Subject: re: 5.21 Lord Harry Potter and the Consequences Authoritarians Face for the Choices They Make
Posted on: 2024-06-20 12:54:44 UTC

Oh, this was an excellent action scene to open on! I was trying to wrack my brain on how the scene had gone in canon, and checking just now, it was really just Harry taking the Trip Jinx from Draco. So yes, I love your fight scene, awful though it is to see the Inquisitorial Squad attacking other students. (Seeing the Patil twins on opposite sides of the conflict is particularly painful, despite how little page time they’ve had in both canon and Heirs of Avalon; I guess I hate to think that twins have grown up so ideologically opposed to each other to wind up in a fight like this?) And speaking of twins, I love the quick detail that Fred and George have become so knowledgeable of Hogwarts’s layout, that they even knew of a secret passage in and out of the Room of Requirement. And Neville learning a form of spell he’s proficient at, involving a magic plant, of course, is quite satisfying to see!

Dumbledore goes so hard in the scene in his office. It was one thing in canon, where he saw his name on the Dumbledore’s Army paper and seized on it as an opportunity to take the blame. But in this chapter, he just goes for it, absolutely concocts his own evil!Dumbledore fanfiction plot on the spot. And cramming that last bit of, “Draco, I totally bank-robbed you, mua ha ha” was so unexpected and random I could barely move past it, it was just too funny! (I guess that was Dumbledore giving Draco an excuse to Lucius for all the potions he had bought for Luna throughout the year?)

The argument and break-up between Harry and Qiu was inevitable, and I’m glad they finally reached that point and got it over with. It was an excellent fight, they both got their digs in, they made the other people in the room hilariously uncomfortable (have fun falling asleep thinking about Draco’s moisture level, Ron!), and they left the room on equal terms. Well done, kids! And the apology before the Quidditch game was just as good, both offering some thought towards the other’s friend who had led to the fight, both keeping their distance without turning mean again. The kids are all right!

Nice try, Lily, you can describe “beardless Hagrid” as many times as you like, but Hagrid has a beard. My brain is incapable of picturing him any other way, and neither you nor I have the power to change that. There is only one Hagrid, and nothing can change that. My therapist says beardless Hagrid isn’t real, and can’t hurt me.

Umbridge is the worst, that’s always been clear. But this chapter really gets across what a pathetic pick-me witch she is. The new info revealed about her family: she paid her own father to leave the country? It doesn’t matter how much she does to conform to New Avalon, because she will only, ever, be allowed and welcomed to blend in at the bottom. “I’m not like those other Muggleborns, I’m one of the good ones!” But never good enough to be accepted by her own Inquisitorial Squad as Headmistress, never good enough to take on the “priest” role at dinner, never good enough to climb where her ambitions reaches for. Because the Purebloods will never see her to be as good as them. That’s just not how a hierarchical society works; the people at the top will only ever allow those below them to disappear into the mass of commoners. Now, to be very clear, I am in no way feeling bad for Umbridge here, just pitying her for all the worthless effort she’s going to, to get absolutely nowhere. She really does seem to want that “priest” role, leading the prayers, simply because she wasn’t allowed to when she was a student. (And yuck, prayer in school, maybe the Catholic and Hindu and atheist/agnostic students don’t want to thank your deity for the food? Amazingly unexpected name drop for Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, though!) And that detention session was way beyond the pale, flexing on a fifteen-year-old that she had the power to hurt his friends . . . She is pathetic and sick and disturbing.

So, viva la revolution! There was something so empowering and energizing in the moment when the newest Polixenes pamphlet appeared on the front page of this culture’s biggest newspaper, for a student publication to receive such a mainstream and high profile level of distribution . . . it just feels so right and vindicating, after everything Hermione has gone through this year! And I love that the ensuing state of rebellion even goes beyond the changes that Umbridge enacted, because why do the students have to sit at assigned tables for meals? Maybe the houses wouldn’t develop grudges so easily if they weren’t basically segregated from each other! I hope that particular behavior doesn’t relapse after Umbridge leaves! And Dobby is out here speaking deep truths: as I think I mentioned in a comment earlier this year, keeping the students bickering among each other, and shattering connections between different friend groups, was an explicit goal for Umbridge to help keep control over the student body. Authoritarians are allergic to a united lower class! And I love that Dobby was able to push the elves to strike partly through the story of the friendship that had grown between Draco and Ron.

I love the detail that the centaurs use a lot of spider silk in their tools. It makes sense they would take advantage of the acromantula colony’s presence in the forest as a resource. And silk is underappreciated for its strength! And also, it’s just a cool thing to exist, that a group of animals can produce their own, organic building material! Wow, I’m rambling . . . My last note says, “coven schools are charter schools oh god,” which is all that needs to be said there, I think!

—doctorlit kind of wants to ask what FÖRVIRRING actually is, but then again, maybe he really, really doesn’t

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