Mrs. Weasley, Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ron’s twin brothers, Fred
and George, are attempting to clean number twelve. Kreacher, the
Black House Elf, resists their efforts, sneaking off with items
he does not want thrown away and muttering insults under his breath. Members
of the Order come and go, delivering news and checking in. Sirius
shows Harry the Black family tapestry, which traces the Black family
back to the Middle Ages. Sirius’s mother burned off her son’s name
after he refused to subscribe to Voldemort’s philosophies about
only pureblood wizards being allowed to train and practice. Harry
also learns that Sirius is related to both Tonks and Lucius Malfoy.
The Blacks are also related to the Lestrange family, a name that
sounds familiar to Harry, although he cannot quite place it.
Meanwhile, Fred and George continue to plot the opening
of their joke shop, which is being funded by the gold Harry won
in the Triwizard Tournament. As they clean, the twins tuck select
items into their pockets to mine for jokes later on. Harry notes
that this is the first time all summer he has had any fun. He enjoys
it so much that he forgets about his hearing, until Sirius asks
if it would be acceptable for him to accompany Harry to the Ministry.
Dumbledore sends Mr. Weasley instead, and Sirius is again stuck
inside number twelve. Harry puts on clean clothes, washes his hair,
and tries to prepare himself for possible expulsion.
On the morning of his hearing, Harry wakes up early. He
heads downstairs for breakfast and finds Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Sirius, Tonks,
and Lupin waiting for him in the kitchen. They wish Harry luck,
and he and Mr. Weasley leave for the Ministry of Magic. They enter
the Ministry through a phone booth, and Mr. Weasley takes Harry
to wait in his office. There, Mr. Weasley’s partner, Perkins, breathlessly
informs them that the time and place of Harry’s hearing have changed.
Mr. Weasley looks at his watch and realizes they’re already late.
Dragging Harry behind him, he sprints toward the courtroom, where
he drops Harry off.
Harry enters the courtroom and realizes he has seen it
before. When Harry was inside Dumbledore’s Pensieve, he saw the
Lestranges sentenced to life imprisonment in the same courtroom.
Cornelius Fudge reprimands Harry for being late. The Wizengamot
trying Harry is made up of about fifty wizards and witches, led
by Cornelius Fudge, who is seated next a toadlike woman named Delores Umbridge.
Percy Weasley is present to transcribe the proceedings. As the hearing
begins, Dumbledore breezes into the room, declaring himself a witness
for the defense. Dumbledore does not look at Harry. The hearing
begins. Members of the Wizengamot seem impressed that Harry was
able to conjure a full Patronus but do not appear to believe Harry’s
story about dementors appearing in Little Whinging. Dumbledore calls
Mrs. Figg as a witness, and she nervously corroborates Harry’s story.
Fudge still refuses to believe that dementors, who are under strict
Ministry control, escaped Azkaban to terrorize a Muggle suburb.
The Wizengamot votes, and Harry is cleared of all charges. Before
Harry can thank Dumbledore, Dumbledore dashes out of the dungeon.
By describing how dire Sirius’s circumstances are at number
twelve, Rowling establishes a strong parallel between Sirius’s imprisonment there
and Harry’s imprisonment at Four Privet Drive. Like Harry, Sirius
has been stuck inside all summer, unable to travel freely because
the Ministry of Magic is still pursuing him for thirteen murders
he did not commit. Rather than helping the Order fight Voldemort,
Sirius has been ordered to remain inside, cleaning out his old house
and attempting to make it fit for humans. The Black family members
were Death Eaters and supported Lord Voldemort. Since Sirius grew
up at Twelve Grimmauld Place, the house reminds him of his family’s
bad decisions and is rife with memories of his painful and serious
familial break. Sirius’s mother, as if to confirm her timeless distaste
for her son’s decision, burned his name from the Black family tapestry—and
no matter how hard Sirius tries to remove the tapestry, he cannot
seem to get it off the wall. Likewise, Kreacher, the Black House
Elf, is clearly unhappy that Sirius is the only Black remaining,
and therefore Kreacher’s default master. Number twelve is an unhappy
and uncomfortable place for Sirius to be, and he is perpetually
trying to escape its confines.
For Harry, Four Privet Drive is a similarly unhappy and
emotionally loaded environment. Although the Durselys are technically Harry’s
only remaining family, they never treat him very kindly and never
acknowledge him as an actual member of their household. Instead,
they banish Harry to tiny rooms, scream at him, blame him for things
he did not do, and lock him up inside. Harry must return to this
unpleasant place again and again. He envies Ron and Hermione, who
can move about freely and interact with other Wizards as they please,
and instantly relates to Sirius’s jealousy of the other, freer members
of the Order. Aside from recognizing the difficulty of being unfairly
contained in an unhappy home, Harry also relates to Sirius’s sense
of being orphaned by his parents, even though Sirius’s split with
his mother and father was ideological, while Harry’s parents were
Harry is cleared of all charges even though his hearing
at the Ministry of Magic does not go particularly well, but Dumbledore’s strange
behavior subdues Harry’s excitement about the hearing’s outcome.
Cornelius Fudge obviously dislikes Harry, probably because of Harry’s
close association with Dumbledore, and tries his best to bully the
Wizengamot into voting for Harry’s expulsion. Harry is happy that
Dumbledore appears to speak on his behalf, helping to ensure that
he is not expelled, but Dumbledore does not even acknowledge Harry’s
presence. After Harry’s frightening, difficult summer, he expected
Dumbledore to offer some kind of solace or explanation. Instead,
Dumbledore rudely ignores him. This icy treatment taints Harry’s
happiness at being able to return to Hogwarts in the fall.