O.W.L.

by Rob Taylor

In the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series, it was the first time we had an actual exam with importance for Harry and the gang. We learned about the characters’’ ambitions, and the necessary requirements to achieve those ambitions. We learned that both Ron and Harry want to be aurors; Hermione, on the other hand, didn’’t give a straight answer. She said she’’d like to take S.P.E.W. further, something I do not think will happen. Although O.W.L.s are probably the only straight-forward thing in the Harry Potter books, something that just might not affect the plot, (GASP!) I, on the other hand, believe otherwise.

What do we know about aurors? We learned that it’s very difficult to become one, and that very few people (Tonks) have been accepted to be an auror in the past few years. It’’s necessary to have top grades to be an auror, and you then must study after school in a series of character and aptitude tests. Let’’s forget about the tests after Hogwarts, because as the sixth book comes that isn’’t of immediate importance. Top grades, on the other hand, has extreme importance.

Professor McGonagall stated that the five subjects Harry should continue are Defense Against the Dark Arts, (“Naturally,”) Charms, Transfiguration, Herbology, and Potions (“Yes Potter, Potions”). I have outlined each of those five subjects based on the chances Harry has of moving on in the subject.

  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: I’’d guess he’’ll most likely (95%) get an Outstanding, or at least Exceeds Expectations. We can pretty much guarantee that he will be taking N.E.W.T. classes in this subject.
  • Transfiguration: A bit more difficult to pass for Harry, I’’d expect an Exceeds Expectations, allowing Harry to move on in this subject as well.
  • Charms: Harry will probably get Exceeds Expectations in this subject as well, if not Acceptable. Flitwick’’s “standards” to move on in this subject allow Harry to pass as well.
  • Herbology: Same as Charms, Harry will most likely get Exceeds Expectations or Acceptable. Professor Sprout doesn’’t have high standards to move on in her subject as well (especially since she’’s Hufflepuff’s Head of House) so we can expect Harry to continue on.
  • Potions: Uh-oh…… Harry has specifically stated that this subject would be his downfall as an auror. I’’d expect Acceptable, but he might scrape out an Exceeds Expectations. Snape (unlike Flitwick and Sprout) has EXTREMELY high standards to who moves onto N.E.W.T. level classes (no less than Outstanding).

So, from that analysis, we’’ve learned that Harry has gone four for five, which sadly isn’t enough. But… J.K. Rowling’s not going to let Harry’’s ambition die THAT easy, so I think there are three ways for Harry to become an auror, two of which can hold water, the other is pretty much laughable.

1.) This one’’s kind of simple, Snape suddenly lowers his standards to that Exceeds Expectations moves onto N.E.W.T. level, and Harry scrapes out an Exceeds Expectation. I highly doubt it, but Dumbledore could step in and make Snape promote Harry… once again, unlikely.

2.) This one’’s a bit more likely… though that’’s not saying much. McGonagall never stated that it was NECESSARY to have those five subjects under your belt, she just said that it would “help.” I think that you simply need five subjects to be able to pass on, and that they don’’t have to be those five. What other subject would Harry pass though? Here’’s an analysis like the previous:

  • History of Magic: Not only would Harry definitely hate to listen to Binns again, he will pretty much definitely fail, due to sleeping through half the exam. Expect a Dreadful O.W.L., if not Harry might scrape a Poor.
  • Divination: Doubt it, Harry and Ron didn’t seem to have the “seeing eye” (lol) and if lucky will scrape an Acceptable. Expect Poor… but I have the feeling we will somehow not have seen the last of Trelawney.
  • Astronomy: Hmm… the firing of Hagrid during the exam. I don’’t think anyone passed this test, expect Poor or Dreadful.
  • Care of Magical Creatures: BINGO! Harry most likely passed this subject, he probably got Acceptable if not Exceeds Expectations. Plus… I doubt Hagrid has high standards, so Harry would pretty much definitely pass.

So, maybe Harry will take Care of Magical Creatures instead of Potions, allowing him to still move on in the path of… aurorness?

3.) I feel that this theory is most likely… Dumbledore won’’t be able to find a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and will have to use his last resort… Professor Snape. He will then have to accept Harry to his N.E.W.T. class, because Harry got an Outstanding on his O.W.L. Then, Dumbledore will get a new Potions teacher (probably someone new) who will accept Harry to his/her N.E.W.T. class, allowing Harry to continue his ambitions as auror.

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