Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Having further penetrated the mysteries of Hogwarts Academy, where Voldemort had once been a pupil under the name of Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry faces sterner challenges in his third year at the school. The infamous Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban—the magical prison to which Voldemort’s key supporters, the Death-Eaters, were sent when his first campaign was thwarted—and is rumored to be making his way to the school in order to kill Harry.

Harry begins to realize that the matter is more complicated when he has a terrifying encounter with a Dementor—one of the hideous, soul-sucking entities which guard the prison—on the Hogwarts Express. Even Dumbledore seems to doubt his testimony in this regard but is determined to keep him safe, with the aid of Remus Lupin, the new teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts (a post with a remarkably high turnover). Harry has further trouble with both Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy, and his situation is further complicated when Hagrid becomes distraught after one of his unruly protégés, the hippogriff Buckbeak, is condemned to be put down.

It transpires that Sirius Black is actually Harry’s nearest living relative and staunchest defender, having once been part of a group of friends with Harry’s father and Remus Lupin, whose affliction with lycanthropy the group had striven to protect. The true enemy and cause of Harry’s troubles is, as always, Voldemort, who has subverted Azkaban and now has the Dementors at his beck and call. Harry is able to call upon the aid of the Marauder’s Map, which allows the locations of the academy’s inhabitants to be determined, as well as a time-bending watch, but he, Hermione, and Ron are tested to the limit of their strength and ingenuity by the quest to save Sirius and Buckbeak and to thwart Voldemort’s plans for a third time.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Overview

The third novel of Rowling's wizard saga revolves around themes of betrayal and forgiveness. Harry Potter realizes that people and creatures...

(The entire section is 663 words.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Summary

Chapter 1 Summary

Chapter One:  Owl Post

Back at the Dursley’s house for the summer, Harry Potter is miserable as always. Harry is forced to do his wizard homework under his blanket by flashlight in the dead of night so as not to disturb anyone. The Dursleys are angry because of Ronald Weasley’s loud and inexperienced phone call, the likes of which are rarely made by a wizard. Otherwise, Harry has had no word from anyone all summer which adds to his misery. The reader is fully reminded of Harry Potter’s unique lighting-shaped scar and his encounter with Voldemort as a baby which left Voldemort all but bereft of power. Suddenly, Harry receives all sorts of birthday gifts via Owl Post (the wizard way of getting mail): a broomstick servicing kit from his friend Hermione, a pocket sneakscope from his friend Ron (that lights up and spins when someone present is untrustworthy), and a living monster book from his friend Hagrid that would prove later to be quite useful for Harry’s new Care of Magical Creatures class. Meanwhile, Ron and his family have gone to Egypt because Mr. Weasley won the Grand Prize Galleon Draw. Harry looks admiringly at the newspaper article Ron sends him of the entire Weasley family happy in Egypt with Ron waving back at him, his pet rat, Scabbers, in his pocket. In addition, a letter from Hogwarts says that third-year students are allowed to visit the town of Hogsmeade; however, each student needs a signed permission slip from family member in order to attend the outings.

Chapter 2 Summary

Chapter Two:  Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake

Dudley Dursley spends his summer eating and watching TV. This is the way Harry first finds out about an escaped convict from the wizarding world named Sirius Black. Harry knows that Sirius Black must be a very serious criminal if the news of him has made it all the way to the Muggle (non-magic folk) news. It is not long before Uncle Vernon’s sister, “Aunt Marge,” arrives and begins verbally abusing Harry while coddling her mangy, little, pampered dogs.  Uncle Vernon demands three things from Harry:  talk civil, no “funny stuff,” and agreement that he goes to Saint Brutus’ Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys. Harry tries to blackmail Uncle Vernon by promising to be good only if his permission form to Hogsmeade is signed; however, Uncle Vernon trumps Harry’s blackmail by saying that the form would only be signed if Harry is good. Aunt Marge, who is as large as Uncle Vernon, continues throwing insults at Harry until she begins insulting Harry’s parents calling Harry’s dad a “no-account, good-for-nothing, lazy scrounger.” Suddenly, as a result of Harry’s extreme anger at hearing the insults flung at his parents, Aunt Marge blows up like a balloon and begins floating up in the air. Uncle Vernon tries to seize one of Aunt Marge’s feet, hoping to keep her on the ground. Harry takes this opportunity to leave the Dursley’s house for good this summer.  Harry quickly grabs his school trunk and his owl cage, leaving the Dursley’s house and walking onto the dark Muggle streets alone.

Chapter 3 Summary

Chapter Three:  The Knight Bus

Harry suddenly feels panicked about being in the Muggle world alone, knowing he had just done underage magic and would most likely be expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a result.  Suddenly, Harry sees an ominous, animal-like figure with “wide, gleaming eyes." Harry feels more than just a trifle uneasy at this new omen. As he sticks out his wand to investigate, a bright purple, triple-decker “Knight Bus” pulls up offering “emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard." Inside the bus, there are beds instead of seats that knock about as the Knight Bus speeds about London, unbeknownst to the Muggles. Harry (telling everyone that his name is Neville Longbottom) has a long conversation with the conductor, Stan Shunpike, who talks about Sirius Black who is still at large and who supposedly murdered thirteen people in broad daylight and then laughed about it.  They read a large newspaper article from the wizard paper called The Daily Prophet boasting that Black is still at large. Sirius Black is supposedly in league with the infamous "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" (Lord Voldemort). The bus deposits Harry in Diagon Alley at The Leaky Cauldron pub where Harry meets Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. Fudge tells Harry that it was worse for him to go wandering than for him to do underage magic (which Fudge forgives a bit too quickly, puzzling Harry). Harry tries, without success, to get Fudge to sign his Hogsmeade Permission form before spending the night at The Leaky Cauldron.

 

Chapter 4 Summary

Chapter Four:  The Leaky Cauldron

Harry enjoys wandering around Diagon alley for many days while he buys his Hogwarts school supplies in the wizarding world safely. Harry even ogles over the coveted Firebolt, “the fasted broom in the world," which would be perfect for Quidditch (Harry’s favorite wizard sport, played on brooms). Harry thinks more and more about the ominous animal he caught glaring at him after leaving the Dursleys because he began reading a book about death omens.  Something happens to take his mind off of his worries for a while, however:  Harry Potter finally meets his good friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger right in Diagon Alley one day.  The three discuss the recent wizarding news and the vast number of subjects that Hermione is taking. Meanwhile, Harry has an owl named Hedwig; Ron has a rat named Scabbers; and Hermione has bought a new cat named Crookshanks.  The cat puts Hermione and Ron on edge. The three meet up with the rest of the Weasley family. Harry learns that Percy is “Head Boy” this year and overhears Mr. and Mrs. Weasley arguing about how much to tell Harry about Sirius Black. While eavesdropping, Harry learns that Sirius Black would try to enter Hogwarts to find Harry. Harry figures that Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, (who just happened to be around when Harry entered the Leaky Cauldron) was lenient with Harry because he was found alive. Harry decides that he will always be safe with Dumbledore (the headmaster at Hogwarts) around.

Chapter 5 Summary

Chapter Five:  The Dementor

Just before the Hogwarts Express train starts speeding towards Hogwarts school, Harry pulls Mr. Weasley aside and tells him what Harry overheard. Mr. Weasley makes Harry swear that he will not go looking for Sirius Black. Harry swears but wonders why Mr. Weasley made that strange request. Harry, Ron, and Hermione gather in a train compartment with a sleeping Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts while Harry’s pocket sneakscope keeps going berserk around Ron’s pet rat named Scabbers. The three discuss their sadness at Harry not being able to join the group at Hogsmeade for their fun weekend trips. The train stops suddenly and the compartment gets icy cold while a cloaked figure, called a dementor, appears in the doorway. Harry faints just as he hears a woman screaming. When he awakens, Harry learns that professor Lupin “muttered something, and a silvery thing shot out of his wand,” saving Harry. They all discuss the icy feelings of unhappiness surrounding the dementor as well as the fact that no one fainted but Harry.  Right before the Hogwarts students begin their first big feast together, Dumbledore tells them that Hogwarts is playing host to many dementors who would be guarding the grounds looking for Sirius Black and that their new Care of Magical Creatures teacher would be none other than Rubeus Hagrid (the groundskeeper as well as a good friend of Harry, Ron, and Hermione). Harry reflects upon how he feels at home at Hogwarts.

Chapter 6 Summary

Chapter Six:  Talons and Tea Leaves

Classes begin while Harry is teased by Malfoy and friends by fainting in the presence of a dementor and while Ron ogles at the number of classes Hermione is taking. The students make their way to the top of the North Tower with their texts called Unfogging the Future for their first class of Divination. Professor Trelawney appears, looking like “a large, glittering insect” with her flowing robes, hanging beads, and large glasses. She immediately begins making predictions about the class including the most befuddling “around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever." The class gets busy reading tea leaves from tea cups.  Professor Trelawney insults Hermione’s prospects in Divination and then reveals that Harry has “the Grim” which resembles a large black dog, the worst omen of death, among his tea leaves. Harry begins to feel a bit better when he finds out that even Professor McGonagall does not put too much stock in Trelawney’s predictions.

The students head to Care of Magical Creatures where Hagrid has a surprise for them: a group of real hippogriffs (strange creatures that are half eagle and half horse). Hagrid chooses Harry to bow to a hippogriff named Buckbeak who, after he bows back, allows Harry to take a ride (not exactly a very comfortable experience). The entire class begins greeting the other hippogriffs until Malfoy insults one and winds up in the hospital wing. Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit Hagrid later to make sure he is okay only to be chastised by a drunk Hagrid for allowing Harry to wander the unsafe Hogwarts campus at night.

Chapter 7 Summary

Chapter Seven: The Boggart in the Wardrobe

The students struggle through Potions class taught by the ominous Professor Snape while Harry worries about Sirius Black being sighted not far from school. Malfoy plays up his hippogriff injury as the students flock to their Defense Against the Dark Arts class. All of the Hogwarts students thoroughly enjoy Defense Against the Dark Arts this year with Professor Lupin’s practical method of teaching. (This particular class has had a different, and often ill-fated, teacher for each year that Harry has been at Hogwarts.) Here Professor Lupin explains that there is a creature called a boggart trapped in a wardrobe and that each student will have a chance to defeat it. Boggarts take on the shape of the thing each person fears the most.  The students take turns reciting a simple spell that finishes off the boggart with lots of laughter.  For Neville, the boggart turns into an ominous Professor Snape who quickly wears Neville’s grandmother’s clothes thanks to the spell. For Parvati, the boggart turns into a blood-stained and bandaged mummy that quickly unraveled and fell face-first as a result of Parvati’s spell. For Seamus, the boggart turns into a green woman with floor-length black hair and a green, skeletal face, but she loses her voice as a result of Seamus’ spell. Professor Lupin allows everyone to take a turn except Harry. Lupin immediately intercepts the boggart. The boggart suddenly takes the shape of a “silvery-white orb” for Lupin before disappearing while Harry wonders why he wasn’t allowed to have a turn to defeat the creature.

Chapter 8 Summary

Chapter Eight: The Flight of the Fat Lady

The reader learns that the students adore Lupin’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class, but they cannot say as much about Hagrid’s new approach to Care of Magical Creatures which now has them feeding boring flobberworms because of the hippogriff incident. Next, the reader is re-introduced to the exciting sport of Quidditch in which Harry is the Seeker for the Gryffindor team. The team practices tirelessly on their brooms as they greatly desire to win the Quidditch Cup this year, the highest honor for a Hogwarts Quidditch team. Meanwhile, Hermione’s cat named Crookshanks continually tries to get at Ron’s rat named Scabbers, much to the detriment of their friendship. Harry, still depressed that he cannot go to Hogsmeade, uses the time to converse with Professor Lupin who proceeds to drink a special potion from Snape to help him not feel so “off-color.” Lupin reveals that he wouldn’t let Harry fight the boggart for fear it would take the shape of Lord Voldemort. Lupin is impressed that Harry was more worried that the boggart would take the form of a simple dementor, proving that the thing that Harry fears the most is fear itself. Eventually, Ron and Hermione return from Hogsmeade and shower Harry with sweets in honor of Halloween. However, on the way back to Gryffindor Tower, they discover that the woman in the guardian portrait of their common room, affectionately known as “The Fat Lady,” had vanished and that the portrait itself had been torn to shreds by none other than Sirius Black.

Chapter 9 Summary

Chapter Nine: Grim Defeat

Dumbledore searches Hogwarts both to get information from the Fat Lady and to be sure it is clear of Sirius Black. In order to ensure their safety, the students sleep in the main hall all together, and for days the gossip is all about how Sirius both entered and escaped. Snape replaces Lupin temporarily in Defense Against the Dark Arts class and requires all students to study werewolves extensively. Again, Lupin is described as feeling ill, and the students begin to wonder about this strange reoccurrence. The big Quidditch match approaches and the weather is the worst that the school has ever seen: stormy skies and pelting rain. The Quidditch match is held anyway, of course. Harry, destined to be the Gryffindor Seeker (the member of the team who has to find the golden snitch and capture it), has a terrible time trying to find the little gold ball until Hermione appears and puts a spell on his glasses that allows them to repel water. Despite the horrible weather, the Gryffindors do well until Harry is ambushed by a horrible group of dementors high above the pitch, ignoring Dumbledore’s requirement to stay off the grounds. Harry Potter faints again as a result of the dementors’ cold chill of sadness. Before falling off his broom, Harry hears his Mother screaming before her death. Dumbledore manages to slow Harry’s descent with a spell so that Harry doesn’t plummet to his death. Harry is saved, but wakes up in the hospital wing to some absolutely horrible news: the Gryffindors lost and Harry’s broom is smashed to bits.

Chapter 10 Summary

Chapter Ten:  The Marauder’s Map

As Harry continues worrying about seeing the grim and dementors, Professor Lupin (who is back teaching class) eases Harry’s mind by offering to teach Harry how to fight the dementors. During the last pre-Christmas Hogsmeade trip, Fred and George Weasley pull Harry aside to give offer the Christmas gift of a lifetime: The Marauder’s Map. The Maurader’s Map does nothing less than show a living map of Hogwarts, including the names and locations of everyone moving about. With a simple spell to make it work (“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”) and another one to wipe it clean (“mischief managed”), Harry is thrilled to be in possession of this gift. Harry also sees that there is an extra, unknown passage that leads straight into Hogsmeade. Harry makes immediate use of it and winds up at Honeydukes, the sweet shop in Hogsmeade. After meeting Ron and Hermione, the three eavesdrop on a conversation between the Minister of Magic, Professor McGonagall, Hagrid, and a few others.  They find out that Harry’s dad used to be best friends with Sirius Black and, consequently, was the Potters’ “Secret-Keeper”: the soul that held the magical concealment of where the Potters were hiding. Someone close to the Potters divulged their secret; therefore, everyone pointed the finger at Black:  Harry’s godfather. When Peter Pettigrew cornered Black, Pettigrew was blown “to smithereens” leaving only a few fragments behind. With all of their new knowledge, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all at a loss for words.

Chapter 11 Summary

Chapter Eleven:  The Firebolt

Harry’s mind spins with his newfound knowledge. Sirius Black had betrayed his parents, causing their deaths!?! Sirius Black had been his parents’ Secret-Keeper as well as Harry’s own godfather!?! Swelling with hatred for Black, Harry considers going after his enemy himself (against everyone else’s advice). Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to ask Hagrid to reveal more about the situation, and vow to go ask him. However, when they arrive at Hagrid’s hut, they discover Hagrid sick with grief over the fact that Buckbeak, the hippogriff, has been sentenced to death as a result of Malfoy’s (mostly fake) injury. The three decide to help Hagrid plead his case for Buckbeak, which gets Harry’s mind of Sirius Black for the moment.  Christmas morning arrives with Harry ogling his fabulous present given anonymously:  a Firebolt (the very broom he had admired in Diagon Alley before school began that is known as the fastest broom in the world). Hermione puts a small damper on things by doting on her cat.  Crookshanks is obsessed with chasing Ron’s rat, a very ragged-looking Scabbers.  Hermione and Ron remain at odds over these events. After the Christmas feast, McGonagall confiscates Harry’s new broom “to be checked for jinxes” compliments of Hermione, who suspects that it was given to Harry by Sirius Black. All of the Gryffindor’s hopes for the Quidditch Cup seem to be dashed at the confiscation of Harry’s broom. Harry and Ron are unable to forgive Hermione for this; therefore, their friendship hits an all-time low.

Chapter 12 Summary

Chapter Twelve:  The Patronus

Harry and Ron continue to be angry with Hermione about the confiscation of Harry’s broom.  Ron even stoops to throwing loud insults at her across the common room. Meanwhile, Professor Lupin begins giving Harry lessons on how to repel dementors. Lupin hopes to teach Harry some highly advanced magic called the patronus charm that will allow him to conjure up a Patronus: a unique guardian that acts as a shield of light against the darkness of the dementors. Harry tries to focus on the happy memory of his first broomstick ride as he says the incantation (“Expecto patronum”), but is immediately overtaken by the boggart posing as a dementor in Lupin’s trunk. Harry tries a few more times (eventually admitting a silvery wisp from the end of his wand) before Lupin puts a stop to the whole process, excited that Harry seems to be making progress. January dawns dark and dreary in that Hermione’s class load is taking a toll, Harry’s Firebolt is still in the hands of McGonagall, the three friends are still avidly fighting, and Harry hasn’t been able to produce a true Patronus yet. It does not help things when Harry learns from Lupin that the dementors’ ultimate weapon is called the “dementor’s kiss”: the expulsion of a person’s soul out through the mouth. Harry cheers up when McGonagall returns the Firebolt, but Ron is in a panic about the blood on his sheets, the loss of his rat, and the three ginger-colored cat hairs left as evidence.

Chapter 13 Summary

Chapter Thirteen:  Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw

Ron and Hermione are angrier than ever at each other at the disappearance of Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, and Hermione’s implicated pet cat, Crookshanks. Harry is thrilled to mount his Firebolt broom for the first time and inspire all of his fellow Gryffindors at Quidditch practice.  Harry is even feeling a bit better about repelling dementors after his lessons with Professor Lupin. At the match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, Harry out-maneuvers the Ravenclaw seeker (Cho Chang) and grabs the snitch just as he uses a Patronus to repel the three dementors charging toward him. After Harry wins the match for his Gryffindor team, he learns from Professor Lupin that the “three dementors” were not, in fact, dementors at all. They were three Slytherin students led by Draco Malfoy. Ron and Hermione continue to glare at each other in anger as the Gryffindors celebrate their victory. There is a great feast in the Gryffindor common room courtesy of Fred and George and their latest trip to Honeydukes for more sweets. All of the Gryffindor students, with full bellies and happy hearts after their winning match, turn in for a wonderful night of restful sleep. The night is cut short, however, by a visit by Sirius Black who Ron sees slash his bed-curtains with a knife. It seems that Sirius Black had found a slip of paper with all of the passwords to enter the Gryffindor common room through the portrait hole. Poor Neville Longbottom was the one who lost the paper in question.

Chapter 14 Summary

Chapter Fourteen:  Snape’s Grudge

The students are nervous as Hogwarts is searched again for the likes of Sirius Black.  Suddenly it occurs to Ron and Hermione to ask why Sirius Black would run away with Harry only a few short meters away. Hagrid asks Harry and Ron to tea and mentions how lonely Hermione has been since Scabbers’ disappearance. However, it does not improve their treatment of her when Hermione threatens to tell McGonagall about the map if Harry sneaks into Hosmeade again. Harry does, in fact, sneak into Hogsmeade using the invisibility cloak and meets Ron in order to check out the shops Harry has not yet visited. Malfoy corners Ron at the Shrieking Shack and, after insulting Ron’s family, is ambushed by the invisible Harry in an opportunity “too perfect to miss,” but Harry’s cloak is partially pulled off of him, revealing his presence. As Harry makes his way back to Hogwarts via the secret passage, Snape corners him, knowing everything. In Snape’s office, Snape reveals that Harry’s dad had saved Snape’s life once upon a time. Snape also discovers the blank Marauder’s Map which immediately insults Snape, who summons Lupin. Lupin denies the true nature of the map and insists that it is probably a piece of parchment designed to insult its reader. Lupin, knowing more than expected about the map, confiscates it for the time being, admitting that he knows “the manufacturers.” Suddenly, Hermione appears, telling Ron and Hermione that Hagrid lost the case. Buckbeak, therefore, is condemned to death by execution.

Chapter 15 Summary

Chapter Fifteen:  The Quidditch Final

Hagrid is beside himself about the verdict regarding Buckbeak. Malfoy begins making fun of Hagrid and Hermione both insults and slaps Malfoy, putting her on the up-and-up with Harry and Ron. Hermione, however, seems extra haggard and overwrought with the stress of going to all of her classes. The three set off for Divination class. Hermione gets exasperated while throwing insults back and forth between herself and Professor Trelawney. Hermione ends up excusing herself from the class permanently, proving Trelawney’s former prediction to be true. Around Easter, one of their own did leave them forever. It was Hermione who stormed out of class in a huff. Meanwhile, Buckbeak’s execution looms ever closer as does the Quidditch final. Harry looks out upon the grounds one evening only to see the Grim again.  Again, the  shaggy black dog is watching him. At the Quidditch final, the Gryffindor team needs to defeat the Slytherin team to win. As usual, the Slytherins are playing a dirty game, enraged that the Gryffindors have taken an early lead. The commentator, Lee Jordan, seems to be advertising Harry’s new broom more than he is giving commentary on the match. With the help of Harry’s fast, new Firebolt broom, Harry grabs the golden snitch out from under Malfoy’s nose to secure the Gryffindor team win. Hagrid feels as though the news would even lift the condemned Buckbeak’s spirits. At that moment, when Harry was lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates, “Harry felt he could have produced the world’s best Patronus.”

Chapter 16 Summary

Chapter Sixteen:  Professor Trelawney’s Prediction

The Gryffindors are elated about the results of the Quidditch final (and the Slytherins are livid in their loss), but it is not long before they have to take their O.W.L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Level) as well as all of their regular exams. Harry and Ron discover that Hermione does in fact have two exams at once, and the two ponder how she is doing this. They corner Hermione, who avoids the question. Harry attends his Divination final where he “sees” a hippogriff flying away with its head totally intact. Professor Trelawney is disappointed, but as Harry turns to leave, Trelawney makes a real prediction that “IT WILL HAPPEN TONIGHT.” Trelawney further reveals that Voldemort’s servant will break free and rejoin his master. Harry runs to tell Ron and Hermione who are upset because Buckbeak lost his appeal and will be executed that evening. The three decide to join Hagrid for the grim event in order to support their friend during his most difficult time. Using the invisibility cloak, the three make their way down to Hagrid’s hut. At Hagrid’s, the three are surprised to find Scabbers, Ron’s rat, hiding under a milk jug. The three comfort Hagrid until the fear of being found out overtakes them. The executioners arrive and observe Buckbeak tied behind Hagrid’s hut as he is supposed to be.  As the three students leave (still under the invisibility cloak), they hear the unmistakable thud of an axe as Scabbers wiggles unceasingly, trying to escape Ron’s grasp.

Chapter 17 Summary

Chapter Seventeen:  Cat, Rat, and Dog

The three lament what seems to be a bloody end to Buckbeak’s life as Scabbers completes his squirming and bites Ron in order to escape. The grim is spotted as well, while Ron goes pelting after Scabbers. The three are in hot pursuit. Ron captures Scabbers and pockets him just before the large black dog attacks, dragging Ron away “as though he were a rag doll.”  Feeling a loud thud, Hermione and Harry realize that they are at the base of the Whomping Willow tree and notice the dog dragging Ron through a gap between the tree’s roots. The two risk life and limb by avoiding the Whomping Willow’s “whomps,” and end up through the root gap as well. The two find themselves in a long tunnel that winds slowly upwards. As they emerge, they find themselves in a dusty room of the Shrieking Shack of Hogsmeade. Just as Harry and Hermione find Ron, he reveals the trap. The dog was not a dog at all, but an Animagus (a wizard able to turn himself/herself into an animal). The dog, of course, is none other than Sirius black who disarms Harry and Hermione with a simple spell. Black reveals that there would only be one murder there tonight. Harry loses all control, thinking that Black was the one who was responsible for Harry’s parents’ deaths. A large fight ensues with Harry ending up pointing a wand at Black, who says that Harry does not know the whole story.  Before Harry can act on his impulses, Lupin appears and disarms Harry. Lupin and Black embrace and search for Scabbers as Harry, Ron, and Hermione scream in disbelief that the two have been in league all along. Lupin begs them to listen, but Hermione reveals Lupin’s true nature:  Lupin is a werewolf. Lupin finally reveals that, after confiscating the Mauraders Map, he saw that Sirius Black was roaming about Hogwarts. Lupin now confiscates Scabbers, who we find out is not a rat at all. Scabbers is really Peter Pettigrew, whom everyone thought dead by Sirius Black’s hand.

Chapter 18 Summary

Chapter Eighteen:  Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs

Black immediately tries to kill the rat, Scabbers/Pettigrew, but Lupin stops him.  Lupin subsequently reveals how the Shrieking Shack is not haunted at all, but was the place where Lupin went to become a werewolf safely.  Lupin was bitten (and consequently began transforming into a werewolf every full moon) as a very young boy. Snape had recently discovered a special potion that would allow Lupin to transform into a “harmless wolf” and to curl up in his office without hurting anyone. While Lupin was still attending Hogwarts as a student, Lupin was told to go through the tunnel to the Shrieking Shack in order to bite and scratch himself (instead of other humans) in order to remain safe at Hogwarts. Lupin’s friends, instead of deserting their poor friend, decided to become Animagi themselves and keep Lupin company while he was a werewolf. Finally, the mystery behind the “manufacturers” of the map are revealed. Lupin is Mooney, for he is a werewolf brought about by the full moon.  Wormtail is Peter Pettigrew who can change himself into a long-tailed rat. Padfoot is Sirius Black who is also an animagus, able to change himself into a large black dog. Prongs is James Potter (Harry’s Dad), who was the last of the Animagi, able to turn himself into a large stag with enormous antlers. Lupin finally reveals exactly how James Potter saved Snapes life.  When all of them were attending Hogwarts, Snape was very interested in where the four friends went every month at the full moon. Sirius let it “slip” once about how to enter the tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow. When Snape followed, James Potter pulls him back in order to save his life.  At the end of the tunnel, Snape caught a glimpse of Lupin as a fully-grown werewolf. Suddenly, Snape (who had found the invisibility cloak left at the base of the Whomping Willow by Harry), appears and points his wand directly at Lupin.

Chapter 19 Summary

Chapter Nineteen:  The Servant of Lord Voldemort

Snape, who does not yet know the full story, binds Lupin and points his wand at Black instead. Snape refuses to listen to reason, so Harry, Ron, and Hermione (all trying to disarm Snape at the same time) knock Snape out accidentally by chanting the same disarming spell simultaneously. Black then reveals how he found out about Pettigrew even while Black was incarcerated in Azkaban:  through the newspaper of Ron’s family in Egypt.  Scabbers/Pettigrew was staring back at him from Ron’s pocket. As Ron looks as Scabbers, Ron remembers that Scabbers was always missing a toe: the one bit that anyone ever found of Peter Pettigrew. It was Pettigrew who betrayed Harry’s parents. It was Pettigrew who was the Potters’ Secret-Keeper because Sirius Black had convinced the Potters to change at the last moment in order to continue to fool everyone. Sirius, then, still feels quite guilty for causing the death of Lily and James, for it was Pettigrew who handed Harry’s parents immediately over to Voldemort. As “Scabbers” continues to squirm away, Lupin grabs the rat and forces him to change into none other than the real Peter Pettigrew. The rest of the secrets are revealed. Pettigrew had been hiding from Voldemort’s supporters for years because he hadn’t succeeded in killing Black. Peter Pettigrew had been the loyal servant of Lord Voldemort who failed in his quest. Black then reveals how he escaped Azkaban and how he kept his sanity while being incarcerated there: his transformation into the dog. Dementors did not focus as much on his soul as a dog. Plus, that way Sirius was thin enough to fit through the bars. Lupin and Black raise their wands to kill Pettigrew immediately, but Harry stops them in order to prevent his the two from  becoming murderers. Instead, they bind Pettigrew (admitting that they will kill him if he transforms), use a spell to float the unconscious body of Snape, and the lot begin the trek back to Hogwarts to tell Dumbledore.

Chapter 20 Summary

Chapter Twenty:  The Dementor’s Kiss

On the way back, Sirius Black reminds Harry that, as his godfather, Harry can choose to live with Sirius if desires. Harry is thrilled at the prospect of spending his life with the confidant of his father, as well as the prospect of leaving the Dursleys. Suddenly everyone realizes that Lupin neglected to take his potion and is likely to become a werewolf at any moment. As Lupin transforms into a werewolf, so does Black transform into the large, shaggy, black dog.  The werewolf and the black dog fight viscously. Peter Pettigrew seizes this moment to grab a wand as a human, transform back into a rat, and escape from his enemies’ grasp. The group separates. As Hermione and Harry rush to the sound of a wounded dog yelp, they realize that Sirius has again transformed into his human self and is surrounded by dementors who are getting ready to perform the “Dementor’s Kiss” and suck out Sirius’ soul through his mouth.  Harry and Hermione try to fight the dementors, but fail to produce strong enough Patronuses to do so. Just as Harry and Hermione fade to blackness in a dead faint from the dementors’ cold chill, the area is filled with a great light. Something circled around them, driving the dementors back. In his stupor, Harry could discern that the figure of light was a magnificent animal with someone very familiar in the shadows welcoming it back, but fails to make out the details as he faints dead away.

Chapter 21 Summary

Chapter Twenty-One:  Hermione’s Secret

Snape, who was unconscious throughout the bulk of the revelation, has revealed erroneous information to the Minister of Magic. Harry and Hermione come to their senses in the hospital wing just in time to hear that the dementors would be performing the “kiss” on Sirius Black at any moment. Harry and Hermione try to explain the situation to Cornelius Fudge (the Minister of Magic), but Snape convinces the Minister that Black has “confunded” them. Dumbledore, who has heard the whole story from Sirius, arrives and insists on speaking to Harry and Hermione alone. Even though Dumbledore believes Harry, Hermione, and Sirius, the possibility of anyone else believing them is impossible because “the word of two thirteen-year-old wizards will not convince anybody.” Suddenly, Dumbledore turns to Hermione and says that they need more time, that they “must not be seen,” that they could save “more than one innocent life,” and that “three turns should do it.” With Harry clueless, Hermione turns to Harry and finds her Time-Turner on a gold chain beneath her robes. Hermione throws the gold chain over both of them, turns the small hourglass over three times, and the two swirl back in time three hours. (The Time-Turner, of course, is how Hermione had been getting to all of her lessons all year.) The two struggle to figure out what Dumbledore wanted them to change about the moment when they walked down to Hagrid’s hut to comfort him about Buckbeak.  Hermione figures out that by saving Buckbeak the two of them could give Sirius a perfect escape plan. After the executioners have seen Buckbeak (so Hagrid has an alibi), Harry and Hermione lead Buckbeak into the forest. There is indeed a swing of an axe, but it is the executioner swinging out of anger while Dumbledore looks amused and insists that they “search the skies” instead of the grounds for  Buckbeak.  Still leading Buckbeak away, Harry and Hermione watch the events of the preceding evening and wonder how they escaped the dementors after they fainted. After Harry reveals what he saw, he believes the Patronus conjurer was his own father. However, as the dementors descend upon the three of them, Harry finally realizes that he was the conjurer of the powerful Patronus that saved them all.  Harry conjures his Patronus, proving his theory. As the Patronus gallops back, Harry sees that his Patronus has taken the exact form of his father as an Animagus: a brilliantly antlered stag.  Harry and Hermione then fly with Buckbeak to Sirius’ holding tower in order to save him from the dementors kiss. Sirius is eternally grateful and swears to see Harry again saying, “You are—truly your father’s son, Harry.” Sirius then rides Buckbeak safely into the night.

Chapter 22 Summary

Chapter Twenty-Two:  Owl Post Again

Harry and Hermione rush back to the hospital wing just as Dumbledore is locking the door behind him. Dumbledore flashes the two a great big smile. Harry and Hermione sit in the hospital wing, quietly munching on chocolate, as they hear the rush of fury at Sirius’ escape being discovered. Snape, Fudge, and Dumbledore (who alone looks calm) barge into the hospital wing with Snape insisting that Sirius’ escape has something to do with Potter.  Dumbledore gives his word that both Harry and Hermione had been locked in the hospital wing by his own hand and Madam Pomfrey insists that neither of them had left their beds.  Snape storms out. Fudge isn’t too far behind, insisting that the newspaper was going to have a field day about another narrow escape by Sirius. Dumbledore is simply happy to hear that the dementors would be leaving Hogwarts for good. Poor Ron finally awakens and needs to be told the whole story.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the day on the grounds together taking in the events of the previous evening. When they run into Hagrid, he reveals that Snape spread the word about Lupin being a werewolf; therefore, Lupin resigned his post as professor.  Harry heads straight to Lupin’s office to find the rumor to be true. Lupin reminds Harry about all of the letters from parents to arrive tomorrow if Dumbledore allows a werewolf to teach at Hogwarts. Harry tells Lupin all of the events of the previous night, and Lupin smiles to learn of Harry’s stag Patronus. Lupin also gives Harry his invisibility cloak as well as the Marauder’s Map before leaving Hogwarts. Dumbledore enters and asks Harry why he is so miserable. Harry replies that “it didn’t make any difference.” Dumbledore disagrees, saying that Harry uncovered the truth and saved two innocent creatures from terrible deaths.  Harry asks Dumbledore if Trelawney made a true prediction the other night.  Dumbledore agrees, saying that she has now made two real predictions. Dumbledore also astounds Harry by saying that Harry’s stag Patronus was like seeing his own father last night: “You found him inside yourself.” 

The only four people who knew the truth about that evening were Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore. Harry and his friends all pass their exams and their O.W.L.s, but Harry’s mind begins to dwell upon other worries, such as another summer with the Dursleys. Ron cheers Harry up a bit with the prospect of inviting Harry to the Quidditch World Cup over the summer. Suddenly a small owl brings Harry a letter from Sirius. The letter reveals that Sirius was the one who gave Harry the Firebolt and includes a signed permission form for future Hogsmeade visits. Sirius bequeaths to Ron the little owl who carries the letter. The Dursleys come to pick Harry up at the train station and give a look of horror in regards to the news of the year. “Harry set off toward the station exit . . . for what looked like a much better summer than the last.”

Noelle Thompson, Ed. Scott Locklear