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"How old is this book, Harry?"
"What does it matter?" said Malfoy. "Defense Against the Dark Arts — its all just a joke, isn't it, an act? Like any of us need pro-tecting against the Dark Arts —"
"Slughorn's office," said Harry, leading her up the marble staircase away from all the staring and muttering. "Did you hear, there's supposed to be a vampire coming?"
Chapter 18: Birthday Surprises
"An Unbreakable Vow?" said Ron, looking stunned. "Nah, he can't have. . . . Are you sure?"
"I wont," said Ron, "let you see," he added under his breath, as he turned back to the sprout mountain.
time," said Ron, looking anxious. "Fred and George did," "Charlie failed, though, didn't he?" "Yeah, but Charlie's bigger than me" — Ron held his arms out from his body as though he was a gorilla — "so Fred and George
"Arthur, he's — he's with the Minister!"
"You can try," said Harry indifferently. "But you seem cleverer than Fudge, so I'd have thought you'd have learned from his mis-takes. He tried interfering at Hogwarts. You might have noticed he's not Minister anymore, but Dumbledore’s still headmaster. I'd leave Dumbledore alone, if I were you."
"Oh," he said, drawing up short at the sight of Harry and Hermione.
"Yes, I did, and I'm starting to wish I'd chosen him, McLaggen makes Grawp look a gentleman. Let's go this way, we'll be able to see him coming, he's so tall. . . ." The three of them made their way over to the other side of the room, scooping up goblets of mead on the way, realizing too late that Professor Trelawney was standing there alone.
"I'm afraid so," said Mr. Weasley. "I know Dumbledore's tried appealing directly to Scrimgeour about Stan. ... I mean, anybody who has actually interviewed him agrees that he's about as much a Death Eater as this satsuma . . . but the top levels want to look as though they're making some progress, and 'three arrests' sounds better than 'three mistaken arrests and releases'. . . but again, this is
"Yes, sir. I overheard them during Professor Slughorns party . . . well, I followed them, actually. ..."
"Not of great importance?" repeated Harry incredulously. "Professor, did you understand — ?"
Ron was not the only one to be excited at the prospect of Apparition. All that day there was much talk about the forthcoming , lessons; a great deal of store was set by being able to vanish and reappear at will.
Dumbledore listened to Harry's story with an impassive face. When Harry had finished he did not speak for a few moments, then said, "Thank you for telling me this, Harry, but I suggest that you put it out of your mind. I do not think that it is of great importance."
Hermione's schedule was so full that Harry could only talk to her properly in the evenings, when Ron was, in any case, so tightly wrapped around Lavender that he did not notice what Harry was doing. Hermione refused to sit in the common room while Ron was there, So Harry generally joined her in the library, which meant that their conversations were held in whispers.,
"All he had to go upon was the single name 'Marvolo,' which he knew from those who ran the orphanage had been his mother's father's name. Finally, after painstaking research, through old books of Wizarding families, he discovered the existence of Slytherin's surviving line. In the summer of his sixteenth year, he left the orphanage to which he returned annually and set off to find his Gaunt relatives. And now, Harry, if you will stand ..." :？
"Ah, Sybi l l, we all think our subject's most important!" said a loud voice, and Slughorn appeared at Professor Trelawney s other side, his face very red, his velvet hat a little askew, a glass of mead in one hand and an enormous mince pie in the other. "But I don't t hink I've ever known such a natural at Potions!" said Slughorn, re-garding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. "Instinctive, you know — like his mother! I've only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybi l l — why even Severus —" And to Harry's horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them. "Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!" hiccuped Slughorn happily. "I was just talking about Harry's exceptional po-tion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!"。