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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 10 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 10, Harry returns to class, Lupin returns to teaching, and Harry receives a very special present from the Weasley twins. Let’s go!

Harry spends a great deal of time in the hospital wing, doesn’t he. He should have his own reserved cot there. It also gives him a great deal of time to think about this Grim that seems to follow him. He’s seen it twice and both times, he’s had close brushes with death. It’s scary. Also scary – the dementors. Harry has figured out that he is hearing his mother’s voice screaming and trying to protect him from Voldemort whenever the dementors are near. That’s not depressing at all.

On a happier note, Lupin is back! Which is great, except he looks awful. The class protests Snape’s lessons, particularly assigning a big essay on werewolves, a subject they hadn’t even covered. Lupin assures them they don’t have to do it and continues their lessons. Harry stays behind after class to speak to him, asking him about the dementors. He worries that they seem to affect him worse than anyone else.

“It has nothing to do with weakness,” said Professor Lupin sharply, as though he had read Harry’s mind. “The dementors affect you worse than the others because there are horrors in your past that the others don’t have.”

It makes sense. Very few kids at the school have gone through all that Harry has, even the parts he was too young to remember clearly. That’s what dementors do and how they keep the prisoners at Azkaban captive: they feed off of happiness and hope and leave you with the worst of your memories. Even Muggles can feel their presence, even if they can’t see them. Harry asks Lupin if there is any way to fend them off, since Lupin was able to do so on the train. Lupin claims not to be an expert, but he agrees to try and teach Harry what to do.

Christmas at Hogwarts! I would so love to spend Christmas at Hogwarts. I wonder if the theme park down in Florida does something special for the holidays. They probably do. I actually got to go once several years ago. It’s really, really cool, and they’ve added a bunch of stuff since then.

Harry is really bummed that there is another Hogsmeade weekend and he still can’t go. The morning of the trip, Harry sees Fred and George Weasley hiding. They motion for him to come over and give him, what they call, “the secret of our success.” It looks like a spare bit of parchment, but it is soooooo much more than that!

And at once, thin ink lines began to spread like a spider’s web from the point that George’s wand had touched. They joined each other, they crisscrossed, they fanned into every corner of the parchment; then words began to blossom across the top, great, curly green words, that proclaimed:

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs

Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers

are proud to present

THE MARAUDER’S MAP

This thing is so cool. It’s a full map of Hogwarts Castle and the grounds surrounding it. Not only that, this thing shows where everyone is in the castle by little dots that move around with names hovering over them. This is partially how Fred and George have gotten away with so much – they know everything about the castle, including secret passages, one of which leads right into the candy shop at Hogsmeade. They both agree that, since Harry is having such a rough time of it, they should give the map to him.

And it works! He emerges in the basement of Honeydukes, sneaks up the stairs and startles Ron and Hermione, who were both shopping there. Hermione thinks Harry should turn it in, but Ron thinks it’s amazing and is irritated that his brothers never gave it to him. Hermione is also worried that Harry will get in trouble, either at school or because Black is still on the loose, but there are notices all over the town saying that Hogsmeade is being patrolled every night by the dementors and nothing has turned up yet.

They decide to go to the Three Broomsticks for butterbeer. While there, they see not only some of their teachers (McGonagall, Flitwick and Hagrid), but the Minister himself. Ron and Hermione shove Harry under the table and Hermione moves a Christmas tree over slightly to hide them. While there, Harry overhears more information than he ever wanted about Sirius Black.

Turns out, Black was James Potter’s best friend. They were inseparable at school and, when James married Lilly, Black was their best man. He was even named Harry’s godfather when Harry was born. Even after that, somehow, for some reason, Black betrayed them. He turned to Voldemort. The Potters went into hiding, using a Fidelius Charm to keep their location secret, and Black gave up their location to Voldemort. What happened next is history. The Potters were killed, except for Harry, who somehow survived.

Hagrid, in particular, is furious to learn this.

“I met him!” growled Hagrid. “I musta bin the last ter see him before he killed all them people! It was me what rescued Harry from Lilly an’ James’s house after they was killed! Jus’ got him outta the ruins, poor little thing, with a great slash across his forehead, an’ his parents dead . . . an’ Sirius Black turns up, on that flyin’ motorbike he used ter ride. Never occurred ter me what he was doin’ there. I didn’ know he’d bin Lily an’ James’s Secret-Keeper. Thought he’d jus’ heard the news o’ You-Know-Who’s attack an’ come ter see what he could do. White an’ shakin’, he was. An’ yeh know what I did? I COMFORTED THE MURDERIN’ TRAITOR!” Hagrid roared.

First, that is heartbreaking. We all know how tenderhearted Hagrid is and this must really be a blow to him. Second, it is really hard to type the way Hagrid speaks. Just throwing that out there.

So that’s where Hagrid’s flying motorcycle from Sorcerer’s Stone came from. It had belonged to Sirius Black. Black had originally tried to get Hagrid to give Harry to him, but when Hagrid told him Dumbledore’s plan, Black gave him the motorcycle so he could get there faster. But that’s not all. The Ministry tried to catch up with him, but it wasn’t the Ministry who finally confronted him. It was another one of the Potters’ friends – Peter Pettigrew. Known for being hopeless at magic while he was at Hogwarts and “hero-worshipped” James and Sirius, Pettigrew was completely destroyed in the incident. The larges piece of him they found was a finger. Eww.

So here’s the thing that’s weird. Black has been in Azkaban surrounded by dementors for many, many years, and yet, he hasn’t seemed to have lost his mind. Fudge had seen him during his last inspection and Black seemed very . . . normal. Spoke rationally. Asked if he could have the Minister’s newspaper so he could do the crossword puzzle. This is not typical behavior for someone in Azkaban. At all. The dementors, with all their hope-sucking power, haven’t had an effect on him. And they STILL don’t know how he broke out.

Soon after this, they leave. And Ron and Hermione now have to deal with their shell-shocked friend under the table.

See you next time for Chapter 11!

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