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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 7 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 7, we attend Potions class (where Malfoy is an ass) and Lupin’s first Defense Against the Dark Arts class (where Neville is a hero). Let’s go!

The combination of Malfoy and Snape make for a disasterous time for Harry and Ron. Both are just so nasty! Malfoy, with his arm all bandaged up, is milking sympathy for all he’s worth. Let’s face it – if Madam Pomfrey could regrow all of the bones in Harry’s arm in one night, she would have been able to fix Malfoy’s little cut in seconds. He is playing them all and everyone knows it, starting with asking Snape to make Ron and Harry prepare his potions ingredients for him.

The real one suffering in class is, of course, Neville. He just doesn’t have a knack for potions. When his potion turns orange instead of green, Snape threatens to feed the completed potion to Neville’s toad to test it. That is so . . . awful-terrible-evil-mean! I get a lot of flack because I am a bit of a Snape fangirl (mostly because I am an Alan Rickman fangirl, but anyway), but it’s not because I think Snape is a good person. Did he ultimately do the right thing in the end? Sort of. But he’s an absolutely terrible human being.

Malfoy also makes comments about Sirius Black, indicating that he knows something about Black that Harry doesn’t. Ron brushes it off, saying that Malfoy is only saying that to try and make Harry do something reckless.

Finally, at the end of the lesson, it’s time to see Trevor the Toad’s fate. Hermione had been whispering instructions to Neville to try and help him fix it, and it at least looks closer to correct now.

“Everyone gather ’round,” said Snape, his black eyes glittering, “and watch what happens to Longbottom’s toad. If he has managed to produce a Shrinking Solution, it will shrink to a tadpole. If, as I don’t doubt, he has done it wrong, his toad is likely to be poisoned.”

It works! Trevor shrinks to a tadpole and the Gryffindors cheer. Snape is none to happy; he has to give Neville some credit now, doesn’t he?

“Five points from Gryffindor,” said Snape, which wiped the smiles from every face. “I told you not to help him, Miss Granger. Class dismissed.”

Snape, you are an absolute bastard.

Speaking of Hermione though, something weird happens. As they are leaving Potions class, Ron and Harry turn around and . . . she’s gone. Disappeared. They wait on the steps for a moment and then she appears, running up the stairs in a hurry. She’s also carrying tons of books around, even though they only have one more class left that day. Hmm.

Lupin’s class! Who doesn’t absolutely love Lupin! He’s awesome! And they are having a practical lesson today, not just reading from books. Lupin takes them into the staffroom (after a funny interaction with Peeves the Poltergeist – why wasn’t he in the movies!!) where there is a wardrobe containing a boggart. What is a boggart, you might ask? Let’s let Hermione tell us:

“It’s a shape-shifter,” she said. “It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most.”

The best way to literally face your fears? Laughter. After Snape, who was in the staffroom when they arrived, makes snarky comment about Neville’s lack of magical aptitude, Lupin picks Neville to be his assistant. Step one: what does Neville fear the most? The answer is obvious. It’s Snape. Here’s the trick with a boggart. You need to imagine how to make the thing you are afraid of into something amusing. Lupin suggests to Neville that when the boggart appears looking like Snape, Neville should think really hard about the clothing that his grandmother wears.

And it works!

There was a noise like a whip crack. Snape stumbled; he was wearing a long, lace-trimmed dress and a towering hat topped with a moth-eaten vulture, and he was swinging a huge crimson handbag.

I have to say, this was done to PERFECTION in the movie. Seeing Alan Rickman in that get up – absolutely hilarious.

One by one, the students have a go at the boggart, causing it to turn into many different shapes, but each time transformed into something comical. Just as it’s Harry’s turn, Lupin hurries forward and has Neville finish it off. Yay Neville!

We also get to see that Lupin’s fear has something to do with a “silvery-white orb.” What could that possibly mean? *wink*wink*

It’s a great class, but Harry wonders why Lupin didn’t let him try to take on the boggart and worries that maybe, after the incident on the train, Lupin thinks he wouldn’t be able to handle it. Hermione approves of Lupin’s teaching.

“He seems like a very good teacher,” said Hermione approvingly. “But I wish I could have had a turn with the boggart -”

“What would it have been for you?” said Ron, sniggering. “A piece of homework that only got nine out of ten?”

Oh Ron.

See you next time for Chapter 8!

Books I've Read

Book Review: Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter

Never-Contented ThingsTitleNever-Contented Things

Author: Sarah Porter

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Series: none – standalone

Edition: ARC from NetGalley

Release Date: March 19, 2019

Blurb: Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries ― until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price ― and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.

Review: First off, I have to say – I love a good faerie story. Not like a fairy tale or children’s story (although I do like those too), but a real, dark, gritty story about the realm of the faerie and how twisted they can be. I was already expecting to like this book. Part of it reminded me of Tithe by Holly Black, and I think fans of that book would enjoy this one as well.

Plus look at how gruesomely beautiful that cover is!

The best part of Porter’s storytelling is how well she juggles the different voices of these characters. There are three point-of-view characters: Ksenia, Josh, and their friend Lexi, who is trying to help save them. Each time the point-of-view changes, the writing is decidedly different. Lexi is more practical, Josh is more irrational under the faerie’s spell, Ksenia is more conflicted. It was very well done and very well written.

I also like that this is a bit different. Ksenia and Josh get taken to the faerie realm, but in a different way than what I had seen before. Instead of crossing over a barrier and going to a different place, the fae world looks exactly the same, just . . . off. Different. Odd. It is a really creepy way to distort reality in this way, which is perfect for dealing with fae creatures. Porter has a very good way of describing things that is very poetic and beautiful, but also very unnerving. It all just works so well!

Speaking of, let’s talk about the fae. We don’t actually see them much, only a few brief times in the whole first half of the book, but their absence actually makes them a bit scarier. We know they are in charge of this strange new world, but we can’t see them. They are just there, watching. The other creatures that we see are fae creatures that are also . . . sort of part of Ksenia and Josh? Pieces of them that break away? Not to give anything away too much, but Ksenia especially has to face her own inner demons almost as much as she has to deal with the fae holding her captive, and the combining of those two things made the story even more compelling.

This isn’t for everyone, but if you like a creepy story about the fae and how they like to play with their chosen “pets,” you would probably really enjoy this.

GoodReads rating: 4 stars