Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix – Summary, Chapters 26–28

Chapter 26
Harry’s Quibbler story appears. By mid-morning,
Umbridge has posted a decree banning any students from reading or
possessing the Quibbler. When Harry goes to bed
that night, his scar aches. He has another vision of himself as
Voldemort, this time discussing Bode’s death with Rockwood, a Death
Eater who escaped from Azkaban. Harry wakes up screaming. Ron again
suggests he go to Dumbledore, but Harry refuses. The next morning,
Hermione figures out that Bode must have been under an Imperius
Curse. When Bode tried to get the mysterious weapon Voldemort is
searching for, he went mad and ended up in St. Mungo’s.
Harry continues studying Occlumency with Snape. He has
made little progress but does manage to get inside Snape’s mind
for a brief moment. Professor Trelawney interrupts their lesson
by screaming from the entrance hall. Umbridge has fired her, and
she must leave campus. Dumbledore appears and permits Trelawney
to stay and live at Hogwarts, although he cannot reinstate her teaching
position. Dumbledore then introduces the new Divination teacher,
a Centaur named Firenze.
Chapter 27
Firenze assumes Trelawney’s duties, explaining to the
students that nothing, even centaurs’ knowledge, is foolproof. After
class, Firenze asks Harry to tell Hagrid that his attempt is not
working and he must abandon it. Harry relays the message, but Hagrid
ignores it.
The D.A. begins working on conjuring Patronuses. Dobby
interrupts to warn the group that Umbridge is on her way, and the
students scatter. Malfoy trips Harry and hands him over to Umbridge. Umbridge
drags Harry to Dumbledore’s office, where Cornelius Fudge is waiting,
and fetches her informant, a Ravenclaw named Marietta. Because Hermione
jinxed the scroll with the D.A.’s names against snitches, Marietta’s
face is covered in giant purple pimples spelling the word “Sneak.”
Marietta refuses to uncover her face to speak. Dumbledore takes
full responsibility for the D.A. He points to the title on the parchment,
identifying the group as Dumbledore’s Army. When the Minister attempts
to arrest him, Dumbledore sends a streak of silver light through
his office and disappears.
Chapter 28
Umbridge replaces Dumbledore as Headmistress and appoints
an Inquisitional Squad of students, which is comprised
mostly of Slytherins, including Draco Malfoy, to do her bidding.
The Squad has the power to dock points from Houses, which Malfoy
does happily. Fred and George swear to make Umbridge’s life at Hogwarts
difficult, and they set off a crate of fireworks in the Great Hall.
Umbridge’s magic does not work on the fireworks, and the faculty
refuses to help her. Firecrackers explode for the rest of the afternoon.
Harry dreams of the Department of Mysteries again. This
time he gets through the doors and into a room lined with dusty
glass spheres. He heads toward one but wakes up before he reaches
it. The next day, Harry resumes lessons with Snape. Malfoy interrupts to
say that Umbridge needs Snape’s help. While Snape is gone, Harry
climbs into the Pensieve, hoping to gain insight into the Department
of Mysteries. Harry sees Snape taking his O.W.L.s and then sees
his father, James Potter, with Sirius, Lupin, and Moody. Sirius
and James catch sight of Snape. They torment and humiliate him in
front of the other students. Lily, Harry’s mother, attempts to intervene,
but Snape calls her a Mudblood, and she backs off. Snape returns
to his classroom and yanks Harry out of the Pensieve, enraged. Harry
is devastated by James and Sirius’s behavior.
Analysis
Even though Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius, and Lupin all stress
how important it is for Harry to learn and practice Occlumency,
Harry still stubbornly refuses to dedicate himself to the task of
closing his mind. Harry’s vision of Voldemort’s attack on Mr. Weasley
ultimately helped save Mr. Weasley’s life, and Harry doesn’t understand why
he must close his mind entirely to outside influences. He assumes
this is just another case of the adults in his life not wanting him
to have access to sensitive information. Harry continues to attempt
Occlumency only half-heartedly, since no one will tell him directly
why he should take the lessons seriously. Had Dumbledore been honest
with Harry from the beginning and explained the truth about Harry’s
complex connection to Voldemort, Harry may have been more stringent
with his Occlumency practice, and, therefore, not fallen for Voldemort’s
trap. Once again, adults withhold information from children under
the guise of “keeping them safe,” when, in reality, they are causing
more harm than good by not being more forthcoming with information.
Despite withholding so much important information from Harry,
Dumbledore proves himself to be a selfless and wise leader in Chapter 27.
He takes full responsibility for the D.A. even though he had no
knowledge of the existence of something called “Dumbledore’s Army.”
He realizes, however, that he can escape the Ministry with far more
ease than Harry can, so he takes the blame, sacrificing himself
to ensure Harry’s safety. No matter how many doubts Harry Potter
and the Order of the Phoenix raises about Dumbledore’s competency,
he still remains a powerful, clever, and intensely pure force for
good. His escape here is also noteworthy for the level of skill
it requires. He effortlessly flies by the Minister of Magic and several
other Wizards without so much as a skirmish.
Though Hogwarts has been notably fractured this year, Umbridge’s
appointment as Headmaster compels the students and faculty to
band together to make her life as difficult as possible. With the
small exception of Umbridge’s Inquisitional Squad, all of Hogwarts’
residents are upset by the upheaval Umbridge has introduced to the
school. Their indignation is both a show of general unity and a
display of extreme loyalty to Dumbledore. Umbridge’s Educational Decrees
are beginning to seem more and more ridiculous. She bans all issues
of the Quibbler simply because Harry disputes the
Ministry’s official party line in reference to Voldemort. As Hermione
points out astutely, banning the magazine simply stirs up more interest
in Harry’s story. Since so many students are opposed to Umbridge’s
teaching methods and maniacal rules, they are more likely to seek
out, read, and empathize with Harry’s words, effectively patching
up some of the fracturing that has been plaguing Hogwarts.