Chapter 30 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Grawp
Fred and George's departure quickly grows into Hogwarts legend over the next few days. Adding to it are the two roughly-patched, broom-shaped holes in Umbridge's office door. The Twins also left a large swamp in the fifth-floor corridor, which Umbridge and the teachers seem unable to remove. Harry suspects the teachers' inability is feigned, part of the ongoing passive rebellion against Umbridge's authoritarian ways. A grumbling Filch must now ferry students across the swamp in between classes.
Picking up where the Twins left off, students constantly bombard the corridors with dungbombs and stink pellets, and someone puts a Niffler into Umbridge's office, destroying it. Umbridge, Filch, and the new Inquisitorial Squad are run ragged responding to the disturbances. Fred and George had also apparently sold many Skiving Snackboxes, for whenever Umbridge enters a class, students suddenly experience vomiting, bloody noses, and fainting spells. And Peeves is everywhere, wreaking havoc. The staff, except Filch, seem unwilling to help Umbridge, and Harry notices that Professor McGonagall not only walks past Peeves while he is unscrewing a crystal chandelier, but also mutters, "it unscrews the other way."
Ron worries that his mother will blame him for the Twins' departure. When he and Hermione wonder how they can afford to open their own joke shop in Diagon Alley, Harry finally reveals that he donated his Triwizard winnings. Ron and Hermione seem unsurprised by this revelation.
In the first few minutes of the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, Harry and Hermione are approached by Hagrid, who has something to show them in the Forbidden Forest. Hagrid leads the way, carrying a large crossbow. The Centaurs, he says, are still angry about Firenze working for Dumbledore, and they were attacking Firenze when Hagrid intervened. Umbridge believes Hagrid put the Niffler in her office, and he expects to be sacked soon. Sensing that he will shortly be sent away, he says he needs the Trio's help with something, and leads them to where a Giant named Grawp is sleeping. Hagrid brought Grawp, his half-brother, back from the mountains with him after his failed mission with Madam Maxime to recruit the Giants against Voldemort. The other Giants mistreated Grawp for being "small" – only sixteen feet tall. Hagrid has been attempting to civilize Grawp and teach him English, but so far he has been little more than monosyllabic. Hagrid admits that Grawp is still half-wild and he has had difficulty controlling him, which explains his battered appearance when he returned to Hogwarts, and why Grawp is tied up. Hagrid claims Grawp is much tamer now, and he asks if Harry, Ron, and Hermione will visit and help teach him English. Grawp wakes up, and Hagrid introduces Harry and "Hermy", though it is hard to tell how much Grawp comprehends. Harry now understands Firenze's warning to Hagrid that, "the attempt is not working."
Centaurs appear and threaten Hagrid, angry that he brought a Giant into their forest. They are also still furious that Firenze has betrayed them by entering into "human servitude." Hagrid is not intimidated, and the Centaurs agree to let him pass only because he is accompanied by innocent "foals" (Harry and Hermione).
When Harry and Hermione return to the now-finished Quidditch game, they hear "Weasley is Our King", only it is not the Slytherins singing it sarcastically. Gryffindor has won the match and the Quidditch Cup, apparently thanks to Ron’s suddenly superb Keeping.
It is interesting to note that Fred and George's absence apparently causes the tremendous increase in mischief. Rowling's explanation that many students were vying for the chief troublemaker post seems rather weak. However, it is possibly an accurate description of the actual events. It is unlikely that students are competing for this particular position, but it is probably true that those students pulling pranks had been held in check by Fred and George. If one is in a school with master practical jokers, one tends to forgo pulling his own pranks to simply avoid being labeled a poor imitation of the master(s). With Fred and George gone, that restraint has vanished. Also gone is the Twins' awareness of the "line" that they could not cross – they would pull pranks, but never to the extent of actually causing damage or getting themselves thrown out. Hatred for Umbridge and her repression, plus her obvious ineffectiveness in dealing with the fireworks and the swamp, will tend to inspire the less-able pranksters to break out the dungbombs, while the teachers' unwillingness to assist Umbridge in her futile attempts to maintain order will only make the problems worse.
Peeves' increased activity is mentioned, and possibly worth discussion as well. This is the first time that Peeves has been noted as being more active, despite Professor Dumbledore's earlier absences. We are led to believe that Peeves can be controlled only by Dumbledore and the Bloody Baron, though Rowling, in an interview, has suggested that Dumbledore does not actually control Peeves. Rather, Dumbledore understands how Peeves' mind works and is often able to coerce him into doing what Dumbledore wishes. From Peeves' actions in this chapter, we may begin to suspect that his activities could be seen as an indicator of the overall level of satisfaction in the school: he is far less active when the population is happy.
There is suddenly an explanation for some particular things we have wondered about, as well as others that have happened but never caused significant concern. With Grawp's existence revealed, we suddenly understand why Hagrid returned late from his mission, know what caused his constant injuries, see why he spends more time than usual in the Forbidden Forest, and understand his sudden deep concerns about family. Other commentators have mentioned that one of Rowling's great strengths is in handling the set-up and the pay-off, leading you up to the fact, then revealing it at a particularly satisfying time. This is a classic example: we knew about Hagrid's expedition to the Giants, and have seen the aftermath, and now suddenly the explanation for that aftermath is revealed. This is only one example, and other set-ups span several books, where we see a build-up to an event followed later by the wholly satisfactory revelation.
Of all the characters in the Harry Potter series, probably none are as lonely and isolated as Hagrid. Not even Harry's unhappy family life, Sirius Black's difficult childhood, or Remus Lupin's social ostracism compares to Hagrid's utter alienation. Many wizards either fear him, or, like Umbridge, consider him sub-human; many others will be indifferent to him. His attempt at cementing a closer relationship with Madame Maxime in the previous book was at least initially stymied when she denied her Giant heritage. Even though most Hogwarts students and staff like him and accept him as an equal, he has never shared a close relationship with anyone there other than Harry, who knows what it is like to lack a family. Harry has been his closest friend and acts as a surrogate relative. Now Hagrid has an opportunity to have a real family by having brought back his half-brother, although it remains doubtful whether Grawp can ever be completely civilized. However, Hagrid faces losing this opportunity if Umbridge succeeds in dismissing him, forcing Hagrid to turn to the Trio for help.
We see here also that Ron is able to perform quite well when he is confident; it seems that once he found his stride, he defended the goal posts quite well. We do not yet know what has happened; presumably we will find out in the next chapter, but here we see that Ron is carrying the Quidditch Cup and being carried on Gryffindors' shoulders, so we can safely bet that his performance saved the game for Gryffindor.
It should also be noted that Umbridge's failure to remove a swamp that Harry was sure the other teachers could remove is almost certainly intended to indicate a lack of magical ability on Umbridge's part, particularly since we have seen a similar weakness earlier with her inability to deal with the fireworks in an earlier chapter.
- What does Hagrid want to show Harry and Hermione? Why does he show it to them now?
- What does Hagrid ask the Trio to do? Is this putting them in danger?
- Why do the Centaurs threaten Hagrid? Why do they let him pass?
- Why has the demeaning Slytherin song changed its meaning, and who is singing it at the end of the chapter?
Further Study edit
- Why did Hagrid bring Grawp back with him? What does he hope to accomplish, and is it possible?
- Why do the Centaurs consider what Firenze did a betrayal? Is it?
Greater Picture edit
In this chapter we observe the Centaurs' current temper. Already aloof, they have been angered by Firenze's "defection," and by Hagrid's interfering in his punishment for that transgression. Hermione will later use this against Umbridge; trapped, she will invent a story about a weapon that Umbridge must then possess. Hermione will claim that weapon is in the Forbidden Forest, and will lead Umbridge into the Centaurs' realm. There, Umbridge's hatred of "half-breeds" results in the Centaurs dealing with her.
Hermione, hearing that the Centaurs do not wage war against "foals", will think herself and Harry safe as they lead Umbridge to the Centaurs, but will not reckon with the Centaur's intellect. They will see that Hermione tricked them into entering a purely Human conflict, and intend to inflict the same fate on Hermione and Harry as Umbridge. Only Grawp's presence in the Forest will save them; having broken free, he is roaming the forest searching for Hagrid. Stumbling upon the clearing where Harry, Hermione, and the Centaurs are, Grawp breaks the deadlock, allowing Harry and Hermione to escape.
It has been noted that this book seems to parallel historical events in England shortly prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. It might be of interest to compare the stance of the Centaurs, as mentioned in this chapter and elsewhere, with the official policies of Switzerland at the time. While Switzerland as a country determined to remain neutral, individuals in that country were acting in what would become the Allied interest, much as Firenze is in this and subsequent books. (We note that Firenze is injured in the defence of Hogwarts: we see him, wounded, in the pause in the final battle.) If there is a parallel, however, we suspect that it was incidental.
It is in the next chapter that Ron's almost-miraculous improvement in Keeping is seen. While this provides a much-needed boost to Ron's confidence, it will be insufficient in the long run. In the next book, Ron is so insecure as Keeper that Harry has to artificially boost Ron's confidence.
- This is our first introduction to Grawp, though we have seen the effects he is having on Hagrid throughout this book. Grawp will reappear in the next book, where he will be clearly more civilized: he will, in fact, be comforting Hagrid. He will also be part of the defence of Hogwarts in the final book.
- The Centaur's isolationism, seen here in full force, was first noted in the first book in the series. Firenze's dissatisfaction with that policy is also noted in that chapter. The centaurs will remain aloof until very nearly the end of the story.