'How come Sturgis was trying to break in when he's on our side?' said Ron.
'It is enough that we know,' said Snape repressively. The important point is that the Dark Lord is now aware that you are gaining access to his thoughts and feelings. He has also deduced that the process is likely to work in reverse; that is to say, he has realised that he might be able to access your thoughts and feelings in return - '
'Dumbledore is an extremely powerful wizard,' Snape muttered. 'While he may feel secure enough to use the name . . . the rest of us . . .' He rubbed his left forearm, apparently unconsciously, on the spot where Harry knew the Dark Mark was burned into his skin.
'My Aunt Marge,' Harry muttered, hating Snape.
The usual rules do not seem to apply with you, Potter. The curse that failed to kill you seems to have forged some kind of connection between you and the Dark Lord. The evidence suggests that at times, when your mind is most relaxed and vulnerable - when you are asleep, for instance - you are sharing the Dark Lord's thoughts and emotions. The Headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.'
'So he could know what we're thinking right now? Sir?'
Those who came from wizarding families had grown up hearing the names of these Death Eaters spoken with almost as much fear as Voldemorts; the crimes they had committed during the days of Voldemort's reign of terror were legendary. There were relatives cf their victims among the Hogwarts students, who now found themselves the unwilling objects of a gruesome sort of reflected fame as they walked the corridors: Susan Bones, whose uncle, aunt and cousins had all died at the hands of one of the ten, said miserably during Herbology that she now had a good idea what it felt like to be Harry.
'I saw - I remembered,' Harry panted. 'I've just realised . . .'
'Manners, Potter,' said Snape dangerously. 'Now, I want you to close your eyes.'
It seemed to Harry that Umbridge was steadily depriving him of everything that made his life at Hogwarts worth living: visits to Hagrid's house, letters from Sirius, his Firebolt and Quidditch. He took his revenge the only way he could - by redoubling his efforts for the DA.
Harry had thought the breakout from Azkaban might have humbled Umbridge a little, that she might have been abashed at the catastrophe that had occurred right under the nose of her beloved Fudge. It seemed, however, to have only intensified her furious desire to bring every aspect of life at Hogwarts under her personal control. She seemed determined at the very least to achieve a sacking before long, and the only question was whether it would be Professor Trelawney or Hagrid who went first.
'I told you,' said Snape, rigid in his chair, his eyes slits, 'to call me "sir".
Hermione let out a long, slow sigh.
'How do those hats work, then?' said Hermione, distracted from her homework and watching Fred and George closely. 'I mean, obviously it's some kind of Invisibility Spell, but it's rather clever to have extended the field of invisibility beyond the boundaries of the charmed object . . . I'd imagine the charm wouldn't have a very long life though.'
'I KNOW! I KNOW!'
'And I don't know how you stand it - it's horrible,' she said bluntly, dumping far too much dragon manure on her tray of Screechsnap seedlings, causing them to wriggle and squeak in discomfort.
'Only if you do,' she said eagerly.
Harry's question was answered the very next morning. When Hermione's Daily Prophet arrived she smoothed it out, gazed for a moment at the front page and gave a yelp that caused everyone in the vicinity to stare at her.
'You have no subtlety, Potter,' said Snape, his dark eyes glit-te'ing. 'You do not understand fine distinctions. It is one of the shortcomings that makes you such a lamentable potion-maker.'