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"When we were in Diagon Alley," Harry began, but Mr. Weasley forestalled him with a grimace.
"But Harry was not listening; he had just recognized the thin, slanting writing on the parchment. Leaving Sloper in mid-sentence, he hurried away with Ron and Hermione, unrolling the parchment as he went.
He looked around. Hermione had her back to him and her head bent, but Ron was looking delighted.
"Bumped into him," said Harry evasively.
"Tonks and Sirius barely knew each other!" said Ron. "Sirius was in Azkaban half her life and before that their families never met ?quot;
"?and this is Marcus Belby, I don't know whether ??"
"Harry!" he boomed, sweeping Harry into a bone-crushing hug the moment Harry had stepped out of the car. "Buckbeak — Witherwings, I mean — yeh should see him, Harry, he's so happy ter be back in the open air —"
“No, you couldn't," said Tonks flatly. "Anti-intruder jinxes on all of them. Security's been tightened a hundredfold this summer."
Snape set off around the edge of the room, speaking now in a lower voice; the class craned their necks to keep him in view. The Dark Arts," said Snape, "are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible."
"Well, you never know," said Malfoy with the ghost of a smirk. "I might have ?er ?moved on to bigger and better things."
"Your defenses," said Snape, a little louder, "must therefore be as flexible and inventive as rhe arts you seek to undo. These pictures - he indicated a few of them as he swept past - "give a fair representation of what happens to those who suffer, for instance, the Cruciatus Curse" - he waved a hand toward a witch who was clearly shrieking in agony - "feel the Dementor's Kiss" - a wizard lying huddled and blank-eyed, slumped against a wall - "or provoke the aggression of the Inferius" - a bloody mass upon ground.
"An answer copied almost word for word from The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Six," said Snape dismissively (over in the corner, Malfoy sniggered), "but correct in essentials. Yes, those who progress in using magic without shouting incantations gain an element of surprise in their spell-casting. Not all wizards can do this, of course; it is a question of concentration and mind power which some" -
The day after this rather gloomy birthday tea, their letters and booklists arrived from Hogwarts. Harry's included a surprise: he had been made Quidditch Captain.
Harry read the parchment through several times, his breathing becoming easier with each reading. It was all right: He had always known that he would fail Divination, and he had had no chance of passing History of Magic, given that he had collapsed halfway through the examination, but he had passed everything else! He ran his finger down the grades . . . he had passed well in Transfiguration and Herbology, he had even exceeded expectations at Potions! And best of all, he had achieved "Outstanding" at Defense Against the Dark Arts!。