Chapter 9 ~ The Rise and Rise of the Resistance
Assisting his Squib father in beginning life as a Muggle was a most salutary lesson for Draco. The Malfoy family was at the pinnacle of the magical aristocracy. To be turned into a despised Squib with no more magic than a loathsome Muggle was the most shameful humiliation imaginable. Lucius Malfoy had sunk into a deep depression. He would never dare show his face in Wizarding society ever again. His own wife and son were embarrassed in his presence, and it was clear that they wanted him as far away as possible and as quickly as possible. Perhaps this odious and shameful calamity could be hushed up.
Narcissa Malfoy, fearful that Draco could suffer the same terrible fate as his father, instructed him forcefully to resign from the Inquisitorial Squad, break off friendships with anyone close to the Death Eaters, and to keep his nose clean and his head down. The very future of the Malfoy dynasty hung in the balance.
When he returned to Hogwarts, Draco was on his very best behaviour. He did exactly as his mother instructed. As a result, the Inquisitorial Squad lost much of its impetus. With Draco gone, it was just a tool for Umbridge to exert her authority, and the Slytherins had no more respect for her than anyone else in the school.
With Filch fired (because he was a Squib), Umbridge was now isolated. The teachers despised her and treated her as an unwanted and superfluous imposition forced upon them by Fudge. She soon got the message and began to keep a low profile – which wasn’t difficult – with her short and dumpy shape, she was already pretty low to the ground.
She thought she had seen the last of Potter when she had left him with Lucius Malfoy that evening. But when Lucius Malfoy disappeared instead of Potter, she became anxious and didn’t know what to think. When Draco returned to school after ‘seeing off’ his father, she asked him where his father was. Draco had mumbled something about his father taking a long holiday and that she should wait from him to contact her. She waited a long time....
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Despite his disappearance, Lucius Malfoy’s Special Educational Decree Number Thirty-seven was still hanging over the Hogwarts students, as the end of term drew near. According to article two, Muggle-born students would not be allowed to return to school after the Christmas break.
“We have to act now,” said Hermione one night, as she sat with Harry, Ron and Rick in the common room.
“But what can we do?” asked Harry. “Even with Lucius Malfoy gone, Fudge will still be sucking up to Voldemort’s Death Eaters, and they’ll insist that he go ahead with Malfoy’s reforms.”
“‘Student Power’,” said Hermione, as if it was obvious. Of course it wasn’t. However, Hermione was happy to explain. Opening her bag she pulled out a parchment and began reading from it.
“We, the Students Collective for the Defence of the Hogwarts Charter, hereby make the following demands upon the Minister of Magic:
1. That Professor Albus Dumbledore be immediately re-instated as Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
2. That all dismissed Hogwarts staff be returned to their former positions immediately.
3. That the position of Executive Governor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry be dissolved forthwith.
4. That the duly appointed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Board of Governors be reconvened.
5. That the Charter of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and its Articles of Convocation and Suffrage remain unaltered.
6. That Special Educational Decree Number Thirty-six and Special Educational Decree Number Thirty-seven be revoked in full.”
“Wow, Hermione,” said Ron, impressed, “you could sure give that git Percy a run for his money in the flowery speech department.”
“It’s got to be like that – official-sounding,” said Harry, obviously also impressed. “So what do we do now?”
“Well, this is the master parchment,” said Hermione, indicating the document she had been reading from, “and these are magical copies.” She pulled a bundle of scrolls from her bag. “We’ll circulate them throughout the school and try to get as many students as possible to sign. Each signature placed on a copy will magically appear on the master parchment.”
“Well I wouldn’t bother with the Slytherins,” said Ron.
“Oh, yes we will,” said Hermione. “Don’t be such a house-chauvinist, Ron.”
“You may be surprised,” added Rick. “Without Malfoy and his band of thugs bullying them, some of them might sign.”
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
The following morning, while waiting for Professor McGonagall to arrive in their Transfiguration class, Hermione passed a magical copy of her petition to Padma Patil to circulate in Ravenclaw.
“May I please see what you have there, Miss Granger?” asked a curious Professor McGonagall, upon entering the classroom. Hermione handed the parchment to the Transfiguration Professor, who studied it carefully.
Finally, she said with a small smile, “Might I suggest one minor alteration to your excellent document, Miss Granger?”
Hermione was taken aback, she had not known what to expect. “Why ... why certainly, Professor,” she stammered.
“At the beginning, after the words ‘Students Collective for the Defence of the Hogwarts Charter’, please insert the words ‘and Hogwarts Professors’.” Returning the parchment to a very flabbergasted Hermione, she added, “If you would be so good as to drop an amended copy off to my study, it will be my great pleasure to circulate it in the staff room.”
The petition was a huge success. Harry became the ambassador in publicising it and encouraging students to sign. For once in his life, he found his fame and notoriety a benefit – rather than a curse. He was admired throughout the school for his bravery, and he seemed to inspire bravery in others. It took a certain amount of bravery to put your name on a petition defying the Ministry of Magic in such tyrannical times as these.
Much to Ron’s surprise, almost half the Slytherins signed the petition. In the other houses, support was unanimous. All the Professors added their names, even Professor Snape. At first he wasn’t going to sign – after all, he was supposed to be a Death Eater. But then, he reasoned, that since he was also supposed to be spying for Voldemort and feigning allegiance to Dumbledore, it would be quite in keeping with his ‘pretence’ ... but the main reason was that he despised Umbridge to the depths of his soul.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Everyone was gathered in the Great Hall for Friday evening’s meal. Hermione and Harry rose from their seats and walked side by side to the teachers’ table, stopping opposite the Headmistress. The usual chatter and noise of mealtime died away as students nudged one other. It was clear that they were about to deliver the petition.
At the teachers’ table, all the professors had stopped eating and turned expectantly towards Umbridge, who was the last to notice Harry and Hermione standing before her. When she did notice them, she also saw that everyone in the Great Hall was staring at her in anticipation. She began to feel nervous. She didn’t know what was going on, but it was obvious that everyone else did.
“Hem, hem ... What are you doing? Who gave you permission to interrupt my meal?” She tried to sound annoyed, but her unease was apparent.
Harry handed the petition to her. It was tied with a bright red ribbon. He and Hermione looked at her expectantly. In fact, everyone in the Great Hall was staring at her expectantly. She had a bad feeling about this and decided it would be safer not to read it now, in front of the whole school. She put it down, unopened, upon the table and with a dismissive wave of her hand ordered Harry and Hermione back to their table immediately.
They didn’t move. “You have to read it, Headmistress,” said Hermione in a clear voice that rang through the hall.
“How dare you tell me what to do, you little upstart!” she shrieked.
“No, you don’t understand, it’s a Magical Petition, you have to read it,” explained Hermione.
“I don’t care what it is ... return to your table immediately, the pair of you. I’ve never seen such impertinence —” As she yelled at them, the Headmistress was attempting to stuff the petition in her robes, but it leapt from her hands, magically unfurled itself, and in a loud and officious voice that would have done Percy Weasley proud, proceeded to read out its list of demands for all the hall to hear.
When it had finished, it rolled itself up with a flourish, and then dropped back onto the table. All the students who had signed the petition began clapping loudly. The noise was tumultuous. The Headmistress sat stony-faced, becoming redder and redder. Harry and Hermione had returned to their places. Hermione was looking very pleased with herself. The enchanted petition had put on quite a performance – and it wasn’t over yet.
When the noise died away, everyone in the hall was staring at Umbridge, awaiting her reaction. She rose to her feet, attempting, but failing, to exude authority as she drew herself up to her full four foot something. She was quite stunned and totally at a loss for words. She simply said, “This is what I think of your impudence!” She ripped off the red ribbon, unfurled the petition, and then proceeded to tear it to pieces. A gasp ran through the Great Hall – most of the students looked horrified, but not Hermione – she was grinning.
Before the pieces of the shredded parchment had landed on the table, they transformed themselves into the caricature of a giant face. It was a very imposing face; a very intimidating face. It turned, red with fury, upon the Headmistress and screamed at her in a deafening, accusing voice, which reverberated throughout the hall.
“I am a Magical Petition ... and I am addressed to the Minister of Magic – not to you – you stupid witch. How dare you presume to destroy me? I have been entrusted into your care – thus you are contractually obliged to deliver me to the Addressee – namely the Minister of Magic – with all due haste. Those who are unwise enough to attempt evasion will find that the consequences can be very ... itchy.”
With that, the terrible red face transformed back into an innocuous scroll, once more bound with a bright red ribbon.
The Headmistress was suddenly overcome by a fearful fit of itching – she began scratching herself in all sorts of places. It was most undignified. The students began howling with laughter while their Professors attempted to restrain their equal glee at her obvious discomfort and embarrassment. Finally, the Headmistress grabbed the petition in one hand and ran from the hall, flailing at her backside with the other, trying to relieve the terrible torment. It can be safely assumed that Cornelius Fudge was in possession of the petition very soon afterwards.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
“Fudge is just ignoring our petition. It’s obvious! We need to escalate things,” said Hermione one evening, a week after their petition had been delivered to the Headmistress. No response had been received from the Minister of Magic and the Headmistress was trying to act as if the whole embarrassing episode in the Great Hall had never happened.
“What did you have in mind?” asked Harry, certain that Hermione had it all figured out – she did.
“We’ll go on strike, and refuse to attend classes until Fudge addresses our petition. If he doesn’t agree to meet each and every one of our demands by the end of term, then none of us will return to school after Christmas. Fudge will have no option but to close Hogwarts!”
Harry again took the role of ambassador, though this time it was more like that of a union organiser. All the students who had signed the petition agreed to join the strike. In fact, due to some encouragement by a certain ghost, Draco Malfoy decided to join them. He brought many other Slytherins who had also not signed the petition with him. Only a handful, the children of dyed in the wool Death Eaters, acting under parental instruction, had refused to join. The Hogwarts professors all wholeheartedly agreed to support the strike action.
The Headmistress seemed to be the only one in the school who didn’t know what was going on – until one Sunday evening in the Great Hall when Harry and Hermione approached the teachers’ table, once more bearing a parchment. Having learned her lesson, the Headmistress gingerly took it from them and opened it. It was in fact a magical announcement, which proceeded to announce itself.
“We, the Students Collective for the Defence of the Hogwarts Charter, do hereby serve notice that pursuant to our Petition to the Minister of Magic and the action of said Minister of Magic in ignoring our just demands, we hereby take strike action.
“We hereby serve notice that we will attend no further classes until our demands have been met in full.
“We hereby serve notice that should our demands not be met in full by the end of term, that none of us shall return to Hogwarts until such time as they are met in full.”
The parchment then rolled itself up and floated into the Headmistress’ hand. She immediately jumped to her feet and rushed from the hall, obviously keen to deliver it to the Minister without delay.
For the next three days there was a holiday atmosphere at Hogwarts. The few students who had not joined the strike discovered that there was no one to teach them, as their professors were all on strike as well. The Headmistress found herself in the untenable position of trying to teach a handful of Slytherins from a variety of year levels a whole range of subjects, about which she knew very little. It became crystal clear that if something wasn’t done soon, Hogwarts would have to close.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, swept into the Great Hall, just as the students were starting on their Wednesday evening meal. He was flanked on one side by a very important looking Percy Weasley, his Minister of Internal Security and on the other, by Dolores Umbridge, Headmistress of Hogwarts. Surrounding the three were some thirty grim-faced Ministry Aurors.
When they reached the front of the hall, the Headmistress took her customary seat at the teachers’ table, wearing a very smug smile, while the Minister of Magic and Percy Weasley stood in front of it, facing the students. The Minister signalled his Aurors to secure the doors and to spread out around the sides of the hall, with wands drawn. It was clear that Fudge meant business.
Fudge cleared his throat and nodded to Percy.
“Students and staff of Hogwarts, you will now be silent. The Right Honourable Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, Order of Merlin, Extraordinary Class, will now address you,” said Percy in a very loud voice.
Fudge glared around the room at the students. The students all looked away, but in whichever direction they turned their gaze, it inevitably fell upon an Auror, standing, wand drawn, in an intimidating posture. Fudge drew the students’ petition from his robes, holding it up like a naughty child, held by its ear. “Who is responsible for this act of anarchy?” he demanded. There was silence.
“It is intolerable that my supreme authority should be challenged, and my precious time wasted, by a bunch of disobedient children! A strike is unprecedented in one thousand years of Hogwarts history. I will not permit this insubordination, this – this mutiny – to go on for one moment longer. I intend to put down this illegal insurrection – by force.
“Under the terms of the ‘State of Emergency’, I exercise supreme power in the wizarding world. My authority is absolute, my word is Law – it may not be challenged by anyone. I do not intend to allow a bunch of wayward, mutinous children challenge my sovereign authority. I am going to make an example of the ringleaders who have fermented this rebellion. Then, the rest of you will know what awaits you if you do not immediately buckle down and learn absolute obedience to those in authority – without question!”
The Minister of Magic conferred with the Headmistress before pointing Harry and Hermione out to four Aurors, who immediately seized them. They were dragged to the front of the hall, and held in front of Fudge.
“Hem, hem. Your Excellency, Minister Fudge,” beseeched Umbridge, rising from her seat. “Please allow me to administer their punishment.”
“Certainly,” agreed Fudge. “Be sure to make a memorable example of these criminals, Headmistress. Make it a lesson, which the students of this school will never forget. Teach them the consequences of disobedience, insubordination, and subversion.”
Umbridge quickly made her way around to the front of the teachers’ table and stood next to Fudge. “Thank you, Minister. May I, hem, hem ... may I use the Cruciatus Curse on them Minister? They most certainly deserve it,” she pleaded, quivering with malicious anticipation.
“Hmm,” said Fudge, stroking his chin. “The Cruciatus Curse? That’s a little extreme.... But then again, this is an extreme provocation. It calls for an extreme response. Yes, I authorise you to use the Cruciatus Curse,” said Fudge, finally. “Then, they will be sent to Azkaban – for life.” A gasp rose up from the hall at the appalling ruthlessness of the Minister. “I hereby pronounce Harry Potter and Hermione Granger enemies of the wizarding world – let them suffer the consequences!”
Umbridge raised her wand, pointing it at Harry’s chest. Her eyes glinting maliciously – a gleeful smile splitting her ugly face from ear to ear.
Harry stood bravely, bracing himself for the excruciating pain, which he knew all too well. He tried to reassure himself with the thought that he had experienced this curse at the hand of Voldemort, himself. This pathetic excuse for a witch would have nothing close to the Dark Lord’s power.
“Cruc —” she began, but she never finished, because her wand suddenly flew out of her hand and began dancing about in circles above her head, just out of reach.
“Dolores, whatever is going on?” exploded Fudge. Umbridge looked foolish, as she jumped about, trying to pluck her wand from the air, but she couldn’t quite reach it.
“For goodness sake!” said Fudge, in exasperation, as he came to her aid. He was certainly tall enough to reach her wand. But when he tried to grab it, the wand rose higher still. He turned furiously to Percy, who was scrutinising the hall. “Which student cast the spell on her wand, Weasley?”
“I, I’ve been watching them carefully Minister, but no one has used their wand. I have no idea what could have happened, sir.”
“Really, Dolores, you had better get that wand of yours checked at Ollivanders. Ah well, I suppose it’s the old story – if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself. All right – I’ll punish these two myself.” He drew his wand and pointed it at Harry and was about to begin the Cruciatus Curse when his wand flew up in the air where it danced around just of his reach, exactly like the Headmistress’.
“What on earth is going on here?” bellowed Fudge in fury, glaring at Percy – as if it was his fault. But Percy didn’t have a clue.
“Nothing on earth, Minister Fudge,” came an eerie quavering voice, which seemed to fill the whole hall, rather than coming from any one point in particular. As it spoke, the lights in the hall dimmed for a moment and it felt as if a cold mist had permeated the place.
Fudge looked about in confusion. “Who ... who said that? Who are you?”
“Allow me to introduce myself Minister Fudge. I am the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor. I do wish I could say what a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance ... but sadly it is nothing of the kind. In fact, I cannot recall a more pathetic, petty, pretentious, inadequate person than you, as head of the wizarding world ... in these past one thousand years.
“Why, how dare you!” yelled Fudge. “I am the Minister of Magic!”
“I know what you are – I just finished telling you.” There was mirth in the disembodied voice.
“The Ministry of Magic has ultimate jurisdiction over all magical life forms, whether corporeal or incorporeal. That includes ghosts. As Minister of Magic, I have full authority over you – and I demand that you leave this hall at once,” commanded Fudge.
“And what if I don’t want to go ... what then?” The ghostly voice sounded highly amused at the thought of being expelled.
Fudge was furious at this public ridiculing. He turned to Percy, demanding to know what could be done to control unruly ghosts. Percy indicated that several of the Aurors present were trained in the use of the special spells used upon ghosts.
“I order those Aurors trained in dealing ghosts to eject this unruly ghost immediately. I have already wasted enough of my precious time,” said Fudge, trying to re-establish his dignity and authority. But none of them did a thing. “Hurry up now,” barked Fudge, “get this ghost out of here! I don’t have time for this nonsense.”
“Err ... umm, excuse me, sir,” said one of the Aurors nervously to the Minister. “But I don’t think that this is a normal ghost. It has no visible form and occupies no fixed location. Its voice seems to come from everywhere at once. I have a great deal of experience in dealing with ghosts and the like, but this is quite beyond anything that I have ever encountered, sir. None of the standard ghost control spells can be used against it.”
“Well does it have any power? Can it do anything?”
“A normal ghost can do very little Minister, but this does not appear to be a normal ghost so it’s hard to know. It did manage to disarm you and the Headmistress, and it’s still levitating your wands, sir, so it must have some power.”
“All right,” said Fudge, looking around the room. It was rather difficult to talk to a ghost when you didn’t know where it was. “You say you are the ghost of Godric Gryffindor. In that case, I don’t imagine you will want to see members of your own house hexed. Well that’s exactly what will happen if you don’t get out of here – and right this minute!”
“Aurors, surround the Gryffindor table and when I give the order, hex the students. Did you hear that, Ghost? Get out of here – now – or your Gryffindors will be badly hexed.” Fudge was rather pleased at his cleverness. No surprises how I got to be Minister of Magic, he thought smugly to himself.
Suddenly, the Aurors discovered that they too, were empty-handed. Their wands had joined those of Umbridge and Fudge, spinning in aimless circles beneath the enchanted ceiling. However, the distance between them and their wands was soon reduced – not because their wands had come down – but rather, because they had gone up. The Aurors found themselves floating helplessly ten feet up in the air. They couldn’t touch the students below them, nor reach their wands above them. They were totally useless, bobbing pathetically in the air.
“Well, Minister Fudge, I believe that establishes the fact that I do, indeed, have power. Now it’s time for us to discuss what you are going to do to avoid suffering the consequences of that power.”
“W - What do you mean?” stammered Fudge, beginning to realise that the tables were turned and that he had lost control of the situation.
The ghost ignored him. “You two Gryffindors there, please return to your table, the Minister has graciously decided to pardon you your sins. Not only that, but he is going to agree to all the demands in your petition, aren’t you, Fudge?”
“I most certainly am not! And don’t try bullying me by floating me around in the air. You don’t scare me at all,” said Fudge defiantly.
“Now listen to me, Fudge, and listen well.... The time for games is over. You may wonder why the spirit of one of the Hogwarts Founders has seen fit to return. I am here to prevent you from destroying this school and turning it into some kind of exclusive playground for Purebloods. I am also acting on behalf of Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff. Salazar Slytherin hasn’t been much interested in what happens here at Hogwarts since he parted company with us and left the school some thousand years ago. However, the three of us care very much about our school. We will always protect Hogwarts and its students in times of crisis.”
“But you’re all dead now! You are nothing but disembodied spirits!” shrieked Fudge. “It is well known that the spirits of the dead cannot act in the realm of the living. Your time is over, old ghost, now be gone with you! I am in charge in this realm and you have no right to interfere. It’s not ... not natural!”
“You in charge Fudge? What a joke. Who exactly do you think you’re fooling? Even we in the spirit world know that you are nothing but a puppet of Voldemort and his proxies.”
“How dare you! That’s outrageous!”
“Be quiet, you pathetic little quisling – I know all about you. You take your orders from Voldemort’s Death Eaters and do their bidding, while lining your grubby pockets with their gold. I know exactly how much you’ve taken in bribes and stashed away in your Gringotts vault, down to the last Knut.
“You are going to sign the Hogwarts students’ petition into law, and do exactly what I tell you to do.”
“Oh no, I’m not! I’m the Minister of Magic and you have no power over me! Why, you’re nothing more than an apparition. I don’t have to listen to a word you say.”
“Hmm, it seems that you are in need of an example of my power, Fudge. Now let’s see ... Yes, this feeble excuse for a Headmistress will do very nicely....
“Dolores Umbridge. I understand that last year you removed two Dementors from Azkaban and set them upon Harry Potter in Little Whinging, with orders to give him the ‘Dementor’s Kiss’ – to suck out his soul. Do you know what the punishment is for ordering the ‘Dementor’s Kiss’ on an innocent person?”
“This is nonsense,” roared Fudge. “Firstly, I hereby retroactively approve Dolores’ action, which makes it perfectly legal. Secondly, Harry Potter has been declared an enemy of the wizarding world, and as such, is stripped of all Wizarding rights and protections. Thirdly, I have revoked the whole criminal justice system. The only legal penalties are those that I, the Minister of Magic decide to impose. And fourthly, under the powers vested in me under the State of Emergency, I hereby absolve Dolores Umbridge of all wrongdoing and grant her an unconditional pardon.”
“Yes, we’ll come to your ‘State of Emergency’ in a moment. Please be patient, Fudge....
Now, where were we? Ah yes, Dolores Umbridge.... That’s right, your punishment for attempting to destroy the soul of an innocent person. A fitting punishment would, of course, be the ‘Dementor’s Kiss’ – the forfeit of your own soul. However, I am a most merciful ghost and would not wish to visit such a terrible retribution upon anyone ... not even you. You shall not be deprived of your soul ... only of your magic. Squibbus!”
Umbridge’s wand slowly descended from above her, landing in her hand. She grasped it confidently, not believing the ghost.
“Well, go on ... try a spell, how about something simple like Lumos?”
“Lumos,” she said with confidence, but no light came from her wand. She attempted a number of simple spells with growing desperation, but not a single one worked. Finally, she sank to the floor, her head bowed, her arms wrapped around her knees, sobbing hysterically. She made a pitiful and pathetic figure huddled there – a poignant illustration of the frightful consequences of the Squibbus Spell. There was stunned silence in the hall. Fudge stared at Umbridge; his face turned a deathly shade of white, his jaw hanging, as the implications sank in.
“Well, that’s the end of her career as Headmistress of Hogwarts. I do believe that the position requires a proficiency in magic – something which she clearly lacks.
“Now, Fudge, I think you will do exactly as I tell you. It will not be lost upon you that the job description for ‘Minister of Magic’ includes amongst other attributes, the ability to perform magic. A Squib, for example ... would not be eligible to hold such a position,” said the ghost, in a threatening tone.
“Now, write at the bottom of the students’ petition that you agree to all of their demands in full, and sign it.”
With shaking hands, Fudge picked up the petition, from where he had dropped it on the floor, and taking a quill from his pocket, did exactly as instructed. Loud applause and cheers broke out from all around the hall. Fudge just stood there, stony faced. He had just eaten humble pie and he didn’t like the taste at all.
“How very good to see that you wish to be cooperative, Minister. You may be allowed to retain your office for a while longer. However, you shall not retain one Knut of your ill-gotten graft. In fact, it has already been removed from your vault – every Galleon, Sickle and Knut.”
“What right have you to steal from me?” demanded Fudge, his face purple with outrage.
“None of your own gold has been taken, Fudge, only the bribes that you have garnered from Lucius Malfoy and his cronies, for doing their bidding. But don’t worry – they won’t be getting their gold back. I decided that a little redistribution of wealth was in order. So I shared it out amongst the vaults of various worthy charities and the poor. You should really be quite pleased with your act of selfless generosity, Fudge.
“Now, in order to remain ‘qualified’ to continue in the office of Minister of Magic, you will sign this Magical Contract.”
A parchment appeared just in front of the Minister and began to announce its terms.
I, Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic do hereby swear that I shall expedite the following measures as quickly as possible and to the very best of my abilities:
1. The ‘State of Emergency’ is lifted with immediate effect.
2. All declarations issued under the ‘State of Emergency’ are hereby declared null and void.
3. The Wizengamot shall be fully restored to its former position and authority.
4. All judicial bodies and forums shall be restored with all their previous powers.
5. The cases of all those pardoned under the ‘State of Emergency’ shall be reviewed by a judicial committee with the power to indict anyone with a case to answer.
6. All former Ministry committees shall be re-established and vested with all their traditional powers.
7. The censorship laws shall be repealed, and the media shall be free to publish whatever they wish, without regard to any authority.
8. The Auror division shall be rebuilt and all former Aurors who were dismissed shall be invited to return to their previous positions.
In addition to all of the above measures, I hereby swear that I shall never take another bribe from anyone, and that I shall never again use my position as Minister of Magic to support, benefit, or assist Lord Voldemort or his minions.
I agree that under the magical terms of this contract, any breach will result in my immediate transformation into a Squib.”
“And if I don’t agree to sign it?” asked Fudge cautiously.
“Then you will be ‘Squibbed’ this instant.”
Fudge sighed in defeat. The game was up; his glory days of absolute power were over. He signed the petition.
Wild applause and cheering rang through the hall. The students and professors were aware that they had witnessed an important moment of history, a moment that had completely re-ordered the power structure on the Magical world and freed it from a terrible tyranny.
As the noise died down, the Aurors began descending to the floor and their wands were returned to them. As Fudge pocketed his wand, he realised how precious it was to him, and determined to try very hard to ensure that he would be able to continue using it.
Fudge ordered a couple of Aurors to assist the former Headmistress to her feet and together with Percy, still his deputy, but no longer Minister of Internal Security, as that position had been created under the erstwhile ‘State of Emergency’, he departed the hall with his Aurors as quickly as possible. The Ghost of Godric Gryffindor also appeared to have departed.
Professor McGonagall rose to her feet and when silence was finally restored she told the students to eat up and enjoy their meal. “Tonight you may celebrate,” she told them. “You have helped to win a great victory for Hogwarts. But don’t stay up too late – tomorrow it’s classes as usual.”
But they were far too excited to focus on eating for quite some time. Hermione looked at Harry and noticed the remarkable change in him. He was talking excitedly to her and Ron about how the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor had again trumped their enemies. Harry was almost unrecognisable from the depressed, hopeless, and withdrawn wizard he had been at the start of the term. His confidence was back, he was full of fight and determination. Harry knew that he was no longer alone. Finally he felt that he had a chance.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Coming up: Chapter 10 ~ A Witch’s Prerogative
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