Chapter 8 : Dumbledore's Army
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The Hogsmeade weekend could not come fast enough. I spent the week rounding up Ravenclaws who would be interested in the group: myself and Nathaniel of course, Padma Patil, Lydia Moody, Luna Lovegood, Michael Corner and his mates (but that was probably only because he was going out with Ginny) Cho Chang and her friend Marietta Edgecombe (but that was probably only because Cho had a massive crush on Harry) Jason Samuels (probably only because he was in love with me) and his little brother Perseus.
Hermione informed me that the meeting would take place in the dodgy Hog’s Head bar.
“The Hog’s Head?” I repeated incredulously. “But…it’s vile.”
“Yes, I know,” she said impatiently, “But I checked the school rules, there’s nothing about not going in there—”
“We’re going to be ridiculously conspicuous, you know,” I interrupted. “A crowd of teenagers in the Hog’s Head? Including at least five prefects, that’s not going to look suspicious at all, is it?”
“We need to make sure we’re not overheard,” Hermione explained. “Umbridge will try and stop what we’re doing if she knew about it.”
“A fair point,” I conceded.
I headed down to Hogsmeade in a large group with all the other Ravenclaws going to Hermione’s meeting, discussing Quidditch with Nathaniel, Michael, Cho, Jason and Perseus.
“The first match is Gryffindor versus Slytherin,” Jason informed us. “Then we play Hufflepuff, and depending on how we go, we play either the winner or the loser of the Gryffindor-Slytherin match.”
“I’d rather play Slytherin,” Cho commented. “I can’t beat Harry.”
“I’d rather play Gryffindor,” Jason countered. “Slytherin’s beaters are brutal.”
“Grow some balls,” I told him. “From what I hear, this year’s Slytherin beaters can’t even fly.”
“To be honest, I’d rather play Slytherin as well,” Nathaniel commented. “They only have two players who can actually fly, Katya Prewett and Cassian Avitus-Rutherford.”
“Malfoy’s not too bad,” Michael commented. “I mean, he’s been on the Slytherin team for years, and he’s fast.”
“Yeah, but he’s a git,” Nathaniel said dismissively.
“Well, yeah, he is,” Michael agreed. “But then again, Roger’s a git, and he can fly.”
“I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that,” I commented.
“Definitely not,” Jason said. “I don’t know why he’s Captain, he doesn’t get us to practice at all, some of us actually take the game seriously.”
“Agreed,” I said emphatically, and Jason grinned as if I had just made his day by agreeing with him. Merlin’s beard.
We entered the dingy Hog’s Head, which smelt like dust, dampness and barnyard animals.
“Ah, here are the Ravenclaws,” one o
f the Weasley twins announced; I couldn’t tell which one as my eyes adjusted to the gloom of the pub. I was also not going to react to their presence.
“Good, we can get started,” Hermione said briskly, and I took the opportunity to scan the faces gathered around the corner table. Wow, I didn’t expect so many to show up. Gryffindors dominated the group; there was a handful of Hufflepuffs, a bunch of us, and Katya, the lone Slytherin. She looked slightly uncomfortable.
The meeting lasted about half an hour, and mostly consisted of the group interrogating Harry on how he was qualified to teach Defence and listening to him describe what it was like to fight the Dark Lord. I couldn’t help but feel slightly smug that I hadn’t been subjected to the same interrogation.
“So Athena,” Zacharias Smith, a Hufflepuff who had proven himself already to be a douchebag, began, leaning back on his chair and surveying me. “What makes you think you can teach us Defence?”
I guess I spoke too soon.
“More or less because both my parents are Aurors,” I replied with a shrug. “They’ve been teaching me defensive and combat magic in the summer holidays for a few years now.”
“Who are your parents?” another Hufflepuff, Susan Bones, asked.
“Carcius and Lucinda Selwyn,” I replied.
“Oh,” she said softly. “I’ve heard of them. My aunt said they’re the most talented Aurors in the office.”
“Just because your parents are Aurors doesn’t guarantee you’re any good,” Zacharias continued.
I rolled my eyes. “Corporeal Patronus.”
“You can cast one?” another Hufflepuff asked.
“Yes, I can. It takes the form of an owl.”
That seemed to shut Zacharias up for the time being, and Hermione took charge of the meeting once again, asking that we keep the existence of the group a secret from Umbridge, which lead to some nervous mutterings, especially from Zacharias and Marietta. She then pulled out a long piece of parchment, asking us to write our names down if we were committed.
I left the finding of a venue for the DADA practice sessions to Harry and Hermione, and they came up with the idea of the Room of Requirement, a secret room which apparently appeared whenever someone in desperate need of it showed up.
“It’s on the seventh floor,” Harry informed me. “Opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. We’ll start at eight, I was thinking about starting with disarming.”
“Good idea,” I agreed, nodding. “It’s a nice simple spell, but it gives us a chance to see where everyone’s at. And at least those who can already do it can practice making it more powerful.”
“That’s what I thought,” Harry agreed. “There are a lot of us, so we need to take our time, make sure everyone masters everything before we move on.”
“I got hold of the exam requirements as well,” I added. “We’ve actually covered quite a bit of it already in class, and I’m pretty sure between us we know how to do everything else.”
I took out the parchment I had located in the Student Resources section of the library.
Ordinary Wizarding Levels Examinations: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Practical Section: Examination will come from the following assessment areas:
1. Repelling Dark creatures
2. Demonstrating use of simple defensive spells
3. Demonstrating use of simple offensive spells
Candidates who seek to earn grades of Exceeds Expectations or Outstanding will show a good command of spellwork with few or no errors and will demonstrate an ability to cope with appropriate levels of Dark magic.
“Well, that was enlightening,” Harry commented.
“You’re not fluent with OWL-speak, are you? Repelling Dark creatures, I assume that will be Boggarts and stuff, the entire school has that nailed thanks to Lupin. Simple defensive spells—that would be protego and the like. Simple offensive spells could be expelliarmus, unless they regard that as a defensive spell as well. They might go into Stupefy, Petrificus Totalus and others, but that would be heading more towards E and O level.”
“Don’t suppose you have the stuff for the theory part?”
Theory Section: Examination will come from the following assessment areas
1. Demonstrating knowledge of incantations
2. Recognising Dark creatures
3. Recognising and classifying Dark magic
4. Demonstrating knowledge of alternatives to practical defensive magic
Candidates who seek to earn grades of Exceeds Expectations or Outstanding will show a comprehensive understanding of the principles of both defensive magic and the Dark Arts, communicated clearly.
Harry pulled a face at that. “Communicated clearly?” he repeated.
I nodded, clapping him on the shoulder. “Means essay format, mate.”
Shortly after eight, everyone who had been at the Hog’s Head meeting was in the Room of Requirement. It was a large hall, littered with cushions, the walls lined with bookshelves filled with defensive magic books. The first item on the agenda was to name the organisation, and Ginny came up with the name Dumbledore’s Army, which I was considerably impressed with. Then Harry announced that we would be practicing disarming, which Zacharias protested about.
“Oh, shut your face,” I said impatiently. “Expelliarmus is not beneath you, and if you think it is, the door is behind you, please use it.”
Zacharias gave me a look as though he’d been sucking on lemons, but he didn’t move.
“That’s what I thought,” I commented. “Okay, everyone, split into pairs of equal ability and practice the spell. Remember concentration, focus and intent. Go go.”
I clapped my hands for emphasis, and the group got to their feet, splitting off into pairs to practice the spell. Harry and I walked amongst the pairs, correcting where correction was needed and slowly, the spellwork improved. I was surprised at how little mastery there was of the spell; from what I could see the only people to have really nailed it were Hermione, Nathaniel, Katya and some of the seventh-years. Fred and George amused themselves by non-verbally disarming Zacharias, for which I silently and nonchalantly high-fived Fred for as I walked past.
“They’re going really well,” Harry said happily as I joined him at the front of the Room. He was holding what appeared to be a small whistle, which he promptly blew for order.
“Great work, everyone,” Harry called. “We’ll let you know when the next meeting is…”
“And until next time, keep practicing,” I added. “Just try and make it subtle, you don’t want Umbridge or Filch after you. Out of curiousity, how many prefects do we have in here?”
A number of people raised their hands: Nathaniel, Katya, Ernie, Hannah, Hermione, Ron, Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet.
“Excellent,” I observed. “I propose an armistice. No taking points for spell practice in the corridors for or from anyone from Dumbledore’s Army. It is, of course, blatant corruption, does anyone object?”
There was a hearty ‘no’ from the crowd.
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