Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapters 21 & 22 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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I don’t usually do two chapters in one post, but this is the ending for the book, so it will be easier to just finish it off. Let’s go!

Chapter 21 starts off with Harry coming slowly back to consciousness in the hospital wing and overhearing a conversation between Cornelius Fudge and Snape. Fudge is praising Snape for basically saving the day at this point. He had rescued the three kids and somehow fought off Black, according to his story, blaming a Confundus Charm for them believing that Black could possibly be innocent. Snape also thinks that Harry has been given way too much freedom to break the rules. They also can’t figure out why the dementors suddenly went away when all that was left were three unconscious people.

All valid questions, I suppose, although Harry knows the truth. As he looks around, blurry without his glasses, he can see Ron, still unconscious, and Hermione, who is very much awake and listening to the conversation as well. When Madam Pomfrey comes around to administer everyone’s chocolate, Harry jumps up to go see Dumbledore.

“Potter,” said Madam Pomfrey soothingly, “it’s all right. They’ve got Black. He’s locked away upstairs. The dementors will be performing the Kiss any moment now -“

Yeah, that’s not going to make him feel better, Poppy. Not at all.

Harry and Hermione both jump up and run to the Minister, babbling about Sirius’s innocence, which, to Fudge, sounds like complete nonsense and backs up Snape’s Confundus story. When Dumbledore arrives, they try to appeal to him. Dumbledore had been talking to Sirius, who explained about Pettigrew. Snape insists that he never saw Pettigrew (which, to be honest, he didn’t because he was knocked out at the time). Besides that, Snape isn’t ready to give Sirius the benefit of the doubt, and to be frank, why should he.

“Sirius Black showed he was capable of murder at the age of sixteen,” be breathed. “You haven’t forgotten that, Headmaster? You haven’t forgotten that he once tried to kill me?”

Snape actually has a valid point here. As far as he’s concerned, Sirius being capable of murder is quite simple – he’s always been that way in Snape’s eyes, ever since Hogwarts. Still, even though Dumbledore says that he remembers that, he still asks Snape to leave so that he can speak to Harry and Hermione alone. They try to explain, but Dumbledore has to stop them. There were witnesses that saw Sirius kill a street full of people, including Pettigrew. The only other witness to this night’s events, Professor Lupin, is in no condition to talk to anyone and won’t be until it’s too late (not to mention the fact that everyone hates werewolves and his testimony would be immediately discounted anyway). Despite all of this, Dumbledore believes Harry’s story, which means that he does believe that Sirius is innocent, but it’s still too late. Too bad they don’t have anymore time.

Oh, wait.

“Now, pay attention,” said Dumbledore, speaking very low, and very clearly. “Sirius is locked in Professor Flitwick’s office on the seventh floor. Thirteenth window from the right of the West Tower. If all goes well, you will be able to save more than one innocent life tonight. But remember this, both of you: You must not be seen. Miss Granger, you know the law – you know what is at stake . . . You – must – not – be – seen.”

And now we finally learn how Hermione has been keeping up with her ridiculous class schedule (and completely losing her mind in the process). She has a Time Turner. Using Dumbledore’s suggestion, Hermione takes herself and Harry back in time three hours. They run to hide in a broom closet and listen as they hear their own footsteps from three hours earlier as they were heading down to Hagrid’s.

Okay, we’re just going to stop here for a second. Hermione explains all the reasons why it is very dangerous to be messing around with time, including accidentally killing your past or future self. And probably punching a hole in the space-time continuum, which is not mentioned here, but is mentioned in every other book or movie dealing with time travel, so it’s probably still a danger. So what this story is saying is that the Magical governing body, the Ministry, approved a request from a school teacher to let a thirteen year old girl mess around with time so that she could take two additional classes per term?? Really?? What the actual hell???

And we know that it’s only to take two additional classes because in the next chapter, Hermione will mention that since she has dropped Divination and Muggle Studies, she can have a normal schedule again. So how does this justify the insanity of giving a child the ability to travel back in time? And also, why didn’t she use it to catch up on her sleep? That’s what I would do. And especially since I knew what I was doing, it wouldn’t freak me out to see future me coming back to my bedroom to take a nap. I’d know what was going on (although it would still be really weird).

I will also say that, with a few exceptions (**cough**patronus**cough), this whole time travel part was done excellently in the movie.

Anyway, I guess it’s good that they risked everything so that Hermione could take her classes, because now they can not only rescue Sirius, but rescue Buckbeak. That was the other innocent life that could be spared, according to Dumbledore. They could rescue Buckbeak and use the hippogriff to fly up to the window where Sirius is being held. It sounds next to impossible, doesn’t it?

They sneak into the forest near Hagrid’s so they can hide from their past selves, who just arrived. They listen as the milk jug gets broken and they find Scabbers. They watch as the Minister and his group arrive and watch as past-Harry, past-Hermione and past-Ron sneak out. While the Minister is in Hagrid’s hut, they run out and get Buckbeak, who isn’t too enthusiastic about leaving, but he finally does, so when Fudge comes out with the executioner, there is nothing left to execute. Just a fence post, that the executioner swings at in anger.

Harry, Hermione and Buckbeak head through the forest to the Whomping Willow in order to keep an eye on things. Harry keeps wanting to try and change things – either grabbing Scabbers before they left Hagrid’s or grabbing the Invisibility Cloak so that Snape would never be able to sneak up on them. Hermione keeps telling him that they can’t do that, what they are doing is dangerous enough. They have some time to wait, though, because they have to wait for their past-selves to come back from the Shrieking Shack, which gives them time to discuss what happened at the lake.

The dementors were swarming them. The only thing that could possibly have driven them off was a very powerful Patronus, and Harry thinks he saw who cast it.

“Yeah, I saw him,” said Harry slowly. “But . . . maybe I imagined it . . . I wasn’t thinking straight . . . I passed out right afterward . . .”

“Who do you think it was?”

“I think – Harry swallowed, knowing how strange this was going to sound. “I think it was my dad.”

Aw, Harry. It’s just so sad. He’s seen photos of his dad before and knows what he looked like. It didn’t look like a ghost, so what could it mean? His dad is dead, but so was Pettigrew according to everyone else before this night. He knows that it sounds completely crazy, but also strangely plausible in a way?

Finally, it’s time. They watch themselves come back out of the Whomping Willow, but there’s a problem. They are standing right where werewolf-Lupin is going to be heading. They run back to Hagrid’s, which is empty now, and hide there, but now they can’t see what’s happening. Harry volunteers to go and check things out, but it’s mostly so that he can try and see his dad appear to cast the Patronus. Hermione warns him to be careful not to be seen. As he arrives at the spot across the lake from where the dementors had cornered them, he watches and waits for his dad to show up, when he realizes something.

And then it hit him – he understood. He hadn’t seen his father – he had seen himself –

He steps out and casts a big, beautiful Patronus that takes the shape of a glowing silvery stag. Why would this have been so hard, movie people, huh? You showed the stag the first time around, but made the Patronus look completely different when they traveled back in time. WHY???? Keep it a stag! It’s so much more meaningful!

Hermione runs up with Buckbeak, trying to figure out what happened. Harry explains that he had seen himself across the lake conjuring the Patronus. They watch as Snape appears across the lake, loading up their unconscious selves on stretchers and sending them on to the hospital wing. They see the executioner come back out to get the dementors – it’s show time!

They fly up to the window Dumbledore indicated and unlock it. They break Sirius out and send him away on Buckbeak.

“We’ll see each other again,” he said. “You are – truly your father’s son, Harry . . .”

Safe journey, Sirius. Catch you next time.

Chapter 22 begins with a mad dash to get back to the hospital wing without being seen and messing everything up. They get there just in time to hide from Fudge and Snape as they are leaving, and catch Dumbledore as he’s locking the hospital wing door. Dumbledore asks them if they did it, listens to hear them leave from inside the hospital wing, sends them back in (now that their past-selves are gone), and leaves.

It’s all so complicated to try and discuss. I’m glad we’re done with the time travel part.

It doesn’t take long for the escape to be found. Snape is apoplectic, and oh man, I wish they had shown this in the movie. Alan Rickman would have KILLED IT! He knows that Sirius couldn’t have just Disapparated, and knows that Harry must have something to do with it. But Harry has been in the hospital wing this whole time, hasn’t he? Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore both say so. They couldn’t possibly be in two places at once (*wink*wink*). Snape storms off and Fudge laments that he will “be a laughingstock” for losing Black after finally capturing him. But at least he agrees that the dementors need to be removed from Hogwarts. That’s something, at least.

The next day, they run into Hagrid, who is very happy to tell them that Buckbeak escaped, but also tells them that Lupin has been found out and is packing his bags. Harry runs to go see him. Lupin was not fired, but quietly resigned amid all the commotion, since he knows now that his secret is out, parents are not going to want their children taught by a werewolf. It’s really sad. As long as he takes precautions, Lupin is perfectly safe to be around. And he’s an amazing teacher, who really enjoys teaching and genuinely cares about his students. It’s not fair, but he does have a point – if he is careless, like he was last night, he could have bitten any of them. Luckily, Dumbledore was able to avoid Lupin getting in trouble with the Ministry, as he was able to convince the Minister that Lupin was only trying to protect the kids.

He also confirms that James Potter’s Animagus form was in fact a stag, which is what earned him the nickname “Prongs.” Also, before he leaves, he gives Harry back the Marauder’s Map.

“You told me Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs would’ve wanted to lure me out of school . . . you said they’d have thought it was funny.”

“And so we would have,” said Lupin, now reaching down to close his case. “I have no hesitation in saying that James would have been highly disappointed if his son had never found any of the secret passages out of the castle.”

I don’t doubt that at all.

Dumbledore comes to tell Lupin that his carriage has arrived and Lupin leaves. While talking to Dumbledore, Harry mentions what had happened with Trelawney – did she actually deliver a real prediction?

Dumbledore looked mildly impressed.

“Do you know, Harry, I think she might have been,” he said thoughtfully. “Who’d have thought it? That brings her total of real predictions up to two. I should offer her a pay raise . . .”

This makes me laugh until I remember what her other real prediction was. Now I’m sad again.

Harry is worried that it was all for nothing though. Sirius is still on the run and so is Pettigrew, now able to help Voldemort return. But Pettigrew is now in debt to Harry for saving him. That might (*cough*willdefinitely*cough*) be important later. Harry also confides about how he thought he had seen his dad cast the Patronus, which Dumbledore understands, since Harry looks so much like his father. Except for his eyes, of course. He has his mother’s eyes (unless you watch Deathly Hallows Part 2, in which his mother’s eyes look nothing like his, but that’s a complaint for another time).

It’s time to wrap things up at Hogwarts. Malfoy is angry that Buckbeak escaped. The rest of the school wonders what they will have for a D.A.D.A teacher next year (Dean Thomas wants a vampire). Exams are finished and Gryffindor wins the House Championship again.

As they leave on the Hogwarts Express, Harry, Ron and Hermione talk about plans for the summer. Ron wants Harry to come and stay with his family, especially since it’s the Quidditch World Cup this year. They are interrupted by a very tiny owl carrying a letter . . . from Sirius! He confirms that he was the one who sent the Firebolt (so Hermione was right, but it was still safe). He also sends Harry a signed parchment that says that, as Harry’s godfather, he gives permission for Harry to visit Hogsmeade. Finally, the little owl – it is a present to Ron, since he no longer has Scabbers.

“Keep him?” he (Ron) said uncertainly. He looked closely at the owl for a moment; then, to Harry’s and Hermione’s great surprise, he held him out for Crookshanks to sniff.

“What d’you reckon?” Ron asked the cat. “Definitely an owl?”

It’s a funny scene, but in all honesty, after everything they’ve been through, it’s a good idea to run in by Crookshanks first. And Crookshanks is cool with it. So definitely an owl.

They finally arrive at King’s Cross Station, where Harry happily tells Uncle Vernon about his letter from his godfather – a convicted murderer who has broken out of Wizard prison and might need to check in with Harry to make sure he’s happy. Oh, Uncle Vernon doesn’t like the sound of this at ALL, but at least Harry thinks this summer will be better than last summer was.

And that’s it! We are at the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! Thank you everyone for following along with me! I’ll start Goblet of Fire tomorrow and read it throughout April. The current schedule will be one chapter each weekday and two chapters on each weekend day, unless I get bogged down somewhere, in which case I will catch up somewhere else.

See you then!



Categories: Chapter-A-Long

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