The Harry Potter Reread

The Harry Potter Reread: The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 15 and 16

The Harry Potter Reread got up way early yesterday morning and got tickets to HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, HOW IS IT GOING TO GET TO ENGLAND, PROBABLY IN A SUITCASE, WHO CARES?

*hyperventilates*

Today we’re going to watch Draco blow off the one person willing to help him out, and listen to wizard love songs about cauldron stirring. Ahem. It’s chapters 15 and 16 of The Half-Blood Prince—The Unbreakable Vow and A Very Frosty Christmas.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

 

Chapter 15—The Unbreakable Vow

Summary

Christmas has arrived, and Harry has to avoid hallways with mistletoe, else he be cornered by gaggles of ladies. Ron finds it hilarious, instead of engaging in his usual bout of jealousy—taking up with Lavender has improved his mood considerably. Harry likes that, but isn’t so much a fan of hanging out with Lavender all the time, or the fact that Ron and Hermione seem like they may never speak again. Harry is forced to spend time with each of them separately, where he carefully keeps his mouth shut on the subject of their estrangement. Hermione warns Harry that he should invite someone to Slughorn’s Christmas party soon; she overheard girls in the bathroom talking about slipping Harry one of Fred and George’s love potions to get him to ask one of them as his date. Harry wonders why Flich hasn’t caught the contraband being delivered by owl, but Hermione explains that Fred and George disguise it as perfume and cough medicines. Harry suggests that perhaps Malfoy could be slipping things through the post too, which Hermione is not at all keen to talk about. (Though she points out that the Secrecy Sensors that the school uses are to detect Dark magic specifically.)

Madam Pince chases them from the library when she sees the writing in Harry’s potions textbook, and Harry suggests that she was upset about Hermione talking ill of Filch, jokingly suggesting that they’re in love. When they get back to the common room, Romilda Vane offers Harry something to drink (he refuses), then gives him chocolate cauldrons with firewhiskey in them, which her grandmother sent and she doesn’t want. Hermione sees Ron and Lavender and promptly rushes upstairs. Harry hopes that Ron and Hermione will cool their heels over the break, but things get worse during their last Transfiguration class when Hermione laughs at Ron’s first go at human Transfiguration, leading to Ron mimicking her. Hermione leaves near to tears. Harry gathers the things that Hermione has left behind and finds her in the girls bathroom with Luna. Hermione thanks Harry for her books and leaves again, but Luna sticks around, pointing out that Ron has a knack for saying funny but mean things sometimes. Without giving much thought, Harry asks Luna to come to Slughorn’s party as friends. She’s entirely pleased and agrees. Unfortunately, Peeves overhears them and spreads the news instantly around the school.

Ron thinks it’s crazy that Harry would take Luna to the party, but Ginny is very pleased. Harry can’t quite feel good about the praise as she goes to sit with Dean. He suggests that Ron apologize to Hermione, but he’s not enthused about the prospect. Lavender arrives at the table with Parvati, who seems less than happy with her BFF’s behavior and has a moment of embarrassment for them both with Harry. Then she strikes up a conversation with Hermione—a clearly staged one—where Hermione reveals that she’s going to the party with Cormac McLaggen because she’s got a thing for really good Quidditch players. Harry meets Luna for the party and tells her that a vampire is supposed to be in attendance (Luna assumes that he means Rufus Scrimgeour). They arrive at the party and Slughorn immediately calls Harry aside to meets an author who has written an account of his life with vampires, and one of those vampires himself. The author, Eldred Worple, suggests that he write Harry’s biography, which Harry says a firm no to immediately. Then he rushes to Hermione’s side.

Hermione looks disheveled, claiming that she left (she uses the word “escaped” first) McLaggen under the mistletoe. Harry tells her it serves her right for bringing him, and Hermione admits she’d thought he would annoy Ron the most, though she considered Zacharias Smith. The three of them head to a corner and belatedly realize that Trelawney is standing there alone and drunk. She mentions that she hasn’t seen Luna, who tells her that she has Firenze this year, leading Trelawney to go off about his continued employment. Harry asks Hermione if she’s going to tell Ron that she interfered in the Keeper tryouts, which gets Hermione angry that all he cares about is Quidditch. McLaggen approached and she ducks away. Trelawney notices Harry and starts asking why he’s no longer taking her class, then Slughorn shows up and drags Snape into the conversation, telling him about Harry’s brilliance at Potions (which gets Snape’s attention). The teachers note that Harry is taking all the required classes to become an Auror, and Luna tells Harry he shouldn’t become one because Aurors are part of the Rotfang Conspiracy, trying to bring down the Ministry through Dark Magic and gum disease. Harry starts laughing, glad that he brought Luna along.

Filch arrives at the party dragging Draco by the ear, saying that the kid’s claimed he’d been invited and just got waylaid. Draco admits that he is gate-crashing, but Slughorn tells Filch to forgive it because it’s a Christmas. To Harry’s surprise, Draco doesn’t seem happy about being invited in, and Snape seems angry… and possibly afraid. While Draco compliments Slughorn, Harry notices that he looks a bit sick. Snape takes him aside, and Harry follows them under the Invisibility Cloak after excusing himself to the bathroom. He finds them in an empty classroom and listens in. Snape is telling Draco that he’s suspected in the Bell incident and Draco is adamant that he had nothing to do with it. Snape tries to use Legilimancy against him, but Draco has been learned Occlumency from Bellatrix, insisting that he’s not attempting to hide anything from Voldemort, but doesn’t want Snape butting in on his business. It turns out that Snape has been trying to get Draco to come to his office all term, but Draco has been avoiding him. Snape mentions the Unbreakable Vow, but Draco insists that he doesn’t need Snape’s protection and his plan is going just fine. Snape tries to get more information than that, but Draco refuses to confide in him. Snape scold him for being out at night without backup, so Draco takes him to task for putting Crabbe and Goyle in detention. Snape insists that they must do better in their remedial DADA classes, which Draco thinks is ridiculous, since they hardly need protection from Dark Arts. Snape maintains the importance of the act, but Draco thinks Snape just wants to steal his glory. Snape tells Draco he’s being childish, bringing up Lucius’ imprisonment, and Draco storms out.

Commentary

Harry has to avoid hallways because of the mistletoe debacle, which seems the only way to handle it because no one wants to be cornered by an army of girls when you say no. Creepy. Frankly, having mistletoe in your school hallways at all is creepy. Ron is sort of babbling at Harry about how he’s a “free agent” and how Hermione can’t complain about that after snogging Krum. So there’s a two-pronged aspect to this: (1) Taking up with Lavender is meant to prove to Hermione that he is desirable, (2) Lavender is a way of punishing Hermione for having experience ahead of him. The first reason is a totally understandable need on Ron’s part. The second is a shitty teenager thing to do.

Poor Harry is caught in the middle of his friends, and then finds out from Hermione that a bunch of girls are intending to slip him love potions to get him to take them to the Christmas party. Now, while the desire of these girls is mild—they are essentially trying to get Harry to take them on a date—this proves that the wizarding community has insanely lax standards about love potions. Fred and George sell them at a joke shop, for god’s sake. And all these girls consider it to be a totally reasonable plan of attack to get Harry to do what they want, a boy who has shown no interest in any of them to boot.

By this token, the wizarding community would probably say that what Merope Gaunt did to Tom Riddle is fine. Because it seems as though they view these potions as primarily a kid thing. A kid thing that can be easily, massively abused, because it’s essentially a roofie. A mood-altering, mind-altering roofie. How are love potions not considered Dark Magic? (By which I mean, why can’t they be detected by Filch’s Secrecy Sensor, it seems like they should read the same as Cursed objects.) Why are these kids learning to brew it in advanced Potions class? NO ONE should be making this stuff. In fact, Rowling has stated that the Love Room in the Department of Mysteries contains a FOUNTAIN of Amortentia, so if we needed more proof of how misunderstood/dangerous this stuff is, there you go.

We could make an argument that Rowling’s world-building is working against her here; in most cases, she intends the love potions to be played for laughs, almost in a cartoonish way (which we’ll actually get to later when Ron eats those Chocolate Cauldrons). But once you find out that Voldemort was conceived due to them… well, we can’t really laugh about them anymore. They’re a rape tool now. Moreover, young women are clearly encouraged to purchase and use them. There’s a whole messed up culture around them, which is precisely why Fred and George can make money off of them. It’s terrifying.

Hermione makes a comment in this chapter where she says that Filch probably can’t sort out the love potions when they’re disguised as cough potions because he’s not a very good wizard, and now I’m trying to remember if Harry told Ron and Hermione that he’s a Squib. *checks former posts* Doesn’t look like he ever did. He might have forgotten it at the time, but that fact that he never brings it up again is considerate of him.

Madam Pince freaks when she sees Harry’s textbook all scribbled in, and I’m completely on board with her because I’m one of those peculiar people who refuses to write in or highlight or even dog-ear pages or break the spines of books. I am aware that this is weird (sometimes I’ll buy two copies of a book—one for the bookshelf and one that I can mess up), but this is me and Madam Pince, having a moment. So.

Ron and Hermione go about continuing to hurt each other terribly, which leads to this great exchange between the boys that Ron sadly misses the point of:

“You could say sorry,” suggested Harry bluntly.

“What, and get attacked by another flock of canaries?” muttered Ron.

“What did you have to imitate her for?”

“She laughed at my mustache!”

“So did I, it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Sassy Harry, you have such wisdom.

Lavender interrupts said wisdom to make out with Ron, and Parvati and Harry share a moment of sorry-my-best-friend-is-so-embarrassing. And I really feel bad for Parvati here. Sure, she giggled over Ron with Lavender when the whole thing started, but now she’s being third wheeled by her best friend, and they’re incredibly obnoxious to be around. You have to figure that the whole conversation with Hermione at the dinner table came about because they were up in their dorm, and Parvati told Hermione sorry for everything that’s going on, and they probably ended up talking about how to break it up by making Ron jealous. Actually, I wish we had that scene. I’m super interested in Parvati and Hermione talking, period.

Harry heads to the party with Luna (him asking Luna in the first place is one of my favorite things that happens in this book, best choice, Harry) and promptly gets waylaid by Slughorn. He’s introduced to an author and his vampire friend Sanguini, and Rowling’s names are usually pretty on-the-nose, but SANGUINI. REALLY. REALLY?

Harry finds Hermione, who is looking ruffled and has just escaped the mistletoe, and Harry suggests that it “serves her right” for deciding to attend the party with McLaggen. And I feel like Harry is missing the point here; like, I think he’s assuming that Hermione just kind of got tired of kissing, when it sounds more like she was uncomfortable and had to get away from him. As in, I’m not entirely sure that whatever took place was really Hermione’s choice. She suggests that McLaggen makes Grawp look gentlemanly, which makes that reading even more likely—Grawp doesn’t ask permission to do anything either. And here’s Harry, responding with, ‘I hope you don’t tell Ron you made Quidditch tryouts easier for him to twist the knife more,’ and I’m like Harry, how the hell is that your first priority when it’s obvious that Hermione is miserable and running from her date.

The party itself is a very strange environment to see the teachers in, and I’m sort of baffled that Trelawney was invited (maybe because of her famous ancestor or because he just invited the whole staff?) and that Snape elected to come (did Slughorn threaten him with one-on-one time if he didn’t show up?). Trelawney is drunk—safe to say that she has a problem as this point—and calls Firenze a “horse,” so that’s charming. And by charming I mean, whoa, someone needs to lay off the sherry.

So here’s a thing—Luna really does believe all this conspiracy theory that her father dreams up for his magazine. (Rowling said in an interview that eventually adult Luna figures that her dad made up Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, so at a certain point she realizes that her father can’t always be believed… but that’s later in life.) Knowing that, I wonder what she must think when people laugh as she quotes The Quibbler to them. She has plenty of practice dealing with it, of course, but there are people who do it to be mean, and then there are situations like this; Harry isn’t laughing at Luna to pass judgement on her in front of others, he’s laughing because she always obliterates tension by saying exactly what is on her mind. It’s a laugh that ultimately says I’m so glad we’re friends instead of you’re an idiot for believing that stuff. She’s perceptive, so I’m sure she can tell the difference, but I worry about Luna all the time, so I think about these things. She deserves to know that she’s wonderful.

Then we get to our biggest Draco hint once Snape takes him aside, and it’s a fascinating scene because it provides us a very different look at both characters. We’ve never seen Draco cornered like this, never really been given the opportunity to see him sweat in any relevant way. It’s clear that his frightened, that he’s alone and can barely cope with it. We’ve never seen Snape so supportive, so willing to listen and lend a hand. Of course, he’s doing it because he has to, but this is the first time we’ve ever heard Snape talk about living a double life, and I think he means what he says to Draco, regardless—it’s a survival tool. and the only way you win is to use that tool every second of the day. Snape’s life must be exhausting. If you’re constantly having shift between two fronts, two lives, how easy is it to lose track of who you really are?

In the end, Snape realizes that the heart-to-heart isn’t getting him anywhere, and he decides to close off by taking the petty blow. The instant he brings up Lucius, Draco leaves the room—which gives us another insight. The loss of Lucius is one of the hardest hits for Draco. This along with Narcissa’s plea to Snape is shaping the final act for the Malfoys in this series, proving where their loyalties truly lie.

 

Chapter 16—A Very Frosty Christmas

Summary

Harry is relaying the story about Snape and Draco conversation to Ron while they peel sprouts at the Burrow. Ron is astounded that Snape made the Unbreakable Vow because breaking it means dying. (He tells Harry that Fred and George tried to get him to do it when he was five, and that Arthur went ballistic, the only time Ron’s ever seen him get angry like his mother.) The twins enter and give Ron and hard time about Lavender, so Ron throws the sprout knife at them, earning a scolding from Mrs. Weasley. The twins head off to town, refusing to help the boys prep for dinner with magic. Harry tells Ron that he’s going to tell Dumbledore and maybe Arthur about what he heard, and Ron tells him that they’ll assume that Snape was just trying to get info out of Draco. Harry knows this, but hopes he’ll be taken seriously.

On Christmas Eve, everyone is sitting around the radio to listen to Mrs. Weasley’s favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck, though no one seems quite so enamored as Molly (who danced to Celestina when she and Arthur were young), and Fleur is trying to talk over the music loudly. Arthur tells Harry that the Ministry is still holding their three recent arrests, even though none of them are likely Death Eaters, because it makes them seem more on top of things. Stan Shunpike is still imprisoned. Harry tells Arthur what he overheard, and Arthur figures Snape was pretending to help Draco to find out his plan, as Ron suspected. When Harry presses the matter, Lupin steps in, insisting that it’s a matter of whether you trust Dumbledore’s judgment on the matter. Harry asks if he likes Snape, and Lupin says he doesn’t feel either way about him, and that he’s extremely grateful for the fact that he prepared the Wolfsbane Potion for him while he taught. He points out that Harry has inherited that prejudice of his father and godfather, and suggests that Dumbledore will not take the same view. Harry asks what he’s been up to and Lupin admits that the reason he has not written to Harry is that he’s been undercover among werewolves. He’s clearly not happy with the work, though he acknowledges that he’s the only one for it. He tells Harry that most werewolves believe their lives would be better under Voldemort, which is why they’ve sided with him, and it’s been hard to gain their trust.

He then tells Harry of Fenrir Greyback, the most terrifying werewolf among them. Greyback has a mission to contaminate as many people as possible, wanting enough werewolves in the world to overcome wizard kind. Greyback typically bites children, raising them away from family to make them hate wizards. Lupin was bitten by Greyback as a child because his father insulted him. He is gathering werewolves to him, telling them to take revenge on normal people. When Lupin makes a remark that Harry reminds him of James, Harry thinks to ask him about the Half-Blood Prince. Lupin tells him that the Levicorpus spell was incredibly popular during his time at Hogwarts, but that no one he knew ever went by that name, including Harry’s dad. He suggests that Harry find out when the Prince was a Hogwarts to help him narrow the field. Fleur starts doing an impression of Warbeck, so everyone rushes off to bed. Harry checks his textbook and finds that it was printed fifty years ago, before his father was at Hogwarts. He falls asleep.

He wakes the next morning on Christmas to find that Lavender has sent Ron a gaudy gold necklace that reads “My Sweetheart,” which has Ron mortified. He wonders why she would think he’d ever like something like that, and Harry asks if they talk much, leading Ron to admit that mostly all they do is make out. He asks if Hermione is really dating McLaggen, and Harry admits that it didn’t go well at Slughorn’s party, leaving Ron in a better mood. Harry gets a present from Kreacher that turns out to be a box of maggots. At lunch, everyone is wearing one of Molly’s sweaters, except Fleur, who did not receive one. She brings up Tonks when Ron does something clumsy, and Mrs. Weasley starts talking about her and asking Remus if he’s seen her. Lupin is noncommittal, assuming that she’s spending it with family, but Molly insists that she is likely spending it alone, and looks quite annoyed with him. Harry recalls that her Patronus had changed and asks Remus why that would happen. He tells Harry that shock or emotion upheaval can cause it.

Percy suddenly arrives alongside the Scrimgeour. He wishes Molly Merry Christmas in a stiff manner, and she leaps into his arms. Scrimgeour makes it sound like they dropped by because Percy had so desperately wanted to see them, though that clearly isn’t the case. He insists on waiting outside and asks Harry to show him the garden, pretending he doesn’t know who he is. Everyone realizes immediately that this is the real reason for the visit, and thought Lupin and Arthur rush to his aid, Harry gamely says yes and heads outside with the Minister. Scrimgeour admits that he’s wanted to meet Harry for a long time, but Dumbledore has been protective of him. He asks if Dumbledore has discussed this Chosen One business with him, and Harry admits that he has. He tries to find out what they have discussed, but harry won’t divulge anything. Then Scrimgeour suggest that the only thing that matters is that people think Harry is Chosen, and that he might feel obligated to stand by the Ministry in this dark time. When Harry plays dumb, Scrimgeour mentions that Umbridge told him Harry wants to become an Auror, and that it could be easily arranged. Harry says that Scrimgeour wants it to seem as though he’s working for the Ministry, which Scrimgeour confirms, in the name of giving people hope. But Harry points out that if he did that it would look as thought he approved of the Ministry’s actions, and he doesn’t.

When Scirmgeour suggests that he wants to be like his hero Dumbledore, and distance himself from the Ministry, Harry counters that he doesn’t want to be used, which Scrimgeour views as Harry’s duty. Harry compares Scrimgeour to Barty Crouch Sr. and suggests that their government never gets it right, whether Fudge is in charge or he is. He makes it clear that he knows exactly what games Scrimgeour is playing, that he doesn’t much care what happens to Harry as long as he looks like he’s onboard with whatever the Ministry is doing. He flashes the words Umbridge forced him to carve into his skin—I must not tell lies. He points out that the Ministry wasn’t so helpful to him last year when he was trying to make sure people knew the truth. Scrimgeour asks what Dumbledore is up to, but Harry won’t say, and Scrimgeour realizes that he wouldn’t tell him even if he knew.

He suggests that Harry is “Dumbledore’s man,” which suits Harry very well. He turns on his back on the Minister and returns inside.

Commentary

Ron tells Harry that when he twins tried to get him to perform the unbreakable vow, Arthur rightly flipped out. It’s a terrifying thought, to be sure, once again showing how much more dangerous the wizarding world is. The Muggle equivalent to this would probably be someone’s older sibling trying to convince them to jump off the shed and see if they can fly. But I have to wonder how Fred and George even heard about this spell in the first place, much less learned how to perform it. I mean, they’re seven years old at this point. It’s not surprising that they wouldn’t really grasp the finality of those actions. (My aunt tried to drown my mom in the bathtub at around that age, so, you know. Mortality is weird for most kids.) But it’s super not good that they had access to such a dangerous spell.

The Christmas scene is sort of ruined by Fleur being rude, and I have to say, I’m starting to get really annoyed with Bill. He’s got a fiancée with very specific tastes, I get that. But it’s Christmas and they’re in his parents’ home. Would it have killed him to maybe take Fleur aside before radio time and say hey, my mom loves this singer, so please do me a favor and don’t comment on the music if it isn’t your cuppa tea. We’ll do something fun later, but this will mean so much to my family. At the point at which she’s being derisive over music that Molly is in tears over, it’s maybe time to do some damage control and let your mom have her hour of jazz. (Incidentally, here’s a recording off Celestina and the Banshees at Universal Orlando, a character who Rowling expanded upon last year.)

The reason it sucks is because it’s just widening a chasm in the family. Molly doesn’t make Fleur a Weasley sweater, and while it’s kind of cruel not to do that, gesture-wise, I can’t honestly blame her. Molly puts so much time and care into those sweaters, the very worst thing would be for Fleur to pick hers up and start complaining about it.

We get a nice dose of Remus in this chapter, which is always happy-making… but then he starts talking about werewolf politics and that’s pretty much that saddest thing in the world. We also hear about Fenrir Greyback for the first time, which is horrible, moreso for the fact that he bit Remus as a child. I’m bugged by the fact that we never really find out what Remus’ father said to piss Greyback off, though. Remus talks about how Fenrir prefers to bite kids and raise them in werewolf society separately, and my first thought was “whoa, this guy does a lot of kidnapping” and my second thought was “oh crap. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he doesn’t have to.” Because we know how incredibly prejudiced that wizarding world is, and while I’m sure Greyback stole some of those kids, it’s entirely possible that many of them were abandoned by families who believed that their children were already lost. We already know that Remus has an unusual situation, going to Hogwarts, having friends and a support system in youth.

Remus is ever the pragmatist in so many ways, and I love when he tells Harry that he bears Snape no ill-will due to his preparing the Wolfsbane Potion for him at school. (It has the added punch of pointing out how terrible these transformations must be if the potion is such a boon to him.) Then Tonks is mentioned, and on a reread, you really see the accidental hypocrisy here—Remus Lupin is a pragmatist, a fair man, in so many respects… but not when it comes to Tonks. It’s not surprising, given that this might be the only real relationship the man has ever had. Harry does bring up her Patronus change, and I have to assume that he didn’t know about that beforehand….

When Harry is mortified that people could treat Remus differently because of his condition, this exchange occurs:

“But you are normal!” said Harry fiercely. “You’ve just got a—a problem—”

Lupin burst out laughing. “Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my ‘furry little problem’ in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit.”

Aw. I just—this. This is the James Potter I want to hear more about.

Then it’s Christmas morning and HAHAHAHHAAA RON’S NECKLACE. I dunno, do people really give gifts like that to their significant others when they’re young? Did I just not know any of those people? Of course, it gives Harry the chance to point out that Lavender has no idea what Ron would like because they don’t ever talk or do anything besides snog. I feel like so many people have had that relationship.

Scrimgeour shows up to Christmas lunch, and I had somehow forgotten that Percy still had farther to fall. He lets the Minister use him so Scrimgeour gets the chance to corner Harry alone, making it seem like Percy actually wanted to see his family, and wow, that’s just a very special kind of callousness.

During the convo with Scrimgeour (way to step up and just take that, Harry, good for you), it occurred to me that fans pile on Harry not caring much about school when it’s amazing that he cares about it at all once he hears about that prophecy. I mean, he’s got a job to do once he finds out, and going to Herbology isn’t really going to help him complete it. I would understand even better if he just spent all of sixth year in the library studying defensive magic. So… yeah, it’s just weird that he cares about school as it’s laid out normally.

But ignoring my asides, this conversation is easily one of the best Rowling wrote in the entire series. Scrimgeour proves himself to be the shrewd politician that Fudge never was. His maneuvering is impeccable here, and it’s clear that he doesn’t really believe Harry has the power everyone thinks he does. Problem is, he made one critical error—Harry isn’t really a child. And he’s certainly not trusting, after all he’s been through:

“No, it was honest,” said Harry. “One of the only honest things you’ve said to me. You don’t care whether I live or die, but you do care that I help you convince everyone you’re winning the war against Voldemort. I haven’t forgotten, Minister….”

He raised his right fist. There, shining white on the back of his cold hand, were the scars which Dolores Umbridge had forced him to carve into his own flesh: I must not tell lies.

POTTER. SMACKDOWN. CROWD GOES WILD.

Seriously, I’m just gonna sit here and fan myself for a minute, I’m feeling a little dizzy over the ozone Harry just burned. That’s your Chosen One. That’s the kid who’s gonna win your war.

And of course, just to make sure we’re all clear:

“Well, it’s clear to me that he has done a very good job on you,” said Scrimgeour, his eyes cold and hard behind his wire-rimmed glasses. “Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you, Potter?”

“Yeah, I am,” said Harry. “Glad we straightened that out.”

There’s a lot to talk about later on, once we start dealing with the Myth of Albus Dumbledore in the seventh book, but no matter what, this moment is killer. Remus says it earlier in the chapter, Harry has to decide who he believes. And if he believes in Dumbledore, he’s going to have to stay true to that. And here is Harry, picking his side. It’s not a perfect side, but it doesn’t have to be.

He just has to believe in it.

Emily Asher-Perrin has some serious sniffles over Harry laying down the law. Li’l boy is growing up so good. You can bug her on Twitter and Tumblr, and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

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