Careers Advice

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

Harry feels down after seeing his father torment Snape, but Ginny brings him chocolate and convinces him to talk to Sirius. After a memorable Career Advice meeting with McGonagall (and Umbridge), Fred and George cause a diversion and Harry sneaks into Umbridge’s office to chat with Sirius and Lupin – but doesn’t feel much better. Then, when Umbridge tries to punish Fred and George for their diversion, they quit school and fly off into the sunset.

Brooding, by Alicey

He felt as though the memory of it was eating him from inside. He had been so sure that his parents had been wonderful people that he never had the slightest difficulty in disbelieving Snape’s aspersions on his father’s character.

(by Alicey)


Ginny Bringin' in the Chocolate, by Cambryn

Ginny Weasley, looking very windswept, had joined him at the library table where he had been sitting alone…. “A package just arrived, it’s only just got through Umbridge’s new screening process….”

(by Cambryn)


Are You Okay, Harry? by gerre

“You seem really down lately,” Ginny persisted. “You know, I’m sure if you just talked to Cho…”
“It’s not Cho I want to talk to,” said Harry brusquely.
“Who is it, then?” asked Ginny, watching him closely.

(by gerre)


Another Zero Then, Mr. Potter, by Heather Campbell

He had just turned away when he heard a smashing noise; … His potion sample lay in pieces on the floor, and Snape was surveying him with a look of gloating pleasure. “Whoops,” he said softly. “Another zero, then, Potter…”


Coughdrop, Dolores? by TomScribble

“Well Potter… I see Professor Flitwick has graded you between ‘Acceptable’ and ‘Exceeds Expectations’ for the last two years, so your Charm work seems satisfactory; as for Defense Against the Dark Arts, your marks have been generally high, Professor Lupin in particular thought you – are you quite sure you wouldn’t like a cough drop, Dolores?”


by Laura Freeman

“What is it?” said Sirius urgently, sweeping his long dark hair out of his eyes and dropping to the ground in front of the fire, so that he and Harry were on a level; Lupin knelt down too, looking very concerned. “Are you all right?”


Remus and Sirius, by glockgal

“Yeah,” said Harry, “but he just attacked Snape for no good reason, just because – well, just because you said you were bored.”


Up to No Good, by reallycorking

“George,” said Fred, “I think we’ve outgrown full-time education.”
“Yeah, I’ve been feeling that way myself,” said George lightly.
“Time to test our talents in the real world, d’you reckon?” asked Fred.


by Laura Freeman

Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd.
“Give her hell from us, Peeves.”
And Peeves, whom Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute…


Farewell Twins, by glockgal

…as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below…


Twins Escape, by TomScribble

…and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.


about the chapter


It’s funny to watch Umbridge during Harry’s career advice session with McGonagall, and not only because the way McGonagall treats her is hilarious. But if you really read what she says and think about her perspective, it’s clear the real reason she’s getting so worked up doesn’t really have anything to do with Harry at all:

“The Minister of Magic will never employ Harry Potter!” said Umbridge, her voice rising furiously.
“There may well be a new Minister of Magic by the time Potter is ready to join!” shouted Professor McGonagall.
“Aha!” shrieked Professor Umbridge, pointing a stubby finger at McGonagall. “Yes! Yes, yes yes! Of course! That’s what you want, isn’t it, Minerva McGonagall? You want Cornelius Fudge replaced by Albus Dumbledore! You think you’ll be where I am, don’t you, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister and headmistress to boot!”

Anyone who knows anything at all about McGonagall knows these accusations are absurd, and that Umbridge is “raving,” as McGonagall soon puts it. But from Umbridge’s perspective, they make sense; after all, power is all that she cares about, and as we already know, she’s not exactly the best at putting herself in other people’s shoes – so she’s assuming power is all McGonagall cares about, too.

All this is great for McGonagall, actually, because while her blood pressure may have risen a few degrees in this encounter, it’s nothing compared to Umbridge, who I’d be willing to bet left the room extraordinarily paranoid about all the people trying to usurp her position. From her perspective, McGonagall isn’t trying to get her out of Hogwarts because she hates her (or because she mistreats students), but because she wants her job – and the best part is that Umbridge’s paranoia, eating away at her, may just be some of the best revenge McGonagall could ever hope for. And sure enough, by Harry’s next class with her, Umbridge is breathless and “looks like she’s in a really bad mood.” Score one for Minerva.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

When Harry expresses his desire to become an Auror, McGonagall mentions that Auror training takes three years – and that nobody has been taken into it for the past three years. So apart from the fact that there are no Aurors currently in training (I wonder what the Auror trainers are doing with their time now?), this also means that the last Aurors taken in would have trained with Tonks; she told Harry she “only qualified a year ago” and so would have been in the class just above theirs. This also means she would have just missed being at Hogwarts with Harry, having graduated the spring before he started.

Something to Remember

The scene where Ginny shows up while Harry works in the library, bringing him chocolate, is a fun one. It’s especially interesting as Ginny seems to be the only one – including Ron or Hermione – who notices that Harry’s in such a depressed state. It’s also interesting that she seems fully aware of Harry’s fight with Cho, which Harry only told Ron and Hermione about earlier that same week. I’m sure all of Harry’s friends are paying him extra attention as he makes his way through this difficult year, but this particular friend seems to be watching especially closely….

39 Responses to “Careers Advice”

  1. Josie, you mispelled Minister of Magic (Mgaic)…

  2. In the Oops section, I have always thought that Filch meant the door was unlocked, not open for others to see inside. That’s the way I read it, since the door was locked when Harry got there. When Filch tries the door knob, he mutters that she’s left it open. Maybe it should have read unlocked, but I’d probably say open as well.

    I really enjoy the scene between Minerva and Umbridge in this chapter. Minerva is awesome.

  3. By the way, the picture from Heather Campbell illustrates precisely the kind of suspicion that we get after reading the smashed potion sample episode. The text doesn’t say that Snape smashed the potion flask, but one cannot avoid to think it was Snape doing it (Malfoy’s reaction also contributes to that suspicion).

  4. Another great chapter. I think I jumped up and cheered when Fred and George blew the Hogwarts popsicle stand (thus disturbing the rest of my family, who had been sleeping as it was quite late at night at the time). And again I love the interactions between McGonagall and Umbridge; just picturing the look on McGonagall’s face everytime she offers a cough drop makes me smile.

    On another note, it always kind of bothered me that Harry was so quick to judge James and leap to the conclusion that he may have had to trick Lily into marrying him. Admittedly, James (and the other Marauders) acted terribly, but context is everything, and looking at some of Harry and Draco’s interactions (even though, as has already been pointed out, the roles are usually reversed) Harry himself has not always acted perfectly either. It is unsettling to suddenly see your parents in a new light, but one moment when he was 15 is no reason to judge James a bad person.

    I also always objected to the image that we often get of a saintly, flawless Lily. What are her flaws? Why doesn’t Harry judge her as harshly when she turns on Snape after he insults her? I never really felt any connection to her as a character, and I feel like JKR didn’t develop her nearly as well as the others. Granted, she’s dead and never really makes an appearance in the books, but James is at least given some development. Lily is always seemingly portrayed as a wholly good person. Just an odd lapse, in my opinion, since nearly everyone else has some sort of arc to their character.

  5. I adore the McGonagall/Umbridge interactions because you get to see Professor McG in such a different light.

    I agree with Jennifer: in my mind’s eye, I saw the door as closed but Filch commenting on the fact that it was unlocked.

    Love all the twin fanart on this page. :)

    Something that has always bothered me, though, is the fact that a person with his/her head in a fire in a completely different residence is able to hear things going on in the place where their body is at. It just seems a *little* far-fetched to me.

  6. Natalia, I’ve wondered about that too. My idea is that it’s similar to the telephone. You can hear some sounds in the background.

    McGongall. Is. Awesome. “I should have made my meaning clearer. He has achieved high marks in all Defense Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher.” Ha, ha!

  7. McGonagall was INCREDIBLE here! As were the twins! As was Ginny! Overall, this chapter has some of the best character moments ever. Meri, while I disagree with you about nto connecting with Lily – I certainly saw where she was coming from, and I certainly didn’t blame her for turning on Snape when he claled her Mudblood (especially since he was one of her best friends). I do think, however, that Jo ended up making Lily absolutely perfect, so much so that she’s almost at Mary Sue level. I would like to know more about Lily.

  8. I’m also with the folks who thought Filch meant “unlocked” instead of “wide open.” And McGonagall with Umbridge…sweet.

  9. The twins are the kind of people I wish I had the guts to be like. I think quitting school to go out on their own, particularly when they’ll have their mother (and brothers’ reputations) to meet, is incredibly brave. That exit trumps even Dumbledore’s. XD

    Regarding Lily’s character… at the end of the series, I saw her as being a little too impulsive. Maybe that’s a minor character flaw, and one common to Gryffindors, but it prevented me from seeing her as a saint. Lily is surely kind, brave, and loving, but also on the volatile side.

  10. I’ve always felt bad about Floo calling. What if you’re an elderly grandmother (or father)? Do you have to get down on the floor to have a conversation with your grandkids? Or what if you’re having a lengthy conversation? Crouching over with your head in the fire can’t be comfortable for long calls. I can just picture magical teens sprawled out across the floor, their exasperated parents stepping over them, as they talked with their friends during the holidays. It just seems like a very inconvenient sort of telephone.

    And we know wizards have radio, but do they have a form of TV?

  11. If only Sirius asked Harry why he wasn’t using the mirror to contact him. Actually, I’ve always wondered about that. Wouldn’t it have occurred to Sirius to just say ‘hey, Harry, why aren’t you using the mirror?’. Or, perhaps he’s just happy Harry is doing something reckless to reach him. Who knows. Sirius’ thought processes aren’t quite on the ball after Azkaban..

  12. I’m with Jennifer and the rest on the open door issue.

    Since this is the chapter about career advice: I remember a discussion going on about different careers and whether there were any jobs outside of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. For a while now I’ve wanted to contribute something to that discussion but was unable to locate it.
    There are the Weird Sisters who have a career that differs from others. Also I was wondering if there were any known wizards or witches who decided to work in the Muggle world.

    In this chapter JKR has found a way to show us that Harry is not so pathetic at potions when left alone, which will explain his OWL result.

    Go McG!
    Go Freorge!

  13. Hmm, guess I got overruled on the open door issue, huh? :) For some reason when I try to read it that way it doesn’t sound right to me, but you all are right that it’s far more ambiguous (and makes a lot more sense) than I implied. I’ll pull it out.

    Thanks for all the comments!

    Oh, and Kim – I think the conversation you were looking for is in chapter 13:

  14. For anyone wondering what the heck we were talking about with the door, here was the commentary I originally posted on the page, under the heading ‘Oops?’:

    On my last read of the chapter I noticed a couple of interesting quotes for the first time:

    There was a tiny click, and the door swung open. [Harry] ducked inside the office, closed the door quickly behind him, and looked around.

    And then:

    [Harry] pulled his head backward out of Grimmauld Place’s fire… and found himself kneeling in front of Umbridge’s fire with his head firmly back on, watching the emerald flames flicker and die.
    “Quickly, quickly!” he heard a wheezy voice mutter right outside the office door. “Ah, she’s left it open….”

    So Harry closed the office door when he went in, but by the time he’s done in the fire, it’s open again. It’s certainly possible this is an innocuous mistake that Rowling’s editors didn’t catch… but what if it’s intentional? Was Hermione checking out whether Harry was really going through with his plan? Did one of the other teachers happen upon Harry, and decide not to say anything? Hmm….

  15. Ah thanks for posting the thing about the door in the comments, for a while there I thought I was going crazy because I didn’t see an Opps section.

  16. Josie, that was not it. I don’t think it had much to do with the students and their lives at Hogwarts, O.W.L.s and such. If I remember correctly you were wondering if we know of any witches and wizards who don’t work as teachers at Hogwarts, shopowners in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley or the ministry. I think it had to do with the ministry being to big that most witches and wizards worked there. Then people chimed in with ideas like “There are the healers at St. Mungo’s”.

  17. I can’t remember what happens during Easter break in the other books, but don’t students usually leave the school during a week-long break? Could Harry have gone to the Burrow with Ron and contacted Sirius from there?

    On another note, Umbridge has got to be using a time turner during these middle chapters of the book. “Teaching” all her lessons (she’s not doing any teaching, but she’s there for the classes), monitoring all of Trelawny’s and Hagrid’s lessons, and now her headmistress duties – she must be exhausted!

  18. Kim- okay, I think I might have found it for real this time:

  19. We hate Umbridge, that’s a given, but if anything makes this a good book is humour, I mean, Umbridge is just evil but as you all say, to read McG say those things and Flitwick… it’s great, it kind of lets you bread and release the tension…
    Love the scene in the library, it shows you an older and grown up Ginny but at the same time a fun one… she really understands Harry and it always seems to me that she had a special connection to Sirius.
    And Harry really judge James very fast but we are talking about a kid that didn’t know anything about his parents until he was 11 and even then nobody told him anything about their daily life (that we know of). He just didn’t know what to think.

  20. Fred and George’s departure (and all their tricks and traps in general in these chapters) are my favorite parts of this book, and near the top of the entire series. The humor and “getting back at Umbridge” release an enormous amount of tension that has crept up for the entire book.

  21. I’m sure that was a complete accident, Snape.

  22. Josie, thank you, you found the right one.
    The previous chapter link is not working (by all my “complaints” about this you can see that I use them alot ;-) ).

  23. Fixed. My apologies – please continue letting me know when you find errors! :)

  24. Love the sketches! I liked the “something to remember” section; it relly proves a point about Ginny. Also, I think that Rowling was trying to lead into the love between Harry and Ginny in the next book. but I have a question: If Ginny liked Harry that much, why would she be comforting him about Cho, who she knew liked him as well?

  25. Yeah, childfreekey, that mirror thing always bugged me. I know it’s a plot-mover (i.e. if he had used the mirror, Kreacher couldn’t have lied to him about Sirius being at the Dept. of Mysteries), but it is irritating.

  26. Lily: I don’t think Lily was potrayed as a complete saint. This chapter clearly states there was a flicker of a smile when James showed Snape’s underpants. I think she is a good person overall and probally was selfless most of the time but that implies that she was a person too. Not perfect just a nice girl who knows right and wrong.

    @Anna. The mirror makes me SO mad too. There are so many places he should have been like “wait a minute. What did Sirius give me to talk to him. And I always wished Sirius would have told him one of the times he talked to Harry “Hey Harry, you know you can contact me through the mirror”. Ugh.

    Ginny: I think that little scene is a pivotal part of the Harry/Ginny relationship. It shows that Ginny is paying attention when no one else is.

  27. Personally, Austen, I think that the “flicker of a smile” given by Lily was because she felt Snape, who she cared about, deserved it a bit for his association with the Dark Arts, though she would also have recognised that his deserving it didn’t mean it was right that it should be given to him. I enjoy your thoughts, Josie, on Umbridge’s paranoia – hadn’t really occurred to me before. A thought about Ginny’s connection to Sirius, Paula – imagine what it must have been like, then, for her to wake up in the hospital wing and be told that Sirius was dead. And Josie, I hate to be continually pedantic, but this chapter, at least in the original UK edition, is called “Careers Advice”.

  28. We aren’t given much detail of Lily’s character, but this might be deliberate. Lily is kind of this beneign force in the series, always there in the background, gone but ever present. It probably stems from Rowling losing her own mother. To develop her too much, to give her too many flaws, would take away that mysticism. Whereas Rowling’s relationship with her father is very different. I don’t think they’re speaking at the moment. In the series she’s portraying father figures who are heavily flawed, it’s true, but still ultimately likeable and caring.

    LOVE Heather Campbell’s picture of Snape knocking Harry’s potion off the table. He has a genuine reason to be angry with Harry, to be sure, but to resort to such petty revenge is so very childish.

    LOVE the environment in TomScribble’s picture of the careers advice scene too.

  29. I think we do find out that Lily has a bit of a character flaw which is quite big, in the scenes in book 7 when she meets Severus she is hanging out and seems quite close with her sister, Petunia but as soon as Lily meets Sev she kind of abandons her and Petunia is not quite likable so probabley doesn’t have too many friends. Second in this scene she abandons Sev when he calls her a mudblood and they don’t reconcile at a later date. Lily doesn’t forgive easily and i think her major flaw is that she thinks she’s right in these situations and doesn’t think about the other people she’s hurting. Including James when she insults him (though he does bounce back). Lily is quite self-centered but develops enough to give her life for her child at a later date, so she does grow in some ways. Huh, I think i’m rambling a bit.

  30. Harry being so judgmental about his father has always bugged me here as well. One of the reasons that Dumbledore had Harry live with muggles was to keep him humble, (among another bigger reason). Imagine if Harry would have grown up in the wizarding world. A huge fortune left to him. The most famous wizard of his generation. Star seeker!! He probably would have been more arrogant than James! Every time I read this chapter I almost yell at Serius and Remus to make this point to him lol. I’ve been really enjoying this sight and just wanted to thank the site owner and the artists! Keep up the good work!!!

  31. gerre’s picture of Ginny and Harry is perfect, especially paired with the dialogue.

    “Who is it [that you want to talk to]?”

    I can imagine Ginny’s thinking: Me, me, please let it be me!

  32. When I read this chapter over again, I suddenly realized that a witch or wizard experienced enough with charms, could easily have charmed the floor to soften so it wasn’t as painful on the knees. I’m sure Hermione would have thought of this, or at least DH Hermione (thinking of the scene at Gringotts).

    childfreeky, I was thinking along the same lines. I was screaming in my head at Sirius to ask Harry that question. Perhaps he was going to ask, but decided to save it for the end, but Harry had to leave quickly and never got the chance to?

    I never thought about the whole Tonks thing, Josie, but it definitely is an interesting insight, and I’m glad you brought it up. One thing this makes me wonder: does Jo ever say what House Tonks was in? I think everyone’s immediate conclusion would be “Gryffindor” seeing as how she’s in the Order and everything, but I can easily see her as being an accepting Hufflepuff. Then again, she says her Head of House told her she had too much of a knack for trouble to be a prefect, and that seems to be a bit of a Gryffindor trait (although also a Slytherin trait, I think), so it’s up in the air, I guess.

  33. Casey, Rowling did say that Tonks was a Hufflepuff.

  34. @Bella + James P, I think it’s a case of “if you love something, let it go. If it returns to you, it was meant to be. If it doesn’t, it was never yours.” Really, she’s just following Hermione’s advice. She’s being Harry’s friend, and at the same time, showing herself as more than just “Ron’s Little Sister(TM)”.

    The bit between McGonagall and Umbridge is absolutely fantastic, even just watching the differences in how they react to things. (Reasonably) calm, even, and collected versus annoyed and agitated. I also love getting to see a bit of Minerva’s wry sense of humour (“‘I should have made my meaning plainer…'”)

  35. Oh, and about Floo calling, I figured, if a person was actually prepared for it, they’d probably bring a cushion. Or, if the fireplace was on a high enough hearth, you could use a kneeler like they have in some churches.

    Also, as it clearly doesn’t burn, just covers people in soot, using the Floo network to send mail would seem to me to be much more convenient than owls. Of course, that brings back the question of a previous chapter (or book, possibly) of whether or not you have to actively “drive” yourself through the network. Harry doesn’t seem to have to do that when just sending his head.

  36. Harry. He just smashed your potion. And gave you a zero. This is equivalent to McGonagall running your essay through the paper shredder without reading it and then giving you a zero. Really? Tough teachers may be part of life, BUT THIS IS ACTIVELY AFFECTING YOUR GRADE.

  37. With all the pamphlets on careers at the Ministry, I wonder what O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s Arthur needed to work in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office. Muggle Studies, obviously, and possibly Charms and Trasfiguration. Would any other classes be needed?

  38. I think Hermione did notice that something was up – but she went about it the wrong way, by nagging Harry about the lessons with Snape. Harry, knowing that she would keep nagging, clammed up (it’s his favorite way to deal with confrontations – he bottles it up, until he explodes at one point in a big screaming fit. Ron and Hermione on the other hand are both very confrontial people, who enjoy a “good row”). Ginny on the other hand simply asked Harry what was wrong, thus enabling him to put his feelings into words. There are some instances in the books in which Hermione is nagging and Ginny basically tolds her to shut up in defence of Harry.

  39. Lovely comments & debate.

    Now, to go completely off the track of it….
    When you look at the Marauders – from the last chapter & what is said in this one – they have very interesting dynamics.
    I’ve had to give this a lot of thought, because I – well, I’m a bit like Harry in terms of bullies. I suppose I’ve convinced myself that, while they did do some awful stuff, the Marauders were not possibly as bad as Snape felt they were.

    Think about it:
    In the time of the Marauders & co.’s schooling, Voldemort was rising. He styled himself the Heir of Slytherin and many of the….more outspoken DEs were Slyths too. Not all of them of course, but enough for the other houses to be seen as neutral (Puffs & Claws) and Light – Gryfs.
    James was an only child, though his parents may not have been his only family (BFT); but they were elderly and spoilt him rotten.
    He went to school, got Sorted into the Gryfs and became their golden boy. The golden boy, the pride of Gryffindor, was practically expected to fight the “mean slimy Slytherins”. Especially the one that was friends with pretty Lily Evans. Severus, in turn, was probably one of the Slyths prize students; uncannily good with potions and fascinated by the Dark Arts.
    For a large majority of the years, from second to fifth, James and Severus fought and became rivals for the sake of their houses and the *sake of Lily’s attention*.

    During this time, James was also making friends and getting into mischief with Remus, Sirius and Peter. James did not just hang around with these boys because they made him look cool and he did not force them to hang around him. In the books, we hear all about the Marauders as James’ friends, but nothing about the other “populars” such as the Quiddich team players who he could have chosen to hang out with instead. But he’s not that shallow.
    The Marauders were a rather odd collection actually.
    Remus – hiding a large secret, dresses shabbily, very little self-confidence, pessimistic outlook on life, but has a dark sense of humour and a mischievous streak.
    Sirius – the black sheep of his family, loyal to the utmost, exceptionally reckless, doesn’t think before he speaks often
    Peter – meek character, seeks approval from the others near-constantly, hanging on to the powerful by their coattails

    In this chapter, Remus says something which puzzled me for a while. “Did I ever tell you guys we were out of line? Did I ever tell you to lay off Snape?” Paraphrasing slightly, but you get the gist.
    That just…doesn’t make sense.
    Then I realised we need to look at the context of the situations he’s referring to and at Remus’ personality.
    I believe Remus is talking about times before the Lake Incident, times in front of crowds.
    Moony was very young when he was bitten. He’s already had it rough for a while before getting the chance to go to Hogwarts. There, he meets his “friends – three great friends” as he will describe them later. And, when they find out about his secret, they accept him – even cover for him and eventually become animagi for him. This is the first time that anyone in his age group has actually accepted him. The first time ever. So great is the prejudice against werewolves that he probably is terrified of losing their friendship.
    So in front of the crowds, he says nothing. The Marauders were popular in their attacks against Severus and the “unpopular” Slytherins, because of the times, which I explained above. Remus would be afraid of the crowd mentality turning on him; and his friends not doing anything about it, or participating. So, in public, he keeps his mouth shut.
    But I’m hard-pressed to believe that Remus didn’t tell them off in private. Sirius even hints at it: “well, you told us to lay off him sometimes…”
    And I wouldn’t be surprised if Remus actually slipped off and quietly alerted the teachers that day. Or at the very least, scolded them afterwards. I would think he’d tolerate the minor more than the major.

    There’s another factor that needs to be finally thought about: how the dynamics of the group affected who listened to who. Peter listened to all three of the other Marauders. Remus probably did too, but with a more balanced mindset instead of just being a follower like the rat. James, I reckon, would pay more attention to Remus and Sirius’ ideas or scoldings. Sirius could probably only be reined in by James. (Jo has said he was a loose cannon).

    They all grew up eventually. I like to think something happened to James’ family – those cousins on the BFT perhaps – that helped him to change during sixth year. Because eventually, it can be seen that James Potter did change, and that maybe there were factors that have to be looked at as to why he was a “bully” in the first place.

    I know this is rather long, but I’ve stewing on this for ages.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: