The Beetle at Bay

chapter twenty-five of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The trio learns of a mass breakout from Azkaban and finds out that Hagrid is on probation; meanwhile the D.A. continues to improve, but takes a break for Hogsmeade weekend – where Harry has a disastrous date with Cho, but at Hermione’s request does a memorable interview for The Quibbler with Luna and Rita Skeeter.

Mass Breakout From Azkaban, by MartinaC

Hermione… spread the newspaper on the table in front of them and pointed at ten black-and-white photographs that filled the whole of the front page.


Bellatrix, by Patilda

But Harry’s eyes were drawn to the picture of the witch….
Bellatrix Lestrange, convicted of the torture and permanent incapacitation of Frank and Alice Longbottom.

(by Patilda)


At Least Diggory Was Good-Looking, by gerre

“Potter and Chang!” screeched Pansy, to a chorus of snide giggles. “Urgh, Chang, I don’t think much of your taste… at least Diggory was good-looking!”

(by gerre)


by Laura Freeman

A few more minutes passed in total silence, Harry drinking his coffee so fast that he would soon need a fresh cup.


Harry and Cho's Date, by Cambryn

Cho sprang to her feet. The whole tearoom was quiet, and everybody was watching them now. “I’ll see you around, Harry,” she said dramatically, and hiccuping slightly she dashed to the door, wrenched it open, and hurried off into the pouring rain.

(by Cambryn)


Actually, That is Precisely.... by gerre

Hermione was not alone; she was sitting at a table with the unlikeliest pair of drinking mates he could ever have imagined: Luna Lovegood and none other than Rita Skeeter, ex-journalist on the Daily Prophet and one of Hermione’s least favorite people in the world.

(by gerre)


Angry Rita @ Three Broomsticks, by Heather Campbell

Unemployment did not suit Rita.


Luna Lovegood, by Hannah-Dora

“No,” said Luna, dipping her onion back into her gillywater, “he’s the editor of The Quibbler.” Rita snorted so loudly that people at a nearby table looked around in alarm.


about the chapter


Life at Hogwarts

Hermione picked a really, really good time for Harry to give his interview, at least for the sake of their classmates at Hogwarts. After all, the breakout from Azkaban has already caused “a slight difference in the tone of the whispers” about Harry, as students begin to be curious about his side of the story. But I’d also bet that Cho isn’t the only one to walk into Hogsmeade and notice that unlike when Sirius Black escaped, there are no dementors patrolling the streets of the village. As a result, much of the gossip around the school is almost certainly starting to center around what’s going on that the Ministry and the Daily Prophet aren’t telling – perfect conditions for Harry to publish his own story, even if it is in the Quibbler.

The Boy Who Lived

One of the things I love about Harry’s disastrous date with Cho is his failure to realize that it’s just as awkward for her as it is for him. After all, she’s having quite as much trouble as he is finding topics of conversation (even though neither of them really knows anything about the other… how hard would it be to just ask?), and just as Harry’s clueless enough to tell her he’s meeting Hermione later without realizing he’s making her jealous, she brings up Roger Davies and then tries to talk about Cedric. It’s really remarkable that either of them even wants to talk to each other again after such a fiasco.

The Final Word

“The scene in which I had Hermione, Rita and Luna together in the pub was really fun to write because they are three very different women with very different points of view. You have this very cynical journalist, you have Hermione, who is very logical, upright and good, and you have Luna, who is completely out to lunch but fantastic. I really like Luna. You have these three people who are not on each other’s wavelengths making a deal. It was fun to write.”–J.K. Rowling, August 2004

26 Responses to “The Beetle at Bay”

  1. Alas, poor Neville: he never told anyone about his parents and now everyone reads about what happened to them in the Daily Prophet…

  2. I’m a little surprised there wasn’t more fanart posted for this chapter, although I suppose you can’t post every picture ever drawn of Cho and Harry at Madam Puddifoot’s. Also, what kind of a name is that? :)

    I’m always a little surprised that the Daily Prophet even bothered to print the story about Death Eaters escaping. Granted, there are TEN Death Eaters out on the loose, but they never mentioned two dementors going ’round Britain and attacking innocent people. It makes me wonder how heavily Umbridge herself leans on the Prophet.

    And can I just say that those Ministry decrees are ridiculous?

  3. I very much enjoyed JKR’s style of telling us what’s going on as time passes in this chapter. She’s just such a good writer!

    Jose Lopes, I thought the same about Neville. And I kind of missed people talking about it at school.

    Good point by Cho about the dementors.

    Yeah, Harry might not be very good with girls, but Cho is really getting on my nerves here.

    So they’re not having a Grande Extra Dry Vanilla Skim Latte for here or whatever? I’m such a regular at my local coffee shop that I didn’t even realize there still was plain coffee. ;-)

  4. I am loving the picture by Patilda. And I never really liked Cho, and this date didn’t exactly make me like her any more.

  5. Eliza, I totally agree. Never cared for the Cho/Harry pairing (and I always thought it was interesting that Cho’s Patronus was a swan, a pretty but mean and nasty animal if there ever was one). Harry’s exclamation of, “Women!” as he left the cafe in this chapter was one of the lines in this book that made me laugh out loud. I’ve been (as I’m sure many readers have) on my share of *awkward* dates but never this bad and the issues both of them are bringing to the table are a recipe for disaster.

    I also love the interview scene in the pub. Hermione really stands up to herself and comes into her own here.

  6. I think if I weren’t holding a 900-page book, I would have applauded Hermione in this chapter – she was so awesome! I agree the Hermione/Luna/Rita scene is one of the funnest in the book, I love acting it out with friends.
    I actually supported Cho up until this chapter. She was just being so ridiculous (again, I was 11 when first reading this and very much on Harry’s side). I think the only reason they persisted with this relationship is lack of alternatives. If you’re around the same 300 people for seven years, you don’t hav ehtat much choice. Let’s say there are 140 girls at Hogwarts, eliminate a fourth because they’re Slytherins and Harry’s left with about 100. Eliminate the first and second years at least because one would hope Harry wouldn’t date them, and he’s left with around 80 girls to choose from. Now, let’s say half of them think Harry is a liar and want little to do with him. That leaves poor Harry with only 40 girls to choose from, not even counting all the ones who are bound to be taken. It’s little surprise he stuck with Cho!

  7. I guess I have more sympathy with Cho that the rest of you guys. :) I agreed with Hermione that Harry was completely insensitive to bring up the meeting with Hermione in that way; I totally saw it from Cho’s perspective. Remember, unlike Hermione, since she’s not in Gryffindor, she doesn’t see Harry every day, in most classes, and at meals. So she is judging him only from few-and-far-between dates. And remember, her last boyfriend was murdered and the Ministry is lying about it too. Not a great track record.

  8. I have to agree with Anna about cho and harry. These people are 15. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that much about boys when I was that age, and I was terrified to actually talk/flirt with one. At least Harry knows after Cho that he needs someone completely different…. :)
    Love the Skeeter-Hermione-Luna thing. Good point you gave about it being the irght time for Harry to post it, Josie! I always kept wondering why people would suddenly start to believe Harry after he tells his side to a biased reporter, published in a strange magazine…this made my doubts dissapear a bit :)

  9. I still think that if someone looked at the rest of the articles in the Quibbler, they wouldn’t believe Harry’s story. When it’s right next to Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Stubby Boardman, would you believe it?
    Happy holidays, by the way!

  10. Does anyone know the names of all 10 Death Eaters who escaped? The book only talks about 3.

  11. Austen, we do know at least six.

    Dolohov, Rookwood, and Bellatrix are all mentioned in the paper, as you say.

    There are also three more who we know were imprisoned and who show up in the Department of Mysteries later on in this book, so it’s reasonable I think to deduce that they were involved in the breakout as well. This includes Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange (who we see imprisoned along with Bellatrix and Crouch Jr), and Mulciber (who Karkaroff tried to turn in but had already been captured).

    Beyond that gets into the realm of idle speculation…

  12. I agree that we can savely assume Rodolphus, Rabastan and Mulciber are 3 of them. It’s a shame cause I always really wanted to know which ones. It would be interesting to see a list of all the DEers and what they did after Voldermort’s 1st defeat, if they rejoined the 2nd time around and what they did (assuming they survived) his final defeat.

  13. I love the new pictures by gerre, and especially this one of the walk to Hogsmeade. Her take on Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode is priceless!

  14. Mickey, I agree that the other articles in The Quibbler do give Harry’s interview less credulance and it probably would have had a much less wide reaching effect if it weren’t for Umbridge banning it. Banning it is an act of guilt, and immediately tells people that this is an important article containing incriminating material. After all, it’s not being banned for running stories about Fudge being a goblin killer, is it? Like Hermione said, “If there’s one thing she could do to make absolutely sure that everyone reads your interview, it was banning it.” Umbridge totally shot herself in the foot. :D

  15. “Rumors were flying that some of the convicts had been spotted in Hogsmeade, that they were supposed to be hiding out in the Shrieking Shack and that they were going to break into Hogwarts, just as Sirius Black had done.”
    Question: (Since you all are so much more observant than I am:)
    So whatever happened to that passageway into the school? From this passage I know that it is common knowledge now. Did the books ever say that it had been closed up? Obviously a safety issue if an escaped convict (love you, Sirius;) can enter through it?

    It’s weird to think there are professors we know little to zilch about. When I read the line about Hagrid almost accidentally hitting Professor Vector, I was very confused and had to google it (arithmancy prof). I could not remember hearing about her before!
    I also agree that on first reading, I really disliked Cho in the disastrous date. However, Harry was, as Hermione said, tactless, and I would have probably felt the same way if a first date said he was going to meet some other girl halfway through! ;)

  16. I disliked Cho here when I first read the chapter, but now I really feel for her. But I agree that they were both acting silly.

  17. Crystal, I think Hermione talks about Professor Vector in GoF at the beginning of the year I think. She brags to Ron about how Professor Vector didn’t give her class any homework, when Trelawney gives Harry and Ron’s class a load of it.

    I think both Harry and Cho are being ridiculous in this chapter. Let’s keep in mind that Cho brings up how Roger Davies asked her out and she turned him down, obviously hinting to Harry how bad the date was going (compared to how Roger’s date was clearly going). I’d be so angry if I had been Harry at that point. But then Harry doesn’t think too well about bringing up the Hermione situation. I also don’t think Cho should be talking about ex-boyfriends on a date with someone else, it’s just not a good idea, no matter the situation is with the current date and the ex-boyfriend. So I think everyone is being tactless.

    Natalia, I think it’s more about Umbridge’s influence with the Minister than it is her influence with the Prophet. I can definitely see her advising Fudge about how much bad press it would be to publish a story about dementors in Surrey and attacking two boys, and him agreeing right away. She also seems to get whatever the hell she wants with those decrees. I’ve always wondered if their relationship was anything more than business…

  18. Casey: Ugh, now I have this image of Umbridge and Fudge having kids and I can’t think of a worse mother to have!

  19. I know this is quite late, but to answer Crystal’s question, I don’t think this passage means that the passageway is common knowledge. JK just means people think they are hiding out nearby Hogwarts so that they can sneak in sometimes like Sirius did. I mean the Shack would be the perfect place for them: it’s old, abandoned and creepy. I doubt anymore people know about the passage than did two years ago.

  20. @casey i was remembering that hemione takes a look at harry and ron drowning themselves and happily rremarking that prof. vector didnt give them any homework…

  21. Along the lines of asking the identities of the 10 escaped Death Eaters, my question for the folks at large here is “What happened to the two Lestrange men?” They’re sent with Bellatrix and Barty, Jr., to Azkaban (GoF), Bellatrix, obviously, stays a major player for the rest of the series, but (at least to my memory) we never hear another word about her husband or brother-in-law.

  22. Lesharo, in the battle in the Department of Mysteries later on, Lucius shouts (I think) Rudolphus’s name when he’s giving orders to the other Death Eaters. I don’t know about the other Lestrange, but at least one of them is mentioned.

  23. Casey, thanks, and you’re right. (“‘We’ll split into pairs and search…Bellatrix, Rodolphus, you take the left…'”)

  24. Cho/Harry was definitely an odd pairing, I think she was more there as a practice run for Harry. I mean, she was his first crush. Clearly, he was only infatuated with her, and at this point (being only 15) didn’t really know the difference, having absolutely no prior experience.

  25. I think it’s funny that The Daily Prophet mentions Sirius as the first ever to escape from Azkaban, when we actually know of one person who did it before him – Barty Crouch Jr. But of course, he did it in a less spectacular way and with help from the outside, not to mention that his soul was sucked out of him before he could tell his story… so I guess the cred is still on Sirius. Still, it makes me wonder wether someone else has escaped from Azkaban before, going as unnoticed as the escape of Crouch…

  26. I think it’s mostly Cho who is out of line here. Obviously, Harry fails to meet her expectations, in being less romantic than Cedric. In fact, a lot of the awkwardness seems to steam from her comparing him to Cedric, and really, who can compete with a death boy-friend, who most likely was idealized in her mind? But the kicker is when she tries to make Harry jealous – that’s a very hinterhanded tactic. Not that I think that Cho is evil or anything, but this scene basically proves why Cho isn’t the right one for him – neither is Hermione, who later on will use a similiar tactic on Ron. But Harry, while just having a hazy idea about what is going on, has no sense for this kind of games. Most likely because people lied to him all his life and he himself very much carries his heart on his sleeves, he expects people to be the same way. Based on that he learns to appreciate Luna’s bluntness pretty quickly. And Ginny – well, she is anything but hinterhanded. She never made a secret out of her feelings.

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