A hurt Hedwig

Harry is concerned when an injured Hedwig appears in his History of Magic class

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

‘Bet Umbridge is in History of Magic,’ said Ron grimly, as they set off for Binns’s lesson. ‘She hasn’t inspected Binns yet ... bet you anything she’s there ...’

But he was wrong; the only teacher present when they entered was Professor Binns, floating an inch or so above his chair as usual and preparing to continue his monotonous drone on giant wars. Harry did not even attempt to follow what he was saying today; he doodled idly on his parchment ignoring Hermione’s frequent glares and nudges, until a particularly painful poke in the ribs made him look up angrily.

‘What?’

She pointed at the window. Harry looked round. Hedwig was perched on the narrow window ledge, gazing through the thick glass at him, a letter tied to her leg. Harry could not understand it; they had just had breakfast, why on earth hadn’t she delivered the letter then, as usual? Many of his classmates were pointing out Hedwig to each other, too.

‘Oh, I’ve always loved that owl, she’s so beautiful,’ Harry heard Lavender sigh to Parvati.

He glanced round at Professor Binns who continued to read his notes, serenely unaware that the class’s attention was even less focused upon him than usual. Harry slipped quietly off his chair, crouched down and hurried along the row to the window, where he slid the catch and opened it very slowly.

He had expected Hedwig to hold out her leg so that he could remove the letter and then fly off to the Owlery, but the moment the window was open wide enough she hopped inside, hooting dolefully. He closed the window with an anxious glance at Professor Binns, crouched low again and sped back to his seat with Hedwig on his shoulder. He regained his seat, transferred Hedwig to his lap and made to remove the letter tied to her leg.

Only then did he realise that Hedwig’s feathers were oddly ruf- fled; some were bent the wrong way, and she was holding one of her wings at an odd angle.

‘She’s hurt!’ Harry whispered, bending his head low over her. Hermione and Ron leaned in closer; Hermione even put down her quill. ‘Look – there’s something wrong with her wing –’

Hedwig was quivering; when Harry made to touch the wing she gave a little jump, all her feathers on end as though she was inflating herself, and gazed at him reproachfully.

‘Professor Binns,’ said Harry loudly, and everyone in the class turned to look at him. ‘I’m not feeling well.’

Professor Binns raised his eyes from his notes, looking amazed, as always, to find the room in front of him full of people.

‘Not feeling well?’ he repeated hazily.

‘Not at all well,’ said Harry firmly, getting to his feet with Hedwig concealed behind his back. ‘I think I need to go to the hospital wing.’

‘Yes,’ said Professor Binns, clearly very much wrong-footed. ‘Yes … yes, hospital wing ... well, off you go, then, Perkins ...’

Once outside the room, Harry returned Hedwig to his shoulder and hurried off up the corridor, pausing to think only when he was out of sight of Binns’s door. His first choice of somebody to cure Hedwig would have been Hagrid, of course, but as he had no idea where Hagrid was his only remaining option was to find Professor Grubbly-Plank and hope she would help.

He peered out of a window at the blustery, overcast grounds. There was no sign of her anywhere near Hagrid’s cabin; if she was not teaching, she was probably in the staff room. He set off downstairs, Hedwig hooting feebly as she swayed on his shoulder. Two stone gargoyles flanked the staff-room door. As Harry approached, one of them croaked, ‘You should be in class, Sonny Jim.’

‘This is urgent,’ said Harry curtly.

‘Ooooh, urgent, is it?’ said the other gargoyle in a high-pitched voice. ‘Well, that’s put us in our place, hasn’t it?’

Harry knocked. He heard footsteps, then the door opened and he found himself face to face with Professor McGonagall.

‘You haven’t been given another detention!’ she said at once, her square spectacles flashing alarmingly.

‘No, Professor!’ said Harry hastily.

‘Well then, why are you out of class?’

‘It’s urgent, apparently,’ said the second gargoyle snidely.

‘I’m looking for Professor Grubbly-Plank,’ Harry explained. ‘It’s my owl, she’s injured.’

‘Injured owl, did you say?’

Professor Grubbly-Plank appeared at Professor McGonagall’s shoulder, smoking a pipe and holding a copy of the Daily Prophet. ‘Yes,’ said Harry, lifting Hedwig carefully off his shoulder, ‘she turned up after the other post owls and her wing’s all funny, look –’ Professor Grubbly-Plank stuck her pipe firmly between her teeth and took Hedwig from Harry while Professor McGonagall watched.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling