‘They're trying to discredit ash outlet him,’ said Lupin. ‘Didn't you see the Daily Prophet last week? They reported that he'd been voted out of the Chairmanship of the International Confederation of Wizards because he's getting old and losing his grip, but it's not true; he was voted out by Ministry wizards after he made a speech announcing Voldemort's return. They've demoted him from Chief Warlock on the Wizengamot—that's the Wizard High Court—and they're talking about taking away his Order of Merlin, First Class, too.’
‘But Dumbledore says he doesn't care what they do as long as they don't take him off the Chocolate Frog Cards,’ said Bill, grinning.
‘It's no laughing matter,’ said Mr. Weasley sharply. ‘If he carries on defying the Ministry like this he could end up in Azkaban, and the last thing we want is to have Dumbledore locked up. While You-Know-Who knows Dumbledore's out there and wise to what he's up to he's going to go cautiously. If Dumbledore's out of the way—well, You-Know-Who will have a clear field.’
‘But if Voldemort's trying to recruit more Death Eaters it's bound to get out that he's come back, isn't it?’ asked Harry desperately.
‘Voldemort doesn't march up to people's houses and bang on their front doors, Harry,’ said Sirius. ‘He tricks, jinxes and blackmails them. He's well-practised at operating in secret. In any case, gathering followers is only one thing he's interested in. He's got other plans too, plans he can put into operation very quietly indeed, and he's concentrating on those for the moment.’
‘What's he after apart from followers?’ Harry asked swiftly. He thought he saw Sirius and Lupin exchange the most fleeting of looks before Sirius answered, ‘Stuff he can only get by stealth.’
When Harry continued to look puzzled, Sirius said, ‘Like a weapon. Something he didn't have last time.’
‘When he was powerful before?’
‘Like what kind of weapon?’ said Harry. ‘Something worse than the Avada Kedavra—?’
Mrs. Weasley spoke from the shadows beside the door. Harry hadn't noticed her return from taking Ginny upstairs. Her arms were crossed and she looked furious.
‘I want you in bed, now. All of you,’ she added, looking around at Fred, George, Ron and Hermione.
‘You can't boss us—’ Fred began.
‘Watch me,’ snarled Mrs. Weasley. She was trembling slightly as she looked at Sirius. ‘You've given Harry plenty of information. Any more and you might just as well induct him into the Order straightaway.’
‘Why not?’ said Harry quickly. ‘I'll join, I want to join, I want to fight.’