Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’: Chapter 26

In the twenty-sixth chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, every terrible thing that has happened in this book suddenly receives a (temporary) vindication. In short, this might be the best chapter of the book. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


So….if you ignore the part where Harry doesn’t understand girls and Gryffindor loses AGAIN in Quidditch, this chapter is surprisingly positive. Let’s consider this a companion guide to the previous review, ok? These would be all the NON-UPSETTING things that happen in chapter 26.

#1: Harry’s interview is published in The Quibbler and it’s a success.

I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, but Luna’s dad publishes the interview with Harry and it totally changes everything. Obviously, there are people that don’t believe him, but Harry receives plenty of letters from other wizards saying they actually believe him. Which is already better than no one believing him. Even a great deal of students come to his side, but that’s really the cause of…

#2: Umbridge passes ANOTHER Education Decree and it completely backfires.

Oh god THIS IS POETIC BRILLIANCE. Upon finding out that Harry has spoken publicly about what happened to him the year before, she assigns him a week’s worth of detention and posts a new Education Decree (#27, if you’re keeping score) later that day: Any student caught with The Quibbler will be expelled.

But Umbridge’s threats do the opposite that she intended: because she bans the paper, students go out of their way to read it out of curiosity, even bewitching copies of it to protect themselves against random searches by Umbridge.

I love every second of it.

#3: Cho apologizes to Harry.

Which is awesome. And she even kisses him on the cheek! Awww love excuse me while I vomit everywhere.

#4: Harry sees a full scene AS Voldemort.

Ok, I don’t mean to suggest that this is SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE, as it’s clearly fucked up, but it’s about goddamn time Harry saw something, instead of just feeling Voldemort’s emotions. YAWN BORING this is WAY MORE EXCITING.

It’s suggested that Lucius Malfoy used the Imperius Curse on Bode and whatever “weapon” there is in the Department of Mysteries caused his brain to fry in response. However, it also (possibly) caused the curse to wear off, and when Bode started improving…poof. Dead. (Hermione surmises that this is what happened to Sturgis Podmore as well.)


#5: During an Occlumency lesson with Snape, Harry actually makes some progress.

And the scene is FUCKING UNREAL.

Snape suspects Harry isn’t doing as he asked, especially since he can see Harry’s “thoughts” regarding the hallway in the Department of Mysteries. So when they try a second time, Harry suddenly has clarity and can see Snape standing before him, instead of his mind swimming with bad memories. And when he casts a Shield Charm on Snape, he’s briefly let into Snape’s mind:

  • Snape staggered; his wand flew upward, away from Harry—and suddenly Harry’s mind was teeming with memories that were not his—a hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner….A greasy-haired teenager sat alone in a dark bedroom, pointing his wand at the ceiling, shooting down flies….A girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick—

HOLY. SHIT. I need to know more Snape backstory IMMEDIATELY.

#6: Dolores Umbridge tries to ruin everything again—only someone else has a surprise.

This is one of the most shocking scenes in the entire book for me, for two reasons. First, Snape’s and Harry’s Occlumency lesson is interrupted by a woman screaming; they rush outside to find Professor Trelawney crying at the entrance to Hogwarts, her belongings strewn about, as if they had “been thrown down the stairs after her.”

The culprit? Dolores Umbridge, who has just fired Trelawney.

And she doesn’t just fire her; she takes great satisfaction in doing in publicly, in a way to provide the most shame and embarrassment to Trelawney. This is because she is 100% evil at all times. Even worse, she maintains that Trelawney has to also leave the premises in addition to getting fired; when McGonagall tries to say otherwise, Umbridge asserts her authority as High Inquisitor for the three billionth time.

And in walks Dumbledore.

  • Students beside them scuttled out of the way as Dumbledore appeared in the entrance. What he had been doing out in the grounds Harry could not imagine, but there was something impressive about the sight of him framed in the doorway against an oddly misty night.

FUCK YEAH what a bad ass motherfucker that Dumbledore.

He totally proves to Umbridge that it’s NOT actually within her power to evict people from Howarts; that’s still the headmaster’s authority. And then comes THE BEST EXCHANGE EVER;

  • ”And what,” she said in a whisper that nevertheless carried all around the entrance hall, “are you going to do with her once I appoint a new Divination teacher who needs her lodgings?”

    “Oh, that won’t be a problem,” said Dumbledore pleasantly. “You see, I have already found us a new Divination teacher, and he will prefer lodgings on the ground floor.”

HOLY SHIT WHAT???????? What the fuck what the fuck!!!!!!!

  • Through the mist came a face Harry had seen once before on a dark, dangerous night in the Forbidden Forest: white-blond hair and astonishingly blue eyes, the head and torso of a man joined to the palomino body of a horse.

    “This is Firenze,” said Dumbledore happily to a thunderstruck Umbridge. “I think you’ll find him suitable.”