Summary: McGonagall takes Harry and Ron to see Dumbledore in order to sort out the meaning of Harry’s nightmare. Dumbledore asks Harry some questions, sends portraits of former heads—including Sirius’s delightfully sarcastic ancestor, Phineas Nigellus—on errands, and does some spooky stuff with the mysterious instruments in his office. Then he sends Harry and Ron, along with Ginny, Fred, and George, back to 12GP. And so the long vigil begins. At last, Mrs. Weasley arrives with the news that Arthur will be okay. The next day, the group goes to visit Arthur in the hospital. It’s a pretty crazy place. There, Harry overhears a conversation between some Order members that makes him feel even worse about the incident, because it makes him think he attacked Arthur himself.
1. What do you think that “in essence divided” stuff in Dumbledores's office was about, anyway?
2. The portraits of former heads were an interesting plot device, I thought. I particularly like Phineas, but really, the whole idea that the current head of the school has a sort of army of portraits at his command is pretty cool. What do you think?
3. So…did anyone, like me, think that Arthur might just be the big death? I thought I’d seen his name on the last page spoiler that came out a little before the book, but I wasn’t sure enough of it to keep me from worrying during this chapter.
4. There is evidence in this chapter that Sirius has been drowning his sorrows a bit (when the kids arrive, Harry notices he smells like “stale drink”). He’s not the first HP character to do so. What do you think about JKR including such things in a “children’s book”?
5. JKR really has a way with funny, whimsical descriptions of new places, items, and characters in the magical world. What is your favorite moment/detail in the introduction of St. Mungo’s?
6. What do you think Mad-Eye Moody was on about at the end of the chapter? Surely he knew Harry wasn’t being possessed?
87: The average number of poisoning accidents caused by dirty cauldrons that St. Mungo’s Healers treat each year.