Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’: Chapter 28

In the twenty-eighth chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge makes herself Headmistress of Hogwarts and angers the whole school so much that nearly everyone takes joy out of making her new position as miserable as possible. But this is all overshadowed by Harry and a Pensieve and, quite possibly, the most depressing moment in the entire series. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


I don’t know how to review this chapter.

Allow me to allow you into my mind in a way. I read a chapter. Usually by the final sentence, I’ve already figured out what passages to highlight, what thoughts I have, and, generally, what sort of review I’m going to work on. If I feel like I have a lot to say, I’ll avoid writing an alternate narrative technique unless my brain figures out a way to convey my mental vomit in a way I think people will understand.

I don’t have any sort of formula or pattern for my “weird” reviews. (Or…let’s just call them what they are. Fanfic? OH GOD ~what have I become~) They have to make sense, first of all, in terms of what that specific chapter contained. What was the main theme? Or what was my main interpretation of it? Or what way could I summarize the events through someone else’s point of view?

The fake LiveJournal entries were born out of a joke that’s been floating around the Internet for some time now. “Why don’t you go whine on your LiveJournal?” has been a popular message board/comment thread retort for years, so I thought it was kind of hilarious that certain characters would turn to their LJ to do exactly that.

I could spend time going through all the weird shit I’ve wrote, but that’s not the point. The point is that, at the end of this chapter, I had exactly zero ideas about how to review this.

I felt the chapter was special enough to warrant more than just a set of keysmashes; but since it’s all about how Snape was ruthlessly bullied by Sirius and Harry’s father, I didn’t really have much in my own personal life to relate to you guys. I mean, HOW MANY MORE UTTERLY SAD STORIES CAN I TELL? (Sidenote: that one girl who HATES when I review like that is now super stoked!)

And I also was averse to finding some alternate method of doing this because I felt it would poke fun too much or trivialize the story. And I really like this chapter and I think it’s a big deal for the story at whole.

So here I am, dudes and dudettes. Halfway through (or maybe near the end?) of this “review” and I’ve not said much. I don’t know what to say. I was so stoked that the entire school (aside from the Inquisitorial Squad AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH) was giving Umbridge such a hard time while completely obeying her rules.

But honestly, I think it would be hard to argue otherwise, but the scene in Snape’s office overshadows this. And nearly the entire book.

It’s so, so, so, so, so, sad. So much so that I almost completely want to forgive absolutely everything that Snape has ever done to Harry, because Snape was a victim of abuse. And he’s acted out those years of abuse not only on other students, but most especially the son of the man who led the bullying against him.

This is not to say that I believe all abuse victims get a free pass and Snape doesn’t get one from me. (Note that I said “almost.”) The problem here is that Snape’s life is so wrought with the trauma of his time at Hogwarts that now that he’s in a position of power, he’s responsible for encouraging bullying as a form of catharsis and vindication.

And that’s fucking shitty. It’s so fucking horrible.

For those of us who have been abused, we know how vicious that cycle of abuse can be, and how easy it is for us to fall right back into our comfort zones and become victims again or, in this case, become the perpetrators. So it then becomes our responsibility, in a way, to be as vigilant as we can to ensure that we do not ever become abusers ourselves. And if we do, then we need to be courageous enough to seek help.

Fun fact: I got into Community Management/moderation as a career almost entirely based on my years of being bullied as a kid. Trying to moderate the Internet is a difficult, nasty thing. Given anonymity, most people devolve into psychotic assholes. And when you’re trying to make sure a site or a community stays happy, there are people determined to oppose you the entire way.

I think a large reason why I worked at Buzznet and why it went so well for me for those four years was that I tried as hard as I could to foster an environment where those of us (because sometimes I was included in these groups) who were historically victims of bullying could feel safe. We could feel safe to post journals like this very one I’m writing and not feel like someone who is dressed better than I am and who has more friends than I do could come by and belittle me.

And despite that I’ve moved on to a new job and a new city, I still want to AT LEAST make sure that this blog and it’s micro-community (which is soon going to totally overwhelm the site at this rate) feels safe as well. That’s why I read all the comments, aside from the entertainment they provide. It’s just second nature for me. Is everyone happy with what I’m saying? Did I say something shitty or triggering or possibly bigoted? Is a comment thread getting out of hand and possibly making someone feel like they don’t belong here?

I’m not trying to be like a SUPER MAX ADULT SUPERHERO or anything, but I’ve got a voice here and I’ve got actual power to still manage posts and whatnot and I’d like to make sure you all are ok with this. It’s the least I can do because I don’t want to perpetuate anything negative like Snape’s done here. (SEE? I CAN STAY ON TOPIC.)

So now I’ve rambled forth for hundreds of words and I don’t know how I got here. So yeah. Thank you, guys, for making this community here and making me feel so goddamn wonderful every day. I hope you’ll continue to RULE ALL THE THINGS with me throughout the rest of this series, the fun stuff I have planned when I finish Deathly Hallows, and when I inevitably move on to whatever I’m reviewing next. I’m not stopping after Harry Potter, but I also have not decided what to review after this.

So let’s all just collectively weep about Snape, shall we? Also, let’s think about how Harry now has to face the fact that Snape was right about his father being an arrogant bumface and how much this is going to destroy him. OH GOD THIS CHAPTER.