Chapter 25 Summary
The Beetle at Bay
The owls bring the mail to the Great Hall the next morning and Harry finds out exactly why Voldemort is full of joy: the Daily Prophet reports that lots of Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, have escaped from Azkaban. Sirius Black is blamed for these escapes.
The Daily Prophet also contains news of the death of Broderick Bode, a patient at St. Mungo’s. Harry and his friends fleetingly remember Bode receiving a strange plant as a Christmas gift while they were there exploring the hospital. It was this Devil’s Snare Christmas gift that killed Bode, who worked in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic.
Harry’s thoughts turn to Hagrid as he observes Hagrid as beat-up as ever, with more bruises and lacerations. In addition, Professor Umbridge has put Hagrid on probation. Of course, no one else seems to notice Hagrid as they all want to hear what Harry thinks about the Azkaban escape.
Professor Umbridge tightens her grip on Hogwarts with more “Educational Decrees,” the latest one forbidding teachers to give students any information not relating to their subject. She is also suffocating any teacher on probation by observing them for every class period. Harry is suffocating as well from Professor Snape’s Occlumency lessons. Luckily, Harry always has the DA to look forward to, as well as his Valentine's Day date with Cho Chang to Hogsmeade.
Unfortunately, Harry’s Hogsmeade date with Cho does not go as he would have hoped. It begins easily enough with the two of them talking about Quidditch, but it deteriorates rapidly when the two of them enter a very pink tea parlour with couples kissing all around them. Harry makes the mistake of telling Cho that he is supposed to meet Hermione in the middle of the day. Cho counters with asking about Cedric’s thoughts before he died. The two part in very bad form before Harry goes to meet Hermione.
It turns out that Hermione has asked Rita Skeeter to write an article telling the truth of Harry’s story. Rita Skeeter has no choice other than to tell the truth because if she doesn’t, Hermione will tell everyone that she is an unregistered Animagus.
Unfortunately the Daily Prophet (that has been trying to discredit Harry) would never publish the article, so they decide to publish it in the Lovegood’s tabloid, the Quibbler. Rita Skeeter is disgusted that her work will be displayed in such a periodical, but she agrees to do it anyway. She has no choice.