It's summertime again and Harry, as usual, is stuck at his aunt and uncle's house. He's had to resort to hiding in flowerbeds and nicking papers from bins in order to find out if Voldemort has attacked yet. Ron,Hermione and Sirius's letters are vague and frustrating, and he's nearly reached the end of his rope when one night, walking home with
Dudley, two Dementors attack them both. Harry is able to drive them off with a Patronus charm, only to be jolted again when he finds out his batty neighbor, Mrs. Figg, is more than she appears to be.
Harry is shocked to find out that Mrs. Figg is actually a Squib who's been keeping her cat Mr. Tibbles on Harry's trail. She's furious that Harry's secret guard, Mundungus Fletcher, disappeared in order to buy stolen cauldrons, leaving Harry unprotected and vulnerable to attack.
When Harry finally manages to get
Dudley home he's bombarded by a succession of owls, the first from the Ministry of Magic expelling him from Hogwarts for doing Underage Magic and requiring his attendance at a disciplinary hearing on August 12. As he tries to explain the situation to Uncle Vernon he receives even more owls from Mr. Weasley and Sirius, both warning him to stay in the house and do no more magic.An second owl arrives from the Ministry of Magic, informing him that his expellation from Hogwarts has been recalled, though he is yet to attend a disciplinary hearing on August 12.
Just when Harry thinks the night can hold no more drama, it's discovered that Aunt Petunia knows more about the wizarding world than she's ever let on before,including the dementors and the Azkaban wizard prison.
The next few days find Harry moping in his room, waiting for Hedwig to bring back replies from Ron, Hermione, and Sirius regarding the Dementor attack. His feelings of injustice continue to increase, and he alternates between bitterness and depression over his situation.
When the Dursleys unexpectedly go out Harry is shocked out of his bad mood when Remus Lupin, Mad Eye Moody, and half a dozen others show up to take him to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.
Harry finally is able to vent his pent-up frustrations on Ron and Hermione, both of whom are staying at Headquarters to help out. He finds out that the Order of the
is a secret society that Dumbledore formed to fight Voldemort, and that even Snape is a member. Ron tells Harry that Percy, Ron's brother, has had a falling out with the Weasley family over Harry and Dumbledore's claims of Voldemort's return. With both the Daily Prophet and the Ministry trying to discredit their claims, even Dumbledore has fallen under close scrutiny. Phoenix
Harry is surprised to find out that the dark, spooky house that has become Headquarters is actually the house that Sirius grew up in. After dinner, Harry starts asking questions about the Order, which Mrs. Weasley tries to put a stop to, claiming he's too young. Sirius overrules her, telling Harry that the Order's goals are to try to stop Voldemort from recruiting followers, especially dark creatures. He also slips and tells Harry that Voldemort is searching for a powerful weapon.
Harry also finds out just how much trouble Dumbledore has been in with the Ministry: he's been voted off the Chairmanship of the International Confederation of Wizards, and demoted from Chief Warlock on the Wizengamot. Fudge is growing increasingly paranoid that Dumbledore is going to try to take over the Ministry with a private army.
Harry and the rest of the Order settle into the house, working on decontaminating it from dark spells and objects so it can be lived in. They also find a heavy locket that no-one seems able to open. Harry finds out that Fred and George have been putting the money he gave them last summer to good use. They've developed Skiving Snackboxes, a range of sweets that make you ill enough to get out of class and magically better once you get out and eat the rest.
Kreacher, Sirius's crazy old house-elf, is rude to everyone although Hermione tries hard to be nice to him. He frequently sneaks family heirlooms off to his den, throwing looks full of loathing at everyone when things are thrown away.
Harry is full of trepidation when the night before his Disciplinary Hearing at the Ministry arrives and he finds out that Sirius is forbidden to accompany him.
Mr. Weasley and Harry leave early for the hearing, and it's a good thing. They find out almost too late that the time and place were changed at the last minute. They make it just in time, and Harry walks in alone, Mr. Weasley being forbidden to accompany him.
As Harry walks in he is astounded to find out that a full
Wizengamot Court is trying him. Just as the hearing starts Dumbledore shows up to defend Harry against the claims that he violated the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. If he is convicted he will be expelled from Hogwarts.
When Harry tells the Wizengamot that he only did the Patronus Charm to ward off the dementors he's met with disbelief and skepticism from almost all the judges. Dumbledore brings Arabella Figg in for Harry's defense. Harry also gets a glimpse of Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister, whom he loathes immediately, although he's not quite sure why.
After a heart stopping few minutes of deliberation, Harry is cleared of all charges and Dumbledore sweeps from the room without one look or one word to Harry.
As Harry and Mr. Weasley depart for Headquarters from the Ministry they catch Lucius Malfoy in close conversation with Fudge, which worries them both since Harry accused Malfoy mere weeks ago of being a Death Eater.
Harry is also taken down a peg or two when booklists arrive and he discovers that both Ron and Hermione have been made Gryffindor prefects. At first he's more jealous than he can stand, but his good sense overrules and he accepts his friends' accomplishments with good grace. Ron gets a new broom as a reward.
That night, Mrs. Weasley throws a party in honor of the new prefects, and many from the Order come to dinner. She walks upstairs to get rid of a boggart that's been hiding in the drawing room. Harry follows her, intending to go to bed, but bursts in when he hears sobbing. He's shocked to find Mrs. Weasley on the floor, distraught as the boggart keeps turning into to members of her family and Harry, all dead. Members of the Order coming rushing in to comfort her, and Harry goes to bed, feeling astounded that he could care about prefect badges when so much life and death hangs on a balance.
Harry's unsettling dreams of locked doors and shadowy hallways continue. As the group leaves for King's Cross station for the school train there is the usual hubbub. Sirius transfigures himself into his usual disguise of a big, black dog, and accompanies them to the station.
As Ron and Hermione split up from Harry to do their prefect duties he grabs a compartment with Neville, Ginny, and Luna Lovegood, a dotty girl who's oddness become even more apparent the longer he sits with her. It's discovered that her father is editor the "The Quibbler", an unusual magazine. To Harry's mortification, he gets covered in Stinksap by Neville mere moments before Cho Chang opens the door to say hi.
When they finally arrive at school it's nothing like usual. Hagrid's missing, and there are now strange, skeletal horses pulling the carriages that only Harry and Luna can see.
As Harry, Ron, and Hermione sit down for the Start of Term Feast, Harry is outraged to see that Dolores Umbridge has been assigned to the vacant Defense Against the Dark Arts position. Everyone is surprised to hear the Sorting Hat's new song this year- it warns everyone to stand together in the face of troubled times.
As the Feast ends, Dumbledore introduces Umbridge to the students. She stands up and makes a speech, basically announcing to anyone paying attention that the Ministry is trying to interfere at Hogwarts.
The night finally ends on a sour note for Harry. As he's getting ready for bed in the boys' dormitory, fellow Gryffindor Seamus Finnigan and Harry get into a fight about Harry's claims that Voldemort has returned. Seamus calls him crazy, and Harry goes to bed feeling shaken over the argument.
The first day of classes start with ultimate dismay as Harry gets his schedule and sees that all his least favorite classes are on the same day. Fred and George offer them some Snackboxes, and Hermione jumps all over them for trying to test their products on unsuspecting First Years.
Harry is mortified when Cho Chang attempts to speak with him a second time, only to be attacked by Ron over her favorite Quidditch team. The day doesn't improve when he receives zero marks in Snape's Potions class, and as he troops to his first class with Umbridge he thinks the day couldn't possibly get any worse.
He's proven wrong, however. Umbridge announces to the class that they will not be practicing any magic for the entire year. She claims, to the astonishment of the class, that if they study the theory hard enough they'll pass their O.W.L.s without any practice. When Harry protests that this is the worst way to learn to defend themselves against Voldemort an argument explodes between them, and he's sent to Professor McGonagall. She warns him to keep his temper around Umbridge, and he's horrified to find out Umbridge has given him a week's worth of detention, meaning he'll miss Quidditch tryouts on Friday.
That night at dinner other students are gossiping loudly about Harry's showdown with Umbridge. Disgusted, Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave early and go back to the Common Room to start on their mountain of homework.
When the rest of the students return, Fred and George start testing their Fainting Fancies on First Years and Hermione explodes at them, threatening to tell their mother what they're doing. Before she heads up to bed Hermione reveals her new plan to further the house-elves cause. She's been knitting hats and socks, and plans to leave them hidden about the Common Room where they'll be accidentally picked up and the elves will be freed.
The next night is Harry's first detention with Umbridge, and he spends it horribly. His punishment is to write "I must not tell lies" with her special quill, which cuts open the back of his hand as he writes and uses his own blood for ink. Harry comes to the conclusion that Umbridge is an evil, sick woman. He doesn't utter a word of complaint, and keeps the secret from Ron and Hermione as well.
The rest of the week passes in a haze of tiredness as he continues his detentions. He finally confesses to Ron when he finds out that Ron is planning on trying out for Gryffindor Keeper. The week ends on a slightly brighter note when Ron makes it on the team, and Harry finally has the weekend to catch up on all his homework.
Harry starts his weekend off with an early morning letter to Sirius, where he asks about Hagrid and tells him about Umbridge. He runs into Cho Chang at the owlery, where they're both confronted by Argus Filch, who accuses Harry of sending off an order of Dungbombs.
During Quidditch practice later that day Slytherins come down to taunt the Gryffindor team, resulting in a poor performance from Ron. That night he receives an owl from Percy, warning of future Ministry involvement at Hogwarts and urging him to sever ties with Harry. Soon after Harry is shocked to see Sirius's head in the Common Room fire, and they scramble down to talk to him. Harry finds out the Ministry thinks Dumbledore is trying to train Hogwarts students in combat so he can overthrow Fudge. The meeting ends on a bitter note as Harry urges Sirius not to take risks to come see him, and Sirius gets offended.
The next morning's Daily Prophet headline says it all: Dolores Umbridge Appointed First-Ever "High Inquisitor". Harry, Ron, and Hermione are shocked to find out she'll be using her new power to institute new rules, inspect teachers, and sack the ones she feels aren't up to scratch.
Things get worse when he gets to Umbridge's class that afternoon. He again gets into an argument with her over Voldermort, and she sentences him to another week's worth of detentions for spreading "nasty lies".
After his detention that night he finds Hermione and Ron waiting up for him, with a shocking new plan. They want Harry to form a secret Defense Against the Dark Arts group so they can learn how to defend themselves properly. What's more, they want Harry to be the teacher, and open the group up to anyone that wants to learn. Harry lets his temper get the best of him again and they scurry to bed, urging him to at least think about it.
After giving Harry a few weeks to simmer down, Hermione again approaches Harry about the secret group. After he grudgingly agrees to give it a shot, Ron and Hermione sound people out and tell everyone to meet at the Hog's Head in Hogsmead that Saturday.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all shocked when a mass crowd shows up at the Hog's Head to hear what Harry has to say. He gets furious with Hermione when some of them start asking questions about Voldemort's return and Cedric's death. Things settle down eventually, and they agree to start meeting once a week to learn practical defense.
The day ends on a bright note for Harry when Hermione informs him that Cho couldn't keep her eyes off Harry for the entire meeting.
Harry's happy feelings from the successful Hogsmeade weekend come to a crashing halt Monday morning when he gets down to the Common Room. Umbridge has posted a large sign up, declaring "All Student Organizations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded." Realizing she must have found out about their secret meeting, the 3 friends resolve to continue the meetings anyway. Harry is also surprised to find out that Umbridge is including Quidditch in her ban, and Angelina, the Team Captain, begs him not to get into any more arguements with Umbridge so she'll allow them to reform and continue to play.
Later that day while Harry is in History of Magic, Hedwig shows up with a letter, apparently injured. Harry ducks out of class and carries her to the staff room so that Professor Grubbly-Plank can take care of her. Professor McGonagall warns him that letters could be being intercepted, and he should be very careful what he says in them. He finally gets to read his letter, which is from Sirius, telling him to meet him at the fireplace again.
When Harry gets to Potions class Umbridge is inspecting Snape, and he finds himself hard-pressed to pick which one he wants to win over the other.
That night he only gets to talk to Sirius for a few minutes when suddenly the unthinkable happens: a fat, ugly-ringed hand reaches through the fireplace and snatches at Sirius's head. Sirius just manages to duck back to
Grimmauld Place, but it's a narrow escape.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione talk obsessively about Sirius's narrow escape the night before. Hermione sees it as proof that Umbridge has been reading Harry's mail, causing Harry to hate her even more.
After Quidditch practice that night Harry's scar sears again in pain, and Harry knows that Voldemort is in a very bad mood. When he accidentally falls asleep in the Common Room that night he's awoken suddenly by Dobby who, when asked, tells Harry the perfect place to hold the secret Defense Against the Dark Arts meetings is in a room on the 7th floor called the Room of Requirement. Harry is thrilled to finally have a safe place to hold the meetings.
The next day Harry and the others meet in the magical room, which is stocked for exactly what they need to learn defense. They agree to adopt the name Dumbledore's Army, or D.A. for short, in order to mock Cornelius Fudge. Harry starts by teaching them the basic disarming spell first.
Harry finds the next few weeks easier to bear because of the D.A. meetings. Everyone is coming along at a fast clip, and he's growing increasingly proud of their efforts.
When the match between Gryfinndor and Slytherin finally takes place, expectations and tensions are high. The Slytherin's have come up with a new song to taunt the Gryfinndor team, and Ron's goalkeeping abilities plummet as they sing it loudly throughout the game. Harry is able to scrape a win for Gryffindor by catching the Snitch early, but Malfoy is sore from losing and begins insulting the Weasleys and Harry's mother. Harry and George are unable to control their tempers and get into a fistfight with Malfoy. Umbridge decides to ban them both, in addition to George's twin, Fred, from ever playing Quidditch again.
Just when Harry thinks he's going to feel lousy for the rest of his life, Hagrid gets home.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneak out to Hagrid's hut, only to be shocked when he answers the door looking like he recently suffered a bad beating. While he won't tell them exactly what happened to him to make him look so terrible, he does tell them about the mission he was on with Madam Maxine to try and recruit giants for the Order.
Their visit is cut short when Umbridge knocks on the door in spite of the late hour. Harry, Ron, and Hermione quickly hide under the Invisibility Cloak, and Hagrid lets her in. She wastes no time grilling Hagrid on where he's been for so long, and Hagrid does not stand up well under her leading questions. It's apparent to Harry that Umbridge knows way more than she should about Hagrid's mission.
The next week starts with Hagrid's first lesson back. It's an illuminating one for Harry because he finally finds out what the skeletal horses are. Umbridge meets them in the forest to inspect Hagrid, and the 3 friends quickly lose their temper when she twists everything he says in order to make him look bad.
As December rolls in the decorations go up and Harry's homework reaches epic proportions. During the last D.A. meeting before the holidays Harry gets his first kiss from Cho, and goes to bed in a state of happy amazement. Once he drifts off to sleep, however, he has a terrifying vision of being inside a giant snake. He's unable to stop as the snake attacks Mr. Weasley and bites him repeatedly with its fangs. When he wakes up he's frantic, and rushes to Dumbledore with Professor McGonagall and Ron to tell him what happened.
As soon as Harry tells Dumbledore what has happened he springs into action, sending portraits off to find word of Mr. Weasley's condition. Harry is terrified when he finds out his vision has really happened and that Mr. Weasley is seriously injured. Dumbledore sends Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred, and George to
Grimmauld Place to wait with Sirius until they find out more about Mr. Weasley's condition.
It's a long, silent vigil but finally at daybreak Mrs. Weasley comes in smiling, saying that he's going to be all right. Harry's fears are not relieved, however. He's terrified that if he falls asleep again he'll hurt someone else. When they all go visit Mr. Weasley in the hospital later that day Harry and the others hear Mad Eye and Tonks speculating that Voldemort is possessing Harry.
The rest of the group doesn't mention what they overhear, but it weights heavily on Harry's mind. The thought that Voldemort might be possessing him makes him feel dirty, and to protect the others he stays sequestered in his room for days until Hermione shows up and confronts him. When he talks to her, Ron, and Ginny, they determine that Voldemort is not possessing Harry, and this cheers him up immensely.
When they go visit Mr. Weasley on Christmas Day Harry, Ron, and Hermione accidentally wander onto a closed ward, where they run into Neville, who visiting his parents with his Grandmother. Only Harry knows his secret, but Ron and Hermione are mortified when they find out Neville's parents were tortured into insanity by Voldemort and now have to stay committed to St. Mungo's.
As the end of the holidays approach Harry finds he not looking forward to returning to Hogwarts. He doesn't want to leave Sirius, or put himself under the iron fist of Umbridge. He starts to positively dread his return when he finds out that, under Dumbledore's request, he'll be learning Occlumency from Professor Snape.
The first day back isn't so bad, however. He manages to ask Cho Chang out for Valentine's Day. Things go downhill fast, however, during his Occlumency lesson. Snape repeatedly taunts Harry and forces open his mind, but it causes Harry to have a break-through. To Snape's displeasure, hesuddenly realizes that the corridor he's been dreaming about for so many months is in the Department of Mysteries.
That night as he's getting ready for bed Harry's scar explodes with pain, and Harry knows that Voldemort is happier about something than he has been in years.
The reason why Voldemort is deliriously happy is answered the next morning when Hermione opens The Daily Prophet. Ten Death Eaters have broken out from Azkaban and rejoined Voldemort. Hermione rushes off suddenly to send a letter and won't tell anyone what she's up to, and Harry also finds out that Hagrid has been put on probation.
Umbridge quickly forces through another Educational Decree, this time banning teachers from talking about anything they're not strictly qualified to teach.
Valentine's Day is upon Harry before he knows it, and as he's about to leave to go meet Cho Hermione asks him to meet her at the Three Broomsticks at midday. Harry agrees, and leaves with Cho for Madam Puddifoots tea-shop, a hangout for couples. Once Harry tells Cho that he's meeting Hermione in a few hours she gets very upset, rages at Harry in front of everyone, and storms out of the shop. Harry is bewildered about what happened, and slowly walks to the Three Broomsticks where he's to meet Hermione.
He's more than surprised to see Hermione sitting with none other than Rita Skeeter, the gossip-spreading journalist from the Daily Prophet, and Luna Lovegood. Hermione threatens Rita until she agrees to write a true story about Voldemort's return. Luna Lovegood's father, as the editor of The Quibbler magazine, has agreed to publish the story. Harry, knowing this is his one good chance to convince the world, starts talking.
The weeks slip by: Harry keeps dreaming of the tantalizing corridor, Gryffindor loses spectacularly against Hufflepuff, and Harry finally figures out what he did to upset Cho, thanks to a long explanation from Hermione.
The day-to-day routine is broken one morning when he begins to get a flood of mail, which can only mean one thing: his story finally went to print in The Quibbler. Quite a few people write to say they've been convinced Harry is telling the truth. His elation doesn't last long, however. As soon as Umbridge discovers what Harry's done she sentences him to another week's worth of detentions, and bans anyone from owning a copy of The Quibbler.
In spite of the ban put in place by Umbridge every student in school reads the article. Harry is relieved that so many students believe his story, and even the professors find ways to show their appreciation.
Harry's Occlumency lessons continue, but are growing more disastrous by the day. Harry still can't close his mind against Snape, and Snape's continual taunting of Harry's lack of willpower is starting to get to him.
Things escalate even further that night when Harry and Snape rush upstairs to locate the source of a screaming woman. They find that Umbridge has finally sacked Professor Trelawney, the Divination teacher. Dumbledore intervenes when Umbridge tries to kick her out of the school. He further infuriates her by hiring a new Divination teacher, Firenze, a centaur from the
. Forbidden Forest
Harry's first class with
Firenze is an interesting one. The centaur urges Harry to carry an urgent warning to Hagrid. He agrees, but when he passes on the warning Hagrid chooses to ignore it, which unsettles Harry and keeps him wondering what Hagrid is up to.
Harry has finally moved the D.A. up to learning Patronus's. They're practicing these one night when they are suddenly interrupted by Dobby, the house elf, who has come to warn them that Umbridge has found out about their meetings and that she is on her way. They all scatter, hoping for escape, but Malfoy, who is now working for Umbridge, manages to catch Harry.
They make their way to Dumbledore's office. Harry is incensed to find that one of his own members of the D.A. ratted them out, and on an urging from Dumbledore insists that tonight was their first meeting of "Dumbledore's Army". In order to keep Harry from being expelled, Dumbledore takes the blame for the group, telling Fudge he was planning to use the students to overthrow the Ministry. Dumbledore flees the school in order keep from being arrested, and Harry's guilt weighs on him like a wet blanket.
Harry is unsurprised when the very next morning finds Umbridge in charge of Hogwarts. He is surprised, however, when he discovers that she's formed an Inquisitorial Squad, made up mostly of Malfoy and his gang, and that they have the power to overrule the prefects and dock points.
Fred and George decide to take their mischief making to the next level now that Dumbledore is gone. They set off an entire crate of their enchanted fireworks inside the school, much to the delight of the other students, and Umbridge spends her first full day as Headmistress running around trying to extinguish them.
The next night finds him in Occlumency lessons again. Harry's curiosity gets the best of him when Snape is called away for a few minutes and Harry peeks inside the Pensieve to see what memories Snape keeps hidden in there. Harry is disturbed when he witnesses his father tormenting Snape for no good reason, and realizes with a heavy heart that Snape was telling the truth all along; his father was arrogant and conceited. When Snape catches Harry witnessing the memory he explodes in anger, and forbids Harry from ever entering his office again.
Harry doesn't tell anyone, not even Ron and Hermione, what he saw in the Pensieve. It weighs heavily on his mind, and with a sinking feeling he begins to question everything he thought he ever knew about his parents. He yearns to talk to Sirius about it, but with Umbridge keeping her eye on every form of communication he doesn't see how he'd manage it. Hope begins to flicker, however, when Ginny talks to Fred and George about it, and they decide to cause a diversion so Harry can use Umbridge's fire to contact Sirius.
Harry has a meeting with McGonagall about his career ambition to become an Auror, which Umbridge states flatly will never happen. An argument erupts between her and McGonagall over Harry, and he quickly leaves the office.
That afternoon Harry's stomach is in knots over whether he should risk expulsion to talk to Sirius. Every time he imagines not doing it, however, Snape's memory flashes back to him. When he hears the bangs of Fred and George's diversion he makes up his mind and sets off quickly for Umbridge's office.
Once he tells Sirius and Lupin about the memory, they both stick up for James's behavior, saying he was young and grew out of his arrogance. Harry feels better about it but has to go when he hears footsteps coming into Umbridge's office. He sneaks out and makes his way to the entrance hall, where he sees Fred and George surrounded by Umbridge and the rest of the school. She tries to apprehend them and they make a spectacular escape that Harry is sure will soon be a Hogwart's legend
In the days following Fred and George's departure it becomes evident how many joke products they managed to sell before they left. When Ron starts to suspect the two of foul play Harry finally comes clean about giving them his Triwizard winnings to start a joke shop.
During the final match of the Quidditch season Hagrid grabs Harry and Hermione and urgently asks them to follow him into the forest. They are shocked to find out that he brought his half-brother Grawp, who also happens to be a giant, back from his mission and is now trying to teach him English. Hagrid asks them to watch out for Grawp if Umbridge fires him. The three barely make it out of the forest alive, and when they make it back up to the school the match has finished. They're further shocked to find out that Ron played magnificently and they won the Quidditch Cup.
The tests are finally upon them and everyone is studying furiously in order to do their best. As they get underway, tensions are high but Harry is fairly pleased with his performance.
The night of his Astronomy practical is warm and clear, and as Harry fills out his star chart he's astounded when, from the top of the
, he watches Hagrid get attacked by Umbridge and 5 other shadowy figures out on the grounds. With mounting horror he watches as McGonagall rushes to Hagrid's defense and gets Stunned by 4 of the figures. Hagrid manages to escape and disappears into the Astronomy Tower . Forbidden Forest
His last exam takes place the next morning, and as Harry tries to concentrate he falls asleep and has a terrifying dream. Voldemort has captured Sirius and is torturing him in the Department of Mysteries. Harry screams, and wakes up suddenly back in the Great Hall.
Harry is frantic. He quickly tells Ron and Hermione about his vision, and Hermione tries to interject some sense into Harry, saying there is no way Voldemort could have gotten to Sirius. She urges him to use Umbridge's fire to check on Sirius at
Grimmauld Place before he goes off to do something rash and dangerous.
Harry is almost insane with worry about Sirius but he agrees. They station Ginny and Luna as lookouts and have Umbridge drawn away from her office with a diversion. When Harry and Hermione stick their heads in the fire to check on Sirius they only see Kreacher, who leads them to believe that Voldemort has indeed taken him captive.
Umbridge, who saw right through their diversion and had the Inquisitorial Squad capture Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Neville as well, pulls them suddenly from the fire. She sends for Professor Snape, intending to force Harry to drink Veritaserum so she can find out who he was talking to. Harry hurriedly tries to send Snape a cryptic message about Sirius, but is not sure he understands.
Just as Umbridge is about to do the unthinkable and torture Harry for information, Hermione comes up with an elaborate lie, and lures Umbridge into the
with her and Harry. Forbidden Forest
Harry has no idea what Hermione's plan is, but he follows her into the forest, hoping she knows what she's doing. They're quickly surrounded by an angry group of centaurs, who grow even angrier when Umbridge insults them. They carry her off and are about to kill Harry and Hermione when Grawp comes to their rescue, causing enough of a diversion to allow them an escape.
Just as Harry's temper is about to explode with impatience they meet up with Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna, who managed to escape the Inquisitorial Squad. Luna comes up with the brilliant idea to fly to the Ministry of Magic using the thestrals, and Harry quickly agrees to the plan.
Once they make it to the Ministry Harry leads them to the door he's been dreaming about for months. They search slowly through one room after another, looking for the one where Sirius is being held. They encounter a number of very strange objects and finally find the correct room. They race through, looking for Sirius, and Harry is sickened when he realizes he's not there. Ron finds a dusty orb with Harry's name on it, and as soon as Harry takes it off the shelf they are surrounded by Death Eaters.
Lucius Malfoy steps forward, demanding that Harry give him the orb. Harry doesn't know what the thing is, and he doesn't care. All he knows is that he wants to get his friends out alive. He is horrified when the Death Eaters tell him that his vision of Sirius was nothing more than a ruse from Voldemort to get him to the Ministry.
Harry tries to keep the Death Eaters talking so he can come up with a plan to get them out of there. He's surprised to find out that the orb he's holding has the secret why Voldemort tried to kill Harry on the night of his parent's death.
The situation comes to a head suddenly and they blast their way out of the ring of Death Eaters. Harry, Neville, and Hermione are separated from Ron, Ginny, and Luna, and Harry is terrified they're trapped somewhere with Malfoy and the others.
They run through various rooms in the Ministry, closely followed by some of the Death Eaters. In a skirmish with one of them Hermione is knocked out and Harry and Neville have to carry her out. They quickly run into the others Ron and Ginny are injured from fighting the Death Eaters. They're quickly found by some of the Death Eaters, and just when Harry thinks he's fighting his last battle help arrives from some of the members of the Order of the
. Sirius, Tonks, Moody, Lupin, and Kingsley rush through the door to their aid without a moment to lose. Phoenix
Sirius urges Harry to grab the others and get out, but as he's doing so he's attacked and drops the prophecy. Due to the noise of the battle, Harry doesn't hear what it says. Right after the ghost of a prophecy fades away, Dumbledore arrives to save them.
It seems to happen in slow motion. Harry turns just in time to see Bellatrix Lestrange hit Sirius square in the chest with a powerful spell. He falls slowly through a magical doorway, and disappears.
Harry races after Sirius, whom he believes is slumped just on the other side of the doorway. Lupin grabs him before he can go through looking for him. Harry is incensed when Bellatrix Lestrange escapes capture and he goes after her, his mind bent on killing her in retaliation for what she did to Sirius.
They're battling furiously when Voldemort arrives at the Ministry. He knows immediately the prophecy has been smashed, and tries to kill Harry. Just as he utters the Killing Curse Dumbledore arrives to save Harry.
The magic that passes between Dumbledore and Voldemort as they duel is like nothing Harry has ever seen. Suddenly Voldemort disappears and possesses Harry, causing him unendurable pain. He only stays a moment though, and is gone.
Fudge shows up and is finally convinced that Dumbledore has been telling the truth. Dumbledore creates a Portkey for Harry to get him back to Hogwarts, and promises he will meet Harry back in his office in half an hour.
As he waits for Dumbledore in his office Harry is numb from despair. Knowing Sirius is dead and that it's all his fault is almost more than he can bear.
As Dumbledore tries to comfort him, Harry's temper explodes. He screams at Dumbledore and tears up his office in his rage, wanting his pain to end. He only quits when Dumbledore claims responsibility for Sirius's death, and begins to tell Harry the truth about Harry's past.
Dumbledore tells Harry a great many things, but most importantly he is able to relate the full prophecy that Sibyl Trewlaney made about Harry and Voldemort. Harry finds out that it's his destiny to battle Voldemort to the death.
As the Daily Prophet proclaims Harry a champion for being "the lone voice of truth", Harry is at least relieved that everyone knows that Voldemort is back. He's having a hard time deciding if he wants to be around people or not, and drifts between the hospital wing to Hagrid's house to the lake. The knowledge that he will one day have to fight Voldemort to the death leaves him feeling separate from everyone else and very much alone.
As Harry tries to cope with his intense feelings of grief he finds comfort in the unlikely source of Luna Lovegood. On the train trip home he spends a few blissfully restful hours with his friends, and is happy to be met by all the Weasleys, Lupin, Mad Eye, and Tonks. They all troop over to where the Dursleys are standing and threaten them into treating Harry with respect. It means more than he can say that his friends stick up for him, and as he leaves with the Dursleys he smiles and waves farewell.