8

Seems to me that the only reason they didn't do it in the first place was because they were caught by Umbridge when she failed to fall for Nevile's ploy.

But once she was dragged away by the Centaurs after Harry and Hermione's encounter with Grawp in the forest, they seem to forget their initial plan altogether. Instead they opt to fly on comparatively slow Thestrals and waste hours flying to London, when the only obstacle that stood in their way of using the floo network is now in the middle of the forest having tea with the Centaurs.

They could have saved hours of time, and the whole catastrophe of the Ministry could have been avoided.

  • 3
    Floo was monitored by the Ministry, they may have worried about that? Good catch! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 9 '14 at 16:18
  • Were Umbridge's Minions (Inquisitorial Squad) still in her office? – Möoz Apr 16 '14 at 0:56
3

They were using the Floo in Umbridges office to check for Sirius' whereabouts, but there was not mention of their intention to travel via the Floo network if Sirius was missing.

As for why they didn't travel via Floo, the easy answer is that they had no idea what could have been on the other side. if Sirius were in trouble, they might have arrived in the entrance hall of the Ministry right in the middle of a Death Eater invasion.

By travelling by stealth they were afforded the ability to reconnoiter the area first before going in.

1

The simple answer is that a more convenient means of travel present itself in the forest. They had just cursed multiple people, and basically left Umbridge to die in the forest. I can just imagine what would happen if, upon arrival back in the castle, other teachers stopped or hindered them till they could sort out the mess that just happened.

said Harry ‘and I’m sure Sirius is still alive, but I can’t see how we’re going to get there to help him.’

‘Well, we’ll have to fly, won’t we?’ said Luna, in the closest thing to a matter-of-fact voice Harry had ever heard her use.

Ron’s the only one with a broomstick that isn’t being guarded by a security troll, so –’

‘but they can, and Hagrid says they’re very good at finding places their riders are looking for.’

While discussing what to do, having fled the school, the Thestrals arrive as a convenient plot device to quickly get them to their destination.

On top of all of this, they had no idea if Floo-ing to the Ministry after hours was even permitted, and Harry hates traveling by Floo, so that would have been at the back of his mind.

1

The Floo Network was being watched

Umbridge mentioned that nearly every fireplace in the castle was being watched.

“A Floo Network Regulator is keeping watch over every fire in Hogwarts — except my own, of course.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thus, they could not use any fireplace beside Umbridge's, without fear of being intercepted by some Ministry employee. And why could they not use Umbridge's fireplace?

The Inquisitorial Squad was still there

“I’m three years older than you were when you fought You-Know-Who over the Sorcerer’s Stone,” she said fiercely, “and it’s because of me Malfoy’s stuck back in Umbridge’s office with giant flying bogeys attacking him —”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

While Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna had successfully escaped from the Inquisitorial Squad, Umbridge's proxies, they did not necessarily render all of its members unconscious. Some, such as Malfoy, were in a position from which they might escape. Since the means of escape were described as including Disarming Charms and an Impediment Jinx (as well as Stunning Spells) it is possible even more were left conscious. But at least Malfoy was, and he would certainly have called for help. Had they returned to Umbridge's office (or indeed, perhaps to the castle at all), they would most likely have been accosted by other members of the Inquisitorial Squad, teachers, Filch, and so forth.

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