Chapter-A-Long

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!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 20 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 20, Sirius makes Harry an offer and a promise, Lupin makes a dangerous miscalculation, and everything sort of goes to hell. Let’s go!

They all head back through the tunnel: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, Sirius, Pettigrew and Snape. Snape is unconscious, Pettigrew is tied to both Lupin and Ron. It’s an odd sight. Sirius decides to take this moment to let Harry know that he is his godfather. Harry already knew that, and Sirius offers that, once his name has been cleared and he is free, Harry is welcome to come live with him instead of the Dursleys. But of course, would Harry even want that?

“Are you insane?” said Harry, his voice easily as croaky as Sirius’s. “Of course I want to leave the Dursleys! Have you got a house? When can I move in?”

Harry is all for it.

This happy feeling doesn’t last however. They get outside, into the moonlight, and they realize that they have a problem. It’s a full moon. Lupin didn’t have his potion tonight. He starts to transform. Sirius transforms into his dog form and charges the werewolf, allowing Pettigrew the chance throw a jinx at Ron and run away. Once the werewolf and dog run off, Harry and Hermione don’t know what to do, but Harry hears a dog whimpering in pain and he takes off after his godfather.

Another problem: the dementors. They have realized that something is going on. they have cornered Sirius, now changed back into a human, at the lake, hundreds of them. Harry tries to cast his Patronus to drive them off, using the happy thought of leaving the Dursleys forever, but it’s too much. There are too many of them. Once they realize that Harry is trying to fight them, the dementors decide to come after him instead of Black, and Harry gets his question back from Lupin’s Patronus lessons finally answered: what’s under a dementor’s hood.

Where there should have been eyes, there was only thin, gray scabbed skin, stretched blankly over empty sockets. But there was a mouth . . . a gaping, shapeless hole, sucking the air with the sound of a death rattle.

This was so terrifying! And one of the few things this movie did right. Man, those dementors are so scary!

Harry knows this is it. Hermione has already passed out on the ground, the dementor has him around the neck, and he can hear his mother’s voice screaming in his head. Suddenly, he sees a bright silver light, circling the dementors and driving them away. Harry falls to the ground and watches this bright creature, whatever it is, travel across the lake to someone else, standing on the opposite shore. Someone who maybe looks familiar? But that’s it. Harry is out like a light.

Another short chapter this time, but I’ll wrap up Prisoner of Azkaban tomorrow with the past two posts, then be ready to start Goblet of Fire on April 1st.

See you next time for Chapter 21!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 19 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 19, we learn the true story about Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. Let’s go!

So many things are happening in this chapter, but let’s start with the first one: the confrontation between Sirius Black and Severus Snape. Oh man, they really hate each other, and have from the time the were kids at Hogwarts. Snape went in to deliver Lupin’s potion and saw the Marauder’s Map open, showing everyone heading down the Whomping Willow passage to the Shrieking Shack. And Snape is not in the mood to listen to any explanations. He hates Lupin, he hates Black, and he’s ready to see both delivered to the dementors. Hermione even tries to get him to hear them out, to listen to what they have to say.

“KEEP QUIET, YOU STUPID GIRL!” Snape shouted, looking suddenly quite deranged. “DON’T TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

Yeah, that’s not going well.

Black agrees to come quietly as long as they bring Scabbers back to the castle with them, but Snape says they can just call the dementors now. Harry decides to intervene, stepping in front of the door. He knows that Lupin couldn’t possibly be there to hurt him – he’s been alone with Lupin several times throughout the year and nothing has happened. He yells at Snape that he is only holding a schoolboy grudge. Snape doesn’t take that well at all.

“SILENCE! I WILL NOT BE SPOKEN TO LIKE THAT!” Snape shrieked, looking madder than ever. “Like father, like son, Potter! I have just saved your neck; you should be thanking me on bended knee! You would have been well served if he’d killed you! You’d have died like your father, too arrogant to believe you might be mistaken in Black – now get out of the way, or I will make you. GET OUT OF THE WAY, POTTER!”

Yeah, Snape completely losing it is pretty terrifying. Harry doesn’t hesitate though. He casts a spell that not only disarms Snape, but throws him across the room, knocking him out. Hermione freaks out, saying that they will be in so much trouble now that they’ve attacked a teacher. Really, Hermione?! That’s what you’re worried about here! You’re in so much trouble right now anyway, sweetheart.

But now that they won’t be interrupted again, it’s time for some proof. How did Black know about Scabbers in the first place? He saw the photo in the paper about the Weaselys winning the money to go on their trip to Egypt. Scabbers had been sitting on Ron’s shoulder in the photo and Black recognized him. He also saw that the rat was missing its toe – remember, the only thing they found of Pettigrew was his finger. Black’s story is that when he cornered Pettigrew, it was Pettigrew who caused the explosion, yelling as loud as he could that Black had betrayed the Potters, before transforming and disappearing into the sewer with the other rats.

It makes sense, in a way. Scabbers has lived for a very long time for a rat. And he’s been ill, not since Crookshanks came along (like Ron thinks), but even before that – around the time that Black escaped. Crookshanks, who could tell immediately that something was wrong with Scabbers, also knew that the big black dog wasn’t a real dog. It was Crookshanks who kept trying to bring him Scabbers, who stole the list of passwords, and who helped Black get into Hogwarts.

The whole story about Black being the secret-keeper for the Potters’ hiding place? He decided to change it at the last minute to Pettigrew because he didn’t think anyone would suspect it. Black and Lupin never told each other because they both thought the other one was the spy. Black feels guilty for the Potters’ deaths because he should have been the one protecting them, not because he betrayed their hide out. Enough of that, though. It’s time to prove that, once and for all, Scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew. Luckily, there is a spell for that, which Lupin and Black cast together.

It was like watching a speeded-up film of a growing tree. A head was shooting upward from the ground; limbs were sprouting; a moment later, a man was standing where Scabbers had been, cringing and wringing his hands. Crookshanks was spitting and snarling on the bed; the hair on his back was standing up.

Peter Pettigrew, I presume?

Yep. Pettigrew maintains his innocence, claiming to be terrified of the repercussions of Black hunting him down. Terrified of Voldemort’s followers finding him. That was why he hid all those years as a rat. Except, no. He hid because he had sold out the Potters and wanted everyone to think he was dead so he would be safe. He was happy for Black to take the fall for it.

Black also explains how he was able to survive and escape from Azkaban. It had to do with knowing his innocence, which wasn’t a happy thought so the dementors couldn’t steal it, and being able to transform into a dog. Apparently, dementors can’t actually see, so they didn’t see that there was a dog instead of a person. They could just feel the thoughts and emotions of the creature in the cell. Black was able to slip out of his cell and swim to the mainland in his dog form. It was also how he managed to hide in the Forbidden Forest as just another creature.

Finally, after all the words back and forth, Harry realizes that Black is telling the truth. Pettigrew, realizing that his old friends are now going to kill him, appeals to everyone in the room to save him.

“Ron . . . haven’t I been a good friend . . . a good pet? You won’t let them kill me, Ron, will you . . . you’re on my side, aren’t you?”

But Ron was staring at Pettigrew with the utmost revulsion.

“I let you sleep in my bed!” he said.

“Kind boy . . . kind master . . .”Pettigrew crawled toward Ron, “you won’t let them do it . . . I was your rat . . . I was a good pet . . .”

Oh, that’s really creepy, when you think about it. This grown man, disguised as a pet rat, has been living in Ron’s bedroom, sleeping in his bed, for most of Ron’s childhood. Ew ew ewwwww!

Pettigrew maintains that he couldn’t have done anything else. Voldemort was gaining in power and there had been no point in trying to fight him. That’s why he switched sides. He was afraid to be killed. But now, Black and Lupin are going to kill him for what he did. Harry, once again, intervenes, saying that they can’t kill him. He doesn’t think his dad would want his best friends to be murderers. Instead, Pettigrew will go to the dementors, to Azkaban. They tie him up, bandage up Ron’s leg enough for him to walk, float Snape into the air, and head back up through the tunnel, ready to tell the world the true story.

See you next time for Chapter 20!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 18 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 18, we learn the truth about the Marauders and a new player enters the party at the Shrieking Shack. Let’s go!

Doubling up on Chapter-A-Longs today and all weekend so I can finish this one up. Which is just as well, since this is a pretty short chapter. Short in length, but it still packs a pretty big punch!

After the revelation at the end of Chapter 17, Harry, Ron and Hermione don’t really know what to believe. Peter Pettigrew is dead. Everyone knows that. But Black and Lupin keep saying that not only is he alive, but he is in fact hiding as Scabbers, an Animagus. Black is anxious to go ahead and kill Pettigrew, but Lupin wants to make sure they know the truth.

“They’ve – got – a – right – to – know – everything!” Lupin panted, still trying to restrain Black. “Ron’s kept him as a pet! There are parts of it even I don’t understand! And Harry – you owe Harry the truth, Sirius!”

Ron is taking this pretty hard. He thinks they’re all crazy. This is his pet rat. He complained about him, sure, but still – it was his pet! Now people are telling him it’s not really a rat, but a person? I’d be ticked off too. Meanwhile, Scabbers is freaking out, trying to get away, scratching and biting the heck out of Ron, who is only trying to hang onto him.

The explanations begin. Hermione first says that it’s impossible for Peter Pettigrew to be an Animagus at all. She did her homework (or extra homework, because it’s Hermione) after their lesson on Animagi and looked up Professor McGonagall on the registry with the Ministry. Pettigrew’s name isn’t listed.

“Right again, Hermione!” he (Lupin) said. “But the Ministry never knew that there used to be three unregistered Animagi running around Hogwarts.”

And so begins the sad tale of Remus Lupin. He got bitten and his parents thought that was it for him. However, when Dumbledore became Headmaster, he made arrangements for Lupin to be able to come to school.

Also, at this point, the door to the room they are in just opens by itself, all creepy-like.

So Lupin was at school, and every full moon, he would be smuggled out to the Shrieking Shack to hide out while he was a dangerous monster. His friends – James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew – noticed that he disappeared all the time and figured out what was going on. They worked really hard to become illegal Animagi to keep Lupin company while he was a wolf.

Lupin was afraid to tell Dumbledore, even when he suspected that Black might be using his Animagus form, to get into Hogwarts, because he didn’t want to admit that he had betrayed his trust. Lupin has had a rough life. No one wants to hang out with a werewolf because they can be dangerous. The potion Snape makes keeps Lupin tame during his transformations.

Speaking of Snape, we find out exactly how James Potter saved his life. Black decided to play a joke on Snape, to lead him to the Shrieking Shack while Lupin was transformed, since Snape was always sneaking around them trying to figure out what was going on. Snape came very close to getting attacked, but James Potter pulled him out of the tunnel just in time. Snape found out about Lupin’s situation at that time, but was sworn to secrecy.

“So that’s why Snape doesn’t like you,” said Harry slowly, “because he thought you were in on the joke?”

“That’s right,” sneered a cold voice from the wall behind Lupin.

Yeah, that door that mysteriously opened? Not a ghost or anything like that. It was Snape, under the Invisibility Cloak. And he’s not happy. At all.

See you next time for Chapter 19!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 17 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 17, we learn the truth of the big black dog, the truth about Lupin, and the truth about Scabbers. Basically, we learn a lot of truths. Let’s go!

This is such a great chapter. So many reveals! And we’re not done yet!

After leaving Hagrid’s and hearing the swing of the executioner’s axe, the trio are heading back to the castle, but for some reason, Scabbers is still freaking out. He’s wiggling with all his might and actually bites Ron to get free. Ron runs after him, avoiding Crookshanks, when suddenly that huge black dog appears. Harry thinks the dog is after him, but he’s actually targeting Ron for some reason. Anyone else get really confused at that the first time you read it? I sure did! The dog drags Ron to the Whomping Willow through a tunnel at its roots, breaking Ron’s leg in the process. This sounds so painful!! Actually, this whole chapter with Ron and his leg makes me so uncomfortable. It just sounds so bad!

Harry and Hermione are determined to help Ron, but the whirling dervish that is the Whomping Willow will not let them. It’s Crookshanks to the . . . rescue? What’s going on with that cat anyway?

Crookshanks darted forward. He slithered between the battering branches like a snake and placed his front paws upon a knot on the trunk.

Abruptly, as though the tree had been turned to marble, it stopped moving. Not a leaf twitched or shook.

“Crookshanks!” Hermione whispered uncertainly. She now grasped Harry’s arm painfully hard. “How did he know -?”

I have always had loads of questions about Crookshanks. I know we’ve found out since that he is half-kneazle, which is a magical cat creature. This accounts for his abnormal intelligence, but still. I keep having a feeling there’s even more to it than that. Actually, check out this Pottermore page of Crookshanks must have been thinking throughout the book. It’s really funny.

But I digress. Sorry. I just love that squashy ginger cat!

They make it down the tunnel under the tree and it leads to the Shrieking Shack, where they find Ron, his leg very much broken. Ron tells them that it is a trap. The dog isn’t a dog.

He’s the dog . . . he’s an Animagus . . .”

Dun dun DUUUUUN!!! It’s Sirius Black! Another name that I should have connected with the black dog at the beginning the first time I read this. But I didn’t. I was shocked.

Harry is not doing well. This is the man who he believes to be responsible for leading Voldemort to his parents. He is furious, but his two friends are terrified. Ron is determined to stand in front of Harry, despite his BROKEN LEG! Also, I am so mad that they gave that line to Hermione in the movie. It’s such a great Ron moment! Harry isn’t having it though. This isn’t a time for thinking things through. He tackles Black down to the ground, holds him down, and points his wand right at Black’s heart.

Black tries to argue, tries to get Harry to listen to the “whole story,” but Harry is just not willing to listen. Black gets a slight reprieve when Crookshanks curls up on his chest right where Harry was aiming his wand. It makes Harry pause slightly, which gives another person time to get there.

Lupin to the rescue! OR IS HE!!!

Lupin asks Sirius where “he” is. He babbles about someone switching something without telling him. And then he gives Sirius a big hug.

What the heck dude!

Hermione is furious. She has been covering for Lupin. She has trusted him this whole time. Even though . . .

“Harry, don’t trust him, he’s been helping Black get into the castle, he wants you dead too – he’s a werewolf!”

Yep. Hermione is smarter than I am and figured out what Lupin was ever since Snape assigned them the essay. The clues: Lupin is always sick during the full moon, and the boggart turns into the moon when it sees him. Hermione wishes she had told the teachers, but Lupin tells her that they already know. They brought him on regardless. That’s right, Dumbledore willing hired a werewolf. As well he should have! Lupin is a great teacher! But . . . there is this little issue of him seeming to be in league with a convicted murderer.

Lupin tells them that he was watching the Marauder’s Map to see if Harry and his friends would leave the castle to see Hagrid that night, but he saw another name on it – a name that couldn’t possibly be there. He mentions that he helped write the map – he’s Mr. Moony, as that was his nickname when he was at Hogwarts. Can I also just say that I was very disappointed in how the movie addressed this. They barely explained the Marauders at all! It makes the whole ending of the movie very confusing for someone who hasn’t read the book.

In the final bit of this chapter, we get one more big revelation. Lupin convinces the trio to listen to them. Turns out Sirius was not after Harry – he was after Scabbers. Lupin saw on the map that Scabbers isn’t actually a rat at all. He’s an Animagus . . . names Peter Pettigrew. Yep, the same Peter Pettigrew who Black supposedly killed all those years ago in the infamous attack that killed thirteen Muggles.

So if Peter Pettigrew is actually alive . . . what does that mean for Sirius Black?

See you next time for Chapter 18!

Chapter-A-Long

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!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 15 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 15, Hermione is starting to break down and we get to see the Quidditch Cup Final. Let’s go!

The best thing about Buckbeak’s sentencing? It brings Ron and Hermione back together again. Ron tells her that he will help with the appeal, that she doesn’t have to work alone anymore, and Hermione finally apologizes for what happened to Scabbers. It’s a beautiful thing. Another beautiful thing? Hermione is finally at her breaking point. The only chance they have to check in with Hagrid is during their Care of Magical Creatures class, and when they hear Malfoy & Co. making fun of Hagrid’s sorrow, Hermione hauls off and smacks Malfoy across his smarmy face. You go, girl!

Something is still weird with Hermione though. After class, she just disappears, and then doesn’t show up in their next class, Charms. They find her in the common room asleep on her papers. She wakes up panicking that she “forgot” to go to Charms, even though she had been right behind them after Care of Magical Creatures. Then in Divination, she flips out again.

“Fine!” said Hermione suddenly, getting up and cramming Unfogging the Future back into her bag. “Fine!” she repeated, swinging the bag over her shoulder and almost knocking Ron off his chair. “I give up! I’m leaving!”

And to the whole class’s amazement, Hermione strode over to the trapdoor, kicked it open, and climbed down the ladder out of sight.

This is so unlike Hermione! But let’s also be honest – hasn’t everyone wanted to do this in class, at one time or another? I know there were several classes when I was in school that I wouldn’t have minded just walking out of. Still though, for Hermione, this is weird. She is now spending all her time studying and constantly looks close to tears. I relate to her so much! Sweetie, I’ve been there! It’s not worth it!

The big event in this chapter is the final Quidditch match of the year, Gryffindor vs. Slytherin, the one that could give Gryffindor the Quidditch Cup. Oliver Wood is a machine, man, but Harry is really nervous. A lot is riding on this, and he certainly doesn’t want to lose to Malfoy. The morning of the match, though, Harry sees something very unsettling. At first, he sees an animal of some kind prowling on the school grounds and sees that it’s just Crookshanks.

Or was it only Crookshanks? Harry squinted, pressing his nose flat against the glass. Crookshanks seemed to have come to a halt. Harry was sure he could see something else moving in the shadow of the trees too.

And just then, it emerged – a gigantic, shaggy black dog, moving stealthily across the lawn, Crookshanks trotting at its side. Harry stared. What did this mean? If Crookshanks could see the dog as well, how could it be an omen of Harry’s death?

All good questions. Is it really just a dog? Rhetorical question for my fellow Potterheads – of course it isn’t! But Harry doesn’t know that yet! All he knows is that a giant black dog seems to be everywhere. WHAT COULD IT MEAN!!

Again, I’m not going to do a play-by-play on the Quidditch match, but it is a down-and-dirty fight. Penalties on all sides, but Gryffindor finally wins and wins the Cup. Everyone is happy!

See you next time for Chapter 16!