'Hagrid,' said Hermione breathlessly, skirting the patch of nettles they had passed on their way there, 'if the centaurs don't want humans in the Forest, it doesn't really look as though Harry and I will be able - '
Teach him English, yeah,' said Harry.
'And I wish they'd stop singing that stupid song,' said Hermione miserably, 'haven't they gloated enough?'
He didn't let the Quaffle in,
This information took the edge off Harry and Ron's desire for brain stimulants.
'How were the Runes?' said Ron, yawning and stretching.
'Journey was fine, journey was fine, we've made it plenty of times before!' she said impatiently. 'Now, I haven't heard from Dumbledore lately!' she added, peering around the Hall as though hopeful he might suddenly emerge from a broom cupboard. 'No idea where he is, I suppose?'
'Yeah,' said Harry. 'No more pretending we care what happens when Jupiter and Uranus get too friendly.'
'As you can see,' Professor McGonagall told the class as they copied down the dates and times of their exams from the blackboard, 'your OWLs are spread over two successive weeks. You will sit the theory papers in the mornings and the practice in the afternoons. Your practical Astronomy examination will, of course, take place at night.
Harry could see the tiny outline of Fang, attempting to defend Hagrid, leaping repeatedly at the wizards surrounding him until a Stunning Spell caught him and he fell to the ground. Hagrid gave a howl of fury, lifted the culprit bodily from the ground and threw him; the man flew what looked like ten feet and did not get up again. Hermione gasped, both hands over her mouth; Harry looked round at Ron and saw that he, too, was looking scared. None of them had ever seen Hagrid in a real temper before.
'COWARDS!' bellowed Hagrid; his voice carried clearly to the top of the tower, and several lights flickered back on inside the castle. 'RUDDY COWARDS! HAVE SOME O' THAT - AN' THAT - '
The story was told in five minutes, by the end of which Ron's indignation had been replaced by a look of total incredulity.
Harry and Ron whipped around on their bench. Through the doors to the Great Hall they could see Umbridge standing with a small group of ancient-looking witches and wizards. Umbridge, Harry was pleased to see, looked rather nervous.
The fifth-years ate lunch with the rest of the school (the four house tables had reappeared for the lunch hour), then they trooped off into the small chamber beside the Great Hall, where they were to wait until called for their practical examination. As small groups of students were called forwards in alphabetical order, those left behind muttered incantations and practised wand movements, occasionally poking each other in the back or eye by mistake.
Ron gave a nervous laugh.
'Calm down, you two,' he said, turning to walk on while they parted along behind him. 'Ruddy old mules, though, eh?'
'Weasley is our King,
'You ought not to have meddled, Hagrid,' said Magorian. 'Our ways are not yours, nor are our laws. Firenze has betrayed and dishonoured us.'
'How dare you!' the figure shouted as she ran. 'How dare you!'