Chapter 26 Summary
Seen and Unforeseen
Just as Hermione is chiding Harry for not handling Cho correctly on their date (and Harry is confused about girls in general), Ron returns from the worst Quidditch practice ever. It turns out that Ron only plays well if he doesn’t think anyone is watching.
The actual match that weekend is even worse, however. Various players get knocked in the teeth by rogue bludgers, and Ron allows the opposing team fourteen goals! Gryffindor is certainly not doing well this Quidditch season. Of course, Harry and the Weasley twins still have a lifetime ban on playing the sport.
Harry continues to dream about the hall in the Department of Mysteries, but his thoughts are diverted by a slew of letters arriving from all over the world after Rita Skeeter published her article in the Quibbler. His fan mail is split between those who are “for” Harry and those who are “against” Harry.
Professor Umbridge is absolutely furious at the publishing of this article right under her nose and does everything she can to make it horrible for Harry: she takes points from Gryffindor House, gives Harry more detentions, and threatens to expel any student who has that particular newspaper in his or her possession. Of course, this makes the students at Hogwarts only want to read the article more.
Unfortunately, Harry has another dream of Voldemort first chiding and then congratulating one of his Death Eaters, Rookwood. The dream shows Harry that Bode was killed because he actually was recovering from his injuries at St. Mungos’s and might have been able to reveal some of Voldemort’s precious information.
It is this dream that Professor Snape sees during Harry’s next lesson in Occlumency. It is also the lesson when Harry succeeds in penetrating Snape's mind.
Harry’s Occlumency lesson is thwarted by screams from Professor Trelawney, who has just been fired in front of the whole school. Professor Trelawney cowers under the looks of both her elders and her students as Professor McGonagall tries to comfort the sniveling Divination teacher. Professor Umbridge looks over Trelawney with smug indignation and insists that she be kicked off the grounds.
Dumbledore appears and trumps Umbridge by insisting he still has the power to allow Professor Trelawney to reside at Hogwarts and hire a new replacement: the centaur named Firenze. Professor Umbridge is absolutely livid that she has been outplayed.