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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 16 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 16, the students at Hogwarts suffer through their end of year tests, Trelawney acts stranger than usual, a certain rat makes a reappearance, and Buckbeak faces the Ministry executioner. Let’s go!

Heading into finals week is stressful enough without all the stuff Harry and his friends have to deal with. Also, with the effects dementors have on people, I can only imagine that it’s even worse this year. Hermione’s schedule is particularly shocking, as she is clearly listed to take several exams at the same time. How does she plan on doing that? Ron asks the same question, but Hermione just brushes it off. Because of course she does.

It also doesn’t help that they find out that Buckbeak’s appeal is scheduled for the day after exams – and they are already bringing an executioner to deal with it. I’m sorry, but how is that fair? Is this really going to be an appeal, or is it just for show?

Exams, exams and more exams. Not really going to go through them, except for one thing which is funny. For their Defense Against the Dark Arts exam, Lupin has them run a sort of obstacle course, facing down several of the creatures they had studied, the last one being a boggart. We finally get to see what Hermione’s boggart is:

“P-P-Professor McGonagal!” Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. “Sh-she said I’d failed everything!”

Aw, Hermione. I love you.

One more odd final exam thing: Divination. The students are supposed to each go into Trelawney’s classroom one at a time and try to see something in a crystal ball. When it’s Harry’s turn, he can’t see anything, so he pretends to see a hippogriff. As he’s getting ready to leave, Trelawney acts very strange, going rigid in her chair, her voice turning very loud and harsh:

“IT WILL HAPPEN TONIGHT . . . THE DARK LORD LIES ALONE AND FRIENDLESS, ABANDONED BY HIS FOLLOWERS. HIS SERVANT HAS BEEN CHAINED THESE TWELVE YEARS. TONIGHT, BEFORE MIDNIGHT . . . THE SERVANT WILL BREAK FREE AND SET OUT TO REJOIN HIS MASTER. THE DARK LORD WILL RISE AGAIN WITH HIS SERVANT’S AID, GREATER AND MORE TERRIBLE THAN EVER BEFORE. TONIGHT . . . BEFORE MIDNIGHT . . . THE SERVANT . . . WILL SET OUT . . . TO REJOIN . . . HIS MASTER . . .”

Okay. That’s creepy as hell. What’s even creepier is that Trelawney has no memory of saying this at all. She thinks she’s fallen asleep in class. It’s bizarre, but also terrifying. It has to point to Black, right? How could it not? Who else has been chained for twelve years?

We’ll get to that.

Harry goes to find Ron and Hermione, who inform him that Buckbeak lost his appeal and is scheduled to be executed at sunset. Hagrid’s note tells them not to come down to see him, but of course they don’t listen. They want to be there for Hagrid. I would have done the same thing. They sneak down under the Invisibility Cloak. Hagrid tells them they shouldn’t have come, that Dumbledore will be there when it happens, so he won’t be alone. Hermione helps him prepare something to drink when she finds a rather odd surprise.

It’s Scabbers. Not dead, but not doing particularly well either. Also completely freaking out. Ron tries to hang on to him, but Scabbers in in a full panic trying to get away. They head back up to the castle, Scabbers struggling the whole way, until they hear something omnious.

The rat was squealing wildly, but not loudly enough to cover up the sounds drifting from Hagrid’s garden. There was a jumble of indistinct male voices, a silence, and then, without warning, the unmistakable swish and thud of an axe.

R.I.P. Buckbeak. 😦

For now . . .

See you next time for Chapter 17!

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