I think Dolores Umbridge’s attitude falls under this category. Being very loyal to the Ministry, she strictly upholds and enforces its laws even to the point of oppressing the people the institution is supposed to serve. A logical appeal does not work on her, because she has chosen to close her ears and mind, in order to not listen to the plight of her constituents. An emotional appeal also does not work because she has closed her eyes and heart and, therefore, cannot see or feel the problems of her people. An appeal which latches on one’s credibility to be Umbridge’s equal is also bound to fail, because Umbridge seems to believe that she is the embodiment of the law, making her see herself as superior to everyone else (except the Minister of Magic, of course).
In such moments, one can find power in humor.
Our birthday celebrants, Fred and George Weasley, have demonstrated this power when they left Hogwarts and defied Umbridge toward the end of ‘the Order of the Phoenix’.
The Weasley brothers need not shout, say insults, or use intimidating language to embarrass Umbridge and undermine her credibility. Knowing that it is futile, they haven’t even made the attempt to argue with her. Yet their move has proved to be very successful.
The comic attitude and unruly behavior they have expressed in this incident already serves as an effective statement against her. Humor, in this case, becomes the antithesis of Umbridge’s unreasonable prim and proper personality. Moreover, because humor does not employ ethos, logos, and pathos the conventional way, it has the chance to penetrate into Umbridge’s defenses against the use of emotion, reason, and credibility.
By using a power beyond the jurisdiction of Umbridge’s rules, the twin brothers have defeated her and exacted revenge on her in behalf of Hogwarts.
Truly, humor also plays a significant part in our lives and in Harry Potter.
Happy birthday, Fred and George! Congratulations for a battle creatively fought and successfully won!
P.S. Since it is April Fools, feel free to share your favorite prank or humorous line in Harry Potter, along with your comments.