Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’: Chapter 31

In the thirty-first chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Hermione, and Ron suffer through the very difficult O.W.L.S. exams, despite the many distractions in their lives. Oh, and everything is ruined for Hagrid and Sirius. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


The experience of going through O.W.L.S. for Harry and his friends was much like what I had to go through taking Advanced Placement classes during high school. If you’re unfamiliar what AP classes are, they’re basically college-level classes that you take during high school and receive college credit for as long as you past your AP exam. I took nearly…ten? Ten AP classes over three years during high school. (Again, if it’s not painfully clear yet, I am obviously Hermione in this story.)

Reading this chapter, it wasn’t hard for me to remember all those sleepless nights, the bizarre behavior my classmates exhibited, and the stress and insanity of those exam days. I remember constantly questioning my own thoughts, my memory, my intelligence, my words, and everything I was writing in those hideous blue books that were given to us at the beginning of each test.

Tests always occurred near the end of May, sometimes the first week of June. Actually, now that I think about it, I had an AP European History teacher who made us take HER exam after the AP exam and I sort of felt this was completely absurd and unfair. If you’ve never taken an AP test, they are never, never, never, never easy. And there’s always a chance you’ll get a question on the test about something you never once covered over the course of the past year. (Even worse, during my AP Literature test, I got an essay question about The Brothers Karamazov; our class had read Crime and Punishment instead.)

I’d like to keep musing about how well Rowling captures the latter years of public schooling so well, but we have two disarming and disturbing events to talk about.

#1: Hagrid

During the group’s astronomy exam, Umbridge attempts to fire Hagrid and stun him in the process when he overreacts. And it, naturally, backfires so badly that I’m left wondering how anyone is going to fix the situation.

  • But nobody was paying the slightest attention to their star charts anymore: Jets of red light were still flying beside Hagrid’s cabin, yet somehow they seemed to be bouncing off him. He was still upright and stil, as far as Harry could see, fighting. Cries and yell echoed across the grounds; a man yelled, “Be reasonable, Hagrid!” and Hagrid roared, “Reasonable be damned, yeh won’ take me like this, Dawlish!”

I don’t know if Hagrid is acting this way out of pride and his disinterest in being sacked like Professor Trelawney, or if he’s purposely causing a distraction for some other purpose. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because what happens next is an indication just how fucked up this world has become.

  • But nobody paid the him the slightest attention: They were watching the person now sprinting toward the battle beside Hagrid’s cabin.

    “How dare you!” the figure shouted as she ran. “How dare you!”

    “It’s McGonagall!” whispered Hermione.

    “Leave him alone! Alone, I say!” said Professor McGonagall’s voice through the darkness. “On what grounds are you attacking him? He has done nothing, nothing to warrant such–“

    Hermione, Parvati, and Lavender all screamed. No fewer than four Stunners had shot from the figures around the cabin toward Professor McGonagall. Halfway between the cabin and castle the red beams collided with her. For a moment she looked luminous, illuminated by an eerie read glow, then was lifted right off her fee, landed hard on her back, and moved no more.

omg omg omg omg omg omg!!!! Oh my god, McGonagall!!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE???

Hagrid knocks out two of the people, grabs Fang’s limp body, and runs off into the forest.


#2: The last dream.

Oh, wait, it gets worse????

Yes, yes it does. During Harry’s History of Magic exam, Harry unfortunately falls asleep again, having the familiar reoccurring dream of the corridor in the Department of Mysteries. He makes it into the room of shelves, gets to row 97, heads down it and finally sees what’s at the end of it.

Another man.

  • The man on the floor let out a scream of pain, attempted to stand but fell back, writing. Harry was laughing. He raised his wand, the curse lifted, and the figure groaned and became motionless.

    “Lord Voldemort is waiting….”

    Very slowly, his arms trembling, the man on the ground raised his shoulders a few inches and lifted his head. His face was bloodstained and gaunt, twisted in pain yet rigid with defiance….

    “You’ll have to kill me,” whispered Sirius.”



  • “Undoubtedly I shall in the end,” said the cold voice. “But you will fetch it for me first, Black….You think you have felt pain thus far? Think again….We have hours ahead of us and nobody to hear you scream….”

    But somebody screamed as Voldemort lowered his wand again; somebody yelled and fell sideways off a hot desk onto the cold stone floor. Harry hit the ground and awoke, still yelling, his scar on fire, as the Great Hall erupted all around him.


Sirius. 🙁 🙁