Chapter 21 Summary
The Eye of the Snake
Harry, Ron, and Hermione dread the moment when Professor Umbridge shows up in Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class because Hagrid still will not listen to the three of them about changing his teaching methods. They are afraid that Hagrid will be fired as a result. Luckily, Professor Umbridge does not show up to Hagrid’s first class.
Hagrid takes the class into the forest to observe some special creatures Hagrid has prepared for them. The class is curious (and a bit frightened) when Hagrid calls these creatures with a special sound and a large chunk of meat.
Harry is amazed when one of the creatures approaches because it is a Thestral: the same creatures that were pulling the “horseless” carriages at the beginning of the school year, the same creatures that most Hogwarts students couldn’t see. Sure enough, most of the people in the class can’t see them either. The reason why is intriguing: the only people who can see Thestrals are those who have seen death.
Unfortunately, Professor Umbridge chooses this precise moment to begin an observation of Hagrid’s teaching methods. In addition to talking down to Hagrid, Professor Umbridge makes sure that every aspect of the class is recorded in the observation notebook in the worst possible way. It is no surprise that Professor Umbridge has a bias against Hagrid who, of course, has been working for Dumbledore while Umbridge works for the Ministry of Magic.
With the Christmas holidays quickly approaching, Harry is in fairly good spirits because the Weasleys have invited him to spend the holidays with them. Harry also is glad that Ginny Weasley has joined the Gryffindor Quidditch team as the new Seeker.
The DA meetings are going well, too. All of the students have improved greatly. Harry is particularly impressed with the skills of Neville Longbottom. After class, Cho Chang hangs back to speak with Harry. She is conflicted by her feelings for Harry and her feelings for Cedric Diggory, who died last year. After complimenting Harry’s teaching, Cho Chang cries as she and Harry share a first kiss under the mistletoe.
When Harry returns to the common room, Hermione guesses what happened between Cho and Harry. Hermione is frustrated with both Ron and Harry for not understanding the reason why Cho Chang would feel conflicted and cry as a result.
With all of these thoughts in Harry’s mind that night, he falls asleep and has horrible dreams. This time, Harry dreams that he is an enormous snake attacking Arthur Weasley.
Harry awakens with his scar hurting as it never has before and finds his friends trying hard to shake him awake. The pain is so horrible that Harry vomits.
Harry’s friends realize that Harry has seen something very serious and fetch Professor McGonagall. Not only does Professor McGonagall believe Harry; she also takes him to see Dumbledore immediately.