7.01.2008

LUNA A GIRL OF CLOSEST ABNORMALITY

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Along the way to Hogwarts, on the Hogwarts express, Harry meets a girl named Luna Lovegood, whom no one likes because they think she's crazy. At the welcome feast, the trio are surprised that their new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts is Dolores Umbridge, a hostile Ministry official who presided at Harry's hearing. Hermione guesses, correctly, that her appointment is a sign that the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts: as a teacher, she forces the students to study magical theory out of textbooks, rather than practical defense methods (according to Sirius, Fudge is so paranoid that he now believes Dumbledore is recruiting students into a private army). A short time later, she is appointed as High Inquisitor, with the power to evaluate and dismiss other teachers, and impose strict rules and regulations on students.
Underneath her cloying fa├žade, Umbridge imposes sadistic punishments on “naughty” students, her favorite being making them write lines with blood quills (which cut the words into the skin when used). She focuses particularly on Harry, as part of Fudge’s campaign to silence his “lies” about Voldemort’s return. Her punishments also include banning Harry from the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
She is also intensely bigoted, harboring deep loathing for "half-breeds," such as centaurs, werewolves, and Rubeus Hagrid (a half-giant). In short order, she dismisses Sybill Trelawney as incompetent and places Hagrid on probation. Although Dumbledore is unable to prevent Trelawney's dismissal, he invokes his authority to allow her to remain in the castle and appoints a new Divination teacher — the centaur, Firenze.
Hagrid was absent for half the year, he reveals to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, because of a diplomatic mission to the giants on Dumbledore’s orders, to try and dissuade them from joining Voldemort. His mission was a failure, but he also reveals, somewhat shamefacedly, that he secretly brought one of the giants back – his half-brother Grawp, who he has been keeping tied up in the Forbidden Forest and trying to "civilize."

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