Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’: Chapter 36

In the thirty-sixth chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry has no time to deal with the aftermath of death, because Bellatrix Lestrange is on the run. This leads to an absolutely frightening confrontation between Harry, You-Know-Who, and Dumbledore. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.

CHAPTER 36: THE ONLY ONE HE EVER FEARED

Much like Harry in this book, I’m not giving myself much time to deal with the events of the previous chapter. Also, if I spend anymore time sulking, I’m going to turn into this:

Thankfully, after another long walk and a rather delicious dinner, I think I’m ready to tackle this.

  • He did not believe it, he would not believe it; still he fought Lupin with every bit of strength he had: Lupin did not understand, people hid behind that curtain, he had heard them whispering the first time he had entered–Sirius was hiding, simply lurking out of sight–

How utterly heartbreaking this is. In fact, I also thought the same thing. I mean…what on earth is this weird veil anyway? But the simple fact is that there’s no reason Lupin would hold back Harry and tell him Sirius was gone unless this was real.

Jesus christ.

  • But some part of him realized, even as he fought to break free from Lupin that Sirius had never kept him waiting before….Sirius had risked everything, always, to see Harry, to help him….If Sirius was not reappearing out of that archway when Harry was yelling for him as though his life depended on it, the only possible explanation was that he could not come back….That he really was…

Oh man, this one dude has seen so much tragedy. His parents, Cedric, his godfather, and now every single one of his friends has been seriously injured after a year of utter frustration, terror, and pain.

I do not want to be Harry Potter right now.

  • There was a loud bang and a yell from behind the dais. Harry saw Kingsley, yelling in pain, hit the ground. Bellatrix Lestrange turned tail and ran as Dumbledore whipped around. He aimed a spell her but she deflected it. She was halfway up the steps now–

    “Harry–no!” cried Lupin, but Harry had already ripped his arm from Lupin’s slackened grip.

    “SHE KILLED SIRIUS!” bellowed Harry. “SHE KILLED HIM–I’LL KILL HER!”

    And he was off, scrambling up the stone benches. People were shouting behind him but he did not care. The hem of Bellatrix’s robes whipped out of sight ahead and they were back in the room where the brains were swimming….

This is not a good idea, Harry, to let your hatred dictate your actions.

Oh god, this isn’t going to end well. Does anyone else see the parallels to Star Wars here too?

As Harry chases Bellatrix through the halls of the Ministry of Magic and into the main corridor, I also couldn’t help but feel that we were facing a showdown between much bigger forces; as I said in the last review, the Death Eaters have shown to be much more than adversaries or even enemies. They represent absolutely everything evil and wrong and terrible in the world, beyond the world of wizards, and this book is culminating in a showdown between them and the people who are trying so desperately to be good.

Ugh.

  • “Come out, come out, little Harry!” she called in her mock-baby voice, which echoed off the polished wood floors. “What did you come after me for, then? I thought you where here to avenge my dear cousin!”

Oh, that’s right. Bellastric Lestrange KILLED HER OWN FUCKING COUSIN. Oh fuck.

  • Hatred rose in Harry such as he had never known before. He flung himself out from behind the fountain and bellowed, “Crucio!”

JESUS. An Unforgivable Curse??? HARRY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING????

  • “Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?” she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. “You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain–to enjoy it–righteous anger won’t hurt me for long–I’ll show you how it is done, shall I? I’ll give you a lesson–“

Again, some great parallels to Star Wars and the Force and the Dark Side. Also: BELLATRIX, YOU ARE SO EVIL. 🙁

The two continue to fight viciously, flinging spell after spell at each other and I felt that Harry, despite being motivated by his rage, didn’t have much of an advantage on Bellatrix, who was clearly a more advanced wizard than he was. But yet, Rowling continues to surprise me:

  • “Well, you’re going to have to kill me, because it’s gone!” Harry roared–and as he shouted it, pain seared across his forehead. His scar was on fire again, and he felt a surge of fury that was quite unconnected with his own rage. “And he knows!” said Harry with a mad laugh to match Bellatrix’s own. “Your dear old mate Voldemort knows it’s gone! He’s not going to be happy with you, is he?”

    “What? What do you mean?” she cried, and for the first time there was fear in her voice.

    “The prophecy smashed when I was trying to get Neville up the steps! What do you think Voldemort’ll say about that, then?”

    His scar seared and burned….The pain of it was making his eyes stream….

    “LIAR!” she shrieked, but he could hear the terror behind the anger now. “YOU’VE GOT IT, POTTER, AND YOU WILL GIVE IT TO ME–Accio Prophecy! ACCIO PROPHECY!”

OH MY GOD THIS IS PURE INSANITY. But what does this mean? Will the Death Eaters just give up and leave? Or will Bellatrix attack out of desperation?

  • “Don’t waste your breath!” yelled Harry, his eyes screwed up against the pain in his scar, now more terrible than ever. “He can’t hear you from here!”

    “Can’t I, Potter?” said a high, cold voice.

    Harry opened his eyes.

    Tall, thin, and black-hooded, his terrible snakelike face white and gaunt, his scarlet, slit-pupiled eyes staring…Lord Voldemort had appeared in the middle of the hall, his wand pointing at Harry who stood frozen, quite unable to move.

Oh fuck. OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK.

It only gets worse.

  • “I have nothing more to say to you, Potter,” he said quietly. “You have irked me too often, for too long. AVADA KEDAVRA!

    Harry had not even opened his mouth to resist. His mind was blank, his wand pointing uselessly at the floor.

I can’t believe this is happening. He can’t possibly survive a second curse like this again, can he?

  • But the headless golden statue of the wizard in the fountain had sprung alive, leaping from its plinth, and landed on the floor with a crash between Harry and Voldemort. The spell merely glanced off its chest as the statue flung out its arms, protecting Harry.

    “What–?” said Voldemort, staring around. And then he breathed, “Dumbledore!”

    Harry looked behind him, his heart pounding. Dumbledore was standing in front of the golden gates.

How many times do I have to say this? DUMBLEDORE IS A BADASS MOTHERFUCKER. Seriously!

Dumbledore’s been gone for so much of the action in this book that it’s a welcome event to see him in action against Voldemort, especially when they say shit like this:

  • “You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?” called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. “Above such brutality, are you?”

    “We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom,” Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk toward Voldemort as though he had not a far int he world, as though nothing had happened to interrupt his stroll up the hall. “Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit–“

    “There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!” snarled Voldemort.

    “You are quite wrong,” said Dumbledore, still closing in upon Voldemort and speaking as lightly as though they were discussing the matter over drinks. Harry felt scared to see him walking along, undefended, shieldless. He wanted to cry out a warning, but his headless guard kept shunting him backward toward the wall, blocking his every attempt to get out from behind it. “Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness–“

And if you think about it, he’s right. Would Harry’s unknowing Priori Incantatem have worked so well had Voldemort not rushed to murder so many people with his own wand?

Dumbledore and Voldemort continue to fight and their battle is more grand and exaggerated than anything we’d seen thusfar in the series. Killing Curses, exploding statues, fiery whips, Fawkes sacrificing himself…it’s so intense. And I loved it, because this book is all about the world becoming one giant risk and one giant chance for disaster.

And then disaster strikes.

  • And then Harry’s scar burst open. He knew he was dead: it was pain beyond imagining, pain past endurance–

    He was gone from the hall, he was locked in the coils of a creature with red eyes, so tightly bound that Harry did not know where his body ended and the creature’s began. They were fused together, bound by pain, and there was no escape–

    And when the creature spoke, it used Harry’s mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move….

    “Kill me now, Dumbledore….”

Oh my god. This is why Harry was supposed to study Occlumency. This is what Dumbledore warned him about. OH MY GOD.

  • Let the pain stop, thought Harry. Let him kill us…End it, Dumbledore….Death is nothing compared to this….

    And I’ll see Sirius again….

Heart. Completely. Shattered. What an unbelievable line. Voldemort has caused Harry so much pain that he simply wants to die.

🙁

Harry escapes this weird possession, though, and finds the hall in the Ministry of Magic quickly filling with people, among them employees and Cornelius Fudge himself.

Were these people the Aurors Dumbledore referenced? Or was the Ministry sealed off with Dark Magic to prevent people from seeing inside?

It doesn’t matter, as I wasn’t given a chance to think about this. Fudge outright says that as he arrived, he saw Voldemort Disapparate with a woman (ostensibly Bellatrix) right before his eyes.

Fudge believes.

  • “Cornelius, I am ready to fight your mean–and win again!” said Dumbledore in a furious voice. “But a few minutes ago you saw proof, with your own eyes, that I have been telling you the truth for a year. Lord Voldemort has returned, you have been chasing the wrong men for twelve months, and it is time you listened to some sense!”

Surprisingly, Fudge only briefly flusters before realizing it’s time for him to stop fighting and just accept the truth: Lord Voldemort has returned. As he orders his employees around, he demands an explanation for what just happened from Dumbledore. Dumbledore agrees, but only after he is allowed to send Harry back to school. Shocked that Harry has anything to do with this, Fudge is even more confused and asks why Harry is even there.

Dumbledore has other plans though.

  • “Now see here, Dumbledore!” said Fudge, as Dumbledore picked up the head and walked back to Harry carrying it. “You haven’t got authorization for that Portkey! You can’t do things like that right in front of the Minister of Magic, you–you–”

    His voice faltered as Dumbledore surveyed him magisterially over his half-moon spectacles.

    “You will give the order to remove Dolores Umbridge from Hogwarts,” said Dumbledore. “You will tell your Aurors to stop searching for my Care of Magical Creatures teacher so that he can return to work. I will give you…” Dumbledore pulled a watch with twelve hands from his pocked and glanced at it, “half an hour of my time tonight, in which I think we shall be more than able to cover the important points of what has happened here. After that, I shall need to return to my school. If you need more help from me you are, of course, more than welcome to contact me at Hogwarts. Letters addressed to the headmaster will find me.”

And as Harry takes the Portkey back to school, I came to realize:

This has only just begun.