Harry’s Quibbler story appears. By mid-morning, Umbridge has posted a decree banning any students from reading or possessing the Quibbler. When Harry goes to bed that night, his scar aches. He has another vision of himself as Voldemort, this time discussing Bode’s death with Rockwood, a Death Eater who escaped from Azkaban. Harry wakes up screaming. Ron again suggests he go to Dumbledore, but Harry refuses. The next morning, Hermione figures out that Bode must have been under an Imperius Curse. When Bode tried to get the mysterious weapon Voldemort is searching for, he went mad and ended up in St. Mungo’s.
Harry continues studying Occlumency with Snape. He has made little progress but does manage to get inside Snape’s mind for a brief moment. Professor Trelawney interrupts their lesson by screaming from the entrance hall. Umbridge has fired her, and she must leave campus. Dumbledore appears and permits Trelawney to stay and live at Hogwarts, although he cannot reinstate her teaching position. Dumbledore then introduces the new Divination teacher, a Centaur named Firenze.
Firenze assumes Trelawney’s duties, explaining to the students that nothing, even centaurs’ knowledge, is foolproof. After class, Firenze asks Harry to tell Hagrid that his attempt is not working and he must abandon it. Harry relays the message, but Hagrid ignores it.
The D.A. begins working on conjuring Patronuses. Dobby interrupts to warn the group that Umbridge is on her way, and the students scatter. Malfoy trips Harry and hands him over to Umbridge. Umbridge drags Harry to Dumbledore’s office, where Cornelius Fudge is waiting, and fetches her informant, a Ravenclaw named Marietta. Because Hermione jinxed the scroll with the D.A.’s names against snitches, Marietta’s face is covered in giant purple pimples spelling the word “Sneak.” Marietta refuses to uncover her face to speak. Dumbledore takes full responsibility for the D.A. He points to the title on the parchment, identifying the group as Dumbledore’s Army. When the Minister attempts to arrest him, Dumbledore sends a streak of silver light through his office and disappears.
Umbridge replaces Dumbledore as Headmistress and appoints an Inquisitional Squad of students, which is comprised mostly of Slytherins, including Draco Malfoy, to do her bidding. The Squad has the power to dock points from Houses, which Malfoy does happily. Fred and George swear to make Umbridge’s life at Hogwarts difficult, and they set off a crate of fireworks in the Great Hall. Umbridge’s magic does not work on the fireworks, and the faculty refuses to help her. Firecrackers explode for the rest of the afternoon.
Harry dreams of the Department of Mysteries again. This time he gets through the doors and into a room lined with dusty glass spheres. He heads toward one but wakes up before he reaches it. The next day, Harry resumes lessons with Snape. Malfoy interrupts to say that Umbridge needs Snape’s help. While Snape is gone, Harry climbs into the Pensieve, hoping to gain insight into the Department of Mysteries. Harry sees Snape taking his O.W.L.s and then sees his father, James Potter, with Sirius, Lupin, and Moody. Sirius and James catch sight of Snape. They torment and humiliate him in front of the other students. Lily, Harry’s mother, attempts to intervene, but Snape calls her a Mudblood, and she backs off. Snape returns to his classroom and yanks Harry out of the Pensieve, enraged. Harry is devastated by James and Sirius’s behavior.
Even though Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius, and Lupin all stress how important it is for Harry to learn and practice Occlumency, Harry still stubbornly refuses to dedicate himself to the task of closing his mind. Harry’s vision of Voldemort’s attack on Mr. Weasley ultimately helped save Mr. Weasley’s life, and Harry doesn’t understand why he must close his mind entirely to outside influences. He assumes this is just another case of the adults in his life not wanting him to have access to sensitive information. Harry continues to attempt Occlumency only half-heartedly, since no one will tell him directly why he should take the lessons seriously. Had Dumbledore been honest with Harry from the beginning and explained the truth about Harry’s complex connection to Voldemort, Harry may have been more stringent with his Occlumency practice, and, therefore, not fallen for Voldemort’s trap. Once again, adults withhold information from children under the guise of “keeping them safe,” when, in reality, they are causing more harm than good by not being more forthcoming with information.
Despite withholding so much important information from Harry, Dumbledore proves himself to be a selfless and wise leader in Chapter 27. He takes full responsibility for the D.A. even though he had no knowledge of the existence of something called “Dumbledore’s Army.” He realizes, however, that he can escape the Ministry with far more ease than Harry can, so he takes the blame, sacrificing himself to ensure Harry’s safety. No matter how many doubts Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix raises about Dumbledore’s competency, he still remains a powerful, clever, and intensely pure force for good. His escape here is also noteworthy for the level of skill it requires. He effortlessly flies by the Minister of Magic and several other Wizards without so much as a skirmish.
Though Hogwarts has been notably fractured this year, Umbridge’s appointment as Headmaster compels the students and faculty to band together to make her life as difficult as possible. With the small exception of Umbridge’s Inquisitional Squad, all of Hogwarts’ residents are upset by the upheaval Umbridge has introduced to the school. Their indignation is both a show of general unity and a display of extreme loyalty to Dumbledore. Umbridge’s Educational Decrees are beginning to seem more and more ridiculous. She bans all issues of the Quibbler simply because Harry disputes the Ministry’s official party line in reference to Voldemort. As Hermione points out astutely, banning the magazine simply stirs up more interest in Harry’s story. Since so many students are opposed to Umbridge’s teaching methods and maniacal rules, they are more likely to seek out, read, and empathize with Harry’s words, effectively patching up some of the fracturing that has been plaguing Hogwarts.