The Ministry of Magic (OP)

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A wizard, a witch, a centaur, a goblin and a house-elf are the statues that stand in the Ministry's fountain.

The Ministry of Magic is the seventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The morning of August 12, 1995

Harry wakes up with a jolt at half past five in the morning. The impending disciplinary hearing weighs heavily on his mind as he puts his glasses and gets dressed with the jeans and T-shirt Molly puts at the foot of his bed. The blank picture on the wall (OP6) sniggers.

Ron is still asleep, and Harry does not wake him up when he leaves the room to go to the kitchen. There he meets Arthur, Molly, Sirius, Remus and Tonks, looking as though they had been waiting for him.

Molly, wearing a purple dressing gown, rushes around to fetch breakfast for Harry. Tonks, with blond, curly hair, yawns and tells him that she has been up all night; she then continues her conversation with Remus, pointing out that Rufus Scrimgeour has been asking Kingsley and her funny questions and that they have to be more careful.

Harry is too nervous and unable to eat. Meanwhile, Tonks goes on to say that she is too tired and will have to warn Dumbledore that she will not be able to do night duty the following day. Arthur offers to cover for her; he has a report to finish.

They all turn their attentions to Harry. Mr. Weasley tries to reassure him that he will be cleared of all charges soon; the hearing is scheduled to be set in the office of Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She will question him. Tonks approves of Amelia, and says that she is a fair woman. Sirius cautions him not to lose his temper, to be polite and stick to the facts.

Molly combs Harry's hair, and despairs over the fact that it won't lay flat. Arthur looks at the time and announces that they will leave now. Everyone wishes him good luck, and Sirius grimly vows to see to Amelia Bones personally in case something goes wrong.

The journey to the Ministry

Arthur and Harry leave the house, passing by the portrait of Walburga Black, who is grunting in her sleep, and walk to the Ministry of Magic. Arthur usually Apparates, but he thinks it'll cause a better impression for Harry to arrive in non-magical fashion, considering the subject of the hearing.

The streets are almost deserted as they make their way to the London Underground. Mr. Weasley voices his amazement at the automatic ticket machines, despite their being out of order; Harry buys their tickets. Arthur childishly checks the Underground Map every station, announcing how many are left until their destination. They finally arrive.

When they leave the station, Arthur wonders where they are; Harry panics for a brief moment, but then Mr. Weasley remembers the way, and leads him to an unimpressive street with shabby offices, a pub and an overflowing skip. He states that he has never used the visitors' entrance before.

The visitors' entrance

Arthur delightedly points to an old red telephone box missing several panes of glass, in front of a vandalised wall, and they enter. Mr. Weasley dials 62442, and a cool female voice sounds inside the box. "Welcome to the Ministry of Magic," it says. "Please state your name and business."

Arthur does, and a silver badge with the words "Harry Potter" and "Disciplinary Hearing" slides out of the metal chute normally destined for returned coins. "Visitor to the Ministry, you are required to submit to a search and present your wand for registration at the security desk, which is located at the far end of the Atrium," adds the voice.

The floor of the cabin trembles, and they slowly sink into the ground. After a minute, Harry is faced with bright, golden light, and the voice welcomes him to the Ministry. Arthur and Harry step out of the box and into the Atrium.

The Ministry Atrium

Harry is standing at the end of a long and splendid hall with polished dark wood floor.

"The peacock blue ceiling was inlaid with gleaming golden symbols that kept moving and changing like some enormous heavenly noticeboard. The walls on each side were panelled in shiny dark wood and had many gilded fireplaces set into them. Every few seconds a witch or wizard would emerge from one of the left-hand fireplaces with a soft whoosh. On the right-hand side, short queues were forming before each fire¬place, waiting to depart.

"Halfway down the hall was a fountain. A group of golden statues, larger than life-size, stood in the middle of a circular pool. Tallest of them all was a noble-looking wizard with his wand pointing straight up in the air. Grouped around him were a beautiful witch, a centaur, a goblin and a house-elf. The last three were all locking adoringly up at the witch and wizard. Glittering jets of water were flying from the ends of their wands, the point of the centaurs a tow, the tip of the goblin's hat and each of the house-elf's ears, so that the tinkling hiss of falling water was added to the pops and cracks of the Apparators and the clatter of footsteps as hundreds of witches and wizards, most of whom were wearing glum, early-morning looks, strode towards a set of golden gates at the far end of the hall."

Harry and Arthur join the witches and wizards, most of whom were carrying items such as copies of the Daily Prophet and battered briefcases, on their way inside the Ministry. As they pass by the fountain, the boy sees several coins at the bottom of the pool; a sign indicates that proceeds will be donated to St. Mungo's. Harry promises to himself that he will give ten Galleons if he is not expelled.

Arthur calls Harry to the security desk at the corner of the room, where a bored-looking and badly-shaven wizard in blue robes called Eric is reading the Prophet. He puts down the parchment, and uses a long and flexible golden rod to inspect the boy, passing it up and down Harry's front and back.

Harry hands him his wand, which Eric places on a brass instrument that resembled a set of scales with one dish. It vibrates, and a small piece of parchment speeds out. "Eleven inches, phoenix-feather core, been in use four years," Eric announces (PS5). "That correct?" He acquiesces, and gets his wand back while the slip of parchment is safely stored.

Only then does Eric realise who it is he's talking to. Arthur leads Harry away in the nick of time, and the two pass the gates into the smaller hall beyond, where there are at least twenty lifts behind wrought golden grilles.

The lift

Nearby, a big-bearded wizard named Bob holds a large cardboard box making strange noises. He greets Arthur, explaining that the animal in the box was thought to be a bog-standard chicken until it began breathing fire; it seems to be a breach of the Ban on Experimental Breeding.

They enter the elevator. Several people glance curiously at Harry; he flattens his fringe and tries to avoid meeting people's eyes. The lift ascends slowly; when it stops, the same cool female voice from the telephone box announces Level Seven: Department of Magical Games and Sports, including the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters, Official Gobstones Club and Ludicrous Patents Office.

It is a disorganised-looking corridor with several Quidditch posters crookedly stuck to the wall. One of the wizards in the lift, carrying many broomsticks, disappears down the hallway.

The next stop is Level Six: Department of Magical Transportation, including the Floo Network Authority, the Broom Regulatory Control, the Portkey Office and the Apparation Test Centre.

When the doors opened, four or five wizards left the lift, and many pale violet paper aeroplanes with 'Ministry of Magic' stamped along the edge of their wings enter, flapping idly near the ceiling and around the lamp attached to it.

Next is Level Five: Department of International Magical Co-operation, including the International Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law and the International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats.

Two memos leave the lift, and several more enter. Then comes Level Four: Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, incorporating the Beast, Being and Spirit Divisions, the Goblin Liaison Office and the Pest Advisory Bureau.

Bob leaves the elevator in this floor, and so do many memos.

Level Three follows: Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, encompassing the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, the Obliviator Headquarters and the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee.

Harry and Mr. Weasley get off the elevator on Level Two, which hosts the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, the Auror Headquarters and the Wizengamot Administration Services.

Auror Headquarters

Arthur's office is on the opposite side of the floor. Harry notices on the way there that the windows showed sunlight, even though they were still underground. Arthur explains that the windows are charmed, and that Magical Maintenance decides what weather they will get every day (last time they wanted a pay rise, there were two months of hurricanes).

They turn a corner, pass through heavy oak doors, and are faced with a cluttered open area divided into cubicles. A lopsided sign announces where they are: Auror Headquarters. Harry observes the cubicles with vivid interest as they pass by them; the walls are covered with everything from Quidditch posters to photographs, Daily Prophet articles and pictures of wanted wizards.

A pony-tailed wizard with scarlet robes is dictating to his quill, and Kingsley Shacklebolt is talking to a witch with a patch over one eye over the top of her cubicle wall. Kingsley nonchalantly greets Arthur, as though they barely knew each other, and asks him for a word. When Harry is about to say hello, Mr. Weasley stomps on his foot.

They follow Kingsley until the last cubicle where, much to Harry's astonishment, the face of Sirius Black looks at him from every corner. Old photographs of him line the walls, including that of his being best man at Lily and James' wedding (PA11). The only space without pictures is a world map with little glowing red pins.

Shacklebolt hands Arthur a stack of parchments, saying, "'I need as much information as pos¬sible on flying Muggle vehicles sighted in the last twelve months. We've received information that Black might still be using his old motorcycle."

He winks at Harry and adds below his breath, "Give him the magazine, he might find it interesting." He continues in a normal tone, "And don't take too long, Weasley, the delay on that firelegs report held our investigation up for a month."

Arthur coolly corrects him, pointing out that the correct term is "firearms". He claims that he is busy and that this report may have to wait; then he adds in an undertone that Molly is making meatballs for dinner and that Kingsley should try to get away before seven.

They leave the cubicle, pass through another set of oak doors, into another passage, turned left, walked along another hallway, turned right into a dimly lit and shabby corridor, and reached a dead end. There is a door to the left behind which is a broom cupboard; to the left there is another door, with a brass plaque on which is written "Misuse of Muggle Artefacts".

The Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office

The dingy office is smaller than the cupboard across the hall, or so it seems to Harry. Two desks are crammed inside it and there is barely moving space due to the amount of filing cabinets along the walls. What little wall space there is left is true to Arthur's most cherished obsessions: there are posters of cars, a dismantled engine, postboxes and a diagram showing how to set up a plug.

The crammed in-tray of the office hosted, among others, an old, sad and hiccoughing toaster and a pair of leather gloves twiddling its thumbs. A photograph of the Weasley family is beside the tray; Percy has walked out of it.

Harry sits at the desk beside Arthur's while Mr. Weasley examines the parchments he has just received from Kingsley. He sees a copy of The Quibbler, and expresses his agreement; Sirius will surely be entertained to see that article (OP10).

A memo suddenly zooms in, warning Arthur of the third regurgitating public toilet reported in Bethnal Green. The last two happened the previous week, one in Wimbledon and one in Elephant and Castle; they are the work of anti-Muggle pranksters, and, naturally, plumbers are called in vain.

Matters such as these are too trivial for Aurors to handle; Arthur says he will have to call the ordinary Magical Law Enforcement Patrol.

Change of plans

A timid-looking old wizard enters the room; it's Perkins, the only other wizard in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office. He pants that an urgent message for Arthur has come ten minutes ago: the time and place of the hearing has changed to eight o'clock (five minutes ago) and it will be set in Courtroom Ten. Arthur starts a desperate sprint towards the lift, with Harry close in tow.

They wait impatiently for the lift, and hurry inside; Arthur swears every time it stops, pressing the number nine insistently. He tells Harry that the courtrooms haven't been used in years (GF30). He can think of no reason why the hearing should be there, with one exception. Before he can elaborate, a plump witch carrying a smoking goblet enters, and he stops talking.

The lift stops at the Atrium, and a sallow-skinned wizard with a sepulchral voice, Broderick Bode, enters. He greets Arthur, and gazes unblinking at Harry.

Finally, the cool female voice announces the Department of Mysteries. Arthur guides Harry up a hallway with bare walls and no doors or windows except for one plain back one; to the left there is an opening that leads to a flight of steps. Harry follows him down, and Arthur notes once more how odd it is that the hearing is in one of the old courtrooms.

They run along another corridor, similar to the one that leads to Snape's dungeon, with stone walls and torches in brackets. The doors are heavy, dark and wooden, with iron bolts and keyholes. The two finally arrive, and Arthur instructs Harry to enter.

The boy is desolate to find out that Mr. Weasley is not allowed to take part in the hearing. Extremely apprehensive, he turns the door handle and steps inside the courtroom.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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