – three major wars involving dark wizards, two of which she played a major role in – maybe she has aged prematurely. Any thoughts?

    • McGonnagall is a tough ol’ boot. She could live to 200!!

      • Casey L.

        I agree – she’s awesome! It just seems to me, based on what we know, that she’s treated as being older than I would expect. Then again, maybe we don’t have enough information to work with, since the characters we know are closest to her in age (Flitwick and Sprout – are there any others?) are minor characters in comparison, so we don’t really get as much discussion of their ages as we do with McGonagall.

    • Cassandra1447

      According to HP Lexicon, from comment made by JKR in a Scholastic interview in 2000, wizards are supposed to have much longer lives than Muggles and she put McGonagall as being 70 around the time of Book 4/5. So I think that would put her closer to 90 today. Which shouldn’t be that old for wizards, especially as we see examples of wizards and witches of Dumbledore’s age being quite active.

      Maybe McGonagall saw the Potter/Weasley kids coming and said to herself…NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. Let them be someone else’s headache. Then she proceeded to go off and make advances in Transfigurations and generally enjoy herself.

  • Although Umbridge is a manipulative old hag who many people would love to kick up the bum until next week, I feel she’s very good for Harry.

    In this book we see Harry, who expects preferential treatment, if what subconsciously, loose it all because of Umbridge. What she teaches Harry is that you can’t have everything and there’re are consequences to your actions and behaviours. What she teaches Harry is that you have to be prepared for not being given everything, to fight your own battles and that you don’t have to do it alone, which up until this book Harry has always thought he’s been by himself.

    Overall, as much as we hate her, she teaches Harry some very valuable life lessons.

  • AccioPotassium!

    In this chapter, we see the high inquisitor reviewing her fellow teachers over their capabilities in the classroom. Our toad like professor seems to find many objections in Professor Trelawney’s teaching methods of the subject of divination, but I think we should review the subject matter instead of the teacher.

    Divination is the study of predicting the future by supernatural means. The class normally involves looking for relationships in everyday objects to find a deeper supernatural meaning behind the interactions of these objects. The problem with this class is that it seems to be built upon falsely concluded explanations of cause and effect. There seems to be no strong evidence to support any of the claims that these objects have an effect on the outcome of a person’s future in the seven novels. We only see real predictions when Professor Trelawney goes into a deep trance, and we know from Professor Trelawney that you have to be born with the gift of divination. If this is true, why even teach the subject in the first place? There are also two different kinds of divination, which seem to contradict each other. Centaur divination seems to be solely base on the night sky, while wizarding divination adds everyday objects to the process of predicting the future. Both of them are looking at the same mystic information, but they end up in completely different outcomes based on their untested “theories”. Divination seems to be a pseudoscience even in the wizarding world. So I think divination should not be part of the school’s curriculum because it doesn’t seem to be based on any credible information.

    • spellephant

      About being born with the gift of divination… perhaps the type of divination taught in classes, which utilizes objects like crystal balls and tea leaves, is something that a person can learn? Maybe the ability to go into a trance and make predictions is a rare gift, while others are able to learn to interpret information gleaned from divination objects without necessarily having a “gift”. Some students clearly have less natural talent for the subject than others, but it seems some can (theoretically) learn to tell the future with the help of tools.

      As for how accurate these tools are, that’s up for debate- maybe Trelawney can see the future in a tea cup, or maybe she just gets lucky. I don’t think human divination is necessarily in conflict with centaur divination though. The centaurs just seem to be more concerned with big picture stuff than everyday predictions.

      • AccioPotassium!

        I will have to disagree with you on centaur and wizard divination. In chapter twenty-seven of this book, we see an argument between Parvati and Firenze over the deeper meaning behind the position of Mars. Both parties seem to have different interpretation of the given position of Mars. The location of Mars could either mean an oncoming war, or people will have more accidents and burns in the future. It’s possible that both could be true at the same time, but it’s still a significant difference between the two methods. There also seems to be a strong negative opinion against the other party’s method of divination. We see Firenze deeply criticized human divination in chapter twenty-seven, where he called the practice “…human nonsense.”

  • AccioPotassium!

    It appears Harry’s false dreams seem to come true even though that they were complete fabrications of his imagination. This week’s false dream is no exception to this rule. Harry’s fake dream for this week is “Let’s say I dreamed I was … drowning Snape in my cauldron. Yeah, that’ll do…”

    This counterfeit dream could be foreshadowing the events of the sixth book. Harry seems to dive into the marvelous writing of the Half-blood prince, where he acquired the hidden knowledge of combining ingredients to form a deeper understanding of the people from his past and present. Unfortunately the mysterious author‘s hatred started to transfer upon Harry’s life, which leads to aggression with Draco in the abandon restroom. If we could consider a cauldron as Harry’s body of information, it would be almost like Harry is drowning the thoughts of the secretive person into his cauldron.

  • Elvis Gaunt

    Umbridge says, none of the previous DADA professors barring Quirrell would have passed the Ministry’s scrutiny. Why would Lockhart not pass. He too followe atheory centric curriculum with no practicals and he was not associated with Dumbledore before or after his brief teaching stint. Did she fear that the students would let loose Cornish pixies in the Ministry.

    • thegiantsquid

      Maybe she’s speaking retrospectively, with the awareness that he was a fraud. I’m not sure though.

  • the head girl

    Something that I keep meaning to bring up here but always forget is Professor Grubbly-Plank’s name. Could it be that she is our first example of a married professor? It’s possible, of course, that her parents hyphenated, but I like to think that the professor is progressive and took a double-barreled surname instead. I Googled around looking for more information on them and I found that starting in the 1920s, if a woman is “heir to an historic estate and marries, she keeps her last name and adds her husband’s in order to preserve the history of the estate.” We know that the Grubbly family isn’t among the “Sacred Twenty-Eight,” but perhaps they have some history elsewhere in the UK? Or maybe she thought Grubbly was too awesome of a last name to give up?

  • When Professor Grubbly-Plank isn’t teaching at Hogwarts, what exactly does she do?
    I’ve always wondered this. Is it possible that she does private teaching around the UK? Does she go in and out of retirement? Does she travel? Does she help Florean Fortescue make ice creams? Or does she just take it easy until Dumbledore calls on her again?

    • Ravenclawesome

      Interesting thoughts! Maybe she is the equivalent to a substitute teacher. She could have a family or a husband who makes enough money to support them without her needing a full-time job. Maybe she works with magical creatures in research or something, and this is her way of taking a break while still working with the subject…

    • I’ve always wondered this too! Her hair is grey, so it’s possible she’s retired. I think she’s too good of a teacher to do much else for a living. Her lesson plans are thought out, and she’s good with the students, I doubt that she’d be a flesh-eating slug farmer by trade. She’s had to have a lot of practice and we know she wasn’t the previous Care of Magical Creatures professor.

      Maybe Pottermore will shed some light on this.

    • Claire Marie

      Jobs for long term substitutes are very common in the world of education. These can be all kinds of people: people who are looking for full time employment but haven’t found it yet, people who are retired and were specifically asked to come on staff for a short amount of time, people who do not work (or want to work) full time but just want a little extra money, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me if Grubbly-Plank’s situation was one of those. I’m with surprisinglyswishy – I think its likely that she is retired. We know Dumbledore specifically asks her to come as a favor and that she is “glad to do it” so I don’t think she is seeking other employment or has another job.

    • Cassandra1447

      Maybe she works at a Wizarding animal sanctuary or the magical equivalent of a vet hospital? Or she might even just be a field biologist who spends most of her time studying animals but is willing to teach for short periods?

  • madame_lestrange

    I don’t think that Umbridge is trying to get information from Trelawney in relation to the prophecy or anything related to Lord Voldemort but I definitely think that she is trying to extract information related to Dumbledore. Whether it be through her own initiative or on the orders of Fudge, Umbridge wants to be able to discredit Dumbledore and is hoping to get dirt on him through the teachers. The fact that Trelawney has been teaching at the school for quite some time and her tendency to be a tad, uhm, spacier than other professors makes her the ideal target for Umbridge’s recon work.

  • Claire Marie

    Random questions: What happens if Trelawney (or someone else who is a Seer) makes a prediction but no one is around to hear it? Is the prediction still recorded and kept in the Hall of the Prophecy? Is there a trace on Seers or else the magic of predictions that automatically records the prediction anytime it is made? Who places the records of the predictions into the Hall of the Prophecy? Is the person the prediction was made to ever required to testify on behalf of the Seer? What if that person mishears the prediction, would the record then be inaccurate? How did the prediction Trelawney made to Harry in PoA be recorded? Or was it ever recorded at all? Do we think Trelawney has actually made more than two predictions and that no one has just been around to hear them? Also, is it possible that Seers, just like people in other careers, have a specialty? Both of the predictions we see Trelawney make are about Voldemort – are the events surrondingV Voldemort her specialty? Let me know what y’all think!

    • I guess this is why it’s called the Department of Mysteries.

      These are great questions, though! Hopefully we get some answers on Pottermore.

      • Claire Marie

        Haha touche! I hope we get some answers! You know Jo already knows how it works – she may as well share that information with us!

        • Really! I’ve wondered most of these things before, too, and she has to have some sort of system for it. She should tell us about Trelawney’s great-great grandmother while she’s at it. She’s the only seer ever mentioned in the series who had at least some control of (or at least knowledge about) her abilities.

    • AccioPotassium!

      These are some rather interesting questions, and I’ll try to answer some of them. I don’t think it’s possible for a prediction to be given without anybody in the room to hear it. I feel the purpose of a seer is to transfer the hidden prediction to those who only need to hear the secret message. In the case of the chosen one, Albus Dumbledore and Professor Snape needed to hear the prophecy for the events of the next seventeen years to come true. The prediction would have never been given without the two members of Hogwarts overhearing the prophecy.

      The prophecies are probably stored in the department of mysteries in a process similar to how memories are extracted for the use in a pensieve. The person who overheard the prophecy would have to give their memory of the prophecy to the Ministry of Magic, in which the memory will be stored in one of the thousands of white orbs in the department of mysteries.The orbs would be able to replay the unknown prophecy to those that were involved in the prediction of the future. This would insure an accurate recording of the impending future. This would hold true, unless the memories were changed by an unlawful person.

      • spellephant

        That’s an interesting point, that the right people have to hear s prophecy for it to come true. Could it be that these people’s presence or certain situations spark the Seer to (subconsciously) make the prophecy? Perhaps the magical universe utilizes Seers in order to spark certain events into action?

        I do wonder if the prophecies might be automatically recorded, though. Maybe the Department of Mysteries has a process similar to Hogwarts’ method of keeping track of magical children, and the prophecies just appear there after being made. It just seems like a huge amount of work, for one thing, to have to record and label every prophecy ball. Plus some people might not even register their prophecy with the department. It also seems like, if Dumbledore didn’t want Voldemort to ever get the prophecy, he could have just decided not to register it and place it in the DoM. I think they just get recorded there automatically.

  • Hermione Evens

    I do not think that Pansy’s comment towards Angelina was racism. Racism is the belief that All members of a a race have certain traits that make the inferior or superior. Pansy’s comment was directed towards Angelina, and no other person. Also pansy would have never thought this about Angelina if she was a pure blood slytherin. Racism requires the belief to be a general one towards all members of the race. Regardless of blood, in the wizarding world’s case. Furthermore, I think that Mrs. Rowling didn’t intend for this comment to make the slyherin house racist. Pansy simply needed an insult and decided on the braid aspect if her appearance. If Angelina was white and sporting a brunette pony tail it would probably make her look like a ugly boy ( ( in Pansy’s eyes) or something of that sort.

  • Sycamore Combustion

    This chapter quickly turned into an exercise in frustration with Harry . Because of his pride we find the injustice of Umbridge’s detentions have become acceptable as a consequence of Harry going it alone rather than addressing it. harry’s injuries are more keen and visible with this chapter’s detention, despite the description of this weeks “inscription,” the consequence is that if Umbridge can get away with it, her techniques become more brazen-it’s something she just does-then something she can inflict upon the student body as a matter of course, all because no one spoke up-not even Hermione. Had Hagrid returned as expected, this would have reached the Headmaster’s ear right away-instead, . . .

    Instead, good characters do nothing before things get out of hand. So where was Dumbledore? He hits a nail on the head by immediately defending Trawlaney yet is he that clueless about Harry? -Grrrr.

    Further, THe Daily Prophet grows in crafted propaganda as reported news, where anyone percieved as contrary to the Ministry, like Madame Marchbanks, had or has subversive tie that have just been discovered, reminding us that your Ministry is here to protect you.

    Really interesting thoughts on Narcissa. I doubt that she said I’ll only marry a Death-Eater, she just gets what she wants. In true ring fashion, Narrcissa loyalty is to her son, like Lilly-and like Lilly’s love, Narcissa’s love for Draco also contributes to Voldy’s undoing by placing Voldy into a sense of false security . . . except we don’t know this yet and she doesn’t die.

    Willy-nilly grading is probably JKR’s comment about the educational system After all, passing tests is what school is all about, and grades are its utilitarian topping. “O” levels as a standard can likely be found at AP/college prep schools in the U.S-that’s the theory, anyway. Perhaps it is not the grading that is the problem but it’s vulnerability to abuse that we find suspect.

    Despite Umbridge’s emphasis on standards and Ministry conformity, her clipboard questions are different for every Professor or as she would say, tailored to each instructor’s unique talents. Is this her use of the principle of shifting principles? Trawlany is Umbridge’s key for evidence of Dumbldore’s continuing incompetence and the urgent need for the surprise decree. In short, Dumbledore needs to be “standardized”.