Chapter 12 Summary
Unfortunately for Hermione and Ron (the new prefects), Fred and George Weasley are planning to use as many young Gryffindor students as possible to test their new items for their planned joke shop. Hermione is angry, while Ron is mortified. Fred and George insist that even Hermione might want to use some of their products by the end of the year because of the Ordinary Wizarding Levels, or O.W.L.s. These are special tests that witches and wizards take to determine in which subjects they are most proficient as well as which jobs might be right for them.
As more students take sides between those who believe Harry that Voldemort has returned and those who believe the Ministry of Magic that Voldemort has not returned, Harry starts to see the truth in the Sorting Hat’s song. Because of the influence of the Ministry of Magic as well as The Daily Prophet, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is becoming deeply divided.
Even the Gryffindor quidditch team needs a new Keeper. Angelina Johnson (the captain) asks Harry to be at practice to help her choose. The practice is on a Friday evening.
Soon classes begin. Harry has an encounter with Cho Chang after the History of Magic class. Snape mocks Harry during Potions class because of his lack of proficiency at potion making. Professor Trelawney has them do dream interpretation in Divination.
It is Professor Umbridge’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class that surprises Harry the most. It turns out that Umbridge isn’t planning on allowing Hogwarts students to use any real defensive magic. Her plan is to have them copy out of the book. When Harry gets angry, he insists that Voldemort has returned; Umbridge refuses to admit it.
Harry speaks with complete disregard for authority on this issue. After a particularly acrid outburst, Harry is sent with a very acerbic note to Professor McGonagall. Harry is so very angry that he has no patience even for Peeves in the hallway before he goes in to Professor McGonagall’s office.
Instead of being angry, McGonagall gives Harry a warning of exactly where Professor Umbridge comes from: the Ministry of Magic. Professor McGonagall wonders if Harry listened to Professor Umbridge’s big speech at the sorting, but then she realized that it was Hermione who was listening.
Even though Harry asks for a reprieve, Professor McGonagall also insists that Harry attend the disciplinary action requested by Professor Umbridge: detention with Professor Umbridge every single night that week, even the night of the important Quidditch tryouts when the team needs to pick a new keeper.