Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 111

Hermione and Harry find themselves in over their heads in this chapter, first with centaurs and then with Grawp. We want to know how YOU would have written it! The question is as follows:

We’ve presented a few options (on Episode 111) for how to revise this chapter in regard to the actions taken in the forest, citing uncharacteristic moves by main characters and potentially unnecessary events. Some of our suggested changes included Grawp’s involvement, Hermione’s choices, changing the actions of the centaurs, and even Umbridge. Even the Order of the Phoenix film has presented an alternative. If you could present an alternative way to make these events play out, maintaining Rowling’s flair for twists and recalling plot elements, would you utilize any of the suggestions presented? In what other ways could you tie everything together to get Harry and Hermione out of the forest and reunite the “Dream Team”?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tune in next week to see if your ideas are discussed on the show!

  • Saiyangirl

    I struggle with this question of the week, as I personally do not view any of the characters’ actions as uncharacteristic, nor do I view any events (e.g. Grawp’s involvement) as unnecessary (I explained both in my comments on this episode I think, so I will not repeat myself here except by simply stating that Hermione is able to lose her head under pressure, not completely without bias towards centaurs, and that I don’t see how anyone other than Grawp could have saved Harry & Hermione in this situation). Of course, coming up with alternatives is always possible, but most likely not without significantly altering the story- plus, I feel the events in this chapter actually worked out perfectly, and require no alternative.

    If I had to pick an alternative, I’d have Hermione lead Umbridge to Snape, claiming that Dumbledore hid “the weapon” right under the potion master’s nose. However Snape would have responded, this would have drastically changed the story- it might even have prevented Sirius’ death if Snape had realised the urgency and knocked Umbridge out for Harry and Hermione and actually listened to them. But this alternative, I feel, would be utterly out of character, as no matter how smart Hermione is, she too can lose her head. In addition to that, none of the trio are wired to trust Snape- Hermione often does defend Snape, but when it comes down to her having to use her guts rather than her intellect, I don’t believe she genuinely trusts him; having her come up with the centaur solution fits perfectly in my mind. And of course, Snape’s reaction would be very unpredictable- but if Hermione had been able to remain cool-headed, she might have been able to explain the situation calmly (as long as Harry kept his mouth shut). Sort of wish this alternative could happen, as I wanted Sirius to live, but I don’t think this is feasible with any of the characters’ personalities. And the whole tragedy of Sirius his death is, in the end, the amount of people who have indirectly played a part in his untimely demise by forgetting mirrors, losing their head, only thinking of the greater good, etc. *now goes to cry in a corner*

  • WizardorWhat

    If Hermione had kept her head, she’d have either taken Umbridge straight to Grawp, or not insulted the centaurs. After they’d escaped and met back up with Luna/Ginny/Neville/Ron, Hermione would have persuaded Harry to go back to the castle to either find Snape or go back into Umbridge’s fireplace and take floo powder straight to Grimauld Place. There’s no way a cool-headed Hermione would have accepted the thestrals as the best option – they’re going to take ages to fly to London!

    But I don’t think there’s anything out of character in Hermione sometimes keeping her head, and sometimes losing it. There’s plenty of examples in the books – she was brilliant in all of her exams except her 3rd year DADA exam when she panicked in the face of Boggart-McGonagall. Same with the devil’s snare in book 1 (‘there’s no wood!’). By making Hermione’s reactions varied, Rowling’s made Hermione a character rather than a plot device – I don’t think this is a plot hole.

  • I’m no story teller so I’ll leave the elaborate plans to folks who know what they’re doing … I like Saiyangirl’s idea to take Umbridge to Snape! But I just wanted to point out that I think Hermione taking Umbridge to Grawp would have been another bad decision. Hermione probably thought about it but then realized that if Umbridge sees Grawp and makes the connection to Hagrid then (as long as she lives which really I was saying good riddens to her by this point) when she gets back to the Ministry, she’s got another reason to “punish” Hagrid or more fuel on the fire of her half-breed mania that would lead to suffering for Hagrid. We’ve established that Hermione and Hagrid have a good relationship and even thought he can be annoying, she cares for him. So taking Umbridge to Grawp would have really caused more problems for Hagrid. By going the opposite way in the forest , she may have been intentionally avoiding him and trusting that he could not break his tethers to meet them in another part of the forest.

    I see it as a rather good plot (again no story teller here). Hagrid’s got another one of his mothering projects but he needs help from the trio. They meet Grawp and in the process meet the centaurs and learn key things about their unwillingness to hurt innocents. Harry has a crisis and Hermione has to think fast. Hermione’s mind goes to a recent event! Not Grawp because that will get Hagrid in trouble but the centaurs to deal with the adult and let them as young go. Makes sense to me (and then Grawp happens to come investigate but only after Umbridge has already been carried off). And remember, Hermione had about 2 seconds to think up what she would do before Umbridge crucio’ed Harry. I think in the heat of the moment it was a rather good plan with some fallbacks but what plans don’t have fallbacks? And who doesn’t lose their head every once in a while?

  • TickleThePear

    I’ve never joined the discussion before, but I felt inspired by this week’s question of the week! Hope you all enjoy this version of the chapter I dreamed up 🙂

    Harry could barely keep up with Hermione as she strode
    across the grounds towards the forest. Though she seemed confident enough,
    Harry had no idea where this plan of hers was leading except into the darkness
    between the trees.

    “We’re headed to the forest?” Umbridge asked from a few
    steps behind them.

    “Yes, deep in the forest,” said Hermione, “away from where
    anyone could stumble across by mistake. He – it – is too dangerous to keep
    out in the open.”

    They neared the edge of the forest and plunged into the
    darkness. Harry reflected on all the times he ventured into the forest and was
    unable to recall many fond memories. The forest was home to all sorts of
    magical creatures, the friendliest of which were probably the centaurs who had
    saved him from Voldemort in his first year but even they seemed highly
    territorial. There were also unicorns, thestrals, hippogriffs, all creatures
    Hagrid had introduced them to during Care of Magical Creatures, but he knew
    more ominous creatures were rumored to call the forest their home as well.

    Hermione seemed to have no thought for this as she thundered
    through the underbrush. She barely broke pace as she plunged off the pathway
    tearing through low hanging branches and treading on crunchy leaves and twigs.
    Umbridge panted loudly behind them and Harry couldn’t help but feel they were
    making rather a lot of noise; they were bound to attract the attention of
    someone or something soon.

    “Hermione,” Harry hissed, but she couldn’t hear him over her
    shoulder.

    Suddenly Harry had a horrible realization. They were headed
    towards the clearing where Hagrid kept Grawp.

    “Hermione!” he shouted. “Are you sure you know where you’re
    going? I really thought the weapon was back the other way.”

    Hermione didn’t slow but yelled back to him, “No, no I’m
    sure it’s this way. Hagrid was the last one to take us to it, remember?” She
    looked pointedly back at him. Harry widened his eyes and mouthed “What are
    you doing?” But Hermione caught his eye and mouthed “Go with it,” before
    pushing onward. Umbridge was busy watching her footing and didn’t see.

    Harry couldn’t see how taking Umbridge to Grawp was going to
    help. Grawp was just as likely to tear her apart as them. Hee didn’t have much
    time to contemplate any more horrible scenarios before they emerged into Grawp’s
    clearing.

    He was seated with his back to them. To his horror, Hermione
    shouted out to him.

    “HI GRAWP!”

    Harry’s eyes darted between Umbridge’s look of horror and
    the slowly rising form of Grawp. Larger and larger his form grew as he stood to
    his full height and rotated around to face them.

    “HERMY,” Grawp thundered.

    Umbridge looked as though her legs had turned to stone. She
    stood rooted to the spot, her jaw slightly agape, neck tilted back to take in
    the form of Grawp towering above them. Though she held her wand tightly in
    front of her she seemed incapable of uttering a spell in the face of the giant.

    “Grawp!” Hermione spoke strongly and clearly. “Friends!” she
    yelled, pointing at herself and at Harry.

    “FER-ENDZ,” Grawp growled, nodding in agreement. Hermione
    pointed to Umbridge, but Grawp was turning away from them. “GROG, FER-END,” he
    rumbled as he bent over.

    Hermione shot a confused look at Harry, who was just as
    bewildered.

    Grawp straightened up and turned, holding out his hand, palm
    up to show Harry and Hermione a monstrous, hairy spider with milky white eyes
    blinking down at them. “GROG, FER-END,” Grawp thundered again.

    “Aragog?” Harry gasped, but his recognition was lost amidst
    Umbridge’s scream of terror as she found her voice at last.

    “A gaint?!” she shrieked. “A giant and an acromantula!? Crucio!” she shouted and a jet of light
    erupted from her wand headed towards Grawp. Grawp barely flinched as the spell
    hit him and ricocheted off through the trees into the darkness.

    “No!” Hermione looked panicked as the clearing descended
    into chaos. “He’s Hagrid’s brother! Don’t hurt him! Don’t hurt him!”

    Umbridge shot Hermione a horror-stricken look, a maniacal
    gleam in her eyes. “His brother? I knew he was a half-breed! Filthy monster!
    Abomination!”

    Aragog hissed in anger at the accusations Umbridge was
    making and leapt out of Grawp’s hand even as Grawp made to snatch him from the
    air.

    “You shall not insult our Hagrid!” Aragog’s odd clicking
    voice echoed through the clearing as he scuttled towards Umbridge who was still
    shooting spells at the spider. Suddenly, Aragog’s eight-legged kin seemed to
    emerge from all around them. Harry grabbed Hermione out of the way and darted
    out of the clearing. They ducked behind a fallen tree trunk and peered over the
    top as the scene unfolded.

    Grawp was swiping aside spiders trying to re-claim Aragog.
    As spiders flew through the air, Umbridge’s wand was still shooting jets of
    light in every direction. Occasionally one connected and a spider fell,
    motionless, to the forest floor. Aragog and Grawp seemed too powerfully magical
    or too thick-skinned to be affected by the spells Umbridge cast.

    Finally, the spiders overwhelmed her. Harry watched,
    sickened, as her toad-like face was lost amidst hairy legs and beady eyes. The
    wave of spiders took off into the forest, carrying their prize.

    Grawp attempted to run after them but was caught by the
    ropes around his waist. He lurched back and was pulled to the ground where he
    sat, reaching sadly towards the trunks where Aragog’s family had disappeared.

    “GROG!” He wailed into the darkness.

    Hermione rose behind him, but Harry grabbed her arm. “Hermione,
    no! Let’s just get out of here!” he hissed.

    “It’s fine, Harry. He won’t hurt me. He knows me now that I’ve
    been to visit him.”

    “You’ve what?”

    “A handful of times,” she admitted. “ I couldn’t bear the
    thought of letting down Hagrid. I taught him a few words, but not much more. He
    won’t hurt me.” She shrugged off Harry’s arm and walked into the clearing.

    “Grawp?” The giant looked up, his woeful eyes shiny with
    tears. “Aragog, friend?” Hermione asked. Grawp nodded. Harry stood up and
    joined Hermione in the clearing, holding his wand tightly by his side. The pair
    approached the seated giant.

    “Just like his brother apparently,” Harry whispered. “Befriending
    Aragog.”

    “At least Aragog was an appropriately sized pet for Grawp,
    unlike Hagrid,” Hermione whispered back. “Grawp?” she asked. “Harry and I are
    still your friends.”

    “Hermy? Fer-end?”

    Hermione nodded and smiled at the giant. “We have to go now,
    but we can come back later. Ok?”

    “Back?” the giant asked.

    “Yes, we’ll come back.”

    “Hagger?”

    “Maybe Hagrid too, yes.”

    Grawp smiled, and amazingly, reached out a giant forefinger
    which Hermione touched gently.

    “Bye, Grawp,” she said and turned to go. “Come on, Harry, we
    need to get back to the castle to get the others.”

    Harry was at a loss for words as he and Hermione proceeded more
    cautiously back to the castle. After a few minutes they were nearing the edge
    when they heard voices through the trees.

    “That was a good one, Ginny. Nicely done.” It was Luna’s
    voice.

    “Thank you, Luna. Your casting was well done too. Thanks for
    helping us escape.”

    “Where do you think they got to?” that was Neville’s voice
    now.

    “No idea,” said Ron, “but hopefully they didn’t get too far.”

    “Ron!” Hermione shouted into the woods and started towards
    the voices.

    “Hermione?” Ron answered. In moments they’d found each other
    and Ginny explained how they’d overcome the Inquisitorial Squad and escaped the
    castle to come find them.

    “What happened to Umbridge?” Neville asked.

    Hermione looked sideways at Harry.

    “We took Umbridge to see a – a – mutual friend of Hagrid’s
    and ours,” Harry looked pointedly at Ron who got the hint and smiled. “But,
    while we were there, these spiders attacked her. They carried her off. I’m not
    sure where they took her.” Ron’s smile turned sour and the color drained from
    his face as he imagined being carried off by Aragog’s family. His first
    encounter with the spiders had been memorable for him and not in a good way.

    “I didn’t mean for her to get carried off, I don’t know what
    I meant to happen.” Hermione looked distraught. “I was just making it up as I
    went, I couldn’t let her torture you, Harry, I couldn’t!” Her voice cracked. “I
    just wanted to get her away from the rest of you, I wasn’t thinking!”

    “It’s not your fault, Hermione,” Ron said. “None of us had a
    plan at all.” Hermione let out a sob and Ron looked at Harry for reinforcement.

    “We can’t worry about that now, we have to get to the Ministry,”
    Harry said. “It’s been hours, we need to go now.”

    “We’re coming with you,” Ginny said.

    “No,” Harry turned to her, Luna and Neville. “Thank you for
    helping Ron get away, but I don’t know what we’re heading into, we need to get
    there fast and unnoticed, and a group of six of us will be obvious.”

    “Harry,” Neville looked determined. “We’re coming. This is what
    the DA was supposed to be for. Or was that all a game?”

    Harry didn’t want to argue the point, he needed to get
    going, but how were they going to get there? He opened his mouth to address
    Neville when light flooded over them.

    “What the – ?” Ron shielded his eyes then whooped with
    delight. “Harry! The car! Dad’s car!”

    The Ford Anglia emerged from the trees and trundled up to
    Ron. He put his hand out and patted the hood in astonishment. The car revved
    happily at his touch.

    “Everyone in! This is how we can get to the Ministry!” Ron
    said.

    “Are you out of your mind? Remember what happened last time you
    and Harry flew the car long-distance?” Hermione asked Ron. Ron bit his lip and
    turned to the car.

    “What do you think, car? Up for a long journey?” The car
    waggled its side-view mirrors in unmistakable delight, revving it’s engine
    again.

    “Good enough for me,” Ron said. “Let’s go!”

    Neville, Luna, and Ginny moved first to pile into the back
    of the car, which had flung its doors open to admit them. Harry was too eager
    to get to the Ministry. Against his better judgment, he circled around to the
    passenger side, got in, and buckled up.

    • Luna LoveDuck

      Yay for your first comment, especially because it’s AMAZING!

      • TickleThePear

        Oh yay! Thank you!

  • SiriusPotty

    In your discussion, firstly you mentioned that some of the characters are acting out of character. I don’t think that they did. With Hermione, I think it’s just that our expectations of her are always so high to pull it out of the bag and always find the best solution but there have to be times when she drops the ball and is just an out of control teenager (I of course use the term ‘out of control’ loosely, even in her weakest moments she still has it together more than most). I think it also gives her credibility and adds a realism to the story as a whole. Yes, we do assume that in tight spots that Hermione will save the day, but if we don’t have those times where we remember that she didn’t, then we wouldn’t have a real sense of fear of what will happen in times of danger.
    Also with Harry, I think you already said on the show that part of the reason why he didn’t want Ginny, Luna and Neville to go is that he would be responsible for even more people. I don’t think its really about distrust or not thinking them worthy to come along but really that deep down Harry knows it has to be just ‘him and Voldemort’ – I guess what the prophecy states. Even though he wants Ron and Hermione to come with him, I think he’s just more comfortable with this dynamic and that they’ve been in situations like this before.
    Anyway back to the question at hand, I do think that the Forest could have been avoided altogether. I think that even though I know you guys hate Snape, I really believe he could have helped, even with his completely unhelpful manner. Hermione could have said that there is a weapon, but that they didn’t know where it was but Snape did. This is of course discounting that Snape ever came to Umbridges office and Harry, Hermione and Umbridge then go to Snape’s instead. I realise this possibly makes the whole situation even more uncertain than what happened in the Forest, but if Harry gave Snape his cryptic message in this different setting, I’m sure Snape would come up with something (if nothing else, then nobody could deny that Snape is resourceful!) I could even imagine Snape somehow incapacitating Umbridge: although she is a dangerous woman I don’t think she is a very skilful dueller like our home girl McGonagall or Bellatrix. If Snape could stun Umbridge and maybe use a memory charm on her to wipe the fact that he knocked her out (woohoo!) then he could check that Sirius is alive. This could be a bit of a stretch, but this is Voldemort we are talking about and although Snape couldn’t give a rats fart about Sirius, he promised to protect Harry.
    Failing this elaborate plan, I guess if plans worked out the same as they before and the Dream team all found themselves in the Forest again and without Thestrals, they could always make it to Hogsmead and catch the Knightsbus to London. Although impractical, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work and it could even be quicker than using Thestrals!
    Love the show as always, keep it up!

  • RoseLumos

    I love circle theory, so I think it would be interesting if Hermione lead us out the castle and to the Shrieking Shack. There are a few ways this would work. First, the Whomping Willow could get Umbridge, especially since Harry and Hermione know how to make the branches freeze. They could get close enough to it to either scare her away or hurt Umbridge enough to get her out of the picture while Harry and Hermione escape. If this doesn’t work, they could take Umbridge to the Shrieking Shack. There is really nothing in there to get Umbridge away, but they could always blast a hole in the wall and run into Hogsmeade, where they could find a fire to either try contacting Sirius again or to go directly to the Ministry. Ron also knows about the Shrieking Shack. Maybe he could have seen them walking to the Whomping Willow and figured out the plan. Who knows, maybe Snape would even see them and come to their rescue? I am sure there are more possibilities with the Shrieking Shack but I would love to see another connection between Order and Prisoner. In fact, wouldn’t it be sad if we first met Sirius and then experience the beginning of his death in the same location?

    • Luna LoveDuck

      Yay, what an amazing idea! I’m also a big fan of circle theory, and I had been struggling to come up with feasible connections. Shrieking Shack and Whomping Willow is a really cool option, lots of potential for lots of different outcomes. I hope your comment is read on the next episode so everyone can bask in this awesomeness 🙂

  • AccioPotassium!

    I would keep everything until Hagrid’s little brother joined the party in the woods.

    Just as the centaurs were about to attack our heroes, a loud rumbling sound was steadily approaching from the dark forest. The group of centaurs hesitated for a few moments. The rumbling sound increase in volume and suddenly two streams of bright lights emerge from the shadowy forest. The centaurs fled the scene because of fears of Mars being a little too bright. The Ford Angular emerged from the forest and landed beside our heroes with hundreds of fallen leaves and twigs. After a few seconds, the car’s side doors flung open with a loud bang, and a rather squeaky voice shouted from inside.

    “Come with me if you want to live!”

    Without hesitation, our heroes jumped into the Ford Angular. Once inside, the automobile took off immediately into the moonlit forest, traveling through countless slicing tree branches, and with a final burst of energy, the car appeared from above the forbidden forest. Once the car was flying peacefully towards the Hogwarts grounds, Harry’s attention turned to the small elfish creature driving the flying car.

    Both Hermione and Harry where completely shocked of this seemly unpredictable encounter. Before they could ask any of their questions, Dobby began to speak. Dobby went on to explain how he’d noticed them walking into the woods with the most hated headmistress, and how he’d desperately went running through the castle to reach them. However, once Dobby finally reached the Hogwarts grounds, Harry and Hermione were long gone into the forest. Dobby thought all hope was lost, but this hopelessness didn’t last very long because a light blue car came bursting through the forest. The front door slammed open, and a man who appeared to have a misshapen face came jumping out of the car. Dobby recognized this man to be the world famous Ludo Bagman from the Triwizard tournament of last year. It was commonly believed that the famous beater went into hiding after the third task, but apparently Ludo was living in the forbidden forest to avoid his many unpaid debts. Ludo Bagman was barely surviving in the dangerous forest, but today he was luckily able to find some bird eggs for a wizard omelet. This image all ended when he tried to climb up a tree beside a large body of rocks. Unfortunately, this pile of rocks turned out to be a living giant, and after some near misses, he escaped while accidentally running into a strange flying vehicle. Ludo passed the car keys to Dobby, and Dobby went recklessly driving off into the forbidden forest.

    After Dobby’s little story, Harry had an idea. Harry asked Dobby if they could borrow the Ford Angular so they could go to the Ministry of Magic. To Harry’s utter surprise, Dobby explained that he already had plans to go to the Ministry of Magic tonight. Dobby continue to explain that the house elf revolution was going to start tonight, and he and about one hundred house elves were planning on meeting at the leaky caldron to discuss their new constitution. He went on to say that Hermione’s hand knitted hats were the main reason for this uprising, and they were planning on sending thousands of hats all across London to every single house elf.
    The ford angular finally landed outside the forbidden forest, where they found the rest of the dream team waiting for them. After some saving people arguments from the chosen one and some strange commentary from the mind of Luna Lovegood, the dream team flew across the country.

  • daveybjones999 .

    This is my first ever comment on one of these because it’s the first time that I had an answer that hadn’t already been suggested.

    When they first start leaving the school Umbridge thinks they’re going to Hagrid’s hut, but Hermione says it’s in the forest. I would have had them actually go into Hagrid’s hut. Hermione, knowing which cupboard Hagrid keeps his spare copies of The Monster Book of Monsters in, would instruct Umbridge that it was in there. As the books attack her, Harry and Hermione are able to physically overpower and knock Umbridge out.

    They would then go back up to Umbridge’s room where they arrive just in time to watch the rest of the Dream Team take out the Inquisitorial Squad. They argue a bit and then use floo powder to travel to the Ministry of Magic. Snape, arriving just in time to see them use the floor network, would travel to Grimmauld Place. The rest of the book would go on the same as before but the Order would arrive a lot earlier to help the dream team out. Unfortunately however, Sirius would still die.

    • RoseLumos

      Good idea! Welcome to the comment section!

  • hg

    As I think that Hermione’s behaviour was both justified and in character and the story made sense this way, I wouldn’t have changed it. Also, give Hermione some credit, please! She was under pressure and didn’t have much time, because Umbridge wanted to torture Harry. And she was the only one, who thought of anything!

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    If I was in Hermione (or Jo’s) position, I would probably have done something similar. Leading Umbridge into the forest hoping she will conveniently get lost, while it sounds rather naive in retrospect, was actually pretty smart of Hermione. I think she was banking on any type of creature coming to their aid in the forest and I think it was a good approach. She is getting Umbridge away from the other students and knows that there is a good chance something bad will happen in the forest (something bad always seems to happen in the forest…). The only part of this I would change would be he way Hermione reacts to the centaurs after they take Umbrdige away. While it does lead into the Grawp plot, it is a character flaw for Hermione who normally seems extra cautious about saying things that are offensive like that.

  • MinervaLupin

    First of all, I would cut out the whole Grawp thing. I really do not care for him and think he is just filler space. Other than that, I would have Hermione do her bit with Umbridge and the centaurs as well as having Ron and the others do the same thing to escape the Slytherins.

    What I would have done is having Snape somehow see Ron and the other members of the DA go into the Forbidden Forest and follow them in. He would then hide in the shadows of the trees and wait in order to see what sort of plan Harry had concocted. Just before they would all take off, Snape would slink out from the shadows and stop their departure in the surest way possible; irritate Harry in his special Snape way. There would have been enough time for him to have contacted the Order to verify if Sirius was indeed home or not. Whether Harry would believe him or not, is another story but I would really think it interesting if Snape had been involved in the mix

  • Luna LoveDuck

    Personally, I would have skipped the forest altogether. I am one of those who think that Grawp is unnecessary and could have been removed from the book altogether. As for the centaurs, that’s just so dangerous! I agree with everyone in this discussion who defends Hermione’s plan, it was certainly better than nothing and the best she could think of on the spot. But just to keep the students away from the unpredictable threat that is the entire forest, I would have loved it if the escape from Umbridge could have stayed within the castle. Another reason I want to get away from the forest is to avoid the thestrals… I agree with the point made on the show that magical thestral navigation seems to have no explanation other than helping move the plot along.

    So instead, try something in the castle! Maybe lead her to the kitchens and manage to escape while Umbridge is bombarded with solicitous house elves offering treats? Or maybe that could have led them to Dobby’s assistance in some way? Another option could have been The Room of Requirement… What would The Room provide if it was told “We need a place to get rid of Umbridge”? In the end, Harry and Hermione ditch Umbridge and get back to the office just in time to find the rest of the Dream Team hexing the Squad. Dream Team locks themselves in the office with the Slytherins banging on the door, which is why Harry is still pressured into letting Neville and Ginny and Luna come along, cuz they’re all trapped there together. And they all Floo over to Grimauld Place! (They fly right out the front door and never run into Sirius, who is still tending Buckbeak. Extra sad, narrowly missed connection!) Whoot!

    • RoseLumos

      Your comment gave me an idea – what if Umbridge somehow ended up in the Vanishing Cabinet? It makes an appearance which is a set up for the next book but it would have been interesting as a set up for later in this book. The only downfall of it would be Hermione, who seems to be upset about the student who was forced into it. She would be too ethical to send Umbridge into nothingness. Also, if Jo did use the Vanishing Cabinet in this book it wouldn’t have been such an exciting reveal later in Half Blood Prince.

      • Luna LoveDuck

        Oh, what a cool idea! And I like the fact that it might have made Hermione feel some hesitance or remorse about what happened to Umbridge, That would have gone nicely with the recurring them of shades of gray and blurred lines when it comes to justice and good vs bad. Yes Umbridge is obviously bad, but does anybody ever deserve to be forced into a Vanishing Cabinet they might not escape from? I like the idea of the characters grappling with that. One of the other things I dislike about the way things go down in the forest is the fact that whatever happens with the centaurs is obviously incredibly traumatic, and yet Umbridge is just laughed at and considered to have gotten what she deserved. I agreed with your comments on the main site about the dark undertones implied by that whole situation. But then I think it’s even more disturbing that everyone takes it so lightly after the fact, when she’s in the hospital and has clearly been through something serious. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I really like the Vanishing Cabinet idea! Gave me an “oh snap!” reaction that I had to keep all bottled up because I read your comment at my desk at work 🙂

  • ISeeThestrals

    The goal of this chapter was to have a way for Harry and Hermione to ditch
    Umbridge so they could be on their way. It has to be something quick and effective.
    I thought about two ways this could happen. The first keeps the scenario of Hermione
    leading Umbridge down to the forest to meet the centaurs. Despite my feelings
    on Grawp, I would have cut him out of the story altogether, but with Grawp
    gone, they need a way to attract enough thestrals. In this case, Umbridge could
    have stirred up the centaurs enough to cause a bit of a battle where Harry and
    Hermione get injured enough to bleed. Afterwards I would not have had Hermione
    accidentally insult the centaurs. They would take Umbridge away, given the two
    a warning about entering their forest again, then the events would have played
    out as J.K Rowling had written. However, I did think of a way to keep the
    events within Hogwarts, with the use of the Room of Requirements.

    I doubt the room was written to be able to trap a person within its walls, but if I had
    changed the scene to fit, I would have added this possible issue with the room.
    Hermione could explain to Umbridge that they were working on the weapon in the
    room where they had their meetings. After traveling down to its location, the
    room could provide a trap which Hermione desperately needed. Possibly it would
    provide what appeared to be a weapon, but when Umbridge got close, it would
    contain her, leaving Harry and Hermione to escape and meet up with Ginny,
    Neville, and Luna who have beaten Umbridge’s faithful servants. From there, they
    would use the fireplace to Floo to the ministry. Using the Room of Requirements
    here would circle back to the fact that they first used this room to fight against
    Umbridge’s regime, and now it has become her downfall. But it is also the place
    where Harry and Hermione met with these three unlikely characters to become the
    dream team who are hopefully now ready for battle after much training within this
    room. This room has begun the process of uniting those who’ve for the most part
    remained separated from others and are now gathered together to fight for an
    important cause, which has become a major theme of the 5th book.

  • SpinnersEnd

    What if they had taken Umbridge back to the Room of Requirement? She already knows there’s a room there, so it would be easy to lead her back to that hallway and pace in front of the portrait thinking “I need a way distract Umbridge so we can get away”.

    Or, for that matter, why couldn’t Harry have used the Room of Requirement to contact Sirius? “I need a way to contact Sirius Black without Umbridge knowing,” would most likely have been an effective way to tackle this problem. It might have been a fireplace or something else entirely

    • norwegian_ridgeback

      I also thought that Hermione could have led Umbridge to the Room of
      Requirement! If Hermione thought “I need a room that traps the first one
      who enters it”, I’m sure the room would have come up with a solution
      🙂 And then Hermione could say in a spiteful way that she or Harry
      should enter first so they could activate the weapon to attack Umbridge,
      that way she could try to manipulate Umbridge into wanting to enter the
      room first.

      And I really like your idea of Harry using the room to contact Sirius! I guess the Room of Requiremet could be used as a solution to a lot of problems in the series, but it might feel like an “esay fix”..
      Also, I wonder how far you could stretch the magic of the room – for instance, if Harry had known about it in Goblet of fire, could he have thought “I need a room that contains the answer to what the first task will be”? I don’t really think so, but it’s certainly an interesting line of thought…

      This is my first comment on Alohomora by the way! Greetings from Norway 🙂

      • RoseLumos

        Welcome to Alohomora! You really have a perfect username!

        • norwegian_ridgeback

          Thank you! I remember when I first read Philosopher’s Stone – I thought it was so funny that Hagrid had a Norwegian dragon 🙂
          I’ve been listening to alohomora since 2012 and read the discussions, but never commented before.

  • DisKid

    haha I think I already answered this on the episode page! I would not change this chapter at all. I love Umbridge getting what’s coming to her.