Dean takes on Professor Umbridge

His Gryffindor class are furious at their theoretical Defence Against the Dark Arts class

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

Harry thrust his fist in the air. Again, Professor Umbridge promptly turned away from him, but now several other people had their hands up, too.

‘And your name is?’ Professor Umbridge said to Dean.

‘Dean Thomas.’

‘Well, Mr Thomas?’

‘Well, it’s like Harry said, isn’t it?’ said Dean. ‘If we’re going to be attacked, it won’t be risk free.’

‘I repeat,’ said Professor Umbridge, smiling in a very irritating fashion at Dean, ‘do you expect to be attacked during my classes?’

‘No, but –’

Professor Umbridge talked over him. ‘I do not wish to criticise the way things have been run in this school,’ she said, an unconvincing smile stretching her wide mouth, ‘but you have been exposed to some very irresponsible wizards in this class, very irresponsible indeed – not to mention,’ she gave a nasty little laugh, ‘extremely dangerous half-breeds.’

‘If you mean Professor Lupin,’ piped up Dean angrily, ‘he was the best we ever –’

'Hand, Mr Thomas! As I was saying – you have been introduced to spells that have been complex, inappropriate to your age group and potentially lethal. You have been frightened into believing that you are likely to meet Dark attacks every other day –’

‘No we haven’t,’ Hermione said, ‘we just –’

'Your hand is not up, Miss Granger!'

Hermione put up her hand. Professor Umbridge turned away from her.

‘It is my understanding that my predecessor not only performed illegal curses in front of you, he actually performed them on you.’

‘Well, he turned out to be a maniac, didn’t he?’ said Dean hotly. ‘Mind you, we still learned loads.’

'Your hand is not up, Mr Thomas!' trilled Professor Umbridge. ‘Now, it is the view of the Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be more than sufficient to get you through your examination, which, after all, is what school is all about. And your name is?’ she added, staring at Parvati, whose hand had just shot up.

‘Parvati Patil, and isn’t there a practical bit in our Defence Against the Dark Arts OWL? Aren’t we supposed to show that we can actually do the counter-curses and things?’

‘As long as you have studied the theory hard enough, there is no reason why you should not be able to perform the spells under carefully controlled examination conditions,’ said Professor Umbridge dismissively.

‘Without ever practising them beforehand?’ said Parvati incredulously. ‘Are you telling us that the first time we’ll get to do the spells will be during our exam?’

‘I repeat, as long as you have studied the theory hard enough –’

‘And what good’s theory going to be in the real world?’ said Harry loudly, his fist in the air again.

Professor Umbridge looked up.

‘This is school, Mr Potter, not the real world,’ she said softly.

‘So we’re not supposed to be prepared for what’s waiting for us out there?’

‘There is nothing waiting out there, Mr Potter.’

‘Oh, yeah?’ said Harry. His temper, which seemed to have been bubbling just beneath the surface all day, was reaching boiling point.

‘Who do you imagine wants to attack children like yourselves?’ enquired Professor Umbridge in a horribly honeyed voice.

‘Hmm, let’s think …’ said Harry in a mock thoughtful voice. ‘Maybe … Lord Voldemort?’

Ron gasped; Lavender Brown uttered a little scream; Neville slipped sideways off his stool. Professor Umbridge, however, did not flinch. She was staring at Harry with a grimly satisfied expression on her face.

‘Ten points from Gryffindor, Mr Potter.’

The classroom was silent and still. Everyone was staring at either Umbridge or Harry.

‘Now, let me make a few things quite plain.’

Professor Umbridge stood up and leaned towards them, her stubby-fingered hands splayed on her desk. ‘You have been told that a certain Dark wizard has returned from the dead –


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling