Subject: re: 5.23 Lord Harry Potter and the Aurors Not Being on Our Side (Except the Three Who Are)
Posted on: 2024-07-01 16:25:45 UTC

Lily. This chapter is a masterpiece. Bravo.

I’m actually a bit amused by Umbridge assuming Harry was lying about attending the swearing-in ceremony, just because it reveals how baldly self-interested she is. Just like the author of that opinion piece last chapter, Umbridge can’t imagine that the change in leadership is going to have any affect on daily life, and takes it for granted that the students must still be focused on her rise to power at Hogwarts. Her power is the only thing she thinks about, so it must be the predominant thought in everyone else’s mind, right? Also, when the scream rang out in the forest, I totally thought you had killed off Umbridge, but I’ll get over my disappointment someday.

I really enjoyed Draco having a moment to go hero mode, here! Ditching Umbridge in the forest, rocking Harry’s cloak and cat, and we even see a sign of character development, where he treats the Thestral with kindness, a big change from the Hippogriff lessons from year three. (Also, I totally thought Crookshanks was doing that thing where cats think humans are crappy hunters and try to feed them random animals! It was hilarious for that moment, which made the reveal that she was bringing a snack for the Thestral even funnier.) But even better was Lucius getting a hero moment! I love Draco goading Umbridge into using Cruciatus and tanking that pain just so he could communicate it to his dad and finally get the evidence needed to make Umbridge face consequences. But more than that, I love Lucius leaving the Ministry mid-ceremony to bust straight into Umbridge’s office and end her Hogwarts career! The theme of a Malfoy parent turning against their “side” to rescue and care for Draco is excellent, just as we saw with Narcissa in Deathly Hallows In this moment, Lucius is righteously angry, legitimately surprised at the lengths Umbridge was willing to go to, and I love the vibes.

Ugh, all that blatantly religious ritual taking up most of the swearing-in ceremony, it’s a wonder the protesters didn’t fall asleep before Gaunt starting speaking! But it’s a good way of showing how a lot of people in the Purityworld government have motives at odds with actually running the society and serving its citizens, culminating with Gaunt changing the words of the oath to openly admit where his interests lie. Honestly, I didn’t catch until just now what a close parallel exists between the return of King Arthur in this universe, and the return of Jesus Christ in the real world. (I see this as less a failure of reading comprehension on my part, and more just the fact that I don’t look forward to the world ending in my day-to-day life . . .) In light of the debate that just took place in the U.S., I can’t help but see strong parallels between Gaunt’s speech in this chapter, and an awful lot of Trump’s words. Both of them spent their time listing negatives about their own country, but despite the implication that they’re the mighty strongmen needed to fix those problems, neither offers any actual plans or policy. It’s all just for the sake of fearmongering, getting the safe and comfortable citizens of both communities to be frightened of Muggles and Muggleborns, Mexican immigrants, Mother Magic apostates, the LGBTQ+ community, and Gillyweed and fentanyl being smuggled into the country. (Oh, didn’t you know you can smoke Gillyweed? You can totally smoke Gillyweed. NSFW lyrics inside) That was such an interesting way and moment to work the “no good and evil” speech from Philosopher’s Stone into this timeline. It shows how Gaunt has twisted his religious views into justification for his own personal ambition, and that quote, plus his naming himself as the “Chosen One,” really get across his base motivations for everything he’s doing. It’s not enough for Gaunt to enforce the existing social hierarchy, or to be Chief Warlock or Minister for Magic or even High Lord Slytherin; he has a messiah complex, he needs to be worshipped and respected as a chosen one, he . . . well dang, he wants to be seen as a hero, doesn’t he? But not to do good, like Harry feels compelled to, but rather to be viewed as over and above everyone else . . .

So yeah, the fight scene. I realized, about two paragraphs before Harry did, that Gaunt must have drained Regulus’s magic. That, plus the escaped Knights of Camelot being planted in the audience ahead of time, shows that Gaunt was planning for things to turn violent all along. I was briefly excited about the Knights appearing, because I didn’t think Gaunt would be able to explain away their presence in the audience, but in retrospect, the rest of the seated audience clearly never noticed them throughout the ceremony. And the Knights waited until moving out of the Aurors’ barrier to start attacking, which will just make it easier for Gaunt to claim they were working with Regulus. Sigh, Regulus. He had a good run in this timeline, but just couldn’t get far enough away from canon. My expectations for Sirius to be the one to die kept messing with me throughout the fight, as well: he kept charging headlong for Pettigrew, which reminded me of his behavior in canon before he got killed by Bellatrix. But then, Neville kept going after Bellatrix, which made me think he was going to become the victim, especially after “Nice try, Baby Longbottom!” And for a brief moment, I thought Gideon fulfilled the death criteria from the prophecy, and that we weren’t going to lose anyone more important, no offense to Gideon, of course. (I hadn’t read the warnings beforehand, so I didn’t realize both a minor and major death were on the table!) That fountain was some nasty, fascist imagery, so I’m hardly sad to see it obliterated, but I wish it hadn’t taken Regulus with it, wish Gaunt had been a better sport and left Regulus able to defend himself better. And of course, once Gaunt reinstates Bellatrix as the Lady Black, she’ll be able to drain Sirius’s magic, leaving him too vulnerable to enter combat situations as well . . . This was a crushing blow, too crushing to feel very good about Umbridge’s impending removal, and there are dark times ahead . . .

“For what felt like the umpteenth time tonight, he tugged himself free of the stupid grown-up trying to force him away from the people he had to protect . . .”
Again, you’re showing us peak Harry, but you’ve also distilled probably the best essence of the Potter series into this line: young people seeing the injustices in the world, and being willing to upend anything to correct it, only for the comfortable powers that be to say that nothing can change, this is how things are, we all have to follow the rules, just don’t look outside and you don’t have to think about it . . . We all have to tug ourselves free of the stupid grown-ups, and protect the people who need protection. (Not dunking on Remus for trying to get Harry away from danger, obviously that was a reasonable course of action; I’m just speaking metaphorically.)

Hope the move went well!

—if doctorlit were a Hogwarts portrait, he would have spent the entirety of year 5 in Umbridge’s plates, petting all the kitties

(edited to fix link)

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