Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four & Dumbledore’s Army

chapters seventeen & eighteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Umbridge continues making her presence felt, as all Hogwarts clubs are banned, Hedwig is intercepted, Snape is inspected, and Trelawney reveals she is on probation – and then, when Sirius arrives in the fire, Umbridge nearly catches him. As Harry works, though, Dobby arrives and tells him of the Room of Requirement – and despite Hermione’s initial reservations, Harry holds a very successful first meeting of Dumbledore’s Army.

Harry, by Chantelle

Harry felt happier for the rest of the weekend than he had done all term…. The knowledge that they were doing something to resist Umbridge and the Ministry, and that he was a key part of the rebellion, gave [him] a feeling of immense satisfaction.


Dobby, by Heather Campbell

Dobby the house-elf was standing beside the table on which Hermione had left her half a dozen knitted hats. His large, pointed ears were now sticking out from beneath what looked like all the hats that Hermione had ever knitted…. “Dobby volunteered to return Harry Potter’s owl!” said the elf squeakily, with a look of positive adoration on his face.


Hermione Finds Comfort in the Idea of the Room of Requirement by the Presence of an Ample Supply of Books, by Drew Graham

“And just look at these books!” said Hermione excitedly… She looked around at Harry, her face glowing, and he saw that the presence of hundreds of books had finally convinced Hermione that what they were doing was right. “Harry, this is wonderful, there’s everything we need here!” And without further ado she slid Jinxes for the Jinxed from its shelf, sank onto the nearest cushion, and began to read.


Hermione, by LMRourke

“I also think we ought to have a name,” [Hermione] said brightly…. “It would promote a feeling of team spirit and unity, don’t you think?”


Red Head, by deeterhi

“Yeah, the D.A.’s good,” said Ginny. “Only let’s make it stand for Dumbledore’s Army because that’s the Ministry’s worst fear, isn’t it?”


D.A., by Jeni Malament

“Well, that was pretty good,” said Harry, “but we’ve overrun, we’d better leave it here. Same time, same place next week?”


about the chapter


One of the secret trinkets Rowling posted to her site years ago was an early planning chart for Order of the Phoenix On that chart, it looks as though the names of the two organizations we meet in this book – the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army – were once reversed. I think it’s brilliant that Rowling decided to switch the names, as Dumbledore’s Army sounds much more like a name that a group of kids would choose. But I’ve wondered many times just when that switch took place. Because Rowling also revealed the title of Order of the Phoenix much earlier than she did for her other books – so it’s possible that the title of the book was originally intended to reflect the D.A., rather than Dumbledore’s organization.
If you think about it, this almost makes more sense – the Order certainly doesn’t have the effect on Harry’s year that the D.A. does. On the other hand, a lot of other things changed very dramatically after this chart was made (the chapters are all different and many out of order, for instance, and Dolores Umbridge was named Elvira), so it’s certainly far from conclusive proof.
If you’re interested (though beware loads of spoilers), my friend Belinda Hobbs posted instructions for anybody who wants to find the page on Rowling’s site here; or the less adventurous can simply see a copy of the image here.

The Power of Magic

The Room of Requirement is such a brilliant idea, and one that really lets your imagination run wild. It almost seems like the sort of thing that Rowena Ravenclaw herself might have enchanted. But it’s also clear that, if used intelligently, it could be an immensely powerful tool in certain situations. It’s too bad Harry didn’t know about it during his fourth year; it could have saved him quite a few sleepless nights by providing a couple of books on how to defeat dragons or breathe underwater.

Life at Hogwarts

For all of Umbridge’s ridiculousness and unfairness towards Harry, I have to begrudgingly admit that when it comes to her inspections of teachers, she does have a point. After all, she observes all the professors, and McGonagall, Snape, and Flitwick – three of Harry’s best teachers by almost any measure, despite Snape’s being “deeply horrible” – get by with no problem at all, while Trelawney is immediately placed on probation. The Ministry is overstepping its bounds this year in a lot of areas, but if I were a parent and I heard which teachers Umbridge was going after, I have to concede that I might just agree with her. Of course, she’d need to put herself on probation as well….

Come to think of it, we never see Binns inspected, but his class is the one most similar to her own – I wonder how she’d react to seeing it?

The Boy Who Lived

It’s fun to look at Harry in this chapter from the perspective of one of the other members of the D.A. They’ve already heard about the incredible things he’s done, of course, but then when they come to the meeting, they discover lots more as they watch him in action – he also knows about the Room of Requirement somehow; he knows confidently what all the Dark Detectors are, and also states wisely that they can be fooled; at the end of the meeting he breaks out the Marauder’s Map (what is that thing??) to see that they all get back safely; and oh yes, there’s also this little line:

“Oh please,” said Zacharias Smith, rolling his eyes and folding his arms. “I don’t think Expelliarmus is exactly going to help us against You-Know-Who, do you?”
“I’ve used it against him,” said Harry quietly. “It saved my life last June.”
Smith opened his mouth stupidly. The rest of the room was very quiet.
“But if you think it’s beneath you, you can leave,” Harry said.
Smith did not move. Nor did anybody else.

I don’t care how old you are; I can’t imagine anybody leaving that meeting without being in total and complete awe of Harry Potter. It’s pretty amazing.

34 Responses to “Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four & Dumbledore’s Army”

  1. oh, I liked these chapters so much! It felt as if they were finally doing something! And you are right when you say that people had to be in awe of Harry after the meeting: only after this chapter you realise how extraordinary Harry’s Defence Against the Dark Arts has grown in comparison to his classmates.
    Btw, I did know about the chart of JK, but I never read it close enough to see that OoTP was reversed with the DA. Great insight!

  2. I totally agree with what kim said about these chapters. I’m surprised that I have not seen that chart before, I thought that I had found all of those! :) What a nice surprise!

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating it and Happy Thursday to anyone who isn’t!

  3. I was actually thinking about that the other day! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the one title whose subject isn’t central to the book’s plot. I always wondered why it wasn’t called Harry Potter and the Army of Dumbledore. Well spotted.

  4. Well actually, Roonil Wazlib, the titles for books 4-6 are barely relevant. The Goblet of Fire appears for all of like 2 chapters, the Order has a few chapters to itself in the beginning of OotP and then gets the tail en dof a battle scene at the end, and the Half-Blood Prince gets like ONE LINE in book 6 – “oh btw I’m the half-blood prince! right, now back to the battle…”

  5. I’m sure Umbridge would have enjoyed the way Binns taught a class, although it would have been funny for Binns to call her Dorothy or Umbugger or something like that.

  6. That picture of Dobby is hilarious, even though I didn’t imagine him green.
    Hpboy13, I think that books four and six titles are relevant to the stories. I mean, without the Goblet of Fire being fooled then Harry wouldn’t have been in the Triwizard Tournament. And throughout all of Half-Blood Prince Harry’s using the book and trying to find out who ownbed it before him underneath everything else. But the Order of the Phoenix is really just something on the side.
    Why didn’t J K Rowling just tell everyone she’d changed the name of the book?

  7. Umbridge must have been taught by Binns, surely, in his mortal or ghostly form. Perhaps he became her role model when she started teaching: his approach would certainly suit her personality, whereas Flitwick’s and McGonagall’s wouldn’t and Snape, though thoroughly nasty like DU, also holds the students’ attention and gets results, so his style wouldn’t mesh with hers. But, though Binns’s approach is like DU’s, he is clearly enormously knowledgeable about his subject and she … isn’t. She can tell if someone has memorised the textbook, but that seems to be her limit.

    Eliza, what you say about the titles of books four and six is right and it also applies to OotP I think. I’d always seen the DA as the new generation sort of taking the relay baton or the Olympic torch from their great predecessors, and becoming greater but still within the same tradition.

  8. Deborah Hubbard, I really like the idea of Umbridge seeing Binns as a role model. XD
    It also makes me wonder (and this may have been addressed in the books or elsewhere and I’m just unaware / not remembering), whether McGonagall taught Umbridge when the latter was a student.

  9. I never knew this about the chart, thank you for this piece of information!

    Roonil Wazlib, I always thought the same, too. hpboy13, you have a point with Goblet of Fire there. Maybe the Triwizard Tournament would have been more fitting. However, I agree with ELiza on Half-Blood Prince. I think that title was very well chosen as the book is both about the potions book and about the development of Snape’s actions. But I grant you that the book might also have been named after the private lessons with Dumbledore or what Harry learns there.

    Chapter 18 must be the master chapter of ping pong scenes between the trios conversation and what takes place in Charms or with Peeves. I very much enjoyed listening to it.

    The Room of Requirement is awesome!
    The broken Foe Glass made me think: If it’s really Moody’s from book 4, how did it get into the Room? Why did the Room not use a new one? Are they so rare that it was the only one available? Is the Room made up of all the things that are discarded in it (see books 6 and 7) and it just uses whatever is needed at the moment? But the other things they find in there in this chapter don’t seem like someone would throw them out and neither does the stuff that is found by Neville & Co in book 7. Just some thoughts I havn’t really sorted through yet.

    Since Harry uses the Marauder’s Map to usher people out, shouldn’t he have noticed that they are not on the Map when in the Room?

  10. Kim, I always figured that the Room of Requirement would register on the map when the user of the map was using the room. Only then is the user and by extension the map able to know the dimensions of the room at that particular time.
    Oh and jay ferguson, Umbugger was genius. I laughed for five minutes when I pictured that one.

  11. I always thought Harry’s line to Zacharias Smith was funny because he seems to make Expelliarmus out to be a powerful spell to use against Voldemort (not that its not a good spell to use in general) when in reality any spell he had cast at Voldemort would have had the same effect (as long as it collided with Voldemort’s spell). Expelliarmus just happened to be the spell Harry chose, its not as if Expelliarmus is Voldemort’s achilles heel or anything, although Harry may have convinced Zacharias it is. :D

    If Harry had used a bat-bogey hex instead he would’ve been saying “A bat-bogey hex saved my life last june.”

  12. Inky Squirrel, I’ve always wondered if McGonagall taught Umbridge too. Since McGonagall has been teaching for 39 years, and there are 17 year old students at Hogwarts, if Umbridge is younger than 56 years old, McGonagall would have been there when she was a student. We never find out how old Umbridge is, but she is never described as necessarily old in the books. So I guess it is possible that McGonagall taught her. This might explain why McGonagall reacts to her so coldly. If McGonagall had Umbridge as a student, she can’t have liked Umbridge treating her as so inferior. But then again, Umbridge is so creul and aggravating, so McGonagall could just be acting this way because Umbridge is so awful. But its interesting to think about the possiblity that Umbridge was McGonagall’s student.

  13. And Harry and Zacharias’ conversation on “Expelliarumus” takes on new significance after the end of “Deathly Hallows”…..

  14. I love JK’s little hints and there is a great in here (358 US Paper) “Harry neither knew nor cared what thestrals were”. Oh he cares very much indeed.

    I also LOVE Neville in this chapter. The honor and bravery he shows in the moment with Malfoy shows he is a true Gryffindor.

    As for titles:
    Philosopher’s Stone – Perfect title
    Chamber Of Secrets – Good title. I could have seen Riddle’s Diary as well.
    Poisoner Of Azkaban – Probally the best title. The whole book is about Sirius (plot wise). So I think it fits very well.
    Goblet Of Fire – I never understood this title. I think it should have been Triwizard Tournament or The Hidden Portkey (would have given to much away tho)
    Order Of The Pheonix – I agree that Dumbledore’s Army would have been a better title but OOTP sounds more classy. But it should have been DA.
    Half Blood Prince – I think this title is very good as well.
    Deathly Hollows – Good. I could have seen The Battle Of Hogwarts or Search Of The 7 Horcruxs

  15. All other arguments aside, I think Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sounds a lot cooler than Dumbledore’s Army. =)

  16. Josie, you mentioned how if Harry had known about the Room of Requirement in 4th year, it would have saved him a lot of trouble. Do you think that maybe that was the reason why Dumbledore, while mentioning the Room, winked at him at the Yule Ball? Maybe he was giving him a hint that this could be useful in the future– at the very least at the next task.

  17. Austen– I agree with you in many ways about the books’ titles- some could have been tweaked a bit, but overall they really are good. But there’s one thing I wanted to suggest. You say that you don’t really get the reason for the title of HP 4 being the Goblet of Fire, since it doesn’t seem very central to the book. But if you think about it, the Goblet is the catalyst for a lot of things that happen– if Harry’s name hadn’t been put in, he wouldn’t have been a Champion, and therefore most of the book would be gone. And for that matter, if Harry’s name hadn’t been put in, Cedric wouldn’t have died, either, because the whole reason it was put in was because of Voldie’s plot.

  18. Remember Dumbledore does not really know about the room. He thinks it just contains chamber pots. Remember his theories of how he thought it could only appear at a certain time or when the user has an exceptionally full bladder

  19. cj, I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that Dumbledore doesn’t know about the room. He didn’t divulge full details when we heard him talking about it – but he was talking to Karkaroff at the time. He also winked at Harry as he was talking about it, giving Harry the idea that there might be something to it. It’s pretty hard for me to fathom that the house-elves and Professor Trelawney would know about the Room of Requirement but not Dumbledore.

  20. @Erica: I can absoulty see your point. I have thought about this since I posted it and the facts are The Tri-Wizard Tournament was not the main story. It was like a cover for the real story which was get Harry to Voldermort and Wormtail. So I would have to agree with you. Also, I believe all of the titles sound very good and have a way of rolling off the tounge.

  21. Lizzie, personally I picture Umbridge as mid-forties, possibly from the same year as Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the Slytherins of that year who was not recruited into the Death Eaters (she might well have thought, look at this guy, he’s a political extremist terrorist and a borderline sociopath, there’s no way he’s getting power or making what she thought of as rational decisions). McGonagall probably would have taught her, but years ago, before Wizarding WWI, and she probably wouldn’t have been McG’s favourite student.

  22. I think it was this chapter where this was said. Cho told Harry that both hers and Marietta’s mothers had told them not to do anything that upset Umbridge. I’d always wondered why no parents ever complained about her. Their kids must be writing home and complaining, surely? But maybe this is one of the reasons – they’re scared of her too, so they let her do what she’s doing.

  23. Regarding the title of OOTP, I believe JKR answered that specifically, saying that she did not want to put “Triwizard Tournament” in the title, as it would give away the surprise announcement made by Dumbeldore.

  24. I just realized something – before Dobby comes in, Harry is having a hard time concentrating on a homework assignment for Potions, because questions about how he can tell what Voldemort’s feeling keep popping into his head. It’s funny how the very teacher who’s homework he’s doing, Snape, could probably answer each and every one of those questions…

  25. Sirius did say back in Chapter 14 that a First Year might have seen him. I wonder if the First Year told Umbridge?

  26. Austen, remember that the titles for the books seem to have a need to have “and the” in the between Harry Potter and the rest of the title, so some of your suggestions wouldn’t work too well, like “Harry Potter and the Riddle’s Diary”. It just doesn’t make sense grammatically. Neither would “Harry Potter and the Dumbledore’s Army”. It could be “Harry Potter and the Army of Dumbledore” but it doesn’t sound right, and that’s also not what they called themselves. Could this have been what convinced Jo to switch titles? Hmmm…

    I agree with Josie that Order of the Phoenix sounds better for the older generation, but it’d also make more sense for the book to be titled after the DA, since it really is the main central plot to the story. Order of the Phoenix just has a really nicer ring to it, I think. Especially for the title of a book.

    One thing I really like about these books is that Harry seems to gain new knowledge of the castle (or Wizarding world or Voldemort) or gets a new magical tool in every book. In PS he gets the cloak and knowledge of pretty much everything in the Wizarding world, not just Hogwarts; in CoS he gains knowledge of the Chamber, as well as the Sword of Gryffindor which plays a huge role in DH; In PoA he gets the Marauder’s Map and knowledge of the secret passageways in and out of school; in GoF he understands his connection with Voldemort much more; in OotP there’s the Room of Requirement and the Prophecy; in HBP there’s the book (and we get a glimpse of a certain diadem and the knowledge of Horcruxes); and then in DH they all kind of come together (save the book from HBP) fantastically. If I forgot anything, I’d love to hear it! =]

    I was thinking Umbridge just didn’t inspect Binns because they’d have a difficult job of getting rid of a ghost who teaches, as it probably isn’t a usual occurrence. But I also like the theories involving Umbridge going to Hogwarts as a student. I laugh when I picture her as one. She would have been more stuck-up and inflexible as Hermione was in her first year! I’m also thinking she was in Slytherin, with that ambition of hers.

    Anyone else think Smith may have relied a little bit too much on Expelliarmus because of the DA and that’s why he ends up the way he does? (for those of you who have read DH, you know what I’m talking about)

  27. harry potter and the triwizard competition sounds stupid to me….
    By the way, i always wondered why DD would be up in 7 floor corridor with a full bladder while he should have his toilet along his bedroom/office. and shouldn’t he know where the toilets are???

  28. ud, I think Dumbledore was really trying to point out the Room to Harry, while making a slightly off-colour joke for Professor Karkaroff. He does enjoy those, after all.

    (“You’re JOKING!” said Fred Weasley loudly.

    “I am *not* joking, Mr. Weasley,” he said, “though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one ofver the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar…”
    –GoF, CH 12)

    Casey, I think you’ve stumbled upon the name of the elusive 8th Potter book: Harry Potter and the Rest of the Title.

  29. I feel sorry for Eloise Midgeon, she can’t get mentioned without her acne getting mentioned as well.

  30. Josie, I’m not sure, maybe you have another edition of OotP, but in mine the quote you used is “It saved my life in June”, not “last June”… however it is a great quote :D

  31. I wonder why Winky is still drinking butterbeer?

  32. To Austen: I love typos – what a chuckle I got out of “Poisoner Of Azkaban”;indeed if Snape had his way, he would have wielded some poison.

  33. That chapter two of Defensive Magical Theory must have been a doozey –they started it on Sept 9 (p 316 US version) and on Oct 7 (p367) they’re just on chapter 3

  34. Something I don’t think anyone else has pointed out: I love how, when the Trio first enter the RoR and begin looking around, you can see each person’s contribution to its contents. For Hermione, there are loads of books (presumably all much more useful and practical than that year’s DADA textbook). For Ron, there are cushions, a solution to his unpleasant experiences the previous year helping Harry learn how to Stun. And for Harry, there are items he associates with previous DADA professors and some of his most intense experiences fighting the Dark Arts (Moody’s foe-glass, etc.). In other words, the RoR is a combination of each of their experiences and expectations (so far) about combating the Dark Arts. The RoR seems a little like the Sorting Hat–it uses a combination of what’s in your head and what you ask for to give you what you need.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: