In Chapter 3, we take a trip on the Knight Bus, find out more about a certain escaped convict, and find out the repercussions of Harry blowing up his aunt. Let’s go!
Every kid, since the beginning of time, has thought about running away from home at one time or another. It’s a right of passage. I’m sure the thought had crossed Harry’s mind before this, but now he is out in the wide world, with no real money, and a trunk full of magic stuff. Plus, he’s probably in trouble. Big trouble. Remember how much trouble he was in for the Dobby incident back in Chamber of Secrets? This is so much worse than that! I would be panicking like crazy if I were in Harry’s shoes.
Just as he decides to try and fly to London, he sees something. Feels like he’s being watched.
“Lumos,” Harry muttered, and a light appeared at the end of his wand, almost dazzling him. He held it high over his head, and the pebble-dashed walls of number two suddenly sparkled; the garage door gleamed, and between them Harry saw, quite distinctly, the hulking outline of something very big, with wide, gleaming eyes.
Okay, all you who have read this before (which is hopefully most of you, or you’re about to get majorly spoiled) – how many people, the first time you read this, thought that this creature (and later the big dog) was anywhere even remotely connected to Sirius Black? Because I sure didn’t! I mean, sure, his name basically means “black dog,” but I didn’t really connect the dots because so many other people have weird names in the wizarding world.
Harry trips and falls, throwing his hand out, and boom! A magical solution to his problem: the Knight Bus. Magical transportation for witches and wizards who might be stranded. Apparently, all you need to do to summon the Knight Bus is throw out your wand arm. That seems a bit inconvenient to me. How would you avoid accidentally calling the Knight Bus the way Harry did? Does the Knight Bus end up hopping to lots of other places because wizards move the wrong way? What if it’s just a dance move?
Also, I would love to ride the Knight Bus, just once. It sounds like a blast.
Harry meets Stan Shunpike, the conductor, and Ernie Prang, the driver. He gives them a fake name (Neville Longbottom) just in case the story is already out that Harry Potter blew up his aunt and is on the run. While on the Knight Bus, Harry sees the newspaper that Stan is reading has a headline with none other than Sirius Black, the escaped convict that was on the Muggle news.
“Scary-lookin’ fing, inee?” said Stan, who had been watching Harry read.
“He murdered thirteen people,” said Harry, handing the page back to Stan, “with one curse?”
“Yep,” said Stan, “in front of witnesses an’ all. Broad daylight. Big trouble it caused, dinnit, Ern?”
Reports say that Sirius Black was a bit supporter of Voldemort himself and might have gone a little crazy after Voldemort was defeated and disappeared. Black was also known to have been laughing his head off when he was arrested. Yes, right after killing thirteen people. Laughing.
Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it.
Harry tells Stan that he wants to go to Diagon Alley and they arrive, pulling up to the Leaky Cauldron. And who should be waiting there to meet him but . . . Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic.
Harry goes into the pup with Fudge, certain that he is in big trouble, maybe even getting sent to Azkaban, the wizard prison. Oddly enough, the Minister doesn’t seem a bit upset about what Harry did, only worried because he had run off and no one knew where he was.
“You will be pleased to hear that we have dealt with the unfortunate blowing-up of Miss Marjorie Dursley. Two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad were dispatched to Privet Drive a few hours ago. Miss Dursley has been punctured and her memory has been modified. She has no recollection of the incident at all. So that’s that, and no harm done.”
So . . . it was no big deal? Harry even questions it. Shouldn’t he be punished? Especially if he had gotten a notice from the Ministry the year before for something a house elf had done? Apparently not. Fudge is just happy that Harry was found, safe and sound, and helps him get a room at the Leaky Cauldron to stay until school starts.
Harry asks Fudge how the search for Black is going, which takes Fudge aback just a bit. The search hasn’t turned up anything yet, but the Azkaban guards are angry, and that is formidable.
As Harry says to Hedwig, it has been a weird night. But Harry is back in the wizarding world where he belongs, so that’s a good thing.
See you next time for Chapter 4!