Every schoolboy knows the ‘gift of the gab’ can be a blessing and a curse. An exquisitely timed off-colour remark in class might well earn the respect and adoration of peers. But once the bell rings and the wag is summoned to the head’s office, most schoolboys find words fail them. Well, maybe not in our subject’s case.
Silver-tongued Lee Jordan had his share of spats with authority. Minerva McGonagall, in particular, regularly took issue with his refusal to feign impartiality when commentating on inter-house Quidditch games, especially on the all-too-regular occasions his choice of language turned the air blue. Jordan’s stock response, after been reproved for luridly calling out yet another instance of Slytherin under-handedness, rather sums up his whole credo:
‘I’m telling it like it is, Professor.’
Tellingly, McGonagall never saw fit to expel young Lee from the commentary box. As the wayward lad’s Head of House, she believed in nurturing noble Gryffindor qualities such as forthrightness and derring-do. Even when, indeed, a little circumspection might have been called for. Consider the time pretty Angelina Johnson won the Quaffle in the heat of a match, and Jordan proved unable to restrain himself from blurting out over the PA that not only did he have a crush on her, but she had consistently and over a number of years spurned his advances. TMI, as the kids say.
His lighthearted approach to life and gentle suspicion of authority was very much reflected in his choice of friends. Though beloved by most students, his closest pals at school were Fred and George Weasley, with whom he shared with not only a dorm but a profound love of pranks, jokes and chicanery. The three of them, working together, discovered countless secret passageways at Hogwarts; this was knowledge that would become invaluable when defending against the marauding Death Eaters in the great final battle with Voldemort. Jordan was very possibly the wisest of the trio – when the group procured an ageing potion in a harebrained bid to qualify for the Triwizard Tournament and split the 1,000-Galleon prize pot, Lee sagely let the twins share the first draught. And subsequently mocked them with the rest of the school when the brothers grew full white beards.
He delighted in spectacle. When Harry Potter and Ron Weasley crashed the Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow, rather than enquiring after their wellbeing (or, indeed, that of the tree) Lee Jordan simply marvelled ‘What an entrance! Flying a car right into the Whomping Willow, people’ll be talking about that one for years!’
Such irreverence and testing of boundaries inevitably led to him to come a cropper when sinister forces descended on Hogwarts. Dolores Umbridge, in her role as High Inquisitor, instituted ‘Educational Decree Number 27’, forbidding staff from discussing matters outside their subject. When she reprimanded Fred and George for playing Exploding Snap in class, Lee Jordan (quite correctly) retorted back that games aren’t related to her subject, and therefore, by Umbridge’s own edict, outside her remit. He received a summary detention and an excruciating date with the blood quill for his sass (though it didn’t stop him sneaking Nifflers into her office later on).
The dark reign of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, however, led to arguably Lee Jordan’s finest hour. As lead presenter on Potterwatch pirate radio, the brave Gryffindor hosted regular covert news broadcasts aimed at spreading information to dissenters: a lifeline for Harry, Hermione and Ron on their hunt for Horcruxes. It’s hard to imagine anybody but cocky, confident Lee Jordan taking on the role. His passion, verve and lightning class-clown wit were great assets to his friends when it counted. Not all heroes fight monsters. Some are heroes just because they tell it like it is.
Each month Pottermore will shine a spotlight on a character from the Harry Potter stories who we feel deserves more credit. Come back next month when we celebrate Frank and Alice Longbottom