We’re done with Order of the Phoenix. Our feels are bruised and battered, and yet we proceed stalwartly onward.
Here’s the haps, clicky: We learn that people with speech impediments cannot do magic (somewhere, Stephen Hawking is weeping silently); Dumbledore deserves all the hugs (“Harry looked up at him and saw a tear trickling down Dumbledore’s face into his long silver beard.”); I desire to know what the centaurs were doing with Umbridge for an entire night (and also don’t want to know even a little bit); “Lord Thingy” is the best Voldemort name substitute yet; Neville strokes his Mimbulus mimbletonia, and several readers find themselves wishing they were a gray cactus covered in oozy boils; and we learn that Harry had a two-way mirror with which to communicate directly with Sirius WRAPPED IN HIS SUITCASE FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE BOOK.
I have for Hagrid some simple steps to making a good decision: (1) Don’t remove Grawp from the mountains. (2) Leave Grawp in the mountains. (3) If you MUST remove Grawp from the mountains, don’t bring Grawp near a school. (4) Don’t introduce your small friends to Grawp, that they may become tasty morsels in Grawp’s tummy.
But Hagrid has ignored all my advice. Just all of it.
Surely, this is the best sentence in all of literature:
“The baby-headed Death Eater had appeared in the doorway, his head bawling, his great fists flailing uncontrollably at everything around him.” (p. 793)
“I doubt it,” shouted tiny Professor Marchbanks, “not if Dumbledore doesn’t want to be found! I should know. . . . Examined him personally in Transfiguration and Charms when he did N.E.W.T.s . . . Did things with a wand I’d never seen before . . .” (p. 711)
Alice was asking me a few days ago who we should ship with Harry, in a perfect world where Ginny actually ends up with someone who deserves her. I still think Harry should probably be single forever, BUT I nominate Neville for the role of Best Friend (sorry, Ron).
Yes, ALL Harry’s friends are loyal, but in the Ministry of Magic, none were more loyal than our dear Neville. Not only does he repeatedly refuse to leave Harry’s side, but he bravely faces up to the loony woman who robbed him of his parents (and I become uncomfortably aroused for the eleventy-millionth time since this readalong began).
This enduring friendship makes sense on so many levels. Neville and Harry are both technical orphans, and loyal/stubborn Neville ultimately saves Harry’s life by jamming Hermione’s wand in McNair’s eyehole (you should probably give that a good polish back at the school, Hermione). But even more than that, Neville is essentially Alternate Universe Harry, because it could have been he who was destined to face off with Lord Voldemort, according to the prophecy and all that. And if events had panned out that way, and Voldemort HAD marked Neville instead of Harry, I think he would have kicked just as much ass as Harry, if not more. And there would have been weaponized flora involved.