Chapter 3 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Advance Guard
Locked in his room by Uncle Vernon, Harry immediately writes letters to Sirius, Hermione, and Ron. He instructs Hedwig to get detailed replies from each, pecking at them if necessary until they write. Frustration overwhelms him: he has no idea what is happening in the Wizarding world and, cut off, feels he is being treated like a "naughty child" by Mr. Weasley, Dumbledore, and Sirius, all of whom sent instructions but no explanations.
Harry remains locked in his room for the next three days, without even the company of Hedwig, who has not returned. On the third day, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley leave for the evening. Harry is ordered to stay in his room and not steal food or touch their possessions. Uncle Vernon locks the door behind them. Later, Harry hears a crash in the kitchen, and finds his door has unlocked itself. Grabbing his wand, he cautiously advances to the stairs where nine witches and wizards, including the real Mad-Eye Moody and Remus Lupin greet him.
Lupin leaves a note for the Dursleys, then the entire group heads outside. Because Harry cannot yet Apparate, they mount broomsticks and begin a long, cold flight. They finally descend in what appears to be a lower-class neighborhood. Moody shows Harry a scrap of paper which reads: "The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, London."
Harry has become increasingly upset and frustrated at being isolated, both physically and mentally, from his friends and the Wizarding world. Clearly, someone is preventing detailed information from reaching him, leaving Harry feeling that he is being treated as a small, untrustworthy child. This is especially galling as, having fought Lord Voldemort twice successfully, and certainly being able to understand the overall situation, he feels he should be treated as an adult. However, even though Harry is on the verge of adulthood, we have seen him sometimes acting immaturely and impulsively, often reacting in anger and frustration rather than logically evaluating what the actual circumstances may be and taking appropriate action. In particular, we note how, when being informed he was in trouble for performing magic when under age in the previous chapter, his first impulse again was to run away.
The Advance Guard's arrival reveals several things. First, so many wizards collecting Harry is yet another indication of Harry's fame and importance in the Wizarding world: Harry is surprised by the large number because he has not internalized his own celebrity status. Here we meet the true Mad-Eye Moody and witness the paranoia he operates under. Even the other Aurors find his planned precautions excessive. Finally, their appearance is a clear indicator that Harry was never forgotten, nor was he ignored, but had simply been "put on ice," until another safe-house was ready. We are unable to speculate why Harry was never told about the plan to move him, or why he has been kept in the dark on all Wizarding matters since leaving Hogwarts. It may be a matter of the less he knows about the Order's plans, the safer he is. Clearly, Harry is relieved and excited to rejoin the Magical world, even if, as Moody suspects, it puts him in more danger.
- Why is Harry so frustrated? Is his reaction reasonable? Explain.
- What is a Metamorphmagus?
- Why did so many people come to get Harry?
- Why might Harry have been denied information about Voldemort and what is happening in the Wizarding world?
We learn shortly that it is at Dumbledore's orders that Harry has been kept uninformed. This is partly due to Dumbledore knowing about the link between Harry and Voldemort. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore learned that Voldemort created at least one Horcrux, and was alarmed that this Horcrux was also a weapon, and used as one, rather than being kept safely hidden. From this, Dumbledore suspected that Voldemort had created multiple Horcruxes, a suspicion confirmed when Voldemort claims, in in Harry's hearing, that he had "gone further along the road to immortality than any other wizard." Eventually, Dumbledore guesses that the link between Harry and Voldemort is a soul fragment that was sheared off from Voldemort and adhered to Harry's soul. Whether he already has guessed this, or simply knows the link exists, is uncertain at this point. In any event, Dumbledore keeps Harry uninformed largely to prevent Voldemort from gaining any knowledge through that link, while he determines how that link works.
Additionally, the adult wizards, notably Dumbledore and, to a lesser extent, Mrs. Weasley, may have withheld information from Harry because they believe it could put him, and also his peers, in jeopardy by making them valuable, and easy, targets for Death Eaters. Mrs. Weasley, in particular, will be portrayed as believing that Harry is too young for the sort of knowledge he is looking for; she has, perhaps, mentally adopted him and is being maternally over-protective.
It is also interesting that magic is used in this chapter, yet Harry does not receive correspondence from the Ministry of Magic, which would have seemed likely following his recent Dementor attack during which he performed magic. Although Tonks, who performed the magic is a Ministry employee, she is not working for the Ministry on this occasion, but rather against it. One possibility, of course, is that the Trace disables itself if it detects an adult witch or wizard in the immediate vicinity of the underage wizard, to prevent false alarms in a Wizarding home. There is more information on this in the article on the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery.
This chapter is almost entirely concerned with events within this book. There is very little here that could be seen as an important connection to other books, though Grimmauld Place will be important throughout the remainder of the series, and Tonks does comment on Harry's Firebolt broom.