A door to his left flew open and Professor McGonagall emerged from her office looking grim and slightly harassed.

What on earth are you shouting about, Potter? she snapped, as Peeves cackled gleefully and zoomed out of sight. Why arent you in class?

Ive been sent to see you, said Harry stiffly.

Sent? What do you mean, sent?

He held out the note from Professor Umbridge. Professor McGonagall took it from him, frowning, slit it open with a tap of her wand, stretched it out and began to read. Her eyes zoomed from side to side behind their square spectacles as she read what Umbridge had written, and with each line they became narrower.

Come in here, Potter.

He followed her inside her study. The door closed automatically behind him.

Well? said Professor McGonagall, rounding on him. Is this true?

Is what true? Harry asked, rather more aggressively than he had intended. Professor? he added, in an attempt to sound more polite.

Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?

Yes, said Harry.

You called her a liar?


You told her He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back?


Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, watching Harry closely. Then she said, Have a biscuit, Potter.


Have a biscuit, she repeated impatiently, indicating a tartan tin lying on top of one of the piles of papers on her desk. And sit down.

There had been a previous occasion when Harry, expecting to be caned by Professor McGonagall, had instead been appointed by her to the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He sank into a chair opposite her and helped himself to a Ginger Newt, feeling just as confused and wrong-footed as he had done on that occasion.

Professor McGonagall set down Professor Umbridges note and looked very seriously at Harry.

Potter, you need to be careful.

Harry swallowed his mouthful of Ginger Newt and stared at her. Her tone of voice was not at all what he was used to; it was not brisk, crisp and stern; it was low and anxious and somehow much more human than usual.

Misbehaviour in Dolores Umbridges class could cost you much more than house points and a detention.

What do you?

Potter, use your common sense, snapped Professor McGonagall, with an abrupt return to her usual manner. You know where she comes from, you must know to whom she is reporting.


  2. A modern office
  3. A motherly-looking Healer wearing a tinsel wreath in her hair came bustling up the corridor, smiling warmly at Harry and the others.
  4. After glancing once at this portrait, Professor McGonagall made an odd movement as though steeling herself, then rounded the desk to look at Harry, her face taut and lined.
  5. And he told them what Professor McGonagall had said. To his surprise, neither of the others looked shocked. On the contrary, they exchanged significant looks.
  6. As she swept over the threshold toward him, Mrs. Weasley was revealed, bobbing along in her wake, looking rather cross.
  7. At last, the desserts too disappeared, and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again. The hall fell silent.
  8. At this, Professor Trelawney gave a wild little laugh in which a hiccough was barely hidden.
  9. Bagman looked slightly perturbed.
  10. Blood rushed into Professor McGonagalls face.
  11. Both Ron and Hermione shook their heads frantically, looking at Harry.

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Professor Umbridge looked up. | The bell rang for the end of the lesson. Overhead and all around came the elephantine sounds of hundreds of students on the move.

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