This is the second of three parts of the fifth post on the Harry Potter Re-read Project. The first was published here, the second here, the third here, and the fourth here. Be sure, also, to read Part 1 here and Part 3 here.
What I’m doing here is making a record of random thoughts that popped into my mind while reading each book. It’s not a list of loopholes, or a list of questions, or a list of FTW moments, or WTF moments either, though it has a bit of everything. It’s just a random list that I randomly made.
Points 61-120 in this post. Watch this space, third part will be out over the weekend.
61. Be honest, Pottheads. how many of you actually read through Umbridge’s speech diligently, and how many of you read the first paragraph like me and just skimmed through the rest? Like Harry and Ron, I preferred to put my trust in Hermione’s summarization in all previous re-reads.
Having been told off for this by Abhishek Mukherjee, I went back today and read the damn thing, and have officially confirmed my suspicion that JKR did not mean for it to be read, otherwise she would not have made it so boring.
62. Harry’s first night at school this year is awful; he has a falling out with someone he had considered a friend. Hermione is not having a pleasant night either. In fact, hers is probably worse, because of the gap in IQ between her and her dorm-mates, and the frustration she must have felt at their gossip-mongering. All the same, Hermione trusts Lavander and Parvati enough to invite them to the DA meeting. Even more importantly, they attend. Which means, though they probably don’t understand her, they respect Hermione’s opinions over those of the Daily Prophet.
63. MacGonagall might be a very hard taskmistress, but she genuinely cares a lot about Harry. She’s not too practised at displaying softer emotions, though, and tries to replace them, as many others do, with an offer of food, in this case a biscuit.
64. Umbridge affects me as a villain in the series much more than Voldemort, who is very much a cartoon supervillain, or his followers who are basically weak. Umbridge is much more relatable; many of us know an Umbridge or a part-Umbridge personally and even if we don’t we can visualise one in our lives: bigoted, unscrupulous, malicious. She is no ordinary bully, she is a control freak who is drunk on power, who can only feel comfortable when others around her are submitting to her, who identifies only with her position (as Undersecretary) and is actually subhuman in other aspects. Continue reading