Chapter 17

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Revised: May 10, 2022

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Chapter 17

Harry's attention snapped to the staff table and he gaped. The look he got in return was unbearably smug. His attention went to the toad in pink as well. Harry stared at the toad and Tom in contemplation and then his face tilted up in a smirk.

"I beg a few moments of your attention, as I have a few start of term announcements. Right off, our caretaker, the good Mr. Filch, has reminded me for what he says is the four-hundred and sixty-second time that he has an annually updated list of various banned items, usually introduced by our humorous experts Fred and George Weasley..." Dumbledore said, his hands up and staring at the Weasley twins. Fred and George both stood up when the Gryffindor table erupted into applause. Harry smirked at them but his gaze lingered back on Tom, "Which are posted in an extensive list on the door of Mr. Filch's office.

"Also, we have unusual staff changes this year. Professor Grubbly-Plank will be taking the post of Care of Magical Creatures as Professor Hagrid is on... extended leave," Hermione and Ron hit Harry in the shoulder but he ignored them, giving Tom a look, "Additionally, we have Professor Umbridge, who has kindly agreed to fill the post of Defense against the Dark Arts..." Harry snorted and gave Tom another look full of laughter.

Tom glared halfheartedly.

A shrill cough drew Harry's attention to the toad again, "Hem, hem, Headmaster, if I could address the school..."

Tom glanced at Umbridge and Harry assumed that he wanted to murder the toad. Dumbledore turned to look at Umbridge, taken aback by her abrupt and rude cut into his speech. He sat down and encouraged the Professor to come forward. Harry knew that he was probably seething at the potentially bothersome Professor.

It was going to become a lot worse than this for the old goat.

"Thank you, Headmaster. Now, how are you all doing tonight? I thought I would just say a few words... I am here at the Ministry of Magic's bequest, under Educational Decree twenty-two, which states that if the Headmaster of Hogwarts is unable to fill a teaching post, the Ministry shall select one for the position," Dumbledore inclined his head to Umbridge and the students once again erupted in incessant murmuring, "The Ministry has always considered the magical education of our children to be of vital importance, and the passing down of this ancient and noble art must be given to the next generation, lest it be forgotten forever..." Umbridge paused, "Without progress,

"Stagnation. But progress for progress's sake is to be discouraged, for our art requires no tinkering..." Once again, Umbridge looked round at the students, "A balance must be attained, the new and the old, permanence and change, tradition and innovation, order and chaos," pause, "There are large changes coming soon, changes walking the fine line between order and chaos. Know only that these changes are for the best, and to prevent the destruction of our civilization from its own decay. Thank you."

Harry let out a relieved sigh and Hermione once again jabbed him in the arm. He could see the fake smile that Umbridge aimed at him and he felt like flipping her off if it wasn't such a muggle thing to do.

"The Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts!" Hermione hissed and Harry slumped in his seat.

"She looks like a toad," Ron muttered.

"Thank you, Professor. That was most illuminating. Now, for our next Professor. I'm sure you have all heard of the tragic happening of Professor Trelawney. She went missing at the start of summer vacation and we have searched high and low for her with no answers. As it is, we have found a replacement for her until we have safely found her and she can return to her post." Fat chance of that happening, Harry thought, snorting with amusement and Tom also derived amusement from it, "This is Professor Tormid, he will be teaching Divination for this year."

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