Out of the Fire & Fight and Flight

chapters thirty-two & thirty-three of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Terrified after seeing Sirius tortured, Harry convinces Ron and Hermione to let him go after him – but when he checks Grimmauld Place through the Floo Network first he is caught by Umbridge. Hermione then leads Harry and Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest, where Umbridge is carted off by centaurs, and soon afterward Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna arrive, and the group decides to fly to London on thestrals.

Kreacher, by lberghol

“Master does not tell poor Kreacher where he is going,” said the elf quietly.


A Pudgy, Be-Ringed Fist Yanks Harry Out of the Fire, by Drew Graham

But before he could utter a single curse or insult, Harry felt a great pain at the top of his head. He inhaled a lot of ash and, choking, found himself being dragged backward through the flames.


Harry is Pulled Out of the Fire to Find the Gang's Plan has Gone Horribly Wrong, by Drew Graham

There was a commotion outside and several large Slytherins entered, each gripping Ron, Ginny, Luna, and – to Harry’s bewilderment – Neville.


Snape Portrait, by Sayurikemiko

“I have already told you,” said Snape smoothly, “that I have no further stocks of Veritaserum. Unless you wish to poison Potter – and I assure you I would have the greatest sympathy with you if you did – I cannot help you.”


Snape gave her an ironic bow and turned to leave. Harry knew his last chance of letting the Order know what was going on was walking out of the door. “He’s got Padfoot!” he shouted. “He’s got Padfoot at the place where it’s hidden!”

(by gerre)


Hermione Leads Harry and Professor Umbridge to "Dumbledore's Secret Weapon" Deep in the Forbidden Forest, by Drew Graham

The sun was falling toward the tops of the trees in the Forbidden Forest now as Hermione marched purposefully across the grass, Umbridge jogging to keep up.


Fight and Flight, by Leela Starsky

Over the plunging, many-colored backs and heads of the centaurs Harry saw Umbridge being borne away through the trees by Bane, still screaming nonstop; her voice grew fainter and fainter until they could no longer hear it over the trampling of hooves surrounding them.


Thestrals, by Rose

“The Crumple-Horned Snorkack can’t fly,” said Luna in a dignified voice, “but they can, and Hagrid says they’re very good at finding places their riders are looking for.”

(by Rose)


about the chapter


Some Things You May Not Have Noticed

We don’t know for certain whether Snape was aware prior to this point that Sirius’s nickname among his friends was Padfoot. It’s interesting that Harry uses the name, though, given the fact that the last place Snape would have seen that name would have been on the Marauder’s Map, when he caught Harry using it (and it consequently made fun of him). Snape gave a hint that night that he knew of its origin, asking Lupin if Harry had gotten it “directly from the manufacturers.” But either way, it’s a little obnoxious of Harry to use the name now. Not that he has a choice, of course.

Meanwhile, it clearly wasn’t wise for Hermione to let slip to the centaurs that she’d brought Umbridge to them “because we hoped you’d drive her off for us.” But in the long run, it may not actually be the worst thing she could have done. After all, I’d be willing to bet Umbridge overheard the centaurs talking about it, and quickly realized that she’d been both tricked and outsmarted by her students. This is important, of course, partially because she now knows that Dumbledore didn’t really instruct the kids to build a weapon, and partially because she’s unlikely to seek revenge on Harry and Hermione when we know she’s not going to want to admit she was duped. So it all worked out in the end. Other than the way she made the centaurs feel about her, of course….

Life at Hogwarts

When Harry collapses screaming during his History of Magic exam, it’s interesting that Professor Tofty calmly escorts him out of the Great Hall and chalks up his reaction to the stress of exams. Remember that only a year ago, Rita Skeeter was detailing (truthfully) how Harry had collapsed in Divination, complaining of pain in his scar – and that article was one of the foundations for the smear campaign that the Ministry and the Daily Prophet conducted against Harry. So it seems that Tofty either wasn’t familiar with the article (and therefore pretty out of touch), or trusts Dumbledore so completely that he ignores Harry’s episode altogether. Of course, he could be both old and out of touch and wise and trusting (he does look older than Marchbanks, who is at least 120), but I’d be interested to know which it is.

The Boy Who Lived

Harry’s determination to have only himself, Ron, and Hermione go to the Department of Mysteries is interesting, especially considering his thought that “if he could have chosen any members of the D.A…. he would not have picked Ginny, Neville, or Luna.” Harry works pretty hard most of the time not to be prejudiced, but this is one case where I think his impressions of his classmates might be getting in his way. After all, Ginny has defined herself well as a pretty powerful witch; Neville has come on so strong in meetings that he’s been mastering spells faster than anyone save Hermione; and Luna seems to do pretty well for herself, too (she certainly mastered the Patronus quickly). There is more to fighting than spellwork, of course – and I couldn’t blame Harry for suspecting Neville and Luna, especially, may not be up to the task of facing Voldemort or Death Eaters. But you’d still think he’d want all the help he could get.

Something to Remember

When Harry checks for Sirius in Grimmauld Place, Kreacher not only seems to know where Sirius has gone, but also knows that he won’t return. This makes sense to Harry, who’s just seen Voldemort torturing Sirius and threatening to kill him. But he doesn’t have time to stop and think – how would Kreacher ever know that Sirius wouldn’t return?

42 Responses to “Out of the Fire & Fight and Flight”

  1. I think that Hermione’s blunder with the centaurs is a step in her growing-up process. She starts out in book 1 as a very kind person who thinks she knows everything, thinks she knows what’s best for everyone, and has no use for other people’s points of view. This is one of several incidents in the series that rock her worldview and help her become more humble and willing to see others’ perspectives.

    (But I’ve got to admit that her understanding of boy-girl issues is already pretty advanced by this book – her explanations of Cho’s feelings and motives earlier in the book are very perceptive!)

  2. Re: The Boy Who Lived: I wonder if Harry thought that he’d rather not have Neville, Luna, and Ginny along because he was trying to protect them, not underestimate them. I’ve read that passage both ways-as Harry thinking those three are not strong/powerful enough, and as wanting to protect them. I like it better when i think he’s trying to protect them. After all, he does it to Hermione too, and Harry knows full well that Hermione is much more book smart than he is. Harry may be more instinctive, but Hermione is much better at spell knowledge and all that. Harry also knows and is proud of how far Neville has come, but I think because he has always thought of Neville as bumbling, he wants to protect him. As for Luna, I think her demeanor as a wifty airhead also makes him want to protect her. Ginny-well, I think Harry feels much more for Ginny than he realizes even in this book. He’s spent more time with her, he has gotten to see her as a person instead of as Ron’s little sister, and even though he’s been thinking of Cho all year, it’s Ginny who has his heart already.

  3. I agree with Jennifer. Ginny and Luna are also a year younger than the other four, which would be cause for additional protection.

    Speaking of being a year behind, I’ve always wondered how Luna would seem to know so much about the thestrals when Hagrid had been saving them especially for the fifth year course?

  4. I completely forgot Luna was a year younger!
    I never thought of protection-wise, I tohught Harry was just underestimating them. But it’s a good theory.

  5. How would Luna know what Hagrid said about the threstrals if she is a year behind Harry and wasn’t present for the Care of Magical Creatures lesson about them?

  6. Maybe Luna asked Hagrid about them her first year at Hogwarts, as she would have been able to see them as soon as she arrived at Hogwarts. I’d think it would have been strange to clearly see animals that no one else remarked on.

  7. Another idea about Luna and how she knows about thestrals – maybe she and father are sometimes interested in creatures that actually exist! I can see Mr. Lovegood telling her about all sorts of magical creatures at home.

  8. I honestly find Harry so irritating sometimes, and this is one of them. He is going off to face Voldemort, you’d think he’d be glad of a little extra help. But NOOOO, he always has to do things by himself, screw it up, then ask Hermione or Dumbledore for some miraculous solution. When we get to the final battle, he still wants to take that course of action. He never learns.

  9. Re: Life At Hogwarts: I guess I’ve always just thought that Professor Tofty (and the other Wizarding Examiners) trusted Dumbledore and his judgment. I mean, he has been in constant contact with them since he became headmaster (and maybe even before); he has 5th years taking O.W.L.s and 7th years taking N.E.W.Ts every year! That has to be a pretty close “working” relationship. In fact, Marchbanks remarks to Umbridge when she first arrives that she hadn’t heard from Dumbledore lately. I just thought that examiners respected Dumbledore and his judgment, so if he told them that Harry was not ‘addled’, they would believe him.

    As far as Luna and the thestrals, I agree that she probably asked Hagrid about them; if not her first year (since she would have arrived by boat), then certainly her 2nd. Since she and her dad are interested in unusual (and sometimes fictitious) creatures, a ‘horse’ that pulled a carriage that no one else could see would certainly spark her attention.

    I also wondered why Harry was so gung-ho to travel to the Ministry of Magic, but not go to Grimmauld Place to see if Sirius was still there. But then again, if he had, we would not have the same story that we do now…and we all LOVE Jo for her storytelling!

  10. Something has to pull the carriages at Christmas to get the students to the train station. Luna could have seen the thestrals her first Christmas at Hogwarts.

  11. It’s very likely that the examiners know Dumbledore and trust him. In “The Hogwarts High Inquisitor”, the newspaper article mentions Griselda Marchbanks and Tiberius Ogden (Tofty mentions him as a friend) resigning from the Wizengamot in protest.

    My speculation with Luna knowing about thestrals is that, since Hagrid no longer has Blast-Ended Skrewts for his fourth year students, they learned about thestrals too.

    reply @ something to remember: I think kreacher really doesn’t know that Sirius isn’t coming back. I haven’t got the books with me to check, but I always thought that Sirius was elsewere in the house, (feeding buckbeak) So when kreacher says: “Master isn’t here”, the “here” is meant as right at this spot… Kreacher can’t lie to Sirius, but up to this point, he still can to harry. My guess is that Narcissa or bella told him to make the message as omniouus as possible, for Harry to go to London…
    So really, Kreacher doesn’t HAVE to know that Sirius isn’t coming back, he can only lead harry on…

  13. kim, here’s Kreacher’s line:

    ‘Master will not come back from the Department of Mysteries!’ he said gleefully. ‘Kreacher and his mistress are alone again!’

    That’s the one I was referring to. From Harry’s perspective this makes sense – he thinks Sirius is being tortured there by Voldemort – though he doesn’t have time to consider that this is a very strange thing for Kreacher to know, and the fact that Kreacher does know it is a clue that something isn’t quite right.

  14. Another thing Harry doesn’t notice about Kreacher is that he is heavily bandaged. Since he knows Dobby he should have been suspicious about that.

    About Josie’s comment on the updates page and also concerning Jimma’s comment: There’s not need to go anywhere to speak to Sirius and even the very first time I read this I kept slapping my forehead because Harry didn’t think of the device Sirius gave him when they last saw each other. But as you have stated it would not have been a very exciting story.

  15. The fact that Sirius actually gave Harry that mirror practically for this exact purpose always made this bit very difficult to read. If only he had thought of it! Clearly this is intentional on the part of J.K.R., otherwise she would not have introduced the mirror in the way that she did. It just adds to the tragedy of the situation.

  16. Thanks for the theories, everyone. I think I like her asking about it around Christmas. I think that, because the wording was so similar to what he had said to the fifth year class, I took it to mean that she had somehow overheard that exact course.

    And, yeah, this chapter is super frustrating, what with him not just using the mirror to talk to Sirius, or just going through the fire to Grimmauld Place or London (although, admittedly, that didn’t even come to me as an option until I read it and then I wondered how I had missed something so *obvious*). ::sigh::

  17. Harry not using the mirror totally torked me off. When Sirius gave it to him, he was so cocky about it being something he would never ever use that he forgets about it — and then he goes and sticks his head in Umbridge’s fire instead. Again, I know they are all plot points, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. :)

  18. I agree with everyone else – Harry’s failure to use the mirror is a huge frustration. Most people would remember about the mirror if they were that desperate to contact the person.

    However, Harry’s forgetting is entirely in character. He frequently takes the difficult solution when an easy one exists. Remember how he stole Boomslang in his second year, when he could have simply sent Hedwig to Hogsmeade with a written order?

    Natalia, Harry can’t Floo to London from Hogwarts. Usually the Hogwarts Floo only operates like a magical telephone and cannot be used for external travel (although teachers can Floo to one another’s offices within Hogwarts). The one time the students do Floo to Hogwarts, that is a special exception, when the teachers decide to take the security risk for just a few hours.

  19. I didn’t think there was a difference between using the Floo network as a telephone or as a transportation mode. After all Dumbledore comes back from MoM late on in this book using the Floo network I believe. And the special exception Grace mentions is not from London it would have been from the Burrow to McGonagall’s office. Perhaps the Dumbledore example is an exception as Dumbledore is a fairly powerful Wizard…

  20. I get so mad at all the things Harry fails to do in these chapters. 1: He forgets about Snape being in the Order. I mean come on?! Is that really easy to forget? He took private lessons from the man! 2: He forgets about Sirius’s mirror. Such a foolish thing to do. 3: He doesn’t make note of the fact that Kreacher’s hands are bandaged. He knows Dobby very, very well. He should know better.

    Re Harry not wanting Nelville, Ginny and Luna to come: I have always read this as more of an arrogance about Harry. He has done a lot of things and these are people he sees as slightly inferior (Ginny and Luna for being young. Neville for being “different”). It is a common theme, in this book especially, Harry’s arrogance. Read 1st like 8 chapters and that is all he talks about. As Snape often says, Harry has the same arrogance James had. It isn’t always a bad thing but makes him a twit at times.

  21. Austen, in terms of Harry forgetting that Snape is in the Order – I don’t think it’s a hard thing to forget, for two reasons. One is that Snape wasn’t around Grimmauld Place much, so Harry wouldn’t necessarily associate him with the headquarters of the Order. And the other, bigger reason is because I’m sure he thinks of the Order as the “good guys,” or as the people who will protect him, in so many words. From Harry’s perspective, Snape fits neither of those categories. I often forget Snape is in the Order too, for the same reasons.

  22. Harry’s not a perfect character though. I think that makes him so much more believable and real, especially where the mirror is concerned. He never opened it and then he forgot about it, so he didn’t know what was in it and you think to yourself at the end “Omg, if only you had opened it and found out what it was!” But that’s what makes it more tragic: He forgot about it, just like anyone else would have if they’d tossed it aside. Imagine if he had used that mirror and found out Sirius was at Grimmauld Place – I don’t think the story would have been as good, and I don’t think Harry would have done the growing-up he needed to do.

    What I like about all of the major characters in Harry Potter is that they’re not characters fans wish they were, or characters that do things fans want them to do. They’re genuinely flawed.

  23. Personally I don’t think that Kreacher is heavily bandaged because he lied to anyone, but because he injured Buckbeak. Either he was injured back in the process by Buckbeak or he did it to punish himself for injuring Buckbeak. There’s nothing in that that should have directly led Harry to thinking Kreacher was lying to him, other than that it’s suspicious behaviour.

  24. Throughout the series Harry has shown a reluctance to let others endanger their lives for him, to blame himself if people get hurt trying to defend or help him (stupid Dursleys making him feel like everything that goes wrong is his fault). I think with Neville, Luna and Ginny it’s just the same again. He seems to assume straight away that Ron and Hermione will go to London with him, so it seems to have got into his head by now that that is a given, but to let even more people put themselves at risk is totally against his instincts.

  25. I think the pictures are out of order. Didn’t Harry try to warn Snape right before he left – after Snape told Umbridge (twice) that he had no more Veritaserum?

    This is a very frustrating time in the book for me whenever I read it. It’s so hard to read it when you know 1) Snape is still at Hogwarts and is in the Order and 2) Kreacher is lying. Also, it is kind of annoying how rude Harry is to the others, even Hermione (‘”Smart plan,” he spat at Hermione.’)

  26. Will, you’re right about the pictures being out of order. I had originally captioned the Snape picture with his response to Harry’s “he’s got Padfoot!” and I have no memory of changing it. Weird. At any rate, I’ll fix it now. :)

  27. If only Hermione would have told the centaurs that Umbridge forced she and Harry to take Umbridge into the forest. Then they would seem like the “innocents” centaurs would not harm and it really would not be a lie. Isn’t Hermione supposed to be the quick thinker? Too bad they ruined this in the movie and made it appear Hermione was leading Umbridge to Grawp instead.

  28. one thing that I actually liked better in the movie then the book was where Dolores said “Potter, tell them I mean no harm” and Harry says “I must not tell lies”

  29. Hey Josie, what’s up with the “Something You May Not Have Noticed” section? There seems to be something missing.

  30. Josiah, I think I figured out what happened, but it’s a fairly convoluted story so I won’t bore you with it. At any rate, it’s fixed now, thanks for pointing it out. :)

  31. The movie is definitely plaguing my thoughts when reading this. At first I thought Hermione was leading Umbridge to Grawp and was confused why she was going toward Aragog, then it clicked. It sucks too, cause the for this book was my least favorite, including PoA. Ugh.

    Another reason why I think Harry didn’t think of Snape, included with the others from above, is that Snape never EVER believes Harry about anything, or is just such a jerk about it, Harry gives up. Remember in GoF when he runs to find Dumbledore after finding Crouch, Sr.? Snape totally got in his way and may have caused the reason why he couldn’t get Dumbledore to Crouch in time. So I think, subconsciously and consciously, Harry just avoids going to Snape for help with anything.

    Though the mirror has been placed in a frustrating spot in this book, remember it (or a shard of it) comes in handy very much so in DH! Just to shed a little light on the situation (however poorly).

    Also, I feel like Luna wouldn’t have gone to Hagrid, as much as she would have gone to her Head of House (Flitwick) or some other adult she trusts. Remember, she says she thinks Hagrid is a bit of a joke early on in this book, so I don’t think she would think of him to go to. Especially in first year when Hagrid isn’t a CoMC professor. Perhaps the professor (I forget their name) that taught it in that year?

    There’s a lot of frustration with Harry in this chapter, but what gets me most is how rude and plain mean he’s being to his friends, who are being so loyal to him and really going out on a limb for him. He’s always snarling or snapping at them (which I think probably has something to do with his connection to Voldemort as well), both here and in the next chapter. He’s just not a very fun character to read leading up to the battle.

  32. the movie for this book* sorry

  33. @casey prof. kettleburn taught CoMC

    reading the book 2nd time, i was thinking why doesn’t harry go to the kitchens and asks dobby to apparate (if the fidelius charm has no effect on him) or floo to grimmauld place???

    or he could go himself, by the time harry’d come, umbridge would’ve gone…
    or used the mirror…
    he should’ve atleast told hermione about it…

  34. @casey proff. kettleburn taught CoMC

    reading the book 2nd time, i was thinking why doesn’t harry go to the kitchens and asks dobby to apparate (if the fidelius charm has no effect on him) or floo to grimmauld place???

    or he could go himself, by the time harry’d come, umbridge would’ve gone…
    or used the mirror…
    he should’ve atleast told hermione about it…

  35. Well, this must be the “I hate Harry” section…

    The first time I read this chapter, *I* had completely forgotten about Snape being in the Order, despite him being at headquarters and giving Harry lessons, because in my mind, he’s usually listed among either the bad guys or the teachers that don’t help. I had also quite forgotten about the mirror until Harry himself remembers it.

    Not wanting Ginny, Neville, or Luna to join him, I think, is the same thing he always (and in some circumstances) still does with Ron and Hermione: “I have to do this alone. No one else is going to get hurt/die because of me”. My question with that, though, is that if Ginny, Neville, and Luna are the D.A. members he wouldn’t choose in that respect, which ones does he consider expendable?

  36. Forgot to add one point to Harry. Spoilers:
    Remember, the Dark Lord is poking himself into Harry’s mind rather blatantly by this point. Don’t blame Harry for all the anger and other dark feelings.

  37. he probably didn’t think about that stuff because his mind was 1.) flooded with voldemorts thought and 2.) it’ hard to think and remember properly when in that kind of situation 3.) he’s only 15

  38. “It’s the Potter boy’s head in the fire,” Kreacher informed the empty kitchen..

    Hilarious! I realise this chapter makes people really angry, but I alway laugh when I read this line from Kreacher.

  39. Aw, come on guys… I know Harry isn’t always the one with the clearest head, but he’s in a state of serious stress here. I mean, Sirius is the only person he sees as a father figure, the only grown up he can turn to (and yes, that includes Dumledore, who has been ignoring Harry the entire year and thus put more emphasis on Sirius as Harry’s only “parent”). And he has just had a vision of this man, the only family he got except for his friends, being tortured. Of course he isn’t thinking straight! Who would?
    Most people would panic in a situation like this – imagining having a vision of your mom or dad being tortured. The first thing you’d do wouldn’t exactly be to sit down and calmly think through all the options, when you know time is limited. I think Harry reacts much the same way anyone would do, like a human being, out of his feelings more than his head. The only reason we are irritated with him is because we know more than he does (at least if you’ve read the book before) – we know the mirror is in that package he never opened and what it could have been used for.

    Another thing, I spotted a small error in the “Life at Hogwarts”-section; the first time you mentioned Professor Tofty, you spelled his name “Toffy” :)

  40. So, not sure how much everyone here knows about centaurs, mythologically, but I for one find Rowling’s implications in this chapter pretty shocking. Right up there with the things she (*spoiler alert*) says later about Aberforth and his “improper” goat charms (snerk).

    Centaurs have a mythological reputation as rapists (look it up, totally not joking). And it’s at least implied that something VERY traumatic happens to Umbridge after they carry her off. So much so that the sound of clopping hooves basically sends her into a PTSD episode when the trio sees her in St. Mungo’s later. And there’s no way that Rowling (who worked all sorts of historical and mythological lore into these books) didn’t have some idea of what she was insinuating by having her just carried off by an angry mob of centaurs and not seen again until some time later.

    I mean, yes, she’s an awful character…but…

  41. I think that the reason that Harry’s scar kept hurting because of Voldemort didn’t know what took Harry so long getting to the Ministry. Who would have Harry picked other than Ginny, Neville, and Luna?

  42. In addition to all the good reasons mentioned above for Harry’s lapse of better judgment, remember that he only got about 2 hours of sleep after his Astronomy exam the night before… and he will stay up all night at the Dept of Mysteries tonight too.

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