J_K_Rowling_-_HP_3_-_Harry_Potter_and_the_Pris

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Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban

also by j. k. rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer ’s Stone
Year One at Hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Year Two at Hogwarts
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Year Three at Hogwarts
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Year Four at Hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Year Five at Hogwarts
Harry Potter and the Half -Blood Prince
Year Six at Hogwarts
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Year Seven at Hogwarts

H arry P otter
and the P risoner
of A zkaban










BY
J. K. Rowling
ILLUSTRATIONS BY M ary
G randPr й

ARTHUR A. LEVINE BOOKS
AN IMPRINT OF SCHOLASTIC Press.

T o Jill Prewett and
Aine Kiely,
the GodMothers of Swing




Text copyright © 1999 by J.K. Rowling Illustrations by Mary GrandPrй copyright © 1999 Warner Bros. All rights
reserved. Published by Scholastic Press, a division of Scholastic Inc., Publishers since 1920. scholastic, scholastic press, and the lantern logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc. harry potter and all related characters and elements are trademarks of Warner Bros. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, write
to Scholastic Inc., Attention: Permissions Department, 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.
Library of Congress Cataloging -in-Publication Data
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / by J. K. Rowling. p. cm. Sequel to: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Summary: During his third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter
must confront the devious and dangerous wizard responsible for his parents' deaths. ISBN
0-439 -13635 -0 [1. Wizards —Fiction. 2. Magic —Fiction. 3. Schools —Fiction. 4. England —Fiction.] I. Title. PZ7.R79835Ham 1999
[Fie] —dc21 99 -23982
60 59 58 57 56 55 54 53 52 51
Printed in the U.S.A. 12 First American edition, October 1999

Contents
ONE
Owl Post · 1
TWO
Aunt Marge ’s Big Mistake · 16
THREE
The Knight Bus · 31
FOUR
The Leaky Cauldron · 49
FIVE
The Dementor · 69
SIX
Talons and Tea Leaves · 96
SEVEN
The Boggart in the Wardrobe · 123
EIGHT
Flight of the Fat Lady · 141
 vii ‘

Contents
NINE
Grim Defeat · 162
TEN
The Marauder ’s Map · 183
ELEVEN
The Firebolt · 211
TWELVE
The Patronus · 233
THIRTEEN
Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw · 252
FOURTEEN
Snape ’s Grudge · 269
FIFTEEN
The Quidditch Final · 291
SIXTEEN
Professor Trelawney ’s Prediction · 314
SEVENTEEN
Cat, Rat, and Dog · 332
 viii ‘

Contents
EIGHTEEN
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs · 349
NINETEEN
The Servant of Lord Voldemort · 358
TWENTY
The Dementor ’s Kiss · 378
TWENTY -ONE
Hermione ’s Secret · 386
TWENTY -TWO
Owl Post Again · 416















 ix ‘

Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban

C H A P T E R O N E









OWL POST




arry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For
H
one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any
other time of year. For another, he really wanted to do his home - work
but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also
happened to be a wizard.
It was nearly midnight, and he was lying on his stomach in bed, the
blankets drawn right over his head like a tent, a flashlight in
one hand and a large leather -bound book (A History of Magic by
Bathilda Bagshot) propped open against the pillow. Harry moved the
tip of his eagle -feather quill down the page, frowning as he looked for
something that would help him write his essay, “Witch Burning in the
Fourteenth Century Was Completely Pointless — discuss. ”

The quill paused at the top of a likely -looking paragraph. Harry pushed
his round glasses up the bridge of his nose, moved his flash - light
closer to the book, and read:
 1 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

Non -magic people (more commonly k nown as Muggles) were
particularly afraid of magic in me - dieval times, but not very
good at recognizing it. On the rare occasion that they did catch
a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The
witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame Freezing Charm
and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying a gentle,
tickling sensation. Indeed, Wen - delin the Weird enjoyed being
burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less
than forty -
seven times in various disguises.

Harry put his quill between his teeth and reached underneath his
pillow for his ink bottle and a roll of parchment. Slowly and very
carefully he unscrewed the ink bottle, dipped his quill into it, and began
to write, pausing every now and then to listen, b ecause if any of the
Dursleys heard the scratching of his quill on their way to the bathroom,
he ’d probably find himself locked in the cup - board under the stairs for
the rest of the summer.
The Dursley family of number four, Privet Drive, was the reason that
Harry never enjoyed his summer holidays. Uncle Vernon, Aunt
Petunia, and their son, Dudley, were Harry ’s only living rela - tives.
They were Muggles, and they had a very medieval attitude toward
magic. Harry ’s dead parents, who had been a witch and wi zard
themselves, were never mentioned under the Dursleys ’ roof. For years,
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had hoped that if they kept Harry as
downtrodden as possible, they would be able to squash the magic out
of him. To their fury, they had been unsuc - ce ssful. These days they
lived in terror of anyone finding out that
 2 ‘

OWL POST

Harry had spent most of the last two years at Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry. The most they could do, however, was to
lock away Harry ’s spellbooks, wand, cauldron, and broomstick at the
start of the summer break, and forbid him to talk to the neighbors.
This separation from his spellbooks had been a real problem for Harry,
because his teachers at Hogwarts had given hi m a lot of hol - iday work.
One of the essays, a particularly nasty one about shrink - ing potions,
was for Harry ’s least favorite teacher, Professor Snape, who would be
delighted to have an excuse to give Harry detention for a month. Harry
had therefore sei zed his chance in the first week of the holidays. While
Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley had gone out into the front
garden to admire Uncle Vernon ’s new company car (in very loud
voices, so that the rest of the street would notice it too), Harry had
crept downstairs, picked the lock on the cupboard under the stairs,
grabbed some of his books, and hidden them in his bedroom. As long
as he didn ’t leave spots of ink on the sheets, the Dursleys need never
know that he was studying magic by night.
Harry was particularly keen to avoid trouble with his aunt and uncle at
the moment, as they were already in an especially bad mood with him,
all because he ’d received a telephone call from a fellow wizard one
week into the school vacation.
Ron Weasley, who w as one of Harry ’s best friends at Hogwarts, came
from a whole family of wizards. This meant that he knew a lot of
things Harry didn ’t, but had never used a telephone before. Most
unluckily it had been Uncle Vernon who had answered the call.
“Vernon Dursle y speaking. ”
 3 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

Harry, who happened to be in the room at the time, froze as he heard
Ron ’s voice answer.
“HELLO? HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I — WANT — TO —
TALK — TO — HARRY — POTTER! ”
Ron was yelling so loudly that Uncle Vernon jumped and held the
receiver a foot away from his ear, staring at it with an expression of
mingled fury and alarm.
“WHO IS THIS? ” he roared in the direction of the mouthpiece.
“WHO ARE YOU? ”
“RON — WEASLEY! ” Ro n bellowed back, as though he and Uncle
Vernon were speaking from opposite ends of a football field. “I’M —
A — FRIEND — OF — HARRY ’S — FROM — SCHOOL — ”
Uncle Vernon ’s small eyes swiveled around to Harry, who was rooted
to the spot.
“THERE IS NO HARRY POTTER HERE! ” he roared, now
holding the receiver at arm ’s length, as though frightened it might
explode. “I DON ’T KNOW WHAT SCHOOL YOU ’RE TALK -
ING ABOUT! NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN! DON ’T YOU
COME NEAR MY FAMILY! ”
And he threw the receiver back onto the telephone as if drop - ping a
poisonous spider.
The fight that had followed had been one of the worst ever. “HOW
DARE YOU GIVE THIS NUMBER TO PEOPLE
LIKE — PEOPLE LIKE YOU !” Uncle Vernon had roared, spray -
ing Harry with spit.
Ron obviously realized that he ’d gotten Harry into trouble, because he
hadn ’t called again. Harry ’s other best friend from
 4 ‘

OWL POST

Hogwarts, Hermione Granger, hadn ’t been in touch either. Harry
suspected that Ron had warned Hermione not to call, which was a pity,
because Hermione, the cleverest witch in Harry ’s year, had Muggle
parents, knew perfectly well how to use a telephone, and would
probably have had enough sense not to say that she went t o Hogwarts.
So Harry had had no word from any of his wizarding friends for five
long weeks, and this summer was turning out to be almost as bad as the
last one. There was just one very small improvement — after swearing
that he wouldn ’t use her to send letters to any of his friends, Harry had
been allowed to let his owl, Hedwig, out at night. Uncle Vernon had
given in because of the racket Hedwig made if she was locked in her
cage all the time.
Harry finished writing about Wendelin the Weird and paused to listen
again. The silence in the dark house was broken only by the
distant, grunting snores of his enormous cousin, Dudley. It must be
very late, Harry thought. His eyes were itching with tiredness. Per -
haps he ’d finish this essay tomorrow night. . . .
He replaced the top of the ink bottle; pulled an old pillowcase
from under his bed; put the flashlight, A History of Magic, his essay,
quill, and ink inside it; got out of bed; and hi d the lot under a loose
floorboard under his bed. Then he stood up, stretched, and checked
the time on the luminous alarm clock on his bedside table. It was one
o’clock in the morning. Harry ’s stomach gave a funny jolt. He had
been thirteen years old, wi thout realizing it, for a whole hour.
Yet another unusual thing about Harry was how little he looked
forward to his birthdays. He had never received a birthday card in
 5 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

his life. The Dursleys had completely ignored his last two birthdays,
and he had no reason to suppose they would remember this one. Harry
walked across the dark room, past Hedwig ’s large, empty cage, to the
open window. He leaned on the sill, the cool nigh t air pleasant on his
face after a long time under the blankets. Hedwig had been absent for
two nights now. Harry wasn ’t worried about her: she ’d been gone this
long before. But he hoped she ’d be back soon — she was the only
living creature in this house w ho didn ’t flinch at the sight of him.
Harry, though still rather small and skinny for his age, had grown a few
inches over the last year. His jet -black hair, however, was just as it
always had been — stubbornly untidy, whatever he did to it. The eyes
behi nd his glasses were bright green, and on his forehead, clearly
visible through his hair, was a thin scar, shaped like a bolt of lightning.
Of all the unusual things about Harry, this scar was the most ex -
traordinary of all. It was not, as the Dursleys had pretended for ten
years, a souvenir of the car crash that had killed Harry ’s parents, be -
cause Lily and James Potter had not died in a car crash. They had been
murdered, murdered by the most feared Dark wizard for a hundred
years, Lord Voldemort. Harry had escaped from the same attack with
nothing more than a scar on his forehead, where Volde - mort ’s curse,
instead of killing him, had rebounded upon its origi - nator. Barely alive,
Voldemort had fled. . . .
But Harry had come face -to -face with him at Hogwarts. Re -
membering their last meeting as he stood at the dark window, Harry
had to admit he was lucky even to have reached his thir - teenth
birthday.
He scanned the starry sky for a sign of Hedwig, per haps soaring
 6 ‘

OWL POST

back to him with a dead mouse dangling from her beak, expecting
praise. Gazing absently over the rooftops, it was a few seconds be - fore
Harry realized what he was seeing.
Silhouetted against the golden moon, and growing larger every
moment, was a large, strangely lopsided creature, and it was flap - ping
in Harry ’s direction. He stood quite still, watching it sink lower and
lower. For a split second he hesitated, his hand on the window latch,
wondering whether to slam it shut. But then the bizarre creature
soared over one of the street lamps of Privet Drive, and Harry,
realizing what it was, leapt aside.
Through the window soared three owls, two of them holding up the
thir d, which appeared to be unconscious. They landed with a
soft flump on Harry ’s bed, and the middle owl, which was large and
gray, keeled right over and lay motionless. There was a large pack - age
tied to its legs.
Harry recognized the unconscious owl at once — his name was Errol,
and he belonged to the Weasley family. Harry dashed to the bed,
untied the cords around Errol ’s legs, took off the par - cel, and then
carried Errol to Hedwig ’s cage. Errol opened one bleary eye, gave a
feeble hoot of thanks, and began to gulp some water.
Harry turned back to the remaining owls. One of them, the large
snowy female, was his own Hedwig. She, too, was carrying a parcel and
looked extremely pleased with herself. She gave Harry an affectionate
nip with her beak as he removed her burden, then flew across the
room to join Errol.
Harry didn ’t recognize the third owl, a handsome tawny one, but he
knew at once where it had come from, because in addition to a third
package, it was carrying a letter bearing the Hogwarts
 7 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

crest. When Harry relieved this owl of its burden, it ruffled its feathers
importantly, stretched its wings, and took off through the wind ow into
the night.
Harry sat down on his bed and grabbed Errol ’s package, ripped off the
brown paper, and discovered a present wrapped in gold, and his first
ever birthday card. Fingers trembling slightly, he opened the envelope.
Two pieces of paper fell out — a letter and a news - paper clipping.
The clipping had clearly come out of the wizarding newspaper,
the Daily Prophet, because the people in the black -and -white pic -
ture were moving. Harry picked up the clipping, smoothed it out, and
read:
MINISTRY OF MAGIC EMPLOYEE
SCOOPS GRAND PRIZE
Arthur Weasley, Head of the Misuse of Muggle Ar -
tifacts Office at the Ministry of Magic, has won the
annual Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw.
A delighted Mr. Weasley told the Daily Prophet,
“We will be spending the gold on a summer holi - day
in Egypt, where our eldest son, Bill, works as a curse
breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank. ”
The Weasley family will be spending a month in
Egypt, returning for the start of the new school year
at Hogwar ts, which five of the Weasley chil - dren
currently attend.
Harry scanned the moving photograph, and a grin spread across his
face as he saw all nine of the Weasleys waving furiously at him,
 8 ‘

OWL POST

standing in front of a large pyramid. Plump little Mrs. Weasley; tall,
balding Mr. Weasley; six sons; and one daughter, all (though the
black -and -white picture didn ’t show it) with flaming -red hair. Right in
the middle of the picture was Ron, tall and gang ling, with his pet rat,
Scabbers, on his shoulder and his arm around his little sister, Ginny.
Harry couldn ’t think of anyone who deserved to win a large pile of
gold more than the Weasleys, who were very nice and extremely poor.
He picked up Ron ’s lett er and unfolded it.

Dear Harry,
Happy birthday!
Look, I ’m really sorry about that telephone call. I hope the Muggles
didn ’t give you a hard time. I asked Dad, and he
reckons I shouldn ’t have shouted.
It’s amazing here in Egypt. Bill ’s taken us around all the tombs and
you wouldn ’t believe the curses those old Egyptian wizards put on them.
Mum wouldn ’t let Ginny come in the last one. There were all these
mutant skeletons in there, of Muggles who ’d broken in and grown extra
heads and
stuff.
I couldn ’t believe it when Dad won the Daily Prophet
Draw. Seven hundred galleons! Most of it ’s gone on this trip,
but they ’re going to buy me a new wand for next year.

Harry remembered only too well the occasion when Ron ’s old wand
had snapped. It had happened when the car the two of them had been
flying to Hogwarts had crashed into a tree on the school grounds.
 9 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

We ’ll be back about a week before term starts and we ’ll be going up to
London to get my wand and our new books. Any
chance of meeting you there?
Don ’t let the Muggles get you down!
Try and come to London,



PS. Percy ’s Head Boy. He got the letter last week.
Harry glanced back at the photograph. Percy, who was in his sev - enth
and final year at Hogwarts, was looking particularly smug. He had
pinned his Head Boy badge to the fez perched jauntily on top of his
neat hair, his horn -rimmed glasses flashing in the E gyptian sun. Harry
now turned to his present and unwrapped it. Inside was what looked
like a miniature glass spinning top. There was another note from Ron
beneath it.

Harry — this is a Pocket Sneakoscope. If there ’s someone
untrustworthy around, it ’s supposed to light up and spin. Bill says it ’s
rubbish sold for wizard tourists and isn ’t reliable, because it kept
lighting up at dinner last night. But he didn ’t
realize Fred and George had put beetles in his soup.
Bye —



Harry put the Pocket Sneakoscope on his bedside table, where it stood
quite still, balanced on its point, reflecting the luminous hands of his
clock. He looked at it happily for a few seconds, then picked up the
parcel Hedwig had brought.
 10 ‘

OWL POST

Inside this, too, there was a wrapped present, a card, and a letter, this
time from Hermione.

Dear Harry,
Ron wrote to me and told me about his phone call to your
Uncle Vernon. I do hope you ’re all right.
I’m on holiday in France at the moment and I didn ’t
know how I was going to send this to you — what if they ’d
opened it at customs? — but then Hedwig turned up! I
think she wanted to make sure you got something for your birthday for
a change. I bought your present by owl -order;
there was an advertisement in the Daily Prophet (I’ve
been getting it delivered; it ’s so good to keep up with what ’s going on in
the wizarding world). Did you see that picture of Ron and his family a
week ago? I bet he ’s learning loads.
I’m really jealous — the ancient Egyptian wizards were fas -
cinating.
There ’s some interesting local history of witchcraft here, too. I ’ve rewritten
my whole History of Magic essay to include
some of the things I ’ve found out. I hope it ’s not too long —
it’s two rolls of parchment more than Professor Binns asked
for.
Ron says he ’s going to be in London in the last week of the holidays.
Can you make it? Will your aunt and uncle let you come? I really hope
you can. If not, I ’ll see you on the Hogwarts Express on September first!
Love from
Hermonie
 11 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

PS. Ron says Percy ’s Head Boy. I ’ll bet Percy ’s really pleased.
Ron doesn ’t seem too happy about it.

Harry laughed as he put Hermione ’s letter aside and picked up her
present. It was very heavy. Knowing Hermione, he was sure it would
be a large book full of very difficult spells — but it wasn ’t. His heart
gave a huge bound as he ripped back the paper and saw a sleek black
leather case, with silver words stamped across it, reading
Broomstick Servicing Kit.
“Wow, Hermione! ” Harry whispered, unzipping the case to look
inside.
There was a large jar of Fleetwood ’s High -Fi nish Handle Polish, a pair
of gleaming silver Tail -Twig Clippers, a tiny brass compass to
clip on your broom for long journeys, and a Handbook of Do -It-
Yourself Broomcare.
Apart from his friends, the thing that Harry missed most about
Hogwarts was Quidditch, the most popular sport in the magical world
— highly dangerous, very exciting, and played on broom - sticks. Harry
happened to be a very good Quidditch player; he had been the
youngest person in a century to be picked for one of the Hogwarts
House teams. One of Harry ’s most prized possessions was his Nimbus
Two Thousand racing broom.
Harry put the leather case aside and picked up his last parcel. He
recognized the untidy scrawl on the brown paper at once: this was
from Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper. He tore off the top layer of
paper and glimpsed something green and leathery, but be - fore he
could unwrap it properly, the parcel gave a strange quiver, and
whatever was inside it snapped loudly — as though it had jaws.
 12 ‘

OWL POST

Harry froze. He knew that Hagrid would never send him any - thing
dangerous on purpose, but then, Hagrid didn ’t have a normal person ’s
view of what was dangerous. Hagrid had been known to befriend giant
spiders, buy vicious, three -headed dogs from men in pubs, and sneak
illegal dragon eggs into his cabin.
Harry poked the parcel nervously. It snapped loudly again. Harry
reached for the lamp on his bedside table, gripped it firmly in one han d,
and raised it over his head, ready to strike. Then he seized the rest of
the wrapping paper in his other hand and pulled. And out fell — a
book. Harry just had time to register its hand -
some green cover, emblazoned with the golden title The Monster
Book of Monsters, before it flipped onto its edge and scuttled side -
ways along the bed like some weird crab.
“Uh -oh, ” Harry muttered.
The book toppled off the bed with a loud clunk and shuffled rapidly
across the room. Harry followed it stealthily. The book was hiding in
the dark space under his desk. Praying that the Dursleys were still fast
asleep, Harry got down on his hands and knees and reached toward it.
“Ouch! ”
The book snapped shut on his hand and then flapped past him, still
scuttling on its covers. Harry scrambled around, threw himself forward,
and managed to flatten it. Uncle Vernon gave a loud, sleepy grunt in
the room next door.
Hedwig and Errol watched interestedly as Harry clam ped the
struggling book tightly in his arms, hurried to his chest of drawers, and
pulled out a belt, which he buckled tightly around it. The
Monster Book shuddered angrily, but could no longer flap and snap,
so Harry threw it down on the bed and reac hed for Hagrid ’s card.
 13 ‘

CHAPTER ONE

Dear Harry,
Happy birthday!
Think you might find this useful for next year.
Won’t saQRPRUHKHUH7HOOou when I see you.
Hope the Muggles are treating you right.
All the best,
Hagrid

It struck Harry as ominous that Hagrid thought a biting book would
come in useful, but he put Hagrid ’s card up next to Ron ’s and
Hermione ’s, grinning more broadly than ever. Now there was only the
letter from Hogwarts left.
Noticing that it was rather thicker than usual, Harry slit open the
envelope, pulled out the first page of parchment within, and read:

Dear Mr. Potter,
Please note that the new school year will begin on Septem - ber the first.
The Hogwarts Express will leave from King ’s Cross
station, platform nine and three -quarters, at eleven o ’clock.
Third years are permitted to visit the village of Hogsmeade on certain
weekends. Please give the enclosed permission form
to your parent or guardian to sign.
A list of books for next year is enclosed.
Yours sincerely,


Deputy Headmistress
 14 ‘

OWL POST

Harry pulled out the Hogsmeade permission form and looked at it, no
longer grinning. It would be wonderful to visit Hogsmeade on
weekends; he knew it was an entirely wizarding village, and he had
never set foot there. But how on earth was he going to per - suade
Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia to sign the form?
He looked over at the alarm clock. It was now two o ’clock in the
morning.
Deciding that he ’d worry about the Hogsmeade form when he woke
up, Harry got back into bed and reached up to cross off an - other day
on the chart he ’d made for himself, counting dow n the days left until
his return to Hogwarts. Then he took off his glasses and lay down, eyes
open, facing his three birthday cards.
Extremely unusual though he was, at that moment Harry Potter felt
just like everyone else — glad, for the first time in his life, that it was
his birthday.















 15 ‘

C H A P T E R T W O









AUNT
MARGE ’ S
BIG MISTAKE



arry went down to breakfast the next morning to find the
H
three Dursleys already sitting around the kitchen table.
They were watching a brand -new television, a welcome -home -for -
the -summer present for Dudley, who had been complaining loudly
about the long walk between the fridge and the television in the liv - ing
room. Dudley had spent most of the summer in the kitchen, his piggy
little eyes fixed on the screen and his five chins wobbling as he ate
continually.
Harry sat down between Dudley and Uncle Vernon, a large, beefy man
with very little neck and a lot of mustache. Far from wishing Harry a
happy birthday, none of the Dursleys made any sign that they had
noticed Harry enter the room, but Harry was far too used to this to
care. He helped himself to a piece of toast and then looked up at the

reporter on the television, who was halfway through a report on an
escaped convict:
“. . . The public is warned that Black is armed and extremely
 16 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

dangerous. A special hot line has been set up, and any sighting of Black
should be reported immediately. ”
“No need to tell us he’s no good, ” snorted Uncle Vernon, staring
over the top of his newspaper at the prisoner. “Look at the state of him,
the filthy layabout! Look at his hair! ”
He shot a nasty look sideways at Harry, whose untidy hair had always
been a source of great annoyance to Uncle Vernon. Com - pared to the
man on the television, however, whose gaunt face was surrounded by a
matted, elbow -length tangle, Harry felt very well groomed indeed.
The reporter had reappeared.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will announce to - day — ”
“Hang on! ” barked Uncle Vernon, staring furiously at the re - porter.
“You didn ’t tell us where that maniac ’s escaped from! What use is that?
Lunatic could be coming up the street right now! ”
Aunt Petunia, who was bony and horse -faced, whipped around and
peered intently out of the kitchen window. Harry knew Aunt Petunia
wo uld simply love to be the one to call the hot line num - ber. She was
the nosiest woman in the world and spent most of her life spying on
the boring, law -abiding neighbors.
“When will they learn, ” said Uncle Vernon, pounding the table
with his large pu rple fist, “that hanging ’s the only way to deal with
these people? ”
“Very true, ” said Aunt Petunia, who was still squinting into next door ’s
runner beans.
Uncle Vernon drained his teacup, glanced at his watch, and added, “I’d
better be off in a minute, P etunia. Marge ’s train gets in at ten. ”
 17 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

Harry, whose thoughts had been upstairs with the Broomstick
Servicing Kit, was brought back to earth with an unpleasant bump.
“Aunt Marge? ” he blurted out. “Sh — she ’s not coming here, is
she? ”
Aunt Marge was Uncle Vernon ’s sister. Even though she was not a
blood relative of Harry ’s (whose mother had been Aunt Petunia ’s
sister), he had been forced to call her “Aunt ” all his life. Aunt Marge
lived in the country, in a house with a large garden, where she bred
bulldogs. She didn ’t often stay at Privet Drive, because she couldn ’t
bear to leave her precious dogs, but each of her visits stood out
horribly vividly in Harry ’s mind.
At Dudley ’s fifth birthday party, Aunt Marge had whacked Harry
around the shins with her walking stick to stop him from beating
Dudley at musical statues. A few years later, she had turned up at
Christmas with a computerized robot for Dudley and a box of dog
biscuit s for Harry. On her last visit, the year before Harry started at
Hogwarts, Harry had accidentally trodden on the tail of her favorite
dog. Ripper had chased Harry out into the garden and up a tree, and
Aunt Marge had refused to call him off until past midn ight. The
memory of this incident still brought tears of laugh - ter to Dudley ’s
eyes.
“Marge ’ll be here for a week, ” Uncle Vernon snarled, “and while we ’re
on the subject ” — he pointed a fat finger threateningly at Harry —
“we need to get a few things s traight before I go and col - lect her. ”
Dudley smirked and withdrew his gaze from the television. Watching
Harry being bullied by Uncle Vernon was Dudley ’s favorite form of
entertainment.
 18 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

“Firstly, ” growled Uncle Vernon, “you ’ll keep a civil tongue in your
head when you ’re talking to Marge. ”
“All right, ” said Harry bitterly, “if she does when she ’s talking to me. ”
“Secondly, ” said Uncle Vernon, acting as though he had not heard
Harry ’s reply, “as Marge doesn ’t know anything about your
abnormality, I don ’t want any — any funny stuff while she ’s here.
You behave yourself, got me? ”
“I will if she does, ” said Harry through gritted teeth. “And thirdly, ”
said Uncle Vernon, his mean little eyes now slits in his great purple face,
“we ’ve told Marge you attend St. Brutus ’s Secure Center for Incurably
Criminal Boys. ”
“ What ?” Harry yelled.
“And you ’ll be sticking to that story, boy, or there ’ll be trouble, ” spat
Uncle Vernon.
Harry sat there, white -faced and furious, staring at Uncle Vernon,
hardly able to believe it. Aunt Marge coming for a week - long visit — it
was the worst birthday present the Dursleys had ever given him,
including that pair of Uncle Vernon ’s old socks. “Well, Petunia, ” said
Uncle Vernon, getting heavily to his feet, “I’ll be off to the station,
then. Want to come along for the ride, Dudders? ”
“No, ” said Dudley, whose attention had returned to the televi - sion
now that Uncle Vernon had finished threatening Harry. “Duddy ’s got
to make himself smart for his auntie, ” said Aunt Petunia, smoothing
Dudley ’s thick blond hair. “Mummy ’s bought him a lovely new bow
tie. ”
Uncle Vernon clapped Dudley on his porky shoulder.
 19 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

“See you in a bit, then, ” he said, and he left the kitchen. Harry, who
had been sitting in a kind of horrified trance, had a sudden idea.
Abandoning his toast, he got quickly to his feet and followed Uncle
Vernon to the front door.
Uncle Vernon was pulling on his car coat.
“I’m not taking you, ” he snarled as he turned to see Harry watch -
ing him.
“Like I wanted to come, ” said Harry coldly. “I want to ask you
something. ”
Uncle Vernon eyed him suspiciously.
“Third years at Hog — at my school are allowed to visit the vil - lage
sometimes, ” said Harry.
“So? ” snapped Uncle Vernon, taking his car keys from a hook next to
the door.
“I need you to sign the permission form, ” said Harry in a rush.
“And why should I do that? ” sneered Uncle Vernon.
“Well, ” said Harry, choosing his words carefully, “it’ll be hard work,
pretending to Aunt Marge I go to that St. Whatsits — ” “St. Brutus ’s
Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys! ” bel - lowed Uncle Vernon,
and Harry was pleased to hear a definite note of panic in Uncle
Vernon ’s voice.
“Exactly, ” said Harry, looking calmly up into Uncle Vernon ’s large,
purple face. “It’s a lo t to remember. I ’ll have to make it sound
convincing, won ’t I? What if I accidentally let something slip? ”
“ You ’ll get the stuffing knocked out of you, won ’t you ?” roared Un -
cle Vernon, advancing on Harry with his fist raised. But Harry stood
his groun d.
“Knocking the stuffing out of me won ’t make Aunt Marge for - get
what I could tell her, ” he said grimly.
 20 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

Uncle Vernon stopped, his fist still raised, his face an ugly puce.
“But if you sign my permission form, ” Harry went on quickly, “I swear
I’ll remember where I ’m supposed to go to school, and I ’ll act like a
Mug — like I ’m normal and everything. ”
Harry could tell that Uncle Vernon was thinking it over, even if his
teeth we re bared and a vein was throbbing in his temple. “Right, ” he
snapped finally. “I shall monitor your behavior care - fully during
Marge ’s visit. If, at the end of it, you ’ve toed the line and kept to the
story, I ’ll sign your ruddy form. ”
He wheeled around, pulled open the front door, and slammed it so
hard that one of the little panes of glass at the top fell out. Harry didn ’t
return to the kitchen. He went back upstairs to his bedroom. If he was
going to act like a real Muggle, he ’d bette r start now. Slowly and sadly
he gathered up all his presents and his birthday cards and hid them
under the loose floorboard with his homework. Then he went to
Hedwig ’s cage. Errol seemed to have recovered; he and Hedwig were
both asleep, heads under thei r wings. Harry sighed, then poked them
both awake.
“Hedwig, ” he said gloomily, “you ’re going to have to clear off for a
week. Go with Errol. Ron ’ll look after you. I ’ll write him a note,
explaining. And don ’t look at me like that ” — Hedwig ’s large am - ber
eyes were reproachful — “it’s not my fault. It ’s the only way I ’ll be
allowed to visit Hogsmeade with Ron and Hermione. ”
Ten minutes later, Errol and Hedwig (who had a note to Ron bound to
her leg) soared out of the window and out of sight. Harry, now feeling
thoroughly miserable, put the empty cage away inside the wardrobe.
But Harry didn ’t have long to brood. In next to no time, Aunt
 21 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

Petunia was sh rieking up the stairs for Harry to come down and get
ready to welcome their guest.
“Do something about your hair! ” Aunt Petunia snapped as he reached
the hall.
Harry couldn ’t see the point of trying to make his hair lie flat. Aunt
Marge loved critici zing him, so the untidier he looked, the happier she
would be.
All too soon, there was a crunch of gravel outside as Uncle Vernon ’s
car pulled back into the driveway, then the clunk of the car doors and
footsteps on the garden path.
“Get the door! ” Aun t Petunia hissed at Harry.
A feeling of great gloom in his stomach, Harry pulled the door open.
On the threshold stood Aunt Marge. She was very like Uncle Vernon:
large, beefy, and purple -faced, she even had a mustache, though not as
bushy as his. In one hand she held an enormous suit - case, and tucked
under the other was an old and evil -tempered bulldog.
“Where ’s my Dudders? ” roared Aunt Marge. “Where ’s my neffy -
poo? ”
Dudley came waddling down the hall, his blond hair plastered flat to
his fat head, a bow tie just visible under his many chins. Aunt Marge
thrust the suitcase into Harry ’s stomach, knocking the wind out of him,
seized Dudley in a tight one -armed hug, and planted a large kiss on his
cheek.
Harry knew pe rfectly well that Dudley only put up with Aunt Marge ’s
hugs because he was well paid for it, and sure enough, when they broke
apart, Dudley had a crisp twenty -pound note clutched in his fat fist.
 22 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

“Petunia! ” shouted Aunt Marge, striding past Harry as though he was
a hat stand. Aunt Marge and Aunt Petunia kissed, or rather, Aunt
Marge bumped her large jaw against Aunt Petunia ’s bony cheekbone.
Uncle Vernon now came in, smiling jovially as he shut the door.
“Tea, Marge? ” he said. “And what will Ripper take? ”
“Ripper can have some tea out of my saucer, ” said Aunt Marge as they
all proceeded into the kitchen, leaving Harry alone in the hall with the
suitcase. But Harry wasn ’t complaining; any ex - cuse not to be with
Aunt Marge was fine by him, so he began to heave the case upstairs
into the spare bedroom, taking as long as he could.
By the time he got back to the kitchen, Aunt Marge had been supplied
with tea and fruitcake, and Ripper was lapping noisily in the corner.
Harry saw Aunt Petunia wince slightly as specks of tea and drool
flecked her clean floor. Aunt Petunia hated animals. “Who ’s looking
after the other dogs, Marge? ” Uncle Vernon a sked.
“Oh, I ’ve got Colonel Fubster managing them, ” boomed Aunt Marge.
“He ’s retired now, good for him to have something to do. But I
couldn ’t leave poor old Ripper. He pines if he ’s away from me. ” Ripper
began to growl again as Harry sat down. This direc ted Aunt Marge ’s
attention to Harry for the first time.
“So! ” she barked. “Still here, are you? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry.
“Don ’t you say ‘yes ’ in that ungrateful tone, ” Aunt Marge growled.
“It’s damn good of Vernon and Petunia to keep you. Wouldn ’t have
done it myself. You ’d have gone straight to an or -
phanage if you ’d been dumped on my doorstep. ”
 23 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

Harry was bursting to say that he ’d rather live in an orphanage than
with the Dursleys, but the thought of the Hogsmeade form stopped
him. He forced his face into a painful smile.
“Don ’t you smirk at me! ” boomed Aunt Marge. “I can see you haven ’t
improved since I last saw you. I hoped school would knock some
manners i nto you. ” She took a large gulp of tea, wiped her mustache,
and said, “Where is it that you send him, again, Vernon? ”
“St. Brutus ’s,” said Uncle Vernon promptly. “It’s a first -rate institution
for hopeless cases. ”
“I see, ” said Aunt Marge. “Do they u se the cane at St. Brutus ’s, boy? ”
she barked across the table.
“Er — ”
Uncle Vernon nodded curtly behind Aunt Marge ’s back. “Yes, ” said
Harry. Then, feeling he might as well do the thing properly, he added,
“all the time. ”
“Excellent, ” said Aunt Marge. “I won ’t have this namby -pamby,
wishy -washy nonsense about not hitting people who deserve it. A
good thrashing is what ’s needed in ninety -nine cases out of a hun -
dred. Have you been beaten often? ”
“Oh, yeah, ” said Harry, “loads of t imes. ”
Aunt Marge narrowed her eyes.
“I still don ’t like your tone, boy, ” she said. “If you can speak of your
beatings in that casual way, they clearly aren ’t hitting you hard enough.
Petunia, I ’d write if I were you. Make it clear that you ap - prove t he use
of extreme force in this boy ’s case. ”
Perhaps Uncle Vernon was worried that Harry might forget their
bargain; in any case, he changed the subject abruptly.
 24 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

“Heard the news this morning, Marge? What about that escaped
prisoner, eh? ”

As Aunt Marge started to make herself at home, Harry caught him - self
thinking almost longingly of life at number four without her. Uncle
Vernon and Aunt Petunia usually encour aged Harry to stay out of their
way, which Harry was only too happy to do. Aunt Marge, on the other
hand, wanted Harry under her eye at all times, so that she could boom
out suggestions for his improvement. She delighted in comparing
Harry with Dudley, and took huge plea - sure in buying Dudley
expensive presents while glaring at Harry, as though daring him to ask
why he hadn ’t got a present too. She also kept throwing out dark hints
about what made Harry such an un - satisfactory person.
“You mustn ’t blame yourself for the way the boy ’s turned out,
Vernon, ” she said over lunch on the third day. “If there ’s something
rotten on the inside, there ’s nothing anyone can do about it. ”
Harry tried to concentrate on his food, but his hands shook and
his face was starting to burn with anger. Remember the form , he told
himself. Think about Hogsmeade. Don ’t say anything. Don ’t rise —
Aunt Marge reached for her glass of wine.
“It’s one of the basic rules of breeding, ” she said. “You see it all th e
time with dogs. If there ’s something wrong with the bitch, there ’ll be
something wrong with the pup — ”
At that moment, the wineglass Aunt Marge was holding ex - ploded in
her hand. Shards of glass flew in every direction and Aunt Marge
sputtered and blinked, her great ruddy face dripping. “Marge! ”
squealed Aunt Petunia. “Marge, are you all right? ”
 25 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

“Not to worry, ” grunted Aunt Marge, mopping her face with her
napkin. “Must ha ve squeezed it too hard. Did the same thing at
Colonel Fubster ’s the other day. No need to fuss, Petunia, I have a very
firm grip . . . ”
But Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were both looking at Harry
suspiciously, so he decided he ’d better skip dessert and escape from
the table as soon as he could.
Outside in the hall, he leaned against the wall, breathing deeply. It had
been a long time since he ’d lost control and made something explode.
He couldn ’t afford to let it happen again. The Hogsmeade form wasn ’t
the only thing at stake — if he carried on like that, he ’d be in trouble
with the Ministry of Magic.
Harry was still an underage wizard, and he was forbidden by wizard
law to do magic outside school. His record wasn ’t exactly c lean either.
Only last summer he ’d gotten an official warning that had stated quite
clearly that if the Ministry got wind of any more magic in Privet Drive,
Harry would face expulsion from Hogwarts. He heard the Dursleys
leaving the table and hurried upsta irs out
of the way.

Harry got through the next three days by forcing himself to think
about his Handbook of Do -It-Yourself Broomcare whenever Aunt
Marge started on him. This worked quite well, though it seemed to give
him a glazed look, because Aunt Marge started voicing the opinion
that he was mentally subnormal.
At last, at long last, the final evening of Marge ’s stay arrived. Aunt
Petunia cooked a fancy dinner and Uncle Vernon uncorked several
bottles of wine . They got all the way through the soup and
 26 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

the salmon without a single mention of Harry ’s faults; during the
lemon meringue pie, Uncle Vernon bored them all with a long talk
about Grunnings, his drill -making company; then Aunt Petunia made
coffee and Uncle Vernon brought out a bottle of brandy. “Can I tempt
you, Marge? ”
Aunt Marge had already had quite a lot of wine. Her huge face was very
red.
“Just a small one, then, ” she chuckled. “A bit more than that . . . and a
bit more . . . that ’s the ticket. ”
Dudley was eating his fourth slice of pie. Aunt Petunia was sip - ping
coffee with her little finger sticking out. Harry really wanted to
disappear into his bedroom, but he met Uncle Vernon ’s angry little
eyes and knew he would have to sit it out.
“Aah, ” said Aunt Marge, smacking her lips and putting the empty
brandy glass back down. “Excellent nosh, Petunia. It ’s nor - mally just a
fry -up for me of an evening, with twelve dogs t o look after. . . . ” She
burped richly and patted her great tweed stomach. “Pardon me. But I
do like to see a healthy -sized boy, ” she went on, winking at Dudley.
“You ’ll be a proper -sized man, Dudders, like your father. Yes, I ’ll have
a spot more brandy, V ernon. . . . ”
“Now, this one here — ”
She jerked her head at Harry, who felt his stomach clench. The
Handbook , he thought quickly.
“This one ’s got a mean, runty look about him. You get that with dogs.
I had Colonel Fubster drown one last year. Ratty little thing it was.
Weak. Underbred. ”
Harry was trying to remember page twelve of his book: A
Charm to Cure Reluctant Reversers.
 27 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

“It all comes down to blood, as I was saying the other day. Bad blood
will out. Now, I ’m saying nothing against your family, Petunia ” — she
patted Aunt Petunia ’s bony hand with her shovel - like one — “but
your sister was a bad egg. They turn up in the best families. Then she
ran off with a wastrel and here ’s the result right in front of us. ”
Harry was staring at his plate, a funny ringing in his ears. Grasp
your broom firmly by the tail, he thought. But he couldn ’t remember
what came next. Aunt Marg e’s voice seemed to be boring into him like
one of Uncle Vernon ’s drills.
“This Potter, ” said Aunt Marge loudly, seizing the brandy bottle and
splashing more into her glass and over the tablecloth, “you never told
me what he did? ”
Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were looking extremely tense. Dudley
had even looked up from his pie to gape at his parents. “He — didn ’t
work, ” said Uncle Vernon, with half a glance at Harry. “Unemployed. ”
“As I expected! ” said Aunt Marge, taking a huge sw ig of brandy and
wiping her chin on her sleeve. “A no -account, good -for - nothing, lazy
scrounger who — ”
“He was not, ” said Harry suddenly. The table went very quiet. Harry
was shaking all over. He had never felt so angry in his life. “MORE
BRANDY! ” yell ed Uncle Vernon, who had gone very white. He
emptied the bottle into Aunt Marge ’s glass. “You, boy, ” he snarled at
Harry. “Go to bed, go on — ”
“No, Vernon, ” hiccuped Aunt Marge, holding up a hand, her tiny
bloodshot eyes fixed on Harry ’s. “Go on, boy, g o on. Proud of your
parents, are you? They go and get themselves killed in a car crash
(drunk, I expect) — ”
 28 ‘

AUNT
MARGE ’S BIG
MISTAKE

“They didn ’t die in a car crash! ” said Harry, who found himself on his
feet.
“They died in a car crash, you nasty little liar, and left you to be a
burden on their decent, hardworking relatives! ” screamed Aunt Marge,
swelling with fury. “You are an insolent, ungrateful little — ” But Aunt
Marge suddenly stopped speaking. For a moment , it looked as though
words had failed her. She seemed to be swelling with inexpressible
anger — but the swelling didn ’t stop. Her great red face started to
expand, her tiny eyes bulged, and her mouth stretched too tightly for
speech — next second, several buttons had just burst from her tweed
jacket and pinged off the walls — she was inflating like a monstrous
balloon, her stomach bursting free of her tweed waistband, each of her
fingers blowing up like a salami —
“MARGE! ” yelled Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia together as Aunt
Marge ’s whole body began to rise off her chair toward the ceiling. She
was entirely round, now, like a vast life buoy with piggy eyes, and her
hands and feet stuck out weirdly as she drifted up into th e air, making
apoplectic popping noises. Ripper came skidding into the room,
barking madly.
“NOOOOOOO! ”
Uncle Vernon seized one of Marge ’s feet and tried to pull her down
again, but was almost lifted from the floor himself. A second later,
Ripper leapt forward and sank his teeth into Uncle Vernon ’s leg.
Harry tore from the dining room before anyone could stop him,
heading for the cupboard under the stairs. The cupboard door burst
magically open as he reached it. In seconds, he had heaved his trunk to
the front door. He sprinted upstairs and threw himself
 29 ‘

CHAPTER TWO

under the bed, wrenching up the loose floorboard, and grabbed the
pillowcase full of his books and birthday presents. He wriggled out,
seiz ed Hedwig ’s empty cage, and dashed back downstairs to his trunk,
just as Uncle Vernon burst out of the dining room, his trouser leg in
bloody tatters.
“COME BACK IN HERE! ” he bellowed. “COME BACK AND
PUT HER RIGHT! ”
But a reckless rage had come over Harry. He kicked his trunk open,
pulled out his wand, and pointed it at Uncle Vernon.
“She deserved it, ” Harry said, breathing very fast. “She deserved what
she got. You keep away from me. ”
He fumbled behind him for the latch on the door.
“I’m going, ” Harry said. “I’ve had enough. ”
And in the next moment, he was out in the dark, quiet street, heaving
his heavy trunk behind him, Hedwig ’s cage under his arm.















 30 ‘

C H A P T E R T H R E E









THE KNIGHT BUS




arry was several streets away before he collapsed onto a
H
low wall in Magnolia Crescent, panting from the effort
of dragging his trunk. He sat quite still, anger still surging through him,
listening to the frantic thumping of his heart.
But after ten minutes alone in the dark street, a new emotion overtook
him: panic. Whichever way he looked at it, he had never been in a
worse fix. He was stranded, quite alone, in the dark Mug - gle world,
with absolutely nowhere to go. And the worst of it was, he had just
done serious magic, which meant that he was almost certainly expelled
from Hog warts. He had broken the Decree for the Restriction of
Underage Wizardry so badly, he was surprised Ministry of Magic
representatives weren ’t swooping down on him where he sat.

Harry shivered and looked up and down Magnolia Crescent. What was
going to ha ppen to him? Would he be arrested, or would
 31 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

he simply be outlawed from the wizarding world? He thought of Ron
and Hermione, and his heart sank even lower. Harry was sure that,
criminal or not, Ron and Hermione would want to help him now, but
they were both abroad, and with Hedwig gone, he had no means of
contacting them.
He didn ’t have any Muggle money, either. There was a little wiz - ard
gold in the money bag at the bott om of his trunk, but the rest of the
fortune his parents had left him was stored in a vault at Gringotts
Wizarding Bank in London. He ’d never be able to drag his trunk all the
way to London. Unless . . .
He looked down at his wand, which he was still cl utching in his hand.
If he was already expelled (his heart was now thumping painfully fast),
a bit more magic couldn ’t hurt. He had the Invisi - bility Cloak he had
inherited from his father — what if he bewitched the trunk to make it
feather -light, tied it to his broom - stick, covered himself in the cloak,
and flew to London? Then he could get the rest of his money out of his
vault and . . . begin his life as an outcast. It was a horrible prospect, but
he couldn ’t sit on this wall forever, or he ’d find hims elf trying to
explain to Muggle police why he was out in the dead of night with a
trunkful of spell - books and a broomstick.
Harry opened his trunk again and pushed the contents aside, looking
for the Invisibility Cloak — but before he had found it, he straightened
up suddenly, looking around him once more.
A funny prickling on the back of his neck had made Harry feel he was
being watched, but the street appeared to be deserted, and no lights
shone from any of the large square houses.
He bent over hi s trunk again, but almost immediately stood up once
more, his hand clenched on his wand. He had sensed rather
 32 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

than heard it: someone or something was standing in the narrow gap
between the garage and the fence behind him. Harry squinted at the
black alleyway. If only it would move, then he ’d know whether it was
just a stray cat or — something else.
“ Lumos, ” Harry muttered, and a light appeared at the end of his
wand, almost dazzling him. He held it high over his head, and the
pebble -dashed walls of number two suddenly sparkled; the garage
door gleamed, and between them Harry saw, quite distinctly, the
hulking outline of something very big, with wide, gleaming eyes. Harry
stepped backw ard. His legs hit his trunk and he tripped. His wand flew
out of his hand as he flung out an arm to break his fall, and he landed,
hard, in the gutter —
There was a deafening BANG, and Harry threw up his hands to shield
his eyes against a sudden blindin g light —
With a yell, he rolled back onto the pavement, just in time. A second
later, a gigantic pair of wheels and headlights screeched to a halt exactly
where Harry had just been lying. They belonged, as Harry saw when he
raised his head, to a tripl e-decker, violently purple bus, which had
appeared out of thin air. Gold lettering over
the windshield spelled The Knight Bus.
For a split second, Harry wondered if he had been knocked silly by his
fall. Then a conductor in a purple uniform leapt out of the bus and
began to speak loudly to the night.
“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded
witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board, and we
can tak e you anywhere you want to go. My name is Stan Shunpike, and
I will be your conductor this eve — ”
The conductor stopped abruptly. He had just caught sight of Harry,
who was still sitting on the ground. Harry snatched up his
 33 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

wand again and scrambled to his feet. Close up, he saw that Stan
Shunpike was only a few years older than he was, eighteen or nine -
teen at most, with large, protruding ears and quite a few pimples.
“What were you doin ’ down there? ” said Stan, dropping his pro -
fessional manner.
“Fell over, ” said Harry.
“’Choo fall over for? ” sniggered Stan.
“I didn ’t do it on purpose, ” said Harry, annoyed. One of the knees in
his jeans was torn, and the hand he h ad thrown out to break his fall was
bleeding. He suddenly remembered why he had fallen over and turned
around quickly to stare at the alleyway be - tween the garage and fence.
The Knight Bus ’s headlamps were flooding it with light, and it was
empty.
“’Cho o lookin ’ at? ” said Stan.
“There was a big black thing, ” said Harry, pointing uncertainly into the
gap. “Like a dog . . . but massive . . . ”
He looked around at Stan, whose mouth was slightly open. With a
feeling of unease, Harry saw Stan ’s eyes move to the scar on Harry ’s
forehead.
“Woss that on your ’ead? ” said Stan abruptly.
“Nothing, ” said Harry quickly, flattening his hair over his scar. If the
Ministry of Magic was looking for him, he didn ’t want to make it too
easy for them.
“Woss your name? ” Stan persisted.
“Neville Longbottom, ” said Harry, saying the first name that came
into his head. “So — so this bus, ” he went on quickly, hop -
ing to distract Stan, “did you say it goes anywhere ?”
“Yep, ” said Stan proudly, “anywhere y ou like, long ’s it ’s on land. Can ’t
do nuffink underwater. ’Ere, ” he said, looking suspicious
 34 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

again, “you did flag us down, dincha? Stuck out your wand ’and,
dincha? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry quickly. “Listen, how much would it be to get to
London? ”
“Eleven Sickles, ” said Stan, “but for firteen you get ’ot chocolate, and
for fifteen you get an ’ot water bottle an ’ a toofbrush in the color of
your choice. ”
Harry rummaged once more in his trunk, extracted his money bag, and
shoved some gold into Stan ’s hand. He and Stan then lifted his trunk,
with Hedwig ’s cage balanced on top, up the steps of the bus.
There were no seats; instead, half a dozen brass bedstea ds stood beside
the curtained windows. Candles were burning in brackets beside each
bed, illuminating the wood -paneled walls. A tiny wiz - ard in a nightcap
at the rear of the bus muttered, “Not now, thanks, I ’m pickling some
slugs ” and rolled over in his s leep.
“You ’ave this one, ” Stan whispered, shoving Harry ’s trunk un - der the
bed right behind the driver, who was sitting in an armchair in front of
the steering wheel. “This is our driver, Ernie Prang. This is Neville
Longbottom, Ern. ”
Ernie Prang, an elderly wizard wearing very thick glasses, nod - ded to
Harry, who nervously flattened his bangs again and sat down on his
bed.
“Take ’er away, Ern, ” said Stan, sitting down in the armchair next to
Ernie ’s.
There was another tremendous BANG, and the next moment Harry
found himself flat on his bed, thrown backward by the speed of the
Knight Bus. Pulling himself up, Harry stared out of the dark window
and saw that they were now bowling along a
 35 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

completely different street. Stan was watching Harry ’s stunned face
with great enjoyment.
“This is where we was before you flagged us down, ” he said. “Where
are we, Ern? Somewhere in Wales? ”
“Ar, ” said Ernie.
“How come the Muggles don ’t hear the bus? ” said Harry. “Them! ”
said Stan contemptuously. “Don ’ listen properly, do they? Don ’ look
properly either. Never notice nuffink, they don ’.” “Best go wake up
Madam Marsh, Stan, ” said Ern. “We ’ll be in Abergavenny in a
minute. ”
Stan passed Harry ’s bed and disappeared up a narrow wooden staircase.
Harry was still looking out of the window, feeling in - creasingly
nervous. Ernie didn ’t seem to have mastered the use of a steering
wheel. The Knight Bus kept mounting the pavement, but it didn ’t h it
anything; lines of lampposts, mailboxes, and trash cans jumped out of
its way as it approached and back into position once it had passed.
Stan came back downstairs, followed by a faintly green witch wrapped
in a traveling cloak.
“’Ere you go, Madam Marsh, ” said Stan happily as Ern stamped on the
brake and the beds slid a foot or so toward the front of the bus. Madam
Marsh clamped a handkerchief to her mouth and tot - tered down the
steps. Stan threw her bag out after her and rammed the doors shut;
the re was another loud BANG, and they were thun - dering down a
narrow country lane, trees leaping out of the way. Harry wouldn ’t have
been able to sleep even if he had been trav - eling on a bus that didn ’t
keep banging loudly and jumping a hun - dred miles at a time. His
stomach churned as he fell back to
 36 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

wondering what was going to happen to him, and whether the
Dursleys had managed to get Aunt Marge off the ceiling yet.
Stan had unfurled a copy of the Daily Prophet and was now read -
ing with his tongue between his teeth. A large photograph of a
sunken -faced man with long, matted hair blinked slowly at Harry from
the front page. He looked strangely familiar.
“That man! ” Harry said, forgetting his troubles for a moment. “He was
on the Muggle news! ”
Stanley turned to the front page and chuckled. “Sirius Black, ” he said,
nodding. “’Course ’e was on the Muggle news, Neville, where you
been? ”
He gave a superior sort of chuckle at the blank look on Harry ’s face,
removed the front page, and handed it to Harry.
“You oughta read the papers more, Neville. ”
Harry held the paper up to the candlelight and read:
BLACK STILL AT LARGE
Sirius Black, possibly the most infamous prisoner
ever to be held in Azkaban fortress, is still eluding
capture, the Ministry of Magic confirmed today. “We
are doing all we can to recapture Black, ” said the
Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, this morning,
“and we beg the magical commun ity to remain calm. ”
Fudge has been criticized by some members of the
International Federation of Warlocks for in - forming
the Muggle Prime Minister of the crisis. “Well, really,
I had to, don ’t you know, ” said an
 37 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

irritable Fudge. “Black is mad. He ’s a danger to
anyone who crosses him, magic or Muggle. I have the
Prime Minister ’s assurance that he will not breathe a
word of Black ’s true identity to anyone. And let ’s face
it — who ’d believe him if he did? ” While Muggles
have been told that Black is car - rying a gun (a kind of
metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other), the
magical community lives in
fear of a massacre like that of twelve years ago, when
Black murdered thirteen people with a single curse.

Harry looked into the shadowed eyes of Sirius Black, the only part of
the sunken face that seemed alive. Harry had never met a vampire, but
he had seen pictures of them in his Defense Against the Dar k Arts
classes, and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one.
“Scary -lookin ’ fing, inee? ” said Stan, who had been watching Harry
read.
“He murdered thirteen people ?” said Harry, handing the page
back to Stan, “with one curse ?”
“Yep, ” said Stan, “in front of witnesses an ’ all. Broad daylight. Big
trouble it caused, dinnit, Ern? ”
“Ar, ” said Ern darkly.
Stan swiveled in his armchair, his hands on the back, the better to look
at Harry.
“Black woz a big supporter of You -Know -’O o,” he said. “What,
Voldemort? ” said Harry, without thinking. Even Stan ’s pimples
went white; Ern jerked the steering wheel
 38 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

so hard that a whole farmhouse had to jump aside to avoid the bus.
“You outta your tree? ” yelped Stan. “’Choo say ’is name for? ”
“Sorry, ” said Harry hastily. “Sorry, I — I forgot — ”
“Forgot! ” said Stan weakly. “Blimey, my ’eart ’s goin ’ that fast . . . ”
“So — so Black was a supporter of You -Know -Who? ” Harry
prompted apologetically.
“Yeah, ” said Stan, still rubbing his chest. “Yeah, that ’s right. Very close
to You -Know -’Oo, they say. Anyway, when little ’Arry Potter got the
better of You -Know -’Oo — ”
Harry nervously flattened his bangs down again. “— all
You -Know -’Oo ’s supporters was tracked down, wasn ’t they, Ern?
Most of ’em knew it was all over, wiv You -Know - ’Oo gone, and they
came quiet. But not Sirius Black. I ’eard he thought ’e’d be
second -in-command once You -Know -’Oo ’ad taken over.
“Anyway, they cornered Black in the middle of a street full of Muggles
an ’ Black took out ’is wand and ’e blasted ’alf the street apart, an ’ a
wizard got it, an ’ so did a dozen Muggles what got in the way. ’Orrible,
eh? An ’ you know what Black did then? ” Stan cont inued in a dramatic
whisper.
“What? ” said Harry.
“ Laughed ,” said Stan. “Jus ’ stood there an ’ laughed. An ’ when re -
inforcements from the Ministry of Magic got there, ’e went wiv ’em
quiet as anyfink, still laughing ’is ’ead off. ’Cos ’e’s mad, inee, Er n? Inee
mad? ”
“If he weren ’t when he went to Azkaban, he will be now, ” said
 39 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

Ern in his slow voice. “I’d blow meself up before I set foot in that
place. Serves him right, mind you . . . after what he did. . . . ”
“They ’ad a job coverin ’ it up, din ’ they, Ern? ” Stan said. “’Ole street
blown up an ’ all them Muggles dead. What was it they
said ’ad ’appened, Ern? ”
“Gas explosion, ” grunted Ernie.
“An ’ now ’e’s out, ” said Stan, examining the newspaper pic - ture of
Black ’s gaunt face again. “Never been a breakout from Azkaban
before, ’as there, Ern? Beats me ’ow ’e did it. Frightenin ’, eh? Mind, I
don ’t fancy ’is chances against them Azkaban guards, eh, Ern? ”
Ernie suddenly shivered.
“Talk about summat else, Stan, there ’s a good lad. Them Azka - ban
guards give me the collywobbles. ”
Stan put the paper away reluctantly, and Harry leaned against the
window of the Knight Bus, feeling worse than ev er. He couldn ’t help
imagining what Stan might be telling his passengers in a few nights ’
time.
“’Ear about that ’Arry Potter? Blew up ’is aunt! We ’ad ’im ’ere on the
Knight Bus, di ’n’t we, Ern? ’E was tryin ’ to run for it. . . . ”
He, Harry, had broken wizard law just like Sirius Black. Was in - flating
Aunt Marge bad enough to land him in Azkaban? Harry didn ’t know
anything about the wizard prison, though everyone he ’d ever heard
speak of it did so in the same fearful tone. Hagrid, the Hogwarts
gamekeeper, had spent two months there only last year. Harry
wouldn ’t soon forget the look of terror on Hagrid ’s face when he had
been told where he was going, and Hagrid was one of the bravest
people Harry knew.
 40 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

The Knight Bus rolled through the darkness, scattering bushes and
wastebaskets, telephone booths and trees, and Harry lay, restless and
miserable, on his feather bed. After a while, Stan remembered that
Harry had paid for hot chocolate, but poured it all over Harry ’s pillow
when the bus moved abruptly from Angle - sey to Aberdeen. One by
one, wizards and witches in dressing gowns and slippers descended
from the upper floors to leave the bus . They all looked very pleased to
go.
Finally, Harry was the only passenger left.
“Right then, Neville, ” said Stan, clapping his hands, “where - abouts in
London? ”
“Diagon Alley, ” said Harry.
“Righto, ” said Stan. “’Old tight, then . . . ”
BANG!
They were thundering along Charing Cross Road. Harry sat up and
watched buildings and benches squeezing themselves out of the
Knight Bus ’s way. The sky was getting a little lighter. He would lie low
for a couple of hours, go to Gringotts the moment it ope ned, then set
off — where, he didn ’t know.
Ern slammed on the brakes and the Knight Bus skidded to a halt in
front of a small and shabby -looking pub, the Leaky Cauldron, behind
which lay the magical entrance to Diagon Alley.
“Thanks, ” Harry said to Ern .
He jumped down the steps and helped Stan lower his trunk and
Hedwig ’s cage onto the pavement.
“Well, ” said Harry. “’Bye then! ”
But Stan wasn ’t paying attention. Still standing in the doorway to the
bus, he was goggling at the shadowy entrance to the Leaky Cauldron.
 41 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

“ There you are, Harry, ” said a voice.
Before Harry could turn, he felt a hand on his shoulder. At the
same time, Stan shouted, “Blimey! Ern, come ’ere! Come ’ere !”
Harry looked up at the owner of the hand on his shoulder and felt a
bucketful of ice cascade into his stomach — he had walked right into
Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic himself.
Stan leapt onto the pavement beside them.
“What didja call Neville, Minister? ” he said excitedly. Fudge, a portly
little man in a long, pinstriped cloak, looked cold and exhausted.
“Neville? ” he repeated, frowning. “This is Harry Potter. ” “I knew it! ”
Stan shouted gleefully. “Ern! Ern! Guess ’oo Neville is, Ern! ’E’s ’Arry
Potter! I can see ’is scar! ”
“Yes, ” said Fudge testily, “well, I ’m very glad the Knight Bus picked
Harry up, but he and I need to step inside the Leaky Caul - dron
now . . . ”
Fudg e increased the pressure on Harry ’s shoulder, and Harry found
himself being steered inside the pub. A stooping figure bear - ing a
lantern appeared through the door behind the bar. It was Tom, the
wizened, toothless landlord.
“You ’ve got him, Minister! ” said Tom. “Will you be wanting anything?
Beer? Brandy? ”
“Perhaps a pot of tea, ” said Fudge, who still hadn ’t let go of Harry.
There was a loud scraping and puffing from behind them, and Stan
and Ern appeared, carrying Harry ’s trunk and Hedwig ’s cage and
looking around excitedly.
“’Ow come you di ’n’t tell us ’oo you are, eh, Neville? ” said Stan,
 42 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

beaming at Harry, while Ernie ’s owlish face peered interestedly over
Stan ’s shoulder.
“And a private parlor, please, Tom, ” said Fudge pointedly.
“’Bye, ” Harry said miserably to Stan and Ern as Tom beckoned Fudge
toward the passage that led from the bar.
“’Bye, Neville! ” called Stan.
Fudge marched Harry along the narrow passage after Tom ’s lantern,
and then into a small parlor. Tom clicked his fingers, a fire burst into
life in the grate, and he bowed himself out of the room. “Sit down,
Harry, ” said Fudge, indicating a chair by the fire.
Harry sat down, feeling goose bumps rising up his a rms despite the
glow of the fire. Fudge took off his pinstriped cloak and tossed it aside,
then hitched up the trousers of his bottle -green suit and sat down
opposite Harry.
“I am Cornelius Fudge, Harry. The Minister of Magic. ” Harry already
knew this, of course; he had seen Fudge once be - fore, but as he had
been wearing his father ’s Invisibility Cloak at the time, Fudge wasn ’t to
know that.
Tom the innkeeper reappeared, wearing an apron over his night - shirt
and bearing a tray of tea and crumpets. He placed the tray on a table
between Fudge and Harry and left the parlor, closing the door behind
him.
“Well, Harry, ” said Fudge, pouring out tea, “you ’ve had us all in a right
flap, I don ’t mind telling you. Running away from your aunt and
uncle ’s house like that! I ’d started to think . . . but you ’re safe, and that ’s
what matters. ”
Fudge buttered himself a crumpet and pushed the plate toward Harry.
 43 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

“Eat, Harry, you look dead on your feet. Now then . . . You will be
pleased to hear that we have dealt with the unfortunate blowing -up of
Miss Marjorie Dursley. Two members of the Ac - cidental Magic
Reversal Squad were dispatched to Privet Drive a few hours ago. Miss
Dursley has been punctured and her memory has been modified. She
has no recollection of the incident at all. So that ’s that, and no harm
done. ”
Fudge smiled at Harry over the rim of his teacup, rather like an uncle
surveying a favorite nephew. Harry, who couldn ’t believe his ears,
opened his mouth to speak, couldn ’t think of anything to say, and
closed it again.
“Ah, you ’re worrying about the reaction of your aunt and un - cle? ” said
Fudge. “Well, I won ’t deny that they are extremely angry, Harr y, but
they are prepared to take you back next summer as long as you stay at
Hogwarts for the Christmas and Easter holidays. ” Harry unstuck his
throat.
“I always stay at Hogwarts for the Christmas and Easter holi -
days, ” he said, “and I don ’t ever want to go back to Privet Drive. ”
“Now, now, I ’m sure you ’ll feel differently once you ’ve calmed down, ”
said Fudge in a worried tone. “They are your family, after
all, and I ’m sure you are fond of each other — er — very deep
down. ”
It didn ’t occur to Harry to put Fudge right. He was still waiting to hear
what was going to happen to him now.
“So all that remains, ” said Fudge, now buttering himself a sec - ond
crumpet, “is to decide where you ’re going to spend the last three weeks
of your vacati on. I suggest you take a room here at the Leaky Cauldron
and — ”
 44 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

“Hang on, ” blurted Harry. “What about my punishment? ”
Fudge blinked.
“Punishment? ”
“I broke the law! ” Harry said. “The Decree for the Restriction of
Underage Wizardry! ”
“Oh, my dear boy, we ’re not going to punish you for a little thing like
that! ” cried Fudge, waving his crumpet impatiently. “It was an accident!
We don ’t send people to Azkaban just for blowing up their aunts! ”
But this didn ’t tally at all with Harry ’s past dealings with the Ministry of
Magic.
“Last year, I got an official warning just because a house -elf smashed a
pudding in my uncle ’s house! ” he told Fudge, frowning. “The Ministry
of Magic sa id I ’d be expelled from Hogwarts if there was any more
magic there! ”
Unless Harry ’s eyes were deceiving him, Fudge was suddenly looking
awkward.
“Circumstances change, Harry. . . . We have to take into ac -
count . . . in the present climate . . . Surely you don ’t want to be ex -
pelled? ”
“Of course I don ’t,” said Harry.
“Well then, what ’s all the fuss about? ” laughed Fudge. “Now, have a
crumpet, Harry, while I go and see if Tom ’s got a room for you. ”
Fudge strode out of the parlor and Harry stared after him. There was
something extremely odd going on. Why had Fudge been waiting for
him at the Leaky Cauldron, if not to punish him for what he ’d done?
And now Harry came to think of it, surely it wasn ’t
 45 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

usual for the Minister of Magic himself to get involved in matters of
underage magic?
Fudge came back, accompanied by Tom the innkeeper. “Room
eleven ’s free, Harry, ” said Fudge. “I think you ’ll be very comfortable.
Just one thing, and I ’m sure you ’ll understand . . . I don ’t want you
wandering off into Muggle London, all right? Keep to Diagon Alley.
And you ’re to be back here before dark each night. Sure you ’ll
understand. Tom will be keeping an eye on you for me. ” “Okay, ” said
Harry slowly, “but why — ?”
“Don ’t want to lose you again, do we? ” said Fudge with a hearty laugh.
“No, no . . . best we know where you are. . . . I mean . . . ” Fudge cleared
his throat loudly and picked up his pinstri ped cloak.
“Well, I ’ll be off, plenty to do, you know. . . . ” “Have you had any luck
with Black yet? ” Harry asked. Fudge ’s finger slipped on the silver
fastenings of his cloak. “What ’s that? Oh, you ’ve heard — well, no, not
yet, but it ’s only a matter of time. The Azkaban guards have never yet
failed . . . and they are angrier than I ’ve ever seen them. ”
Fudge shuddered slightly.
“So, I ’ll say good -bye. ”
He held out his hand and Harry, shaking it, had a sudden idea. “Er
— Minister? Can I ask you some thing? ”
“Certainly, ” said Fudge with a smile.
“Well, third years at Hogwarts are allowed to visit Hogsmeade, but my
aunt and uncle didn ’t sign the permission form. D ’you think you could
— ?”
Fudge was looking uncomfortable.
 46 ‘

THE KNIGHT BUS

“Ah, ” he said. “No, no, I ’m very sorry, Harry, but as I ’m not your
parent or guardian — ”
“But you ’re the Minister of Magic, ” said Harry eagerly. “If you gave me
permission — ”
“No, I ’m sorry, Harry, b ut rules are rules, ” said Fudge flatly. “Perhaps
you ’ll be able to visit Hogsmeade next year. In fact, I think it ’s best if
you don ’t . . . yes . . . well, I ’ll be off. Enjoy your stay, Harry. ”
And with a last smile and shake of Harry ’s hand, Fudge left the room.
Tom now moved forward, beaming at Harry.
“If you ’ll follow me, Mr. Potter, ” he said, “I’ve already taken your
things up. . . . ”
Harry followed Tom up a handsome wooden staircase to a door with a
brass number eleven on it, which Tom unlocke d and opened for him.
Inside was a very comfortable -looking bed, some highly pol - ished oak
furniture, a cheerfully crackling fire and, perched on top of the
wardrobe —
“Hedwig! ” Harry gasped.
The snowy owl clicked her beak and fluttered down onto Harry ’s arm.
“Very smart owl you ’ve got there, ” chuckled Tom. “Arrived about five
minutes after you did. If there ’s anything you need, Mr. Potter, don ’t
hesitate to ask. ”
He gave another bow and left.
Harry sat on his bed for a long time, absentmindedly stroking Hedwig.
The sky outside the window was changing rapidly from deep, velvety
blue to cold, steely gray and then, slowly, to pink shot
 47 ‘

CHAPTER THREE

with gold. Harry could hardly believe that he ’d left Privet Drive only a
few hours ago, that he wasn ’t expelled, and that he was now facing
three Dursley -free weeks.
“It’s been a very weird night, Hedwig, ” he yawned. And without even
removing his glasses, he slumped back onto his pillows and fell
asleep.

























 48 ‘

C H A P T E R F O U R









THE LEAKY
CAULDRON




t took Harry several days to get used to his strange new freedom.
I
Never before had he been able to get up whenever he wanted
or eat whatever he fancied. He could even go wherever he pleased, a s
long as it was in Diagon Alley, and as this long cobbled street was
packed with the most fascinating wizarding shops in the world, Harry
felt no desire to break his word to Fudge and stray back into the
Muggle world.
Harry ate breakfast each morning in the Leaky Cauldron, where he
liked watching the other guests: funny little witches from the country,

up for a day ’s shopping; venerable -looking wizards argu -
ing over the latest article in Transfiguration Today ; wild -looking
warlocks; raucous dwarfs; and once, what looked suspiciously like a
hag, who ordered a plate of raw liver from behind a thick woollen
balaclava.
After breakfast Harry would go out into the backyard, take out
 49 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

his wand, tap the third brick from the left above the trash bin, and
stand back as the archway into Diagon Alley opened in the wall.
Harry spent the long sunny days exploring the shops and eating under
the brightly colored umbrellas outside cafes, where his fellow diners
were showing one another their purchases ( “it’s a lunascope, old boy
— no more messing around with moon charts, see? ”) or else
discussing the case of Sirius Black ( “personally, I w on ’t let any of the
children out alone until he ’s back in Azkaban ”). Harry didn ’t have to
do his homework under the blankets by flashlight any - more; now he
could sit in the bright sunshine outside Florean Fortescue ’s Ice Cream
Parlor, finishing all his e ssays with occasional help from Florean
Fortescue himself, who, apart from knowing a great deal about
medieval witch burnings, gave Harry free sundaes every half an hour.
Once Harry had refilled his money bag with gold Galleons, sil - ver
Sickles, and bron ze Knuts from his vault at Gringotts, he had to
exercise a lot of self -control not to spend the whole lot at once. He had
to keep reminding himself that he had five years to go at Hog - warts,
and how it would feel to ask the Dursleys for money for spellboo ks, to
stop himself from buying a handsome set of solid gold Gobstones (a
wizarding game rather like marbles, in which the stones squirt a
nasty -smelling liquid into the other player ’s face when they lose a
point). He was sorely tempted, too, by the perfec t, moving model of
the galaxy in a large glass ball, which would have meant he never had to
take another Astronomy lesson. But the thing that tested Harry ’s
resolution most appeared in his favorite shop, Quality Quidditch
Supplies, a week after he ’d arrive d at the Leaky Cauldron.
 50 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


Curious to know what the crowd in the shop was staring at, Harry
edged his way inside and squeezed in among the excited witches and
wizards until he glimpsed a newly er ected podium, on which was
mounted the most magnificent broom he had ever seen in his life.
“Just come out — prototype — ” a square -jawed wizard was telling his
companion.
“It’s the fastest broom in the world, isn ’t it, Dad? ” squeaked a boy
younger than H arry, who was swinging off his father ’s arm. “Irish
International Side ’s just put in an order for seven of these beauties! ”
the proprietor of the shop told the crowd. “And they ’re favorites for
the World Cup! ”
A large witch in front of Harry moved, and he was able to read the sign
next to the broom:


THE FIREBOLT
THIS STATE -OF -THE -ART RACING BROOM SPORTS A STREAM -
LINED , SUPERFINE HANDLE OF ASH , TREATED WITH A
DIAMOND - HARD POLISH AND HAND -NUMBERED WITH ITS OWN
REGISTRATION NUMBER . EACH INDIVIDUALLY SELECTED BIRCH
TWIG IN THE BROOMTAIL HAS BEEN HONED TO AERODYNAMIC
PERFECTION , GIVING THE FIREBOLT UNSURPASSABLE BALANCE
AND PINPOINT PRECISION . THE FIREBOLT HAS AN ACCELERATION
OF 150 MILES AN HOUR IN TEN SECONDS AND INCORPORATES
AN UNBREAKABLE B RAKING CHARM . P RICE ON REQUEST .

Price on request . . . Harry didn ’t like to think how much gold the
Firebolt would cost. He had never wanted anything as much in his
 51 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

whole life — but he had never lost a Quidditch match on his Nim - bus
Two Thousand, and what was the point in emptying his Gringotts
vault for the Firebolt, when he had a very good broom already? Harry
didn ’t a sk for the price, but he returned, almost every day after that,
just to look at the Firebolt.
There were, however, things that Harry needed to buy. He went to the
Apothecary to replenish his store of potions ingredients, and as his
school robes were now s everal inches too short in the arm and leg, he
visited Madam Malkin ’s Robes for All Occasions and bought new ones.
Most important of all, he had to buy his new schoolbooks, which
would include those for his two new subjects, Care of Magical
Creatures and D ivination.
Harry got a surprise as he looked in at the bookshop window. Instead
of the usual display of gold -embossed spellbooks the size of paving
slabs, there was a large iron cage behind the glass that held
about a hundred copies of The Monster Boo k of Monsters. Torn
pages were flying everywhere as the books grappled with each other,
locked together in furious wrestling matches and snapping
aggressively.
Harry pulled his booklist out of his pocket and consulted it for
the first time. The Monster Book of Monsters was listed as the re -
quired book for Care of Magical Creatures. Now Harry under - stood
why Hagrid had said it would come in useful. He felt relieved; he had
been wondering whether Hagrid wanted help with some terrifying ne w
pet.
As Harry entered Flourish and Blotts, the manager came hurry - ing
toward him.
“Hogwarts? ” he said abruptly. “Come to get your new books? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry, “I need — ”
 52 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


“Get out of the way, ” said the manager impatiently, brushing Harry
aside. He drew on a pair of very thick gloves, picked up a large,
knobbly walking stick, and proceeded toward the door of the
Monster Books ’ cage.
“Hang on, ” said Harry quickly, “I’ve already got one of those. ” “Have
you? ” A look of enormous relief spread over the manager ’s face.
“Thank heavens for that. I ’ve been bitten five times already this
morning — ”
A loud ripping noise rent the air; two of the Monster Books had
seized a third and were pulling it apart.
“Stop it! Stop it! ” cried the manager, poking the walking stick through
the bars and knocking the books apart. “I’m never stocking them again,
never! It ’s been bedlam! I thought we ’d seen the worst
when we bought two hu ndred copies of the Invisible Book of Invisi -
bility — cost a fortune, and we never found them. . . . Well . . . is
there anything else I can help you with? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry, looking down his booklist, “I need Unfogging
the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky. ”
“Ah, starting Divination, are you? ” said the manager, stripping off his
gloves and leading Harry into the back of the shop, where there was a
corner devoted to fortune -telling. A small table was
stacked with volumes such as Predicting the Unpredictable: Insulate
Yourself Against Shocks and Broken Balls: When Fortunes Turn
Foul.
“Here you are, ” said the manager, who had climbed a set of steps
to take down a thick, black -bound book. “ Unfogging the Future.
Very good guide to all your basic fortune -telling methods — palm -
istry, crystal balls, bird entrails — ”
But Harry wasn ’t listening. His eyes had fallen on another book,
 53 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

which was among a display on a small table: Death Omens: What to
Do When You Know the Worst Is Coming.
“Oh, I wouldn ’t read that if I were you, ” said the manager lightly,
looking to see what Harry was staring at. “You ’ll start see - ing death
omens ev erywhere. It ’s enough to frighten anyone to death. ”
But Harry continued to stare at the front cover of the book; it showed
a black dog large as a bear, with gleaming eyes. It looked oddly
familiar. . . .
The manager pressed Unfogging the Future into Harry ’s hands.
“Anything else? ” he said.
“Yes, ” said Harry, tearing his eyes away from the dog ’s and
dazedly consulting his booklist. “Er — I need Intermediate Trans -
figuration and The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Three. ”
Harry emerged from Flourish and Blotts ten minutes later with his new
books under his arms and made his way back to the Leaky Cauldron,
hardly noticing where he was going and bumping into several people.
He tramped up the stairs to his room, went inside , and tipped his
books onto his bed. Somebody had been in to tidy; the win - dows were
open and sun was pouring inside. Harry could hear the buses rolling by
in the unseen Muggle street behind him and the sound of the invisible
crowd below in Diagon Alley. He caught sight of himself in the mirror
over the basin.
“It can ’t have been a death omen, ” he told his reflection defi - antly. “I
was panicking when I saw that thing in Magnolia Crescent. . . . It was
probably just a stray dog. . . . ”
He raised his hand automatically and tried to make his hair lie flat.
 54 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


“You ’re fighting a losing battle there, dear, ” said his mirror in a wheezy
voice.

As the days slipped by, Harry started looking wherever he went for a
sign of Ron or Hermione. Plenty of Hogwarts students were ar - riving
in Diagon Alley now, with the start of term so near. Harry met Seamus
Finnigan and Dean Thomas, his fellow Gryffindors , in Quality
Quidditch Supplies, where they too were ogling the Fire - bolt; he also
ran into the real Neville Longbottom, a round -faced, forgetful boy,
outside Flourish and Blotts. Harry didn ’t stop to chat; Neville
appeared to have mislaid his booklist an d was being told off by his very
formidable -looking grandmother. Harry hoped she never found out
that he ’d pretended to be Neville while on the run from the Ministry of
Magic.
Harry woke on the last day of the holidays, thinking that he would at
least meet Ron and Hermione tomorrow, on the Hog - warts Express.
He got up, dressed, went for a last look at the Fire - bolt, and was just
wondering where he ’d have lunch, when someone yelled his name and
he turned.
“Harry! HARRY! ”
They were th ere, both of them, sitting outside Florean Fortes - cue ’s
Ice Cream Parlor — Ron looking incredibly freckly Her - mione very
brown, both waving frantically at him.
“Finally! ” said Ron, grinning at Harry as he sat down. “We went to the
Leaky Cauldron, but they said you ’d left, and we went to Flourish and
Blotts, and Madam Malkin ’s, and — ”
“I got all my school stuff last week, ” Harry explained. “And how come
you knew I ’m staying at the Leaky Cauldron? ”

 55 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

“Dad, ” said Ron simply.
Mr. Weasley, who worked at the Ministry of Magic, would of course
have heard the whole story of what had happened to Aunt Marge.
“Did you really blow up your aunt, Harry? ” said Hermione in a
very serious voice.
“I didn ’t mean to, ” said Harry while Ron roared with laughter. “I just
— lost control. ”
“It’s not funny, Ron, ” said Hermione sharply. “Honestly, I ’m amazed
Harry wasn ’t expelled. ”
“So am I, ” admitted Harry. “Forget expelled, I thought I was go - ing to
be arrested. ” He looked at Ron. “Your dad doesn ’t know why Fudge
let me off, does he? ”
“Probably ’cause it ’s you, isn ’t it? ” shrugged Ron, still chuckling.
“Famous Harry Potter and all that. I ’d hate to see what the Min -
istry ’d do to me if I ble w up an aunt. Mind you, they ’d have to dig
me up first, because Mum would ’ve killed me. Anyway, you can ask
Dad yourself this evening. We ’re staying at the Leaky Cauldron tonight
too! So you can come to King ’s Cross with us tomorrow! Hermione ’s
there as well! ”
Hermione nodded, beaming. “Mum and Dad dropped me off this
morning with all my Hogwarts things. ”
“Excellent! ” said Harry happily. “So, have you got all your new books
and stuff? ”
“Look at this, ” said Ron, pulling a long thin box out of a bag and
opening it. “Brand -new wand. Fourteen inches, willow, con - taining
one unicorn tail -hair. And we ’ve got all our books — ” He
pointed at a large bag under his chair. “What about those Monster
Books, eh? The assistant nearly cried when we said we wa nted two. ”
 56 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


“What ’s all that, Hermione? ” Harry asked, pointing at not one but
three bulging bags in the chair next to her.
“Well, I ’m taking more new subjects than you, aren ’t I? ” said
Hermione. “Those are my books for Arithmancy, Care of Magical
Creatures, Divination, the Study of Ancient Runes, Muggle Studies
— ”
“What are you doing Muggle Studies for? ” said Ron, rolling his eyes at
Harry. “You ’re Muggle -born! Your mum and dad are Mu g- gles! You
already know all about Muggles! ”
“But it ’ll be fascinating to study them from the wizarding point of
view, ” said Hermione earnestly.
“Are you planning to eat or sleep at all this year, Hermione? ” asked
Harry, while Ron sniggered. Hermione ig nored them. “I’ve still got ten
Galleons, ” she said, checking her purse. “It’s my birthday in
September, and Mum and Dad gave me some money to get myself an
early birthday present. ”
“How about a nice book ?” said Ron innocently.
“No, I don ’t think so, ” said Hermione composedly. “I really want an
owl. I mean, Harry ’s got Hedwig and you ’ve got Errol — ” “I haven ’t,”
said Ron. “Errol ’s a family owl. All I ’ve got is Scab - bers. ” He pulled
his pet rat out of his pocket. “And I want to get him checked over, ” he
added, placing Scabbers on the table in front of them. “I don ’t think
Egypt agreed with him. ”
Scabbers was looking thinner than usual, and there was a defi - nite
droop to his whiskers.
“There ’s a magical creature shop just over there, ” said Harry, who
knew Diagon Alley very well by now. “You could see if they ’ve got
anything for Scabbers, and Hermione can get her owl. ”

 57 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

So they paid for their ice cream and crossed the street to the Magical
Menagerie.
There wasn ’t much room inside. Every inch of wall was hidden by
cages. It was smelly and very noisy because the occupants of these
cages were all squeaking, squawking, jabbering, or hissing. The witch
behind the counter was already ad vising a wizard on the care of
double -ended newts, so Harry, Ron, and Hermione waited, examining
the cages.
A pair of enormous purple toads sat gulping wetly and feasting on dead
blowflies. A gigantic tortoise with a jewel -encrusted shell was glittering
near the window. Poisonous orange snails were ooz - ing slowly up the
side of their glass tank, and a fat white rabbit kept changing into a silk
top hat and back again with a loud popping noise. Then there were cats
of every color, a noisy cage of ravens, a basket of funny
custard -colored furballs that were humming loudly, and on the counter,
a vast cage of sleek black rats that were playing some sort of skipping
game using their long, bald tails.
The double -ended newt wizard left, and Ron approached the c ounter.
“It’s my rat, ” he told the witch. “He been a bit off -color ever since I
brought him back from Egypt. ”
“Bang him on the counter, ” said the witch, pulling a pair of heavy
black spectacles out of her pocket.
Ron lifted Scabbers out of his inside pocket and placed him next to the
cage of his fellow rats, who stopped their skipping tricks and scuffled
to the wire for a better look.
Like nearly everything Ron owned, Scabbers the rat was second - hand
(he had once belonged to Ron ’s brother Percy) and a bit
 58 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


battered. Next to the glossy rats in the cage, he looked especially
woebegone.
“Hm, ” said the witch, picking up Scabbers. “How old is this rat? ”
“Dunno, ” said Ron. “Quite old. He used to belong to my brother. ”
“What powers does he have? ” said the witch, examining Scab - bers
closely.
“Er — ” The truth was that Scabbers had never shown the faintest
trace of interesting powers. The witch ’s eyes moved from Scabbers ’s
tattered left ear to his front paw, which had a toe miss - ing, and tutted
loudly.
“He ’s been through the mill, this one, ” she said. “He was like that
when Percy gave him to me, ” said Ron defen - sively.
“An ordinary common or garden rat like this can ’t be expected to live
longer than three years or so, ” said the witch. “Now, if you were
looking for something a bit more hard -wearing, you might like one of
these — ”
She indicated the black rats, who prompt ly started skipping again. Ron
muttered, “Show -offs. ”
“Well, if you don ’t want a replacement, you can try this rat tonic, ” said
the witch, reaching under the counter and bringing out a small red
bottle.
“Okay, ” said Ron. “How much — OUCH! ”
Ron buckl ed as something huge and orange came soaring from the top
of the highest cage, landed on his head, and then propelled itself,
spitting madly, at Scabbers.
 59 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

“NO, CROOKSHANKS, NO! ” cried the witch, but Scabbers shot
from between her hands like a bar of soap, landed splay -legged on the
floor, and then scampered for the door.
“Scabbers! ” Ron shouted, racing out of the shop after him; Harry
followed.
It took them nearly ten minutes t o catch Scabbers, who had taken
refuge under a wastepaper bin outside Quality Quidditch Supplies.
Ron stuffed the trembling rat back into his pocket and straightened up,
massaging his head.
“What was that? ”
“It was either a very big cat or quite a small tiger, ” said Harry.
“Where ’s Hermione? ”
“Probably getting her owl — ”
They made their way back up the crowded street to the Magical
Menagerie. As they reached it, Hermione came out, but she wasn ’t
carrying a n owl. Her arms were clamped tightly around the enor - mous
ginger cat.
“You bought that monster? ” said Ron, his mouth hanging open.
“He ’s gorgeous, isn ’t he? ” said Hermione, glowing.
That was a matter of opinion, thought Harry. The cat ’s ginger fu r was
thick and fluffy, but it was definitely a bit bowlegged and its face
looked grumpy and oddly squashed, as though it had run headlong into
a brick wall. Now that Scabbers was out of sight, however, the cat was
purring contentedly in Hermione ’s arms. “Hermione, that thing nearly
scalped me! ” said Ron.
“He didn ’t mean to, did you, Crookshanks? ” said Hermione. “And
what about Scabbers? ” said Ron, pointing at the lump in his chest
pocket. “He needs rest and relaxation! How ’s he going to get it with
that thing around? ”
 60 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


“That reminds me, you forgot your rat tonic, ” said Hermione,
slapping the small red bottle into Ron ’s hand. “And stop worrying,
Crookshanks will be sleeping in my dormitory and Scabbers in yours,
what ’s the problem? Poor Crookshanks, that witch said he ’d been in
there for ages; no one wanted him. ”
“I wonder why, ” said Ron sarcastically as they set off toward the Leaky
Cauldron.
They found Mr. Weasley sitting in the bar, reading the Daily
Prophet.
“Harry! ” he said, smiling as he looked up. “How are you? ” “Fine,
thanks, ” said Harry as he, Ron, and Hermione joined Mr. Weasley with
all their shopping.
Mr. Weasley put down hi s paper, and Harry saw the now famil - iar
picture of Sirius Black staring up at him.
“They still haven ’t caught him, then? ” he asked. “No, ” said Mr.
Weasley, looking extremely grave. “They ’ve pulled us all off our
regular jobs at the Ministry to try and find him, but no luck so far. ”
“Would we get a reward if we caught him? ” asked Ron. “It’d be good
to get some more money — ”
“Don ’t be ridiculous, Ron, ” said Mr. Weasley, who on closer in -
spection looked very strained. “Black ’s not going to be caught by a
thirteen -year -old wizard. It ’s the Azkaban guards who ’ll get him back,
you mark my words. ”
At that moment Mrs. Weasley entered the bar, laden with shop - ping
bags and followed by the tw ins, Fred and George, who were about to
start their fifth year at Hogwarts; the newly elected Head Boy, Percy;
and the Weasleys ’ youngest child and only girl, Ginny.
 61 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

Ginny, who had always been very taken with Harry, seemed even more
heartily embarrassed than usual when she saw him, per - haps because
he had saved her life during their previous year at Hogwarts. She went
very red and muttered “hello ” without look - ing at him. Percy,
however, held out his hand solemnly as though he and Harry had never
met and said, “Harry. How nice to see you. ”
“Hello, Percy, ” said Harry, trying not to laugh. “I hope you ’re well? ”
said Percy pompously, shaking hands. It was rather like be ing
introduced to the mayor.
“Very well, thanks — ”
“Harry! ” said Fred, elbowing Percy out of the way and bowing
deeply. “Simply splendid to see you, old boy — ”
“Marvelous, ” said George, pushing Fred aside and seizing Harry ’s
hand in turn. “Absolutely spiffing. ”
Percy scowled.
“That ’s enough, now, ” said Mrs. Weasley.
“Mum! ” said Fred as though he ’d only just spotted her and seiz - ing
her hand too. “How really corking to see you — ”
“I said, that ’s enough, ” said Mrs. Weasley, depositing her shop - ping in
an empty chair. “Hello, Harry, dear. I suppose you ’ve heard our
exciting news? ” She pointed to the brand -new silver badge on Percy ’s
chest. “Second Head Boy in the family! ” she said, swelling with pride.
“And last, ” Fred muttered under his breath.
“I don ’t doubt that, ” said Mrs. Weasley, frowning suddenly. “I notice
they haven ’t made you two prefects. ”
“What do we want to be prefects for? ” said George, looking re - volted
at the very idea. “It’d take all the fun out of life. ”
 62 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


Ginny giggled.
“You want to set a better example for your sister! ” snapped Mrs.
Weasley.
“Ginny ’s got other brothers to set her an example, Mother, ” said Percy
loftily. “I’m going up to change for dinner. . . . ”
He disappeared and George heaved a sigh.
“We tried to shut him in a pyramid, ” he told Harry. “But Mum spotted
us. ”

Dinner that night was a very enjoyable affair. Tom the innkeeper put
three tables together i n the parlor, and the seven Weasleys, Harry, and
Hermione ate their way through five delicious courses. “How ’re we
getting to King ’s Cross tomorrow, Dad? ” asked Fred
as they dug into a sumptuous chocolate pudding.
“The Ministry ’s providing a couple of cars, ” said Mr. Weasley.
Everyone looked up at him.
“Why? ” said Percy curiously.
“It’s because of you, Perce, ” said George seriously. “And there ’ll be
little flags on the hoods, with HB on them — ”
“— for Humongous Bighead, ” said Fred.
Everyone except Percy and Mrs. Weasley snorted into their pud - ding.
“Why are the Ministry providing cars, Father? ” Percy asked again, in a
dignified voice.
“Well, as we haven ’t got one anymore, ” said Mr. Weasley, “— and as I
work there, they ’re doing me a favor — ”
His voice was casual, but Harry couldn ’t help noticing that Mr.
Weasley ’s ears had gone red, just like Ron ’s did when he was under
pressure.
 63 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

“Good thing, too, ” said Mrs. Weasley briskly. “Do you realize how
much luggage you ’ve all got between you? A nice sight you ’d be on the
Muggle Underground. . . . You are all packed, aren ’t you? ”
“Ron hasn ’t put all his new things in his trunk yet, ” said Percy, in a
long -suffering voice. “He ’s dumped them on my bed. ” “You ’d better
go and pack properly, Ron, because we won ’t have much time in the
morning, ” Mrs. Weasley called down the table. Ron scowled at Percy.
After dinner everyone felt very full and sleepy. One by one they made
their way upstairs to their rooms to check their things for the next day.
Ron and Percy were next door to Harry. He had just closed and locked
his own trunk when he heard angry voices th rough the wall, and went
to see what was going on.
The door of number twelve was ajar and Percy was shouting.
“It was here, on the bedside table, I took it off for polishing — ”
“I haven ’t touched it, all right? ” Ron roared back.
“What ’s up? ” said Harry.
“My Head Boy badge is gone, ” said Percy, rounding on Harry. “So ’s
Scabbers ’s rat tonic, ” said Ron, throwing things out of his trunk to
look. “I think I might ’ve left it in the bar — ”
“You ’re not going anywhere till you ’ve found my badge! ” yelled Percy.
“I’ll get Scabbers ’s stuff, I ’m packed, ” Harry said to Ron, and he went
downstairs.
Harry was halfway along the passage to the bar, which was now very
dark, when he heard another pair of angry voices coming from the
parlor. A second la ter, he recognized them as Mr. and Mrs.
 64 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


Weasleys ’. He hesitated, not wanting them to know he ’d heard them
arguing, when the sound of his own name made him stop, then move
closer to the parlor door.
“. . . makes no sense not to tell him, ” Mr. Weasley was saying heatedly.
“Harry ’s got a right to know. I ’ve tried to tell Fudge, but he insists on
treating Harry like a child. He ’s thirteen years old and — ”
“Arthur, t he truth would terrify him! ” said Mrs. Weasley shrilly. “Do
you really want to send Harry back to school with that hang -
ing over him? For heaven ’s sake, he ’s happy not knowing! ”
“I don ’t want to make him miserable, I want to put him on his guard! ”
ret orted Mr. Weasley. “You know what Harry and Ron are like,
wandering off by themselves — they ’ve even ended up in the
Forbidden Forest! But Harry mustn ’t do that this year! When I think
what could have happened to him that night he ran away from home!
If th e Knight Bus hadn ’t picked him up, I ’m prepared to bet he would
have been dead before the Ministry found him. ”
“But he ’s not dead, he ’s fine, so what ’s the point — ”
“Molly, they say Sirius Black ’s mad, and maybe he is, but he was clever
enough to escap e from Azkaban, and that ’s supposed to be impossible.
It’s been a month, and no one ’s seen hide nor hair of
him, and I don ’t care what Fudge keeps telling the Daily Prophet,
we ’re no nearer catching Black than inventing self -spelling wands. The
only thing we know for sure is what Black ’s after — ”
“But Harry will be perfectly safe at Hogwarts. ”
“We thought Azkaban was perfectly safe. If Black can break out of
Azkaban, he can break into Hogwarts. ”
“But no one ’s really sure that Black ’s a fter Harry — ”
 65 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

There was a thud on wood, and Harry was sure Mr. Weasley had
banged his fist on the table.
“Molly, how many times do I have to tell you? They didn ’t report it in
the press because Fudge wanted it kept quiet, but Fudge went out to
Azkaban the night Black escaped. The guards told Fudge that Black ’s
been talking in his sleep for a while now. Always the same words: ‘He ’s
at Hogwarts . . . he ’s at Hogwarts. ’ Black is de - ranged, Molly, and he
wants Harry dead. If you ask me, he thinks murdering Harry will bring
You -Know -Who back to power. Black lost everything the night Harry
stopped You -Know -Who, and he ’s had twelve years alone in Azkaban
to brood on that. . . . ”
There was a silence. Harry leaned still closer to the door, desper - ate to
hear more.
“Well, Arthur, you must do what you think is right. But you ’re
forgetting Albus Dumbledore. I don ’t think anything could hurt Harry
at Hogwarts while Dumbledore ’s headmaster. I suppose he knows
about all this? ”
“Of course he knows. We had to ask him if he minds the Azka - ban
guards stationing themselves around the entrances to the school
grounds. He wasn ’t happy about it, but he agreed. ”
“Not happy? Why shouldn ’t he be happy, if they ’re there to catch
Black? ”
“Dumbledore isn ’t fond of the Azkaban guards, ” said Mr. Weasley
heavily. “Nor am I, if it comes to that . . . but when you ’re dealing with
a wizard like Black, you sometimes have to join forces with those
you ’d rather avoid. ”
“If they save Harry — ”
“— then I will never say another word against them, ” said Mr. Weasley
wearily. “It’s late, Molly, we ’d better go up. . . . ”
 66 ‘

THE LEAKY
CAULDRON


Harry heard chairs move. As quietly as he could, he hurried down the
passage to the bar and out of sight. The parlor door opened, and a few
seconds later footsteps told him that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were
climbing the stairs.
The bottle of rat tonic was lying under the table they had sat at earlier.
Harry waited until he heard Mr. and Mrs. Weasley ’s bed - room door
close, then headed back upstairs with the bottle.
Fred and George were crouching in the shadows on the landing,
heaving with laughter as they listened to Percy dismantling his and
Ron ’s room in search of his badge.
“We ’ve got it, ” Fred whispered to Harry. “We ’ve been improv - ing it. ”
The badge now read Bighead Boy.
Harry forced a laugh, went to give Ron the rat tonic, then shut himself
in his room and lay down on his bed.
So Sirius Black was after him. This explained everything. Fudge had
been lenient with him because he was so relieved to find him alive.
He ’d made Harry promise to stay in Diagon Alley where there were
plenty of wizards to keep an eye on him. And he was sending two
Ministry cars to take them all to the station tomorrow, so that the
Weasleys could look after Harry until he was on the train.
Harry lay listening to the muffled shouting next door and won - dered
why he didn ’t feel more scared. Sirius Black had murdered thirteen
people with one curse; Mr. and Mrs. Weasley obviously thought Harry
would be panic -stricken if he knew the truth. But Harry happened to
agree wholeheartedly with Mrs. Weasley that the safest pl ace on earth
was wherever Albus Dumbledore hap - pened to be. Didn ’t people
always say that Dumbledore was the
 67 ‘

CHAPTER FOUR

only person Lord Voldemort had ever been afraid of? Surely Black, as
Voldemort ’s right -hand man, would be just as frightened of him? And
then there were these Azkaban guards everyone kept talking about.
They seemed to scare most people senseless, and if they were stationed
all around the school, Black ’s chances of getting inside seem ed very
remote.
No, all in all, the thing that bothered Harry most was the fact that his
chances of visiting Hogsmeade now looked like zero. No - body would
want Harry to leave the safety of the castle until Black was caught; in
fact, Harry suspected his every move would be care - fully watched
until the danger had passed.
He scowled at the dark ceiling. Did they think he couldn ’t look after
himself? He ’d escaped Lord Voldemort three times; he wasn ’t
completely usel ess. . . .
Unbidden, the image of the beast in the shadows of Magnolia
Crescent crossed his mind. What to do when you know the worst is
coming. . . .
“I’m not going to be murdered, ” Harry said out loud.
“That ’s the spirit, dear, ” said his mirror sleepily.











 68 ‘

C H A P T E R F I V E









THE DEMENTOR




om woke Harry the next morning with his usual toothless
T
grin and a cup of tea. Harry got dressed and was just per -
suading a disgruntled Hedwig to get back into her cage when Ron
banged his way into the room, pulling a sweatshirt over his head and
looking irritable.
“The sooner we get on the train, the better, ” he said. “At least I can get
away from Percy at Hogwarts. Now he ’s accusing me of dripping tea
on his photo of Penelope Clearwater. You know, ” Ron
grimaced, “his girlfriend. She ’s hidden her face under the frame be -
cause her nose has gone all blotchy. . . . ”
“I’ve got something to tell you, ” Harry began, but they were in -
terrupted by Fred and George, who had looked in to congratulate Ron

on infuriating Percy again.
They head ed down to breakfast, where Mr. Weasley was reading
the front page of the Daily Prophet with a furrowed brow and Mrs.
 69 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

Weasley was telling Hermione and Ginny about a love potion she ’d
made as a young girl. All three of them were rather giggly.
“What were you saying? ” Ron asked Harry as they sat down.
“Later, ” Harry muttered as Percy stormed in.
Harry had no chance to speak to Ron or Hermione in the chaos of
leaving; they were too busy heaving all their trunks down the Leaky
Cauldron ’s narrow staircase and piling them up near the door, with
Hedwig and Hermes, Percy ’s screech owl, perched on top in their
cages. A small wickerwork basket stood beside the heap of trunks,
spitting loudl y.
“It’s all right, Crookshanks, ” Hermione cooed through the wicker -
work. “I’ll let you out on the train. ”
“You won ’t,” snapped Ron. “What about poor Scabbers, eh? ” He
pointed at his chest, where a large lump indicated that Scab - bers was
curled up in his pocket.
Mr. Weasley, who had been outside waiting for the Ministry cars, stuck
his head inside.
“They ’re here, ” he said. “Harry, come on. ”
Mr. Weasley marched Harry across the short stretch of pave - ment
toward the first of tw o old -fashioned dark green cars, each of which
was driven by a furtive -looking wizard wearing a suit of emerald velvet.
“In you get, Harry, ” said Mr. Weasley, glancing up and down the
crowded street.
Harry got into the back of the car and was shortly joi ned by Hermione,
Ron, and, to Ron ’s disgust, Percy.
The journey to King ’s Cross was very uneventful compared with
Harry ’s trip on the Knight Bus. The Ministry of Magic cars seemed
 70 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

almost or dinary, though Harry noticed that they could slide through
gaps that Uncle Vernon ’s new company car certainly couldn ’t have
managed. They reached King ’s Cross with twenty minutes to spare; the
Ministry drivers found them trolleys, un - loaded their trunks, touched
their hats in salute to Mr. Weasley, and drove away, somehow
managing to jump to the head of an un - moving line at the traffic
lights.
Mr. Weasley kept close to Harry ’s elbow all the way into the station.
“Right then, ” he said, glancing around t hem. “Let ’s do this in pairs, as
there are so many of us. I ’ll go through first with Harry. ” Mr. Weasley
strolled toward the barrier between platforms nine and ten, pushing
Harry ’s trolley and apparently very interested in the InterCity 125 that
had just a rrived at platform nine. With a meaningful look at Harry, he
leaned casually against the barrier. Harry imitated him.
In a moment, they had fallen sideways through the solid metal onto
platform nine and three -quarters and looked up to see the Hogwarts
Express, a scarlet steam engine, puffing smoke over a platform packed
with witches and wizards seeing their children onto the train.
Percy and Ginny suddenly appeared behind Harry. They were panting
and had apparently taken the barrier at a run .
“Ah, there ’s Penelope! ” said Percy, smoothing his hair and going pink
again. Ginny caught Harry ’s eye, and they both turned away to hide
their laughter as Percy strode over to a girl with long, curly hair,
walking with his chest thrown out so that she couldn ’t miss his shiny
badge.
 71 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

Once the remaining Weasleys and Hermione had joined them, Harry
and Ron led the way to the end of the train, past packed compartments,
to a carriage that looked quite empty. They loaded the trunks onto it,
stowed Hedwig and Crookshanks in the luggage rack, then went back
outside to say good -bye to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
Mrs. Weasley kissed all her children, then Hermione, and finally, Harry.
He was embarrassed, but really quite pleased, when she gave him an
extra hug.
“Do take care, won ’t you, Harry? ” she said as she straightened up, her
eyes oddly bright. Then she opened her enormous handbag and said,
“I’ve made you all s andwiches. . . . Here you are, Ron . . . no, they ’re
not corned beef. . . . Fred? Where ’s Fred? Here you are, dear. . . . ”
“Harry, ” said Mr. Weasley quietly, “come over here a mo - ment. ”
He jerked his head toward a pillar, and Harry followed him be - hind it,
leaving the others crowded around Mrs. Weasley. “There ’s something
I’ve got to tell you before you leave — ” said Mr. Weasley, in a tense
voice.
“It’s all right, Mr. Weasley, ” said Harry. “I already know. ”
“You know? How could you know? ”
“I — er — I heard you and Mrs. Weasley talking last night. I couldn ’t
help hearing, ” Harry added quickly. “Sorry — ”
“That ’s not the way I ’d have chosen for you to find out, ” said Mr.
Weasley, looking anxious.
“No — honestly, it ’s okay. This way, you haven ’t broken your word to
Fudge and I know what ’s going on. ”
“Harry, you must be very scared — ”
 72 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“I’m not, ” said Harry sincerely. “ Really, ” he added, because Mr.
Weasley was looking disbelieving. “I’m not trying to be a hero, but
seriously, Sirius Black can ’t be worse than Voldemort, can he? ”
Mr. Weasley flinched at the sound of the name but over - looked it.
“Harry, I knew you were, well, made of stronger stuff than Fudge
seems to think, and I ’m obv iously pleased that you ’re not scared, but
— ”
“Arthur! ” called Mrs. Weasley, who was now shepherding the rest
onto the train. “Arthur, what are you doing? It ’s about to go! ” “He ’s
coming, Molly! ” said Mr. Weasley but he turned back to Harry and
kept tal king in a lower and more hurried voice. “Listen, I want you to
give me your word — ”
“— that I ’ll be a good boy and stay in the castle? ” said Harry gloomily.
“Not entirely, ” said Mr. Weasley, who looked more serious than
Harry had ever seen him. “Harry, swear to me you won ’t go looking
for Black. ”
Harry stared. “What? ”
There was a loud whistle. Guards were walking along the train,
slamming all the doors shut.
“Promise me, Harry, ” said Mr. Weasley, talking more quickly still,
“that whatever happens — ”
“Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me? ” said
Harry blankly.
“Swear to me that whatever you might hear — ”
“Arthur, quickly! ” cried Mrs. Weasley.
Steam was billowing from the train; it had started to move. Harry ran
to the compartment door and Ron threw it open and
 73 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

stood back to let him on. They leaned out of the window and waved at
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley until the train turned a corner and blocked them
from view.
“I need to talk to you in private, ” Harry muttered to Ron and
Hermione as the train picked up speed.
“Go away, Ginny, ” said Ron.
“Oh, that ’s nice, ” said Ginny huffily, and she stalked off. Harry, Ron,
and Hermione set off down the corridor, looking for an empty
compartment, but all were full except for the one at the very end of the
train.
This had only one occupant, a man sitting fast asleep next to the
window. Harry, Ron, and Hermione c hecked on the threshold. The
Hogwarts Express was usually reserved for students and they had
never seen an adult there before, except for the witch who pushed the
food cart.
The stranger was wearing an extremely shabby set of wizard ’s robes
that had been darned in several places. He looked ill and ex - hausted.
Though quite young, his light brown hair was flecked with gray.
“Who d ’you reckon he is? ” Ron hissed as they sat down and slid the
door shut, taking the seats farthest away from the window. “Profe ssor
R. J. Lupin, ” whispered Hermione at once.
“How d ’you know that? ”
“It’s on his case, ” she replied, pointing at the luggage rack over the
man ’s head, where there was a small, battered case held to - gether with
a large quantity of neatly knotted stri ng. The name
Professor R. J. Lupin was stamped across one corner in peeling
letters.
 74 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“Wonder what he teaches? ” said Ron, frowning at Professor Lupin ’s
pallid profile.
“That ’s obvious, ” whispered Hermione. “There ’s only one va - cancy,
isn ’t there? Defense Against the Dark Arts. ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione had already had two Defense Against the
Dark Arts teachers, both of whom had lasted only one year. There
were rumors that the job wa s jinxed.
“Well, I hope he ’s up to it, ” said Ron doubtfully. “He looks like one
good hex would finish him off, doesn ’t he? Anyway . . . ” He turned to
Harry. “What were you going to tell us? ”
Harry explained all about Mr. and Mrs. Weasley ’s argument and the
warning Mr. Weasley had just given him. When he ’d finished, Ron
looked thunderstruck, and Hermione had her hands over her mouth.
She finally lowered them to say, “Sirius Black escaped to
come after you ? Oh, Harry . . . you ’ll have to be really, re ally care -
ful. Don ’t go looking for trouble, Harry — ”
“I don ’t go looking for trouble, ” said Harry, nettled. “Trouble
usually finds me. ”
“How thick would Harry have to be, to go looking for a nutter who
wants to kill him? ” said Ron shakily.
They were taking the news worse than Harry had expected. Both Ron
and Hermione seemed to be much more frightened of Black than he
was.
“No one knows how he got out of Azkaban, ” said Ron uncom -
fortably. “No one ’s ever done it before. And he was a top -se curity
prisoner too. ”
“But they ’ll catch him, won ’t they? ” said Hermione earnestly. “I mean,
they ’ve got all the Muggles looking out for him too. . . . ”
 75 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

“What ’s that noise? ” said Ron suddenly.
A faint, tinny sort of whistle was coming from somewhere. They
looked all around the compartment.
“It’s coming from your trunk, Harry, ” said Ron, standing up and
reaching into the luggage rack. A moment later he had pulled the
Pocket Sneakoscope out from between Harry ’s robes. It was spin -
ning very fast in the palm of Ron ’s hand and glowing brilliantly.
“Is that a Sneakoscope ?” said Hermione interestedly, standing up
for a better look.
“Yeah . . . mind you, it ’s a very cheap one, ” Ron said. “It went haywire
just as I was tying it to Errol ’s leg to send it to Harry. ” “Were you doing
anything untrustworthy at the time? ” said Hermione shrewdly.
“No! Well . . . I wasn ’t supposed to be using Errol. You know he ’s not
really up to long journeys . . . but how else was I supposed to get
Harry ’s present to him? ”
“Stick it back in the trunk, ” Harry advised as the Sneakoscope whistled
piercingly, “or it ’ll wake him up. ”
He nodded toward Professor Lupin. Ron stuffed the Sneako - scope
into a particularl y horrible pair of Uncle Vernon ’s old socks, which
deadened the sound, then closed the lid of the trunk on it. “We could
get it checked in Hogsmeade, ” said Ron, sitting back down. “They sell
that sort of thing in Dervish and Banges, magical instruments and stuff.
Fred and George told me. ”
“Do you know much about Hogsmeade? ” asked Hermione keenly.
“I’ve read it ’s the only entirely non -Muggle settlement in Britain — ”
“Yeah, I think it is, ” said Ron in an offhand sort of way,
 76 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“but that ’s not why I want to go. I just want to get inside Honey -
dukes! ”
“What ’s that? ” said Hermione.
“It’s this sweetshop, ” said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his
face, “where they ’ve got everything. . . . Pepper Imps — they make
you smoke at the mouth — and great fat Chocoballs full of straw -
berry mousse and clotted cream, and really excellent sugar quills, which
you can suck in class and just look like you ’re thinking what to write
next — ”
“But Hogsmeade ’s a very interesting place, isn ’t it? ” Hermione
pressed on eagerly. “In Sites of Historical Sorcery it says the inn was
the headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion, and the Shrieking
Shack ’s supposed to be the most severely hau nted building in Britain
— ”
“— and massive sherbet balls that make you levitate a few inches off
the ground while you ’re sucking them, ” said Ron, who was plainly not
listening to a word Hermione was saying.
Hermione looked around at Harry.
“Won ’t it be nice to get out of school for a bit and explore
Hogsmeade? ”
“’Spect it will, ” said Harry heavily. “You ’ll have to tell me when you ’ve
found out. ”
“What d ’you mean? ” said Ron.
“I can ’t go. The Dursleys didn ’t sign my permission form, and Fudg e
wouldn ’t either. ”
Ron looked horrified.
“ You ’re not allowed to come ? But — no way — McGonagall or
someone will give you permission — ”
 77 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

Harry gave a hollow laugh. Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor
House, was very strict.
“— or we can ask Fred and George, they know every secret pas - sage
out of the castle — ”
“Ron! ” said Hermione sharply. “I don ’t think Harry should be
sneaking out of school with Black on the loose — ”
“Yeah, I expect that ’s what McGonagall will say when I ask for
permission, ” said Harry bitterly.
“But if we ’re with him, ” said Ron spiritedly to Hermione, “Black
wouldn ’t dare — ”
“Oh, Ron, don ’t talk rubbish, ” snapped Hermione. “Black ’s al - ready
m urdered a whole bunch of people in the middle of a crowded street.
Do you really think he ’s going to worry about at -
tacking Harry just because we ’re there? ”
She was fumbling with the straps of Crookshanks ’s basket as she
spoke.
“Don ’t let that thing out! ” Ron said, but too late; Crookshanks leapt
lightly from the basket, stretched, yawned, and sprang onto Ron ’s
knees; the lump in Ron ’s pocket trembled and he shoved Crookshanks
angrily away.
“Get out of here! ”
“Ron, don ’t!” said He rmione angrily.
Ron was about to answer back when Professor Lupin stirred. They
watched him apprehensively, but he simply turned his head the other
way, mouth slightly open, and slept on.
The Hogwarts Express moved steadily north and the scenery outsid e
the window became wilder and darker while the clouds overhead
thickened. People were chasing backward and forward past the door of
their compartment. Crookshanks had now settled
 78 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

in an empty seat, his squashed face turned toward Ron, his yellow eyes
on Ron ’s top pocket.
At one o ’clock, the plump witch with the food cart arrived at the
compartment door.
“D ’you think we should wake him up? ” Ron asked awkwardly,
nodding toward Professor Lupin. “He looks like he could do with
some food. ”
Hermione approached Professor Lupin cautiously. “Er
— Professor? ” she said. “Excuse me — Professor? ” He
didn ’t move.
“Don ’t worry, dear, ” said the witch as she handed Harry a l arge stack
of Cauldron Cakes. “If he ’s hungry when he wakes, I ’ll be up front
with the driver. ”
“I suppose he is asleep? ” said Ron quietly as the witch slid the
compartment door closed. “I mean — he hasn ’t died, has he? ” “No,
no, he ’s breathing, ” whis pered Hermione, taking the Caul - dron Cake
Harry passed her.
He might not be very good company, but Professor Lupin ’s pres - ence
in their compartment had its uses. Midafternoon, just as it had started
to rain, blurring the rolling hills outside the window , they heard
footsteps in the corridor again, and their three least fa - vorite people
appeared at the door: Draco Malfoy, flanked by his cronies, Vincent
Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.
Draco Malfoy and Harry had been enemies ever since they had met on
their very first train journey to Hogwarts. Malfoy, who had a pale,
pointed, sneering face, was in Slytherin House; he played Seeker on the
Slytherin Quidditch team, the same position that Harry played on the
Gryffindor team. Crabbe and Goyle se emed to exist to do Malfoy ’s
bidding. They were both wide and
 79 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

musclely; Crabbe was taller, with a pudding -bowl haircut and a very
thick neck; Goyle had short, bristly hair and long, gorilla -ish arms.
“Well, look who it is, ” said Malfoy in his usual lazy drawl, pulling open
the compartment door. “Potty and the Weasel. ” Crabbe and Goyle
chuckled trollishly.
“I heard your father finally got his hands on some gold this sum - mer,
Weasley, ” said Malfoy. “Did your mother die of shock? ” Ron stood up
so quickly he knocked Crookshanks ’s basket to the floor. Professor
Lupin gave a snort.
“Who ’s that? ” said Malfoy, taking an automatic step backward as he
spotted Lupin.
“New teacher, ” said Harry, who got to his feet, too, in case he needed
to hold Ron back. “What were you saying, Malfoy? ” Malfoy ’s pale eyes
narrowed; he wasn ’t fool enough to pick a fight right under a teacher ’s
nose.
“C’mon, ” he muttered resentfully to Crabbe and Goyle, and they
disappear ed.
Harry and Ron sat down again, Ron massaging his knuckles. “I’m not
going to take any crap from Malfoy this year, ” he said angrily. “I mean
it. If he makes one more crack about my family, I ’m going to get hold
of his head and — ”
Ron made a violent ges ture in midair.
“Ron, ” hissed Hermione, pointing at Professor Lupin, “be care -
ful . . . ”
But Professor Lupin was still fast asleep.
The rain thickened as the train sped yet farther north; the windows
were now a solid, shimmering gray, which gradually
 80 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

darkened until lanterns flickered into life all along the corridors and
over the luggage racks. The train rattled, the rain hammered, the wind
roared, but still, Professor L upin slept.
“We must be nearly there, ” said Ron, leaning forward to look past
Professor Lupin at the now completely black window.
The words had hardly left him when the train started to slow down.
“Great, ” said Ron, getting up and walking carefully past Profes - sor
Lupin to try and see outside. “I’m starving. I want to get to the
feast. . . . ”
“We can ’t be there yet, ” said Hermione, checking her watch.
“So why ’re we stopping? ”
The train was getting slower and slower. As the noise of the pis - tons
fell away, the wind and rain sounded louder than ever against the
windows.
Harry, who was nearest the door, got up to look into the corri - dor. All
along the carriage, heads were sticking curiously out of their
compartments.
The train came to a stop with a jolt, and distant thuds and bangs told
them that luggage had fallen out of the racks. Then, without warning,
all the lamps went out and they were plunged into total darkness.
“What ’s going on? ” said Ron ’s voice from behind Harry.
“Ouch! ” gasped Hermione. “Ron, that was my foot! ”
Harry felt his way back to his seat.
“D ’you think we ’ve broken down? ”
“Dunno . . . ”
There was a squeaking sound, and Harry saw the dim black
 81 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

outline of Ron, wiping a patch clean on the window and peer - ing out.
“There ’s something moving out there, ” Ron said. “I think people are
coming aboard. . . . ”
The compartment door suddenly opened and someone fell painfully
over Harry ’s legs.
“Sorry — d’you know what ’s going on? — Ouch — sorry — ” “Hullo,
Neville, ” said Harry, feeling around in the dark and pulling Neville up
by his cloak.
“Harry? Is that you? What ’s happening? ”
“No idea — sit down — ”
There was a loud hissing and a yelp of pain; Neville had tried to sit on
Crookshanks.
“I’m going to go and ask the driver what ’s going on, ” came
Hermione ’s voice. Harry felt her pass him, heard the door slide open
again, and then a thud and two loud squea ls of pain.
“Who ’s that? ”
“Who ’s that ?”
“Ginny? ”
“Hermione? ”
“What are you doing? ”
“I was looking for Ron — ”
“Come in and sit down — ”
“Not here! ” said Harry hurriedly. “ I’m here! ”
“Ouch! ” said Neville.
“Quiet! ” said a hoarse voice suddenly.
Professor Lupin appeared to have woken up at last. Harry could hear
movements in his corner. None of them spoke.
 82 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

There was a soft, crackling noise, and a shivering light filled the
compartment. Professor Lupin appeared to be holding a handful of
flames. They illuminated his tired, gray face, but his eyes looked alert
and wary.
“Stay where you are, ” he said in the same hoarse voice, and he got
slowly to his feet with his handful of fire held out in front of him.
But the door slid slowly open before Lupin could reach it. Standing in
the doorway, illuminated by the shivering flames in Lupin ’s hand, was
a cloaked figu re that towered to the ceiling. Its face was completely
hidden beneath its hood. Harry ’s eyes darted downward, and what he
saw made his stomach contract. There was a hand protruding from the
cloak and it was glistening, grayish, slimy -looking, and scabbed, like
something dead that had decayed in water. . . .
But it was visible only for a split second. As though the creature
beneath the cloak sensed Harry ’s gaze, the hand was suddenly with -
drawn into the folds of its black cloak.
And then the thing beneath the hood, whatever it was, drew a long,
slow, rattling breath, as though it were trying to suck some - thing more
than air from its surroundings.
An intense cold swept over them all. Harry felt his own breath catch in
his chest . The cold went deeper than his skin. It was inside his chest, it
was inside his very heart. . . .
Harry ’s eyes rolled up into his head. He couldn ’t see. He was drowning
in cold. There was a rushing in his ears as though of water. He was
being dragged do wnward, the roaring growing louder . . .
 83 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

And then, from far away, he heard screaming, terrible, terrified,
pleading screams. He wanted to help whoever it was, he tried to move
his arms, but couldn ’t . . . a thick white fog was swirling around him,
inside him —
“Harry! Harry! Are you all right? ”
Someone was slapping his face.
“W — what? ”
Harry opened his eyes; there were lanterns above him, and the floor
was shaking — the Hogwarts Express was moving again and the lights
had come back on. He seemed to have slid out of his seat onto the
floor. Ron and Hermione were kneeling next to him, and above them
he could see Neville and Professor Lupin watching. Harry felt very sick;
when he put up his han d to push his glasses back on, he felt cold sweat
on his face.
Ron and Hermione heaved him back onto his seat.
“Are you okay? ” Ron asked nervously.
“Yeah, ” said Harry, looking quickly toward the door. The hooded
creature had vanished. “What happened? Where ’s that — that thing?
Who screamed? ”
“No one screamed, ” said Ron, more nervously still. Harry looked
around the bright compartment. Ginny and Neville looked back at him,
both very pale.
“But I heard screaming — ”
A loud snap made them all jump. Professor Lupin was breaking an
enormous slab of chocolate into pieces.
“Here, ” he said to Harry, handing him a particularly large piece. “Eat it.
It’ll help. ”
Harry took the chocolate but didn ’t eat it.
 84 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“What was that thing? ” he asked Lupin.
“A dementor, ” said Lupin, who was now giving chocolate to everyone
else. “One of the dementors of Azkaban. ”
Everyone stared at him. Professor Lupin crumpled up the empty
chocolate wrapper and put it in his pocket.
“Eat, ” he repeated. “It’ll help. I need to speak to the driver, ex - cuse
me . . . ”
He strolled past Harry and disappeared into the corridor. “Are you
sure you ’re okay, Harry? ” said Hermione, watching Harry anxiously.
“I don ’t get it. . . . What happened? ” said Harry, wiping more sweat off
his face.
“Well — that thing — the dementor — stood there and looked around
(I mean, I think it did, I couldn ’t see its face) — and you — you — ”
“I thought you were having a fit or somet hing, ” said Ron, who still
looked scared. “You went sort of rigid and fell out of your seat and
started twitching — ”
“And Professor Lupin stepped over you, and walked toward the
dementor, and pulled out his wand, ” said Hermione, “and he said,
‘None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks. Go. ’ But the
dementor didn ’t move, so Lupin muttered something, and a silvery
thing shot out of his wand at it, and it turned around and sort of glided
away. . . . ”
“It was horrible, ” said Neville, in a higher voic e than usual. “Did you
feel how cold it got when it came in? ”
“I felt weird, ” said Ron, shifting his shoulders uncomfortably. “Like
I’d never be cheerful again. . . . ”
 85 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

Ginny, who was huddled in her corner looking nearly as bad as Harry
felt, gave a small sob; Hermione went over and put a com - forting arm
around her.
“But didn ’t any of you — fall off your seats? ” said Harry awk - wardly.
“No, ” said Ron, looking anxiously at Harry again. “Ginny was shaking
like mad, though. . . . ”
Harry didn ’t understand. He felt weak and shivery, as though he were
recovering from a bad bout of flu; he also felt the beginnings of shame.
Why had he gone to pieces like that, when no one els e had?
Professor Lupin had come back. He paused as he entered, looked
around, and said, with a small smile, “I haven ’t poisoned that chocolate,
you know. . . . ”
Harry took a bite and to his great surprise felt warmth spread suddenly
to the tips of his fingers and toes.
“We ’ll be at Hogwarts in ten minutes, ” said Professor Lupin. “Are you
all right, Harry? ”
Harry didn ’t ask how Professor Lupin knew his name.
“Fine, ” he muttered, embarrassed.
They didn ’t talk much during the remainder of the journey. At long last,
the train stopped at Hogsmeade station, and there was a great scramble
to get outside; owls hooted, cats meowed, and Neville ’s pet toad
croaked loudly from under his hat. It was freez - ing on the tiny
plat form; rain was driving down in icy sheets. “Firs ’ years this way! ”
called a familiar voice. Harry, Ron, and Hermione turned and saw the
gigantic outline of Hagrid at the other end of the platform, beckoning
the terrified -looking new stu - dents forward for their traditional
journey across the lake.
 86 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“All righ ’, you three? ” Hagrid yelled over the heads of the crowd. They
waved at him, but had no chance to speak to him because the mass of
people around them was shunting them away along the platform.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione followed the rest of the school along the
platform and out onto a rough mud track, where at least a hundred
stagecoaches awaited the remaining students, each pul led, Harry could
only assume, by an invisible horse, be - cause when they climbed inside
and shut the door, the coach set off all by itself, bumping and swaying
in procession.
The coach smelled faintly of mold and straw. Harry felt better since the
chocola te, but still weak. Ron and Hermione kept look - ing at him
sideways, as though frightened he might collapse again. As the carriage
trundled toward a pair of magnificent wrought iron gates, flanked with
stone columns topped with winged boars, Harry saw two more
towering, hooded dementors, standing guard on either side. A wave of
cold sickness threatened to engulf him again; he leaned back into the
lumpy seat and closed his eyes until they had passed the gates. The
carriage picked up speed on the long, slopin g drive up to the castle;
Hermione was leaning out of the tiny window, watching the many
turrets and towers draw nearer. At last, the carriage swayed to a halt,
and Hermione and Ron got out.
As Harry stepped down, a drawling, delighted voice sounded in hi s ear.
“You fainted, Potter? Is Longbottom telling the truth? You actu -
ally fainted ?”
Malfoy elbowed past Hermione to block Harry ’s way up the stone
steps to the castle, his face gleeful and his pale eyes glinting maliciously.
 87 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

“Shove off, Malfoy, ” said Ron, whose jaw was clenched. “Did you
faint as well, Weasley? ” said Malfoy loudly. “Did the scary old
dementor frighten you too, Weasley? ”
“Is there a problem? ” said a mild voice. Professor Lupin had just
gotten out of the next carriage.
Malfoy gave Professor Lupin an insolent stare, which took in the
patches on his robes and the delapidated suitcase. With a tiny hint
of sarcasm in his voice, he said, “Oh, no — er — Professor, ” then
he smirked at Crabbe and Goyle and led them up the steps into the
castle.
Hermione prodded Ron in the back to make him hurry, and the three
of them joined the crowd swarming up the steps, through the giant oak
front doors, in to the cavernous entrance hall, which was lit with
flaming torches, and housed a magnificent marble staircase that led to
the upper floors.
The door into the Great Hall stood open at the right; Harry fol - lowed
the crowd toward it, but had barely glimpsed the enchanted ceiling,
which was black and cloudy tonight, when a voice called, “Potter!
Granger! I want to see you both! ”
Harry and Hermione turned around, surprised. Professor McGonagall,
Transfiguration teacher and head of Gryffindor House, was call ing
over the heads of the crowd. She was a stern - looking witch who wore
her hair in a tight bun; her sharp eyes were framed with square
spectacles. Harry fought his way over to her with a feeling of
foreboding: Professor McGonagall had a way of making him feel he
must have done something wrong.
“There ’s no need to look so worried — I just want a word in my
office, ” she told them. “Move along there, Weasley. ”
Ron stared as Professor McGonagall ushered Harry and
 88 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

Hermione away from the chattering crowd; they accompanied her
across the entrance hall, up the marble staircase, and along a corridor.
Once they were in her office, a small room with a large, wel - coming
fire, Professor McGonagall motioned Harry and Her - mione to sit
down. She settled herself behind her desk and said abruptly,
“Professor Lupin sent an owl ahead to say that you were taken ill on
the train, Potter. ”
Before Harry could reply, there was a soft knock on the door and
Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, came bustling in.
Harry felt himself going red in the face. It was bad enough that he ’d
passed out, or whatever he had done, without everyone mak - ing all
this fuss.
“I’m fine, ” he said, “I don ’t need anything — ”
“Oh, it ’s you, is it? ” said Madam Pomfrey, ignoring this and bending
down to stare closely at him. “I suppose you ’ve been doing something
dangerous again? ”
“It was a dementor, Poppy, ” said Professor McGonagall. They
exchanged a dark look, and Madam Pomfrey clucked dis - approvingly.
“Setting dementors around a school, ” she muttered, pushing back
Harry ’s hair and feeling his forehead. “He won ’t be the last one who
collapses. Yes, he ’s all clammy. Terrible things, they are, and th e effect
they have on people who are already delicate — ” “I’m not delicate! ”
said Harry crossly.
“Of course you ’re not, ” said Madam Pomfrey absentmindedly, now
taking his pulse.
“What does he need? ” said Professor McGonagall crisply. “Bed rest?
Should he perhaps spend tonight in the hospital wing? ”
 89 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

“I’m fine !” said Harry, jumping up. The thought of what Draco
Malfoy would say if he had to go to the hospital wing was torture.
“Well, he should have some chocolate, at the very least, ” said
Madam Pomfrey, who was now trying to peer into Harry ’s eyes. “I’ve
already had some, ” said Harry. “Professor Lupin gave me some. He
gave it to all of us. ”
“Did he, now? ” said Madam Pomfrey ap provingly. “So we ’ve fi - nally
got a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his
remedies? ”
“Are you sure you feel all right, Potter? ” Professor McGonagall said
sharply.
“ Yes ,” said Harry.
“Very well. Kindly wait outside while I have a quick w ord with Miss
Granger about her course schedule, then we can go down to the feast
together. ”
Harry went back into the corridor with Madam Pomfrey, who left for
the hospital wing, muttering to herself. He had to wait only a few
minutes; then Hermione emerg ed looking very happy about
something, followed by Professor McGonagall, and the three of them
made their way back down the marble staircase to the Great Hall.
It was a sea of pointed black hats; each of the long House tables was
lined with students, their faces glimmering by the light of thousands of
candles, which were floating over the tables in mid - air. Professor
Flitwick, who was a tiny little wizard with a shock of white hair, was
carrying an ancient hat and a three -legg ed stool out of the hall.
“Oh, ” said Hermione softly, “we ’ve missed the Sorting! ”
 90 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

New students at Hogwarts were sorted into Houses by trying on the
Sorting Hat, which shouted out the House they were best suited to
(Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin). Profes - sor
McGonagall strode off toward her empty seat at the staff table, and
Harry and Hermione set off in the other direction, as quietly as
possible, toward the Gryffindor table. People looked around at them
as they passed along the back of the hall, and a few of them pointed at
Harry. Had the story of his collapsing in front of the de - mentor
traveled that fast?
He and Hermione sa t down on either side of Ron, who had saved
them seats.
“What was all that about? ” he muttered to Harry. Harry started to
explain in a whisper, but at that moment the headmaster stood up to
speak, and he broke off.
Professor Dumbledore, though very old , always gave an impres - sion
of great energy. He had several feet of long silver hair and beard,
half -moon spectacles, and an extremely crooked nose. He was often
described as the greatest wizard of the age, but that wasn ’t why Harry
respected him. You co uldn ’t help trusting Albus Dum - bledore, and as
Harry watched him beaming around at the stu - dents, he felt really
calm for the first time since the dementor had entered the train
compartment.
“Welcome! ” said Dumbledore, the candlelight shimmering on his
beard. “Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to
say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it
out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent
feast. . . . ”
Dumbledore cleared his throat and continued, “As you will all
 91 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is
presently playing host to some of the dementors of Azkaban, who are
here on Ministry of Magic business. ”
He paused, and Harry remembered what Mr. Weasley had said about
Dumbledore not being happy with the dementors guarding the school.
“They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds, ” Dumble - dore
continued, “and while they are with us, I must make i t plain that
nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to
be fooled by tricks or disguises — or even Invisibility Cloaks, ” he
added blandly, and Harry and Ron glanced at each other. “It is not in
the nature of a dementor to understan d pleading or excuses. I
therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to
harm you. I look to the prefects, and our new Head Boy and Girl, to
make sure that no student runs afoul of the de - mentors, ” he said.
Percy, who was sitting a few seats down from Harry, puffed out his
chest again and stared around impressively. Dumbledore paused again;
he looked very seriously around the hall, and nobody moved or made a
sound.
“On a happier note, ” he continued, “I am pl eased to welcome two new
teachers to our ranks this year.
“First, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of
Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. ”
There was some scattered, rather unenthusiastic applause. Only those
who had been in t he compartment on the train with Profes - sor Lupin
clapped hard, Harry among them. Professor Lupin looked particularly
shabby next to all the other teachers in their best robes.
 92 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“Look at Snape! ” Ron hissed in Harry ’s ear.
Professor Snape, the Potions master, was staring along the staff table
at Professor Lupin. It was common knowledge that Snape wanted the
Defense Against the Dark Arts job, but even Harry, who hated Snape,
was startled at the e xpression twisting his thin, sallow face. It was
beyond anger: it was loathing. Harry knew that expression only too
well; it was the look Snape wore every time he set eyes on Harry.
“As to our second new appointment, ” Dumbledore continued as the
lukewar m applause for Professor Lupin died away. “Well, I am sorry to
tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures
teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with
his remaining limbs. However, I am delighted to say t hat his place will
be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on
this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties. ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione stared at one another, stunned. Then they
joined in with the applause, which was tumultuous at the Gryffindor
table in particular. Harry leaned forward to see Hagrid, who was
ruby -red in the face and staring down at his enor - mous hands, his
wide grin hidden in the tangle of his black beard. “We should ’ve
known! ” Ron roared, pounding the table. “Who else would have
assigned us a biting book? ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione were the last to stop clapping, and as
Professor Dumbledore started speaking again, they saw that Hagrid
was wiping his eyes on the tablecloth.
“Well, I think that ’s everything of importance, ” said Dumble - dore.
“Let the feast begin! ”
The golden plates and goblets before them filled suddenly with
 93 ‘

CHAPTER FIVE

food and drink. Harry, suddenly ravenous, helped himself to
everyt hing he could reach and began to eat.
It was a delicious feast; the hall echoed with talk, laughter, and the
clatter of knives and forks. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, how - ever,
were eager for it to finish so that they could talk to Hagrid. They knew
how much being made a teacher would mean to him. Hagrid wasn ’t a
fully qualified wizard; he had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third
year for a crime he had not committed. It had been Harry, Ron, and
Hermione who had cleared Hagrid ’s name las t year.
At long last, when the last morsels of pumpkin tart had melted from
the golden platters, Dumbledore gave the word that it was time for
them all to go to bed, and they got their chance. “Congratulations,
Hagrid! ” Hermione squealed as they reached the teachers ’ table.
“All down ter you three, ” said Hagrid, wiping his shining face on his
napkin as he looked up at them. “Can ’ believe it . . . great man,
Dumbledore . . . came straight down to me hut after Professor
Kettleburn said he ’d had enough. . . . It ’s what I always wanted. . . . ”
Overcome with emotion, he buried his face in his napkin, and
Professor McGonagall shooed them away.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione joined the Gryffindors streaming up the
marble staircase and, very tired now, along more c orridors, up more
and more stairs, to the hidden entrance to Gryffindor Tower. A large
portrait of a fat lady in a pink dress asked them, “Pass - word? ”
“Coming through, coming through! ” Percy called from behind the
crowd. “The new password ’s ‘Fortuna Majo r’!”
 94 ‘

THE DEMENTOR

“Oh no, ” said Neville Longbottom sadly. He always had trouble
remembering the passwords.
Through the portrait hole and across the common room, the girls and
boys divided toward their separate staircases. Harry climbed the spiral
stair with no thought in his head except how glad he was to be back.
They reached their familiar, circular dormitory with its five four -poster
beds, and Harry, looking around , felt he was home at last.























 95 ‘

C H A P T E R S I X









TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES




hen Harry, Ron, and Hermione entered the Great Hall
W

for breakfast the next day, the first thing they saw was

Draco Malfoy, who seemed to be entertaining a large group of
Slytherins with a very funny story. As they passed, Malfoy did a
ridiculous impression of a swooning fit and there was a roar of
laughter.
“Ignore him, ” said Hermione, who was right behind Harry. “Just
ignore him, it ’s not worth it. . . . ”
“Hey, Pot ter! ” shrieked Pansy Parkinson, a Slytherin girl with a face
like a pug. “Potter! The dementors are coming, Potter!
Woooooooo !”
Harry dropped into a seat at the Gryffindor table, next to George
Weasley.
“New third -year course schedules, ” said George, passing them over.
“What ’s up with you, Harry? ”
 96 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“Malfoy, ” said Ron, sitting down on George ’s other side and glaring
over at the Slytherin table.
George looked up in time to see Malfoy pretending to faint with terror
again.
“That little git, ” he said calmly. “He wasn ’t so cocky last night when
the dementors were down at our end of the train. Came run - ning into
our compartment, didn ’t he, Fred? ”
“Nearly wet himself, ” said Fred, with a contemptuous glance at
Malfoy.
“I wasn ’t too happy myself, ” said George. “They ’re horrible things,
those dementors. . . . ”
“Sort of freeze your insides, don ’t they? ” said Fred. “You didn ’t pass
out, though, did you? ” said Harry in a low voice. “Forget it, Harry, ”
said George bracingly. “Dad had to go out to Azkaban one time,
remember, Fred? And he said it was the worst place he ’d ever been, he
came back all weak and shaking. . . . They suc k the happiness out of a
place, dementors. Most of the prison - ers go mad in there. ”
“Anyway, we ’ll see how happy Malfoy looks after our first Quid - ditch
match, ” said Fred. “Gryffindor versus Slytherin, first game of the
season, remember? ”
The only ti me Harry and Malfoy had faced each other in a Quidditch
match, Malfoy had definitely come off worse. Feeling slightly more
cheerful, Harry helped himself to sausages and fried tomatoes.
Hermione was examining her new schedule.
“Ooh, good, we ’re startin g some new subjects today, ” she said happily.
 97 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

“Hermione, ” said Ron, frowning as he looked over her shoulder,
“they ’ve messed up your schedule. Look — they ’ve got you down
for about ten subjects a day. There isn ’t enough time. ”
“I’ll manage. I ’ve fixed it all with Professor McGonagall. ” “But look, ”
said Ron, laughing, “see this morning? Nine o ’clock, Divination. And
underneath, nine o ’clock, Muggle Studies.
And ” — Ron leaned closer to the schedule, disbelieving — “ look —
underneath that, Arithmancy, nine o ’clock. I mean, I know you ’re
good, Hermione, but no one ’s that good. How ’re you supposed to
be in three classes at once? ”
“Don ’t be silly, ” said Her mione shortly. “Of course I won ’t be in three
classes at once. ”
“Well, then — ”
“Pass the marmalade, ” said Hermione.
“But — ”
“Oh, Ron, what ’s it to you if my schedule ’s a bit full? ” Hermione
snapped. “I told you, I ’ve fixed it all with Professor McGonagall. ” Just
then, Hagrid entered the Great Hall. He was wearing his long moleskin
overcoat and was absentmindedly swinging a dead polecat from one
enormous hand.
“All righ ’?” he said eagerly, pausing on the way to the staff table. “Yer
in my firs ’ ever lesson! Right after lunch! Bin up since five gettin ’
everythin ’ ready. . . . Hope it ’s okay. . . . Me, a teacher . . . hones ’ly. . . . ”
He grinned broadly at them and headed off to the staff table, still
swinging the pol ecat.
“Wonder what he ’s been getting ready? ” said Ron, a note of anx - iety
in his voice.
 98 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


The hall was starting to empty as people headed off toward their first
lesson. Ron checked his course schedule.
“We ’d better go, look, Divination ’s at the top of North Tower. It ’ll
take us ten minutes to get there. . . . ”
They finished their breakfasts hastily, said good -bye to Fred and
George, and walked back thr ough the hall. As they passed the Slytherin
table, Malfoy did yet another impression of a faint - ing fit. The shouts
of laughter followed Harry into the entrance hall.
The journey through the castle to North Tower was a long one. Two
years at Hogwarts had n’t taught them everything about the castle, and
they had never been inside North Tower before. “There ’s — got — to
— be — a — shortcut, ” Ron panted as they climbed their seventh long
staircase and emerged on an unfa - miliar landing, where there was
nothin g but a large painting of a bare stretch of grass hanging on the
stone wall.
“I think it ’s this way, ” said Hermione, peering down the empty passage
to the right.
“Can ’t be, ” said Ron. “That ’s south, look, you can see a bit of the lake
out of the window . . . ”
Harry was watching the painting. A fat, dapple -gray pony had just
ambled onto the grass and was grazing nonchalantly. Harry was used
to the subjects of Hogwarts paintings moving around and leaving their
frames to visit one an other, but he always enjoyed watching it. A
moment later, a short, squat knight in a suit of ar - mor clanked into the
picture after his pony. By the look of the grass stains on his metal knees,
he had just fallen off.
“Aha! ” he yelled, seeing Harry, Ron , and Hermione. “What
 99 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

villains are these, that trespass upon my private lands! Come to scorn at
my fall, perchance? Draw, you knaves, you dogs! ”
They watched in astonishment as the little knight tugged his sword out
of its scabbard and began brandishing it violently, hop - ping up and
down in rage. But the sword was too long for him; a particularly wild
swing made him overbalance, and he landed face - down in the grass.
“Are you all right? ” said Harry, moving closer to the picture.
“Get back, you scurvy braggart! Back, you rogue! ”
The knight seized his sword again and used it to push himself back up,
but the blade sank deeply into the grass and, tho ugh he pulled with all
his might, he couldn ’t get it out again. Finally, he had to flop back
down onto the grass and push up his visor to mop his sweating face.
“Listen, ” said Harry, taking advantage of the knight ’s exhaus - tion,
“we ’re looking for the North Tower. You don ’t know the way, do
you? ”
“A quest! ” The knight ’s rage seemed to vanish instantly. He clanked to
his feet and shouted, “Come follow me, dear friends, and we shall find
our goal, or else shall perish bravely in the charge! ”
He gave the sword another fruitless tug, tried and failed to mount the
fat pony, gave up, and cried, “On foot then, good sirs and gentle lady!
On! On! ”
And he ran, clanking loudly, into the left side of the frame and out of
sight.
They hurried after him along the corridor, following the sound of his
armor. Every now and then they spotted him running through a
picture ahead.
 100 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“Be of stout heart, the worst is yet to come! ” yelled the knight, and
they saw him reappear in front of an alarmed group of women in
crinolines, whose picture hung on the wall of a narrow spiral staircase.
Puffing loudly, Harry, Ron, and Hermione climbed the tightly spiraling
steps, getting dizzier and dizzier, until at last they heard the murmur of
voices above them and knew they had reached the classroom.
“Farewell! ” cried the knight, popping his head into a painting of some
sinister -looking monks. “Farewell, my comrades -in-arms! If ever you
ha ve need of noble heart and steely sinew, call upon Sir Cadogan! ”
“Yeah, we ’ll call you, ” muttered Ron as the knight disappeared, “if we
ever need someone mental. ”
They climbed the last few steps and emerged onto a tiny land - ing,
where most of the cl ass was already assembled. There were no doors
off this landing, but Ron nudged Harry and pointed at the ceiling,
where there was a circular trapdoor with a brass plaque on it.
“‘Sibyll Trelawney, Divination teacher, ’” Harry read. “How ’re we
supposed to get up there? ”
As though in answer to his question, the trapdoor suddenly opened,
and a silvery ladder descended right at Harry ’s feet. Every - one got
quiet.
“After you, ” said Ron, grinning, so Harry climbed the ladder first.
He emerged into the strangest -looking classroom he had ever seen. In
fact, it didn ’t look like a classroom at all, more like a cross
 101 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

between someone ’s attic and an old -fashioned tea shop. At least
twenty small, circular tables were crammed inside it, all sur - rounded
by chintz armchairs and fat little poufs. Everything was lit with a dim,
crimson light; the curtains at the windows were all closed, and the
many lamps were draped with dark red scarves . It was stiflingly warm,
and the fire that was burning under the crowded mantelpiece was
giving off a heavy, sickly sort of perfume as it heated a large copper
kettle. The shelves running around the circular walls were crammed
with dusty -looking feathers, stubs of candles, many packs of tattered
playing cards, countless silvery crystal balls, and a huge array of
teacups.
Ron appeared at Harry ’s shoulder as the class assembled around them,
all talking in whispers.
“Where is she? ” Ron said.
A voice came suddenly out of the shadows, a soft, misty sort of voice.
“Welcome, ” it said. “How nice to see you in the physical world at last. ”
Harry ’s immediate impression was of a large, glittering insect.
Professor Trelawney moved into the firelight , and they saw that she
was very thin; her large glasses magnified her eyes to several times their
natural size, and she was draped in a gauzy spangled shawl.
Innumerable chains and beads hung around her spindly neck, and her
arms and hands were encrusted with bangles and rings.
“Sit, my children, sit, ” she said, and they all climbed awkwardly into
armchairs or sank onto poufs. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat
themselves around the same round table.
“Welcome to Divination, ” said Professor Trelawney, who had
 102 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


seated herself in a winged armchair in front of the fire. “My name is
Professor Trelawney. You may not have seen me before. I find that
descending too often into the hustle and bustle of the main school
clouds my Inner Eye. ”
Nobody said anything to this extraordinary pronouncement. Professor
Trelawney delicately rearranged her shawl and continued, “So you
have chosen to study Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts . I
must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the Sight, there is
very little I will be able to teach you. Books can take you only so far in
this field. . . . ”
At these words, both Harry and Ron glanced, grinning, at Hermione,
who looked start led at the news that books wouldn ’t be much help in
this subject.
“Many witches and wizards, talented though they are in the area of
loud bangs and smells and sudden disappearings, are yet unable to
penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future, ” Professor Trelawney
went on, her enormous, gleaming eyes moving from face to nervous
face. “It is a Gift granted to few. You, boy, ” she said suddenly to
Neville, who almost toppled off his pouf. “Is your grandmother well? ”
“I think so, ” said Neville tremulously.
“I wouldn ’t be so sure if I were you, dear, ” said Professor
Trelawney, the firelight glinting on her long emerald earrings. Neville
gulped. Professor Trelawney continued placidly. “We will be covering
the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be
devoted to reading the tea leaves. Next term we shall progress to
palmistry. By the way, my dear, ” she shot suddenly at Parvati Patil,
“beware a red -haired man. ”
 103 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

Parvati gave a startled look at Ron, who was right behind her, and
edged her chair away from him.
“In the second term, ” Professor Trelawney went on, “we shall
progress to the crystal ball — if we have finished with fire omens, that
is. Unfortunately, cl asses will be disrupted in February by a nasty bout
of flu. I myself will lose my voice. And around Easter, one of our
number will leave us forever. ”
A very tense silence followed this pronouncement, but Professor
Trelawney seemed unaware of it.
“I wonder, dear, ” she said to Lavender Brown, who was nearest and
shrank back in her chair, “if you could pass me the largest sil - ver
teapot? ”
Lavender, looking relieved, stood up, took an enormous teapot from
the shelf, and put it down on the table in front of Professor Trelawney.
“Thank you, my dear. Incidentally, that thing you are dreading — it
will happen on Friday the sixteenth of October. ” Lavender trembled.
“Now, I want you all to divide into pairs. Collect a teacup from the
shelf, come to me, and I will fill it. Then sit down and drink, drink until
only the dregs remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the
left hand, then turn the cup upside down on its saucer, wait for the last
of the tea to drain away, then give your cup to your p artner to read.
You will interpret the patterns using pages
five and six of Unfogging the Future. I shall move among you, help -
ing and instructing. Oh, and dear ” — she caught Neville by the arm as
he made to stand up — “after you ’ve broken you r first cup, would you
be so kind as to select one of the blue patterned ones? I’m rather
attached to the pink. ”
 104 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


Sure enough, Neville had no sooner reached the shelf of tea - cups
when there was a tinkle of breaking china. Professor Trelawney swept
over to him holding a dustpan and brush and said, “One of the blue
ones, then, dear, if you wouldn ’t mind . . . thank you. . . . ”
When Harry and Ron had had their teacups filled, they went back to
their table and tried to drink the scalding tea quickly. They swilled the
dregs around as Professor Trelawney had instructed, then drained the
cups and swapped over.
“Right, ” said Ron as they both opened their books at pages five and six.
“What can you see in mine? ”
“A load of soggy brown stuff, ” said Harry. The heavily perfumed
smoke in the room was making him feel sleepy and stupid. “Broaden
your minds, my dears, and allow your eyes to see past the mundane! ”
Professor Trelawney cried through the gloo m. Harry tried to pull
himself together.
“Right, you ’ve got a crooked sort of cross . . . ” He consulted
Unfogging the Future. “That means you ’re going to have ‘trials and
suffering ’ — sorry about that — but there ’s a thing that could be the
sun . . . hang on . . . that means ‘great happiness ’ . . . so you ’re going to
suffer but be very happy. . . . ”
“You need your Inner Eye tested, if you ask me, ” said Ron, and they
both had to stifle their laughs as Professor Trelawney gazed in their
direction.
“My turn . . . ” Ron peered into Harry ’s teacup, his forehead wrinkled
with effort. “There ’s a blob a bit like a bowler hat, ” he said. “Maybe
you ’re going to work for the Ministry of Magic. . . . ” He turned the
teacup the other way up.
“But this way it look s more like an acorn. . . . What ’s that? ” He
 105 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

scanned his copy of Unfogging the Future. “‘A windfall, unexpected
gold. ’ Excellent, you can lend me some . . . and there ’s a thing here, ” he
turned the cup again, “that looks like an animal . . . yeah, if that was its
head . . . it looks like a hippo . . . no, a sheep . . . ” Professor Trelawney
whirled around as Harry let out a snort of laughter.
“Let me see that, my dear, ” she said repr ovingly to Ron, sweeping over
and snatching Harry ’s cup from him. Everyone went quiet to watch.
Professor Trelawney was staring into the teacup, rotating it
counterclockwise.
“The falcon . . . my dear, you have a deadly enemy. ”
“But everyone knows that, ” said Hermione in a loud whisper.
Professor Trelawney stared at her.
“Well, they do, ” said Hermione. “Everybody knows about Harry and
You -Know -Who. ”
Harry and Ron stared at her with a mixture of amazement and
admiration. They had never heard Hermione speak to a teacher like
that before. Professor Trelawney chose not to reply. She low - ered her
huge eyes to Harry ’s cup again and continued to turn it. “The club . . .
an attack. Dear, dear, this is not a happy cup . . . . ”
“I thought that was a bowler hat, ” said Ron sheepishly.
“The skull . . . danger in your path, my dear. . . . ” Everyone was staring,
transfixed, at Professor Trelawney, who gave the cup a final turn,
gasped, and then screamed.
There was anot her tinkle of breaking china; Neville had smashed his
second cup. Professor Trelawney sank into a vacant armchair, her
glittering hand at her heart and her eyes closed.
 106 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“My dear boy . . . my poor, dear boy . . . no . . . it is kinder not to say . . .
no . . . don ’t ask me. . . . ”
“What is it, Professor? ” said Dean Thomas at once. Everyone had got
to their feet, and slowly they crowded around Harry and Ron ’s table,
press ing close to Professor Trelawney ’s chair to get a good look at
Harry ’s cup.
“My dear, ” Professor Trelawney ’s huge eyes opened dramatically, “you
have the Grim. ”
“The what? ” said Harry.
He could tell that he wasn ’t the only one who didn ’t understand; Dean
Thomas shrugged at him and Lavender Brown looked puz - zled, but
nearly everybody else clapped their hands to their mouths in horror.
“The Grim, my dear, the Grim! ” cried Professor Trelawney, who
looked shocked that Harry hadn ’t understood. “The giant, spectral dog
that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen — the
worst omen — of death !”
Harry ’s stomach lurched. That dog on the cover of Death Omens
in Flourish and Blotts — the dog in the shadows of Magnolia
Crescent . . . Lave nder Brown clapped her hands to her mouth too.
Everyone was looking at Harry, everyone except Hermione, who had
gotten up and moved around to the back of Professor Trelawney ’s
chair.
“ I don ’t think it looks like a Grim, ” she said flatly.
Professor Trelawney surveyed Hermione with mounting dislike.
“You ’ll forgive me for saying so, my dear, but I perceive very lit - tle
aura around you. Very little receptivity to the resonances of the
future. ”
 107 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

Seamus Finnigan was tilting his head from side to side. “It looks like a
Grim if you do this, ” he said, with his eyes almost shut, “but it looks
more like a donkey from here, ” he said, leaning to the left.
“When you ’ve all finished deciding whethe r I ’m going to die or not! ”
said Harry, taking even himself by surprise. Now nobody seemed to
want to look at him.
“I think we will leave the lesson here for today, ” said Professor
Trelawney in her mistiest voice. “Yes . . . please pack away your
things. . . . ”
Silently the class took their teacups back to Professor Trelawney,
packed away their books, and closed their bags. Even Ron was
avoiding Harry ’s eyes.
“Until we meet again, ” said Professor Trelawney faintly, “fair for - tune
be yours. Oh, and dear ” — she pointed at Neville — “you ’ll be late
next time, so mind you work extra -hard to catch up. ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione descended Professor Trelawney ’s lad - der
and the winding stair in silence, then set off for Professor Mc -
Gonagall ’s Transfiguration lesson. It took them so long to find her
classroom that, early as they had left Divination, they were only just in
time.
Harry chose a seat right at the back of the room, feeling as though he
were sitting in a very bright spotlight; the rest of the class kept shooting
furtive glances at him, as though he were about to drop dead at any
moment. He hardly heard what Professor McGonagall was telling
them about Animagi (wizards who could transform at will into
animals), and wasn ’t even watching when she transformed herself in
front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spec - tacle markings around her
eyes.
 108 ‘

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LEAVES


“Really, what has got into you all today? ” said Professor Mc -
Gonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring
around at them all. “Not that it matters, but that ’s the first time my
transformation ’s not got applause from a class. ”
Everybody ’s heads turned toward Harry again, but nobody spoke.
Then Hermione raised her hand.
“Please, Professor, we ’ve just had our first Divination class, and we
were reading the tea leaves, and — ”
“Ah, of course, ” said Professor McGonagall, suddenly frowning.
“There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of
you will be dying this year? ”
Everyone stared at her.
“Me, ” said Harry, finally.
“I see, ” said Professor McGonagall, fixing Harry with her beady eyes.
“Then you should know, Potter, tha t Sibyll Trelawney has predicted
the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None
of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favorite way of
greeting a new class. If it were not for the fact that I never speak ill of
my colleague s — ”
Professor McGonagall broke off, and they saw that her nostrils had
gone white. She went on, more calmly, “Divination is one of the most
imprecise branches of magic. I shall not conceal from you that I have
very little patience with it. True Seers a re very rare, and Professor
Trelawney — ”
She stopped again, and then said, in a very matter -of -fact tone, “You
look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don ’t
let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not
hand it in. ”
Hermione laughed. Harry felt a bit better. It was harder to feel

 109 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

scared of a lump of tea leaves away from the dim red light and be -
fuddling perfume of Professor Trelawney ’s classroom. Not everyone
was convinced, however. Ron still looked worried, and Lavender
whispered, “But what about Neville ’s cup? ”
When the Transfiguration class had finished, they joined the crowd
thundering toward the Great Hall for lunch.
“Ron, c heer up, ” said Hermione, pushing a dish of stew toward him.
“You heard what Professor McGonagall said. ”
Ron spooned stew onto his plate and picked up his fork but didn ’t
start.
“Harry, ” he said, in a low, serious voice, “you haven ’t seen a great
black dog anywhere, have you? ”
“Yeah, I have, ” said Harry. “I saw one the night I left the Dursleys ’.”
Ron let his fork fall with a clatter.
“Probably a stray, ” said Hermione calmly.
Ron looked at Hermione as though she had gone mad. “Hermione, i f
Harry ’s seen a Grim, that ’s — that ’s bad, ” he said. “My — my uncle
Bilius saw one and — and he died twenty -four hours later! ”
“Coincidence, ” said Hermione airily, pouring herself some pumpkin
juice.
“You don ’t know what you ’re talking about! ” said Ron, starting to get
angry. “Grims scare the living daylights out of most wizards! ” “There
you are, then, ” said Hermione in a superior tone. “They see the Grim
and die of fright. The Grim ’s not an omen, it ’s the cause of death! And
Harry ’s still with us because he ’s not stupid enough to see one and
think, right, well, I ’d better kick the bucket then! ”
 110 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


Ron mouthed wordlessly at Hermione, who opened her bag, took out
her new Arithmancy bo ok, and propped it open against the juice jug.
“I think Divination seems very woolly, ” she said, searching for her
page. “A lot of guesswork, if you ask me. ”
“There was nothing woolly about the Grim in that cup! ” said Ron
hotly.
“You didn ’t seem quite so confident when you were telling Harry it
was a sheep, ” said Hermione coolly.
“Professor Trelawney said you didn ’t have the right aura! You just
don ’t like being bad at something for a change! ”
He had touched a nerve. Hermione slammed her Arithmancy book
down on the table so hard that bits of meat and carrot flew
everywhere.
“If being good at Divination means I have to pretend to see death
omens in a lump of tea leaves, I ’m not sure I ’ll be studying it much
longer! That lesson was absolu te rubbish compared with my
Arithmancy class! ”
She snatched up her bag and stalked away.
Ron frowned after her.
“What ’s she talking about? ” he said to Harry. “She hasn ’t been to an
Arithmancy class yet. ”

Harry was pleased to get out of the castle after lunch. Yesterday ’s rain
had cleared; the sky was a clear, pale gray, and the grass was springy
and damp underfoot as they set off for their first ever Care of Magical
Creatures class.
Ron and Hermione wer en ’t speaking to each other. Harry walked
beside them in silence as they went down the sloping lawns to
 111 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

Hagrid ’s hut on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It was only when he
spotted three only -too -familiar backs ahead of them that he real - ized
they must be having these lessons with the Slytherins. Malfoy was
talking animatedly to Crabbe and Goyle, who were chortling. Harry
was quite sure he knew what they were talking abou t.
Hagrid was waiting for his class at the door of his hut. He stood in his
moleskin overcoat, with Fang the boarhound at his heels, looking
impatient to start.
“C’mon, now, get a move on! ” he called as the class approached. “Got
a real treat for yeh t oday! Great lesson comin ’ up! Everyone here?
Right, follow me! ”
For one nasty moment, Harry thought that Hagrid was going to lead
them into the forest; Harry had had enough unpleasant expe - riences
in there to last him a lifetime. However, Hagrid strolled off around the
edge of the trees, and five minutes later, they found themselves outside
a kind of paddock. There was nothing in there. “Everyone
gather ’round the fence here! ” he called. “That ’s it — make sure yeh
can see — now, firs ’ thing yeh ’ll want te r do is open yer books — ”
“How? ” said the cold, drawling voice of Draco Malfoy.
“Eh? ” said Hagrid.
“How do we open our books? ” Malfoy repeated. He took out his
copy of The Monster Book of Monsters, which he had bound shut
with a length of rope. Other people took theirs out too; some, like
Harry, had belted their book shut; others had crammed them in - side
tight bags or clamped them together with binder clips.
“Hasn ’ — hasn ’ anyone bin able ter open their books? ” said Hagri d,
looking crestfallen.
 112 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


The class all shook their heads.
“Yeh ’ve got ter stroke ’em, ” said Hagrid, as though this was the
most obvious thing in the world. “Look — ”
He took Hermione ’s copy and ripped off the Spellotape that bound it.
The book tried to bite, but Hagrid ran a giant forefinger down its spine,
and the book shivered, and then fell open and lay quiet in his hand.
“Oh, how silly we ’ve all been! ” Malfoy sneered. “We should h ave
stroked them! Why didn ’t we guess! ”
“I — I thought they were funny, ” Hagrid said uncertainly to
Hermione.
“Oh, tremendously funny! ” said Malfoy. “Really witty, giving us books
that try and rip our hands off! ”
“Shut up, Malfoy, ” said Harry quietly. Hagrid was looking downcast
and Harry wanted Hagrid ’s first lesson to be a success. “Righ ’ then, ”
said Hagrid, who seemed to have lost his thread, “so — so yeh ’ve got
yer books an ’ — an ’ — now yeh need the Magical Creatures. Yeah. So
I’ll go an ’ get ’em. Hang on . . . ”
He strode away from them into the forest and out of sight. “God, this
place is going to the dogs, ” said Malfoy loudly. “That oaf teaching
classes, my father ’ll have a fit when I tell him — ” “Shut up, Malfoy, ”
Harry repe ated.
“Careful, Potter, there ’s a dementor behind you — ” “Oooooooh! ”
squealed Lavender Brown, pointing toward the opposite side of the
paddock.
Trotting toward them were a dozen of the most bizarre creatures Harry
had ever seen. They had the bodies, hi nd legs, and tails of horses, but
the front legs, wings, and heads of what seemed to be
 113 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

giant eagles, with cruel, steel -colored beaks and large, brilliantly or -
ange eyes. The talons on their front legs were half a foot long and
deadly looking. Each of the beasts had a thick leather collar around its
neck, which was attached to a long chain, and the ends of all of these
were held in the vast hands of Hagrid, who came jogging into the
paddock behind the creatures.
“Gee up, there! ” he roared, shaking the chains and urging the creatures
toward the fence where the class stood. Everyone drew back slightly as
Hagrid reached them and tethered the creatures to the fenc e.
“Hippogriffs! ” Hagrid roared happily, waving a hand at them.
“Beau ’iful, aren ’ they? ”
Harry could sort of see what Hagrid meant. Once you got over the first
shock of seeing something that was half horse, half bird, you started to
appreciate the hippogriffs ’ gleaming coats, changing smoothly from
feather to hair, each of them a different color: stormy gray, bronze,
pinkish roan, gleaming chestnut, and inky black.
“So, ” said Hagrid, rubbing his hands together and beam ing around, “if
yeh wan ’ ter come a bit nearer — ”
No one seemed to want to. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, how - ever,
approached the fence cautiously.
“Now, firs ’ thing yeh gotta know abou ’ hippogriffs is, they ’re proud, ”
said Hagrid. “Easily offended, hippog riffs are. Don ’t never insult
one, ’cause it might be the last thing yeh do. ”
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle weren ’t listening; they were talking in an
undertone and Harry had a nasty feeling they were plotting how best to
disrupt the lesson.
 114 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“Yeh always wait fer the hippogriff ter make the firs ’ move, ” Hagrid
continued. “It’s polite, see? Yeh walk toward him, and yeh bow, an ’
yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh ’re allowed ter touch him. If h e doesn ’
bow, then get away from him sharpish, ’cause those talons hurt.
“Right — who wants ter go first? ”
Most of the class backed farther away in answer. Even Harry, Ron, and
Hermione had misgivings. The hippogriffs were tossing their fierce
heads an d flexing their powerful wings; they didn ’t seem to like being
tethered like this.
“No one? ” said Hagrid, with a pleading look.
“I’ll do it, ” said Harry.
There was an intake of breath from behind him, and both Lavender
and Parvati whispered, “Oooh, no, Harry, remember your tea leaves! ”
Harry ignored them. He climbed over the paddock fence. “Good man,
Harry! ” roared Hagrid. “Right then — let ’s see how yeh get on with
Buckbeak. ”
He untied one of the chains, pulled the gray hippogriff away from its
fellows, and slipped off its leather collar. The class on the other side of
the paddock seemed to be holding its breath. Malfoy ’s eyes were
narrowed maliciously.
“Easy, now, Harry, ” said Hagrid quietly. “Yeh ’ve got eye contact, now
try not ter blink. . . . Hippogriffs don ’ trust yeh if yeh blink too
much. . . . ”
Harry ’s eyes immediately began to water, but he didn ’t shut them.
Buckbeak had turned his great, sharp head and was staring at Harry
with one fierce orange eye.
 115 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

“Tha ’s it, ” said Hagrid. “Tha ’s it, Harry . . . now, bow . . . ” Harry didn ’t
feel much like exposing the back of his neck to Buckbeak, but he did as
he was told. He gave a short bow and then looked up.
The h ippogriff was still staring haughtily at him. It didn ’t move. “Ah, ”
said Hagrid, sounding worried. “Right — back away, now, Harry, easy
does it — ”
But then, to Harry ’s enormous surprise, the hippogriff suddenly bent
its scaly front knees and sank into wha t was an unmistakable bow.
“Well done, Harry! ” said Hagrid, ecstatic. “Right — yeh can touch him!
Pat his beak, go on! ”
Feeling that a better reward would have been to back away, Harry
moved slowly toward the hippogriff and reached out toward it. He
patted the beak several times and the hippogriff closed its eyes lazily, as
though enjoying it.
The class broke into applause, all except for Malfoy, Crabbe, and
Goyle, who were looking deeply disappointed.
“Righ ’ then, Harry, ” said Hagrid. “I r eckon he might ’ let yeh ride him! ”
This was more than Harry had bargained for. He was used to a
broomstick; but he wasn ’t sure a hippogriff would be quite the same.
“Yeh climb up there, jus ’ behind the wing joint, ” said Hagrid, “an ’
mind yeh don ’ pull any of his feathers out, he won ’ like that. . . . ”
Harry put his foot on the top of Buckbeak ’s wing and hoisted himself
onto its back. Buckbeak stood up. Harry wasn ’t sure where to hold on;
everything in front of him was covered with feathers.
 116 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“Go on, then! ” roared Hagrid, slapping the hippogriff ’s hind -
quarters.
Without warning, twelve -foot wings flapped open on either side of
Harry; he just had time to seize the hippogriff around th e neck before
he was soaring upward. It was nothing like a broomstick, and Harry
knew which one he preferred; the hippogriff ’s wings beat
uncomfortably on either side of him, catching him under his legs and
making him feel he was about to be thrown off; th e glossy feathers
slipped under his fingers and he didn ’t dare get a stronger grip; instead
of the smooth action of his Nimbus Two Thousand, he now felt
himself rocking backward and forward as the hindquar - ters of the
hippogriff rose and fell with its win gs.
Buckbeak flew him once around the paddock and then headed back to
the ground; this was the bit Harry had been dreading; he leaned back as
the smooth neck lowered, feeling he was going to slip off over the beak,
then felt a heavy thud as the four ill -assorted feet hit the ground. He
just managed to hold on and push himself straight again.
“Good work, Harry! ” roared Hagrid as everyone except Malfoy,
Crabbe, and Goyle cheered. “Okay, who else wants a go? ”
Emboldened by Harry ’s success, the rest of the class climbed
cautiously into the paddock. Hagrid untied the hippogriffs one by one,
and soon people were bowing nervously, all over the paddock. Neville
ran repeatedly backward from his, which didn ’t seem to want to
bend its kn ees. Ron and Hermione practiced on the chest - nut, while
Harry watched.
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle had taken over Buckbeak. He had bowed
to Malfoy, who was now patting his beak, looking dis - dainful.
 117 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

“This is very easy, ” Malfoy drawled, loud enough for Harry to hear
him. “I knew it must have been, if Potter could do it. . . . I bet you ’re
not dangerous at all, are you? ” he said to the hippogriff. “Are you, you
great ugly brute? ”
It happened in a flash of steely talons; Malfoy let out a high - pitched
scream and next moment, Hagrid was wrestling Buckbeak back into
his collar as he strained to get at Malfoy, who lay curled in the grass,
blood blossoming over his robes.
“I’m dying! ” Malfoy yelled as the class panicked. “I’m dying, look at
me! It ’s killed me! ”
“Yer not dyin ’!” said Hagrid, who had gone very white. “Some - one
help me — gotta get him outta here — ”
Hermione ran to hold open the gate as Hagrid lifted Malfoy eas - ily. As
they passed, Harry saw that there was a long, deep gash on Malfoy ’s
arm; blood splattered the grass and Hagrid ran with him, up the slope
toward the castle.
Very shaken, the Care of Magical Creatures class followed at a walk.
The Slytherins were a ll shouting about Hagrid.
“They should fire him straight away! ” said Pansy Parkinson, who was
in tears.
“It was Malfoy ’s fault! ” snapped Dean Thomas. Crabbe and Goyle
flexed their muscles threateningly.
They all climbed the stone steps into the deserted entrance hall. “I’m
going to see if he ’s okay! ” said Pansy, and they all watched her run up
the marble staircase. The Slytherins, still muttering about Hagrid,
headed away in the direction of their dungeon common room; Harry,
Ron, and Hermione proceeded upstairs to Gryffindor Tower.
 118 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“D ’you think he ’ll be all right? ” said Hermione nervously. “’Course he
will. Madam Pomfrey can mend cuts in about a sec - ond, ” said Harry,
who had had far worse injuries mended magically by the nurse.
“That was a really bad thing to happen in Hagrid ’s first class, though,
wasn ’t it? ” said Ron, looking worried. “Trust Malfoy to mess things up
for him. . . . ”
They were among the first to reach the Great Hall at dinner - time,
hoping to see Hagrid, but he wasn ’t there.
“They wouldn ’t fire him, would they? ” said Hermione anxiously,
not touching her steak -and -kidney pudding.
“They ’d better not, ” said Ron, who wasn ’t eating either. Harry was
watching the Slytherin table. A large group including Crabbe and
Goyle was huddled together, deep in conversation. Harry was sure
they were cooking up their own version of how Malfoy had been
injured.
“Well, you can ’t sa y it wasn ’t an interesting first day back, ” said Ron
gloomily.
They went up to the crowded Gryffindor common room after dinner
and tried to do the homework Professor McGonagall had given them,
but all three of them kept breaking off and glancing out of th e tower
window.
“There ’s a light on in Hagrid ’s window, ” Harry said suddenly. Ron
looked at his watch.
“If we hurried, we could go down and see him. It ’s still quite early. . . . ”
“I don ’t know, ” Hermione said slowly, and Harry saw her glance at
him.
 119 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

“I’m allowed to walk across the grounds, ” he said pointedly.
“Sirius Black hasn ’t got past the dementors yet, has he? ”
So they put their things away and headed out of the portrait hole, glad
to meet nobody on their way to the front doors, as they weren ’t
entirely sure they were supposed to be out.
The grass was still wet and looked almost black in the twilight. When
they reached Hagrid ’s hut, they knocked, and a voice growled,
“C’m in. ”
Hagrid was sitting in his shirtsleeves at his scrubbed wooden table; his
boarhound, Fang, had his head in Hagrid ’s lap. One look told them
that Hagrid had been drinking a lot; there was a pewter tankard almost
as big as a bucket in front of him, an d he seemed to be having difficulty
getting them into focus.
“’Spect it ’s a record, ” he said thickly, when he recognized them. “Don ’
reckon they ’ve ever had a teacher who lasted on ’y a day be - fore. ”
“You haven ’t been fired, Hagrid! ” gasped Hermione. “Not yet, ” said
Hagrid miserably, taking a huge gulp of whatever was in the tankard.
“But ’s only a matter o ’ time, i ’n’t it, after Malfoy . . . ”
“How is he? ” said Ron as they all sat down. “It wasn ’t serious, was it? ”
“Madam Pomfrey fixed him best she co uld, ” said Hagrid dully, “but
he ’s sayin ’ it’s still agony . . . covered in ban - dages . . . moanin ’ . . . ”
“He ’s faking it, ” said Harry at once. “Madam Pomfrey can mend
anything. She regrew half my bones last year. Trust Malfoy to milk it
for all it ’s worth. ”
 120 ‘

TALONS AND TEA
LEAVES


“School gov ’nors have bin told, o ’ course, ” said Hagrid miser - ably.
“They reckon I started too big. Shoulda left hippogriffs fer later . . .
done flobberworms or summat. . . . Jus ’ thought it ’d make a good firs ’
lesson. . . . ’S all my fault. . . . ”
“It’s all Malfoy ’s fault, Hagrid! ” said Hermione earnestly.
“We ’re witnesses, ” said Harry. “You said hippogriffs attack if you
insult them. It ’s Malfoy ’s problem that he wasn ’t listening. We ’ll tell
Dumbledore what really happened. ”
“Yeah, don ’t worry, Hagrid, we ’ll back you up, ” said Ron. Tears leaked
out of the crinkled corners of Hagrid ’s beetle -black eyes. He grabbed
both Harry and Ron and pulled them into a bone -breakin g hug.
“I think you ’ve had enough to drink, Hagrid, ” said Hermione firmly.
She took the tankard from the table and went outside to empty it.
“Ar, maybe she ’s right, ” said Hagrid, letting go of Harry and Ron, who
both staggered away, rubbing their ribs. Hagrid heaved himself out of
his chair and followed Hermione unsteadily outside. They heard a loud
splash.
“What ’s he done? ” said Harry nervously as Hermione came back in
with the empty tankard.
“Stuck his head in the water barrel, ” said Hermione, putting the
tankard away.
Hagrid came back, his long hair and beard sopping wet, wiping the
water out of his eyes.
“Tha ’s better, ” he said, shaking his head like a dog and drench - ing
them all. “Listen, it was good of yeh ter come an ’ see me, I really — ”
 121 ‘

CHAPTER SIX

Hagrid stopped dead, staring at Harry as though he ’d only just realized
he was there.
“WHAT D ’YEH THINK YOU ’RE DOIN ’, EH? ” he roared, so
suddenly that they jumped a foot in the air. “YEH ’RE NOT TO GO
WANDERIN ’ AROUND AFTER DARK, HARRY! AN ’ YOU
TWO! LETTIN ’ HIM! ”
Hagrid strode over to Harry, grabbed his arm, and pulled him to the
door.
“C’mon! ” Hagrid said angrily. “I’m takin ’ yer all back up ter school, an ’
don ’ let me catch yeh walkin ’ down ter see me after dark again. I ’m not
worth that! ”




















 122 ‘

C H A P T E R S E V E N









THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE


alfoy didn ’t reappear in classes until late on Thursday
M
morning, when the Slytherins and Gryffindors were
halfway through double Potions. He swaggered into the dungeon, his
right arm covered in bandages and bound up in a sling, acting, in
Harry ’s opinion, as though he were the heroic survivor of some
dreadful battle.
“How is it, Draco? ” simpered Pansy Parki nson. “Does it hurt much? ”
“Yeah, ” said Malfoy, putting on a brave sort of grimace. But Harry saw
him wink at Crabbe and Goyle when Pansy had looked away.
“Settle down, settle down, ” said Professor Snape idly. Harry and
Ron scowled at each other; Snape wouldn ’t have said
“settle down ” if they ’d walked in late, he ’d have given them deten -
tion. But Malfoy had always been able to get away with anything in

 123 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

Snape ’s classes; Snape was head of Slytherin House, and generally
favored his own students above all others.
They were making a new potion today, a Shrinking Solution. Malfoy
set up his cauldron right next to Harry and Ron, so that they were
preparing their i ngredients on the same table.
“Sir, ” Malfoy called, “sir, I ’ll need help cutting up these daisy roots,
because of my arm — ”
“Weasley, cut up Malfoy ’s roots for him, ” said Snape without looking
up.
Ron went brick red.
“There ’s nothing wrong with your arm, ” he hissed at Malfoy.
Malfoy smirked across the table.
“Weasley, you heard Professor Snape; cut up these roots. ” Ron seized
his knife, pulled Malfoy ’s roots toward him, and be - gan to chop them
roughly, so that they were all different sizes. “Profe ssor, ” drawled
Malfoy, “Weasley ’s mutilating my roots, sir. ”
Snape approached their table, stared down his hooked nose at the
roots, then gave Ron an unpleasant smile from beneath his long, greasy
black hair.
“Change roots with Malfoy, Weasley. ”
“But, sir — !”
Ron had spent the last quarter of an hour carefully shredding his own
roots into exactly equal pieces.
“ Now, ” said Snape in his most dangerous voice.
Ron shoved his own beautifully cut roots across the table at Malfoy,
then took up the knife again.
“And, sir, I ’ll need this shrivelfig skinned, ” said Malfoy, his voice full
of malicious laughter.
 124 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

“Potter, you can skin Malfoy ’s shrivelfig, ” said Snape, giving Harry the
look of loathing he always reserved just for him.
Harry took Malfoy ’s shrivelfig as Ron began trying to repair the
damage to the roots he now had to use. Harry skinned the shriv - elfig
as fast as he could and flung it back across the table at Malfoy without
speaking. Malfoy was smirking more broadly than ever. “Seen your pal
Hagrid lately? ” he asked them quietly.
“None of your business, ” said Ron jerkily, without looking up. “I’m
afraid he won ’t be a teacher much longer, ” said Malfoy in a tone of
mock sorrow. “Father ’s not very happy about my injury — ” “Keep
talking, Malfoy, and I ’ll give you a real injury, ” snarled Ron.
“— he ’s complained to the school governors. And to the Min -
istry of Magic. Father ’s got a lot of influence, you kno w. And a last - ing
injury like this ” — he gave a huge, fake sigh — “who knows if my
arm ’ll ever be the same again? ”
“So that ’s why you ’re putting it on, ” said Harry, accidentally be -
heading a dead caterpillar because his hand was shaking in anger. “To
try to get Hagrid fired. ”
“Well, ” said Malfoy, lowering his voice to a whisper, “ partly,
Potter. But there are other benefits too. Weasley, slice my caterpil - lars
for me. ”
A few cauldrons away, Neville was in trouble. Neville regularly went to
pieces in Potions lessons; it was his worst subject, and his great fear of
Professor Snape made things ten times worse. His po - tion, which was
supposed to be a bright, acid green, had turned — “Orange,
Longbottom, ” said Snape, ladling some up and allow - ing it to splash
back into the cauldron, so that everyone could see. “Orange. Tell me,
boy, does anything penetrate that thick skull of
 125 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

yours? Didn ’t you hear me say, quite clearly, that only o ne rat spleen
was needed? Didn ’t I state plainly that a dash of leech juice would
suffice? What do I have to do to make you understand, Longbottom? ”
Neville was pink and trembling. He looked as though he was on the
verge of tears.
“Please, sir, ” said Hermione, “please, I could help Neville put it right
— ”
“I don ’t remember asking you to show off, Miss Granger, ” said Snape
coldly, and Hermione went as pink as Neville. “Longbot - tom, at the
end of this lesson we will feed a few drops of this pot ion to your toad
and see what happens. Perhaps that will encourage you to do it
properly. ”
Snape moved away, leaving Neville breathless with fear.
“Help me! ” he moaned to Hermione.
“Hey, Harry, ” said Seamus Finnigan, leaning over to borrow
Harry ’s bra ss scales, “have you heard? Daily Prophet this
morning —
they reckon Sirius Black ’s been sighted. ”
“Where? ” said Harry and Ron quickly. On the other side of the table,
Malfoy looked up, listening closely.
“Not too far from here, ” said Seamus, who looked excited. “It was a
Muggle who saw him. ’Course, she didn ’t really understand. The
Muggles think he ’s just an ordinary criminal, don ’t they? So she
phoned the telephone hot line. By the time the Ministry of Magic got
there, he was g one. ”
“Not too far from here . . . , ” Ron repeated, looking significantly at
Harry. He turned around and saw Malfoy watching closely. “What,
Malfoy? Need something else skinned? ”
 126 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

But Malfoy ’s eyes were shining malevolently, and they were fixed on
Harry. He leaned across the table.
“Thinking of trying to catch Black single -handed, Potter? ”
“Yeah, that ’s right, ” said Harry offhandedly.
Malfoy ’s thin mouth was curving in a mean smile. “Of course, if it was
me, ” he said quietly, “I’d have done some - thing before now. I
wouldn ’t be staying in school like a good boy, I ’d be out there looking
for him. ”
“What are you talking about, Malfoy? ” said Ron roughly.
“Don ’t you know, Pott er? ” breathed Malfoy, his pale eyes nar -
rowed.
“Know what? ”
Malfoy let out a low, sneering laugh.
“Maybe you ’d rather not risk your neck, ” he said. “Want to leave it to
the dementors, do you? But if it was me, I ’d want revenge. I ’d hunt him
down myself. ”
“ What are you talking about ?” said Harry angrily, but at that
moment Snape called, “You should have finished adding your
ingredients by now; this potion needs to stew before it can be drunk,
so clear away while it simmers and the n we ’ll test Long - bottom ’s. . . . ”
Crabbe and Goyle laughed openly, watching Neville sweat as he stirred
his potion feverishly. Hermione was muttering instructions to him out
of the corner of her mouth, so that Snape wouldn ’t see. Harry and Ron
packed away their unused ingredients and went to wash their hands
and ladles in the stone basin in the corner.
“What did Malfoy mean? ” Harry muttered to Ron as he stuck his hands
under the icy jet that poured from the gargoyle ’s mouth.
 12 7 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

“Why would I want revenge on Black? He hasn ’t done anything to me
— yet. ”
“He ’s making it up, ” said Ron savagely. “He ’s trying to make you do
something stupid. . . . ”
The end of the lesson in sight, Snape strode over to Neville, who was
cowering by his cauldron.
“Everyone gather ’round, ” said Snape, his black eyes glittering, “and
watch what happens to Longbottom ’s toad. If he has managed to
produce a Shrinking Solut ion, it will shrink to a tadpole. If, as I don ’t
doubt, he has done it wrong, his toad is likely to be poi - soned. ”
The Gryffindors watched fearfully. The Slytherins looked ex - cited.
Snape picked up Trevor the toad in his left hand and dipped a small
spo on into Neville ’s potion, which was now green. He trickled a few
drops down Trevor ’s throat.
There was a moment of hushed silence, in which Trevor gulped; then
there was a small pop, and Trevor the tadpole was wriggling in Snape ’s
palm.
The Gryffindors b urst into applause. Snape, looking sour, pulled a
small bottle from the pocket of his robe, poured a few drops on top of
Trevor, and he reappeared suddenly, fully grown.
“Five points from Gryffindor, ” said Snape, which wiped the smiles
from every face. “I told you not to help him, Miss Granger. Class
dismissed. ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione climbed the steps to the entrance hall.
Harry was still thinking about what Malfoy had said, while Ron was
seething about Snape.
“Five points from Gryffindor because the potion was all right!
 128 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

Why didn ’t you lie, Hermione? You should ’ve said Neville did it all by
himself! ”
Hermione didn ’t answer. Ron looked around.
“Where is she? ”
Harry turned too. They were at the top of the steps now, watch - ing the
rest of the class pass them, heading for the Great Hall and lunch.
“She was right behind us, ” said Ron, frowning. Malfoy passed them,
walking between Crabbe and Goyle. He smirked at H arry and
disappeared.
“There she is, ” said Harry.
Hermione was panting slightly, hurrying up the stairs; one hand
clutched her bag, the other seemed to be tucking something down the
front of her robes.
“How did you do that? ” said Ron.
“What? ” said Hermione, joining them.
“One minute you were right behind us, the next moment, you were
back at the bottom of the stairs again. ”
“What? ” Hermione looked slightly confused. “Oh — I had to go back
for something. Oh no — ”
A seam had split on Hermio ne ’s bag. Harry wasn ’t surprised; he could
see that it was crammed with at least a dozen large and heavy books.
“Why are you carrying all these around with you? ” Ron asked her.
“You know how many subjects I ’m taking, ” said Hermione
breathlessly. “Cou ldn ’t hold these for me, could you? ”
“But — ” Ron was turning over the books she had handed him,
 129 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

looking at the covers. “You haven ’t got any of these subjects today. It ’s
only Defense Against the Dark Arts this afternoon. ”
“Oh yes, ” said Hermione vaguely, but she packed all the books back
into her bag just the same. “I hope there ’s something good for lunch,
I’m starving, ” she added, and she marched off toward the Great Hall.
“D ’you get the feeling Hermione ’s not telling us something? ” Ron
asked Harry.

Professor Lupin wasn ’t there when they arrived at his first Defense
Against the Dark Arts lesson. They all sat down, took out their books,
quills, and parchme nt, and were talking when he finally en - tered the
room. Lupin smiled vaguely and placed his tatty old briefcase on the
teacher ’s desk. He was as shabby as ever but looked healthier than he
had on the train, as though he had had a few square meals.
“Goo d afternoon, ” he said. “Would you please put all your books back
in your bags. Today ’s will be a practical lesson. You will need only your
wands. ”
A few curious looks were exchanged as the class put away their books.
They had never had a practical Defen se Against the Dark Arts before,
unless you counted the memorable class last year when their old
teacher had brought a cageful of pixies to class and set them loose.
“Right then, ” said Professor Lupin, when everyone was ready. “If
you ’d follow me. ”
Puzzled but interested, the class got to its feet and followed Pro - fessor
Lupin out of the classroom. He led them along the deserted
 130 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

corridor and around a corner, where the first thing they saw was
Peeves the Poltergeist, who was floating upside down in midair and
stuffing the nearest keyhole with chewing gum.
Peeves didn ’t look up until Professor Lupin was two feet away; then he
wiggl ed his curly -toed feet and broke into song.
“Loony, loopy Lupin, ” Peeves sang. “Loony, loopy Lupin, loony,
loopy Lupin — ”
Rude and unmanageable as he almost always was, Peeves usually
showed some respect toward the teachers. Everyone looked quickly at
Pr ofessor Lupin to see how he would take this; to their surprise, he was
still smiling.
“I’d take that gum out of the keyhole if I were you, Peeves, ” he said
pleasantly. “Mr. Filch won ’t be able to get in to his brooms. ” Filch was
the Hogwarts caretaker, a bad -tempered, failed wizard who waged a
constant war against the students and, indeed, Peeves. However,
Peeves paid no attention to Professor Lupin ’s words, ex - cept to blow
a loud wet raspberry.
Professor Lupin gave a small sigh and took out his wand. “This is a
useful little spell, ” he told the class over his shoulder. “Please watch
closely. ”
He raised the wand to shoulder height, said, “ Waddiwasi !” and
pointed it at Peeves.
With the force of a bullet, the wad of chewing gum shot out of the
keyhole and straight down Peeves ’s left nostril; he whirled up - right
and zoomed away, cursing.
“Cool, sir! ” said Dean Thomas in amazement.
“Thank you, Dean, ” said Professor Lupin, putting his wand away
again. “Shall we proceed? ”
 131 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

They set off again, the class looking at shabby Professor Lupin with
increased respect. He led them down a second corridor and stopped,
right outside the staffroom door.
“Inside, please, ” said Professor Lupin, opening it and standing back.
The staffroom, a long, paneled room full of old, mismatched chairs,
was empty except for one teacher. Professor Snape was sit - ting in a
low armchair, and he looked around as the class filed in. His eye s were
glittering and there was a nasty sneer playing around his mouth. As
Professor Lupin came in and made to close the door behind him,
Snape said, “Leave it open, Lupin. I ’d rather not wit - ness this. ”
He got to his feet and strode past the class, hi s black robes bil - lowing
behind him. At the doorway he turned on his heel and said, “Possibly
no one ’s warned you, Lupin, but this class contains Neville
Longbottom. I would advise you not to entrust him with anything
difficult. Not unless Miss Granger i s hissing instructions in his ear. ”
Neville went scarlet. Harry glared at Snape; it was bad enough that he
bullied Neville in his own classes, let alone doing it in front of other
teachers.
Professor Lupin had raised his eyebrows.
“I was hoping that Neville would assist me with the first stage of the
operation, ” he said, “and I am sure he will perform it ad - mirably. ”
Neville ’s face went, if possible, even redder. Snape ’s lip curled, but he
left, shutting the door with a snap.
“Now, then, ” said Professor Lupin, beckoning the class toward the
end of the room, where there was nothing but an old wardrobe
 132 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

where the t eachers kept their spare robes. As Professor Lupin went to
stand next to it, the wardrobe gave a sudden wobble, banging off the
wall.
“Nothing to worry about, ” said Professor Lupin calmly because a few
people had jumped backward in alarm. “There ’s a bogga rt in there. ”
Most people seemed to feel that this was something to worry
about. Neville gave Professor Lupin a look of pure terror, and Seamus
Finnigan eyed the now rattling doorknob apprehensively. “Boggarts
like dark, enclosed spaces, ” said Professor Lupin. “Wardrobes, the gap
beneath beds, the cupboards under sinks —
I’ve even met one that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock. This
one moved in yesterday afternoon, and I asked the headmaster if the
staff would leave it to give my third years some practice.
“So, the first question we must ask ourselves is, what is a bog -
gart? ”
Hermione put up her hand.
“It’s a shape -shifter, ” she said. “It can take the shape of whatever it
thinks will fri ghten us most. ”
“Couldn ’t have put it better myself, ” said Professor Lupin, and
Hermione glowed. “So the boggart sitting in the darkness within has
not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the
person on the other side of the door . Nobody knows what a boggart
looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately
become whatever each of us most fears.
“This means, ” said Professor Lupin, choosing to ignore Neville ’s small
sputter of terror, “th at we have a huge advantage over the boggart
before we begin. Have you spotted it, Harry? ”
Trying to answer a question with Hermione next to him,
 133 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

bobbing up and down on the balls of her feet with her hand in the air,
was very off -putting, but Harry had a go.
“Er — because there are so many of us, it won ’t know what shape it
should be? ”
“Precisely, ” said Professor Lupin, and Hermione put her ha nd down,
looking a little disappointed. “It’s always best to have com - pany when
you ’re dealing with a boggart. He becomes confused. Which should he
become, a headless corpse or a flesh -eating slug? I once saw a boggart
make that very mistake — tried to fr ighten two people at once and
turned himself into half a slug. Not re - motely frightening.
“The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force
of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter.
What you need to do i s force it to assume a shape that you find
amusing.
“We will practice the charm without wands first. After me,
please . . . riddikulus !”
“ Riddikulus !” said the class together.
“Good, ” said Professor Lupin. “Very good. But that was the easy part,
I’m afraid. You see, the word alone is not enough. And this is where
you come in, Neville. ”
The wardrobe shook again, though not as much as Neville, who
walked forward as though he were heading for the gallows. “Right,
Neville, ” said Professor Lupin. “Fir st things first: what would you say
is the thing that frightens you most in the world? ” Neville ’s lips moved,
but no noise came out.
“Didn ’t catch that, Neville, sorry, ” said Professor Lupin cheer - fully.
Neville looked around rather wildly, as though be gging someone
 134 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

to help him, then said, in barely more than a whisper, “Professor
Snape. ”
Nearly everyone laughed. Even Neville grinned apologetically.
Professor Lupin, however, looked thoughtful.
“Professor Snape . . . hmmm . . . Neville, I believe you live with your
grandmother? ”
“Er — yes, ” said Neville nervously. “But — I don ’t want the boggart
to turn into her either. ”
“No, no, you misunderstand me, ” said Professor Lupin, now smiling.
“I wonder, could you tell us what sort of clothes your grandmother
usually wears? ”
Neville looked startled, but said, “Well . . . always the same hat. A tall
one with a stuffed vulture on t op. And a long dress . . . green,
normally . . . and sometimes a fox -fur scarf. ”
“And a handbag? ” prompted Professor Lupin.
“A big red one, ” said Neville.
“Right then, ” said Professor Lupin. “Can you picture those clothes
very clearly, Neville? Can you see them in your mind ’s eye? ” “Yes, ”
said Neville uncertainly, plainly wondering what was coming next.
“When the boggart bursts out of this wardrobe, Neville, and sees you,
it will assume the form of Professor Snape, ” said Lupin. “And
you will raise your wand — thus — and cry ‘ Riddikulus ’ — and
concentrate hard on your grandmother ’s clothes. If all goes well,
Professor Boggart Snape will be forced into that vulture -topped hat,
and that green dress, with that big red handbag. ”
Ther e was a great shout of laughter. The wardrobe wobbled more
violently.
“If Neville is successful, the boggart is likely to shift his attention
 135 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

to each of us in turn, ” said Professor Lupin. “I would like all of you to
take a moment now to think of the thing that scares you most, and
imagine how you might force it to look comical. . . . ”
The room went quiet. Harry thought . . . What scared him most in the
world?
His first thought was Lord Vold emort — a Voldemort returned to full
strength. But before he had even started to plan a possible
counterattack on a boggart -Voldemort, a horrible image came floating
to the surface of his mind. . . .
A rotting, glistening hand, slithering back beneath a b lack cloak . . . a
long, rattling breath from an unseen mouth . . . then a cold so
penetrating it felt like drowning. . . .
Harry shivered, then looked around, hoping no one had no - ticed.
Many people had their eyes shut tight. Ron was muttering to hims elf,
“Take its legs off. ” Harry was sure he knew what that was about. Ron ’s
greatest fear was spiders.
“Everyone ready? ” said Professor Lupin.
Harry felt a lurch of fear. He wasn ’t ready. How could you make a
dementor less frightening? But he didn ’t want to ask for more time;
everyone else was nodding and rolling up their sleeves. “Neville, we ’re
going to back away, ” said Professor Lupin. “Let you have a clear field,
all right? I ’ll call the next person for - ward. . . . Everyone back, now, so
Nevill e can get a clear shot — ” They all retreated, backed against the
walls, leaving Neville alone beside the wardrobe. He looked pale and
frightened, but he had pushed up the sleeves of his robes and was
holding his wand ready.
“On the count of three, Nevil le, ” said Professor Lupin, who was
 136 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

pointing his own wand at the handle of the wardrobe. “One —
two — three — now !”
A jet of sparks shot from the end of Professor Lupin ’s wand and hit
the doorknob. The wardrobe burst open. Hook -nosed and menacing,
Professor Snape stepped out, his eyes flashing at Neville. Neville
backed away, his wand up, mouthing wordlessly. Snape was bearing
down upon him, reaching inside his robes.
“ R — r — riddikulus !” squeaked Neville.
There was a noise like a whip crack. Snape stumbled; he was wear - ing
a long, lace -trimmed dress and a towering hat topped with a
moth -eaten vulture, and he was swinging a huge crimson handbag.
There was a roar of laughte r; the boggart paused, confused, and
Professor Lupin shouted, “Parvati! Forward! ”
Parvati walked forward, her face set. Snape rounded on her. There was
another crack, and where he had stood was a blood - stained, bandaged
mummy; its sightless face was turned to Parvati and it began to walk
toward her very slowly, dragging its feet, its stiff arms rising —
“ Riddikulus !” cried Parvati.
A bandage unraveled at the mummy ’s feet; it became entangled, fell
face forward, and its head rolled off.
“Seamus! ” roared Professor Lupin.
Seamus darted past Parvati.
Crack ! Where the mummy had been was a woman with floor -
length black hair and a skeletal, green -tinged face — a banshee. She
opened her mouth wide and an unearthly sound filled the room, a long,
wailing shriek that made the hair on Harry ’s head stand on end —
 137 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

“ Riddikulus !” shouted Seamus.
The banshee made a rasping noise and clutched her throat; her voice
was gone.
Crack ! The banshee turned into a rat, which chased its tail in a
circle, then — crack ! — became a rattlesnake, which slithered and
writhed before — crack ! — becoming a s ingle, bloody eyeball.
“It’s confused! ” shouted Lupin. “We ’re getting there! Dean! ”
Dean hurried forward.
Crack ! The eyeball became a severed hand, which flipped over
and began to creep along the floor like a crab.
 Riddikulus !” yelled Dean.
There was a snap, and the hand was trapped in a mousetrap.
“Excellent! Ron, you next! ”
Ron leapt forward.
Crack !
Quite a few people screamed. A giant spider, six feet tall and cov - ered
in hair, was advancing on Ron, clicking its pincers menac - ingly. For a
moment, Harry thought Ron had frozen. Then —
“ Riddikulus !” bellowed Ron, and the spider ’s legs vanished; it
rolled over and over; Lavender Brown squealed and ran out of its way
and it came to a halt at Harry ’s feet. He raised his wand, ready, but —
“Here! ” shouted Professor Lupin suddenly, hurrying forward.
Crack !
The legless spider had vanished. For a second, everyone looked wildly
around to see where it was. Then they saw a silvery -white orb
hanging i n the air in front of Lupin, who said, “ Riddikulus !” al-
most lazily.
 138 ‘

THE BOGGART
IN THE WARDROBE

Crack !
“Forward, Neville, and finish him off! ” said Lupin as the boggart
landed on the floor as a cockroach. Crack ! Snape was back. This
time Neville charged forward looking determined.
“ Riddikulus !” he shouted, and they had a split second ’s view of
Snape in his lacy dress before Neville let out a great “Ha! ” of laugh - ter,
and the boggart exploded, burst into a thousand tiny wisps of smoke,
and was gone.
“Excellent! ” cried Professor Lupin as the class broke into applause.
“Excellent, Neville. Well done, everyone. . . . Let me see . . . five points
to Gryffindor for ev ery person to tackle the bog - gart — ten for
Neville because he did it twice . . . and five each to Hermione and
Harry. ”
“But I didn ’t do anything, ” said Harry.
“You and Hermione answered my questions correctly at the start of
the class, Harry, ” Lupin said lightly. “Very well, everyone, an ex -
cellent lesson. Homework, kindly read the chapter on boggarts and
summarize it for me . . . to be handed in on Monday. That will be all. ”
Talking excitedly, the class left the staffroom. Harry, however, wasn ’t
feeling cheerful. Professor Lupin had deliberately stopped him from
tackling the boggart. Why? Was it because he ’d seen Harry collapse on
the train, and thought he wasn ’t up to much? Had he thought Harry
would pass out again?
But no one else seemed to have noticed anything. “Did
you see me take that banshee? ” shouted Seamus. “And
the hand! ” said Dean, waving his own around. “And
Snape in that hat! ”
 139 ‘

CHAPTER SEVEN

“And my mummy! ”
“I wonder why Professor Lupin ’s frightened of crystal balls? ” said
Lavender thoughtfully.
“That was the best Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson we ’ve ever
had, wasn ’t it? ” said Ron excitedly as they made their way back to the
classroom to get their bags.
“He seems like a very goo d teacher, ” said Hermione approvingly. “But
I wish I could have had a turn with the boggart — ”
“What would it have been for you? ” said Ron, sniggering. “A piece of
homework that only got nine out of ten? ”





















 140 ‘

C H A P T E R E I G H T









FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY




n no time at all, Defense Against the Dark Arts had become
I
most people ’s favorite class. Only Draco Malfoy and his gang
of Slytherins had anything bad to say about Professor Lupin. “Look at
the state of his robes, ” Malfoy would say in a loud whisper as Professor
Lupin passed. “He dresses like our old house - elf. ”
But no one else cared that Professor Lupin ’s robes were patched and
frayed. His next few lessons were just as interesting as the first. After
boggarts, they studied Red Caps, nasty little goblinlike creatures that
lurked wherever there had been bloodshed: in the dungeons of castles

and the potholes of deserted battlefields, waiting to bludgeon those
who had gotten lost. From Red Caps they moved on to kappas, creepy
water -dwellers that looked like scaly monkeys, with webbed hands
itching to strangle unwitting waders in their ponds.
Harry only wished he was as happy with some of his other
 141 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

classes. Worst of all was Potions. Snape was in a particularly vin -
dictive mood these days, and no one was in any doubt why. The story
of the boggart assuming Snape ’s shape, and the way that Neville had
dressed it in his grandmother ’s clothes, had traveled through the
school like wildfire. Snape didn ’t seem to find it fu nny. His eyes flashed
menacingly at the very mention of Professor Lupin ’s name, and he
was bullying Neville worse than ever.
Harry was also growing to dread the hours he spent in Professor
Trelawney ’s stifling tower room, deciphering lopsided shapes and
symbols, trying to ignore the way Professor Trelawney ’s enormous
eyes filled with tears every time she looked at him. He couldn ’t like
Professor Trelawney, even though she was treated with respect bor -
dering on reverence by many of the class. Parvati Pati l and Laven - der
Brown had taken to haunting Professor Trelawney ’s tower room at
lunchtimes, and always returned with annoyingly superior looks on
their faces, as though they knew things the others didn ’t. They had also
started using hushed voices whenever they spoke to Harry, as though
he were on his deathbed.
Nobody really liked Care of Magical Creatures, which, after the
action -packed first class, had become extremely dull. Hagrid seemed to
have lost his confidence. They were now spending lesson after l esson
learning how to look after flobberworms, which had to be some of the
most boring creatures in existence.
“Why would anyone bother looking after them? ” said Ron, after
yet another hour of poking shredded lettuce down the flobber -
worms ’ slimy throats.
At the start of October, however, Harry had something else to occupy
him, something so enjoyable it more than made up for his
 142 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


unsatisfactory classes. The Quidditch season was approaching, and
Oliver Wood, Captain of the Gryffindor team, called a meeting one
Thursday evening to discuss tactics for the new season.
There were seven people on a Quidditch team: three Chasers, whose
job it was to score goals by putting the Quaffle (a red, soccer -sized ball)
through one of the fifty -foot -high hoops at each end of the field; two
Beaters, who were equipped with heavy bats to repel the Bludgers (two
heavy black balls that zoomed around try ing to attack the players); a
Keeper, who defended the goal posts, and the Seeker, who had the
hardest job of all, that of catch - ing the Golden Snitch, a tiny, winged,
walnut -sized ball, whose capture ended the game and earned the
Seeker ’s team an extra one hundred and fifty points.
Oliver Wood was a burly seventeen -year -old, now in his seventh and
final year at Hogwarts. There was a quiet sort of desperation in his
voice as he addressed his six fellow team members in the chilly locker
rooms on the edge of the darkening Quidditch field.
“This is our last chance — my last chance — to win the Quid -
ditch Cup, ” he told them, striding up and down in front of them. “I’ll
be leaving at the end of this year. I ’ll never get another shot at it.
“Gryffindor hasn ’t won for seven years now. Okay, so we ’ve had the
worst luck in the world — injuries — then the tournament getting
called off last year. . . . ” Wood swallowed, as though the memory still
brought a lump to his throat. “But we also know
we ’ve got the best — ruddy — team — in — the — school, ” he
said, punching a fist into his other hand, the old manic glint back in his
eye.
 143 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

“We ’ve got three superb Chasers. ”
Wood pointed at Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson, and Katie Bell.
“We ’ve got two unbeatable Beaters. ”
“Stop it, Oliver, you ’re embarrassing us, ” said Fred and George
Weasley together, pretending to blush.
“And we ’ve got a Seeker who has never failed to win us a match !”
Wood rumbled, glaring at Harry with a kind of furious pride. “And
me, ” he added as an afterthought.
“We think you ’re very good too, Oliver, ” said George.
“Spanking good Keeper, ” said Fred.
“The point is, ” Wood went on, resuming his pacing, “the Quid - ditch
Cup should have had our name on it these last two years. Ever since
Harry joined the team, I ’ve thought the thing was in the bag. But we
haven ’t got it, and this year ’s the last chance we ’ll get to finally see our
name on the thing. . . . ”
Wood spoke so dejectedly that even Fred and George looked
sympathetic.
“Oliver, this year ’s our year, ” said Fred.
“We ’ll do it, Oliver! ” said Angelina.
“Definitely, ” said Harry.
Full of dete rmination, the team started training sessions, three
evenings a week. The weather was getting colder and wetter, the nights
darker, but no amount of mud, wind, or rain could tarnish Harry ’s
wonderful vision of finally winning the huge, silver Quid - ditch C up.
Harry returned to the Gryffindor common room one evening after
training, cold and stiff but pleased with the way practice had gone, to
find the room buzzing excitedly.
 144 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


“What ’s happened? ” he asked Ron and Hermione, who were sit - ting
in two of the best chairs by the fireside and completing some star
charts for Astronomy.
“First Hogsmeade weekend, ” said Ron, pointing at a notice that had
appeared on the battered old bulletin bo ard. “End of October.
Halloween. ”
“Excellent, ” said Fred, who had followed Harry through the por - trait
hole. “I need to visit Zonko ’s. I ’m nearly out of Stink Pellets. ” Harry
threw himself into a chair beside Ron, his high spirits ebbing away.
Hermione seemed to read his mind.
“Harry, I ’m sure you ’ll be able to go next time, ” she said. “They ’re
bound to catch Black soon. He ’s been sighted once already ” “Black ’s
not fool enough to try anything in Hogsmeade, ” said Ron. “Ask
McGonagall if you can go thi s time, Harry. The next one might not be
for ages — ”
“ Ron !” said
Hermione. “Harry ’s supposed to stay in school — ”
“He can ’t be the only third year left behind, ” said Ron. “Ask
McGonagall, go on, Harry — ”
“Yeah, I think I will, ” said Harry, making up his mind. Hermione
opened her mouth to argue, but at that moment Crookshanks leapt
lightly onto her lap. A large, dead spider was dangling from his mouth.
“Does he have to eat that in front of us? ” said Ron, scowling. “Clever
Crooks hanks, did you catch that all by yourself? ” said Hermione.
Crookshanks slowly chewed up the spider, his yellow eyes fixed
insolently on Ron.
“Just keep him over there, that ’s all, ” said Ron irritably, turning back to
his star chart. “I’ve got Scabbers asleep in my bag. ”

 145 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

Harry yawned. He really wanted to go to bed, but he still had his own
star chart to complete. He pulled his bag toward him, took out
parchment, ink, and quill, and started work.
“You can copy mine, if you like, ” said Ron, labeling his last star with a
flourish and shoving the chart toward Harry.
Hermione, who disapproved of copying, pursed her lips but didn ’t say
anything. Crooksh anks was still staring unblinkingly at Ron, flicking
the end of his bushy tail. Then, without warning, he pounced.
“OY! ” Ron roared, seizing his bag as Crookshanks sank four sets of
claws deep inside it and began tearing ferociously. “GET OFF, YOU
STUPID ANIMAL! ”
Ron tried to pull the bag away from Crookshanks, but Crook - shanks
clung on, spitting and slashing.
“Ron, don ’t hurt him! ” squealed Hermione; the whole common room
was watching; Ron whirled the bag around, Crookshanks still clinging
to it, and Scabbers came flying out of the top — “CATCH THAT
CAT! ” Ron yelled as Crookshanks freed him - self from the remnants
of the bag, sprang over the table, and chased after the terrified
Scabbers.
George Weasley made a lunge for Croo kshanks but missed; Scabbers
streaked through twenty pairs of legs and shot beneath an old chest of
drawers. Crookshanks skidded to a halt, crouched low on his bandy
legs, and started making furious swipes beneath it with his front paw.
Ron and Hermione hurried over; Hermione grabbed Crook - shanks
around the middle and heaved him away; Ron threw him - self onto his
stomach and, with great difficulty, pulled Scabbers out by the tail.
 146 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


“Look at him! ” he said furiously to Hermione, dangling Scab - bers in
front of her. “He ’s skin and bone! You keep that cat away from him! ”
“Crookshanks doesn ’t understand it ’s wrong! ” said Hermione, her
voice shaking. “All cats chase rats, Ron! ”
“There ’s s omething funny about that animal! ” said Ron, who was
trying to persuade a frantically wiggling Scabbers back into his pocket.
“It heard me say that Scabbers was in my bag! ”
“Oh, what rubbish, ” said Hermione impatiently. “Crookshanks
could smell him, Ron, how else d ’you think — ”
“That cat ’s got it in for Scabbers! ” said Ron, ignoring the people
around him, who were starting to giggle. “And Scabbers was here
first, and he ’s ill! ”
Ron marched through the common room and out of sight up the stairs
to the boys ’ dormitories.

Ron was still in a bad mood with Hermione next day. He barely talked
to her all through Herbology, even though he, Harry, and Hermione
were working together on the same puffapod.
“How ’s Scabbers? ” Hermione asked timidly as they stripped fat pink
pods from the plants and emptied the shining beans into a wooden
pail.
“He ’s hiding at the bottom of my bed, shaking, ” said Ron an - grily,
missing the pail and scattering beans over the greenhouse floor.
“Careful, Weasley, careful! ” cried Professor Sprout as the beans burst
into bloom before their very eyes.
They had Transfiguration next. Harry, who had resolved to ask
Professor McGonagall after the lesson whether he could go into
 147 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

Hogsmeade with the rest, joined the line outside the class trying to
decide how he was going to argue his case. He was distracted, how -
ever, by a disturbance at the front of the line.
Lavender Brown seemed to be crying. Parvati had her arm around her
and was explaining something to Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas,
who were looking very serious.
“What ’s the matter, Lavender? ” said Hermione anxiously as she, Harry,
and Ron went to join the group.
“She got a letter from home this morning, ” Parvati whispered. “It’s her
rabbit, Binky. He ’s been killed by a fox. ”
“Oh, ” said Hermione, “I’m sorry, Lavender. ”
“I should have known! ” said Lavender tragically. “You know what day
it is? ”
“Er — ”
“The sixteenth of October! ‘That thing you ’re dreading, it will happen
on the sixteenth of October! ’ Remember? She was right, she was
right! ”
The whole class was gathered around Lavender now. Seamus shook
his head seriously. Hermione hesitated; then she said, “You — you
were dreading Binky being killed by a fox? ”
“Well, not necessarily by a fox, ” said Lavender, looking up at
Hermione with streaming eyes, “but I was obviously dreading him
dying, wasn ’t I? ”
“Oh, ” said Hermione. She paused again. Then —
“Was Binky an old rabbit? ”
“N — no! ” sobbed Lavender. “H — he was only a baby! ” Parvati
tightened her arm around Lavender ’s shoulders. “But then, why
would you dread him dying? ” said Hermione. Parvati glared at her.
 148 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


“Well, look at it logically, ” said Hermione, turning to the rest of the
group. “I mean, Binky didn ’t even die today, did he? Lavender just got
the new s today — ” Lavender wailed loudly. “— and she
can ’t have been dreading it, because it ’s come as a real shock — ”
“Don ’t mind Hermione, Lavender, ” said Ron loudly, “she doesn ’t
think other people ’s pets matter very much. ”
Professor McGonagall opened the classroom door at that mo - ment,
which was perhaps lucky; Hermione and Ron were looking daggers at
each other, and when they got into class, they seated themselves on
either side of Harry and didn ’t talk to each other for th e whole class.
Harry still hadn ’t decided what he was going to say to Professor
McGonagall when the bell rang at the end of the lesson, but it was she
who brought up the subject of Hogsmeade first.
“One moment, please! ” she called as the class made to leave. “As
you ’re all in my House, you should hand Hogsmeade permission forms
to me before Halloween. No form, no visiting the village, so don ’t
forget! ”
Neville put up his hand.
“Please, Professor, I — I think I ’ve lost — ”
“Your grandmother sent yours to me directly, Longbottom, ” said
Professor McGonagall. “She seemed to think it was safer. Well, that ’s
all, you may leave. ”
“Ask her now, ” Ron hissed at Harry.
“Oh, but — ” Hermione began.
“Go for it, Harry, ” said Ron stubbornly.
Harry waited for the rest of the class to disappear, then headed
nervously for Professor McGonagall ’s desk.
“Yes, Potter? ”
 149 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

Harry took a deep breath.
“Professor, my aunt and uncle — er — forgot to sign my form, ” he
said.
Professor McGonagall looked over her square spectacles at him but
didn ’t say anything.
“So — er — d’you think it would be all right — I mean, will it be okay
if I — if I go to Hogsmead e? ”
Professor McGonagall looked down and began shuffling papers on
her desk.
“I’m afraid not, Potter, ” she said. “You heard what I said. No form, no
visiting the village. That ’s the rule. ”
“But — Professor, my aunt and uncle — you know, they ’re Muggles,
they don ’t really understand about — about Hogwarts forms and
stuff, ” Harry said, while Ron egged him on with vigor - ous nods. “If
you said I could go — ”
“But I don ’t say so, ” said Professor McGonagall, standing up and
piling her papers neatly into a dra wer. “The form clearly states that the
parent or guardian must give permission. ” She turned to look at him,
with an odd expression on her face. Was it pity? “I’m sorry, Potter, but
that ’s my final word. You had better hurry, or you ’ll be late for your
next lesson. ”

There was nothing to be done. Ron called Professor McGonagall a lot
of names that greatly annoyed Hermione; Hermione assumed an
“all -for -the -best ” expression that made Ron even angrier, and Harry
had to endure everyone in the class talking loudly and hap - pily about
what they were going to do first, once they got into Hogsmeade.
 150 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


“There ’s always the feast, ” said Ron, in an effo rt to cheer Harry up.
“You know, the Halloween feast, in the evening. ”
“Yeah, ” said Harry gloomily, “great. ”
The Halloween feast was always good, but it would taste a lot better if
he was coming to it after a day in Hogsmeade with everyone else.
Nothing anyone said made him feel any better about being left behind.
Dean Thomas, who was good with a quill, had offered to forge Uncle
Vernon ’s signature on the form, but as Harry had already told
Professor McGonagall he hadn ’t had it sign ed, that was no good. Ron
halfheartedly suggested the Invisibility Cloak, but Hermione stamped
on that one, reminding Ron what Dumb - ledore had told them about
the dementors being able to see through them. Percy had what were
possibly the least helpful wor ds of comfort.
“They make a fuss about Hogsmeade, but I assure you, Harry, it ’s not
all it ’s cracked up to be, ” he said seriously. “All right, the sweetshop ’s
rather good, and Zonko ’s Joke Shop ’s frankly danger - ous, and yes, the
Shrieking Shack ’s alway s worth a visit, but really, Harry, apart from
that, you ’re not missing anything. ”

On Halloween morning, Harry awoke with the rest and went down to
breakfast, feeling thoroughly depressed, though doing his best to act
normally.
“We ’ll bring you lot s of sweets back from Honeydukes, ” said
Hermione, looking desperately sorry for him.
“Yeah, loads, ” said Ron. He and Hermione had finally forgotten their
squabble about Crookshanks in the face of Harry ’s difficul - ties.
 151 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Don ’t worry about me, ” said Harry, in what he hoped was an offhand
voice, “I’ll see you at the feast. Have a good time. ”
He accompanied them to the entrance hall, where Filch, the caretaker,
was standing inside the front doors, checking off names against a long
list, peering suspiciously into every face, and making sure that no one
was sneaking out who shouldn ’t be going.
“Staying here, Potter? ” shouted Malfoy, who was standing i n line with
Crabbe and Goyle. “Scared of passing the dementors? ” Harry ignored
him and made his solitary way up the marble staircase, through the
deserted corridors, and back to Gryffindor Tower.
“Password? ” said the Fat Lady, jerking out of a doze.
“For tuna Major, ” said Harry listlessly.
The portrait swung open and he climbed through the hole into the
common room. It was full of chattering first and second years, and a
few older students, who had obviously visited Hogsmeade so often the
novelty had worn off.
“Harry! Harry! Hi, Harry! ”
It was Colin Creevey, a second year who was deeply in awe of Harry
and never missed an opportunity to speak to him.
“Aren ’t you going to Hogsmeade, Harry? Why not? Hey ” — Colin
looked eagerly around at his friends — “you can come and sit with us,
if you like, Harry! ”
“Er — no, thanks, Colin, ” said Harry, who wasn ’t in the mood to have
a lot of people staring avidly at the scar on his forehead. “I — I’ve got
to go to the library, got to get some work done. ” After that, he had no
choice but to turn right around and head back out of the portrait hole
again.
 152 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


“What was the point waking me up? ” the Fat Lady called grumpily
after him as he walked aw ay.
Harry wandered dispiritedly toward the library, but halfway there he
changed his mind; he didn ’t feel like working. He turned around and
came face -to -face with Filch, who had obviously just seen off the last
of the Hogsmeade visitors.
“What are you doing? ” Filch snarled suspiciously.
“Nothing, ” said Harry truthfully.
“Nothing! ” spat Filch, his jowls quivering unpleasantly. “A likely story!
Sneaking around on your own — why aren ’t you in Hogsmeade buying
Stink Pellets and Belch Powder and Whizzing Worms like the rest of
your nasty little friends? ”
Harry shrugged.
“Well, get back to your common room where you belong! ” snapped
Filch, and he stood glaring until Harry had passed out of sig ht.
But Harry didn ’t go back to the common room; he climbed a staircase,
thinking vaguely of visiting the Owlery to see Hedwig, and was walking
along another corridor when a voice from inside one of the rooms said,
“Harry? ”
Harry doubled back to see wh o had spoken and met Professor Lupin,
looking around his office door.
“What are you doing? ” said Lupin, though in a very different voice
from Filch. “Where are Ron and Hermione? ” “Hogsmeade, ” said
Harry, in a would -be casual voice. “Ah, ” said Lupin. He considered
Harry for a moment. “Why don ’t you come in? I ’ve just taken delivery
of a grindylow for our next lesson. ”
 153 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

“A what? ” said Harry.
He followed Lupin into his office. In the co rner stood a very large tank
of water. A sickly green creature with sharp little horns had its face
pressed against the glass, pulling faces and flexing its long, spindly
fingers.
“Water demon, ” said Lupin, surveying the grindylow thought - fully.
“We shouldn ’t have much difficulty with him, not after the kappas.
The trick is to break his grip. You notice the abnormally long fingers?
Strong, but very brittle. ”
The grindylow bared its green teeth and then buried itself in a tangle of
weeds in a corne r.
“Cup of tea? ” Lupin said, looking around for his kettle. “I was just
thinking of making one. ”
“All right, ” said Harry awkwardly.
Lupin tapped the kettle with his wand and a blast of steam issued
suddenly from the spout.
“Sit down, ” said Lupin, t aking the lid off a dusty tin. “I’ve only got
teabags, I ’m afraid — but I daresay you ’ve had enough of tea leaves? ”
Harry looked at him. Lupin ’s eyes were twinkling. “How did you know
about that? ” Harry asked. “Professor McGonagall told me, ” said
Lupin, passing Harry a chipped mug of tea. “You ’re not worried, are
you? ”
“No, ” said Harry.
He thought for a moment of telling Lupin about the dog he ’d seen in
Magnolia Crescent but decided not to. He didn ’t want Lupin to think
he was a cowa rd, especially since Lupin already seemed to think he
couldn ’t cope with a boggart.
 154 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


Something of Harry ’s thoughts seemed to have shown on his face,
because Lupin said, “Anything worrying you, Harry? ” “No, ” Harry
lied. He drank a bit of tea and watched the grindy - low brandishing a
fist at him. “Yes, ” he said suddenly, putting his tea down on Lupin ’s
desk. “You know that day we fought the bog - gart?
“Yes, ” said Lupin sl owly.
“Why didn ’t you let me fight it? ” said Harry abruptly.
Lupin raised his eyebrows.
“I would have thought that was obvious, Harry, ” he said, sound - ing
surprised.
Harry, who had expected Lupin to deny that he ’d done any such thing,
was taken aback.
“Why? ” he said again.
“Well, ” said Lupin, frowning slightly, “I assumed that if the bog - gart
faced you, it would assume the shape of Lord Voldemort. ” Harry
stared. Not only was this the last answer he ’d expected, but Lupin had
said Voldemort ’s name. T he only person Harry had ever heard say the
name aloud (apart from himself) was Professor Dumbledore.
“Clearly, I was wrong, ” said Lupin, still frowning at Harry. “But I
didn ’t think it a good idea for Lord Voldemort to materialize in the
staffroom. I ima gined that people would panic. ”
“I didn ’t think of Voldemort, ” said Harry honestly. “I — I
remembered those dementors. ”
“I see, ” said Lupin thoughtfully. “Well, well . . . I ’m impressed. ” He
smiled slightly at the look of surprise on Harry ’s face. “That suggests
that what you fear most of all is — fear. Very wise, Harry. ”
 155 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

Harry didn ’t know what to say to that, so he drank some more tea.
“So you ’ve been thinking that I didn ’t believe you capable of fighting
the boggart? ” said Lupin shrewdly.
“Well . . . yeah, ” said Harry. He was suddenly feeling a lot hap - pier.
“Professor Lupin, you know the dementors — ”
He was interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Come in, ” called Lupin.
The door opened, and in came Snape. He was carrying a goblet, which
was smoking faintly, and stopped at the sight of Harry, his black eyes
narrowing.
“Ah, Severus, ” said Lupin, smiling. “Thanks very much. Could you
leave it here on the desk for me? ”
Snape set down the smoking goblet, his eyes wandering between Harry
and Lupin.
“I was just showing Harry my grindylow, ” said Lupin pleasantly,
pointing at the tank.
“Fascinating, ” said Snape, without looking at it. “You should drink
that directly, Lupin. ”
“Yes, yes, I will, ” said Lupin.
“I made an entire cauldronful, ” Snape continued. “If you need more. ”
“I should probably take some again tomorrow. Thanks very much,
Severus. ”
“Not at all, ” said Snape, but ther e was a look in his eye Harry didn ’t like.
He backed out of the room, unsmiling and watchful. Harry looked
curiously at the goblet. Lupin smiled.
“Professor Snape has very kindly concocted a potion for me, ” he
 156 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


said. “I have never been much of a potion -brewer and this one is
particularly complex. ” He picked up the goblet and sniffed it. “Pity
sugar makes it useless, ” he added, taking a sip and shuddering. “Why
— ?” Harry began. Lu pin looked at him and answered the unfinished
question.
“I’ve been feeling a bit off -color, ” he said. “This potion is the only
thing that helps. I am very lucky to be working alongside Pro - fessor
Snape; there aren ’t many wizards who are up to making it. ” Professor
Lupin took another sip and Harry had a crazy urge to knock the goblet
out of his hands.
“Professor Snape ’s very interested in the Dark Arts, ” he blurted out.
“Really? ” said Lupin, looking only mildly interested as he took another
gulp of potion.
“Some people reckon — ” Harry hesitated, then plunged reck - lessly
on, “some people reckon he ’d do anything to get the Defense Against
the Dark Arts job. ”
Lupin drained the goblet and pulled a face.
“Disgusting, ” he said. “Well, Harry, I ’d better get back to work. I ’ll see
you at the feast later. ”
“Right, ” said Harry, putting down his empty teacup.
The empty goblet was still smoking.

“There you go, ” said Ron. “We got as much as we could carry. ” A
shower of brilliantly colored sweets fell into Harry ’s lap. It was dusk,
and Ron and Hermione had just turned up in the common room,
pink -faced from the cold wind and looking as though they ’d had the
time of their lives.
 157 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Thanks, ” said Harry, picking up a packet of tiny black Pepper Imps.
“What ’s Hogsmeade like? Where did you go? ”
By the sound of it — everywhere. Dervish and Banges, the wiz - arding
equipment shop, Zonko ’s Joke Shop, into the Three Broom - sticks for
foaming mugs of hot butterbeer, and many places besides. “The post
office, Harry! About two hundred owls, all sitting on shelves, all
color -coded depending on how fast you want your let - ter to get
there! ”
“Honeydukes has got a new kind of fudge; they were giving out free
samples, there ’s a bit, look — ”
“We think we saw an ogre, honestly, they get all sorts at the
Three Broomsticks — ”
“Wish we could have brought you some butterbeer, really warms you
up — ”
“What did you do? ” said Hermione, looking anxious. “Did you get any
work done? ”
“No, ” said Harry. “Lupin made me a cup of tea in his office. And then
Snape came in. . . . ”
He told them all about the goblet. Ron ’s mouth fell open.
“ Lupin drank it ?” he gasped. “Is he mad? ”
Hermione checked her watch.
“We ’d better go down, you know, the feast ’ll be starting in five
minutes. . . . ” They hurried through the portrait hole and into the
crowd, still discussing Snape.
“But if he — you k now ” — Hermione dropped her voice,
glancing nervously around — “if he was trying to — to poison
Lupin — he wouldn ’t have done it in front of Harry. ”
“Yeah, maybe, ” said Harry as they reached the entrance hall and
 158 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


crossed into the Great Hall. It had been decorated with hundreds and
hundreds of candle -filled pumpkins, a cloud of fluttering live bats, and
many flaming orange streamers, which were swimming lazily across
the stormy ceili ng like brilliant watersnakes.
The food was delicious; even Hermione and Ron, who were full to
bursting with Honeydukes sweets, managed second helpings of
everything. Harry kept glancing at the staff table. Professor Lupin
looked cheerful and as well as he ever did; he was talking animat - edly
to tiny little Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher. Harry moved his
eyes along the table, to the place where Snape sat. Was he imagining it,
or were Snape ’s eyes flickering toward Lupin more often than was
natur al?
The feast finished with an entertainment provided by the Hog - warts
ghosts. They popped out of the walls and tables to do a bit of
formation gliding; Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost, had a
great success with a reenactment of his own botched be - heading.
It had been such a pleasant evening that Harry ’s good mood couldn ’t
even be spoiled by Malfoy, who shouted through the crowd as they all
left the hall, “The dementors send their love, Potter! ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione followed the rest of the Gryffindors along
the usual path to Gryffindor Tower, but when they reached the
corridor that ended with the portrait of the Fat Lady, they found it
jammed with students.
“Why isn ’t anyone g oing in? ” said Ron curiously. Harry peered over
the heads in front of him. The portrait seemed to be closed.
 159 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Let me through, please, ” came Percy ’s voice, and he came bustling
importantly through the crowd. “What ’s the holdup here? You can ’t all
have forgotten the password — excuse me, I ’m Head Boy — ”
And then a silence fell over the crowd, from the front first, so that a
chill seemed to spread down the corridor. The y heard Percy say, in a
suddenly sharp voice, “Somebody get Professor Dumble - dore.
Quick. ”
People ’s heads turned; those at the back were standing on tip - toe.
“What ’s going on? ” said Ginny, who had just arrived. A moment later,
Professor Dumbledore was there, sweeping toward the portrait; the
Gryffindors squeezed together to let him through, and Harry, Ron,
and Hermione moved closer to see what the trouble was.
“Oh, my — ” Hermione grabbed Harry ’s arm.
The Fat Lady had vanished from her portrait, which had been slashed
so viciously that strips of canvas littered the floor; great chunks of it
had been torn away completely.
Dumbledore took one quick look at the ruined painting and turned, his
eyes somb er, to see Professors McGonagall, Lupin, and Snape
hurrying toward him.
“We need to find her, ” said Dumbledore. “Professor McGona - gall,
please go to Mr. Filch at once and tell him to search every painting in
the castle for the Fat Lady. ”
“You ’ll be lu cky! ” said a cackling voice.
It was Peeves the Poltergeist, bobbing over the crowd and look - ing
delighted, as he always did, at the sight of wreckage or worry.
 160 ‘

FLIGHT OF THE FAT
LADY


“What do you mean, Peeves? ” said Dumbledore calmly, and Peeves ’s
grin faded a little. He didn ’t dare taunt Dumbledore. In - stead he
adopted an oily voice that was no better than his cackle. “Ashamed,
Your Headship, sir. Doesn ’t want to be seen. She ’s a horrible mess.
Saw her running through the landscape up on the fourth floor, sir,
dodging between the trees. Crying something dreadful, ” he said
happily. “Poor thing, ” he added unconvincingly. “Did she say who did
it? ” said Dumbledore quietly.
“Oh yes, Professorhead, ” said Peeves, w ith the air of one cradling a
large bombshell in his arms. “He got very angry when she wouldn ’t let
him in, you see. ” Peeves flipped over and grinned at Dumbledore from
between his own legs. “Nasty temper he ’s got, that Sirius Black. ”


















 161 ‘

C H A P T E R N I N E









GRIM DEFEAT




rofessor Dumbledore sent all the Gryffindors back to the
P

Great Hall, where they were joined ten minutes later by the
students from Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, who all looked
extremely confused.
“The teachers and I need to conduct a thorough search of the castle, ”

Professor Dumbledore told them as Professors McGonagall and
Flitwick closed all doors into the hall. “I’m afraid that, for your own
safety, you will have to spend the night here. I want the pre - fects to
stand guard over the entrances to the hall and I am leaving the Head
Boy and Girl in charge. Any disturbance should be re - ported to me
immediately, ” he added to Percy, who was looking immensely proud
and important. “Send word with one of the ghosts. ”
Professor Dumbledore paused, about to leave the hall, and said, “Oh,
yes, you ’ll be needing . . . ”
 162 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

One casual wave of his wand and the long tables flew to the edges of
the hall and stood themselves against the walls; another wave, and the
floor was covered with hundreds of squashy purple sleeping bags.
“Sleep well, ” said Professor Dumbledore, closing the door be - hind
him.
The hall immediately began to buzz excitedly; the Gryffindors were
telling the rest of the school w hat had just happened. “Everyone into
their sleeping bags! ” shouted Percy. “Come on, now, no more talking!
Lights out in ten minutes! ”
“C’mon, ” Ron said to Harry and Hermione; they seized three sleeping
bags and dragged them into a corner.
“Do you th ink Black ’s still in the castle? ” Hermione whispered
anxiously.
“Dumbledore obviously thinks he might be, ” said Ron. “It’s very lucky
he picked tonight, you know, ” said Hermione as they climbed fully
dressed into their sleeping bags and propped themselv es on their
elbows to talk. “The one night we weren ’t in the tower. . . . ”
“I reckon he ’s lost track of time, being on the run, ” said Ron. “Didn ’t
realize it was Halloween. Otherwise he ’d have come burst - ing in
here. ”
Hermione shuddered.
All around them, people were asking one another the same ques -
tion: “ How did he get in ?”
“Maybe he knows how to Apparate, ” said a Ravenclaw a few feet away.
“Just appear out of thin air, you know. ”
“Disguised himself, probably, ” said a Hufflepuff fifth year.
 163 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

“He could ’ve flown in, ” suggested Dean Thomas.
“Honestly, am I the only person who ’s ever bothered to read
Hogwarts, A History ?” said Hermione crossly to Harry and Ron.
“Probably, ” said Ron. “Why? ”
“Because the castle ’s protected by more than walls, you know, ”
said Hermione. “There are all sorts of enchantments on it, to stop
people entering by stealth. You can ’t just Apparate in here. And I ’d like
to see the disguise that coul d fool those dementors. They ’re guarding
every single entrance to the grounds. They ’d have seen him fly in too.
And Filch knows all the secret passages, they ’ll have them
covered. . . . ”
“The lights are going out now! ” Percy shouted. “I want everyone in
their sleeping bags and no more talking! ”
The candles all went out at once. The only light now came from the
silvery ghosts, who were drifting about talking seriously to the prefects,
and the enchanted ceiling, which, like the sky outside, was scattered
wi th stars. What with that, and the whispering that still filled the hall,
Harry felt as though he were sleeping outdoors in a light wind.
Once every hour, a teacher would reappear in the hall to check that
everything was quiet. Around three in the mornin g, when many
students had finally fallen asleep, Professor Dumbledore came in.
Harry watched him looking around for Percy, who had been prowling
between the sleeping bags, telling people off for talking. Percy was only
a short way away from Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who quickly
pretended to be asleep as Dumbledore ’s footsteps drew nearer.
“Any sign of him, Professor? ” asked Percy in a whisper.
 164 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

“No. All well here? ”
“Everything under control, sir. ”
“Good. There ’s no point moving them all now. I ’ve found a tem -
porary guardian for the Gryffindor portrait hole. You ’ll be able to
move them back in tomorrow. ”
“And the Fat Lady, sir? ”
“Hiding in a map of Argyllshire on the second floor. Apparently she
refused to let Black in without the password, so he attacked. She ’s still
very distressed, but once she ’s calmed down, I ’ll have Mr. Filch restore
her. ”
Harry heard the door of the hall creak open again, and more footsteps.
“Headmaster? ” It was Snap e. Harry kept quite still, listening hard.
“The whole of the third floor has been searched. He ’s not there. And
Filch has done the dungeons; nothing there either. ” “What about the
Astronomy tower? Professor Trelawney ’s room? The Owlery? ”
“All searched . . .”
“Very well, Severus. I didn ’t really expect Black to linger. ” “Have you
any theory as to how he got in, Professor? ” asked Snape.
Harry raised his head very slightly off his arms to free his other ear.
“Many, Severus, each of them as unlikely as the next. ” Harry opened
his eyes a fraction and squinted up to where they stood; Dumbledore ’s
back was to him, but he could see Percy ’s face, rapt with attention, and
Snape ’s profile, which looked angry.
“You r emember the conversation we had, Headmaster, just
 165 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

before — ah — the start of term? ” said Snape, who was barely open -
ing his lips, as though trying to block Percy out of the conversation. “I
do, Severus, ” said Dumbledore, and there was something like warning
in his voice.
“It seems — almost impossible — that Black could have entered the
school without inside help. I did express my concerns when you
appointed — ”
“I do not believe a single person inside this castle would have helped
Black enter it, ” said Dumbledore, and his tone made it so clear that the
subject was closed that Snape didn ’t reply. “I must go down to the
dementors, ” said Dumbledore. “I said I would inform them when our
searc h was complete. ”
“Didn ’t they want to help, sir? ” said Percy.
“Oh yes, ” said Dumbledore coldly. “But I ’m afraid no dementor will
cross the threshold of this castle while I am headmaster. ” Percy looked
slightly abashed. Dumbledore left the hall, walking quickly and quietly.
Snape stood for a moment, watching the head - master with an
expression of deep resentment on his face; then he too left.
Harry glanced sideways at Ron and Hermione. Both of them had their
eyes open too, reflecting the starry ceilin g.
“What was all that about? ” Ron mouthed.

The school talked of nothing but Sirius Black for the next few days.
The theories about how he had entered the castle became wilder and
wilder; Hannah Abbott, from Hufflepuff, spent much of their next
Herbology class telling anyone who ’d listen that Black could turn into a
flowering shrub.
The Fat Lady ’s ripped canvas had been taken off the wall and
 166 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

replaced with the portrait of Sir Cadogan and his fat gray pony.
Nobody was very happy about this. Sir Cadogan spent half his time
challenging people to duels, and the rest thinking up ridiculously
complicated passwords, which he changed at least twice a d ay. “He ’s a
complete lunatic, ” said Seamus Finnigan angrily to Percy. “Can ’t we
get anyone else? ”
“None of the other pictures wanted the job, ” said Percy. “Fright - ened
of what happened to the Fat Lady. Sir Cadogan was the only one brave
enough to volun teer. ”
Sir Cadogan, however, was the least of Harry ’s worries. He was now
being closely watched. Teachers found excuses to walk along corridors
with him, and Percy Weasley (acting, Harry suspected, on his mother ’s
orders) was tailing him everywhere like a n ex - tremely pompous guard
dog. To cap it all, Professor McGonagall summoned Harry into her
office, with such a somber expression on her face Harry thought
someone must have died.
“There ’s no point hiding it from you any longer, Potter, ” she said in a
very serious voice. “I know this will come as a shock to you, but Sirius
Black — ”
“I know he ’s after me, ” said Harry wearily. “I heard Ron ’s dad telling
his mum. Mr. Weasley works for the Ministry of Magic. ” Professor
McGonagall seemed very taken aback. She stared at Harry for a
moment or two, then said, “I see! Well, in that case, Potter, you ’ll
understand why I don ’t think it ’s a good idea for you to be practicing
Quidditch in the evenings. Out on the field with only your team
members, it ’s very exposed, Potter — ”
“We ’ve got our first match on Saturday! ” said Harry, outraged. “I’ve
got to train, Professor! ”
Professor McGonagall considered him intently. Harry knew she
 167 ‘

CHAPTE R NINE

was deeply interested in the Gryffindor team ’s prospects; it had been
she, after all, who ’d suggested him as Seeker in the first place. He
waited, holding his breath.
“Hmm . . . ” Professor McGonagall stood up and stared out of the
window at the Quidditch field, just visible through the rain. “Well . . .
goodness knows, I ’d like to see us win the Cup at
last . . . but all the same, Potter . . . I ’d be happier if a teacher were
present. I ’ll ask Madam Hooch to oversee your tra ining sessions. ”

The weather worsened steadily as the first Quidditch match drew
nearer. Undaunted, the Gryffindor team was training harder than ever
under the eye of Madam Hooch. Then, at their final training session
before Saturday ’s match, Oliver W ood gave his team some unwelcome
news.
“We ’re not playing Slytherin! ” he told them, looking very angry.
“Flint ’s just been to see me. We ’re playing Hufflepuff instead. ”
“Why? ” chorused the rest of the team.
“Flint ’s excuse is that their Seeker ’s arm ’s still injured, ” said Wood,
grinding his teeth furiously. “But it ’s obvious why they ’re doing it.
Don ’t want to play in this weather. Think it ’ll damage their
chances. . . . ”
There had been strong winds and heavy rain all day, and as Wood
spoke, they heard a distant rumble of thunder.
“There ’s nothing wrong with Malfoy ’s arm! ” said Harry furiously.
“He ’s faking it! ”
“I know that, but we can ’t prove it, ” said Wood bitterly. “And we ’ve
been practicing all those moves assuming we ’re playing Slytherin, and
instead it ’s Hufflepuff, and their style ’s quite differ - ent. They ’ve got a
new Captain and Seeker, Cedric Diggory — ”
 168 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

Angelina, Alicia, and Katie suddenly giggled.
“What? ” said Wood, frowning at this lighthearted behavior. “He ’s that
tall, good -looking one, isn ’t he? ” said Angelina. “Strong and silent, ”
said Katie, and they started to giggle again. “He ’s only silent because
he ’s too thick to string two words to - gether, ” sa id Fred impatiently. “I
don ’t know why you ’re worried, Oliver, Hufflepuff is a pushover. Last
time we played them, Harry caught the Snitch in about five minutes,
remember? ”
“We were playing in completely different conditions! ” Wood shouted,
his eyes bulging slightly. “Diggory ’s put a very strong side together!
He ’s an excellent Seeker! I was afraid you ’d take it like this! We mustn ’t
relax! We must keep our focus! Slytherin is trying to
wrong -foot us! We must win! ”
“Oliver, cal m down! ” said Fred, looking slightly alarmed. “We ’re
taking Hufflepuff very seriously. Seriously. ”

The day before the match, the winds reached howling point and the
rain fell harder than ever. It was so dark inside the corridors and
classrooms th at extra torches and lanterns were lit. The Slytherin team
was looking very smug indeed, and none more so than Malfoy. “Ah, if
only my arm was feeling a bit better! ” he sighed as the gale outside
pounded the windows.
Harry had no room in his head to worry about anything except the
match tomorrow. Oliver Wood kept hurrying up to him be - tween
classes and giving him tips. The third time this happened, Wood talked
for so long that Harry suddenly realized he was ten minutes late for
Defense Against the Dark Ar ts, and set off at a run with Wood
shouting after him, “Diggory ’s got a very fast swerve, Harry, so you
might want to try looping him — ”
 169 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

Harry skidded to a halt outside the Defense Against the Dark Arts
classroom, pulled the door open, and dashed inside.
“Sorry I ’m late, Professor Lupin, I — ”
But it wasn ’t Professor Lupin who looked up at him from the teacher ’s
desk; it was Snape.
“This lesson began ten minutes ago, Potter, so I think we ’ll make it ten
points from Gryffindor. Sit down. ”
But Harry didn ’t move.
“Where ’s Professor Lupin? ” he said.
“He says he is feeling too ill to teach today, ” said Snape with a twisted
smile. “I believe I told you to sit down? ”
But Harry stayed where h e was.
“What ’s wrong with him? ”
Snape ’s black eyes glittered.
“Nothing life -threatening, ” he said, looking as though he wished it
were. “Five more points from Gryffindor, and if I have to ask you to
sit down again, it will be fifty. ”
Harry walked slowly to his seat and sat down. Snape looked around at
the class.
“As I was saying before Potter interrupted, Professor Lupin has not
left any record of the topics you have covered so far — ” “Please, sir,
we ’ve done boggarts, Red Caps, kap pas, and grindy - lows, ” said
Hermione quickly, “and we ’re just about to start — ” “Be quiet, ” said
Snape coldly. “I did not ask for information. I was merely commenting
on Professor Lupin ’s lack of organi - zation. ”
“He ’s the best Defense Against the Dark A rts teacher we ’ve ever had, ”
said Dean Thomas boldly, and there was a murmur of agree -
 170 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

ment from the rest of the class. Snape looked more menacing than
ever.
“You are easily satisfied. Lupin is hardly overtaxing you — I would
expect first years to be able to deal with Red Caps and grindylows.
Today we shall discuss — ”
Harry watched him flick through the textbook, to the very back
chapter, which he must know the y hadn ’t covered.
“— werewolves, ” said Snape.
“But, sir, ” said Hermione, seemingly unable to restrain herself, “we ’re
not supposed to do werewolves yet, we ’re due to start hinky - punks
— ”
“Miss Granger, ” said Snape in a voice of deadly calm, “I was un - der
the impression that I am teaching this lesson, not you. And I am telling
you all to turn to page 394. ” He glanced around again.
“ All of you! Now !”
With many bitter sidelong looks and some sullen muttering, the class
opened their books.
“Which of you can tell me how we distinguish between the werewolf
and the true wolf? ” said Snape.
Everyone sat in motionless silence; everyone except Hermione, whose
hand, as it so often did, had shot straight into the air. “Anyone? ” Snape
said, ignorin g Hermione. His twisted smile was back. “Are you telling
me that Professor Lupin hasn ’t even taught you the basic distinction
between — ”
“We told you, ” said Parvati suddenly, “we haven ’t got as far as
werewolves yet, we ’re still on — ”
“ Silence !” snarled Snape. “Well, well, well, I never thought I ’d
meet a third -year class who wouldn ’t even recognize a werewolf
 171 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

when they saw one. I shall make a point of informing Professor
Dumbledore how very behind you all are. . . . ”
“Please, sir, ” said Hermione, whose hand was still in the air, “the
werewolf differs from the true wolf in several small ways. The snout of
the werewolf — ”
“That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger, ”
said Snape coolly. “Five more points from Gryffindor for being an
insufferable know -it-all. ”
Hermione went very red, put down her hand, and stared at the floor
with her eyes full of tea rs. It was a mark of how much the class loathed
Snape that they were all glaring at him, because every one of them had
called Hermione a know -it-all at least once, and Ron, who told
Hermione she was a know -it-all at least twice a week, said loudly, “You
as ked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don ’t
want to be told? ”
The class knew instantly he ’d gone too far. Snape advanced on Ron
slowly, and the room held its breath.
“Detention, Weasley, ” Snape said silkily, his face very close to Ro n’s.
“And if I ever hear you criticize the way I teach a class again, you will
be very sorry indeed. ”
No one made a sound throughout the rest of the lesson. They sat and
made notes on werewolves from the textbook, while Snape prowled
up and down the rows of desks, examining the work they had been
doing with Professor Lupin.
“Very poorly explained . . . That is incorrect, the kappa is more
commonly found in Mongolia. . . . Professor Lupin gave this eight out
of ten? I wouldn ’t have given it three. . . . ”
When the bell rang at last, Snape held them back.
 172 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

“You will each write an essay, to be handed in to me, on the ways you
recognize and kill werewolves. I want two rolls of parchment on the
subject, and I want them by Monday morning. It is time somebody
took this class in hand. Weasley, stay behind, we need to arrange your
detention. ”
Harry and Hermione left the room with the rest of the class, who
waited until they were well out of e arshot, then burst into a furious
tirade about Snape.
“Snape ’s never been like this with any of our other Defense Against
the Dark Arts teachers, even if he did want the job, ” Harry said to
Hermione. “Why ’s he got it in for Lupin? D ’you think this is al l
because of the boggart? ”
“I don ’t know, ” said Hermione pensively. “But I really hope Pro -
fessor Lupin gets better soon. . . . ”
Ron caught up with them five minutes later, in a towering rage.
“D ’you know what that — ” (he called Snape something that
made Hermione say “ Ron !”) “— is making me do? I ’ve got to
scrub out the bedpans in the hospital wing. Without magic !” He
was breathing deeply, his fists clenched. “Why couldn ’t Black have
hidden in Snape ’s office, eh? He could have finished him off for us! ”

Harry woke extremely early the next morning; so early that it was still
dark. For a moment he thought the roaring of the wind had woken him.
Then he felt a cold breeze on the back of his neck and sat bolt upright
— Peeves the Poltergeist had been floating next to him, blowing hard
in his ear.
“What did you do that for? ” said Harry furiously.
 173 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

Peeves puffed out his cheeks, blew hard, and zoomed backward out of
the room, cackling.
Harry fumbled for his alarm clock and looked at it. It was half past four.
Cursing Peeves, he rolled over and tried to get back to sleep, but it was
very difficult, now that he was awake, to ignore the sounds of the
thunder rumbling overhead, the pounding of the wind against the
castle walls, and the distant creaking of the trees in the Forbidden
Forest. In a few hours he would be out on the Quidditch field, battling
through that gale. Finally, he gave up any thought of more sleep, got up,
dressed, picked up his Nimbus Two Thousand, and walked quietly out
of the dormitory.
As Harry opened the door, something brushed against his leg. He bent
down just in time to grab C rookshanks by the end of his bushy tail and
drag him outside.
“You know, I reckon Ron was right about you, ” Harry told Crook -
shanks suspiciously. “There are plenty of mice around this place — go
and chase them. Go on, ” he added, nudging Crookshanks dow n the
spiral staircase with his foot. “Leave Scabbers alone. ”
The noise of the storm was even louder in the common room. Harry
knew better than to think the match would be canceled; Quidditch
matches weren ’t called off for trifles like thunderstorms. Neve rtheless,
he was starting to feel very apprehensive. Wood had pointed out
Cedric Diggory to him in the corridor; Diggory was a fifth year and a
lot bigger than Harry. Seekers were usually light and speedy, but
Diggory ’s weight would be an advantage in this weather because he
was less likely to be blown off course.
Harry whiled away the hours until dawn in front of the fire, get - ting up
every now and then to stop Crookshanks from sneaking up
 174 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

the boys ’ staircase again. At long last Harry thought it must be time for
breakfast, so he headed through the portrait hole alone.
“Stand and fight, you mangy cur! ” yelled Sir Cadogan.
“Oh, shut up, ” Harry yawned.
He revived a bit over a large bowl of porridge, and by the time he ’d
started on toast, the rest of the team had turned up.
“It’s going to be a tough one, ” said Wood, who wasn ’t eating anything.
“Stop worrying, Oliver, ” said Alicia soothingly, “we don ’t mind a bit of
rain. ”
But it was considerably more than a bit of rain. Such was the popularity
of Quidditch that the whole school turned out to watch the match as
usual, but they ran down the lawns toward the Quid - ditch field, heads
bowed against the ferocious wind, umbrellas be - ing whipped out of
their hands as they went. Just before he entered the locker room, Harry
saw Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, laughing and pointing at him from
under an enormous umbrella on their way to the stadium.
The team cha nged into their scarlet robes and waited for Wood ’s usual
pre -match pep talk, but it didn ’t come. He tried to speak sev - eral times,
made an odd gulping noise, then shook his head hope - lessly and
beckoned them to follow him.
The wind was so strong that t hey staggered sideways as they walked
out onto the field. If the crowd was cheering, they couldn ’t hear it over
the fresh rolls of thunder. Rain was splattering over Harry ’s glasses.
How on earth was he going to see the Snitch in this?
The Hufflepuffs w ere approaching from the opposite side of the
 175 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

field, wearing canary -yellow robes. The Captains walked up to each
other and shook hands; Diggory smiled at Wood but Wood now
looked as though he had lockjaw and merely nodded. Harry saw
Madam Hooch ’s mouth form the words, “Mount your brooms. ” He
pulled his right foot out of the mud with a squelch and swung it over
his Nimbus Two Thousand. Madam Hooch put her whistle to her lips
and gave it a blast that sounded shrill and distant — they were off.
Harry rose fast, but his Nimbus was swerving slightly with the wind.
He held it as steady as he could and turned, squinting into the rain.
Within five minutes Harry was soaked to his skin and frozen, hardly
able to see his teammates, let alone the tiny Snitch. He flew backward
and forward across the field past blurred red and yellow shapes, with
no idea of what was happening in the rest of th e game. He couldn ’t
hear the commentary over the wind. The crowd was hidden beneath a
sea of cloaks and battered umbrellas. Twice Harry came very close to
being unseated by a Bludger; his vision was so clouded by the rain on
his glasses he hadn ’t seen them coming.
He lost track of time. It was getting harder and harder to hold his
broom straight. The sky was getting darker, as though night had
decided to come early. Twice Harry nearly hit another player, with - out
knowing whether it was a teammate or opp onent; everyone was now
so wet, and the rain so thick, he could hardly tell them apart. . . .
With the first flash of lightning came the sound of Madam Hooch ’s
whistle; Harry could just see the outline of Wood through the thick
rain, gesturing him to th e ground. The whole team splashed down into
the mud.
 176 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

“I called for time -out! ” Wood roared at his team. “Come on, un - der
here — ”
They huddled at the edge of the field under a large umbrella; Harry
took off his glasses and wiped them hurriedly on his robes. “What ’s the
score? ”
“We ’re fifty points up, ” said Wood, “but unless we get the Snitch soon,
we ’ll be playing into the night. ”
“I’ve got no chance with these on, ” Harry said exasperatedly, waving
his glasses.
At that very moment, Hermione appeared at his shoulder; she was
holding her cloak over her head and was, inexplicably, beam - ing.
“I’ve had an idea, Harry! Give me your glasses, quick! ” He handed
them to her, and as the team watched in amazement,
Hermione tapped them with her wand and said, “ Impervius !”
“There! ” she said, handing them back to Harry. “They ’ll repel water! ”
Wood looked as though he could have kissed her. “Brilliant! ” he called
hoarsely after her as she disappeared into the crowd. “Okay, team, let ’s
go for it! ”
Hermione ’s spell had done the trick. Harry was still numb with cold,
still wetter than he ’d ever been in his life, but he could see. Full of fresh
determinatio n, he urged his broom through the tur - bulent air, staring
in every direction for the Snitch, avoiding a Bludger, ducking beneath
Diggory, who was streaking in the oppo - site direction. . . .
There was another clap of thunder, followed immediately by fork ed
lightning. This was getting more and more dangerous. Harry needed to
get the Snitch quickly —
 177 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

He turned, intending to head back toward the middle of the field, but
at that moment, another flash of lightning illuminated the stands, and
Harry saw something that distracted him completely — the silhouette
of an enormous shaggy black dog, clearly imprinted against the sky,
motionless in the topmost, empty row of seats . Harry ’s numb hands
slipped on the broom handle and his Nim - bus dropped a few feet.
Shaking his sodden bangs out of his eyes, he squinted back into the
stands. The dog had vanished.
“Harry! ” came Wood ’s anguished yell from the Gryffindor goal posts.
“Harry, behind you! ”
Harry looked wildly around. Cedric Diggory was pelting up the field,
and a tiny speck of gold was shimmering in the rain -filled air between
them —
With a jolt of panic, Harry threw himself flat to the broom - handle
and zoomed toward the Snitch.
“Come on! ” he growled at his Nimbus as the rain whipped his
face. “ Faster !”
But something odd was happening. An eerie silence was falling across
the stadium. The wind, though as strong as ever, was forget - ting to
roar. It was as though someone had turned off the sound, as though
Harry had gone suddenly deaf — what was going on?
And then a horribly familiar wave of cold swept over him, inside him,
just as he became aware of something moving on the field below. . . .
Before he ’d had time to think, Harry had taken his eyes off the Snitch
and looked down.
At least a hundred dementors, their hidden faces pointing up at him,
were standing beneath him. It was as though freezing water
 178 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

were rising in his chest, cutting at his insides. And then he heard it
again. . . . Someone was screaming, screaming inside his head . . . a
woman . . .
“ Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry !”
“ Stand aside, you silly girl . . . stand aside,
now. . . . ”
“ Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead — ”
Numbing, swirling white mist was filling Harry ’s brain. . . . What was
he doing? Why was he flying? He needed to help her. . . . She was going
to die. . . . She was going to be murdered. . . .
He was falling, falling through the icy mist.
“ Not Harry ! Please . . . have mercy . . . have
mercy. . . . ”
A shrill voice was laughing, the woman was screaming, and Harry
knew no more.

“Lucky the ground was so soft. ”
“I thought he was dead for sure. ”
“But he didn ’t even break his glasses. ”
Harry could hear the voices whispering, but they made no sense
whatsoever. He didn ’t have a clue where he was, or how he ’d got there,
or what he ’d been doing before he got there. All he knew was that
every inch of him was aching as though it had been beaten. “That was
the scariest thing I ’ve ever seen in my life. ”
Scariest . . . the scariest thing . . . hooded black figures . . . cold . . .
screaming . . .
Harry ’s eyes snapped open. He was lying in the hospital wing. The
Gryffindor Quidditch team, spattered with mud from head to foot,
was gathered around his bed. Ron and Hermione were also there,
looking as though they ’d just cli mbed out of a swimming pool.
 179 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

“Harry! ” said Fred, who looked extremely white underneath the mud.
“How ’re you feeling? ”
It was as though Harry ’s memory was on fast forward. The light - ning
— the Grim — the Snitch — and the dementors . . . “What
happened? ” he said, sitting up so suddenly they all gasped.
“You fell off, ” said Fred. “Must ’ve been — what — fifty feet? ” “We
thought you ’d died, ” said Alicia, who was shaking. Hermione made a
small, squeaky noise. Her eyes were extremely bloodshot.
“But the match, ” said Harry. “What happened? Are we doing a
replay? ”
No one said anything. The horrible truth sank into Harry like a stone.
“We didn ’t — lose ?”
“Diggory got the Snitch, ” said George. “Just after you fell. He didn ’t
realize what had happened. When he looked back and saw you on the
ground, he tried to call it off. Wanted a rematch. But they won fair and
square . . . even Wood admits it. ”
“Where is Wood? ” said Harry, suddenly realizing he wasn ’t there.
“Still in the showers, ” said Fred. “We think he ’s trying to drown
himself. ”
Harry put his face to his knees, his hands gripping his hair. Fred
grabbed his shoulder and shook it roughly.
“C’mon, Harry, you ’ve never missed the Snit ch before. ” “There had
to be one time you didn ’t get it, ” said George. “It’s not over yet, ”
said Fred. “We lost by a hundred points,
 180 ‘

GRIM DEFEAT

right? So if Hufflepuff loses to Ravenclaw and we beat Ravenclaw and
Slytherin . . . ”
“Hufflepuff ’ll have to lose by at least two hundred points, ” said
George.
“But if they beat Ravenclaw . . . ”
“No way, Ravenclaw is too good. But if Slytherin loses against
Hufflepuff . . . ”
“It all depends on the points — a margin of a hundred either way — ”
Harry lay there, not saying a word. They had lost . . . for the first time
ever, he had lost a Quidditch match.
After ten minutes or so, Madam Pomfrey came over to tell the team to
leave him in peace.
“We ’ll come and see you later, ” Fred told him. “Don ’t beat your - self
up, Harry, you ’re still the best Seeker we ’ve ever had. ”
The team trooped out, trailing mud behind them. Madam Pom - frey
shut the door behind them, looking disapproving. Ron and Hermione
moved nearer to Harry ’s bed.
“Dumbledore was really angry, ” Hermione said in a quaking voice.
“I’ve never seen him like that before. He ran onto the field as you fell,
waved his wand, and you sort of slowed down before you hit the
ground. Then he whirled his wand at the dementors. Shot silver stuff at
them. They left the stadium right away. . . . He was furious they ’d come
onto the grounds. We heard him — ”
“Then he magicked you onto a stretcher, ” said Ron. “And walked up
to school with you floating on it. Everyone t hought you were . . . ”
His voice faded, but Harry hardly noticed. He was thinking
 181 ‘

CHAPTER NINE

about what the dementors had done to him . . . about the scream - ing
voice. He looked up and saw Ron and Hermione looking at him so
anxiously that he quickly cast around for something matter -of -fact to
say.
“Did someone get my Nimbus? ”
Ron and Hermione looked quickly at each other.
“Er — ”
“What? ” said Harry, looking from one to the other. “Well . . . when
you fell off, it got blown away, ” said Hermione hesitantly.
“And? ”
“And it hit — it hit — oh, Harry — it hit the Whomping Wil - low. ”
Harry ’s insides lurched. The Whomping Willow was a very v io- lent
tree that stood alone in the middle of the grounds.
“And? ” he said, dreading the answer.
“Well, you know the Whomping Willow, ” said Ron. “It — it doesn ’t
like being hit. ”
“Professor Flitwick brought it back just before you came around, ”
said Hermione in a very small voice.
Slowly, she reached down for a bag at her feet, turned it upside down,
and tipped a dozen bits of splintered wood and twig onto the bed, the
only remains of Harry ’s faithful, finally beaten broom - stick.





 182 ‘

C H A P T E R T E N









THE MARAUDER ’ S
MAP




adam Pomfrey insisted on keeping Harry in the hospital
M
wing for the rest of the weekend. He didn ’t argue or complain, but he
wouldn ’t let her throw away the shattered rem - nants of his Nimbus
Two Thousand. He knew he was being stupid, knew that the Nimbus
was beyond repair, but Harry couldn ’t help it; he felt as though he ’d
lost one of his best friends.
He had a stream of visitors, all intent on cheering him up. Ha - grid sent
him a bunch of earwiggy flowers that looked like yellow cabbages, and

Ginny Weasley, blushing furiously, turned up with a get -well card she
had made herself, which sang shrilly unless Harry kept it shut under
hi s bowl of fruit. The Gryffindor team visited again on Sunday
morning, this time accompanied by Wood, who told Harry (in a hollow,
dead sort of voice) that he didn ’t blame him in the slightest. Ron and
Hermione left Harry ’s bedside only at night. But nothing anyone said
or did could make Harry feel any better, because they knew only half of
what was troubling him.
 183 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

He hadn ’t told anyone about the Grim, not even Ron and Hermione,
because he knew Ron would panic and Hermione would scoff. The
fact remained, however, that it had now appeared twice, and both
appearances had been followed by near -fatal acci - dents; the first time,
he had nearly been run over by the Knight Bus; the second, fallen fifty
feet from his broomstick. Was the Grim going to haunt him until he
actually died? Was he going to spend the rest of his life looking over his
shoulder for the beast? And then there were the dementors. Harry felt
sick and humili - ated every time he thought of them. Everyone said the
dementors were horrible, but no one else collapsed every time they
went near one. No one else heard echoes in their head of their dying
parents. Because Harry knew who that screaming voice belonged to
no w. He had heard her words, heard them over and over again during
the night hours in the hospital wing while he lay awake, staring at the
strips of moonlight on the ceiling. When the dementors ap - proached
him, he heard the last moments of his mother ’s life , her attempts to
protect him, Harry, from Lord Voldemort, and Volde - mort ’s laughter
before he murdered her. . . . Harry dozed fitfully, sinking into dreams
full of clammy, rotted hands and petrified pleading, jerking awake to
dwell again on his mother ’s voice.

It was a relief to return to the noise and bustle of the main school on
Monday, where he was forced to think about other things, even if he
had to endure Draco Malfoy ’s taunting. Malfoy was almost beside
himself with glee at Gryffindor ’s defeat . He had finally taken off his
bandages, and celebrated having the full use of both arms again by
doing spirited imitations of Harry falling off his broom.
 184 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


Malfoy spent much of their next Potions class doing dementor im -
itations across the dungeon; Ron finally cracked and flung a large,
slippery crocodile heart at Malfoy, which hit him in the face and caused
Snape to take fifty points from Gryffindor.
“If Snape ’s teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts again, I ’m skiving
off, ” said Ron as they headed toward Lupin ’s classroom af - ter lunch.
“Check who ’s in there, Hermione. ”
Hermione peered around the classroom door.
“It’s okay! ”
Professor Lupin was back at work. It certainly looked as though he had
been ill. His old robes were hanging more loosely on him and there
were dark shadows beneath his eyes; nevertheless, he smiled at the
class as they took their seats, and they burst at once into an explosion
of complaints about Snape ’s behavior while Lupin had been ill.
“It’s not fair, he was only filling in, why should he give us home -
work? ”
“We don ’t know anything about werewolves — ”
“— two rolls of parchment! ”
“Did you tell Professor Snape we haven ’t covered them yet? ” Lupin
asked, frowning slightly.
The babble broke out again.
“Yes, but he said we were really behind — ”
“— he wouldn ’t listen — ”
“— two rolls of parchment !”
Professor Lupin smiled at the look of indignation on every face.
“Don ’t worry. I ’ll speak to Professor Snape. You don ’t have to do the
essay. ”
 185 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“Oh no, ” said Hermione, looking very disappointed. “I’ve al -
ready finished it! ”
They had a very enjoyable lesson. Professor Lupin had brought along a
glass box containing a hinkypunk, a little one -legged crea - ture who
looked as though he were made of wisps of smoke, rather frail and
harmless -looking.
“Lures travelers into bogs, ” said Professor Lupin as they took notes.
“You notice the lantern dangling from his hand? Hops ahead —
people follow the light — then — ”
The hinkypunk made a horrible squelching noise against the glass.
When the bell rang, everyone gathered up their thi ngs and headed for
the door, Harry among them, but —
“Wait a moment, Harry, ” Lupin called. “I’d like a word. ” Harry
doubled back and watched Professor Lupin covering the hinkypunk ’s
box with a cloth.
“I heard about the match, ” said Lupin, turning back to his desk and
starting to pile books into his briefcase, “and I ’m sorry about your
broomstick. Is there any chance of fixing it? ”
“No, ” said Harry. “The tree smashed it to bits. ”
Lupin sighed.
“They planted the Whomping Willow the same year that I arrived at
Hogwarts. People used to play a game, trying to get near enough to
touch the trunk. In the end, a boy called Davey Gudgeon nearly lost an
eye, and we were forbidden to go near it. No broomstick would have a
chance.
“Did you hear about the demen tors too? ” said Harry with diffi - culty.
 186 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


Lupin looked at him quickly.
“Yes, I did. I don ’t think any of us have seen Professor Dumble - dore
that angry. They have been growing restless for some time . . . furious
at his refusal to let them inside the grounds. . . . I suppose they were the
reason you fell? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry. He hesitated, and then the question he had to
ask burst from him before he could stop himself. “ Why ? Why do
they affect me like that? Am I just — ?”
“It has nothing to do with weakness, ” said Professor Lupin sharply, as
though he had read Harry ’s mind. “The dementors af - fect you worse
than the others because there are horrors in your past that the others
don ’t have. ”
A ray of wintery sunlight fell across the classroom, illuminating Lupin ’s
gray hairs and the lines on his young face.
“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They
infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and de - spair, they
drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even
Muggles feel their presence, though they can ’t see them. Get too near a
dementor and every good feeling, e very happy memory will be sucked
out of you. If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to
reduce you to something like it - self . . . soul -less and evil. You ’ll be left
with nothing but the worst
experiences of your life. And the worst that hap pened to you,
Harry, is enough to make anyone fall off their broom. You have
nothing to feel ashamed of. ”
“When they get near me — ” Harry stared at Lupin ’s desk, his throat
tight. “I can hear Voldemort murdering my mum. ”
Lupin made a sudden moti on with his arm as though to grip

 187 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

Harry ’s shoulder, but thought better of it. There was a moment ’s si -
lence, then —
“Why did they have to come to the match? ” said Harry bitterly.
“They ’re getting hungry, ” said Lupin coolly, shutting his briefcase with
a snap. “Dumbledore won ’t let them into the school, so their supply of
human prey has dried up. . . . I don ’t think they could resist the large
crowd around the Quidditch field. All that excite - ment . . . emotions
running high . . . it was their idea of a feast. ” “Azkaban must be
terrible, ” Harry muttered. Lupin nodded grimly.
“The fortress is set on a tiny island, way out to sea, but they don ’t need
walls and water to keep the prisoners in, not when they ’re all trapped
inside their own heads, incapable of a single cheerful thought. Most of
them go mad within weeks. ”
“But Siri us Black escaped from them, ” Harry said slowly. “He got
away. . . . ”
Lupin ’s briefcase slipped from the desk; he had to stoop quickly to
catch it.
“Yes, ” he said, straightening up, “Black must have found a way to fight
them. I wouldn ’t have believed it possible. . . . Dementors are
supposed to drain a wizard of his powers if he is left with them too
long. . . . ”
“ You made that dementor on the train back off, ” said Harry sud -
denly.
“There are — certain defenses one can use, ” said Lupin. “But there
was only one dementor on the train. The more there are, the more
difficult it becomes to resist. ”
“What defenses? ” said Harry at once. “Can you teach me? ”
 188 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


“I don ’t pretend to be an expert at fighting dementors, Harry . . . quite
the contrary. . . . ”
“But if the dementors come to another Quidditch match, I need to be
able to fight them — ”
Lupin looked into Harry ’s determined face, hesitated, then said,
“Well . . . all right. I ’ll try and help. But it ’ll have to wait until next term,
I’m afraid. I have a lot to do before the holidays. I chose a very
inconvenient time to fall ill. ”

What with the promise of anti -dementor lessons from Lupin, the
thought that h e might never have to hear his mother ’s death again, and
the fact that Ravenclaw flattened Hufflepuff in their Quid - ditch match
at the end of November, Harry ’s mood took a definite upturn.
Gryffindor were not out of the running after all, although they co uld
not afford to lose another match. Wood became repos - sessed of his
manic energy, and worked his team as hard as ever in the chilly haze of
rain that persisted into December. Harry saw no hint of a dementor
within the grounds. Dumbledore ’s anger seemed to be keeping them at
their stations at the entrances.
Two weeks before the end of the term, the sky lightened sud - denly to a
dazzling, opaline white and the muddy grounds were re - vealed one
morning covered in glittering frost. Inside the castle, ther e was a buzz
of Christmas in the air. Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, had
already decorated his classroom with shim - mering lights that turned
out to be real, fluttering fairies. The stu - dents were all happily
discussing their plans for the holida ys. Both Ron and Hermione had
decided to remain at Hogwarts, and though Ron said it was because he
couldn ’t stand two weeks with

 189 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

Percy, and Hermione insisted she needed to use the library, Harry
wasn ’t fooled; they were doing it to keep him company, and he was
very grateful.
To everyone ’s delight except Harry ’s, there was to be another
Hogsmeade trip on the very last weekend of the term.
“We can do all our Christmas shopping there! ” said Hermione. “M um
and Dad would really love those Toothflossing Stringmints from
Honeydukes! ”
Resigned to the fact that he would be the only third year staying
behind again, Harry borrowed a copy of Which Broomstick from
Wood, and decided to spend the day reading up on the different makes.
He had been riding one of the school brooms at team prac - tice, an
ancient Shooting Star, which was very slow and jerky; he definitely
needed a new broom of his own.
On the Saturday m orning of the Hogsmeade trip, Harry bid good -bye
to Ron and Hermione, who were wrapped in cloaks and scarves, then
turned up the marble staircase alone, and headed back toward
Gryffindor Tower. Snow had started to fall outside the win - dows, and
the castl e was very still and quiet.
“Psst — Harry! ”
He turned, halfway along the third -floor corridor, to see Fred and
George peering out at him from behind a statue of a hump - backed,
one -eyed witch.
“What are you doing? ” said Harry curiously. “How come yo u’re not
going to Hogsmeade? ”
“We ’ve come to give you a bit of festive cheer before we go, ” said Fred,
with a mysterious wink. “Come in here. . . . ”
He nodded toward an empty classroom to the left of the one -
 190 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


eyed statue. Harry followed Fred and George inside. George closed the
door quietly and then turned, beaming, to look at Harry. “Early
Christmas present for you, Harry, ” he said.
Fred pulled something from inside his cloak with a flourish and laid it
on one of the desks. It was a large, square, very worn piece of
parchment with nothing written on it. Harry, suspecting one of Fred
and George ’s jokes, stared at it.
“What ’s that supp osed to be? ”
“This, Harry, is the secret of our success, ” said George, patting the
parchment fondly.
“It’s a wrench, giving it to you, ” said Fred, “but we decided last night,
your need ’s greater than ours. ”
“Anyway, we know it by heart, ” said Geor ge. “We bequeath it to you.
We don ’t really need it anymore. ”
“And what do I need with a bit of old parchment? ” said Harry. “A bit
of old parchment! ” said Fred, closing his eyes with a gri - mace as
though Harry had mortally offended him. “Explain, Georg e.”
“Well . . . when we were in our first year, Harry — young, care - free,
and innocent — ”
Harry snorted. He doubted whether Fred and George had ever been
innocent.
“— well, more innocent than we are now — we got into a spot of
bother with Filch. ”
“We let off a Dungbomb in the corridor and it upset him for some
reason — ”
“So he hauled us off to his office and started threatening us with the
usual — ”
 191 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“— detention — ”
“— disembowelment — ”
“— and we couldn ’t help noticing a drawer in one of his filing
cabinets marked Confiscated and Highly Dangerous. ”
“Don ’t tell me — ” said Harry, starting to grin.
“Well, what would you ’ve done? ” said Fred. “George caused a
diversion by dropping another Dungbomb, I whipped the drawer
open, and grabbed — this. ”
“It’s not as bad as it sounds, you know, ” said George. “We don ’t
reckon Filch ever found out how to work it. He probably suspected
what it was, though, or he wouldn ’t have confiscated it. ”
“And you know how to work it? ”
“Oh yes, ” said Fred, smirking. “This little beauty ’s taught us more than
all the teachers in this school. ”
“You ’re winding me up, ” said Harry, looking at the ragged old bit of
parchment.
“Oh, are we? ” said George.
He took out his wand, touched the parchment lightly, and said,
“ I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. ”
And at once, thin ink lines began to spread like a spider ’s web from the
point that George ’s wand had touched. They jo ined each other, they
crisscrossed, they fanned into every corner of the parch - ment; then
words began to blossom across the top, great, curly green words, that
proclaimed:
Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and
Prongs Purveyors of Aids to Magical
Mischief -Makers are proud to present
THE M ARAUDER ’S M AP
 192 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


It was a map showing every detail of the Hogwarts castle and grounds.
But the truly remarkable thing were the tiny ink dots moving around it,
each labeled with a name in minuscule writing. Astounded, Harry bent
over it. A labeled dot in the top left corner showed that Professor
Dumbledore was pacing his study; the care - taker ’s cat, Mrs. Norris,
was prowling the second floor; a nd Peeves the Poltergeist was
currently bouncing around the trophy room. And as Harry ’s eyes
traveled up and down the familiar corridors, he noticed something
else.
This map showed a set of passages he had never entered. And many of
them seemed to lead —
“Right into Hogsmeade, ” said Fred, tracing one of them with his finger.
“There are seven in all. Now, Filch knows about these four ” — he
pointed them out — “but we ’re sure we ’re the only
ones who know about these. Don ’t bother with the one behind the
mirror on the fourth floor. We used it until last winter, but it ’s caved in
— completely blocked. And we don ’t reckon anyone ’s ever used this
one, because the Whomping Willow ’s planted right over the entrance.
But this one here, this one leads right into the cellar of Honeydukes.
We ’ve used it loads of times. And as you might ’ve noticed, the
entrance is right outside this room, through that one - eyed old crone ’s
hump. ”
“Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, ” sighed George, pat - ting
the heading of the map . “We owe them so much. ”
“Noble men, working tirelessly to help a new generation of law -
breakers, ” said Fred solemnly.
“Right, ” said George briskly. “Don ’t forget to wipe it after you ’ve used
it — ”
“— or anyone can read it, ” Fred said warningly.

 193 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“Just tap it again and say, ‘Mischief managed! ’ And it ’ll go blank. ”
“So, young Harry, ” said Fred, in an uncanny impersonation of Percy,
“mind you behave yourself. ”
“See you in Honeydukes, ” said George, winking. They left the room,
both smirking in a satisfied sort of way. Harry stood there, gazing at
the miraculous map. He watched the tiny ink Mrs. Norris turn left and
pause to sniff at something on the floor. If Filch really didn ’t know . . .
he wouldn ’t have to pass the dementors at all. . . .
But even as he stood there, flooded with excitement, something Harry
had once heard Mr. Weasley say came floating out of his memory.
Never trust anything that can think for itself, if you can ’t see where
it keeps its brain.
This map was one of those dangerous magical objects Mr.
Weasley had been warning against. . . . Aids for Magical Mischief -
Makers . . . but then, Harry reasoned, he only wanted to use it to
get into Hogsmeade, it wasn ’t as tho ugh he wanted to steal any - thing
or attack anyone . . . and Fred and George had been using it for years
without anything horrible happening. . . .
Harry traced the secret passage to Honeydukes with his finger. Then,
quite suddenly, as though following orders, he rolled up the map,
stuffed it inside his robes, and hurried to the door of the classroom. He
opened it a couple of inches. There was no one out - side. Very
carefully, he edged out of the room and behind the statue of the
one -eyed witch.
What did he have to do? He pulled out the map again and saw,
 194 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


to his astonishment, that a new ink figure had appeared upon it, la -
beled Harry Potter. This figure was standing exactly where the real
Harry was standing, about halfway down the third -floor corridor.
Harry watched carefully. His little ink self appeared to be tapping the
witch with his minute wand. Harry quickly took out his real wand an d
tapped the statue. Nothing happened. He looked back at the map. The
tiniest speech bubble had appeared next to his figure.
The word inside said, “Dissendium. ”
“ Dissendium !” Harry whispered, tapping the stone witch again.
At once, the statue ’s hump opened wide enough to admit a fairly thin
person. Harry glanced quickly up and down the corridor, then tucked
the map away again, hoisted himself into the hole headfirst, and
pushed himself forward.
He slid a considerable way down what felt like a stone s lide, then
landed on cold, damp earth. He stood up, looking around. It was
pitch dark. He held up his wand, muttered, “ Lumos !” and saw that
he was in a very narrow, low, earthy passageway. He raised the map,
tapped it with the tip of his wand, and muttered, “Mischief man -
aged! ” The map went blank at once. He folded it carefully, tucked it
inside his robes, then, heart beating fast, both excited and appre -
hensive, he set off.
The passage twisted and turned , more like the burrow of a giant rabbit
than anything else. Harry hurried along it, stumbling now and then on
the uneven floor, holding his wand out in front of him.
It took ages, but Harry had the thought of Honeydukes to sus - tain
him. After what fel t like an hour, the passage began to rise. Panting,
Harry sped up, his face hot, his feet very cold.
 195 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

Ten minutes later, he came to the foot of some worn stone steps,
which rose out of sight above him. Careful not to make any noise,
Harry began to climb. A hundred steps, two hundred steps, he lost
count as he climbed, watching his feet. . . . Then, without warn - ing, his
head hit something hard.
It seemed to be a trapd oor. Harry stood there, massaging the top of his
head, listening. He couldn ’t hear any sounds above him. Very slowly,
he pushed the trapdoor open and peered over the edge.
He was in a cellar, which was full of wooden crates and boxes. Harry
climbed out of the trapdoor and replaced it — it blended so perfectly
with the dusty floor that it was impossible to tell it was there. Harry
crept slowly toward the wooden staircase that led up - stairs. Now he
could definitely hear voices, not to mention the tin - kle of a bell and
the opening and shutting of a door.
Wondering what he ought to do, he suddenly heard a door open much
closer at hand; somebody was about to come downstairs. “And get
another box of Jelly Slugs, dear, they ’ve nearly cleaned us out — ” said
a woman ’s voice.
A pair of feet was coming down the staircase. Harry leapt behind an
enormous crate and waited for the footsteps to pass. He heard the man
shifting boxes against the opposite wall. He might not get another
chance —
Quickly and silently, Harry dodged out from his hiding place and
climbed the stairs; looking back, he saw an enormous backside and
shiny bald head, buried in a box. Harry reached the door at the top of
the stairs, slipped through it, and found himself behind the count er of
Honeydukes — he ducked, crept sideways, and then straightened up.
“ 196 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


Honeydukes was so crowded with Hogwarts students that no one
looked twice at Harry. He edged among them, looking around, a nd
suppressed a laugh as he imagined the look that would spread over
Dudley ’s piggy face if he could see where Harry was now.
There were shelves upon shelves of the most succulent -looking sweets
imaginable. Creamy chunks of nougat, shimmering pink squares of
coconut ice, fat, honey -colored toffees; hundreds of dif - ferent kinds
of chocolate in neat rows; there was a large barrel of Every Flavor
Beans, and another of Fizzing Whizbees, the levitat - ing sherbert balls
that Ron had mentioned; along yet another wall were “Special
Effects ” sweets: Drooble ’s Best Blowing Gum (which filled a room
with bluebell -colored bubbles that refused to pop for days), the strange,
splintery Toothflossing Stringmints, tiny black Pepper Imps ( “breathe
fire for your friends! ”), Ice Mice ( “hear your teeth chatter and
squeak! ”), peppermint creams shaped like toads ( “hop realistically in
the stomach! ”), fragile sugar -spun quills, and exploding bonbons.
Harry squeezed himself through a crowd of sixth years and saw a sign
hanging in the farthest corner of the shop (Unusual Tastes). Ron and
Hermione were standing underneath it, examining a tray of
blood -flavored lollipops. Harry sneaked up behind them.
“Ugh, no, Harry won ’t want one of those, they ’re for vampires, I
expect, ” Hermione was saying.
“How about these? ” said Ron, shoving a jar of Cockroach Clus - ters
under Hermione ’s nose.
“Definitely not, ” said Harry.
Ron nearly dropped the jar.
 197 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“ Harry !” squealed Hermione. “What are you doing here?
How — how did you — ?”
“Wow! ” said Ron, looking very impressed, “you ’ve learned to
Apparate! ”
“’Course I haven ’t,” said Harry. He dropped his voice so that none of
the sixth years could hear him and tol d them all about the Marauder ’s
Map.
“How come Fred and George never gave it to me !” said Ron,
outraged. “I’m their brother! ”
“But Harry isn ’t going to keep it! ” said Hermione, as though the idea
were ludicrous. “He ’s going to hand it in to Professor McGonagall,
aren ’t you, Harry? ”
“No, I ’m not! ” said Harry.
“Are you mad? ” said Ron, goggling at Hermione. “Hand in something
that good? ”
“If I hand it in, I ’ll have to say where I got it! Filch would know Fred
and Ge orge had nicked it! ”
“But what about Sirius Black? ” Hermione hissed. “He could be using
one of the passages on that map to get into the castle! The teachers
have got to know! ”
“He can ’t be getting in through a passage, ” said Harry quickly. “There
are seven secret tunnels on the map, right? Fred and George reckon
Filch already knows about four of them. And of the other three — one
of them ’s caved in, so no one can get through it. One of them ’s got the
Whomping Willow planted over the entrance, so you can ’t get out of it.
And the one I just came through — well — it’s really hard to see the
entrance to it down in the cellar, so unless he knew it was there . . . ”
Harry hesitated. What if Black did know the passage was there?
 198 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


Ron, however, cleared his throat significantly, and pointed to a no -
tice pasted on the inside of the sweetshop door.

— by order of —
THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC
Customers are reminded that until further notice, de - mentors
will be patrolling the streets of Hogsmeade every night after
sundown. This measure has been put in place for the safety of
Hogsmeade residents and will be lifted upon the recapture of
Sirius Bl ack. It is there - fore advisable that you complete your
shopping well before nightfall.
Merry Christmas!

“See? ” said Ron quietly. “I’d like to see Black try and break into
Honeydukes with dementors swarming all over the village. Any - way,
Hermione, the Honeydukes owners would hear a break -in, wouldn ’t
they? They live over the shop! ”
“Yes, but — but — ” Hermoine seemed to be struggling to find
another problem. “Look, Harry still shouldn ’t be coming into
Hogsmeade. He hasn ’t got a sig ned form! If anyone finds out, he ’ll be
in so much trouble! And it ’s not nightfall yet — what if Sirius Black
turns up today? Now? ”
“He ’d have a job spotting Harry in this, ” said Ron, nodding through
the mullioned windows at the thick, swirling snow. “Co me on,
Hermione, it ’s Christmas. Harry deserves a break. ” Hermione bit her
lip, looking extremely worried.
“Are you going to report me? ” Harry asked her, grinning.
“Oh — of course not — but honestly, Harry — ”
 199 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“Seen the Fizzing Whizbees, Harry? ” said Ron, grabbing him and
leading him over to their barrel. “And the Jelly Slugs? And the Acid
Pops? Fred gave me one of those when I was seven — it burnt a hole
right through my tongue. I remember M um walloping him with her
broomstick. ” Ron stared broodingly into the Acid Pop box. “Reckon
Fred ’d take a bit of Cockroach Cluster if I told him they were
peanuts? ”
When Ron and Hermione had paid for all their sweets, the three of
them left Honeydukes for the blizzard outside.
Hogsmeade looked like a Christmas card; the little thatched cot - tages
and shops were all covered in a layer of crisp snow; there were holly
wreaths on the doors and strings of enchanted candles hang - ing in the
trees.
Harry shiver ed; unlike the other two, he didn ’t have his cloak. They
headed up the street, heads bowed against the wind, Ron and
Hermione shouting through their scarves.
“That ’s the post office — ”
“Zonko ’s is up there — ”
“We could go up to the Shrieking Shack — ”
“Tell you what, ” said Ron, his teeth chattering, “shall we go for a
butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks? ”
Harry was more than willing; the wind was fierce and his hands were
freezing, so they crossed the road, and in a few minutes were entering
the tiny inn.
It was extremely crowded, noisy, warm, and smoky. A curvy sort of
woman with a pretty face was serving a bunch of rowdy warlocks up at
the bar.
“That ’s Madam Rosmerta, ” said Ron. “I’ll get the drinks, shall I? ” he
added, going sl ightly red.
 200 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


Harry and Hermione made their way to the back of the room, where
there was a small, vacant table between the window and a handsome
Christmas tree, which stood next to the fireplace. Ron came back five
minutes later, carrying three foaming tankards of hot butterbeer.
“Merry Christmas! ” he said happily, raising his tankard. Harry drank
deeply. It was the most delicious thing h e’d ever tasted and seemed to
heat every bit of him from the inside.
A sudden breeze ruffled his hair. The door of the Three Broom - sticks
had opened again. Harry looked over the rim of his tankard and
choked.
Professors McGonagall and Flitwick had jus t entered the pub with a
flurry of snowflakes, shortly followed by Hagrid, who was deep in
conversation with a portly man in a lime -green bowler hat and a
pinstriped cloak — Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic.
In an instant, Ron and Hermione had both plac ed hands on the top of
Harry ’s head and forced him off his stool and under the table.
Dripping with butterbeer and crouching out of sight, Harry clutched
his empty tankard and watched the teachers ’ and Fudge ’s feet move
toward the bar, pause, then turn and walk right toward him.
Somewhere above him, Hermione whispered, “ Mobiliarbus !”
The Christmas tree beside their table rose a few inches off the ground,
drifted sideways, and landed with a soft thump right in front of their
table, hiding them from view. Staring through the dense lower
branches, Harry saw four sets of chair legs move back from the table
right beside theirs, then heard the grunts and sighs of the teachers and
minister as they sat down.
Next he saw another pair of feet, wearing sparkly turquoise high heels,
and heard a woman ’s voice.

 201 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“A small gillywater — ”
“Mine, ” said Professor McGonagall ’s voice.
“Four pints of mulled mead — ”
“Ta, Rosmerta, ” said Hagrid.
“A cherry syrup and soda with ice and umbrella — ”
“Mmm! ” said Professor Flitwick, smacking his lips.
“So you ’ll be the red currant rum, Minister. ”
“Thank you, Rosmerta, m ’dear, ” said Fudge ’s voice. “Lovely to see
you again, I must say. Have one yourself, won ’t you? Come and join
us. . . . ”
“Well, thank you very much, Minister. ”
Harry watched the glittering heels march away and back again. His
heart was pounding uncomfortably in his throat. Why hadn ’t it
occurred to him th at this was the last weekend of term for the teach -
ers too? And how long were they going to sit there? He needed time to
sneak back into Honeydukes if he wanted to return to school
tonight. . . . Hermione ’s leg gave a nervous twitch next to him.
“So, what brings you to this neck of the woods, Minister? ” came
Madam Rosmerta ’s voice.
Harry saw the lower part of Fudge ’s thick body twist in his chair as
though he were checking for eavesdroppers. Then he said in a quiet
voice, “What else, m ’dear, bu t Sirius Black? I daresay you heard what
happened up at the school at Halloween? ”
“I did hear a rumor, ” admitted Madam Rosmerta. “Did you tell the
whole pub, Hagrid? ” said Professor McGona - gall exasperatedly.
“Do you think Black ’s still in the area, M inister? ” whispered Madam
Rosmerta.
 202 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


“I’m sure of it, ” said Fudge shortly.
“You know that the dementors have searched the whole village
twice? ” said Madam Rosmerta, a slight edge to her voice. “Scared all
my customers away. . . . It ’s very bad for business, Minister. ”
“Rosmerta, m ’dear, I don ’t like them any more than you do, ” said
Fudge uncomfortably. “Necessary precaution . . . unfortunate, but
there you are. . . . I ’ve just met some of them. T hey ’re in a fury against
Dumbledore — he won ’t let them inside the castle grounds. ”
“I should think not, ” said Professor McGonagall sharply. “How are we
supposed to teach with those horrors floating around? ” “Hear, hear! ”
squeaked tiny Professor Flitwic k, whose feet were dangling a foot
from the ground.
“All the same, ” demurred Fudge, “they are here to protect you all from
something much worse. . . . We all know what Black ’s capa - ble of. . . . ”
“Do you know, I still have trouble believing it, ” said Madam Rosmerta
thoughtfully. “Of all the people to go over to the Dark Side, Sirius
Black was the last I ’d have thought . . . I mean, I re - member him when
he was a boy at Hogwarts. If you ’d told me then what he was going to
become, I ’d have said you ’d had too much mead. ”
“You don ’t know the half of it, Rosmerta, ” said Fudge gruffly. “The
worst he did isn ’t widely known. ”
“The worst? ” said Madam Rosmerta, her voice alive with curios - ity.
“Worse than murdering all those poor people, you mean? ” “I certainly
do, ” said Fudge.
“I can ’t believe that. What could possibly be worse? ” “You say you
remember him at Hogwarts, Rosmerta, ” mur -
 203 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

mured Professor McGonagall. “Do you remember who his best friend
was? ”
“Naturally, ” said Madam Rosmerta, with a small laugh. “Never saw
one without the other, did you? The number of times I had them in
here — ooh, they used to make me laugh. Quite the dou - ble act, Sirius
Black and James Potter! ”
Harry drop ped his tankard with a loud clunk. Ron kicked him.
“Precisely, ” said Professor McGonagall. “Black and Potter. Ring -
leaders of their little gang. Both very bright, of course — excep -
tionally bright, in fact — but I don ’t think we ’ve ever had such a pair o f
troublemakers — ”
“I dunno, ” chuckled Hagrid. “Fred and George Weasley could
give ’em a run fer their money. ”
“You ’d have thought Black and Potter were brothers! ” chimed in
Professor Flitwick. “Inseparable! ”
“Of course they were, ” said Fudge. “Potter t rusted Black beyond all
his other friends. Nothing changed when they left school. Black was
best man when James married Lily. Then they named him god - father
to Harry. Harry has no idea, of course. You can imagine how the idea
would torment him. ”
“Because Black turned out to be in league with You -Know - Who? ”
whispered Madam Rosmerta.
“Worse even than that, m ’dear. . . . ” Fudge dropped his voice and
proceeded in a sort of low rumble. “Not many people are aware that
the Potters knew You -Know -Who was after them. Dumbledore, who
was of course working tirelessly against You -Know -Who, had a
number of useful spies. One of them tipped him off, and he alerted
James and Lily at once. He advised them to go into hiding. Well, of
 204 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


course, You -Know -Who wasn ’t an easy person to hide from.
Dumble - dore told them that their best chance was the Fidelius
Charm. ” “How does that work? ” said Madam Rosmerta, breathless
with interest. Profe ssor Flitwick cleared his throat.
“An immensely complex spell, ” he said squeakily, “involving the
magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The in -
formation is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret -Keeper, and is
henceforth impossible to find — unless, of course, the Secret -Keeper
chooses to divulge it. As long as the Secret -Keeper refused to speak,
You -Know -Who could search the village where Lily and James were
staying for years and never find them, not eve n if he had his nose
pressed against their sitting room window! ”
“So Black was the Potters ’ Secret -Keeper? ” whispered Madam
Rosmerta.
“Naturally, ” said Professor McGonagall. “James Potter told
Dumbledore that Black would die rather than tell where th ey were, that
Black was planning to go into hiding himself . . . and yet, Dumbledore
remained worried. I remember him offering to be the Potters ’
Secret -Keeper himself. ”
“He suspected Black? ” gasped Madam Rosmerta. “He was sure that
somebody close to th e Potters had been keep - ing You -Know -Who
informed of their movements, ” said Professor McGonagall darkly.
“Indeed, he had suspected for some time that someone on our side
had turned traitor and was passing a lot of in - formation to
You -Know -Who. ”
“But J ames Potter insisted on using Black? ”
“He did, ” said Fudge heavily. “And then, barely a week after the
Fidelius Charm had been performed — ”

 205 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

“Black betrayed them? ” breathed Madam Rosmerta. “He did indeed.
Black was tired of his double -agent role, he was ready to declare his
support openly for You -Know -Who, and he seems to have planned
this for the moment of the Potters ’ death. But, as we all know,
You -Know -Who met his downfall in little Harry Potter. Powers gone,
horribly weakened, he fled. And this left Black in a very nasty position
indeed. His master had fallen at the very moment when he, Black, had
shown his true colors as a traitor. He had no choice but to run for it
— ”
“Filthy, stinkin ’ turncoat! ” Hagrid said, so loudly that half the bar went
quiet.
“Shh! ” said Professor McGonagall.
“I met him! ” growled Hagrid. “I musta bin the last ter see him before
he killed all them people! It was me what rescued Harry from Lily an ’
James ’s house after they was killed! Jus ’ got him outta the ruins, poor
little thing, with a great slash across his forehead, an ’ his parents
dead . . . an ’ Sirius Black turns up, on that flyin ’ motorbike he used ter
ride. Never occurred ter me what he was doin ’ there. I didn ’ know he ’d
bin Lily an ’ James ’s Secret -Keeper. Thought he ’d jus ’ heard the news o ’
You -Know -Who ’s attack an ’ come ter see what he could do. White an ’
shakin ’, he was. An ’ yeh know what I did? I COMFORTED THE
MURDERIN ’ TRAITOR! ” Hagrid roared .
“Hagrid, please! ” said Professor McGonagall. “Keep your voice
down! ”
“How was I ter know he wasn ’ upset abou ’ Lily an ’ James? It was
You -Know -Who he cared abou ’! An ’ then he says, ‘Give Harry ter me,
Hagrid, I ’m his godfather, I ’ll look after him — ’ Ha! But I ’d
 206 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


had me orders from Dumbledore, an ’ I told Black no, Dumbledore
said Harry was ter go ter his aunt an ’ uncle ’s. Black argued, but in the
end he gave in. Told me ter take his motorbike ter get Harry there. ‘I
won ’t need it anymore, ’ he says.
“I shoulda known there was somethin ’ fishy goin ’ on then. He loved
that motorbike, what was he givin ’ it ter me for? Why wouldn ’ he need
it anym ore? Fact was, it was too easy ter trace. Dumbledore knew he ’d
bin the Potters ’ Secret -Keeper. Black knew he was goin ’ ter have ter
run fer it that night, knew it was a matter
o.hours before the Ministry was after him.
“ But what if I ’d given Harry to him , eh ? I bet he ’d’ve pitched him
off the bike halfway out ter sea. His bes ’ friends ’ son! But when a
wizard goes over ter the Dark Side, there ’s nothin ’ and no one that
matters to ’em anymore. . . . ”
A long silence followed Hagrid ’s story. Then Madam Ro smerta said
with some satisfaction, “But he didn ’t manage to disappear, did he?
The Ministry of Magic caught up with him next day! ” “Alas, if only we
had, ” said Fudge bitterly. “It was not we who found him. It was little
Peter Pettigrew — another of the Po tters ’ friends. Maddened by grief,
no doubt, and knowing that Black had been the Potters ’ Secret -Keeper,
he went after Black himself. ” “Pettigrew . . . that fat little boy who was
always tagging around after them at Hogwarts? ” said Madam
Rosmerta.
“Hero -worshipped Black and Potter, ” said Professor McGona - gall.
“Never quite in their league, talent -wise. I was often rather sharp with
him. You can imagine how I — how I regret that now. . . . ” She
sounded as though she had a sudden head cold. “There, no w,
Minerva, ” said Fudge kindly, “Pettigrew died a

 207 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

hero ’s death. Eyewitnesses — Muggles, of course, we wiped their
memories later — told us how Pettigrew cornered Black. They say he
was sobbing, ‘Lily a nd James, Sirius! How could you? ’ And then he
went for his wand. Well, of course, Black was quicker. Blew Pettigrew
to smithereens. . . . ”
Professor McGonagall blew her nose and said thickly, “Stupid boy . . .
foolish boy . . . he was always hopeless at dueling . . . should have left it
to the Ministry. . . . ”
“I tell yeh, if I ’d got ter Black before little Pettigrew did, I wouldn ’t’ve
messed around with wands — I’d’ve ripped him limb — from —
limb, ” Hagrid growled.
“You don ’t know what you ’re tal king about, Hagrid, ” said Fudge
sharply. “Nobody but trained Hit Wizards from the Magical Law
Enforcement Squad would have stood a chance against Black once he
was cornered. I was Junior Minister in the Department of Mag - ical
Catastrophes at the time, and I was one of the first on the scene after
Black murdered all those people. I — I will never forget it. I still dream
about it sometimes. A crater in the middle of the street, so deep it had
cracked the sewer below. Bodies everywhere. Mug - gles screaming.
And Black standing there laughing, with what was left of Pettigrew in
front of him . . . a heap of bloodstained robes and a few — a few
fragments — ”
Fudge ’s voice stopped abruptly. There was the sound of five noses
being blown.
“Well, there you have it, Rosmerta, ” said Fudge thickly. “Black was
taken away by twenty members of the Magical Law Enforce - ment
Squad and Pettigrew received the Order of Merlin, First Class, which I
think was some comfort to his poor mother. Black ’s been in Azkaban
ever since. ”
 208 ‘

THE MARAUDER ’S
MAP


Madam Rosmerta let out a long sigh.
“Is it true he ’s mad, Minister? ”
“I wish I could say that he was, ” said Fudge slowly. “I certainly believe
his master ’s defeat unhinged him for a while. The murder of Pettigrew
and all those Muggles was the action of a cornered and desperate man
— cruel . . . pointless. Yet I met Black on my last inspection of
Azkaban. You know, most of the prisoners in there sit mutterin g to
themselves in the dark; there ’s no sense in
them . . . but I was shocked at how normal Black seemed. He
spoke quite rationally to me. It was unnerving. You ’d have thought he
was merely bored — asked if I ’d finished with my newspaper, cool as
you please, said he missed doing the crossword. Yes, I was astounded
at how little effect the dementors seemed to be having on him — and
he was one of the most heavily guarded in the place, you know.
Dementors outside his door day and night. ”
“But what do you think he ’s broken out to do? ” said Madam Rosmerta.
“Good gracious, Minister, he isn ’t trying to rejoin You - Know -Who, is
he? ”
“I daresay that is his — er — eventual plan, ” said Fudge eva - sively.
“But we hope to catch Black long before tha t. I must say,
You -Know -Who alone and friendless is one thing . . . but give him
back his most devoted servant, and I shudder to think how quickly
he ’ll rise again. . . . ”
There was a small chink of glass on wood. Someone had set down their
glass.
“You know, Cornelius, if you ’re dining with the headmaster, we ’d
better head back up to the castle, ” said Professor McGonagall. One by
one, the pairs of feet in front of Harry took the weight of their owners
once more; hems of cloaks swung into sight, and

 209 ‘

CHAPTER TEN

Madam Rosemerta ’s glittering heels disappeared behind the bar. The
door of the Three Broomsticks opened again, there was an - other
flurry of snow, and the teachers had disappeared.
“Harry? ”
Ron ’s and Hermione ’s faces appeared under the table. They were both
staring at him, lost for words.

























 210 ‘

C H A P T E R E L E V E
N









THE FIREBOLT




arry didn ’t have a very clear idea of how he had managed
H
to get back into the Honeydukes cellar, through the tun -
nel, and into the castle once more. All he knew was that the return trip
seemed to take no time at all, and that he hardly noticed what he was
doing, because his head was still pounding with the conver - sation he
had just heard.
Why had nobody ever told him? Dumbledore, Hagrid, Mr. Weasley,
Cornelius Fudge . . . why hadn ’t anyone ever mentioned the fact that
Harry ’s parents had died because their best friend had betrayed them?
Ron and Hermione watched Harry nervously all through din - ner, not

daring t o talk about what they ’d overheard, because Percy was sitting
close by them. When they went upstairs to the crowded common
room, it was to find Fred and George had set off half a dozen
Dungbombs in a fit of end -of -term high spirits. Harry, who didn ’t
want Fred and George asking him whether he ’d reached
 211 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Hogsmeade or not, sneaked quietly up to the empty dormitory and
headed straight for his bedside cabinet. He pushed his books aside and
quickly fou nd what he was looking for — the leather -bound photo
album Hagrid had given him two years ago, which was full of wizard
pictures of his mother and father. He sat down on his bed, drew the
hangings around him, and started turning the pages, searching, until . . .
He stopped on a picture of his parents ’ wedding day. There was his
father waving up at him, beaming, the untidy black hair Harry had
inherited standing up in all directions. There was his mother, alight
with happiness, arm in arm with his dad. And there . . . that must be
him. Their best man . . . Harry had never given him a thought before.
If he hadn ’t known it was the same person, he would never have
guessed it was Black in this old photograph. His face wasn ’t sunken
and waxy, but handsome, full of laughter. Had he already been
working for Voldemort when this picture had been taken? Was he
already planning the deaths of the two people next to him? Did he
realize he was facing twelve years in Azkaban, twelve years that would
make him unrecognizabl e?
But the dementors don ’t affect him, Harry thought, staring into
the handsome, laughing face. He doesn ’t have to hear my mum
screaming if they get too close —
Harry slammed the album shut, reached over and stuffed it back into
his cabinet, took off his robe and glasses and got into bed, making sure
the hangings were hiding him from view.
The dormitory door opened.
“Harry? ” said Ron ’s voice uncertainly.
 212 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

But Harry lay still, pretending to be asleep. He heard Ron leave again,
and rolled over on his back, his eyes wide open.
A hatred such as he had never known before was coursing through
Harry like poison. He could see Black laughing at him through the
darkness, as though somebody had pasted the picture from the album
over his eyes. He watched, as though somebody was playing him a
piece of film, Sirius Black blasting Peter Petti - grew (who resembled
Neville Longbottom) into a thousand pieces. He could hear (though
having no idea what Black ’s voice might sound like) a low, excited
mutter. “It has happened, My Lord . . . the Potters have made me their
Secret -Keeper. . . . ” And then came another voice, laughing shrilly, the
same laugh that Harry heard inside his head whenever the dementors
drew near. . . .

“Harry, you — you look terrible. ”
Harry hadn ’t gotten to sleep until daybreak. He had awoken to find the
dormitory deserted, dressed, and gone down the spiral stair - case to a
common roo m that was completely empty except for Ron, who was
eating a Peppermint Toad and massaging his stomach, and Hermione,
who had spread her homework over three tables. “Where is
everyone? ” said Harry.
“Gone! It ’s the first day of the holidays, remember? ” sai d Ron,
watching Harry closely. “It’s nearly lunchtime; I was going to come
and wake you up in a minute. ”
Harry slumped into a chair next to the fire. Snow was still falling
outside the windows. Crookshanks was spread out in front of the fire
like a large, ginger rug.
 213 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“You really don ’t look well, you know, ” Hermione said, peering
anxiously into his face.
“I’m fine, ” said Harry.
“Harry, listen, ” said Hermione, exchanging a look with Ron, “you
must be really upset about what we heard yesterday. But the thing is,
you mustn ’t go doing anything stupid. ”
“Like what? ” said Harry.
“Like trying to go after Black, ” said Ron sharply. Harry could tell they
had rehearsed this conversation while he had been asleep. He didn ’t
say anything.
“You won ’t, will you, Harry? ” said Hermione.
“Because Black ’s not worth dying for, ” said Ron. Harry looked at them.
They didn ’t seem to understand at all. “D ’you kno w what I see and
hear every time a dementor gets too near me? ” Ron and Hermione
shook their heads, looking appre - hensive. “I can hear my mum
screaming and pleading with Volde - mort. And if you ’d heard your
mum screaming like that, just about to be killed, you wouldn ’t forget it
in a hurry. And if you found out someone who was supposed to be a
friend of hers betrayed her and sent Voldemort after her — ”
“There ’s nothing you can do! ” said Hermione, looking stricken. “The
dementors will catch Black and he ’ll go back to Azkaban and — and
serve him right! ”
“You heard what Fudge said. Black isn ’t affected by Azkaban like
normal people are. It ’s not a punishment for him like it is for the
others. ”
“So what are you saying? ” said Ron, looking very tense. “You want to
— to kill Black or something? ”
 214 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

“Don ’t be silly, ” said Hermione in a panicky voice. “Harry doesn ’t
want to kill anyone, do you, Harry? ”
Again, Harry didn ’t answer. He didn ’t know what he wanted to do. All
he knew was that the idea of doing nothing, while Black was at liberty,
was almost more than he could stand.
“Malfoy knows, ” he said abruptly. “Remember what he said to me in
Potions? ‘If it was me, I ’d hunt him down mysel f. . . . I ’d want
revenge. ’”
“You ’re going to take Malfoy ’s advice instead of ours? ” said Ron
furiously. “Listen . . . you know what Pettigrew ’s mother got back after
Black had finished with him? Dad told me — the Order of Merlin,
First Class, and Petti grew ’s finger in a box. That was the biggest bit of
him they could find. Black ’s a madman, Harry, and he ’s dangerous — ”
“Malfoy ’s dad must have told him, ” said Harry, ignoring Ron. “He was
right in Voldemort ’s inner circle — ”
“ Say You -Know -Who, will you ?” interjected Ron angrily.
“— so obviously, the Malfoys knew Black was working for Voldemort
— ”
“— and Malfoy ’d love to see you blown into about a million pieces,
like Pettigrew! Get a grip. Malfoy ’s just hoping you ’ll get yourself killed
before he has to play you at Quidditch. ”
“Harry, please, ” said Hermione, her eyes now shining with tears,
“ please be sensible. Black did a terrible, terrible thing, but d -don ’t
put yourself in danger, it ’s what Black wants. . . . Oh, Harry, you ’d be
playing right into Black ’s hands if you went looking for him. Your
mum and dad wouldn ’t want you to get hurt, would they? They ’d never
want you to go looking for Black! ”
 215 ‘

CHAPTE R ELEVEN

“I’ll never know what they ’d have wanted, because thanks to Black,
I’ve never spoken to them, ” said Harry shortly.
There was a silence in which Crookshanks stretched luxuriously,
flexing his claws. Ron ’s pocket quivered.
“Look, ” said Ron, obviously casting around for a change of sub - ject,
“it’s the holidays! It ’s nearly Christmas! Let ’s — let ’s go down and see
Hagrid. We haven ’t visited him for ages! ”
“No! ” said Hermione quickly. “Harry isn ’t supposed to leave the castle,
Ron — ”
“Yeah, let ’s go, ” said Harry, sitting up, “and I can ask him how come
he never mentioned Black when he told me all about my parents! ”
Further discussion of Sirius Black plainly wasn ’t what Ron had had in
mind.
“Or we could have a game of chess, ” he sai d hastily, “or Gob - stones.
Percy left a set — ”
“No, let ’s visit Hagrid, ” said Harry firmly.
So they got their cloaks from their dormitories and set off through the
portrait hole ( “Stand and fight, you yellow -bellied mongrels! ”), down
through the empty castle and out through the oak front doors.
They made their way slowly down the lawn, making a shallow trench in
the glittering, powdery snow, their socks and the hems of their cloaks
soaked and freezing. The Forbidden Forest loo ked as though it had
been enchanted, each tree smattered with silver, and Hagrid ’s cabin
looked like an iced cake.
Ron knocked, but there was no answer.
“He ’s not out, is he? ” said Hermione, who was shivering under her
cloak.
Ron had his ear to the do or.
 216 ‘

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“There ’s a weird noise, ” he said. “Listen — is that Fang? ” Harry and
Hermione put their ears to the door too. From inside the cabin came a
series of low, throbbing moans.
“Think we ’d better go and get someone? ” said Ron nervously.
“Hagrid! ” called Harry, thumping the door. “Hagrid, are you in there? ”
There was a sound of heavy footsteps, then the door creaked open.
Hagrid stood there with his eyes red and swollen, tears splashing down
the front of his leather vest.
“Yeh ’ve heard? ” he bellowed, and he flung himself onto Harry ’s neck.
Hagrid being at least twice the size of a normal man, this was no
laughing matter. Harry, about to collapse under Hagrid ’s weight, was
rescued by Ron and Hermione, who each seized Hagrid under an arm
and heaved him back into the cabin. Hagrid allowed him - self to be
steered into a chair and slumped over the table, sobbing uncontrollably,
his face glazed with tears that dripped down in to his tangled beard.
“Hagrid, what is it? ” said Hermione, aghast.
Harry spotted an official -looking letter lying open on the table.
“What ’s this, Hagrid? ”
Hagrid ’s sobs redoubled, but he shoved the letter toward Harry, who
picked it up and read al oud:

Dear Mr. Hagrid,
Further to our inquiry into the attack by a hippogriff on a student in your
class, we have accepted the assurances of Professor Dumbledore that you
bear no responsibility for the
regrettable incident.
 217 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“Well, that ’s okay then, Hagrid! ” said Ron, clapping Hagrid on the
shoulder. But Hagrid continued to sob, and waved one of his gigantic
hands, inviting Harry to read on.

However, we must register our concern about the hippogriff in question.
We have decided to uphold the official complaint of Mr. Lucius Malfoy,
and this matter will therefore be taken to the Committee for the Disposal
of Dangerous Creatures. The hearing wil l take place on April 20th, and
we ask you to
present yourself and your hippogriff at the Committee ’s offices
in London on that date. In the meantime, the hippogriff
should be kept tethered and isolated.
Yours in fellowship . . .

There followed a list of the school governors.
“Oh, ” said Ron. “But you said Buckbeak isn ’t a bad hippogriff, Hagrid.
I bet he ’ll get off — ”
“Yeh don ’ know them gargoyles at the Committee fer the Dis - posal o ’
Dangerous Creatures! ” choked Hagrid, wiping h is eyes on his sleeve.
“They ’ve got it in fer interestin ’ creatures! ”
A sudden sound from the corner of Hagrid ’s cabin made Harry, Ron,
and Hermione whip around. Buckbeak the hippogriff was lying in the
corner, chomping on something that was oozing bloo d all over the
floor.
“I couldn ’ leave him tied up out there in the snow! ” choked Hagrid.
“All on his own! At Christmas. ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked at one another. They had never
seen eye to eye with Hagrid about what he called “interesting
creatures ” and other people called “terrifying monsters. ” On
 218 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

the other hand, there didn ’t seem to be any particular harm in Buck -
beak. In fact, by Hagrid ’s usual standards, he was positively cute.
“You ’ll have to put up a good strong defense, Hagrid, ” said Hermione,
sitting down and laying a hand on Hagrid ’s massive forearm. “I’m sure
you can prove Buckbeak is safe. ”
“Won ’t make no diff ’rence! ” sobbed Hagrid. “Them Disposal devils,
they ’re all in Lu cius Malfoy ’s pocket! Scared o ’ him! An ’ if I lose the
case, Buckbeak — ”
Hagrid drew his finger swiftly across his throat, then gave a great wail
and lurched forward, his face in his arms.
“What about Dumbledore, Hagrid? ” said Harry. “He ’s done more ’n
enough fer me already, ” groaned Hagrid. “Got enough on his plate
what with keepin ’ them dementors outta the castle, an ’ Sirius Black
lurkin ’ around — ”
Ron and Hermione looked quickly at Harry, as though expect - ing him
to start berating Hagrid for not telling him the truth about Black. But
Harry couldn ’t bring himself to do it, not now that he saw Hagrid so
miserable and scared.
“Listen, Hagrid, ” he said, “you can ’t give up. Hermione ’s right, you
just need a good defense. You can call us as witnesses — ” “I’m sure
I’ve read about a case of hippogriff -baiting, ” said Hermione
thoughtfully, “where the hippogriff got off. I ’ll look it up for you,
Hagrid, and see exactly what happened. ”
Hagrid howled still more loudly. Harry and Hermione looked at Ron
to help them.
“Er — shall I make a cup of tea? ” said Ron.
Harry stared at him.
“It’s what my mum does whenever someone ’s upset, ” Ron mut - tered,
shrugging.
 219 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

At last, after many more assurances of help, with a steaming mug of tea
in front of him, Hagrid blew his nose on a handkerchief the size of a
tablecloth and said, “Yer right. I can ’ afford to go ter pieces. Gotta pull
meself together. . . . ”
Fang the bo arhound came timidly out from under the table and laid his
head on Hagrid ’s knee.
“I’ve not bin meself lately, ” said Hagrid, stroking Fang with one hand
and mopping his face with the other. “Worried abou ’ Buck - beak, an ’
no one likin ’ me classes — ”
“We do like them! ” lied Hermione at once.
“Yeah, they ’re great! ” said Ron, crossing his fingers under the table.
“Er — how are the flobberworms? ”
“Dead, ” said Hagrid gloomily. “Too much lettuce. ”
“Oh no! ” said Ron, his lip twitching.
“An ’ them dement ors make me feel ruddy terrible an ’ all, ” said Hagrid,
with a sudden shudder. “Gotta walk past ’em ev ’ry time I want a drink
in the Three Broomsticks. ’S like bein ’ back in Azkaban — ”
He fell silent, gulping his tea. Harry, Ron, and Hermione watched him
breathlessly. They had never heard Hagrid talk about his brief spell in
Azkaban before. After a pause, Hermione said timidly, “Is it awful in
there, Hagrid? ”
“Yeh ’ve no idea, ” said Hagrid quietly. “Never bin anywhere like it.
Thought I was goin ’ mad. Kep ’ goin ’ over horrible stuff in me mind . . .
the day I got expelled from Hogwarts . . . day me dad died . . . day I had
ter let Norbert go. . . . ”
His eyes filled with tears. Norbert was the baby dragon Hagrid had
once won in a game of cards.
 220 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

“Yeh can ’ really remember who yeh are after a while. An ’ yeh can ’ see
the point o ’ livin ’ at all. I used ter hope I ’d jus ’ die in me sleep. . . .
When they let me out, it was like bein ’ born again, ev ’ry- thin ’ came
floodin ’ back, it was the bes ’ feelin ’ in the world. Mind, the dementors
weren ’t keen on lettin ’ me go. ”
“But you were innocent! ” said Hermione.
Hagrid snorted.
“Think that matters to them? They don ’ care. Long as they ’ve got a
couple o ’ hundred humans stuck there with ’em, so they can leech all
the happiness out of ’em, they don ’ give a damn who ’s guilty an ’ who ’s
not. ”
Hagrid went quiet for a moment, staring into his tea. Then he said
quietly, “Thought o ’ jus ’ letting Buckbeak go . . . tryin ’ ter make him
fly away . . . but how d ’yeh explain ter a hippogriff it ’s gotta go inter
hidin ’? An ’ — an ’ I’m scared o ’ breakin ’ the law. . . . ” He looked up at
them, tears leaking down his face again. “I don ’ ever want ter go back
ter Azkaban. ”
The trip to Hagrid ’s, though far from fun, had nevertheless had the
effect Ron and Hermione had hoped. Though Harry had by no means
forgotten about Black, he couldn ’t brood constantly on re - venge if he
wanted to help Hagrid win his case against the Com - m ittee for the
Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. He, Ron, and Hermione went to the
library the next day and returned to the empty common room laden
with books that might help prepare a defense for Buckbeak. The three
of them sat in front of the roaring fire, slowly turning the pages of
dusty volumes about famous cases of marauding beasts, speaking
occasionally when they ran across something relevant.
 221 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“Here ’s something . . . there was a case in 1722 . . . but the hip - pogriff
was convicted — ugh, look what they did to it, that ’s dis - gusting — ”
“This might help, look — a manticore savaged someone in
1296. and they let the manticore off — oh — no, that was only
because everyone was too scared to go near it. . . . ”
Meanwhile, in the rest of the castle, the usual magnificent Christmas
decorations had been put up, despite the fact that hardly any of the
students remained to enjoy them. Thick streamers of holly a nd
mistletoe were strung along the corridors, mysterious lights shone
from inside every suit of armor, and the Great Hall was filled with its
usual twelve Christmas trees, glittering with golden stars. A powerful
and delicious smell of cooking pervaded th e cor - ridors, and by
Christmas Eve, it had grown so strong that even Scabbers poked his
nose out of the shelter of Ron ’s pocket to sniff hopefully at the air.
On Christmas morning, Harry was woken by Ron throwing his pillow
at him.
“Oy! Presents! ”
Harry reached for his glasses and put them on, squinting through the
semi -darkness to the foot of his bed, where a small heap of parcels had
appeared. Ron was already ripping the paper off his own presents.
“Another sweater from Mum . . . maroon again . . . see if you ’ve
got one. ”
Harry had. Mrs. Weasley had sent him a scarlet sweater with the
Gryffindor lion knitted on the front, also a dozen home -baked mince
pies, some Christmas cake, and a box of nut brittle. As he
 222 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

moved all these things aside, he saw a long, thin package lying un -
derneath.
“What ’s that? ” said Ron, looking over, a freshly unwrapped pair of
maroon socks in his hand.
“Dunno . . . ”
Harry ripped the parcel open and gasped as a magnificent, gleaming
broomstick rolled out onto his bedspread. Ron dropped his socks and
jumped off his bed for a closer look.
“I don ’t believe it, ” he said hoarsely.
It was a Firebolt, identical to the dre am broom Harry had gone to see
every day in Diagon Alley. Its handle glittered as he picked it up. He
could feel it vibrating and let go; it hung in midair, unsup - ported, at
exactly the right height for him to mount it. His eyes moved from the
golden regi stration number at the top of the han - dle, right down to the
perfectly smooth, streamlined birch twigs that made up the tail.
“Who sent it to you? ” said Ron in a hushed voice.
“Look and see if there ’s a card, ” said Harry.
Ron ripped apart the Firebolt ’s wrappings.
“Nothing! Blimey, who ’d spend that much on you? ” “Well, ” said
Harry, feeling stunned, “I’m betting it wasn ’t the Dursleys. ”
“I bet it was Dumbledore, ” said Ron, now walking around and around
the Firebolt, taking in every glorious inch. “He sent you the Invisibility
Cloak anonymously. . . . ”
“That was my dad ’s, though, ” said Harry. “Dumbledore was just
passing it on to me. He wouldn ’t spend hundreds of Galleons on me.
He can ’t go giving students stuff like this — ”
 223 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“That ’s why he wouldn ’t say it was from him! ” said Ron. “In case some
git like Malfoy said it was favoritism. Hey, Harry ” — Ron gave
a great whoop of laughter — “ Malfoy ! Wait till he sees you on this!
He ’ll be sick as a pig! This is an international standard
broom, this is! ”
“I can ’t believe this, ” Harry muttered, running a hand along the
Firebolt, while Ron sank onto Harry ’s bed, laughing his head off at
the thought of Malfoy. “Who — ?”
“I kno w, ” said Ron, controlling himself, “I know who it could ’ve been
— Lupin! ”
“What? ” said Harry, now starting to laugh himself. “ Lupin ? Lis -
ten, if he had this much gold, he ’d be able to buy himself some new
robes. ”
“Yeah, but he likes you, ” said Ron. “And he was away when your
Nimbus got smashed, and he might ’ve heard about it and decided to
visit Diagon Alley and get this for you — ”
“What d ’you mean, he was away? ” said Harry. “He was ill when I was
playing in that match. ”
“Well, he wasn ’t in the hospital wing, ” said Ron. “I was there, cleaning
out the bedpans on that detention from Snape, re - member? ”
Harry frowned at Ron.
“I can ’t see Lupin affording something like this. ”
“What ’re you two laughing about? ”
Hermione had just come in, wearing her dressing gown and car - rying
Crookshanks, who was looking very grumpy, with a string of tinsel tied
around his neck.
“Don ’t bring him in here! ” said Ron, hurriedly snatching Scabbers from
the depths of his bed and st owing him in his pajama pocket.
 224 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

But Hermione wasn ’t listening. She dropped Crookshanks onto
Seamus ’s empty bed and stared, open -mouthed, at the Firebolt.
“Oh, Harry ! Who sent you that ?”
“No idea, ” said Harry. “There wasn ’t a card or anything with it. ” To his
great surprise, Hermione did not appear either excited or intrigued by
the news. On the contrary, her face fell, and she bit her lip.
“What ’s the matter with you? ” said Ron.
“I don ’t know, ” said Hermione slowly, “but it ’s a bit odd, isn ’t it? I
mean, this is supposed to be quite a good broom, isn ’t it? ”
Ron sighed exasperatedly.
“It’s the best broom there is, Hermione, ” he said.
“So it must ’ve been really expensive. . . . ”
“Probably cost more than all the Slytherins ’ brooms put to - gether, ”
said Ron happily.
“Well . . . who ’d send Harry something as expensive as that, and not
even tell him they ’d sent it? ” said Hermione.
“Who cares? ” said Ron impatiently. “Listen, Harry, c an I have a go on
it? Can I? ”
“I don ’t think anyone should ride that broom just yet! ” said Hermione
shrilly.
Harry and Ron looked at her.
“What d ’you think Harry ’s going to do with it — sweep the floor? ”
said Ron.
But before Hermione could answer, Crookshanks sprang from
Seamus ’s bed, right at Ron ’s chest.
“GET — HIM — OUT — OF — HERE! ” Ron bellowed as
Crookshanks ’s claws ripped his pajamas and Scabbers attempted a
 225 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

wild escape over his shoulder. Ron seized Scabbers by the tail and
aimed a misjudged kick at Crookshanks that hit the trunk at the end of
Harry ’s bed, knocking it over and causing Ron to hop up and down,
howling with pain.
Crookshanks ’s fur suddenly sto od on end. A shrill, tinny whistling was
filling the room. The Pocket Sneakoscope had be - come dislodged
from Uncle Vernon ’s old socks and was whirling and gleaming on the
floor.
“I forgot about that! ” Harry said, bending down and picking up the
Sneakoscope. “I never wear those socks if I can help it. . . . ” The
Sneakoscope whirled and whistled in his palm. Crook - shanks was
hissing and spitting at it.
“You ’d better take that cat out of here, Hermione, ” said Ron fu -
riously, sitting on Harr y’s bed nursing his toe. “Can ’t you shut that
thing up? ” he added to Harry as Hermione strode out of the room,
Crookshanks ’s yellow eyes still fixed maliciously on Ron.
Harry stuffed the Sneakoscope back inside the socks and threw it back
into his trunk . All that could be heard now were Ron ’s sti - fled moans
of pain and rage. Scabbers was huddled in Ron ’s hands. It had been a
while since Harry had seen him out of Ron ’s pocket, and he was
unpleasantly surprised to see that Scabbers, once so fat, was now v ery
skinny; patches of fur seemed to have fallen out too. “He ’s not looking
too good, is he? ” Harry said.
“It’s stress! ” said Ron. “He ’d be fine if that big stupid furball left him
alone! ”
But Harry, remembering what the woman at the Magical Menageri e
had said about rats living only three years, couldn ’t help feeling that
unless Scabbers had powers he had never revealed, he was reaching the
end of his life. And despite Ron ’s frequent com -
 226 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

plaints that Scabbers was both boring and useless, he was sure Ron
would be very miserable if Scabbers died.
Christmas spirit was definitely thin on the ground in the Gryffindor
common room that morning. Hermione had shut Crookshanks in her
dormitory, but was furious with Ron for trying to kick him; Ron was
still fuming about Crookshanks ’s fresh at - tempt to eat Scabbers.
Harry gave up trying to make them talk to each other and devoted
himself to examining the Firebolt, which he had brought down to the
common room with him. For some reason this seemed to annoy
Hermione as well; she didn ’t say any - thing, but she kept looking darkly
at the broom as though it too had been criticizing her cat.
At lunchtime they went down to the Great Hall, to find that t he House
tables had been moved against the walls again, and that a sin - gle table,
set for twelve, stood in the middle of the room. Professors
Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Sprout, and Flitwick were there,
along with Filch, the caretaker, who had taken of f his usual brown coat
and was wearing a very old and rather moldy -looking tailcoat. There
were only three other students, two extremely nervous -looking first
years and a sullen -faced Slytherin fifth year.
“Merry Christmas! ” said Dumbl edore as Harry, Ron, and Hermione
approached the table. “As there are so few of us, it seemed foolish to
use the House tables. . . . Sit down, sit down! ” Harry, Ron, and
Hermione sat down side by side at the end of the table.
“Crackers! ” said Dumbledore enthusiastically, offering the end of a
large silver noisemaker to Snape, who took it reluctantly and tugged.
With a bang like a gunshot, the cracker flew apart to reveal a large,
pointed witch ’s hat topped with a stuffed vulture.
 227 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Harry, remembering the boggart, caught Ron ’s eye and they both
grinned; Snape ’s mouth thinned and he pushed the hat toward
Dumbledore, who swapped it for his wizard ’s hat at once. “Dig in! ” he
advised the table, beaming around.
As Harry was helping himself to roast potatoes, the doors of the Great
Hall opened again. It was Professor Trelawney, gliding toward them as
though on wheels. She had put on a green sequined dress in honor of
the o ccasion, making her look more than ever like a glittering,
oversized dragonfly.
“Sibyll, this is a pleasant surprise! ” said Dumbledore, standing up.
“I have been crystal gazing, Headmaster, ” said Professor Trelawney in
her mistiest, most faraway voice, “and to my astonishment, I saw
myself abandoning my solitary luncheon and coming to join you. Who
am I to refuse the promptings of fate? I at once hastened from my
tower, and I do beg you to forgive my lateness. . . . ”
“Certainly, certainly, ” said Dumble dore, his eyes twinkling. “Let me
draw you up a chair — ”
And he did indeed draw a chair in midair with his wand, which
revolved for a few seconds before falling with a thud between Pro -
fessors Snape and McGonagall. Professor Trelawney, however, did
not s it down; her enormous eyes had been roving around the table, and
she suddenly uttered a kind of soft scream.
“I dare not, Headmaster! If I join the table, we shall be thirteen!
Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when thirteen dine
together , the first to rise will be the first to die! ”
“We ’ll risk it, Sibyll, ” said Professor McGonagall impatiently. “Do sit
down, the turkey ’s getting stone cold. ”
Professor Trelawney hesitated, then lowered herself into the
 228 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

empty chair, eyes shut and mouth clenched tight, as though ex - pecting
a thunderbolt to hit the table. Professor McGonagall poked a large
spoon into the nearest tureen.
“Tripe, Sibyll? ”
Professor Trelawney ignored her. Eyes open again, she looked around
once more and said, “But where is dear Professor Lupin? ” “I’m afraid
the poor fellow is ill again, ” said Dumbledore, indi - cating that
everybody should start serving themselves. “Most un - fortunate that it
should happen on Christmas Day. ”
“But surely you already knew that, Sibyll? ” said Professor McGonagall,
her eyebrows raised.
Professor Trelawney gave Professor McGonagall a very cold look.
“Certainly I knew, Minerva, ” she said quietly. “But one does not
parade the fact that one is All -Knowing. I frequently act as though I
am not possessed of the Inner Eye, so as not to make others ner -
vous. ”
“That explains a great deal, ” said Professor McGonagall tartly.
Professor Trelawney ’s voice s uddenly became a good deal less misty.
“If you must know, Minerva, I have seen that poor Professor Lupin
will not be with us for very long. He seems aware, himself, that his time
is short. He positively fled when I offered to crystal gaze for him — ”
“Imagine that, ” said Professor McGonagall dryly. “I doubt, ” said
Dumbledore, in a cheerful but slightly raised voice, which put an end
to Professor McGonagall and Professor Trelawney ’s conversation,
“that Professor Lupin is in any immedi - ate danger. Seve rus, you ’ve
made the potion for him again? ”
“Yes, Headmaster, ” said Snape.
 229 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“Good, ” said Dumbledore. “Then he should be up and about in no
time. . . . Derek, have you had any of these chipolatas? They ’re
excellent. ”
The first -year boy went furiously red on being addressed directly by
Dumbledore, and took the platter of sausages with trembling hands.
Professor Trelawney behaved almost n ormally until the very end of
Christmas dinner, two hours later. Full to bursting with Christ - mas
dinner and still wearing their party hats, Harry and Ron got up first
from the table and she shrieked loudly.
“My dears! Which of you left his seat first? Which? ”
“Dunno, ” said Ron, looking uneasily at Harry.
“I doubt it will make much difference, ” said Professor McGona - gall
coldly, “unless a mad axe -man is waiting outside the doors to slaughter
the first into the entrance hall. ”
Even Ron laughed. Professor Trelawney looked highly affronted.
“Coming? ” Harry said to Hermione.
“No, ” Hermione muttered, “I want a quick word with Professor
McGonagall. ”
“Probably trying to see if she can take any more classes, ” yawned Ron
as they made their way into the entrance hall, which was com - pletely
devoid of mad axe -men.
When they reached the portrait hole, they found Sir Cadogan enjoying
a Christmas party with a couple of monks, several previ - ous
headmasters of Hogwart s, and his fat pony. He pushed up his visor
and toasted them with a flagon of mead.
“Merry — hic — Christmas! Password? ”
“Scurvy cur, ” said Ron.
 230 ‘

THE FIREBOLT

“And the same to you, sir! ” roared Sir Cadogan as the painting swung
forward to admit them.
Harry went straight up to the dormitory, collected the Firebolt and the
Broomstick Servicing Kit Hermione had given him for his birthday,
brought them downstairs, and tried to find something to do to the
Firebolt; however, there were no bent twigs to clip, and the handle was
so shiny already it seemed pointless to polish it. He and Ron simply sat
admiring it from every angle until the portrait hole opened, and
Herm ione came in, accompanied by Professor McGonagall.
Though Professor McGonagall was head of Gryffindor House, Harry
had seen her in the common room only once before, and that had been
to make a very grave announcement. He and Ron stared at her, both
hold ing the Firebolt. Hermione walked around them, sat down, picked
up the nearest book, and hid her face be - hind it.
“So that ’s it, is it? ” said Professor McGonagall beadily, walking over to
the fireside and staring at the Firebolt. “Miss Granger has just
informed me that you have been sent a broomstick, Potter. ” Harry
and Ron looked around at Hermione. They could see her forehead
reddening over the top of her book, which was upside down. “May I? ”
said Professor McGonagall, but she didn ’t wait for an answe r before
pulling the Firebolt out of their hands. She exam - ined it carefully from
handle to twig -ends. “Hmm. And there was no note at all, Potter? No
card? No message of any kind? ”
“No, ” said Harry blankly.
“I see . . . , ” said Professor McGonagall. “Well, I ’m afraid I will have to
take this, Potter. ”
 231 ‘

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“W — what? ” said Harry, scrambling to his feet. “Why? ” “It will need
to be checked for jinxes, ” said Professor McGona - gall. “Of course,
I’m no expert, but I daresay Madam Hooch and Professor Flitwick will
strip it down — ”
“Strip it down? ” repeated Ron, as though Professor McGonagall was
mad.
“It shouldn ’t take more than a few weeks, ” said Professor Mc -
Gonagall. “You will have it back if we are sure it is jinx -free. ” “There ’s
nothing wrong with it! ” said Harry, his voice shaking slightly.
“Honestly, Professor — ”
“You can ’t know that, Potter, ” said Professor McGonagall, quite
kindly, “not until you ’ve flown it, at any rate, and I ’m afraid that is out
of the question until we are certain that it has not been tam - pered with.
I shall keep you informed. ”
Professor McGonagall turned on her heel and carried the Fire - bolt out
of the portrait hole, which closed behind her. Harry stood staring after
her, the tin of High -Finish Polish still clutched in his hands. Ron,
however, rounded on Hermione.
“ What did you go running to McGonagall for ?”
Hermione threw her book aside. She was still pink in the face, but
stood up and faced Ron def iantly.
“Because I thought — and Professor McGonagall agrees with me —
that that broom was probably sent to Harry by Sirius Black! ”






 232 ‘

C H A P T E R T W E L V
E









THE PATRONUS




arry knew that Hermione had meant well, but that didn ’t
H
stop him from being angry with her. He had been the
owner of the best broom in the world for a few short hours, and now,
because of her interference, he didn ’t know whether he would ever see
it again. He was positive that there was nothing wrong with the
Firebolt now, but what sort of state would it be in o nce it had been
subjected to all sorts of anti -jinx tests?
Ron was furious with Hermione too. As far as he was concerned, the
stripping -down of a brand -new Firebolt was nothing less than criminal
damage. Hermione, who remained convinced that she had acted for

the best, started avoiding the common room. Harry and Ron supposed
she had taken refuge in the library and didn ’t try to persuade her to
come back. All in all, they were glad when the rest of the school
returned shortly after New Year, and Gryffindor Tower became
crowded and noisy again.
 233 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

Wood sought Harry out on the night before term started. “Had a good
Christmas? ” he said, and then, without waiting for an answer, he sat
down, lowered his voice, and said, “I’ve been do - ing some thinking
over Christmas, Harry. After the last match, you know. If the
dementors come to the next one . . . I mean . . . we can ’t afford you to
— well — ”
Wood broke off, looking awkward.
“I’m working on it, ” said Harry quickly. “Professor Lupin said he ’d
train me to ward off the dementors. We should be starting this week.
He said he ’d have time after Christmas. ”
“Ah, ” said Wood, his expression clearing. “Well, in that case
— I really didn ’t want to lose you as Seeker, Harry. And have you
ordered a new broom yet? ”
“No, ” said Harry.
“What! You ’d better get a move on, you know — you can ’t ride that
Shooting Star against Ravenclaw! ”
“He got a Firebolt for Christmas, ” said Ron.
“A Firebolt ? No! Seriously? A — a real Firebolt ?”
“Don ’t get excited, Oliver, ” said Harry gloomily. “I haven ’t got it
anymore. It was confiscated. ” And he explained all about how the
Firebolt was now being checked for jinxes.
“Jinxed? How could it be j inxed? ”
“Sirius Black, ” Harry said wearily. “He ’s supposed to be after me. So
McGonagall reckons he might have sent it. ”
Waving aside the information that a famous murderer was after his
Seeker, Wood said, “But Black couldn ’t have bought a Firebolt! He ’s
on the run! The whole country ’s on the lookout for him! How could
he just walk into Quality Quidditch Supplies and buy a broomstick? ”
 234 ‘

THE PATRONUS

“I know, ” said Harry, “but McGonagall still wants to strip it down — ”
Wood went pale.
“I’ll go and talk to her, Harry, ” he promised. “I’ll make her see
reason. . . . A Firebolt . . . a real Firebolt, on our team . . . She wants
Gryffindor to win as much as we do. . . . I ’ll make her see sense. A
Firebolt . . . ”

Classes started again the next day. The last thing anyone felt like do -
ing was spending two hours on the grounds on a raw January morn -
ing, but Hagrid had provided a bonfire full of salamanders for their
enjoyment, and they spent an unusually good lesson collecting dry
wood and leaves to keep the fire blazing while the flame -loving lizards
scampered up and down the crumbling, white -hot logs. The first
Divination lesson of the new term was much less fun; Professor
Trelawney was now teaching them pal mistry, and she lost no time in
informing Harry that he had the shortest life line she had ever seen. It
was Defense Against the Dark Arts that Harry was keen to get to; after
his conversation with Wood, he wanted to get started on his
anti -dementor lesson s as soon as possible.
“Ah yes, ” said Lupin, when Harry reminded him of his promise at the
end of class. “Let me see . . . how about eight o ’clock on Thursday
evening? The History of Magic classroom should be large enough. . . .
I’ll have to think carefu lly about how we ’re going to do this. . . . We
can ’t bring a real dementor into the castle to practice on. . . . ”
“Still looks ill, doesn ’t he? ” said Ron as they walked down the cor -
ridor, heading to dinner. “What d ’you reckon ’s the matter with him? ”
The re was a loud and impatient “tuh ” from behind them. It was
 235 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

Hermione, who had been sitting at the feet of a suit of armor,
repacking her bag, which was so full of books it wouldn ’t close. “And
what are you tutting at us for? ” said Ron irritably. “Nothing, ” said
Hermione in a lofty voice, heaving her bag back over her shoulder.
“Yes, you were, ” said Ron. “I said I wonder what ’s wrong with Lupin,
and you — ”
“Well, isn ’t it obvious ?” said H ermione, with a look of madden -
ing superiority.
“If you don ’t want to tell us, don ’t,” snapped Ron. “Fine, ” said
Hermione haughtily, and she marched off. “She doesn ’t know, ” said
Ron, staring resentfully after Hermione. “She ’s just trying to get us to
talk to her again. ”

At eight o ’clock on Thursday evening, Harry left Gryffindor Tower for
the History of Magic classroom. It was dark and empty when he
arrived, but he lit the lamps with his wand and had waited only five
min utes when Professor Lupin turned up, carrying a large packing case,
which he heaved onto Professor Binns ’ desk.
“What ’s that? ” said Harry.
“Another boggart, ” said Lupin, stripping off his cloak. “I’ve been
combing the castle ever since Tuesday, and ver y luckily, I found this
one lurking inside Mr. Filch ’s filing cabinet. It ’s the nearest we ’ll get to
a real dementor. The boggart will turn into a dementor when he sees
you, so we ’ll be able to practice on him. I can store him in my office
when we ’re not u sing him; there ’s a cupboard under my desk he ’ll
like. ”
“Okay, ” said Harry, trying to sound as though he wasn ’t appre -
 236 ‘

THE PATRONUS

hensive at all and merely glad that Lupin had found such a good
substitute for a real dementor.
“So . . . ” Professor Lupin had taken out his own wand, and in - dicated
that Harry should do the same. “The spell I am going to try and teach
you is highly advanced magic, Harry — well beyond Ordinary
Wizarding Level. It i s called the Patronus Charm. ”
“How does it work? ” said Harry nervously.
“Well, when it works correctly, it conjures up a Patronus, ” said Lupin,
“which is a kind of anti -dementor — a guardian that acts as a shield
between you and the dementor. ”
Harry had a sudden vision of himself crouching behind a Hagrid - sized
figure holding a large club. Professor Lupin continued, “The Patronus
is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the
dementor feeds upon — hope, happiness, the de sire to survive — but
it cannot feel despair, as real humans can, so the de - mentors can ’t hurt
it. But I must warn you, Harry, that the charm might be too advanced
for you. Many qualified wizards have diffi - culty with it. ”
“What does a Patronus look lik e? ” said Harry curiously.
“Each one is unique to the wizard who conjures it. ” “And
how do you conjure it? ”
“With an incantation, which will work only if you are concen - trating,
with all your might, on a single, very happy memory. ” Harry cast his
mind a bout for a happy memory. Certainly, nothing that had happened
to him at the Dursleys ’ was going to do. Finally, he settled on the
moment when he had first ridden a broomstick. “Right, ” he said,
trying to recall as exactly as possible the won - derful, soari ng sensation
of his stomach.
 237 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

“The incantation is this — ” Lupin cleared his throat. “ Expecto
patronum !”
“ Expecto
patronum ,” Harry repeated under his breath, “ expecto
patronum. ”
“Concentrating hard on your happy memory? ”
“Oh — yeah — ” said Harry, quickly forcing his thoughts back
to that first broom ride. “ Expecto patrono — no, patronum —
sorry — expecto patronum, expecto patronum — ”
Something whooshed suddenly out of the end of his wand; it looked
like a wisp of silvery gas.
“Did you see that? ” said Harry excitedly. “Something happened! ”
“Very good, ” said Lupin, smiling. “Right, then — ready to try it on a
dementor? ”
“Yes, ” Harry said, gripping his wand very tight ly, and moving into the
middle of the deserted classroom. He tried to keep his mind on flying,
but something else kept intruding. . . . Any second now, he might hear
his mother again . . . but he shouldn ’t think that,
or he would hear her again, and he didn ’t want to . . . or did he?
Lupin grasped the lid of the packing case and pulled.
A dementor rose slowly from the box, its hooded face turned toward
Harry, one glistening, scabbed hand gripping its cloak. The lamps
around th e classroom flickered and went out. The dementor stepped
from the box and started to sweep silently toward Harry, drawing a
deep, rattling breath. A wave of piercing cold broke over him —
“ Expecto patronum !” Harry
yelled. “ Expecto patronum ! Ex -
pecto — ”
But the classroom and the dementor were dissolving. . . . Harry
 238 ‘

THE PATRONUS

was falling again through thick white fog, and his mother ’s voice
was louder than ever, echoing inside his head — “ Not Harry ! Not
Harry ! Please — I’ll do anything — ”
“ Stand aside . Stand aside, girl !”
“Harry! ”
Harry jerked back to life. He was lying flat on his back on the floor.
The classroom lamps were alight again. He didn ’t have to ask what had
happened.
“Sorry, ” he muttered, sitting up and feeling cold sweat trickling down
behind his glasses.
“Are you all right? ” said Lupin.
“Yes . . . ” Harry pulled himself up on one of the desks and leaned
against it.
“Here — ” Lupin handed him a Chocolate Frog. “Eat this before we
try again. I didn ’t expect you to do it your first time; in fact, I would
have been astounded if you had. ”
“It’s getting worse, ” Harry muttered, biting off the Frog ’s head. “I
could hear her louder that time — and him — Voldemort — ” Lupin
looked paler than usual.
“Harry, if you don ’t want to continue, I will more than under - stand
— ”
“I do! ” said Harry fiercely, stuffing the rest of the Chocolate Frog into
his mouth. “I’ve got to! What if the dementors turn up at our match
again st Ravenclaw? I can ’t afford to fall off again. If we lose this game
we ’ve lost the Quidditch Cup! ”
“All right then . . . , ” said Lupin. “You might want to select another
memory, a happy memory, I mean, to concentrate on. . . . That one
doesn ’t seem to have been strong enough. . . . ”
 239 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

Harry thought hard and decided his feelings when Gryffindor had won
the House Championship last year had definitely quali - fied as very
happy. He gripped his wand tightly again and took up his position in
the middle of the classroom.
“Ready? ” said Lupin, gripping the box lid.
“Ready, ” said Harry, trying hard to fill his head with happy thoughts
about Gryffindor winning, and not dark thoughts about what was
going to happen when the box opened.
“Go! ” said Lupin, pulling off the lid. The room went icily cold and
dark once more. The dementor glided forward, drawing its breath; one
rottin g hand was extending toward Harry —
“ Expecto patronum !” Harry
yelled. “ Expecto patronum ! Expecto
pat — ”
White fog obscured his senses . . . big, blurred shapes were mov - ing
around him . . . then came a new voice, a man ’s voice, shout - ing ,
panicking —
“ Lily, take Harry and go ! It’s him !
Go ! Run ! I’ll hold him off — ”
The sounds of someone stumbling from a room — a door bursting
open — a cackle of high -pitched laughter —
“Harry! Harry . . . wake up. . . . ”
Lupin was tapping Harry hard on the face. This time it was a minute
before Harry understood why he was lying on a dusty class - room
floor.
“I heard my dad, ” Harry mumbled. “That ’s the first time I ’ve ever
heard him — he tried to take on Voldemort himself, to give my mum
time to run for it. . . . ”
Harry suddenly realized that there were tears on his face min - gling
with the sweat. He bent his face as low as possible, wiping

 240 ‘

THE PATRONUS

them off on his robes, pretending to do up his shoelace, so that Lupin
wouldn ’t see.
“You heard James? ” said Lupin in a strange voice. “Yeah . . . ” Face dry,
Harry looked up. “Why — you didn ’t know my dad, did you? ”
“I — I did, as a matter of fact, ” sa id Lupin. “We were friends at
Hogwarts. Listen, Harry — perhaps we should leave it here for tonight.
This charm is ridiculously advanced. . . . I shouldn ’t have suggested
putting you through this. . . . ”
“No! ” said Harry. He got up again. “I’ll have one m ore go! I ’m not
thinking of happy enough things, that ’s what it is. . . . Hang on. . . . ”
He racked his brains. A really, really happy memory . . . one that he
could turn into a good, strong Patronus . . .
The moment when he ’d first found out he was a wizard, and would be
leaving the Dursleys for Hogwarts! If that wasn ’t a happy memory, he
didn ’t know what was. . . . Concentrating very hard on how he had felt
when he ’d realized he ’d be leaving Privet Drive, Harry got to his fe et
and faced the packing case once more. “Ready? ” said Lupin, who
looked as though he were doing this against his better judgment.
“Concentrating hard? All right — go! ” He pulled off the lid of the case
for the third time, and the de - mentor rose out of it ; the room fell cold
and dark —
“ EXPECTO
PATRONUM !” Harry bellowed. “ EXPECTO PA -
TRONUM ! EXPECTO PATRONUM !”
The screaming inside Harry ’s head had started again — except this
time, it sounded as though it were coming from a badly tuned radio —
soft er and louder and softer again — and he could still see
 241 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

the dementor — it had halted — and then a huge, silver shadow came
bursting out of the end of Harry ’s wand, to hover between him and the
dementor, and though Harry ’s legs felt like water, he was still on his
feet — though for how much longer, he wasn ’t sure —
“ Riddikulus !” roared Lupin, springing forward.
There was a loud crack, and Harry ’s cloudy Patronus vanished along
with th e dementor; he sank into a chair, feeling as exhausted as if he ’d
just run a mile, and felt his legs shaking. Out of the cor - ner of his eye,
he saw Professor Lupin forcing the boggart back into the packing case
with his wand; it had turned into a silvery orb again.
“Excellent! ” Lupin said, striding over to where Harry sat. “Ex - cellent,
Harry! That was definitely a start! ”
“Can we have another go? Just one more go? ”
“Not now, ” said Lupin firmly. “You ’ve had enough for one night.
Here — ”
He handed Harry a large bar of Honeydukes ’ best chocolate. “Eat the
lot, or Madam Pomfrey will be after my blood. Same time next week? ”
“Okay, ” said Harry. He took a bite of the chocolate and watched
Lupin extinguishing the lamps that had rekindled with the disap -
pearance of the dementor. A thought had just occurred to him.
“Professor Lupin? ” he said. “If you knew my dad, you must ’ve known
Sirius Black as well. ”
Lupin turned very quickly.
“What gives you that idea? ” he said sharply.
“Nothing — I mean, I just knew they were friends at Hogwarts
too. . . . ”
 242 ‘

THE PATRONUS

Lupin ’s face relaxed.
“Yes, I knew him, ” he said shortly. “Or I thought I did. You ’d better
be off, Harry, it ’s getting late. ”
Harry left the classroom, walking along the corridor and around a
corner, then took a detour behind a suit of armor and sank down on its
plinth to finish his chocolate, wishing he hadn ’t mentioned Black, as
Lupin was obviously not keen on the subject. Then Harry ’s thoughts
wandered back to his mother and father. . . .
He felt drained and strangely empty, even though he was so full of
chocolate. Terrible though it was to hear his parents ’ last mo - ments
replayed inside his head, these were the only times Harry had heard
their voices since he was a very small child. But he ’d never be able to
produce a proper Patronus if he half wanted to hear his parents
again. . . .
“They ’re dead, ” he told himse lf sternly. “They ’re dead and lis - tening
to echoes of them won ’t bring them back. You ’d better get a grip on
yourself if you want that Quidditch Cup. ”
He stood up, crammed the last bit of chocolate into his mouth, and
headed back to Gryffindor Tower.

Ravenclaw played Slytherin a week after the start of term. Slytherin
won, though narrowly. According to Wood, this was good news for
Gryffindor, who would take second place if they beat Ravenclaw too.
He therefore increased the number of team practices t o five a week.
This meant that with Lupin ’s anti -dementor classes, which in
themselves were more draining than six Quidditch practices, Harry had
just one night a week to do all his homework. Even so, he wasn ’t
showing the strain nearly as much as Hermione , whose
 243 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

immense workload finally seemed to be getting to her. Every night,
without fail, Hermione was to be seen in a corner of the common
room, several tables spread with books, Arithmancy charts, rune
dictionaries, diagrams of Muggles lifting heavy objects, and file upon
file of extensive notes; she barely spoke to anybody and snapped when
she was interrupted.
“How ’s she doing it? ” Ron muttered to Harry one evening as Harry sat
finishing a nasty essay on Undetectable Poisons for Snape. Harry
looked up. Hermione was barely visible behind a tot - tering pile of
books.
“Doing what? ”
“Getting to all her classes! ” Ron said. “I heard her talking to Pro -
fessor Vector, that Arithmancy witch, this morning. They were go - ing
on about yesterday ’s lesson, but Hermione can ’t’ve been there,
because she was with us in Care of Magical Creatures! And Ernie
McMillan told me she ’s never mi ssed a Muggle Studies class, but half
of them are at the same time as Divination, and she ’s never missed
one of them either! ”
Harry didn ’t have time to fathom the mystery of Hermione ’s im -
possible schedule at the moment; he really needed to get on with
Snape ’s essay. Two seconds later, however, he was interrupted again,
this time by Wood.
“Bad news, Harry. I ’ve just been to see Professor McGonagall
about the Firebolt. She — er — got a bit shirty with me. Told me
I’d got my priorities wrong. Seemed to think I cared more about
winning the Cup than I do about you staying alive. Just because I told
her I didn ’t care if it threw you off, as long as you caught the Snitch
first. ” Wood shook his head in disbelief. “Honestly, the
 244 ‘

THE PATRONUS

way she was yelling at me . . . you ’d think I ’d said something terri -
ble. . . . Then I asked her how much longer she was going to keep
it. . . . ” He screwed up his face and imitated Professor McGona - gall ’s
severe voice. “‘As long as necessary, Wood ’ . . . I reckon it ’s time you
ordered a new broom, Harry. There ’s an order form at the
back of Which Broomstick . . . you could get a Nimbus Two Thou -
sand and One, like Malfoy ’s got. ”
“I’m not buying any thing Malfoy thinks is good, ” said Harry flatly.

January faded imperceptibly into February, with no change in the
bitterly cold weather. The match against Ravenclaw was drawing
nearer and nearer, but Harry still hadn ’t ordered a new broom. He was
now asking Professor McGonagall for news of the Firebolt af - ter
every Transfiguration lesson, Ron standing hopefully at his shoulder,
Hermione rushing past with her face averted.
“No, Potter, you can ’t have it back yet, ” Professor McGonagall told
him the twelfth time this happened, before he ’d even opened his
mouth. “We ’ve checked for most of the usual curses, but Pro - fessor
Flitwick believes the broom might be carrying a Hurling
Hex. I shall tell you once we ’ve finished checking it. Now, please
stop badgering me. ”
To make matters even worse, Harry ’s anti -dementor lessons were not
going nearly as well as he had hoped. Several sessions on, he was able to
produce an indistinct, silvery shadow every time the boggart -dementor
approached him, but his Patronus was too feeble to drive the dementor
away. All it did was hover, like a semi - transparent cloud, draining
Harry of energy as he fought to keep it
 245 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

there. Harry felt angry with himself, guilty about his secret desire to
hear his parents ’ voices again.
“You ’re expecting too much of yourself, ” said Professor Lupin sternly
in their fourth week of practice. “For a thirteen -year -old wizard, even
an ind istinct Patronus is a huge achievement. You aren ’t passing out
anymore, are you? ”
“I thought a Patronus would — charge the dementors down or
something, ” said Harry dispiritedly. “Make them disappear — ” “The
true Patronus does do that, ” said Lupin. “But you ’ve achieved a great
deal in a very short space of time. If the dementors put in an
appearance at your next Quidditch match, you will be able to keep
them at bay long enough to get back to the ground. ” “You said it ’s
harder if there are loads of the m, ” said Harry.
“I have complete confidence in you, ” said Lupin, smiling. “Here —
you ’ve earned a drink — something from the Three Broomsticks. You
won ’t have tried it before — ”
He pulled two bottles out of his briefcase.
“Butterbeer! ” said Harry, wit hout thinking. “Yeah, I like that stuff! ”
Lupin raised an eyebrow.
“Oh — Ron and Hermione brought me some back from
Hogsmeade, ” Harry lied quickly.
“I see, ” said Lupin, though he still looked slightly suspicious. “Well —
let ’s drink to a Gryffindor vi ctory against Ravenclaw! Not that I ’m
supposed to take sides, as a teacher . . . , ” he added hastily. They drank
the butterbeer in silence, until Harry voiced some - thing he ’d been
wondering for a while.
“What ’s under a dementor ’s hood? ”
 246 ‘

THE PATRONUS

Professor Lupin lowered his bottle thoughtfully. “Hmmm . . . well, the
only people who really know are in no condition to tell us. You see, the
dementor lowers its hood only to use its last and worst weapon. ”
“What ’s that? ”
“They call it the Dementor ’s Kiss, ” said Lupin, with a slightly twisted
smile. “It’s what dementors do to those they wish to destroy utterly. I
suppose there must be some kind of mouth under there, because they
clamp their jaws upon the mouth of the victim and — and suck out his
soul. ”
Harry accidentally spat out a bit of butterbeer.
“What — they kill — ?”
“Oh no, ” said Lupin. “Much worse than that. You can exist with - out
your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working.
But you ’ll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no . . . anything.
There ’s no chance at all of recovery. You ’ll just — exist. As an empty
shell. And your soul is gone forever . . . lost. ” Lupin drank a little more
butterbeer, then said, “It’s the fate that
awaits Sirius Black. It was in the Daily Prophet this morning. The
Ministry have given the dementors permission to perform it if they
find him. ”
Harry sat stunned f or a moment at the idea of someone having their
soul sucked out through their mouth. But then he thought of Black.
“He deserves it, ” he said suddenly.
“You think so? ” said Lupin lightly. “Do you really think anyone
deserves that? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry defiantly. “For . . . for some things . . . ”
 247 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

He would have liked to have told Lupin about the conversation he ’d
overheard about Black in the Three Broomsticks, about Black
betraying his mother and father, but it would have involved reveal - ing
that he ’d gone to Hogsmeade without permission, and he knew Lupin
wouldn ’t be very impressed by that. So he finished his but - terbeer,
thanked Lupin, and left the History of Magic clas sroom. Harry half
wished that he hadn ’t asked what was under a de - mentor ’s hood, the
answer had been so horrible, and he was so lost in unpleasant thoughts
of what it would feel like to have your soul sucked out of you that he
walked headlong into Profess or McGo - nagall halfway up the stairs.
“Do watch where you ’re going, Potter! ”
“Sorry, Professor — ”
“I’ve just been looking for you in the Gryffindor common room. Well,
here it is, we ’ve done everything we could think of, and there doesn ’t
seem to be a nything wrong with it at all. You ’ve got a very good friend
somewhere, Potter. . . . ”
Harry ’s jaw dropped. She was holding out his Firebolt, and it looked as
magnificent as ever.
“I can have it back? ” Harry said weakly. “Seriously? ” “Seriously, ” said
Professor McGonagall, and she was actually smiling. “I daresay you ’ll
need to get the feel of it before Saturday ’s
match, won ’t you? And Potter — do try and win, won ’t you? Or
we ’ll be out of the running for the eighth year in a row, as Profes - sor
Snape was kind enough to remind me only last night. . . . ” Speechless,
Harry carried the Firebolt back upstairs toward Gryffindor Tower. As
he turned a corner, he saw Ron dashing toward him, grinning from ear
to ear.
 248 ‘

THE PATRONUS

“She gave it to you? Excellent! Listen, can I still have a go on it?
Tomorrow? ”
“Yeah . . . anything . . . , ” said Harry, his heart lighter than it had been
in a month. “You know what — we should make up with
Hermione. . . . She was only trying to help. . . . ”
“Yeah, all right, ” said Ron. “She ’s in the common room now —
working, for a change — ”
They turned into the corridor to Gryffindor Tower and saw Neville
Longbottom, pleading with Sir Cadogan, who seemed to be refusing
him entrance.
“I wrote them down! ” Neville was saying tearfully. “But I must ’ve
dropped them somewhere! ”
“A likely tale! ” roared Sir Cadogan. Then, spotting Harry and Ron:
“Good even, my fine young yeomen! Come clap this loon in irons . He
is trying to force entry to the chambers within! ”
“Oh, shut up, ” said Ron as he and Harry drew level with Neville.
“I’ve lost the passwords! ” Neville told them miserably. “I made him
tell me what passwords he was going to use this week, because he
keeps changing them, and now I don ’t know what I ’ve done with
them! ”
“Oddsbodikins, ” said Harry to Sir Cadogan, who looked ex - tremely
disappointed and reluctantly swung forward to let them into the
common room. There was a sudden, excited murmur as every head
turned and the next moment, Harry was surrounded by people
exclaiming over his Firebolt.
“Where ’d you get it, Harry? ”
“Will you let me have a go? ”
 249 ‘

CHAPTER TWELVE

“Have you ridden it yet, Harry? ”
“Ravenclaw ’ll have no chance, they ’re all on Cleansweep Sevens! ”
“Can I just hold it, Harry? ”
After ten minutes or so, during which the Firebolt was passed around
and admired from every angle, the crowd dispersed and Harry and
Ron had a clear view of Hermione, the only person who hadn ’t rushed
over to them, bent over her work and carefully avoid - ing their eyes.
Harry and Ron approached her table and at last , she looked up.
“I got it back, ” said Harry, grinning at her and holding up the Firebolt.
“See, Hermione? There wasn ’t anything wrong with it! ” said Ron.
“Well — there might have been! ” said Hermione. “I mean, at
least you know now that it ’s safe! ”
“Yeah, I suppose so, ” said Harry. “I’d better put it upstairs — ” “I’ll
take it! ” said Ron eagerly. “I’ve got to give Scabbers his rat tonic. ”
He took the Firebolt and, holding it as if it were made of glass, carried
it away up the boys ’ stai rcase.
“Can I sit down, then? ” Harry asked Hermione. “I suppose so, ” said
Hermione, moving a great stack of parch - ment off a chair.
Harry looked around at the cluttered table, at the long Arith - mancy
essay on which the ink was still glistening, at th e even longer Muggle
Studies essay ( “Explain Why Muggles Need Electricity ”) and at the
rune translation Hermione was now poring over.
“How are you getting through all this stuff? ” Harry asked her.
 250 ‘

THE PATRONUS

“Oh, well — you know — working hard, ” said Hermione. Close -up,
Harry saw that she looked almost as tired as Lupin. “Why don ’t you
just drop a couple of subjects? ” Harry asked, watching her lifting
books as she searched for her rune dictionary. “I couldn ’t d o that! ”
said Hermione, looking scandalized. “Arithmancy looks terrible, ” said
Harry, picking up a very com - plicated -looking number chart.
“Oh no, it ’s wonderful! ” said Hermione earnestly. “It’s my fa - vorite
subject! It ’s — ”
But exactly what was wonderful about Arithmancy, Harry never found
out. At that precise moment, a strangled yell echoed down the boys ’
staircase. The whole common room fell silent, staring, petrified, at the
entrance. Then came hurried footsteps, growing l ouder and louder —
and then Ron came leaping into view, drag - ging with him a bedsheet.
“LOOK! ” he bellowed, striding over to Hermione ’s table. “LOOK! ”
he yelled, shaking the sheets in her face.
“Ron, what — ?”
“SCABBERS! LOOK! SCABBERS! ”
Hermione w as leaning away from Ron, looking utterly bewil - dered.
Harry looked down at the sheet Ron was holding. There was
something red on it. Something that looked horribly like —
“BLOOD! ” Ron yelled into the stunned silence. “HE ’S GONE! AND
YOU KNOW WHAT WAS ON THE FLOOR? ”
“N — no, ” said Hermione in a trembling voice.
Ron threw something down onto Hermione ’s rune translation.
Hermione and Harry leaned forward. Lying on top of the weird, spiky
shapes were several long, ginger cat hairs.
 251 ‘

C H A P T E R T H I R T E
E N









GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS
RAVENCLAW


t looked like the end of Ron and Hermione ’s friendship. Each
I
was so angry with the other that Harry couldn ’t see how they ’d
ever make up.
Ron was enraged that Hermione had never taken Crookshanks ’s
attempts to eat Scabbers seriously, hadn ’t bothered to keep a close
enough watch on him, and was still trying to pretend that Crook -
shanks was innocent by suggesting that Ron look for Scabbers un - der
all the boys ’ beds. Hermione, meanwhile, maintained fiercely that Ron
had no proof that Crookshanks had eaten Scabbers, that the ginger
ha irs might have been there since Christmas, and that Ron had been
prejudiced against her cat ever since Crookshanks had landed on Ron ’s

head in the Magical Menagerie.
Personally, Harry was sure that Crookshanks had eaten Scab - bers, and
when he tried to po int out to Hermione that the evidence all pointed
that way, she lost her temper with Harry too.
 252 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

“Okay, side with Ron, I knew you would! ” she said shrilly. “First the
Firebolt, now Scabbers, everything ’s my fault, isn ’t it! Just leave me
alone, Harry, I ’ve got a lot of work to do! ”
Ron had taken the loss of his rat very hard indeed. “Come on, Ron,
you were always saying how boring Scabbers was, ” said Fred bracingly
“And he ’s been off -color for ages, he was wasting away. It was
probably better for him to snuff it quickly — one swallow — he
probably didn ’t feel a thing. ”
“ Fred !” said Ginny indignantly.
“All he did was eat and sleep, Ron, you said it yourself, ” said George.
“He bit Goyle for us once! ” Ron said miserably. “Remember, Harry? ”
“Yeah, that ’s true, ” said Harry.
“His finest hour, ” said Fred, unable to keep a straight face. “Let the
scar on Goyle ’s finger stand as a lasting tribute to his memory. O h,
come on, Ron, get yourself down to Hogsmeade and buy a new rat,
what ’s the point of moaning? ”
In a last -ditch attempt to cheer Ron up, Harry persuaded him to come
along to the Gryffindor team ’s final practice before the Ravenclaw
match, so that he coul d have a ride on the Firebolt after they ’d finished.
This did seem to take Ron ’s mind off Scabbers for a moment ( “Great!
Can I try and shoot a few goals on it? ”) so they set off for the
Quidditch field together.
Madam Hooch, who was still overseeing Gryff indor practices to keep
an eye on Harry, was just as impressed with the Firebolt as everyone
else had been. She took it in her hands before takeoff and gave them
the benefit of her professional opinion.
 253 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

“Look at the balance on it! If the Nimbus series has a fault, it ’s a slight
list to the tail end — you often find they develop a drag after a few
years. They ’ve updated the handle too, a bit slimmer than the
Cleansweeps, reminds me of the old Silver Arrows — a pity they ’ve
stopped making them. I learned to fly on one, and a very fine old
broom it was too. . . . ”
She continued in this vein for some time, until Wood said, “Er —
Madam Hooch? Is it okay if Harry has the Firebolt back? We need to
practi ce. . . . ”
“Oh — right — here you are, then, Potter, ” said Madam Hooch. “I’ll
sit over here with Weasley . . . ”
She and Ron left the field to sit in the stadium, and the Gryffindor
team gathered around Wood for his final instructions for tomorrow ’s
match.
“Harry, I ’ve just found out who Ravenclaw is playing as Seeker. It ’s
Cho Chang. She ’s a fourth year, and she ’s pretty good. . . . I really
hoped she wouldn ’t be fit, she ’s had some problems with in -
juries. . . . ” Wood scowled his displeasure t hat Cho Chang had made a
full recovery, then said, “On the other hand, she rides a Comet Two
Sixty, which is going to look like a joke next to the Firebolt. ” He gave
Harry ’s broom a look of fervent admiration, then said, “Okay,
everyone, let ’s go — ”
And a t long last, Harry mounted his Firebolt, and kicked off from the
ground.
It was better than he ’d ever dreamed. The Firebolt turned with the
lightest touch; it seemed to obey his thoughts rather than his grip; it
sped across the field at such speed that th e stadium turned into a
green -and -gray blur; Harry turned it so sharply that Alicia
 254 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

Spinnet screamed, then he went into a perfectly controlled dive,
brushing the grassy field with his toes before rising thirty, forty, fifty
feet into the air again —
“Harry, I ’m letting the Snitch out! ” Wood called. Harry turned and
raced a Bludger toward the goal posts; he out - stripped it easily, saw the
Snitch dart out from behind Wood, and within ten seconds had caught
it tightly in his hand.
The team cheered madly. Harry let the Snitch go again, gave it a
minute ’s head start, then tore after it, weaving in and out of the others;
he spotted it lurking near Katie Be ll’s knee, looped her eas - ily, and
caught it again.
It was the best practice ever; the team, inspired by the presence of the
Firebolt in their midst, performed their best moves fault - lessly, and by
the time they hit the ground again, Wood didn ’t have a single criticism
to make, which, as George Weasley pointed out, was a first.
“I can ’t see what ’s going to stop us tomorrow! ” said Wood. “Not
unless — Harry, you ’ve sorted out your dementor problem, haven ’t
you? ”
“Yeah, ” said Harry, thinking of his feeble Patronus and wishing it were
stronger.
“The dementors won ’t turn up again, Oliver. Dumbledore ’d go
ballistic, ” said Fred confidently.
“Well, let ’s hope not, ” said Wood. “Anyway — good work, everyone.
Let ’s get back to the tower . . . turn in early — ”
“I’m staying out for a bit; Ron wants a go on the Firebolt, ” Harry told
Wood, and while the rest of the team headed off to the locker rooms,
Harry strode over to Ron, who vaulted the barrier to
 255 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

the stands and came to meet him. Madam Hooch had fallen asleep in
her seat.
“Here you go, ” said Harry, handing Ron the Firebolt. Ron, an
expression of ecstasy on his face, mounted the broom and zoomed off
into the gathering darkness while Harry walked around the edge of the
field, watching him. Night had fallen before Madam Hooch awoke
with a start, told Harry and Ron off for not waking her, and insisted
that they go back to the castle.
Harry shouldered the Firebolt and he and Ron walked out of the
shadowy stadium, discussing the Firebolt ’s superbly smooth action, its
phenomenal acceleration, and its pinpoint turning. They were halfway
toward the castle when Harry, glancing to his left, s aw something that
made his heart turn over — a pair of eyes, gleam - ing out of the
darkness.
Harry stopped dead, his heart banging against his ribs.
“What ’s the matter? ” said Ron.
Harry pointed. Ron pulled out his wand and muttered, “ Lumos !”
A beam of light fell across the grass, hit the bottom of a tree, and
illuminated its branches; there, crouching among the budding leaves,
was Crookshanks.
“Get out of here! ” Ron roared, and he stooped down and seized a
stone lying on the grass, but before he could do anything else,
Crookshanks had vanished with one swish of his long ginger tail.
“See? ” Ron said furiously, chucking the stone down again. “She ’s still
letting him wander about wherever he wants — probably washing
down Scabbers with a couple o f birds now. . . . ”
Harry didn ’t say anything. He took a deep breath as relief seeped
through him; he had been sure for a moment that those eyes had
 256 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

belonged to the Grim. They set off for the castle once more. Slightly
ashamed of his moment of panic, Harry didn ’t say any - thing to Ron
— nor did he look left or right until they had reached the well -lit
entrance hall.

Harry went down to breakfast th e next morning with the rest of the
boys in his dormitory, all of whom seemed to think the Firebolt
deserved a sort of guard of honor. As Harry entered the Great Hall,
heads turned in the direction of the Firebolt, and there was a good deal
of excited mutt ering. Harry saw, with enormous satisfaction, that the
Slytherin team were all looking thunder - struck.
“Did you see his face? ” said Ron gleefully, looking back at Mal - foy.
“He can ’t believe it! This is brilliant! ”
Wood, too, was basking in the refl ected glory of the Firebolt. “Put it
here, Harry, ” he said, laying the broom in the middle of the table and
carefully turning it so that its name faced upward. People from the
Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables were soon coming over to look.
Cedric Diggory ca me over to congratu - late Harry on having acquired
such a superb replacement for his Nimbus, and Percy ’s Ravenclaw
girlfriend, Penelope Clearwater, asked if she could actually hold the
Firebolt.
“Now, now, Penny, no sabotage! ” said Percy heartily as she e xamined
the Firebolt closely “Penelope and I have got a bet on, ” he told the
team. “Ten Galleons on the outcome of the match! ” Penelope put the
Firebolt down again, thanked Harry, and went back to her table.
“Harry — make sure you win, ” said Pe rcy, in an urgent whisper.
 257 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

“ I haven ’t got ten Galleons. Yes, I ’m coming, Penny! ” And he bustled
off to join her in a piece of toast.
“Sure you can manage that broom, Potter? ” said a cold, drawling voice.
Draco Malfoy had arrived for a closer look, Crabbe and Goyle right
behind him.
“Yeah, reckon so, ” said Harry casually.
“Got plenty of special features, hasn ’t it? ” said Malfoy, eyes glit - tering
maliciously. “Shame it d oesn ’t come with a parachute — in case you
get too near a dementor. ”
Crabbe and Goyle sniggered.
“Pity you can ’t attach an extra arm to yours, Malfoy, ” said Harry.
“Then it could catch the Snitch for you. ”
The Gryffindor team laughed loudly. Malfoy ’s pale eyes nar - rowed,
and he stalked away. They watched him rejoin the rest of the Slytherin
team, who put their heads together, no doubt asking Malfoy whether
Harry ’s broom really was a Firebolt.
At a quarter to eleven, the Gryffindor team set off for the locker rooms.
The weather couldn ’t have been more different from their match
against Hufflepuff. It was a clear, cool day with a very light breeze;
there would be no visibility problems this time, and Harry, though
nervous, was starting to feel the exc itement only a Quid - ditch match
could bring. They could hear the rest of the school moving into the
stadium beyond. Harry took off his black school robes, removed his
wand from his pocket, and stuck it inside the T -shirt he was going to
wear under his Qui dditch robes. He only hoped he wouldn ’t need it.
He wondered suddenly whether Profes - sor Lupin was in the crowd,
watching.
 258 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

“You know what we ’ve got to do, ” said Wood as they prepared to
leave the locker rooms. “If we lose this match, we ’re out of the run -
ning. Just — just fly like you did in practice yesterday, and we ’ll be
okay! ”
They walked out onto the field to tumultuous applause. The
Ravenclaw team, dressed in blue, were already standing in the mid - dle
of the field. Their Seeker, Cho Chang, was the only girl on their team.
She was shorter than Harry by about a head, and Harry couldn ’t help
noticing, nervous as he was, that she was extremely pretty. She smiled
at Harry as the team s faced each other behind their captains, and he
felt a slight lurch in the region of his stom - ach that he didn ’t think had
anything to do with nerves.
“Wood, Davies, shake hands, ” Madam Hooch said briskly, and Wood
shook hands with the Ravenclaw Capta in.
“Mount your brooms . . . on my whistle . . . three — two — one — ”
Harry kicked off into the air and the Firebolt zoomed higher and faster
than any other broom; he soared around the stadium and began
squinting around for the Snitch, listening all the while to the
commentary, which was being provided by the Weasley twins ’ friend
Lee Jordan.
“They ’re off, and the big excitement this match is the Firebolt
that Harry Potter is flying for Gryffindor. According to Which
Broomstick, the Firebolt ’s going to be the broom of choice for the
national teams at this year ’s World Championship — ”
“Jordan, would you mind telling us what ’s going on in the match? ”
interrupted Professor McGonagall ’s voice.
“Right you are, Professor — just giving a bit o f background
 259 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

information — the Firebolt, incidentally, has a built -in auto -brake and
— ”
“Jordan! ”
“Okay, okay, Gryffindor in possession, Katie Bell of Gryffindor
heading for goal . . . ”
Harry streaked past Katie in the opposite direction, gazing around for
a glint of gold and noticing that Cho Chang was tailing him closely. She
was undoubtedly a very good flier — she kept cut - ting across him,
forcing him to change direction.
“Show her y our acceleration, Harry! ” Fred yelled as he whooshed past
in pursuit of a Bludger that was aiming for Alicia. Harry urged the
Firebolt forward as they rounded the Raven - claw goal posts and Cho
fell behind. Just as Katie succeeded in scoring the first goa l of the
match, and the Gryffindor end of the field went wild, he saw it — the
Snitch was close to the ground, flitting near one of the barriers.
Harry dived; Cho saw what he was doing and tore after him — Harry
was speeding up, excitement flooding him; dives were his speciality, he
was ten feet away —
Then a Bludger, hit by one of the Ravenclaw Beaters, came pelt - ing
out of nowhere; Harry veered off course, avoiding it by an inch, and in
those few, cruc ial seconds, the Snitch had vanished.
There was a great “Ooooooh ” of disappointment from the Gryffindor
supporters, but much applause for their Beater from the Ravenclaw
end. George Weasley vented his feelings by hitting the second Bludger
directly at the offending Beater, who was forced to roll right over in
midair to avoid it.
“Gryffindor leads by eighty points to zero, and look at that
 260 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

Firebolt go! Potter ’s really putting it through its paces now, see it turn
— Chang ’s Comet is just no match for it, the Firebolt ’s
precision -balance is really noticeable in these long — ”
“JORDAN! ARE YOU BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE FIRE -
BOLTS? GET ON WITH THE COMMENTARY! ” Raven claw was
pulling back; they had now scored three goals, which put Gryffindor
only fifty points ahead — if Cho got the Snitch before him, Ravenclaw
would win. Harry dropped lower, narrowly avoiding a Ravenclaw
Chaser, scanning the field franti - cally — a gl int of gold, a flutter of tiny
wings — the Snitch was circling the Gryffindor goal post —
Harry accelerated, eyes fixed on the speck of gold ahead — but just
then, Cho appeared out of thin air, blocking him — “HARRY, THIS
IS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN! ” Wo od roared as Harry
swerved to avoid a collision. “KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF
YOU HAVE TO! ”
Harry turned and caught sight of Cho; she was grinning. The Snitch
had vanished again. Harry turned his Firebolt upward and was soon
twenty feet above the game. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cho
following him. . . . She ’d decided to mark him rather than search for
the Snitch herself. . . . All right, then . . . if she wanted to tail him, she ’d
have to take the conse - quences. . . .
He dived again, and Cho, thinking he ’d seen the Snitch, tried to follow;
Harry pulled out of the dive very sharply; she hurtled downward; he
rose fast as a bullet once more, and then saw it, for the third time —
the Snitch was glittering way above the fiel d at the Ravenclaw end.
 261 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

He accelerated; so, many feet below, did Cho. He was winning, gaining
on the Snitch with every second — then —
“Oh! ” screamed Cho, pointing.
Distracted, Harry looked down.
Three dementors, three tall, black, hooded dementors, were looking
up at him.
He didn ’t stop to think. Plunging a hand down the neck of his
robes, he whipped out his wand and roared, “ Expecto patronum !”
Something silver -white, something enormous, erupted from the end of
his wand. He knew it had shot directly at the dementors but didn ’t
pause to watch; his mind still miraculously clear, he looked ahead — he
was nearly there. He stretched out the hand still grasp - ing his wand
and just managed to close his fingers over the small, struggling Snitch.
Madam Hooch ’s whistle sounded. Harry turned around in midair and
saw six scarlet blurs bearing down on him; next mo - ment, the whole
team was hugging him so hard he was nearly pulled off his broom.
Down below he could hear the roars of the Gryffindors in the crowd.
“That ’s my boy! ” Wood kept yelling. Alicia, Angelina, and Katie had all
kissed Harry; Fred had him in a grip so tight Harry felt as though his
head would come off. In complete disarray, the team managed to make
its way back to the ground. Harry got off his broom and looked up to
see a gaggle of Gryffindor supporters sprinting onto the field, Ron in
the lead. Before he knew it, he had b een engulfed by the cheering
crowd.
“Yes! ” Ron yelled, yanking Harry ’s arm into the air. “Yes! Yes! ”
“Well done, Harry! ” said Percy, looking delighted. “Ten Galleons
to me! Must find Penelope, excuse me — ”
 262 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

“Good for you, Harry! ” roared Seamus Finnigan. “Ruddy brilliant! ”
boomed Hagrid over the heads of the milling Gryffindors.
“That was quite some Patronus, ” said a voice in Harry ’s ear. Harr y
turned around to see Professor Lupin, who looked both shaken and
pleased.
“The dementors didn ’t affect me at all! ” Harry said excitedly. “I didn ’t
feel a thing! ”
“That would be because they — er — weren ’t dementors, ” said
Professor Lupin. “Come and see — ”
He led Harry out of the crowd until they were able to see the edge of
the field.
“You gave Mr. Malfoy quite a fright, ” said Lupin. Harry stared. Lying
in a crumpled heap on the ground were Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and
Marcus Flint, the Slytheri n team Cap - tain, all struggling to remove
themselves from long, black, hooded robes. It looked as though
Malfoy had been standing on Goyle ’s shoulders. Standing over them,
with an expression of the utmost fury on her face, was Professor
McGonagall.
“An unworthy trick! ” she was shouting. “A low and cowardly at - tempt
to sabotage the Gryffindor Seeker! Detention for all of you, and fifty
points from Slytherin! I shall be speaking to Professor Dumbledore
about this, make no mistake! Ah, here he comes no w! ” If anything
could have set the seal on Gryffindor ’s victory, it was this. Ron, who
had fought his way through to Harry ’s side, doubled up with laughter
as they watched Malfoy fighting to extri - cate himself from the robe,
Goyle ’s head still stuck insid e it. “Come on, Harry! ” said George,
fighting his way over. “Party! Gryffindor common room, now! ”
 263 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

“Right, ” said Harry, and feeling happier than he had in ages, he and the
rest of the team led the w ay, still in their scarlet robes, out of the
stadium and back up to the castle.

It felt as though they had already won the Quidditch Cup; the party
went on all day and well into the night. Fred and George Weasley
disappeared for a couple of hours and returned with arm - fuls of
bottles of butterbeer, pumpkin fizz, and several bags full of
Honeydukes sweets.
“How did you do that? ” squealed Angelina Johnson as George started
throwing Peppermint Toads into the crowd.
“With a little help from Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, ” Fred
muttered in Harry ’s ear.
Only one person wasn ’t joining in the festivities. Hermione, in -
credibly, was sitting in a corner, attempting to read an enormous
book entitled Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles. Harry
broke away from the table where Fred and George had started jug -
gling butterbeer bottles and went over to her.
“Did you even come to the match? ” he asked her. “Of course I did, ”
said Hermione in a strangely high -pitched voice, not looking up. “And
I’m very glad we won, and I think you did really well, but I need to read
this by Monday. ”
“Come on, Hermione, come and have some food, ” Harry said, looking
over at Ron and wondering w hether he was in a good enough mood to
bury the hatchet.
“I can ’t, Harry. I ’ve still got four hundred and twenty -two pages to
read! ” said Hermione, now sounding slightly hysterical. “Any -
way . . . ” She glanced over at Ron too. “ He doesn ’t want me t o
join in. ”
 264 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

There was no arguing with this, as Ron chose that moment to
say loudly, “If Scabbers hadn ’t just been eaten, he could have had
some of those Fudge Flies. He used to really like them — ” Hermione
burst into tears. Before Harry could say or do any - thing, she tucked
the enormous book under her arm, and, still sob - bing, ran toward the
staircase to the girls ’ dormitories and out of si ght.
“Can ’t you give her a break? ” Harry asked Ron quietly. “No, ” said Ron
flatly. “If she just acted like she was sorry — but she ’ll never admit
she ’s wrong, Hermione. She ’s still acting like Scabbers has gone on
vacation or something. ”
The Gryffindor party ended only when Professor McGonagall turned
up in her tartan dressing gown and hair net at one in the morning, to
insist that they all go to bed. Harry and Ron climbed the stairs to their
dormitory, still discussing the match. At last, ex - hausted, Harry
climbed into bed, twitched the hangings of his four -poster shut to
block out a ray of moonlight, lay back, and felt himself almost instantly
drifting off to sleep. . . .
He had a very strange dream. He was walking through a forest, his
Firebolt over his shoulder, following something silvery -white. It was
winding its way through the trees ahead, and he could only catch
glimpses of it between the leaves. Anxious to catch up with it, he sped
up, but as he moved faster, so did his quarry. H arry broke into a run,
and ahead he heard hooves gathering speed. Now he was running flat
out, and ahead he could hear galloping. Then he turned a corner into a
clearing and —
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ”
Harry woke as sudd enly as though he ’d been hit in the face.
 265 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Disoriented in the total darkness, he fumbled with his hangings — he
could hear movements around him, and Seamus Finnigan ’s voice from
the other side of the room: “What ’s going on? ”
Harry thought he heard the dormitory door slam. At last finding the
divide in his curtains, he ripped them back, and at the same moment,
Dean Thomas lit his lamp.
Ron was sitting up in bed, the hangings torn from one side, a look of
utmost terror on his face.
“Black! Sirius Black! With a knife! ”
“ What ?”
“Here! Just now! Slashed the curtains! Woke me up! ”
“You sure you weren ’t dreaming, Ron? ” said Dean.
“Look at the curtains! I tell you, he was here! ”
They all scrambled out of bed; Harry reached the dormitory door first,
and they sprinted back down the staircase. Doors opened behind them,
and sleepy voices called after them.
“Who shouted? ”
“What ’re yo u doing? ”
The common room was lit with the glow of the dying fire, still littered
with the debris from the party. It was deserted.
“Are you sure you weren ’t dreaming, Ron? ”
“I’m telling you, I saw him! ”
“What ’s all the noise? ”
“Professor McGonagall told us to go to bed! ”
A few of the girls had come down their staircase, pulling on dressing
gowns and yawning. Boys, too, were reappearing. “Excellent, are we
carrying on? ” said Fred Weasley brightly. “Everyone back upstairs! ”
said Percy, hurrying into the
 266 ‘

GRYFFINDOR
VERSUS RAVENCLAW

common room and pinning his Head Boy badge to his pajamas as he
spoke.
“Perce — Sirius Black! ” said Ron faintly. “In our dormitory! With a
knife! Woke me up! ”
The common room went very still.
“Nonsense! ” said Percy, looking startled. “You had too much to eat,
Ron — had a nightmare — ”
“I’m telling you — ”
“Now, really, enough ’s enough! ”
Professor McGonagall was back. She slammed the portrait be - hind
her as she entered the common room and stared furiously around.
“I am delighted that Gryffindor won the match, but this is get - ting
ridiculous! Percy, I expected better of you! ”
“I certainly didn ’t authorize this, Professor! ” said Percy, puffing
himself up indignantly. “I was just telling them all to get back to bed!
My brother Ron here had a nightmare — ”
“IT WASN ’T A NIGHTMARE! ” Ron yelled. “PROFESSOR, I
WOKE UP, AND SIRIUS BLACK WAS STANDING OVER ME,
HOLDING A KNIFE! ”
Professor McGonagall stared at him.
“Don ’t be ridiculous, Weasley, how could he possibly have got - ten
through the portrait hole? ”
“Ask him! ” said Ron, pointing a shaking finger at the back of Sir
Cadogan ’s picture. “Ask him if he saw — ”
Glaring suspiciously at Ron, Professor McGonagall pushed the
portrait back open and went outside. The whole common room
listened with bated breath.
 267 ‘

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

“Sir Cadogan, did you just let a man enter Gryffindor Tower? ”
“Certainly, good lady! ” cried Sir Cadogan.
There was a stunned silence, both inside and outside the com - mon
room.
“You — you did ?” said Professor McGonagall. “But — but the
password! ”
“He had ’em! ” said Sir Cadogan proudly. “Had the whole week ’s, my
lady! Read ’em off a little piece of paper! ”
Professor McGonagall pulled herself back through the portrait hole to
face the stunned crowd. She was white as chalk.
“Which person, ” she said, her voice shaking, “which abysmally foolish
person wrote down this week ’s passwords and left them lying
around? ”
There was utter silence, broken by the smallest of terrified squeaks.
Neville Longbottom, trembling from head to fluffy - slippered toes,
raised his hand slowly into the air.














 268 ‘

C H A P T E R F O U R T E
E N









SNAPE ’ S
GRUDGE




o one in Gryffindor Tower slept that night. They knew
N
that the castle was being searched again, and the whole House stayed
awake in the common room, waiting to hear whether Black had been
caught. Professor McGonagall came back at dawn, to tell them that he
had again escaped.
Throughout the day, everywhere they went they saw signs of tighter

security; Professor Flitwick could be seen teaching the front doors to
recognize a large picture of Sirius Black; Filch was sud - denly bustling
up and down the corridors, boarding up everything from tiny cracks in
the walls to mouse holes. Sir Cadogan had been fired. His portrait had
been taken back to its lonely landing on the seventh floor, and the Fat
Lady was back. She had been expertly restored, but was still extremely
nervous, and had agreed to return to her job only on condition that she
was given extra protection. A bunch of surly security trolls had been
hired to guard her. They
 269 ‘

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paced the corridor in a menacing group, talking in grunts and
comparing the size of their clubs.
Harry couldn ’t help noticing that the statue of the one -eyed witch on
the third floor remained unguarded and unblocked. It seemed that
Fred and George had b een right in thinking that they — and now
Harry, Ron, and Hermione — were the only ones who knew about the
hidden passageway within it.
“D ’you reckon we should tell someone? ” Harry asked Ron. “We know
he ’s not coming in through Honeyduke ’s,” said Ron dismissively
“We ’d’ve heard if the shop had been broken into. ” Harry was glad Ron
took this view. If the one -eyed witch was boarded up too, he would
never be able to go into Hogsmeade again.
Ron had become an instant celebrity. For the first time in his life,
people were paying more attention to him than to Harry, and it was
clear that Ron was rather enjoying the experience. Though still severely
shaken by the night ’s events, he was happy to tell any - one who asked
what had happened, with a wealth of detai l.
“. . . I was asleep, and I heard this ripping noise, and I thought it was in
my dream, you know? But then there was this draft . . . I woke up and
one side of the hangings on my bed had been pulled down. . . . I rolled
over . . . and I saw him standing over me . . . like a skeleton, with loads
of filthy hair . . . holding this great long knife, must ’ve been twelve
inches . . . and he looked at me, and I
looked at him, and then I yelled, and he scampered.
“Why, though? ” Ron added to Harry as the gr oup of second - year girls
who had been listening to his chilling tale departed. “Why did he run? ”
 270 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

Harry had been wondering the same thing. Why had Black, having got
the wrong bed, not silenced Ron and proceeded to Harry? Black had
proved twelve years ago that he didn ’t mind mur - dering innocent
people, and this time he had been facing five un - armed boys, four of
whom were asleep.
“He must ’ve known he ’d ha ve a job getting back out of the castle once
you ’d yelled and woken people up, ” said Harry thoughtfully. “He ’d’ve
had to kill the whole House to get back through the por - trait hole . . .
then he would ’ve met the teachers. . . . ”
Neville was in total disg race. Professor McGonagall was so furi - ous
with him she had banned him from all future Hogsmeade vis - its, given
him a detention, and forbidden anyone to give him the password into
the tower. Poor Neville was forced to wait outside the common room
every n ight for somebody to let him in, while the security trolls leered
unpleasantly at him. None of these pun - ishments, however, came
close to matching the one his grand - mother had in store for him. Two
days after Black ’s break -in, she sent Neville the very worst thing a
Hogwarts student could receive over breakfast — a Howler.
The school owls swooped into the Great Hall carrying the mail as usual,
and Neville choked as a huge barn owl landed in front of him, a scarlet
envelope clutched in its beak. Harry and Ron, who were sitting
opposite him, recognized the letter as a Howler at once — Ron had got
one from his mother the year before.
“Run for it, Neville, ” Ron advised.
Neville didn ’t need telling twice. He seized the envelope, and holding it
before him like a bomb, sprinted out of the hall, while the Slytherin
table exploded with laughter at the sight of him. They
 271 ‘

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heard the Howler go off in the entrance hall — Neville ’s grand -
mother ’s voice, magically magnified to a hundred times its usual
volume, shrieking about how he had brought shame on the whole
family.
Harry was too busy feeling sorry for Neville to notice immedi - ately
that he had a letter too. Hedwig got his attention by nipping him
sharply on the wrist.
“Ouch! Oh — thanks, Hedwig. ”
Harry tore open the envelope while Hedwig helped herself to some of
Neville ’s cornflakes. The note inside said:

Dear Harry and Ron,
How about having tea with me this afternoon ’round six?
I’ll come and collect RXIURPWKHFDVWOH
WAIT FOR ME IN THE ENTRANCE HALL;
YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED OUT ON YOUR OWN.
Cheers,
Hagrid

“He probably wants to hear all about Black! ” said Ron. So at six
o’clock that afternoon, Harry and Ron left Gryffindor Tower, passed
the security trolls at a run, and headed down to the entrance hall.
Hagrid was already waiting for them.
“All right, Hagrid! ” said Ron. “S’pose you want to hear ab out Saturday
night, do you? ”
“I’ve already heard all abou ’ it,” said Hagrid, opening the front doors
and leading them outside.
 272 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

“Oh, ” said Ron, looking slightly put out.
The first thing they saw on entering Hagrid ’s cabin was Buck - beak,
who was stretched out on top of Hagrid ’s patchwork quilt, his
enormous wings folded tight to his body, enjoying a large plate of dead
ferrets. Averting his eyes from this unpleasant sight , Harry saw a
gigantic, hairy brown suit and a very horrible yellow -and -orange tie
hanging from the top of Hagrid ’s wardrobe door.
“What are they for, Hagrid? ” said Harry.
“Buckbeak ’s case against the Committee fer the Disposal o ’ Dan -
gerous Creatures, ” said Hagrid. “This Friday. Him an ’ me ’ll be goin ’
down ter London together. I ’ve booked two beds on the Knight
Bus. . . . ”
Harry felt a nasty pang of guilt. He had completely forgotten that
Buckbeak ’s trial was so near, and judging by the uneasy look on Ron ’s
face, he had too. They had also forgotten their promise about helping
him prepare Buckbeak ’s defense; the arrival of the Firebolt had driven
it clean out of their minds.
Hagrid poured them tea and offered them a plate of Bath buns , but
they knew better than to accept; they had had too much expe - rience
with Hagrid ’s cooking.
“I got somethin ’ ter discuss with you two, ” said Hagrid, sitting himself
between them and looking uncharacteristically serious. “What? ” said
Harry.
“Hermio ne, ” said Hagrid.
“What about her? ” said Ron.
“She ’s in a righ ’ state, that ’s what. She ’s bin comin ’ down ter visit me a
lot since Chris ’mas. Bin feelin ’ lonely. Firs ’ yeh weren ’ talking
 273 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

to her because o ’ the Firebolt, now yer not talkin ’ to her because her
cat — ”
“— ate Scabbers! ” Ron interjected angrily.
“Because her cat acted like all cats do, ” Hagrid continued doggedly.
“She ’s cried a fair few times, yeh know. Goin ’ through a rough time at
the moment. Bitten off more ’n she can chew, if yeh ask me, all the
work she ’s tryin ’ ter do. Still found time ter help me with Buckbeak ’s
case, mind. . . . She ’s found some really good stuff fer me . . . reckon
he ’ll stand a good chance now . . . . ”
“Hagrid, we should ’ve helped as well — sorry — ” Harry began
awkwardly.
“I’m not blamin ’ yeh! ” said Hagrid, waving Harry ’s apology aside.
“Gawd knows yeh ’ve had enough ter be gettin ’ on with. I ’ve seen yeh
practicin ’ Quidditch ev ’ry hour o ’ the day an ’ night — but I gotta tell
yeh, I thought you two ’d value yer friend more ’n broom - sticks or rats.
Tha ’s all. ”
Harry and Ron exchanged uncomfortable looks. “Really upset, she was,
when Black nearly stabbed yeh, Ron. She ’s got her heart in the r ight
place, Hermione has, an ’ you two not talkin ’ to her — ”
“If she ’d just get rid of that cat, I ’d speak to her again! ” Ron said
angrily. “But she ’s still sticking up for it! It ’s a maniac, and she won ’t
hear a word against it! ”
“Ah, well, people can be a bit stupid abou ’ their pets, ” said Ha - grid
wisely. Behind him, Buckbeak spat a few ferret bones onto Hagrid ’s
pillow.
They spent the rest of their visit discussing Gryffindor ’s
 274 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

improved chances for the Quidditch Cup. At nine o ’clock, Hagrid
walked them back up to the castle.
A large group of people was bunched around the bulletin board when
they returned to the common room.
“Hogsmeade, next weekend! ” said Ron, craning over the heads to read
the new notice. “What d ’you reckon? ” he added quietly to Harry as
they went to sit down.
“Well, Filch hasn ’t done anything about the passage into Hon -
eydukes. . . . ” Harry said, even more quietly.
“Harry! ” said a voice in his right ear. Harry started and looked around
at Hermione, who was sitting at the table right behind them and
clearing a space in the wall of books that had been hid - ing her.
“Harry, if you go into Hogsmeade again . . . I ’ll tell Professor
Mc Gonagall about that map! ” said Hermione.
“Can you hear someone talking, Harry? ” growled Ron, not looking at
Hermione.
“Ron, how can you let him go with you? After what Sirius Black
nearly did to you ! I mean it, I ’ll tell — ”
“So now you ’re trying to get Harry expelled! ” said Ron furiously.
“Haven ’t you done enough damage this year? ”
Hermione opened her mouth to respond, but with a soft hiss,
Crookshanks leapt onto her lap. Hermione took one frightened look at
the expression on Ron ’s face, gathered up Crookshanks, and hurried
away toward the girls ’ dormitories.
“So how about it? ” Ron said to Harry as though there had been no
interruption. “Come on, last time we went you didn ’t see any - thing.
You haven ’t even been inside Zonko ’s y et! ”
 275 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Harry looked around to check that Hermione was well out of earshot.
“Okay, ” he said. “But I ’m taking the Invisibility Cloak this time. ”

On Saturday morning, Harry packed his Invisibility Cloak in his bag,
slipped the Marauder ’s Map into his pocket, and went down to
breakfast with everyone else. Hermione kept shooting suspicious looks
down the table at him, but he avoided her eye and was ca re- ful to let
her see him walking back up the marble staircase in the entrance hall as
everybody else proceeded to the front doors. “’Bye! ” Harry called to
Ron. “See you when you get back! ” Ron grinned and winked.
Harry hurried up to the third floor, s lipping the Marauder ’s Map out of
his pocket as he went. Crouching behind the one -eyed witch, he
smoothed it out. A tiny dot was moving in his direction.
Harry squinted at it. The minuscule writing next to it read Neville
Longbottom.
Harry quickly pulled out his wand, muttered, “ Dissendium !”
and shoved his bag into the statue, but before he could climb in
himself, Neville came around the corner.
“Harry! I forgot you weren ’t going to Hogsmeade either! ” “Hi,
Neville, ” said Harry, moving swiftly away from the statue and pushing
the map back into his pocket. “What are you up to? ” “Nothing, ”
shrugged Neville. “Want a game of Exploding Snap? ” “Er — not now
— I was going to go to the library and do that vampire essay for Lu pin
— ”
“I’ll come with you! ” said Neville brightly. “I haven ’t done it either! ”
 276 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

“Er — hang on — yeah, I forgot, I finished it last night! ” “Great, you
can help me! ” said Neville, his round face anxious. “I don ’t understand
that thing about the garlic at all — do they have to eat it, or — ”
He broke off with a small gasp, looking over Harry ’s shoulder. It
was Snape. Neville took a quick step behind Harry.
“And wh at are you two doing here? ” said Snape, coming to a halt and
looking from one to the other. “An odd place to meet — ” To Harry ’s
immense disquiet, Snape ’s black eyes flicked to the doorways on either
side of them, and then to the one -eyed witch. “We ’re not — meeting
here, ” said Harry. “We just — met here. ”
“Indeed? ” said Snape. “You have a habit of turning up in unex - pected
places, Potter, and you are very rarely there for no good rea - son. . . . I
suggest the pair of you return to Gryffindor Tower, where you
belong. ”
Harry and Neville set off without another word. As they turned the
corner, Harry looked back. Snape was running one of his hands over
the one -eyed witch ’s head, examining it closely.
Harry managed to shake Neville off at the Fat La dy by tell - ing him the
password, then pretending he ’d left his vampire essay in the library and
doubling back. Once out of sight of the secu - rity trolls, he pulled out
the map again and held it close to his nose.
The third floor corridor seemed to be de serted. Harry scanned the map
carefully and saw, with a leap of relief, that the tiny dot
labeled Severus Snape was now back in its office.
He sprinted back to the one -eyed witch, opened her hump,
 277 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

heaved himself inside, and slid down to meet his bag at the bottom of
the stone chute. He wiped the Marauder ’s Map blank again, then set
off at a run.

Harry, completely hidden beneath the Invisibility Cloak, emerged into
the sunlight outside Ho neydukes and prodded Ron in the back.
“It’s me, ” he muttered.
“What kept you? ” Ron hissed.
“Snape was hanging around. . . . ”
They set off up the High Street.
“Where are you? ” Ron kept muttering out of the corner of his mouth.
“Are you still there? This feels weird. . . . ”
They went to the post office; Ron pretended to be checking the price
of an owl to Bill in Egypt so that Harry could have a good look
around. The owls sat hooting softly down at him, at least three
hund red of them; from Great Grays right down to tiny little Scops
owls ( “Local Deliveries Only ”), which were so small they could have
sat in the palm of Harry ’s hand.
Then they visited Zonko ’s, which was so packed with students Harry
had to exercise great c are not to tread on anyone and cause a panic.
There were jokes and tricks to fulfill even Fred ’s and George ’s wildest
dreams; Harry gave Ron whispered orders and passed him some gold
from under the cloak. They left Zonko ’s with their money bags
considerabl y lighter than they had been on entering, but their pockets
bulging with Dungbombs, Hiccup Sweets, Frog Spawn Soap, and a
Nose -Biting Teacup apiece.
The day was fine and breezy, and neither of them felt like stay - ing
indoors, so they walked past the Th ree Broomsticks and
 278 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

climbed a slope to visit the Shrieking Shack, the most haunted dwelling
in Britain. It stood a little way above the rest of the village, and even in
daylight was slightly creepy, with its boarded windows and dank
overgrown garden.
“Even the Hogwarts ghosts avoid it, ” said Ron as they leaned on the
fence, looking up at it. “I asked Nearly Headless Nick . . . he says he ’s
heard a very roug h crowd lives here. No one can get in. Fred and
George tried, obviously, but all the entrances are sealed shut. . . . ”
Harry, feeling hot from their climb, was just considering taking off the
cloak for a few minutes when they heard voices nearby. Someone w as
climbing toward the house from the other side of the hill; moments
later, Malfoy had appeared, followed closely by Crabbe and Goyle.
Malfoy was speaking.
“. . . should have an owl from Father any time now. He had to go to
the hearing to tell them about my arm . . . about how I couldn ’t use it
for three months. . . . ”
Crabbe and Goyle sniggered.
“I really wish I could hear that great hairy moron trying to de - fend
himself . . . ‘There ’s no ’arm in ’im, ’onest — ’ . . . that hip - pogriff ’s as
good as dead — ”
Malfoy suddenly caught sight of Ron. His pale face split in a
malevolent grin.
“What are you doing, Weasley? ”
Malfoy looked up at the crumbling house behind Ron. “Suppose you ’d
love to live here, wouldn ’t you , Weasley? Dream - ing about having
your own bedroom? I heard your family all sleep in one room — is that
true? ”
Harry seized the back of Ron ’s robes to stop him from leaping on
Malfoy.
 279 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

“Leave him to me, ” he hissed in Ron ’s ear.
The opportunity was too perfect to miss. Harry crept silently around
behind Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, bent down, and scooped a large
handful of mud out of the path.
“We were just discussing your friend Hagrid, ” Malfoy said to Ron.
“Just trying to imagine what he ’s saying to the Committee for the
Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. D ’you think he ’ll cry when they cut
off his hippogriff ’s — ”
SPLAT.
Malfoy ’s head jerked forward as the mud hit him; his silver - blo nd hair
was suddenly dripping in muck.
“What the — ?”
Ron had to hold onto the fence to keep himself standing, he was
laughing so hard. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle spun stupidly on the spot,
staring wildly around, Malfoy trying to wipe his hair clean. “W hat was
that? Who did that? ”
“Very haunted up here, isn ’t it? ” said Ron, with the air of one
commenting on the weather.
Crabbe and Goyle were looking scared. Their bulging muscles were no
use against ghosts. Malfoy was staring madly around at the deser ted
landscape.
Harry sneaked along the path, where a particularly sloppy puddle
yielded some foul -smelling, green sludge.
SPLATTER.
Crabbe and Goyle caught some this time. Goyle hopped furi - ously on
the spot, trying to rub it out of his small, dull eyes.
“It came from over there! ” said Malfoy, wiping his face, and star - ing
at a spot some six feet to the left of Harry.
 280 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

Crabbe blundered forward, his long arms outstretched like a zombie.
Harry dodged around him, picked up a stick, and lobbed it at Crabbe ’s
back. Harry doubled up with silent laughter as Crabbe did a kind of
pirouette in midair, trying to see who had thrown it. As Ron was the
only person Crabbe could see, it was Ron he started toward, but Harry
stuck out his leg. Crabbe stum - bled — and his huge, flat foot caught
the hem of Harry ’s cloak. Harry felt a great tug, then the cloak slid off
his face.
For a spli t second, Malfoy stared at him.
“AAARGH! ” he yelled, pointing at Harry ’s head. Then he turned tail
and ran, at breakneck speed, back down the hill, Crabbe and Goyle
behind him.
Harry tugged the cloak up again, but the damage was done. “Harry! ”
Ron said , stumbling forward and staring hopelessly at the point where
Harry had disappeared, “you ’d better run for it! If Malfoy tells anyone
— you ’d better get back to the castle, quick — ” “See you later, ” said
Harry, and without another word, he tore back down t he path toward
Hogsmeade.
Would Malfoy believe what he had seen? Would anyone believe
Malfoy? Nobody knew about the Invisibility Cloak — nobody ex - cept
Dumbledore. Harry ’s stomach turned over — Dumbledore would
know exactly what had happened, if Malfoy s aid any - thing —
Back into Honeydukes, back down the cellar steps, across the stone
floor, through the trapdoor — Harry pulled off the cloak, tucked it
under his arm, and ran, flat out, along the passage. . . . Malfoy would get
back first . . . how long would it take him to find a teacher? Panting, a
sharp pain in his side, Harry didn ’t slow down
 281 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

until he reached the stone slide. He would have to leave the cloak
where it was, it was too much of a giveaway in case Malfoy had tipped
off a teacher — he hid it in a shadowy corner, then started to climb,
fast as he could, his sweaty hands slipping on the sides of the chute. He
reached the inside of the witch ’s hump, tap ped it with his wand, stuck
his head through, and hoisted himself out; the hump closed, and just as
Harry jumped out from behind the statue, he heard quick footsteps
approaching.
It was Snape. He approached Harry at a swift walk, his black robes
swishin g, then stopped in front of him.
“So, ” he said.
There was a look of suppressed triumph about him. Harry tried to look
innocent, all too aware of his sweaty face and his muddy hands, which
he quickly hid in his pockets.
“Come with me, Potter, ” said Snape.
Harry followed him downstairs, trying to wipe his hands clean on the
inside of his robes without Snape noticing. They walked down the
stairs to the dungeons and then into Snape ’s office.
Harry had been in here only once before, and he had be en in very
serious trouble then too. Snape had acquired a few more slimy horrible
things in jars since last time, all standing on shelves behind his desk,
glinting in the firelight and adding to the threatening atmosphere.
“Sit, ” said Snape.
Harry sat. Snape, however, remained standing. “Mr. Malfoy has just
been to see me with a strange story, Potter, ” said Snape.
Harry didn ’t say anything.
 282 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

“He tells me that he was up by the Shrieking Shack when he ran into
Weasley — apparently alone. ”
Still, Harry didn ’t speak.
“Mr. Malfoy states that he was standing talking to Weasley, when a
large amount of mud hit him in the back of the head. How do yo u
think that could have happened? ”
Harry tried to look mildly surprised.
“I don ’t know, Professor. ”
Snape ’s eyes were boring into Harry ’s. It was exactly like trying to stare
down a hippogriff. Harry tried hard not to blink.
“Mr. Malfoy then saw an extraordinary apparition. Can you imagine
what it might have been, Potter? ”
“No, ” said Harry, now trying to sound innocently curious. “It
was your head, Potter. Floating in midair. ”
There was a long silence.
“Maybe he ’d better go to Madam Pomfrey, ” said Harry. “If he ’s seeing
things like — ”
“What would your head have been doing in Hogsmeade, Pot - ter? ”
said Snape softly. “Your head is not allowed in Hogsmeade. No part of
your body has permission to be in Hogsmeade. ”
“I know that, ” said Harry, striving to keep his face free of guilt or fear.
“It sounds like Malfoy ’s having hallucin — ”
“Malfoy is not having hallucinations, ” snarled Snape, and he bent
down, a hand on each arm of Harry ’s chair, so that their faces were a
fo ot apart. “If your head was in Hogsmeade, so was the rest of you. ”
“I’ve been up in Gryffindor Tower, ” said Harry. “Like you told — ”
 283 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

“Can anyone confirm that? ”
Harry didn ’t say anything. Snape ’s thin mouth curled into a hor - rible
smile.
“So, ” he said, straightening up again. “Everyone from the Min - ister of
Magic downward has been trying to keep famous Harry Potter safe
from Sirius Black. But famous Harry Potter is a law unto himself. Let
the ordinary people worry about his safety! Fa - mous Harry Potter
goes where he wants to, with no thought for the consequences. ”
Harry stayed silent. Snape was trying to provoke him into telling the
truth. He wasn ’t going to do it. Snape had no proof — yet. “How
extraordinarily like your father you are, Potter, ” Snape said suddenly,
his eyes glinting. “He too was exceedingly arrogant. A small amount of
talent on the Quidditch field made him think he was a cut above the
rest of us too. Strutting around the plac e with his friends and
admirers . . . The resemblance between you is uncanny. ”
“My dad didn ’t strut, ” said Harry, before he could stop himself.
“And neither do I. ”
“Your father didn ’t set much store by rules either, ” Snape went on,
pressing his advantage, his thin face full of malice. “Rules were for
lesser mortals, not Quidditch Cup -winners. His head was so swollen
— ”
“SHUT UP! ”
Harry was suddenly on his feet. Rage such as he had not felt since his
last night in Privet Drive was coursing through him. He didn ’t care that
Snape ’s face had gone rigid, the black eyes flashing dangerously.
 284 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

“ What did you say to me, Potter ?”
“I told you to shut up about my dad! ” Harry yelled. “I know the truth,
all right? He saved your life! Dumbledore told me! You wouldn ’t even
be here if it wasn ’t for my dad! ”
Snape ’s sallow skin had gone the color of sour milk. “And did the
headmaster tell you the circumstances in which your father saved my
life? ” he whispered. “Or did he consider the details too unpleasant for
precious Potter ’s delicate ears? ”
Harry bit his lip. He didn ’t know what had happened and didn ’t want
to admit it — but Snape seemed to have guessed the truth. “I would
hate for you to run away with a false idea of your fa - ther, Potter, ” he
said, a terrible grin twisting his face. “Have you been imagining some
act of glorious heroism? Then let me correct you — your saintly father
and his friends played a highly amusing joke on me that would have
resulted in my death if your father hadn ’t got cold feet at the last
moment. There was nothing brave about what he did. He was saving
his own skin as much as mine. Had their joke succeeded, he would
have been expelled fro m Hog - warts. ”
Snape ’s uneven, yellowish teeth were bared.
“Turn out your pockets, Potter! ” he spat suddenly. Harry didn ’t move.
There was a pounding in his ears. “Turn out your pockets, or we go
straight to the headmaster! Pull them out, Potter! ”
Col d with dread, Harry slowly pulled out the bag of Zonko ’s tricks and
the Marauder ’s Map.
Snap picked up the Zonko ’s bag.
“Ron gave them to me, ” said Harry, praying he ’d get a chance to
 285 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

tip Ron off before Snape saw him. “He — brought them back from
Hogsmeade last time — ”
“Indeed? And you ’ve been carrying them around ever since? How
very touching . . . and what is this? ”
Snape had picked up the map. Harry tried with all his might to keep his
face impassive.
“Spare bit of parchment, ” he said with a shrug.
Snape turned it over, his eyes on Harry.
“Surely you don ’t need such a very old piece of parchment? ” he
said. “Why don ’t I just — throw this away? ”
His hand moved toward the fire.
“No! ” Harry said quickly.
“So! ” said Snape, his long nostrils quivering. “Is this another treasured
gift from Mr. Weasley? Or is it — something else? A let - ter, perhaps,
written in invisible ink? Or — instructions to ge t into Hogsmeade
without passing the dementors? ”
Harry blinked. Snape ’s eyes gleamed.
“Let me see, let me see . . . , ” he muttered, taking out his wand and
smoothing the map out on his desk. “Reveal your secret! ” he said,
touching the wand to the parch ment.
Nothing happened. Harry clenched his hands to stop them from
shaking.
“Show yourself! ” Snape said, tapping the map sharply. It stayed blank.
Harry was taking deep, calming breaths. “Professor Severus Snape,
master of this school, commands you to yi eld the information you
conceal! ” Snape said, hitting the map with his wand.
As though an invisible hand were writing upon it, words ap - peared on
the smooth surface of the map.
 286 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and
begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other
people’s business.”
Snape froze. Harry stared, dumbstruck, at the message. But the map
didn ’t stop there. More writing was appearing beneat h the first.
АMr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to
add that Professor Snape is an ugly git. Г
It would have been very funny if the situation hadn ’t been so se - rious.
And there was more. . . .
“Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that
ever became a professor.”
Harry closed his eyes in horror. When he ’d opened them, the map had
had its last word.
“Mr. Wormtail bids, Professor Snape good day, and advises him
to wash his hair, the slimeball.”
Harry waited for the blow to fall.
“So . . . , ” said Snape softly. “We ’ll see about this. . . . ” He strode across
to his fire, seized a fistful of glittering powder from a jar on the
fireplace, and threw it into th e flames.
“Lupin! ” Snape called into the fire. “I want a word! ” Utterly
bewildered, Harry stared at the fire. A large shape had appeared in it,
revolving very fast. Seconds later, Professor Lupin was clambering out
of the fireplace, brushing ash off his s habby robes.
“You called, Severus? ” said Lupin mildly.
“I certainly did, ” said Snape, his face contorted with fury as he strode
back to his desk. “I have just asked Potter to empty his pock - ets. He
was carrying this. ”
Snape pointed at the parchment, on which the words of Messrs.
 287 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs were still shining. An odd,
closed expression appeared on Lupin ’s face.
“Well? ” said Snape.
Lupin continued to stare at the map. Harry had the impression that
Lupin was doing some very quick thinking.
“ Well ?” said Snape again. “This parchment is plainly full of Dark
Magic. This is supposed to be your area of expertise, Lupin. Where do
you ima gine Potter got such a thing? ”
Lupin looked up and, by the merest half -glance in Harry ’s direc - tion,
warned him not to interrupt.
“Full of Dark Magic? ” he repeated mildly. “Do you really think so,
Severus? It looks to me as though it is merely a pie ce of parch - ment
that insults anybody who reads it. Childish, but surely not dangerous? I
imagine Harry got it from a joke shop — ”
“Indeed? ” said Snape. His jaw had gone rigid with anger. “You think a
joke shop could supply him with such a thing? You
don ’t think it more likely that he got it directly from the manufac -
turers ?”
Harry didn ’t understand what Snape was talking about. Nor, ap -
parently, did Lupin.
“You mean, by Mr. Wormtail or one of these people? ” he said. “Harry,
do you know any of t hese men? ”
“No, ” said Harry quickly.
“You see, Severus? ” said Lupin, turning back to Snape. “It looks like a
Zonko product to me — ”
Right on cue, Ron came bursting into the office. He was com - pletely
out of breath, and stopped just short of Snape ’s desk, clutching the
stitch in his chest and trying to speak.
 288 ‘

SNAPE ’S GRUDGE

“I — gave — Harry — that — stuff, ” he choked. “Bought — it . . . in
Zonko ’s . . . ages — ago . . . ”
“Well! ” said Lupin, clapping his hands together and looking around
cheerfully. “That seems to clear that up! Severus, I ’ll take this back,
shall I? ” He folded the map and tucked it inside his robes. “Harry, Ron,
come with me, I need a word about my vam - pire ess ay — excuse us,
Severus — ”
Harry didn ’t dare look at Snape as they left his office. He, Ron, and
Lupin walked all the way back into the entrance hall before speaking.
Then Harry turned to Lupin.
“Professor, I — ”
“I don ’t want to hear explanations, ” sa id Lupin shortly. He glanced
around the empty entrance hall and lowered his voice. “I happen to
know that this map was confiscated by Mr. Filch many years ago. Yes,
I know it ’s a map, ” he said as Harry and Ron looked amazed. “I don ’t
want to know how it fe ll into your possession. I
am, however, astounded that you didn ’t hand it in. Particularly after
what happened the last time a student left information about the castle
lying around. And I can ’t let you have it back, Harry. ”
Harry had expected that, and was too keen for explanations to protest.
“Why did Snape think I ’d got it from the manufacturers? ”
“Because . . . , ” Lupin hesitated, “because these mapmakers would
have wanted to lure you out of school. They ’d think it ex - tremely
entertaining. ”
“Do you know them? ” said Harry, impressed.
“We ’ve met, ” he said shortly. He was looking at Harry more seriously
than ever before.
 289 ‘

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

“Don ’t expect me to cover up for you again, Harry. I cannot make you
take Sirius Black seriously. But I would have thought that what you
have heard when the dementors draw near you would have had more
of an effect on you. Your parents gave their lives to keep you alive,
Harry. A poor way to repay them — gam - bling their sacrifice for a bag
of magic tricks. ”
He walked away, leaving Harry feeling worse by far than he had at any
point in Snape ’s office. Slowly, he and Ron mounted the marble
staircase. As Harry passed the one -eyed witch, he remem - bered the
Invisibility Cloak — it was still down there, but he didn ’t dare go and
get it.
“It’s my fault, ” said Ron abruptly. “I persuaded you to go. Lupin ’s
right, it was stupid, we shouldn ’t’ve done it — ”
He broke o ff; they reached the corridor where the security trolls were
pacing, and Hermione was walking toward them. One look at her face
convinced Harry that she had heard what had happened. His heart
plummeted — had she told Professor McGonagall? “Come to have a
good gloat? ” said Ron savagely as she stopped in front of them. “Or
have you just been to tell on us? ”
“No, ” said Hermione. She was holding a letter in her hands and her lip
was trembling. “I just thought you ought to know . . . Hagrid lost his
case. Buc kbeak is going to be executed. ”








 290 ‘

C H A P T E R F I F T E E
N









THE QUIDDITCH
FINAL




e — he sent me this, ” Hermione said, holding out the
H
letter.
Harry took it. The parchment was damp, and enormous tear - drops
had smudged the ink so badly in places that it was very diffi - cult to
read.
Dear Hermione,

We lost. I’m allowed to bring him back to
Hogwarts. Execution date to be fixed.
Beaky has enjoyed London.
I won’t forget all the help RXJDYHXV
Hagrid

“They can ’t do this, ” said Harry. “They can ’t. Buckbeak isn ’t
dangerous. ”
 291 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

“Malfoy ’s dad ’s frightened the Committee into it, ” said Her - mione,
wiping her eyes. “You know what he ’s like. They ’re a bunch of
doddery old fools, and they were scared. There ’ll be an appeal, though,
there always is. Only I can ’t see any hope. . . . Nothing will have
changed. ”
“Yeah, it will, ” said Ron fiercely. “You won ’t have to do all the work
alone this time, Hermione. I ’ll help. ”
“Oh, Ron! ”
Hermione flung her arms around Ron ’s neck and broke down
completely. Ron, looking quite terrified, patted her very awkwardly on
the top of the head. Finally, Hermione drew away.
“Ron, I ’m really, really sorry about Scabbers . . . , ” she sobbed. “Oh —
well — he was old, ” said Ron, looking thoroughly re - lieved t hat she
had let go of him. “And he was a bit useless. You never know, Mum
and Dad might get me an owl now. ”

The safety measures imposed on the students since Black ’s second
break -in made it impossible for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to go and
visit Hagri d in the evenings. Their only chance of talking to him was
during Care of Magical Creatures lessons.
He seemed numb with shock at the verdict.
“S’all my fault. Got all tongue -tied. They was all sittin ’ there in black
robes an ’ I kep ’ droppin ’ me notes and forgettin ’ all them dates yeh
looked up fer me, Hermione. An ’ then Lucius Malfoy stood up an ’ said
his bit, and the Committee jus ’ did exac ’ly what he told ’em. . . . ”
“There ’s still the appeal! ” said Ron fiercely. “Don ’t give up yet, we ’re
working on it! ”
 292 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

They were walking back up to the castle with the rest of the class.
Ahead they could see Malfoy, who was walking with Crabbe and Goyle,
and kept looking back, laughing deris ively.
“S’no good, Ron, ” said Hagrid sadly as they reached the castle steps.
“That Committee ’s in Lucius Malfoy ’s pocket. I ’m jus ’ gonna make
sure the rest o ’ Beaky ’s time is the happiest he ’s ever had. I owe him
that. . . . ”
Hagrid turned around and hurried back toward his cabin, his face
buried in his handkerchief.
“Look at him blubber! ”
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle had been standing just inside the castle
doors, listening.
“Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic? ” said Malfoy. “And
he ’s supposed to be our teacher! ”
Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but
Hermione got there first — SMACK!
She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could
muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ro n, Crabbe, and Goyle stood
flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again.
“Don ’t you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul — you evil — ”
“Hermione! ” said Ron weakly, and he tried to grab her hand as she
swung it back.
“Get off, Ron! ”
Hermione pulled out her wand. Malfoy stepped backward. Crabbe and
Goyle looked at him for instructions, thoroughly be - wildered.
“C’mon, ” Malfoy muttered, and in a moment, all three of them had
disappeared into the passageway to the dungeons.
 293 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

“ Hermione !” Ron said again, sounding both stunned and im -
pressed.
“Harry, you ’d better beat him in the Quidditch final! ” Hermione said
shrilly. “You just better had, because I can ’t stand it if Slytherin wins! ”
“We ’re due in Charms, ” said Ron, still goggling at Hermione. “We ’d
better go. ”
They hurried up the marble staircase toward Professor Flitwick ’s
classroom.
“You ’re late, boys! ” said Professor Flitwick reprovingly as Harry
opened the classroom door. “Come along, quickly, wands out, we ’re
experimenting with Cheering Charms today, we ’ve already divided into
pairs — ”
Harry and Ron hurried to a desk at the back and opened their bags.
Ron looked behind him.
“Where ’s Hermione g one? ”
Harry looked around too. Hermione hadn ’t entered the class - room,
yet Harry knew she had been right next to him when he had opened
the door.
“That ’s weird, ” said Harry, staring at Ron. “Maybe — maybe she went
to the bathroom or something? ”
But Hermione didn ’t turn up all lesson.
“She could ’ve done with a Cheering Charm on her too, ” said Ron as
the class left for lunch, all grinning broadly — the Cheer - ing Charms
had left them with a feeling of great contentment. Hermione wasn ’t at
lunch eit her. By the time they had finished their apple pie, the
after -effects of the Cheering Charms were wear - ing off, and Harry and
Ron had started to get slightly worried.
 294 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

“You don ’t think Malfoy did something to her? ” Ron said anx - iously
as they hurried upstairs toward Gryffindor Tower.
They passed the security trolls, gave the Fat Lady the password
(“Flibbertigibbet ”), and scrambled through the portrait hole into the
common roo m.
Hermione was sitting at a table, fast asleep, her head resting on an open
Arithmancy book. They went to sit down on either side of her. Harry
prodded her awake.
“Wh — what? ” said Hermione, waking with a start and staring wildly
around. “Is it time to go? W — which lesson have we got now?
“Divination, but it ’s not for another twenty minutes, ” said Harry.
“Hermione, why didn ’t you come to Charms? ”
“What? Oh no! ” Hermione squeaked. “I forgot to go to Charms! ”
“But how could you forget? ” said Harry. “You were with us till we
were right outside the classroom! ”
“I don ’t believe it! ” Hermione wailed. “Was Professor Flitwick angry?
Oh, it was Malfoy, I was thinking about him and I lost track of things! ”
“You know what, Hermione? ” said Ron, lo oking down at the
enormous Arithmancy book Hermione had been using as a pillow. “I
reckon you ’re cracking up. You ’re trying to do too much. ”
“No, I ’m not! ” said Hermione, brushing her hair out of her eyes and
staring hopelessly around for her bag. “I just made a mistake, that ’s all!
I’d better go and see Professor Flitwick and say sorry. . . . I ’ll see you in
Divination! ”
Hermione joined them at the foot of the ladder to Professor
 295 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Trelawney ’s classroom twenty minutes later, looking extremely har -
assed.
“I can ’t believe I missed Cheering Charms! And I bet they come up in
our exams; Professor Flitwick hinted they might! ” Together they
climbed the ladder into the dim, stifling tower room. Glowing on every
little table was a crystal ball full of pearly white mist. Harry, Ron, and
Hermione sat down together at the same rickety table.
“I thought we weren ’t starting crystal balls until next term, ” Ron
muttered, casting a wary eye around for Professor Trelawney, in case
she was lurking nearby.
“Don ’t complain, this means we ’ve finished palmistry, ” Harry
muttered back. “I was getting sick of her flinching every time she
looked at my hands. ”
“Good day to you! ” said the familiar, misty voice, and Professor
Trelawney made her usual dramatic entrance out of the shadows.
Parvati and Lavender quivered with excitement, their faces lit by the
milky glow of their crystal ball.
“I ha ve decided to introduce the crystal ball a little earlier than I had
planned, ” said Professor Trelawney, sitting with her back to the fire
and gazing around. “The fates have informed me that your ex -
amination in June will concern the Orb, and I am anxious to give you
sufficient practice. ”
Hermione snorted.
“Well, honestly . . . ‘the fates have informed her ’ . . . who sets the exam?
She does! What an amazing prediction! ” she said, not troubling to keep
her voice low. Harry and Ron choked back laughs.
It was hard to tell whether Professor Trelawney had heard them,
 296 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

as her face was hidden in shadow. She continued, however, as though
she had not.
“Crystal gazing is a particularly refined art, ” she said dreamily. “I do
not expect any of you to See when first you peer into the Orb ’s infinite
depths. We shall start by practicing relaxing the conscious mind and
external eyes ” — Ron began to snigger unco ntrollably and had to stuff
his fist in his mouth to stifle the noise — “so as to clear the Inner Eye
and the superconscious. Perhaps, if we are lucky, some of you will See
before the end of the class. ”
And so they began. Harry, at least, felt extremely f oolish, staring
blankly at the crystal ball, trying to keep his mind empty when
thoughts such as “this is stupid ” kept drifting across it. It didn ’t help
that Ron kept breaking into silent giggles and Hermione kept tutting.
“Seen anything yet? ” Harry as ked them after a quarter of an hour ’s
quiet crystal gazing.
“Yeah, there ’s a burn on this table, ” said Ron, pointing. “Some - one ’s
spilled their candle. ”
“This is such a waste of time, ” Hermione hissed. “I could be practicing
something useful. I could be catching up on Cheering Charms — ”
Professor Trelawney rustled past.
“Would anyone like me to help them interpret the shadowy por - tents
within their Orb? ” she murmured over the clinking of her bangles.
“I don ’t need help, ” Ron whispered. “It’s o bvious what this means.
There ’s going to be loads of fog tonight. ”
Both Harry and Hermione burst out laughing.
“Now, really! ” said Professor Trelawney as everyone ’s heads
 297 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

turned in their direction. Parvati and Lavender were looking
scandalized. “You are disturbing the clairvoyant vibrations! ” She ap -
proached their table and peered into their crystal ball. Harry felt his
heart sinking. He was sure he knew what was coming —
“There is something here! ” Professor Trelawney whispered, low - ering
her face to the ball, so that it was reflected twice in her huge glasses.
“Something moving . . . but what is it? ”
Harry was prepared to bet everything he owned, including his Firebol t,
that it wasn ’t good news, whatever it was. And sure enough —
“My dear . . . , ” Professor Trelawney breathed, gazing up at Harry. “It
is here, plainer than ever before . . . my dear, stalking toward you,
growing ever closer . . . the Gr — ”
“Oh, for goodness ’ sake! ” said Hermione loudly. “Not that ridicu -
lous Grim again !”
Professor Trelawney raised her enormous eyes to Hermione ’s face.
Parvati whispered something to Lavender, and they both glared at
Hermione too. Professor Trelawney stood up, su rveying Hermione
with unmistakable anger.
“I am sorry to say that from the moment you have arrived in this
class, my dear, it has been apparent that you do not have what the
noble art of Divination requires. Indeed, I don ’t remember ever
meeting a student whose mind was so hopelessly mundane. ”
There was a moment ’s silence. Then —
“Fine! ” said Hermione suddenly, getting up and cramming Un -
fogging the Future back into her bag. “Fine! ” she repeated, swinging
the bag over her shoulde r and almost knocking Ron off his chair. “I
give up! I ’m leaving! ”
 298 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

And to the whole class ’s amazement, Hermione strode over to the
trapdoor, kicked it open, and climbed down the ladder out of sight.
It took a few minutes for the class to settle down again. Profes - sor
Trelawney seemed to have forgotten all about the Grim. She turned
abruptly from Harry and Ron ’s table, breathing rather heav - ily as she
tugged her gauzy shawl more closely to he r.
“Ooooo! ” said Lavender suddenly, making everyone start. “Oooooo,
Professor Trelawney, I ’ve just remembered! You saw her
leaving, didn ’t you? Didn ’t you, Professor? ‘ Around Easter, one of our
number will leave us forever !’ You said it ages ago, Professor! ”
Professor Trelawney gave her a dewy smile.
“Yes, my dear, I did indeed know that Miss Granger would be leaving
us. One hopes, however, that one might have mistaken the Signs. . . .
The Inner Eye can be a burden, you know. . . . ” Laven der and Parvati
looked deeply impressed, and moved over so that Professor Trelawney
could join their table instead.
“Some day Hermione ’s having, eh? ” Ron muttered to Harry, looking
awed.
“Yeah . . . ”
Harry glanced into the crystal ball but saw nothing but swirling white
mist. Had Professor Trelawney really seen the Grim again? Would he?
The last thing he needed was another near -fatal acci - dent, with the
Quidditch final drawing ever nearer.

The Easter holidays were not exactly relaxing. The third years had
never had so much homework. Neville Longbottom seemed close to a
nervous collapse, and he wasn ’t the only one.
 299 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

“Call this a holiday! ” Seamus Finnigan roared at the common room
one afternoon. “The exams are ages away, what ’re they play - ing at? ”
But nobody had as much to do as Hermione. Even without Div -
ination, she was taking more subjects than anybody else. She was
usually last to leave the common room at night, first to arrive at the
library the next morning; she had shadows like Lupin ’s under her eyes,
and seemed constantly close to tears.
Ron had taken over responsibility for Buckbeak ’s appeal. When he
wasn ’t doing his own work, he was poring over enormously
thick volumes with names like The Handbook of Hippogriff Psy -
chology and Fowl or Foul ? A Study of Hippogriff Brutality. He was so
absorbed, he even forgot to be horrible to Crookshanks.
Harry, meanwhile, had to fit in his homework around Quid - ditch
practice every day, not to mention endless discussions of tac - tics with
Wood. The Gryffindor -Slytherin match would take place on the first
Saturday after the Easter holidays. Slytherin was lead - ing the
tournament by exactly two hundred points. This meant (as Wood
constantly reminded his team) that they needed to win the match by
more than that amount to win the Cup. It also meant that the burden
of winning fell largely on Harry, because capturing the Snitch was
worth one hundred and fifty points.
“So you must catch it only if we ’re more than fifty points up, ”
Wood told Harry constantly. “Only if we ’re more than fifty points up,
Harry, or we win the match but lose the Cup. You ’ve got that, haven ’t
you? You must catch the Snitch only if we ’re — ”
“I KNOW, OLIVER! ” Harry yelled.
The whole of Gryffindor House was obsessed with the coming
 300 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

match. Gryffindor hadn ’t won the Quidditch Cup since the leg - endary
Charlie Weasley (Ron ’s second oldest brother) had been Seeker. But
Harry doubted whether any of them, even Wood, wanted to win as
much as he did. The enmity between Harry and Malfoy was at its
highest point ever. Malfoy was still smarting about the mud -throwing
incident in Hogsmeade and was even more furious that Harry had
somehow wormed his way out of punishment. H arry hadn ’t forgotten
Malfoy ’s attempt to sabotage him in the match against Ravenclaw, but
it was the matter of Buck - beak that made him most determined to
beat Malfoy in front of the entire school.
Never, in anyone ’s memory, had a match approached in suc h a highly
charged atmosphere. By the time the holidays were over, tension
between the two teams and their Houses was at the break - ing point. A
number of small scuffles broke out in the corridors, culminating in a
nasty incident in which a Gryffindor fou rth year and a Slytherin sixth
year ended up in the hospital wing with leeks sprouting out of their
ears.
Harry was having a particularly bad time of it. He couldn ’t walk to class
without Slytherins sticking out their legs and trying to trip him up;
Crabb e and Goyle kept popping up wherever he went, and slouching
away looking disappointed when they saw him sur - rounded by people.
Wood had given instructions that Harry should be accompanied
everywhere he went, in case the Slytherins tried to put him out of action.
The whole of Gryffindor House took up the challenge enthusiastically,
so that it was impossible for Harry to get to classes on time because he
was surrounded by a vast, chattering crowd. Harry was more concerned
for his Firebolt ’s
 301 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

safety than his own. When he wasn ’t flying it, he locked it securely in
his trunk and frequently dashed back up to Gryffindor Tower at break
times to check that it was still there.

All usual pursuits were abandoned in the Gryffindor common room
the night before the match. Even Hermione had put down her books.
“I can ’t work, I can ’t concentrate, ” she said nervously. There was a
great deal of noise. Fred and George Weasley were dealin g with the
pressure by being louder and more exuberant than ever. Oliver Wood
was crouched over a model of a Quidditch field in the corner,
prodding little figures across it with his wand and muttering to himself.
Angelina, Alicia, and Katie were laughing at Fred ’s and George ’s jokes.
Harry was sitting with Ron and Her - mione, removed from the center
of things, trying not to think about the next day, because every time he
did, he had the horrible sensation that something very large was
fighting to get out o f his stomach.
“You ’re going to be fine, ” Hermione told him, though she looked
positively terrified.
“You ’ve got a Firebolt !” said Ron.
“Yeah . . . , ” said Harry, his stomach writhing.
It came as a relief when Wood suddenly stood up and yelled, “Team!
Bed! ”

Harry slept badly. First he dreamed that he had overslept, and that
Wood was yelling, “Where were you? We had to use Neville in - stead! ”
Then he dreamed that Malfoy and the rest of the Slytherin team arrived
for the match riding dragons. H e was flying at
 302 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

breakneck speed, trying to avoid a spurt of flames from Malfoy ’s
steed ’s mouth, when he realized he had forgotten his Firebolt. He fell
through the air and woke with a start.
It was a few seconds before Harry remembered that the match hadn ’t
taken place yet, that he was safe in bed, and that the Slytherin team
definitely wouldn ’t be allowed to play on dragons. He was feeling very
thirsty. Quietly as he could, he got out of his four -poster and went to
pour himself some water from the silver jug beneath the window.
The grounds were still and quiet. No breath of wind disturbed the
treetops in the Forbidden Forest; the Whomping Willow was
motionless and innocent -looking. It looked as though the condi - tions
for the match would be perfect.
Harry set down his goblet and was about to turn back to his bed when
something caught his eye. An animal of some kind was prowling across
the silvery lawn.
Harry dashed to his bedside table, sn atched up his glasses, and put
them on, then hurried back to the window. It couldn ’t be the Grim —
not now — not right before the match —
He peered out at the grounds again and, after a minute ’s frantic
searching, spotted it. It was skirting the edge of the forest now. . . . It
wasn ’t the Grim at all . . . it was a cat. . . . Harry clutched the window
ledge in relief as he recognized the bottlebrush tail. It was only
Crookshanks. . . .
Or was it only Cr ookshanks? 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,
 303 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

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?
“Ron! ” Harry hissed. “Ron! Wake up! ”
“Huh? ”
“I need you to tell me if you can see something! ” “S’all dark, Harry, ”
Ron muttered thickly. “What ’re you on about? ”
“Down here — ”
Harry looked quickly back out of the window.
Crookshanks and the dog had vanished. Harry climbed onto the
windowsill to look right down into the shadows of the castle, but they
weren ’t there. Where had they gone?
A loud snore told him Ron had fallen asleep again.

Harry and the rest of the Gryff indor team entered the Great Hall the
next day to enormous applause. Harry couldn ’t help grinning broadly
as he saw that both the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables were
applauding them too. The Slytherin table hissed loudly as they passed.
Harry noticed that Malfoy looked even paler than usual.
Wood spent the whole of breakfast urging his team to eat, while
touching nothing himself. Then he hurried them off to the field before
anyone else had finished, so they could get an idea of the conditions.
As they l eft the Great Hall, everyone applauded again.
“Good luck, Harry! ” called Cho. Harry felt himself blushing. “Okay
— no wind to speak of — sun ’s a bit bright, that could
 304 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

impair your vision, watch out for it — ground ’s fairly hard, good,
that ’ll give us a fast kickoff — ”
Wood paced the field, staring around with the team behind him.
Finally, they saw the front doors of the castle open in the distance and
the rest of the school spilling onto the lawn.
“Locker rooms, ” said Wood tersely.
None of them spoke as they changed into their scarlet robes. Harry
wondered if they were feeling like he was: as though he ’d eaten
something extremely wriggly for breakfast. In what seemed like no
time at all, Wood was saying, “Okay, it ’s time, let ’s go — ” They walked
out onto the field to a tidal wave of noise. Three - quarters of the crowd
was wearing scarlet rosettes, waving s carlet flags with the Gryffindor
lion upon them, or brandishing banners with slogans like “GO
GRYFFINDOR! ” and “LIONS FOR THE CUP! ” Behind the
Slytherin goal posts, however, two hundred people were wearing green;
the silver serpent of Slytherin glittered o n their flags, and Professor
Snape sat in the very front row, wear - ing green like everyone else, and
a very grim smile.
“And here are the Gryffindors! ” yelled Lee Jordan, who was act - ing as
commentator as usual. “Potter, Bell, Johnson, Spinnet, Weasley,
Weasley, and Wood. Widely acknowledged as the best team Hogwarts
has seen in a good few years — ”
Lee ’s comments were drowned by a tide of “boos ” from the Slytherin
end.
“And here come the Slytherin team, led by Captain Flint. He ’s made
some changes in t he lineup and seems to be going for size rather than
skill — ”
More boos from the Slytherin crowd. Harry, however, thought
 305 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Lee had a point. Malfoy was easily the smallest person on the Slytherin
team; the rest of them were enormous.
“Captains, shake hands! ” said Madam Hooch.
Flint and Wood approached each other and grasped each other ’s hand
very tightly; it looked as though each was trying to break the other ’s
fingers.
“Mount your brooms! ” said Madam Hooch. “Three . . . two . . .
one . . . ”
The sound of her whistle was lost in the roar from the crowd as
fourteen brooms rose into the air. Harry felt his hair fly back off his
forehead; his nerves left him in the thrill o f the flight; he glanced
around, saw Malfoy on his tail, and sped off in search of the Snitch.
“And it ’s Gryffindor in possession, Alicia Spinnet of Gryffindor with
the Quaffle, heading straight for the Slytherin goal posts, looking good,
Alicia! Argh, no — Quaffle intercepted by Warring - ton, Warrington
of Slytherin tearing up the field — WHAM! — nice Bludger work
there by George Weasley, Warrington drops the Quaffle, it ’s caught by
— Johnson, Gryffindor back in possession,
come on, Angelina — nice swerve around Montague — duck, An -
gelina, that ’s a Bludger ! — SHE SCORES! TEN –ZERO TO
GRYFFINDOR! ”
Angelina punched the air as she soared around the end of the field; the
sea of scarlet below was screaming its delight — “OUCH! ”
Angelina was nearly thro wn from her broom as Marcus Flint went
smashing into her.
“Sorry! ” said Flint as the crowd below booed. “Sorry, didn ’t see her! ”
 306 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

A moment later, Fred Weasley chucked his Beater ’s club at the back of
Flint ’s head. Flint ’s nose smashed into the handle of his broom and
began to bleed.
“That will do! ” shrieked Madam Hooch, zooming between them.
“Penalty shot to Gryffindor for an unprovoked attack on their Chaser!
Penalty shot to Slytherin for del iberate damage to
their Chaser! ”
“Come off it, Miss! ” howled Fred, but Madam Hooch blew her whistle
and Alicia flew forward to take the penalty. “Come on, Alicia! ” yelled
Lee into the silence that had de - scended on the crowd. “YES! SHE ’S
BEATEN THE KEEPER! TWENTY –ZERO TO
GRYFFINDOR! ”
Harry turned the Firebolt sharply to watch Flint, still bleeding freely,
fly forward to take the Slytherin penalty. Wood was hovering in front
of the Gryffindor goal posts, his jaw clenched. “’Course, Woo d’s a
superb Keeper! ” Lee Jordan told the crowd as Flint waited for Madam
Hooch ’s whistle. “Superb! Very difficult to pass — very difficult
indeed — YES! I DON ’T BELIEVE IT! HE ’S SAVED IT! ”
Relieved, Harry zoomed away, gazing around for the Snitch, but still
making sure he caught every word of Lee ’s commentary. It was
essential that he hold Malfoy off the Snitch until Gryffindor was more
than fifty points up —
“Gryffindor in possession, no, Slytherin in possession — no! —
Gryffindor back in possession and it ’s Katie Bell, Katie Bell for
Gryffindor with the Quaffle, she ’s streaking up the field — THAT
WAS DELIBERATE! ”
Montague, a Slytherin Chaser, had swerved in front of Katie,
 307 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

and instead of seizing the Quaffle had grabbed her head. Katie cart -
wheeled in the air, managed to stay on her broom, but dropped the
Quaffle.
Madam Hooch ’s whistle rang out again as she soared over to
Montague and began shouting at him. A minute later, Katie had put
another penalty past the Slytherin Seeker.
“THIRTY –ZERO! TAKE THAT, YOU DIRTY, CHEAT - ING
— ”
“Jordan, if you can ’t commentate in an unbiased way — !”
“I’m telling it like it is, Professor! ”
Harry felt a huge jolt of excitement. He had seen the Snitch — it was
shimmering at the foot of one of the Gryffindor goal posts — but he
mustn ’t catch it yet — and if Malfoy saw it — Faking a look of sudden
concentration, Harry pulled his Fire - bolt aroun d and sped off toward
the Slytherin end — it worked. Malfoy went haring after him, clearly
thinking Harry had seen the Snitch there. . . .
WHOOSH.
One of the Bludgers came streaking past Harry ’s right ear, hit by the
gigantic Slytherin Beater, Derrick. T hen again — WHOOSH.
The second Bludger grazed Harry ’s elbow. The other Beater, Bole, was
closing in.
Harry had a fleeting glimpse of Bole and Derrick zooming toward him,
clubs raised —
He turned the Firebolt upward at the last second, and Bole and Derrick
collided with a sickening crunch.
“Ha haaa! ” yelled Lee Jordan as the Slytherin Beaters lurched away
from each other, clutching their heads. “Too bad, boys! You ’ll
 308 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

need to get up earlier than that to beat a Firebolt! And it ’s Gryf - findor
in possession again, as Johnson takes the Quaffle — Flint alongside
her — poke him in the eye, Angelina! — it was a joke, Professor, it was
a joke — oh no — Flint in possession, Flint flying toward the
Gryffindor goal posts, come on now, Wood, save — !” But Flint had
scored; there was an eruption of cheers from the Slytherin end, and
Lee swore so badly that Professor McGonaga ll tried to tug the magical
megaphone away from him.
“Sorry, Professor, sorry! Won ’t happen again! So, Gryffindor in the
lead, thirty points to ten, and Gryffindor in possession — ”
It was turning into the dirtiest game Harry had ever played in. Enraged
that Gryffindor had taken such an early lead, the Slytherins were
rapidly resorting to any means to take the Quaffle. Bole hit Alicia with
his club and tried to say he ’d thought she was a Bludger. George
Weasley elbowed Bole in the face in reta lia - tion. Madam Hooch
awarded both teams penalties, and Wood pulled off another
spectacular save, making the score forty -ten to Gryffindor.
The Snitch had disappeared again. Malfoy was still keeping close to
Harry as he soared over the match, looking aro und for it — once
Gryffindor was fifty points ahead —
Katie scored. Fifty -ten. Fred and George Weasley were swoop - ing
around her, clubs raised, in case any of the Slytherins were thinking of
revenge. Bole and Derrick took advantage of Fred ’s and George ’s
absence to aim both Bludgers at Wood; they caught him in the
stomach, one after the other, and he rolled over in the air, clutching his
broom, completely winded.
Madam Hooch was beside herself.
“YOU DO NOT ATTACK THE KEEPER UNLESS THE
 309 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

QUAFFLE IS WITHIN THE SCORING AREA! ” she shrieked at
Bole and Derrick. “Gryffindor penalty! ”
And Angelina scored. Sixty -ten. Moments later, Fred Weasley pelted a
Bludger at Warrington, knocking the Quaff le out of his hands; Alicia
seized it and put it through the Slytherin goal — seventy -ten.
The Gryffindor crowd below was screaming itself hoarse —
Gryffindor was sixty points in the lead, and if Harry caught the Snitch
now, the Cup was theirs. Harry c ould almost feel hundreds of eyes
following him as he soared around the field, high above the rest of the
game, with Malfoy speeding along behind him.
And then he saw it. The Snitch was sparkling twenty feet above him.
Harry put on a huge burst of speed; the wind was roaring in his ears; he
stretched out his hand, but suddenly, the Firebolt was slow - ing down

Horrified, he looked around. Malfoy had thrown himself for - ward,
grabbed hold of the Firebolt ’s tail, and w as pulling it back. “You — ”
Harry was angry enough to hit Malfoy, but couldn ’t reach — Malfoy
was panting with the effort of holding onto the Firebolt, but his eyes
were sparkling maliciously. He had achieved what he ’d wanted to do
— the Snitch had disa ppeared again.
“Penalty! Penalty to Gryffindor! I ’ve never seen such tactics! ” Madam
Hooch screeched, shooting up to where Malfoy was slid - ing back
onto his Nimbus Two Thousand and One.
“YOU CHEATING SCUM! ” Lee Jordan was howling into the
megaphone, d ancing out of Professor McGonagall ’s reach. “YOU
FILTHY, CHEATING B — ”
 310 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

Professor McGonagall didn ’t even bother to tell him off. She was
actually shaking her finger in Malfoy ’s direction, her hat had fallen off,
and she too was shouting furiously.
Alicia took Gryffindor ’s penalty, but she was so angry she missed by
several feet. The Gryffindor team was losing concentration and the
Slytherins, delighted by Malfoy ’s foul on Harr y, were being spurred on
to greater heights.
“Slytherin in possession, Slytherin heading for goal — Montague
scores — ” Lee groaned. “Seventy -twenty to Gryf - findor. . . . ”
Harry was now marking Malfoy so closely their knees kept hit - ting
each other. Harry wasn ’t going to let Malfoy anywhere near the
Snitch. . . .
“Get out of it, Potter! ” Malfoy yelled in frustration as he tried to turn
and found Harry blocking him.
“Angelina Johnson gets the Quaffle for Gryffindor, come on,
Angelin a, COME ON! ”
Harry looked around. Every single Slytherin player apart from Malfoy
was streaking up the pitch toward Angelina, including the Slytherin
Keeper — they were all going to block her —
Harry wheeled the Firebolt around, bent so low he was lying flat along
the handle, and kicked it forward. Like a bullet, he shot toward the
Slytherins.
“AAAAAAARRRGH! ”
They scattered as the Firebolt zoomed toward them; Angelina ’s way
was clear.
“SHE SCORES! SHE SCORES! Gryffindor leads by eighty points to
twen ty! ”
Harry, who had almost pelted headlong into the stands, skidded
 311 ‘

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

to a halt in midair, reversed, and zoomed back into the middle of the
field.
And then he saw something to make his heart stand still. Malfoy was
diving, a look of triumph on his face — there, a few feet above the
grass below, was a tiny, golden glimmer —
Harry urged the Firebolt downward, but Malfoy was miles ahead —
“Go! Go! Go! ” Harry urged his broom. He was gaining on Mal - foy —
Harry flattened himself to the broom handle as Bole sent a Bludger at
him — he was at Malfoy ’s ankles — he was level — Harry threw
himself forward, took both hands off his broom. He knocked Malfoy ’s
arm out of the way and —
“YES! ”
He pulled out of his dive, his hand in the air, and the stadium exploded.
Harry soared above the crowd, an odd ringing in his ears. The tiny
golden ball was held tight in his fist, beating its wings hopelessly
against his f ingers.
Then Wood was speeding toward him, half -blinded by tears; he seized
Harry around the neck and sobbed unrestrainedly into his shoulder.
Harry felt two large thumps as Fred and George hit
them; then Angelina ’s, Alicia ’s, and Katie ’s voices, “ We ’ve won the
Cup ! We ’ve won the Cup !” Tangled together in a many -armed hug,
the Gryffindor team sank, yelling hoarsely, back to earth.
Wave upon wave of crimson supporters was pouring over the barriers
onto the field. Hands were raining down on their backs. Harry had a
confused impression of noise and bodies pressing in on him. Then he,
and the rest of the team, were hoisted onto the shoulders of the crowd.
Thrust into the light, he saw Hagrid, plas -
 312 ‘

THE QUIDDITCH FINAL

tered with crimson rosettes — “Yeh beat ’em, Harry, yeh beat ’em!
Wait till I tell Buckbeak! ” There was Percy, jumping up and down like
a maniac, all dignity forgotten. Professor McGonagall was sob - bing
harder even than Wood, wiping her eyes with an enormous Gryffindor
flag; and there, fighting their way toward Harry, were Ron and
Hermione. Words failed them. They simply beamed as Harry was
borne toward the stands, where Dumbledore stood waiting wit h the
enormous Quidditch Cup.
If only there had been a dementor around. . . . As a sobbing Wood
passed Harry the Cup, as he lifted it into the air, Harry felt he could
have produced the world ’s best Patronus.



















 313 ‘

C H A P T E R S I X T E E
N









PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’ S
PREDICTION


arry ’s euphoria at finally winning the Quidditch Cup
H
lasted at least a week. Even the weather seemed to be cel -
ebrating; as June approached, the days became cloudless and sultry,
and all anybody felt like doing was strolling onto the grounds and
flopping down on the grass wi th several pints of iced pumpkin juice,
perhaps playing a casual game of Gobstones or watching the giant
squid propel itself dreamily across the surface of the lake.
But they couldn ’t. Exams were nearly upon them, and instead of lazing
around outside, the students were forced to remain inside the castle,
trying to bully their brains into concentrating while en - ticing wafts of
summer air drifted in through the windows. Even Fred and George

Weasley had been spotted working; they were about to take their
O.W .L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels). Percy was getting ready to take
his N.E.W.T.s (Nastily Exhausting Wiz - arding Tests), the highest
qualification Hogwarts offered. As Percy
 314 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

hoped to enter the Ministry of Magic, he needed top grades. He was
becoming increasingly edgy, and gave very severe punishments to
anybody who disturbed the quiet of the common room in the evenings.
In fact, the only person who seemed more anxious than Per cy was
Hermione.
Harry and Ron had given up asking her how she was managing to
attend several classes at once, but they couldn ’t restrain them - selves
when they saw the exam schedule she had drawn up for her - self. The
first column read:

Monday
9 o?clock, Arithmancy
9 o?clock, Transfiguration
Lunch
1 o?clock, Charms
1 o?clock, Ancient Runes

“Hermione? ” Ron said cautiously, because she was liable to explode
when interrupted these days. “Er — are you sure you ’ve copied down
these times right? ”
“What? ” snapped Hermione, picking up the exam schedule and
examining it. “Yes, of course I have. ”
“Is there any point asking how you ’re going to sit for two exams at
once? ” said Harry.
“No, ” said Hermione shortly. “Have either of you seen my copy
of Numerology and Gramatica ?”
“Oh, yeah, I borrowed it for a bit of bedtime reading, ” said Ron, but
very quietly. Hermione started shifting heaps of parchment
 315 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

around on her table, looking for the book. Just then, there was a rustle
at the window and Hedwig fluttered through it, a note clutched tight in
her beak.
“It’s from Hagrid, ” said Harry, ripping the note open. “Buck - beak ’s
appeal — it’s set for the sixth .”
“That ’s the day we finish our exams, ” said Hermione, still look - ing
everywhere for her Arithmancy book.
“And they ’re coming up here to do it, ” said Harry, still reading from
the letter. “Someone from the Ministry of Magic and — and an
executioner. ”
Hermione looked up, startled.
“They ’re bringing the executioner to the appeal! But that sounds as
though they ’ve already decided! ”
“Yeah, it does, ” said Harry slowly.
“They can ’t!” Ron howled. “I’ve spent ages reading up on stuff
for him; they ca n’t just ignore it all! ”
But Harry had a horrible feeling that the Committee for the Disposal
of Dangerous Creatures had had its mind made up for it by Mr. Malfoy.
Draco, who had been noticeably subdued since Gryffindor ’s triumph
in the Quidditch final, seemed to regain some of his old swagger over
the next few days. From sneering comments Harry overheard, Malfoy
was certain Buckbeak was go - ing to be killed, and seemed thoroughly
pleased with himself for bringing it about. It was all Harry could do to
stop himself imitat - ing Hermione and hitting Malfoy in the face on
these occasions. And the worst thing of all was that they had no time
or opportu - nity to go and see Hagrid, because the strict new security
measures had not been lifted, and Harry didn ’t d are retrieve his
Invisibility Cloak from below the one -eyed witch.
 316 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION


 ‘ ‘

Exam week began and an unnatural hush fell over the castle. The third
years emerged from Transfiguration at lunchtime on Monday, limp
and ashen -faced, comparing results and bemoaning the diffi - culty of
the tasks they had been set, which had included turning a teapot into a
tortoise. Hermione irritated the rest by fuss ing about how her tortoise
had looked more like a turtle, which was the least of everyone else ’s
worries.
“Mine still had a spout for a tail, what a nightmare. . . . ”
“Were the tortoises supposed to breathe steam? ”
“It still had a willow -patterned shell, d ’you think that ’ll count against
me? ”
Then, after a hasty lunch, it was straight back upstairs for the Charms
exam. Hermione had been right; Professor Flitwick did in - deed test
them on Cheering Charms. Harry slig htly overdid his out of nerves and
Ron, who was partnering him, ended up in fits of hysterical laughter
and had to be led away to a quiet room for an hour before he was ready
to perform the charm himself. After din - ner, the students hurried
back to their common rooms, not to re - lax, but to start studying for
Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, and Astronomy.
Hagrid presided over the Care of Magical Creatures exam the
following morning with a very preoccupied air indeed; his heart didn ’t
seem to be in it at all. He had provided a large tub of fresh
flobberworms for the class, and told them that to pass the test, their
flobberworm had to still be alive at the end of one hour. As
flobberworms flourished best if left to their own devices, it was the
easiest e xam any of them had ever taken, and also gave
 317 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Harry, Ron, and Hermione plenty of opportunity to speak to Hagrid.
“Beaky ’s gettin ’ a bit depressed, ” Hagrid told them, bending low on
the pretense of checking that Harry ’s flobberworm was still alive. “Bin
cooped up too long. But still . . . we ’ll know day after tomorrow — one
way or the other — ”
They had Potions that afternoon, which was an unqualified dis - aster.
Try as Harry mig ht, he couldn ’t get his Confusing Concoc - tion to
thicken, and Snape, standing watch with an air of vindictive pleasure,
scribbled something that looked suspiciously like a zero onto his notes
before moving away.
Then came Astronomy at midnight, up on the tallest tower; History of
Magic on Wednesday morning, in which Harry scribbled everything
Florean Fortescue had ever told him about medieval witch -hunts,
while wishing he could have had one of Fortescue ’s choco -nu t sundaes
with him in the stifling classroom. Wednesday afternoon meant
Herbology, in the greenhouses under a baking -hot sun; then back to
the common room once more, with sunburnt necks, thinking
longingly of this time next day, when it would all be over.
Their second to last exam, on Thursday morning, was Defense Against
the Dark Arts. Professor Lupin had compiled the most un - usual exam
any of them had ever taken; a sort of obstacle course outside in the sun,
where they had to wade across a deep paddling pool containing a
grindylow, cross a series of potholes full of Red Caps, squish their way
across a patch of marsh while ignoring mis - leading directions from a
hinkypunk, then climb into an old trunk and battle with a new boggart.
 318 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

“Excellent, Harry, ” Lupin muttered as Harry climbed out of the trunk,
grinning. “Full marks. ”
Flushed with his success, Harry hung around to watch Ron and
Hermione. Ron did very well until he reached the hinkypunk, which
successfully confused him into sinking waist -high into the quagmire.
Hermione did everything perfectly until she reached the trunk with the
boggart in it. After about a minute inside it, sh e burst out again,
screaming.
“Hermione! ” said Lupin, startled. “What ’s the matter? ” “P — P —
Professor McGonagall! ” Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk.
“Sh — she said I ’d failed everything! ”
It took a little while to calm Hermione down. When at last she had
regained a grip on herself, she, Harry, and Ron went back to the castle.
Ron was still slightly inclined to laugh at Hermione ’s boggart, but an
argument was averted by the sight that met them on the top of the
steps.
Cornelius Fudge, sweati ng slightly in his pinstriped cloak, was standing
there staring out at the grounds. He started at the sight of Harry.
“Hello there, Harry! ” he said. “Just had an exam, I expect? Nearly
finished? ”
“Yes, ” said Harry. Hermione and Ron, not being on spe aking terms
with the Minister of Magic, hovered awkwardly in the back - ground.
“Lovely day, ” said Fudge, casting an eye over the lake. “Pity . . .
pity . . . ”
He sighed deeply and looked down at Harry.
“I’m here on an unpleasant mission, Harry. The Committee for
 319 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures required a witness to the exe -
cution of a mad hippogriff. As I needed to visit Hogwarts to check on
the Black situation, I was asked to step in. ”
“Does that mean the appeal ’s already happened? ” Ron inter - rupted,
stepping forward.
“No, no, it ’s scheduled for this afternoon, ” said Fudge, looking
curiously at Ron.
“Then you might not have to witness an execution at all! ” said Ron
stoutly. “The hippogriff might get off! ”
Before Fudge could answer, two wizards came through the castle
doors behind him. One was so ancient he appeared to be withering
before their very eyes; the other was tall and strappin g, with a thin
black mustache. Harry gathered that they were representatives of the
Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, because the very
old wizard squinted toward Hagrid ’s cabin and said in a feeble voice,
“Dear, dear, I ’m getting too old f or this. . . . Two o ’clock, isn ’t it,
Fudge? ”
The black -mustached man was fingering something in his belt; Harry
looked and saw that he was running one broad thumb along the blade
of a shining axe. Ron opened his mouth to say some - thing, but
Hermione nud ged him hard in the ribs and jerked her head toward the
entrance hall.
“Why ’d you stop me? ” said Ron angrily as they entered the Great Hall
for lunch. “Did you see them? They ’ve even got the axe ready! This
isn ’t justice! ”
“Ron, your dad works for the Ministry, you can ’t go saying things like
that to his boss! ” said Hermione, but she too looked very upset. “As
long as Hagrid keeps his head this time, and argues his case properly,
they can ’t possibly execute Buckbeak. . . . ”
 320 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

But Harry could tell Hermione didn ’t really believe what she was
saying. All around them, people were talking excitedly as they ate their
lunch, happily anticipating the end of the exams that after - noon, but
Harry, Ron, and Hermione, lost in worry about Hagrid and Buckbeak,
didn ’t join in.
Harry ’s and Ron ’s last exam was Divination; Hermione ’s, Muggle
Studies. They walked up the mar ble staircase together; Hermione
left them on the first floor and Harry and Ron pro - ceeded all the way
up to the seventh, where many of their class were sitting on the spiral
staircase to Professor Trelawney ’s classroom, trying to cram in a bit of
last -mi nute studying.
“She ’s seeing us all separately, ” Neville informed them as they
went to sit down next to him. He had his copy of Unfogging the Fu -
ture open on his lap at the pages devoted to crystal gazing. “Have
either of you ever seen anything in a crystal ball? ” he asked them
unhappily.
“Nope, ” said Ron in an offhand voice. He kept checking his watch;
Harry knew that he was counting down the time until Buckbeak ’s
appeal started.
The line of people outside the classroom shortened very sl owly. As
each person climbed back down the silver ladder, the rest of the class
hissed, “What did she ask? Was it okay? ”
But they all refused to say.
“She says the crystal ball ’s told her that if I tell you, I ’ll have a horrible
accident! ” squeaked Neville as he clambered back down the ladder
toward Harry and Ron, who had now reached the landing. “That ’s
convenient, ” snorted Ron. “You know, I ’m starting to think Hermione
was right about her ” — he jabbed his thumb toward the trapdoor
overhe ad — “she ’s a right old fraud. ”
 321 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

“Yeah, ” said Harry, looking at his own watch. It was now two o ’clock.
“Wish she ’d hurry up . . . ”
Parvati came back down the ladder glowing with pride. “She says
I’ve got all the makings of a true Seer, ” she informed
Harry and Ron. “I saw loads of stuff. . . . Well, good luck! ”
She hurried off down the spiral staircase toward Lavender. “Ronald
Weasley, ” said the familiar, misty voice from over their heads. Ron
grimaced at Harry and climbed the silver ladder out of sight. Harry was
now the only person left to be tested. He settled himself on the floor
with his back against the wall, listening to a fly buzzing in the sunny
window, his mind across the grounds with Hagrid.
Finally, after about twenty minutes, Ron ’s large feet reappeared on the
ladder.
“How ’d it go? ” Harry asked him, standing up.
“Rubbish, ” said Ron. “Couldn ’t see a thing, so I made some stuff up.
Don ’t think she was convinced, though. . . . ”
“Meet you in the common room, ” Harry muttered as Professor
Trelawney ’s voice called, “Harry Potter! ”
The tower room was hotter than ever before; the curtains were closed,
the fire was alight, and the usual sickly scent made Harry cough as he
stumbled through the clutter of chairs and tables to where Professor
Trelawney sat waiting for him before a large crystal ball.
“Good day, my dear, ” she said softly. “If you would kindly gaze into
the Orb. . . . Take your time, now . . . then tell me what you see within
it. . . . ”
Harry bent over the crystal ball and stared, stared as hard as he
 322 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

could, willing it to show him something other than swirling white fog,
but nothing happened.
“Well? ” Professor Trelawney prompted delicately. “What do you see? ”
The heat was overpowering and his nostrils were stinging with the
perfumed smoke wafting from the fire beside them. He thought of
what Ron had just said, a nd decided to pretend.
“Er — ” said Harry, “a dark shape . . . um . . . ”
“What does it resemble? ” whispered Professor Trelawney. “Think,
now . . . ”
Harry cast his mind around and it landed on Buckbeak. “A
hippogriff, ” he said firmly.
“Indeed! ” whispered Professor Trelawney, scribbling keenly on the
parchment perched upon her knees. “My boy, you may well be seeing
the outcome of poor Hagrid ’s trouble with the Ministry of Magic!
Look closer. . . . Does the hippogriff appear to . . . have its head ?”
“Yes, ” said Harry firmly.
“Are you sure? ” Professor Trelawney urged him. “Are you quite sure,
dear? You don ’t see it writhing on the ground, perhaps, and a shadowy
figure raising an axe behind it? ”
“No! ” said Harry, starting to feel slightly sick.
“No blood? No weeping Hagrid? ”
“No! ” said Harry again, wanting more than ever to leave the room and
the heat. “It looks fine, it ’s — flying away. . . . ” Professor Trelawney
sighed.
“Well, dear, I think we ’ll leave it there. . . . A little disappoint - ing . . .
but I ’m sure you did your best. ”
 323 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

onight. ”
Relieved, Harry got up, picked up his bag and turned to go, but
happen t
then a loud, harsh voice spoke behind him.
“It will
Harry wheeled around. Professor Trelawney had gone rigid in her
armchair; her eyes were unfocused and her mouth sagging.
“S — sorry? ” said Harry. ned by
, abando twelve
But Professor Trelawney didn ’t seem to hear him. Her eyes
iendless ed these
ill br eak
started to roll. Harry sat there in a panic. She looked as though she
e and fr rvant w ord will
was about to have some sort of seizure. He hesitated, thinking of
en chain
. . the se e Dark
L
terrible
lies alon t has be
running to the hospital wing — and then Professor Trelawney
dnight . ster. Th nd more the
ser -
spoke again, in the same harsh voice, quite unlike her own: rk Lord
“The Da is servan n his ma reater a ight . . . .”
owers. H efore mi t’s aid, g ore midn aster. . .
his foll night, b to rejoi t . . . bef . . . his m
years. To set out is servan
.
Tonigh
o rejoin
free and in with h r
he was
out . . . t
rise aga than eve will set
vant . . .

Professor Trelawney ’s head fell forward onto her chest. She made a
grunting sort of noise. Harry sat there, staring at her. Then, quite
suddenly, Professor Trelawney ’s head snapped up again.
“I’m so sorry, dear boy, ” she said dreamily, “the heat of the day, you
know . . . I drifted off for a moment. . . . ”
Harry sat there, staring at her.
“Is there anything wrong, my dear? ”
“You — you just told me that the — the Dark Lord ’s going to rise
again . . . that his servant ’s going to go back to him. . . .” Professor
Trelawney looked thoroughly startled.
 324 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

“The Dark Lord? He -Who -Must -Not -Be -Named? My dear boy, that ’s
hardly something to joke about. . . . Rise again, indeed — ” “But you
just said it! You said the Dark Lord — ”
“I think you must have dozed off too, dear! ” said Professor Trelawney.
“I would certainly not presume to predict anything
quite as far -fetched as that !”
Harry climbed back down the ladder and the spiral staircase,
wondering . . . had he just heard Professor Trelawney make a real
prediction? Or had that been her idea of an impressive end to the test?
Five minutes later he was dashing past the security tr olls outside the
entrance to Gryffindor Tower, Professor Trelawney ’s words still
resounding in his head. People were striding past him in the oppo - site
direction, laughing and joking, heading for the grounds and a bit of
long -awaited freedom; by the time he had reached the por - trait hole
and entered the common room, it was almost deserted. Over in the
corner, however, sat Ron and Hermione.
“Professor Trelawney, ” Harry panted, “just told me — ” But he
stopped abruptly at the sight of their faces. “Buckbeak lost, ” said Ron
weakly. “Hagrid ’s just sent this. ” Hagrid ’s note was dry this time, no
tears had splattered it, yet his hand seemed to have shaken so much as
he wrote that it was hardly legible.

Lost appeal. TheUHJRLQJWRH[HFXWHDWVXQVHW
Nothin g RXFDQGR'RQWFRPHGRZQ,GRQW
want you to see it
Hagrid
 325 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

“We ’ve got to go, ” said Harry at once. “He can ’t just sit there on his
own, waiting for the executioner! ”
“Sunset, though, ” said Ron, who was staring out the window in a
glazed sort of way. “We ’d never be allowed . . . ’specially you,
Harry. . . . ”
Harry sank his head into his hands, thinking.
“If we only had the Invisibility Cloak. . . . ”
“Where is it? ” said Hermione.
Harry told her about leaving it in the passageway under the one - eyed
witch.
“. . . if Snape sees me anywhere near there again, I ’m in serious
trouble, ” he finished.
“That ’s true, ” said Hermione, getting to her feet. “If he sees
you . . . . How do you open the witch ’s hump again? ”
“You — you tap it and say, ‘ Dissendium, ’” said Harry. “But — ”
Hermione didn ’t wait for the rest of his sentence; she strode across the
room, pushed open the Fat Lady ’s portrait and vanished from sight.
“She hasn ’t gone to get it? ” Ron said, staring after her. She had.
Hermione returned a quarter of an hour later with the silvery cloak
folded carefully under her robes.
“Hermione, I don ’t know what ’s gotten into you lately! ” said Ron,
astounded. “First you hit Ma lfoy, then you walk out on Pro - fessor
Trelawney — ”
Hermione looked rather flattered.

They went down to dinner with everybody else, but did not return to
Gryffindor Tower afterward. Harry had the cloak hidden down the
front of his robes; he had to ke ep his arms folded to hide the
 326 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

lump. They skulked in an empty chamber off the entrance hall, lis -
tening, until they were sure it was deserted. They heard a last pair of
people hurrying across the hall and a door slamming. Hermione poked
her head around the door.
“Okay, ” she whispered, “no one there — cloak on — ” Walking very
close together so that nobody would see them, they crossed the hall on
tiptoe beneath the cl oak, then walked down the stone front steps into
the grounds. The sun was already sinking behind the Forbidden Forest,
gilding the top branches of the trees. They reached Hagrid ’s cabin and
knocked. He was a minute in answering, and when he did, he looked all
around for his visitor, pale -faced and trembling.
“It’s us, ” Harry hissed. “We ’re wearing the Invisibility Cloak. Let us in
and we can take it off. ”
“Yeh shouldn ’ve come! ” Hagrid whispered, but he stood back, and
they stepped inside. Hagrid shut the door quickly and Harry pulled off
the cloak.
Hagrid was not crying, nor did he throw himself upon their necks. He
looked like a man who did not know where he was or what to do. This
helplessness was worse to watch than tears.
“Wan ’ some tea? ” he said. His great hands were shaking as he reached
for the kettle.
“Where ’s Buckbeak, Hagrid? ” said Hermione hesitantly. “I — I took
him outside, ” said Hagrid, spilling milk all over the table as he filled up
the jug. “He ’s tethered in me pumpkin patch. Thought he oughta see
the trees an ’ — an ’ smell fresh air — before — ”
Hagrid ’s hand trembled so violently that the milk jug slipped from his
grasp and shattered all over the floor.
 327 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

“I’ll do it, Hagrid, ” said Hermione quickly, hurrying over and starting
to clean up the mess.
“There ’s another one in the cupboard, ” Hagrid said, sitting down and
wiping his forehead on his sleeve. Harry glanced at Ron, who looked
back hopelessly.
“Isn ’t there anything anyone can do, Hagrid? ” Harry asked fiercely,
sitting down next to him. “Dumbledore — ”
“He ’s tried, ” said Hagrid. “He ’s got no power ter overrule the
Committee. He told ’em Buckbeak ’s all right, but they ’re scared. . . .
Yeh know what Lucius Malfoy ’s like . . . threatened ’em, I expect . . . an ’
the executioner, Macnair, he ’s an old pal o ’ Mal - foy ’s . . . but it ’ll be
quick an ’ clean . . . an ’ I’ll be beside him. . . . ” Hagrid swallowed. His
eyes were dar ting all over the cabin as though looking for some shred
of hope or comfort. “Dumbledore ’s gonna come down while it —
while it happens. Wrote me this mornin ’. Said he wants ter — ter be
with me. Great man, Dumbledore. . . . ”
Hermione, who had been rummagi ng in Hagrid ’s cupboard for
another milk jug, let out a small, quickly stifled sob. She straight - ened
up with the new jug in her hands, fighting back tears.
“We ’ll stay with you too, Hagrid, ” she began, but Hagrid shook his
shaggy head.
“Yeh ’re ter go back up ter the castle. I told yeh, I don ’ wan ’ yeh
watchin ’. An ’ yeh shouldn ’ be down here anyway. . . . If Fudge an ’
Dumbledore catch yeh out without permission, Harry, yeh ’ll be in big
trouble. ”
Silent tears were now streaming down Hermione ’s face, but she hid
them from Hagrid, bustling around making tea. Then, as she
 328 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

picked up the milk bottle to pour some into the jug, she let out a shriek.
“Ron! I — I don ’t believe it — it’s Scabbers !”
Ron gaped at her.
“What are you talking about? ”
Hermione carried the milk jug over to the table and turned it upside
down. With a frantic squeak, and much scrambling to get back inside,
Scabbers the rat came sliding out onto the table. “Scabbers! ” said Ron
blankly. “Scabbers, what are you doing here? ”
He grabbed the struggling rat and held him up to the light. Scabbers
looked dreadful. He was thinner than ever, large tufts of hair had fallen
out leaving wide bald patc hes, and he writhed in Ron ’s hands as
though desperate to free himself.
“It’s okay, Scabbers! ” said Ron. “No cats! There ’s nothing here to hurt
you! ”
Hagrid suddenly stood up, his eyes fixed on the window. His normally
ruddy face had gone the color of parchment.
“They ’re comin ’. . . . ”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione whipped around. A group of men was
walking down the distant castle steps. In front was Albus Dumbledore,
his silver beard gleaming in the dying sun. N ext to him trotted
Cornelius Fudge. Behind them came the feeble old Committee
member and the executioner, Macnair.
“Yeh gotta go, ” said Hagrid. Every inch of him was trembling. “They
mustn ’ find yeh here. . . . Go now. . . . ”
Ron stuffed Scabbers into hi s pocket and Hermione picked up the
cloak.
 329 ‘

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

“I’ll let yeh out the back way, ” said Hagrid.
They followed him to the door into his back garden. Harry felt
strangely unreal, and even more so when he saw Buckbeak a few yards
away, tethered to a tree behind Hagrid ’s pumpkin patch. Buckbeak
seemed to know something was happening. He turned his sharp head
from side to side and pawed the ground nervously. “It’s okay, Beaky, ”
said Hagrid softly. “It’s okay . . . ” He turned
to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. “Go on, ” he said. “Get goin ’.”
But they didn ’t move.
“Hagrid, we can ’t — ”
“We ’ll tell them what really happened — ”
“They can ’t kill him — ”
“Go! ” said Hagrid fiercely. “It’s bad enough without you lot in trouble
an ’ all! ”
They had no choice. As Hermione threw the cloak over Harry and Ron,
they heard voices at the front of the cabin. Hagrid looked at the place
where they had just vanished from si ght.
“Go quick, ” he said hoarsely. “Don ’ listen. . . . ”
And he strode back into his cabin as someone knocked at the front
door.
Slowly, in a kind of horrified trance, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off
silently around Hagrid ’s house. As they reached the o ther side, the
front door closed with a sharp snap.
“Please, let ’s hurry, ” Hermione whispered. “I can ’t stand it, I can ’t bear
it. . . . ”
They started up the sloping lawn toward the castle. The sun was
sinking fast now; the sky had turned to a clear, purple -tinged grey, but
to the west there was a ruby -red glow.
 330 ‘

PROFESSOR
TRELAWNEY ’S
PREDICTION

Ron stopped dead.
“Oh, please, Ron, ” Hermione began.
“It’s Scabbers — he won ’t — stay put — ”
Ron was bent over, trying to keep Scabbers in his pocket, but the rat
was going berserk; squeaking madly, twisting and flailing, try - ing to
sink his teeth into Ron ’s hand.
“Scabbers, it ’s me, you idiot, it ’s Ron, ” Ron hissed. They heard a door
open behind them and men ’s voices. “Oh, Ron, please let ’s move,
they ’re going to do it! ” Hermione breathed.
“Okay — Scabbers, stay put — ”
They walked forward; Harry, like Hermione, was trying not to listen to
the rumble of voices beh ind them. Ron stopped again.
“I can ’t hold him — Scabbers, shut up, everyone ’ll hear us — ” 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, a nd then, without warning, the unmistakable swish
and thud of an axe.
Hermione swayed on the spot.
“They did it! ” she whispered to Harry. “I d — don ’t believe it — they
did it! ”









 331 ‘

C H A P T E R S E V E N T
E E N









CAT, RAT, AND
DOG




arry ’s mind had gone blank with shock. The three of them
H
stood transfixed with horror under the Invisibility Cloak.
The very last rays of the setting sun were casting a bloody light over the
long -shadowed grounds. Then, behind them, they heard a wild
howling.
“Hagrid, ” Harry muttered. Without thinking about what he was doing,
he made to turn back, but both Ron and Hermione seized his arms.

“We can ’t,” said Ron, who was paper -white. “He ’ll be in worse trouble
if they know we ’ve been to see him. . . . ”
Hermione ’s breathing was shallow and uneven.
“How — could — they? ” she choked. “How could they? ”
“Come on, ” said Ron, whose teeth seemed to be chattering. They set
off back toward the castle, walking slowly to keep themselves hidden
under the cloak. The light was fading fast now.
 332 ‘

CAT, RAT, AN D DOG

By the time they reached open ground, darkness was settling like a spell
around them.
“Scabbers, keep still, ” Ron hissed, clamping his hand over his chest.
The rat was wriggling madly. Ron came to a sudden halt, try - ing to
force Scabbers deeper into his pocket. “What ’s the matter with you,
you stupid rat? Stay still — OUCH! He bit me! ”
“Ron, be quiet! ” Hermione whispered urgently. “Fudge ’ll be out here
in a minute — ”
“He won ’t — stay — put — ”
Scabbers was plainly terrified. He was writhing with all his might,
trying to break free of Ron ’s grip.
“What ’s the matter with him? ”
But Harry had just seen — slinking toward them, his body low to the
ground, wide yellow eyes glinting eerily in the darkness —
Crookshanks. Whether he could see them or was following the sound
of Scabbers ’s squeaks, Harry couldn ’t tell.
“Crookshanks! ” Hermione moaned. “No, go away, Crook - shanks!
Go away! ”
But the cat was getting nearer —
“Scabbers — NO! ”
Too late — the rat had slipped between Ron ’s clutching fingers, hit the
ground, and scampered away. In one bound, Crookshanks sprang after
him, and before Harry or Hermione could stop him, Ron had thrown
the Invisibility Cloak off himself and pelted away i nto the darkness.
“ Ron !” Hermione moaned.
She and Harry looked at each other, then followed at a sprint; it was
impossible to run full out under the cloak; they pulled it off
 333 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


and it streamed behind them like a banner as they hurtled after Ron;
they could hear his feet thundering along ahead and his shouts at
Crookshanks.
“Get away from him — get away — Scabbers, come here — ”
There was a loud thud.
“ Gotcha ! Get off, you stinking cat — ”
Harry and Hermione almost fell over Ron; they skidded to a stop right
in front of him. He was sprawled on the ground, but Scabbers was
back in his pocket; he had both hands held tight over the quivering
lump.
“Ron — com e on — back under the cloak — ” Hermione panted.
“Dumbledore — the Minister — they ’ll be coming back out in a
minute — ”
But before they could cover themselves again, before they could even
catch their breath, they heard the soft pounding of gigantic paws. . . .
Something was bounding toward them, quiet as a shadow — an
enormous, pale -eyed, jet -black dog.
Harry reached for his wand, but too late — the dog had made an
enormous leap and the front paws hit him on the chest; he keeled over
backward in a whirl o f hair; he felt its hot breath, saw inch -long teeth

But the force of its leap had carried it too far; it rolled off him. Dazed,
feeling as though his ribs were broken, Harry tried to stand up; he
could hear it growling as it skidded around for a new a ttack. Ron was
on his feet. As the dog sprang back toward them he pushed Harry
aside; the dog ’s jaws fastened instead around Ron ’s outstretched arm.
Harry lunged forward, he seized a handful of the brute ’s hair, but it was
dragging Ron away as easily as th ough he were a rag doll —
 334 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

Then, out of nowhere, something hit Harry so hard across the face he
was knocked off his feet again. He heard Hermione shriek with pain
and fall too.
Harry groped for his wand, blinking blood out of his eyes —
“ Lumos !” he whispered.
The wandlight showed him the trunk of a thick tree; they had chased
Scabbers into the shadow of the Whomping Willow and its branches
were creaking as though in a high wind, whipping back - ward and
forward to stop them going nearer.
And there, at the base of the trunk, was the dog, dragging Ron
backward into a large gap in the roots — Ron was fighting furi - ously,
but his head and torso were slipping out of sight —
“Ron! ” Harry shouted, trying to follow, but a heavy branch whipped
lethally through the air and he was forced backward again.
All they could see now was one of Ron ’s legs, which he had hooked
around a root in an e ffort to stop the dog from pulling him farther
underground — but a horrible crack cut the air like a gun - shot; Ron ’s
leg had broken, and a moment later, his foot vanished from sight.
“Harry — we ’ve got to go for help — ” Hermione gasped; she was
bleeding too; the Willow had cut her across the shoulder. “No! That
thing ’s big enough to eat him; we haven ’t got time — ”
“Harry — we ’re never going to get through without help — ” Another
branch whipped down at them, twigs clenched like knuckles.
“If that dog can get in, we can, ” Harry panted, darting here and there,
trying to find a way through the vicious, swishing branches,
 335 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


but he couldn ’t get an inch nearer to the tree roots without bei ng in
range of the tree ’s blows.
“Oh, help, help, ” Hermione whispered frantically, dancing un -
certainly on the spot, “please . . . ”
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 — ?” “He ’s friends
with that dog, ” said Harry grimly. “I’ve seen them together. Come on
— and keep your wand out — ”
They covered the distance to the trunk in seconds, but before they had
reached the gap in the roots, Croo kshanks had slid into it with a flick of
his bottlebrush tail. Harry went next; he crawled for - ward, headfirst,
and slid down an earthy slope to the bottom of a very low tunnel.
Crookshanks was a little way along, his eyes flash - ing in the light from
Har ry’s wand. Seconds later, Hermione slith - ered down beside him.
“Where ’s Ron? ” she whispered in a terrified voice. “This way, ” said
Harry, setting off, bent -backed, after Crook - shanks.
“Where does this tunnel come out? ” Hermione asked breath - lessly
from behind him.
“I don ’t know. . . . It ’s marked on the Marauder ’s Map but Fred and
George said no one ’s ever gotten into it. . . . It goes off the edge of the
map, but it looked like it was heading for Hogsmeade. . . . ”
 336 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

They moved as fast as they could, bent almost double; ahead of them,
Crookshanks ’s tail bobbed in and out of view. On and on went the
passage; it felt at least as long as the one to Honey - dukes. . . . All Harry
could think of was Ron and what the enor - mous dog might be doing
to him. . . . He was drawing breath in sharp, painful gasps, running at a
crouch. . . .
And then the tunnel began to rise; moments later it twisted, and
Crookshanks had gone. Instead, Harry could see a patch of dim light
through a small opening.
He and Hermione paused, gasping for breath, edging forward. Both
raised their wands to see what lay beyond.
It was a room, a very disordered, dusty room. Paper was peeling from
the walls; there were stains all over the floor; every piece of furniture
was broken as though somebody had smashed it. The windows were
all boarded up.
Harry glanced at Hermione, who looked very frightened but nodded.
Harry pulled himself out of the hole, staring around. The room was
deserted, but a door to their right stood open, leading to a shadowy
hallway. Hermione suddenly grabbed Harry ’s arm again. Her wide eyes
were traveling around the boarded windows. “Harry, ” she whispered,
“I think we ’re in the Shrieking Shack. ” Harry looked around. His eyes
fell on a wooden chair near them. Large chunks had been torn out of it;
one of the legs had been ripped off entirely.
“Ghosts didn ’t do that, ” he said slowly.
At that moment, there was a creak overhead. Something had moved
upstairs. Both of them looked up at the ceiling. Hermione ’s
 337 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


grip on Harry ’s arm was so tight he was losing feeling in his fingers. He
raised his eyebrows at her; she nodded again and let go.
Quietly as they could, they crept out into the hall and up the crumbling
staircase. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust except the
floor, where a wide shiny stripe had been made by some - thing being
dragged upstairs.
They reached the dark landing.
“ Nox, ” they whispered together, and the lights at the end of their
wands went out. Only one door was open. As they crept toward it, they
heard movement from behind it; a low moan, and then a deep, loud
purring. They exchanged a last look, a last nod.
Wand held tightly before him, Harry kicked the door wide open.
On a magnificent four -poster bed with dusty hangings lay
Crookshanks, purring loudly at the sight of them. On the floor be - side
him, clutching his leg, which stuck out at a strange angle, was Ron.
Harry and Hermione dashed across to him.
“Ron — are you okay? ”
“Where ’s the dog? ”
“Not a dog, ” Ron moaned. His teeth were gritted with pain. “Harry,
it’s a trap — ”
“What — ”
“ He ’s the dog . . . he’s an Animagus. . . . ”
Ron was staring over Harry ’s shoulder. Harry wheeled around. With a
snap, the man in the shadows closed the door behind them. A mass of
filthy, matted hair hung to his elbows. If eyes hadn ’t been shining out
of the deep, dark sockets, he might have been a
 338 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

corpse. The waxy skin was stretched so tightly over the bones of his
face, it looked like a skull. His yellow teeth were bared in a grin. It was
Sirius Black.
“ Expelliarmus !” he croaked, pointing Ron ’s wand at them.
Harry ’s and Hermione ’s wands shot out of their hands, high in the air,
and Black caught them. Then he took a step closer. His eyes were fixed
on Harry.
“I thought you ’d come an d help your friend, ” he said hoarsely. His
voice sounded as though he had long since lost the habit of us - ing it.
“Your father would have done the same for me. Brave of you, not to
run for a teacher. I ’m grateful . . . it will make everything much
easier. . . . ”
The taunt about his father rang in Harry ’s ears as though Black had
bellowed it. A boiling hate erupted in Harry ’s chest, leaving no place
for fear. For the first time in his life, he wanted his wand back in his
hand, not to defend himself, but to attack . . . to kill. With - out knowing
what he was doing, he started forward, but there was a sudden
movement on either side of him and two pairs of hands grabbed him
and held him back. . . . “No, Harry! ” Hermione gasped in a petrified
whisper; Ron, ho wever, spoke to Black.
“If you want to kill Harry, you ’ll have to kill us too! ” he said fiercely,
though the effort of standing upright was draining him of still more
color, and he swayed slightly as he spoke.
Something flickered in Black ’s shadowed eyes.
“Lie down, ” he said quietly to Ron. “You will damage that leg even
more. ”
“Did you hear me? ” Ron said weakly, though he was clinging painfully
to Harry to stay upright. “You ’ll have to kill all three of us! ”
 339 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


“There ’ll be only one murder here tonight, ” said Black, and his grin
widened.
“Why ’s that? ” Harry spat, trying to wrench himself free of Ron and
Hermione. “Didn ’t care last time, did you? Didn ’t mind slaughtering all
those Muggles to get at Pettigrew. . . . What ’s the matter, gone soft in
Azkaban? ”
“Harry! ” Hermione whimpered. “Be quiet! ”
“HE KILLED MY MUM AND DAD! ” Harry roared, and with a
huge effort he broke free of Hermione ’s and Ron ’s restrain t and
lunged forward —
He had forgotten about magic — he had forgotten that he was short
and skinny and thirteen, whereas Black was a tall, full -grown man — all
Harry knew was that he wanted to hurt Black as badly as he could and
that he didn ’t care how much he got hurt in re - turn —
Perhaps it was the shock of Harry doing something so stupid, but
Black didn ’t raise the wands in time — one of Harry ’s hands fastened
over his wasted wrist, forcing the wand tips away; the knuckles of
Harry ’s other hand col lided with the side of Black ’s head and they fell,
backward, into the wall —
Hermione was screaming; Ron was yelling; there was a blinding flash
as the wands in Black ’s hand sent a jet of sparks into the air that missed
Harry ’s face by inches; Harry felt the shrunken arm under his fingers
twisting madly, but he clung on, his other hand punching every part of
Black it could find.
But Black ’s free hand had found Harry ’s throat —
“No, ” he hissed, “I’ve waited too long — ”
The fingers tightened, Harry choked, his glasses askew.
 340 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

Then he saw Hermione ’s foot swing out of nowhere. Black let go of
Harry with a grunt of pain; Ron had thrown himself on Black ’s wand
hand and Harry heard a faint clatter —
He fought free of the tangle of bodies and saw his own wand rolling
across the floor; he threw himself toward it but — “Argh! ”
Crookshanks had joined the fray; both sets of front claws had sunk
themselves dee p into Harry ’s arm; Harry threw him off, but
Crookshanks now darted toward Harry ’s wand —
“NO YOU DON ’T! ” roared Harry, and he aimed a kick at
Crookshanks that made the cat leap aside, spitting; Harry snatched up
his wand and turned —
“Get out of the way! ” he shouted at Ron and Hermione. They didn ’t
need telling twice. Hermione, gasping for breath, her lip bleeding,
scrambled aside, snatching up her and Ron ’s wands. Ron crawled to
the four -poster and collapsed onto it, pant - ing, his whi te face now
tinged with green, both hands clutching his broken leg.
Black was sprawled at the bottom of the wall. His thin chest rose and
fell rapidly as he watched Harry walking slowly nearer, his wand
pointing straight at Black ’s heart.
“Going to kil l me, Harry? ” he whispered.
Harry stopped right above him, his wand still pointing at Black ’s chest,
looking down at him. A livid bruise was rising around Black ’s left eye
and his nose was bleeding.
“You killed my parents, ” said Harry, his voice shaking slightly, but his
wand hand quite steady.
Black stared up at him out of those sunken eyes.
 341 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


“I don ’t deny it, ” he said very quietly. “But if you knew the whole
story. ”
“The whole story? ” Harry repeated, a furious pounding in his ears.
“You sold them to Voldemort. That ’s all I need to know. ” “You ’ve got
to listen to me, ” Black said, and there was a note of urgency in his voice
now. “You ’ll regret it if yo u don ’t. . . . You don ’t understand. . . . ”
“I understand a lot better than you think, ” said Harry, and his voice
shook more than ever. “You never heard her, did you? My mum . . .
trying to stop Voldemort killing me . . . and you did that . . . you did
it. . . . ”
Before either of them could say another word, something ginger
streaked past Harry; Crookshanks leapt onto Black ’s chest and set - tled
himself there, right over Black ’s heart. Black blinked and looked down
at the cat.
“Get off, ” he murmured, tr ying to push Crookshanks off him. But
Crookshanks sank his claws into Black ’s robes and wouldn ’t shift. He
turned his ugly, squashed face to Harry and looked up at him with
those great yellow eyes. To his right, Hermione gave a dry sob.
Harry stared down at Black and Crookshanks, his grip tighten - ing on
the wand. So what if he had to kill the cat too? It was in league with
Black. . . . If it was prepared to die, trying to protect Black, that wasn ’t
Harry ’s business. . . . If Black wanted to save it, that only proved he
cared more for Crookshanks than for Harry ’s parents. . . .
Harry raised the wand. Now was the moment to do it. Now was the
moment to avenge his mother and father. He was going to kill Black.
He had to kill Black. This was his chance. . . .
 342 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

The seconds lengthened. And still Harry stood frozen there, wand
poised, Black staring up at him, Crookshanks on his chest. Ron ’s
ragged breathing came from near the bed; Hermione was quite sile nt.
And then came a new sound —
Muffled footsteps were echoing up through the floor — some - one
was moving downstairs.
“WE ’RE UP HERE! ” Hermione screamed suddenly. “WE ’RE
UP HERE — SIRIUS BLACK — QUICK !”
Black made a startled movement that almost dislodged Crook -
shanks; Harry gripped his wand convulsively — Do it now ! said a
voice in his head — but the footsteps were thundering up the stairs
and Harry still hadn ’t done it.
The door of the room burst open in a shower of red sparks and Harry
wheeled around as Professor Lupin came hurtling into the room, his
face bloodless, his wand raised and ready. His eyes flick - ered over Ron,
lying on the floor, over Hermione, cowering nex t to the door, to Harry,
standing there with his wand covering Black, and then to Black himself,
crumpled and bleeding at Harry ’s feet.
“ Expelliarmus !” Lupin shouted.
Harry ’s wand flew once more out of his hand; so did the two
Hermione was holding. Lupin caught them all deftly, then moved into
the room, staring at Black, who still had Crookshanks lying
protectively across his chest.
Harry stood there, feeling suddenly empty. He hadn ’t done it. His
nerve had failed him. Black wa s going to be handed back to the
dementors.
Then Lupin spoke, in a very tense voice.
“Where is he, Sirius? ”
 343 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


Harry looked quickly at Lupin. He didn ’t understand what Lupin
meant. Who was Lupin talking about? He turned to look at Black
again.
Black ’s face was quite expressionless. For a few seconds, he didn ’t
move at all. Then, very slowly, he raised his empty hand and pointed
straight at Ron. Mystified, Harry glanced around at Ron, who looked
bewildered.
“But then . . . , ” Lupin muttered, staring at Black so intently it seemed
he was trying to read his mind, “. . . why hasn ’t he shown himself
before now? Unless ” — Lupin ’s eyes suddenly widened, as though he
was seein g something beyond Black, something none of
the rest could see, “— unless he was the one . . . unless you
switched . . . without telling me? ”
Very slowly, his sunken gaze never leaving Lupin ’s face, Black nodded.
“Professor, ” Harry interrupted loudly, “what ’s going on — ?” But he
never finished the question, because what he saw made his voice die in
his throat. Lupin was lowering his wand, gazing fixedly at Black. The
Professor walked to Black ’s side, seized his hand, pulled h im to his feet
so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a
brother.
Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped out of his stomach.
“I DON ’T BELIEVE IT! ” Hermione screamed. Lupin let go of Black
and turned to her. She had raised herself off the floor and was pointing
at Lupin, wild -eyed. “You — you — ”
“Hermione — ”
 344 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

“ — you and him! ”
“Hermione, calm down — ”
“I didn ’t tell anyone! ” Hermione shrieked. “I’ve been covering up for
you — ”
“Hermione, listen to me, please! ” Lupin shouted. “I can ex - plain — ”
Harry could feel himself shaking, not with fear, but with a fresh wave
of fury.
“I trusted you, ” he shouted at Lupin, his voice wavering out of control,
“and all the time you ’ve been his friend! ”
“You ’re wrong, ” said Lupin. “I haven ’t been Sirius ’s friend, but I am
now — Let me explain. . . . ”
“NO! ” Hermione screamed. “Harry, don ’t trust him, he ’s been
helping Black get into the castle, he wants you dead too — he’s a
werewolf !”
There was a ringing silence. Everyone ’s eyes were now on Lupin, who
looked remarkably calm, though rather pale.
“Not at all up to your usual standard, Hermione, ” he said. “Only one
out of three, I ’m afraid. I have not been helping Sirius get into the
castle and I certainly don ’t want Harry dead. . . . ” An odd shiver passed
over his face. “But I won ’t deny that I am a were - wolf. ”
Ron made a valiant effort to get up again b ut fell back with a whimper
of pain. Lupin made toward him, looking concerned, but Ron gasped,
“ Get away from me, werewolf !”
Lupin stopped dead. Then, with an obvious effort, he turned to
Hermione and said, “How long have you known? ”
 345 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


“Ages, ” Hermione whispered. “Since I did Professor Snape ’s es -
say. . . . ”
“He ’ll be delighted, ” said Lupin coolly. “He assigned that essay hoping
someone would realize what my symptoms meant. . . . Di d you check
the lunar chart and realize that I was always ill at the full moon? Or did
you realize that the boggart changed into the moon when it saw me? ”
“Both, ” Hermione said quietly.
Lupin forced a laugh.
“You ’re the cleverest witch of your age I ’ve ever met, Hermione. ” “I’m
not, ” Hermione whispered. “If I ’d been a bit cleverer, I ’d have told
everyone what you are! ”
“But they already know, ” said Lupin. “At least, the staff do. ”
“Dumbledore hired you when he knew you were a werewolf? ” Ron
gasped. “Is he mad? ”
“Some of the staff thought so, ” said Lupin. “He had to work very hard
to convince certain teachers that I ’m trustworthy — ” “AND HE WAS
WRONG! ” Harry yelled. “YOU ’VE BEEN HELPING HIM ALL
THE TIME! ” He was pointing at Black, who suddenly cross ed to the
four -poster bed and sank onto it, his face hidden in one shaking hand.
Crookshanks leapt up beside him and stepped onto his lap, purring.
Ron edged away from both of them, dragging his leg.
“I have not been helping Sirius, ” said Lupin. “If y ou ’ll give me a
chance, I ’ll explain. Look — ”
He separated Harry ’s, Ron ’s and Hermione ’s wands and threw each
back to its owner; Harry caught his, stunned.
“There, ” said Lupin, sticking his own wand back into his belt. “You ’re
armed, we ’re not. Now will you listen? ”
 346 ‘

CAT, RAT, AND DOG

Harry didn ’t know what to think. Was it a trick? “If you haven ’t been
helping him, ” he said, with a furious glance at Black, “how did you
know he was here? ”
“The map, ” said Lupin. “The Marauder ’s Map. I was in my of - fice
examining it — ”
“You know how to work it? ” Harry said suspiciously. “Of course I
know how to work it, ” said Lupin, waving his hand impatiently. “I
helped write it. I ’m Moony — that was my fri ends ’ nickname for me at
school. ”
“You wrote — ?”
“The important thing is, I was watching it carefully this evening,
because I had an idea that you, Ron, and Hermione might try and
sneak out of the castle to visit Hagrid before his hippogriff was ex -
ecuted. And I was right, wasn ’t I? ”
He had started to pace up and down, looking at them. Little patches of
dust rose at his feet.
“You might have been wearing your father ’s old cloak, Harry — ”
“How d ’you know about the cloak? ”
“The number of times I saw James disappearing under it. . . , ” said
Lupin, waving an impatient hand again. “The point is, even if you ’re
wearing an Invisibility Cloak, you still show up on the Marauder ’s Map.
I watched you cross the grounds and enter Hagrid ’s hut. Twenty
minutes later, you left Hagrid, and set off back toward the castle. But
you were now accompanied by some - body else. ”
“What? ” said Harry. “No, we weren ’t!”
“I couldn ’t believe my eyes, ” said Lupin, still pacing, and ignor - ing
Harry ’s interruption. “I thought the map must be malfunc - tioning.
How could he be with you? ”
 347 ‘

CHAPTER
SEVENTEEN


“No one was with us! ” said Harry.
“And then I saw another dot, moving fast toward you, labeled
Sir ius Black. . . . I saw him collide with you; I watched as he pulled
two of you into the Whomping Willow — ”
“One of us! ” Ron said angrily.
“No, Ron, ” said Lupin. “Two of you. ”
He had stopped his pacing, his eyes moving over Ron. “Do you think I
coul d have a look at the rat? ” he said evenly. “What? ” said Ron.
“What ’s Scabbers got to do with it? ” “Everything, ” said Lupin. “Could
I see him, please? ” Ron hesitated, then put a hand inside his robes.
Scabbers emerged, thrashing desperately; Ron had to seiz e his long
bald tail to stop him escaping. Crookshanks stood up on Black ’s leg
and made a soft hissing noise.
Lupin moved closer to Ron. He seemed to be holding his breath as he
gazed intently at Scabbers.
“What? ” Ron said again, holding Scabbers close to him, looking scared.
“What ’s my rat got to do with anything? ”
“That ’s not a rat, ” croaked Sirius Black suddenly.
“What d ’you mean — of course he ’s a rat — ”
“No, he ’s not, ” said Lupin quietly. “He ’s a wizard. ” “An
Animagus, ” said Black, “by the name of Peter Pettigrew. ”







 348 ‘

C H A P T E R E I G H T E
E N









MOONEY,
WORMTAIL,
PADFOOT, AND
PRONGS



t took a few seconds for the absurdity of this statement to sink
I
in. Then Ron voiced what Harry was thinking.
“You ’re both mental. ” “Ridiculous! ”
said Hermione faintly.
“Peter Pettigrew ’s dead !” said Harry. “ He killed him twelve years
ago! ” He pointed at Black, whose face twitched convulsively.
“I meant to, ” he growled, his yellow teeth bared, “but little Peter got
the better of me . . . not this time, though! ”
And Crookshanks was t hrown to the floor as Black lunged at Scabbers;

Ron yelled with pain as Black ’s weight fell on his broken leg.
“Sirius, NO! ” Lupin yelled, launching himself forwards and dragging
Black away from Ron again, “WAIT! You can ’t do it just like that —
they ne ed to understand — we ’ve got to explain — ” “We can explain
afterwards! ” snarled Black, trying to throw
 349 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Lupin off. One hand was still clawing the air as it tried to reach
Scabbers, who was squealing like a piglet, scratching Ron ’s face and
neck as he tried to escape.
“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! ”
Black stopped struggling, though his hollowed eyes were still fixed on
Scabbers, who was clamped tightly under Ron ’s bitten, scratched, and
bleeding hands.
“All right, then, ” Black said, with out taking his eyes off the rat. “Tell
them whatever you like. But make it quick, Remus. I want to commit
the murder I was imprisoned for. . . . ”
“You ’re nutters, both of you, ” said Ron shakily, looking round at
Harry and Hermione for support. “I’ve had e nough of this. I ’m off. ”
He tried to heave himself up on his good leg, but Lupin raised his wand
again, pointing it at Scabbers.
“You ’re going to hear me out, Ron, ” he said quietly. “Just keep a tight
hold on Peter while you listen. ”
“HE ’S NOT PETER, HE ’S SCABBERS! ” Ron yelled, trying to force
the rat back into his front pocket, but Scabbers was fighting too hard;
Ron swayed and overbalanced, and Harry caught him and pushed him
back down to the bed. Then, ignoring Black, Harry turned to L upin.
“There were witnesses who saw Pettigrew die, ” he said. “A whole
street full of them . . . ”


 350 ‘

MOODY,
WORMTAIL,
PADFOOT, AND
PRONGS

“They didn ’t see what they thought they saw! ” said Black sav - agely,
still watching Scabbers struggling in Ron ’s hands. “Everyone thought
Sirius killed Peter, ” said Lupin, nodding. “I believed it myself — until I
saw the map tonight. Because the Ma - rauder ’s map never lies . . .
Peter ’s alive. Ron ’s holding him, Har ry. ” Harry looked down at Ron,
and as their eyes met, they agreed, silently: Black and Lupin were both
out of their minds. Their story made no sense whatsoever. How could
Scabbers be Peter Pettigrew? Azkaban must have unhinged Black after
all — but why was Lupin playing along with him?
Then Hermione spoke, in a trembling, would -be calm sort of voice, as
though trying to will Professor Lupin to talk sensibly. “But Professor
Lupin . . . Scabbers can ’t be Pettigrew . . . it just can ’t be true, you know
it c an ’t . . . ”
“Why can ’t it be true? ” Lupin said calmly, as though they were in class,
and Hermione had simply spotted a problem in an experi - ment with
grindylows.
“Because . . . because people would know if Peter Pettigrew
had been an Animagus. We did Animagi in class with Professor
McGonagall. And I looked them up when I did my homework — the
Ministry of Magic keeps tabs on witches and wizards who can become
animals; there ’s a register showing what animal they be - come, and
their markings and things . . . and I went and looked Professor
McGonagall up on the register, and there have been only seven
Animagi this century, and Pettigrew ’s name wasn ’t on the list — ”
Harry had barely had time to marvel inwardly at the effort Herm ione
put into her homework, when Lupin started to laugh.
 351 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

“Right again, Hermione! ” he said. “But the Ministry never knew that
there used to be three unregistered Animagi running around
Hogwarts. ”
“If you ’re going to tell them the story, get a move on, Remus, ” snarled
Black, who was still watching Scabbers ’s every desper - ate move. “I’ve
waited twelve years, I ’m not going to wait much longer. ”
“All right . . . but you ’ll need to help me, Sirius, ” said Lupin, “I only
know how it began . . . ”
Lupin broke off. There had been a loud creak behind him. The
bedroom door had opened of its own accord. All five of them stared at
it. Then Lupin strode toward it and looked out into the landing.
“No one there . . . ”
“This place is haunted! ” said Ron.
“It’s not, ” said Lupin, still looking at the door in a puzzled way. “The
Shrieking Shack was never haunted. . . . The screams and howls the
villagers used to hear were made by me. ”
He pushed his graying hair out of his eyes, thought for a mo - ment,
then said, “That ’s where all of this starts — with my becom - ing a
werewolf. None of this could have happened if I hadn ’t been bitten . . .
and if I hadn ’t been so foolhardy. . . . ”
He lo oked sober and tired. Ron started to interrupt, but Her - mione
said, “Shh! ” She was watching Lupin very intently.
“I was a very small boy when I received the bite. My parents tried
everything, but in those days there was no cure. The potion that
Professor Snape has been making for me is a very recent dis - covery. It
makes me safe, you see. As long as I take it in the week
 352 ‘

MOODY,
WORMTAIL,
PADFOOT, AND
PRONGS

preceding the full moon, I keep my mind when I transform. . . . I am
able to curl up in my office, a harmless wolf, and wait for the moon to
wane again.
“Before the Wolfsbane Potion was discovered, however, I be - came a
fully fledged monster once a month. It seemed impossible that I would
be able to come to Hogwarts. Other parents weren ’t likely to want
their children exposed to me.
“But then Dumbledore became Headmaster, and he was sympa - thetic.
He said that as long as we took certain precautions, there was no
reason I shouldn ’t come to school. . . . ” Lupin sighed, and looked
directly at Harry. “I told you, months ago, that the Whomp - ing
Willow was planted the year I came to Hogwarts. The truth is
that it was planted because I came to Hogwarts. Thi s house ” —
Lupin looked miserably around the room, — “the tunnel that leads to
it — they were built for my use. Once a month, I was smuggled out of
the castle, into this place, to transform. The tree was placed at the
tunnel mouth to stop anyone coming ac ross me while I was
dangerous. ”
Harry couldn ’t see where this story was going, but he was listen - ing
raptly all the same. The only sound apart from Lupin ’s voice was
Scabbers ’s frightened squeaking.
“My transformations in those days were — were terrib le. It is very
painful to turn into a werewolf. I was separated from humans to bite,
so I bit and scratched myself instead. The villagers heard the noise and
the screaming and thought they were hearing partic - ularly violent
spirits. Dumbledore encouraged the rumor. . . . Even now, when the
house has been silent for years, the villagers don ’t dare approach it. . . .
 353 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

“But apart from my transformations, I was happier than I had ever
been in my life. For the first time ever, I had friends, three great friends.
Sirius Black . . . Peter Pettigrew . . . and, of course, your father, Harry
— James Potter.
“Now, my three friends could hardly fail to notice that I disap - peared
once a month. I made up all sorts of stories. I told them my mother
was ill, and that I had to go home to see her. . . . I was terrified they
would desert me the moment they found out what I was. But of course,
they, like you, Hermione, worked out the truth. . . .
“And they didn ’t desert me at all. Instead, they did something for me
that would make my transformations not only bearable, but the best
times of my life. They became Animagi. ”
“My dad too? ” said Harry, astounded.
“Yes, indeed, ” said Lupin. “It took them the best part of three years to
work out how to do it. Your father and Sirius here were the cleverest
students in the school, and lucky they were, because the Animagus
transformation can go horribly wrong — one reason the Ministry
keeps a clos e watch on those attempting to do it. Peter needed all the
help he could get from James and Sirius. Finally, in our fifth year, they
managed it. They could each turn into a differ - ent animal at will. ”
“But how did that help you? ” said Hermione, sounding puzzled. “They
couldn ’t keep me company as humans, so they kept me company as
animals, ” said Lupin. “A werewolf is only a danger to people. They
sneaked out of the castle every month under James ’s Invisibility Cloak.
They transformed . . . Peter, as the sm allest, could slip beneath the
Willow ’s attacking branches and touch the knot that freezes it. They
would then slip down the tunnel and join
 354 ‘

MOODY,
WORMTAIL,
PADFOOT, AND
PRONGS

me. Under their influence, I became less dangerous. My body was still
wolfish, but my mind seemed to become less so while I was with
them. ”
“Hurry up, Remus, ” snarled Black, who was still watching Scab - bers
with a horrible sort of hunger on his face.
“I’m getting there, Sirius, I ’m getting there . . . well, highly ex - citing
possibilities were open to us now that we could all transform. Soon we
were leaving the Shrieking Shack and roaming the school grounds and
the village by night. Sirius and James tran sformed into such large
animals, they were able to keep a werewolf in check. I doubt whether
any Hogwarts students ever found out more about the Hogwarts
grounds and Hogsmeade than we did. . . . And that ’s how we came to
write the Marauder ’s Map, and sign it with our nicknames. Sirius is
Padfoot. Peter is Wormtail. James was Prongs. ” “What sort of animal
— ?” Harry began, but Hermione cut him off.
“That was still really dangerous! Running around in the dark with a
werewolf! What if you ’d given the others the slip, and bitten
somebody? ”
“A thought that still haunts me, ” said Lupin heavily. “And there were
near misses, many of them. We laughed about them after - wards. We
were young, thoughtless — carried away with our own cleverness. ”
“I sometimes fel t guilty about betraying Dumbledore ’s trust, of
course . . . he had admitted me to Hogwarts when no other head -
master would have done so, and he had no idea I was breaking the
rules he had set down for my own and others ’ safety. He never knew I
had led th ree fellow students into becoming Animagi ille - gally. But I
always managed to forget my guilty feelings every time
 355 ‘

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

we sat down to plan our next month ’s adventure. And I haven ’t
changed . . .
Lupin ’s face had hardened, and there was self -disgust in his voice. “All
this year, I have been battling with myself, wondering whether I should
tell Dumbledore that Sirius was an Animagus. But I didn ’t do it. Why?
Because I was too cowardly. It would have meant admitting that I ’d
betrayed his trust while I was at school, admit - ting that I ’d led others
along with me . . . and Dumbledore ’s trust has meant everything to me.
He let me into Hogwarts as a boy, and he gave me a job when I have
been shunned all m y adult life, un - able to find paid work because of
what I am. And so I convinced myself that Sirius was getting into the
school using dark arts he learned from Voldemort, that being an
Animagus had nothing to do with it . . . so, in a way, Snape ’s been ri ght
about me all along. ”
“Snape? ” said Black harshly, taking his eyes off Scabbers for the first
time in minutes and looking up at Lupin. “What ’s Snape got to do with
it? ”
“He ’s here, Sirius, ” said Lupin heavily. “He ’s teaching here as well. ”
He looked up at Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
“Professor Snape was at school with us. He fought very hard against
my appointment to the Defense Against the Dark Arts job. He has
been telling Dumbledore all year that I am not to be trusted. He has his
reasons . . . you see, Sirius here played a trick on him which nearly killed
him, a trick which involved me — ” Black made a derisive noise.
“It served him right, ” he sneered. “Sneaking around, trying to find out
what we were up to . . . hoping he could get us ex - pelled. . . . ”
 356 ‘

MOODY,
WORMTAIL,
PADFOOT, AND
PRONGS

“Severus was very interested in where I went every month. ” Lupin
told Harry, Ron, and Hermione. “We were in the same year, you know,
and we — er — didn ’t like each other very much. He especially disliked
James. Jealous, I think, of James ’s talent on the Quidditch field . . .
anyway Snape had seen me crossing the grounds with Madam Pomfrey
one evening as she led me toward the Whomping Willow to transform.
Sirius thought it would be — er — amusing, to tell Snape all he had to
do was prod the knot on the tree trunk with a long stick, and he ’d be
able to get in after me. Well, of course, Snape tried it — if he ’d got as
far as this house, he ’d have met a fully grown werewolf — but your
father, who ’d heard what Sirius had done, went after Snape and pulled
him back, at great risk to his life . . . Snape glimpsed me, though, at the
end of the tunnel. He was forbidden by Dumbledore to tell anybody,
but from that ti me on he knew what I was. . . . ”
“So that ’s why Snape doesn ’t like you, ” said Harry slowly, “be - cause
he thought you were in on the joke? ”
“That ’s right, ” sneered a cold voice from the wall behind Lupin.
Severus Snape was pulling off the Invisibility Cl oak, his wand pointing
directly at Lupin.









 357 ‘

C H A P T E R N I N E T E
E N









THE SERVANT
OF LORD
VOLDEMORT


ermione screamed. Black leapt to his feet. Harry felt as
H
though he ’d received a huge electric shock.
“I found this at the base of the Whomping Willow, ” said Snape,
throwing the cloak aside, ca reful to keep this wand pointing di - rectly
at Lupin ’s chest. “Very useful, Potter, I thank you. . . . ” Snape was
slightly breathless, but his face was full of suppressed triumph. “You ’re
wondering, perhaps, how I knew you were here? ” he said, his eyes
gli ttering. “I’ve just been to your office, Lupin. You forgot to take your
potion tonight, so I took a gobletful along. And very lucky I did . . .
lucky for me, I mean. Lying on your desk was a certain map. One
glance at it told me all I needed to know. I saw you running along this

passageway and out of sight. ”
“Severus — ” Lupin began, but Snape overrode him. “I’ve told the
headmaster again and again that you ’re helping your old friend Black
into the castle, Lupin, and here ’s the proof.
 358 ‘

THE SERVANT
OF LORD
VOLDEMORT

Not even I dreamed you would have the nerve to use this old place as
your hideout — ”
“Severus, you ’re making a mistake, ” said Lupin urgently. “You haven ’t
heard everything — I can explain — Sirius is not here to kill Harry — ”
“Two more for Azkaban tonight, ” said Snape, his eyes now gleaming
fanatically. “I shall be interested to see how Dumbledore takes this. . . .
He was quite convinced you were harmless, you
know, Lupin . . . a tame werewolf — ”
“You fool, ” said Lupin softly. “Is a schoolboy grudge worth putting an
innocent man back inside Azkaban? ”
BANG! Thin, snakelike cords burst from the end of Snape ’s wand and
twisted themselves around Lupin ’s mouth, wrists, and ankles; he
over balanced and fell to the floor, unable to move. With a roar of rage,
Black started toward Snape, but Snape pointed his wand straight
between Black ’s eyes.
“Give me a reason, ” he whispered. “Give me a reason to do it, and I
swear I will. ”
Black stopped dead. It would have been impossible to say which face
showed more hatred.
Harry stood there, paralyzed, not knowing what to do or whom to
believe. He glanced around at Ron and Hermione. Ron looked just as
confused as he did, still fighting to keep hold on the strug - gling
Scabbers. Hermione, however, took an uncertain step toward Snape
and said, in a very breathless voice, “Professor Snape — it — it
wouldn ’t hurt to hear what they ’ve got to say, w — would it? ” “Miss
Granger, you are already facing suspensi on from this school, ” Snape
spat. “You, Potter, and Weasley are out -of -bounds,
 359 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

in the company of a convicted murderer and a werewolf. For once
in your life, hold your tongue. ”
“But if — if there was a mistake — ”
“KEEP QUIET, YOU STUPID GIRL! ” Snape shouted, looking
suddenly quite deranged. “DON ’T TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU
DON ’T UNDERSTAND! ” A few sparks shot out of the end of his
wand, which was still pointed at Black ’s face. Hermione fell silent.
“Vengeance is very sweet, ” Snape breathed at Black. “How I hoped I
would be the one to catch you. . . . ”
“The joke ’s on you again, Severus, ” Black snarled. “As long as this boy
brings his rat up to the castle ” — he jerked his head at Ron — “I’ll
come quietly. . . . ”
“Up to the castle? ” said Snape silkily. “I don ’t think we need to go that
far. All I have to do is call the dementors once we get out of the Willow.
They ’ll be very pleased to see you, Black . . . pleased enough to give you
a little kiss, I daresay. . . . ”
What little color there was in Black ’s face left it. “You — you ’ve got to
hear me out, ” he croaked. “The rat — look at the rat — ”
But there was a mad glint in Snape ’s eyes that Harry had never seen
before . He seemed beyond reason.
“Come on, all of you, ” he said. He clicked his fingers, and the ends of
the cords that bound Lupin flew to his hands. “I’ll drag the werewolf.
Perhaps the dementors will have a kiss for him too — ” Before he
knew what he was do ing, Harry had crossed the room
in three strides and blocked the door.
“Get out of the way, Potter, you ’re in enough trouble already, ” snarled
Snape. “If I hadn ’t been here to save your skin — ”
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“Professor Lupin could have killed me about a hundred times this
year, ” Harry said. “I’ve been alone with him loads of times, having
defense lessons against the dementors. If he was helping Black, why
didn ’t he just finish me off then? ”
“Don ’t ask me to fathom the way a werewolf ’s mind works, ” hissed
Snape. “Get out of the way, Potter. ”
“YOU ’RE PATHETIC! ” Harry yelled. “JUST BECAUSE THEY
MADE A FOOL OF YOU AT SCHOOL YOU WON ’T EVEN
LISTEN — ”
“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
die d 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! ”
Harry made up his mind in a split second. Before Snape could take
even one step toward him, he had raised his wand.
“ Expelliarmus !” he yelled — except that his wasn ’t the only voice
that shouted. There was a blast that made the door rattle on its hinges;
Snape was lifted off his feet and slammed into the wall, then slid down
it to the floor, a trickle of blood oozing from under his hair. He had
been knocked out.
Harry looked around. Both Ron and Hermione had tried to disarm
Snape at exactly the same moment. Snape ’s wand soared in a high arc
and landed on the bed next to Crookshanks.
“You shouldn ’t have done that, ” said Black, looking at Harry. “You
should have left him to me. . . . ”
 361 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Harry avoided Black ’s eyes. He wasn ’t sure, even now, that he ’d done
the right thing.
“We attacked a teacher. . . . We attacked a teacher . . . , ” Her - mione
whimpered, staring at the lifeless Snape with frightened eyes. “Oh,
we ’re going to be in so much trouble — ”
Lupin was struggling against his bonds. Black ben t down quickly and
untied him. Lupin straightened up, rubbing his arms where the ropes
had cut into them.
“Thank you, Harry, ” he said.
“I’m still not saying I believe you, ” he told Lupin. “Then it ’s time we
offered you some proof, ” said Lupin. “You, bo y — give me Peter,
please. Now. ”
Ron clutched Scabbers closer to his chest.
“Come off it, ” he said weakly. “Are you trying to say he broke out
of Azkaban just to get his hands on Scabbers ? I mean . . . ” He looked
up at Harry and Hermione for support, “Okay, say Pettigrew could
turn into a rat — there are millions of rats — how ’s he supposed to
know which one he ’s after if he was locked up in Azkaban? ”
“You know, Sirius, that ’s a fair question, ” said Lupin, turning to
Black and frowning slightly. “How did you find out where he was? ”
Black put one of his clawlike hands inside his robes and took out
a crumpled piece of paper, which he smoothed flat and held out to
show the others.
It was the photograph of Ron and his family that had appeared
in the Daily Prophet the previous summer, and there, on Ron ’s
shoulder, was Scabbers.
“How did you get this? ” Lupin asked Black, thunderstruck.
“Fudge, ” said Black. “When he came to inspect Azkaban last
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year, he gave me his paper. And there was Peter, on the front page . . .
on this boy ’s shoulder. . . . I knew him at once . . . how many times had
I seen him transform? And the caption said the boy would be going
back to Hogwarts . . . to where Harry was. . . . ” “My God, ” said Lupin
softly, staring from Scabbers to the pic - ture in the paper and back
again. “His front paw . . . ”
“Wh at about it? ” said Ron defiantly.
“He ’s got a toe missing, ” said Black.
“Of course, ” Lupin breathed. “So simple . . . so brilliant . . . he
cut it off himself? ”
“Just before he transformed, ” said Black. “When I cornered him, he
yelled for the whol e street to hear that I ’d betrayed Lily and James.
Then, before I could curse him, he blew apart the street with the wand
behind his back, killed everyone within twenty feet of himself — and
sped down into the sewer with the other rats. . . .
“Didn ’t you ever hear, Ron? ” said Lupin. “The biggest bit of Peter they
found was his finger. ”
“Look, Scabbers probably had a fight with another rat or some - thing!
He ’s been in my family for ages, right — ”
“Twelve years, in fact, ” said Lupin. “Didn ’t you ever wonder why he
was living so long? ”
“We — we ’ve been taking good care of him! ” said Ron. “Not looking
too good at the moment, though, is he? ” said Lupin. “I’d guess he ’s
been losing weight ever since he heard Sirius was on the loose
again. . . . ”
“He ’s been scared of that mad cat! ” said Ron, nodding toward
Crookshanks, who was still purring on the bed.
 363 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

But that wasn ’t right, Harry thought suddenly. . . . Scabbers had been
looking ill before he met Crookshanks . . . ever since Ron ’s return from
Egypt . . . since the time when Black had es - caped. . . .
“This cat isn ’t mad, ” said Black hoarsely. He reached out a bony hand
and stroked Crookshanks ’s fluffy head. “He ’s the most intel - ligent of
his kind I ’ve ever met. He recognized Peter for what he was right away.
And when he met me, he knew I was no dog. It was a while before he
trusted me. . . . Finally, I managed to communi - cate to him what I was
after, and he ’s been helping me. . . . ”
“What do you mean? ” breathed Hermione.
“He tried to bring Peter to me, but couldn ’t . . . so he stole the
passwords into Gryffindor Tower for me. . . . As I understand it, he
took them from a boy ’s bedside table. . . . ”
Harry ’s brain seemed to be sagging under the weight of what he was
hearing. It was absurd . . . and yet . . .
“But Peter got wind of what was going on and ran for it. . . . ” croaked
Black. “This cat — Crookshanks, did you call him? — told me Peter
had left b lood on the sheets. . . . I supposed he bit himself. . . . Well,
faking his own death had worked once. . . . ” These words jolted Harry
to his senses.
“And why did he fake his death? ” he said furiously. “Because he knew
you were about to kill him like you killed my parents! ” “No, ” said
Lupin, “Harry — ”
“And now you ’ve come to finish him off! ”
“Yes, I have, ” said Black, with an evil look at Scabbers. “Then I
should ’ve let Snape take you! ” Harry shouted. “Harry, ” said Lupin
hurriedly, “don ’t you see? All this time
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we ’ve thought Sirius betrayed your parents, and Peter tracked him
down — but it was the other way around, don ’t you see? Peter be -
trayed your mother and father — Sirius tracked Peter down — ”
“THAT ’S NOT TRUE! ” Harry yelled. “HE WAS THEIR
SECRET -KEEPER! HE SAID SO BEFORE YOU TURNED UP.
HE SAID HE KILLED THEM! ”
He was pointing at Black, who shook his head slowly; the sunken eyes
were suddenly overbright.
“Harry . . . I as good as killed them, ” he croaked. “I persuaded Lily and
James to change to Peter at the last moment, persuaded them to use
him as Secret -Keeper instead of me. . . . I ’m to blame, I know it. . . .
The night they died, I ’d arranged to check on Peter, make sure he was
still safe, but when I arrived at his hiding place, he ’d gone. Yet there
was no sign of a struggle. It didn ’t feel right. I was scared. I set out for
your parents ’ house straight away. An d when I saw their house,
destroyed, and their bodies . . . I realized what Peter must ’ve done . . .
what I ’d done. . . . ”
His voice broke. He turned away.
“Enough of this, ” said Lupin, and there was a steely note in his voice
Harry had never heard befor e. “There ’s one certain way to
prove what really happened. Ron, give me that rat. ”
“What are you going to do with him if I give him to you? ” Ron asked
Lupin tensely.
“Force him to show himself, ” said Lupin. “If he really is a rat, it won ’t
hurt him. ”
Ron hesitated. Then at long last, he held out Scabbers and Lupin took
him. Scabbers began to squeak without stopping, twisting and turning,
his tiny black eyes bulging in his head.
 365 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

“Ready, Sirius? ” said Lupin.
Black had already retrieved Snape ’s wand from the bed. He ap -
proached Lupin and the struggling rat, and his wet eyes suddenly
seemed to be burning in his face.
“Together? ” he said quietly.
“I think so, ” said Lupin, holdin g Scabbers tightly in one hand and his
wand in the other. “On the count of three. One — two — THREE! ”
A flash of blue -white light erupted from both wands; for a mo - ment,
Scabbers was frozen in midair, his small gray form twisting madly —
Ron yelled — the rat fell and hit the floor. There was an - other
blinding flash of light and then —
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 Sc abbers had been, cring - ing and
wringing his hands. Crookshanks was spitting and snarling on the bed;
the hair on his back was standing up.
He was a very short man, hardly taller than Harry and Hermione. His
thin, colorless hair was unkempt and there was a large bald patch on
top. He had the shrunken appearance of a plump man who has lost a
lot of weight in a short time. His skin looked grubby, almost like
Scabbers ’s fur, and something of the rat lingered around his pointed
nose and his very small, watery eyes. He looked around at them all, his
breathing fast and shallow. Harry saw his eyes dart to the door and
back again.
“Well, hello, Peter, ” said Lupin pleasantly, as though rats fre - quently
erupted into old school friends around him. “Long time, no see. ”
“S — Sirius . . . R — Remus . . . ” Even Pettigrew ’s voice was
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VOLDEMORT

squeaky. Again, his eyes darted toward the door. “My friends . . . my
old friends . . . ”
Black ’s wand arm rose, but Lupin seized him around the wrist, gave
him a warning look, then turned again to Pettigrew, his voice light and
casual.
“We ’ve been having a little chat, Peter, about what happened the night
Lily and James died. You might have missed the finer points while you
were squeaking around down there on the bed — ” “Remus, ” gasped
Pettigrew, and Harry could see beads of sweat breaking out over his
pasty face, “you don ’t believe him, do you. . . ? He tried to kill me,
Remus. . . . ”
“So we ’ve he ard, ” said Lupin, more coldly. “I’d like to clear up one or
two little matters with you, Peter, if you ’d be so — ”
“He ’s come to try and kill me again! ” Pettigrew squeaked sud - denly,
pointing at Black, and Harry saw that he used his middle finger,
because his index was missing. “He killed Lily and James and now he ’s
going to kill me too. . . . You ’ve got to help me, Remus. . . . ”
Black ’s face looked more skull -like than ever as he stared at Pettigrew
with his fathomless eyes.
“No one ’s going to try and k ill you until we ’ve sorted a few things out, ”
said Lupin.
“Sorted things out? ” squealed Pettigrew, looking wildly about him
once more, eyes taking in the boarded windows and, again, the only
door. “I knew he ’d come after me! I knew he ’d be back for me! I ’ve
been waiting for this for twelve years! ”
“You knew Sirius was going to break out of Azkaban? ” said Lupin, his
brow furrowed. “When nobody has ever done it be - fore? ”
 367 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

“He ’s got dark powers the rest of us can only dream of! ” Petti - grew
shouted shrilly. “How else did he get out of there? I suppose
He -Who -Must -Not -Be -Named taught him a few tricks! ”
Black started to laugh, a horrible, mirthless laugh that filled the whole
roo m.
“Voldemort, teach me tricks? ” he said.
Pettigrew flinched as though Black had brandished a whip at him.
“What, scared to hear your old master ’s name? ” said Black. “I don ’t
blame you, Peter. His lot aren ’t very happy with you, are they? ”
“Don ’t know what you mean, Sirius — ” muttered Pettigrew, his
breathing faster than ever. His whole face was shining with sweat now.
“You haven ’t been hiding from me for twelve years, ” said Black.
“You ’ve been hiding from Voldemort ’s old supporters. I hear d things
in Azkaban, Peter. . . . They all think you ’re dead, or you ’d have to
answer to them. . . . I ’ve heard them screaming all sorts of things in
their sleep. Sounds like they think the double -crosser double -crossed
them. Voldemort went to the Potters ’ on your information . . . and
Voldemort met his downfall there. And not all Voldemort ’s support -
ers ended up in Azkaban, did they? There are still plenty out here,
biding their time, pretending they ’ve seen the error of their ways. . . . If
they ever got wind that you were still alive, Peter — ”
“Don ’t know . . . what you ’re talking about. . . , ” said Pettigrew again,
more shrilly than ever. He wiped his face on his sleeve and looked up
at Lupin. “You don ’t believe this — this madness, Remus — ”
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“I must admit, Peter, I have difficulty in understanding why an
innocent man would want to spend twelve years as a rat, ” said Lupin
evenly.
“Innocent, but scared! ” squealed Pettigrew. “If Vol demort ’s sup -
porters were after me, it was because I put one of their best men in
Azkaban — the spy, Sirius Black! ”
Black ’s face contorted.
“How dare you, ” he growled, sounding suddenly like the bear - sized
dog he had been. “I, a spy for Voldemort? When did I ever sneak
around people who were stronger and more powerful than myself? But
you, Peter — I’ll never understand why I didn ’t see you were the spy
from the start. You always liked big friends who ’d look after you,
didn ’t you? It used to be us . . . me and Remus . . . and James. . . . ”
Pettigrew wiped his face again; he was almost panting for breath. “Me,
a spy . . . must be out of your mind . . . never . . . don ’t know how you
can say such a — ”
“Lily and James only mad e you Secret -Keeper because I sug - gested
it,” Black hissed, so venomously that Pettigrew took a step backward.
“I thought it was the perfect plan . . . a bluff. . . . Volde - mort would be
sure to come after me, would never dream they ’d use a weak,
talentl ess thing like you. . . . It must have been the finest moment of
your miserable life, telling Voldemort you could hand him the
Potters. ”
Pettigrew was muttering distractedly; Harry caught words like
“far -fetched ” and “lunacy, ” but he couldn ’t help paying more at -
tention to the ashen color of Pettigrew ’s face and the way his eyes
continued to dart toward the windows and door.
 369 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

“Professor Lupin? ” said Hermione timidly. “Can — can I say
something? ”
“Certainly, Hermione, ” said Lupin courteously. “Well — Scabbers —
I mean, this — this man — he ’s been sleep - ing in Harry ’s dormitory
for three years. If he ’s working for You - Know -Who, how come he
never tried to hurt Harry before now? ” “There! ” said Pettigrew shrilly,
pointing at Ron with his maimed hand. “Thank you! You see, Remus?
I have never hurt a hair of Harry ’s head! Why should I? ”
“I’ll tell you why, ” said Black. “Because you never did anything for
anyone unless you could see what was i n it for you. Voldemort ’s been
in hiding for fifteen years, they say he ’s half dead. You weren ’t about to
commit murder right under Albus Dumbledore ’s nose, for a wreck of a
wizard who ’d lost all of his power, were you? You ’d want to be quite
sure he was t he biggest bully in the playground be - fore you went back
to him, wouldn ’t you? Why else did you find a wizard family to take
you in? Keeping an ear out for news, weren ’t you, Peter? Just in case
your old protector regained strength, and it was safe to rej oin him. . . . ”
Pettigrew opened his mouth and closed it several times. He seemed to
have lost the ability to talk.
“Er — Mr. Black — Sirius? ” said Hermione.
Black jumped at being addressed like this and stared at Hermione as
though he had never seen anything quite like her. “If you don ’t mind
me asking, how — how did you get out of Azkaban, if you didn ’t use
Dark Magic? ”
“Thank you! ” gasped Pettigrew, nodding frantically at her. “Ex - actly!
Precisely what I — ”
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But Lupin silenced him with a look. Black was frowning slightly at
Hermione, but not as though he were annoyed with her. He seemed to
be pondering his answer.
“I don ’t know how I did it, ” he said slowly. “I think the only rea - son I
never lost my mind is that I knew I was innocent. That wasn ’t a happy
thought, so the dementors couldn ’t suck it out of me . . . but it kept me
sane and knowing who I am . . . helped me keep my powers . . . so
when it all became . . . too much . . . I could trans - form in my cell . . .
become a dog. Dementors can ’t see, you know. . . . ” He swallowed.
“They feel their way toward people by feeding off their emotions. . . .
They could tell that my feelings were le ss — less human, less complex
when I was a dog . . . but they thought, of course, that I was losing my
mind like everyone else in there, so it didn ’t trouble them. But I was
weak, very weak, and I had no hope of driving them away from me
without a wand. . . .
“But then I saw Peter in that picture . . . I realized he was at Hogwarts
with Harry . . . perfectly positioned to act, if one hint reached his ears
that the Dark Side was gathering strength again. . . . ”
Pettigrew was shaking his head, mouthing no iselessly, but star - ing all
the while at Black as though hypnotized.
“. . . ready to strike at the moment he could be sure of allies . . . and to
deliver the last Potter to them. If he gave them Harry, who ’d dare say
he ’d betrayed Lord Voldemort? He ’d be welcomed back with
honors. . . .
“So you see, I had to do something. I was the only one who knew Peter
was still alive. . . . ”
 371 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Harry remembered what Mr. Weasley had told Mrs. Weasley. “The
guards say he ’s been talking in his sleep . . . always the same
words . . . ‘He ’s at Hogwarts. ’”
“It was as if someone had lit a fire in my head, and the dementors
couldn ’t destroy it. . . . It wasn ’t a happy feeling . . . it was an obses -
sion . . . but it gave me strength, it cleared my mind. So, one night when
they opened my door to bring food, I slipped past them as a dog. . . .
It’s so much harder for them to sense animal emotions that they were
confused. . . . I was thin, very thin . . . thin enough to slip through the
bars. . . . I swam as a dog back to the mainland. . . . I journeyed north
and slipped into the Hogwarts grounds as a dog. I ’ve been living in the
forest ever since, except when I came to watch the Quidditch, of
course. Y ou fly as well as your father did, Harry. . . . ” He looked at
Harry, who did not look away.
“Believe me, ” croaked Black. “Believe me, Harry. I never betrayed
James and Lily. I would have died before I betrayed them. ” And at
long last, Harry believed him . Throat too tight to speak, he nodded.
“No! ”
Pettigrew had fallen to his knees as though Harry ’s nod had been his
own death sentence. He shuffled forward on his knees, grovel - ing, his
hands clasped in front of him as though praying.
“Sirius — it’s me . . . it ’s Peter . . . your friend . . . you wouldn ’t . . . ”
Black kicked out and Pettigrew recoiled.
“There ’s enough filth on my robes without you touching them, ” said
Black.
“Remus! ” Pettigrew squeaked, turning to Lupin instead, writh - ing
implori ngly in front of him. “You don ’t believe this . . . wouldn ’t
Sirius have told you they ’d changed the plan? ”
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“Not if he thought I was the spy, Peter, ” said Lupin. “I assume that ’s
why you didn ’t tell me, Sirius? ” he said casually over Petti - grew ’s head.
“Forgive me, Remus, ” said Black.
“Not at all, Padfoot, old friend, ” said Lupin, who was now rolling up
his sleeves. “And will you, in turn, forgive me for believ -
ing you were the spy? ”
“Of course, ” said Black, and the ghost of a grin flitted across his gaunt
face. He, too, began rolling up his sleeves. “Shall we kill him together? ”
“Yes, I think so, ” said Lupin grimly.
“You wouldn ’t . . . you won ’t. . . , ” gasped Pettigrew. And he scrambled
around to Ron.
“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. . . . ”
“If you made a better rat than a human, it ’s not much to boast about,
Peter, ” said Black harshly. Ron, going still paler with pain, wrenched
his broken leg out of Pettigrew ’s reach. Pettigrew turned on his knees,
staggered forward, and seized the hem of Hermione ’s robes. “Sweet
girl . . . clever girl . . . you — you w on ’t let them. . . . Help me. . . . ”
Hermione pulled her robes out of Pettigrew ’s clutching hands and
backed away against the wall, looking horrified.
 373 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Pettigrew knelt, trembling uncontrollably, and turned his head slowly
toward Harry.
“Harry . . . Harry . . . you look just like your father . . . just like him. . . . ”
“HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO HARRY? ” roared Black. “HOW
DARE YOU FACE HIM? HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT
JAMES IN FRONT OF HIM? ”
“Harry, ” whispered Pettigrew, shuffling toward him, hands out -
stretched. “Harry, James wouldn ’t have wanted me killed. . . . James
would have understood, Harry . . . he would have sho wn me
mercy. . . . ”
Both Black and Lupin strode forward, seized Pettigrew ’s shoul - ders,
and threw him backward onto the floor. He sat there, twitch - ing with
terror, staring up at them.
“You sold Lily and James to Voldemort, ” said Black, who was shaki ng
too. “Do you deny it? ”
Pettigrew burst into tears. It was horrible to watch, like an over - sized,
balding baby, cowering on the floor.
“Sirius, Sirius, what could I have done? The Dark Lord . . . you have no
idea . . . he has weapons you can ’t imagi ne. . . . I was scared, Sirius, I
was never brave like you and Remus and James. I never meant it to
happen. . . . He -Who -Must -Not -Be -Named forced me — ”
“DON ’T LIE! ” bellowed Black. “YOU ’D BEEN PASSING IN -
FORMATION TO HIM FOR A YEAR BEFORE LILY AND
JA MES DIED! YOU WERE HIS SPY! ”
“He — he was taking over everywhere! ” gasped Pettigrew. “Wh —
what was there to be gained by refusing him? ”
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“What was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard who has
ever existed? ” said Black, with a terribly fury in his face. “Only
innocent lives, Peter! ”
“You don ’t understand! ” whined Pettigrew. “He would have killed me,
Sirius! ”
“THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED! ” roared Black. “DIED
RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD
HAVE DONE FOR YOU! ”
Black and Lupin stood shoulder to shoulder, wands raised. “You
should have realized, ” said Lupin quietly, “if Voldemort didn ’t kill you,
we would. Good -bye, Peter. ”
Hermione covered her face with her hands and turned to the wall.
“NO! ” Harry yelled. He ran forward, placing himself in front of
Pettigrew, facing the wands. “You can ’t kill him, ” he said breath - lessly.
“You can ’t.”
Black and Lupin both looked staggered.
“Harry, this piece of vermin is the reason you have no parents, ” Black
snarled. “This cringing bit of filth would have seen you die too,
without turning a hair. You heard him. His own stinking skin meant
more t o him than your whole family. ”
“I know, ” Harry panted. “We ’ll take him up to the castle. We ’ll hand
him over to the dementors. . . . He can go to Azkaban . . . but don ’t kill
him. ”
“Harry! ” gasped Pettigrew, and he flung his arms around Harry ’s knees.
“You — thank you — it’s more than I deserve — thank you — ”
“Get off me, ” Harry spat, throwing Pettigrew ’s hands off him in
 375 ‘

CHAPTER NINETEEN

disgust. “I’m not doing this for you. I ’m doing it because — I don ’t
reckon my dad would ’ve wanted them to become killers — just for
you. ”
No one moved or made a sound except Pettigrew, whose breath was
coming in wheezes as he clutched his chest. Black and Lupin were
looking at each other. Then, with one movement, they low - ered their
wands.
“You ’re the only person who has the right to decide, Harry, ” said
Black. “But think . . . think what he did. . . . ”
“He can go to Azkaban, ” Harry repeated. “If anyone deserves that
place, he does. . . . ”
Pettigrew was still wheezing behind him.
“Very well, ” said Lupin. “Stand aside, Harry. ”
Harry hesitated.
“I’m going to tie him up, ” said Lupin. “That ’s all, I swear. ” Harry
stepped out of the way. Thin cords shot from Lupin ’s wand this time,
and next moment, Pettigrew was wriggling on the floor, bound and
gagged.
“But if you transform, Peter, ” growled Black, his own wand
pointing at Pettigrew too, “we will kill you. You agree, Harry? ”
Harry looked down at the pitiful figure on the floor and nodded so th at
Pettigrew could see him.
“Right, ” said Lupin, suddenly businesslike. “Ron, I can ’t mend bones
nearly as well as Madam Pomfrey, so I think it ’s best if we just strap
your leg up until we can get you to the hospital wing. ”
He hurried over to Ron , bent down, tapped Ron ’s leg with
his wand, and muttered, “ Ferula. ” Bandages spun up Ron ’s leg,
 376 ‘

THE SERVANT
OF LORD
VOLDEMORT

strapping it tightly to a splint. Lupin helped him to his feet; Ron put his
weight gingerly on the leg and didn ’t wince.
“That ’s better, ” he said. “Thanks. ”
“What about Professor Snape? ” said Hermione in a small voice,
looking down at Snape ’s prone figure.
“There ’s nothing seriously wrong with him, ” said Lupin, bend - ing
over Snape and checking his pulse. “You were just a little —
overenthusiastic. Still out cold. Er — perhaps it will be best if we don ’t
revive him until we ’re safely back in the castle. We can take him like
this. . . . ”
He muttered, “ Mobilicorpus. ” As though invisible strings were
tied to Snape ’s wrists, neck, and knees, he was pulled into a stand - ing
position, head still lolling unpleasantly, like a grotesque pup - pet. He
hung a few inches above the ground, his limp feet dangling. Lupin
picked u p the Invisibility Cloak and tucked it safely into his pocket.
“And two of us should be chained to this, ” said Black, nudging
Pettigrew with his toe. “Just to make sure. ”
“I’ll do it, ” said Lupin.
“And me, ” said Ron savagely, limping forward. Black conjured heavy
manacles from thin air; soon Pettigrew was upright again, left arm
chained to Lupin ’s right, right arm to Ron ’s left. Ron ’s face was set. He
seemed to have taken Scabbers ’s true identity as a personal insult.
Crookshanks leapt lightly off the bed and led the way out of the room,
his bottlebrush tail held jaun - tily high.



 377 ‘

C H A P T E R T W E N T
Y









THE DEMENTOR ’ S
KISS




arry had never been part of a stranger group. Crook -
H
shanks led the way down the stairs; Lupin, Pettigrew,
and Ron went next, looking like entrants in a six -legged race. Next
came Professor Sna pe, drifting creepily along, his toes hitting each stair
as they descended, held up by his own wand, which was being pointed
at him by Sirius. Harry and Hermione brought up the rear. Getting
back into the tunnel was difficult. Lupin, Pettigrew, and Ron had to

turn sideways to manage it; Lupin still had Pettigrew covered with his
wand. Harry could see them edging awkwardly along the tunnel in
single file. Crookshanks was still in the lead. Harry went right after
Black, who was still making Snape drift along ahead of them; he kept
bumping his lolling head on the low ceiling. Harry had the impression
Black was making no effort to prevent this.
“You know what this means? ” Black said abruptly to Harry as they
made their slow progress along the tunnel. “Turning Pettigrew in? ”
 378 ‘

THE DEMENTOR ’S
KISS


“You ’re free, ” said Harry.
“Yes . . . , ” said Black. “But I ’m also — I don ’t know if anyone ever
told you — I’m your godfather. ”
“Yeah, I knew that, ” said Harry.
“Well . . . your parents appointed me your guardian, ” said Black stiffly.
“If anything happened to them . . . ”
Harry waited. Did Black mean what he thought he meant? “I’ll
understand, of course, if you want to stay with your aunt and uncle, ”
said Black. “But . . . well . . . think about it. Once my name ’s cleared . . .
if you wanted a . . . a different home . . . ”
Some sort of explosion took place in the pit of Harry ’s stomach.
“What — live with you? ” he said, accidentally cracking his head on a
bit of rock protruding from the ceiling. “Leave the Dursleys? ” “Of
course, I thought you wouldn ’t want to, ” said Black quickly.
“I understand, I just thought I ’d — ”
“Are you insane? ” said Harry, his voice easily as croaky as Black ’s. “Of
course I want to lea ve the Dursleys! Have you got a house? When can
I move in? ”
Black turned right around to look at him; Snape ’s head was scraping
the ceiling but Black didn ’t seem to care.
“You want to? ” he said. “You mean it? ”
“Yeah, I mean it! ” said Harry.
Black ’s gaunt face broke into the first true smile Harry had seen upon it.
The difference it made was startling, as though a person ten years
younger were shining through the starved mask; for a mo - ment, he
was recognizable as the man who had laughed at Harry ’s parents ’
wedding.
They did not speak again until they had reached the end of the tunnel.
Crookshanks darted up first; he had evidently pressed his

 379 ‘

CHAPTER TWENTY

paw to the knot on the trunk, because Lupin, Pettigrew, and Ron
clambered upward without any sound of savaging branches.
Black saw Snape up through the hole, then stood back for Harry and
Hermione to pass. At last, all of them were out.
The grounds w ere very dark now; the only light came from the distant
windows of the castle. Without a word, they set off. Petti - grew was
still wheezing and occasionally whimpering. Harry ’s mind was buzzing.
He was going to leave the Dursleys. He was go - ing to live wi th Sirius
Black, his parents ’ best friend. . . . He felt dazed. . . . What would
happen when he told the Dursleys he was going to live with the convict
they ’d seen on television. . . !
“One wrong move, Peter, ” said Lupin threateningly ahead. His wand
was still pointed sideways at Pettigrew ’s chest.
Silently they tramped through the grounds, the castle lights growing
slowly larger. Snape was still drifting weirdly ahead of Black, his chin
bumping on his chest. And then —
A cloud shifted. There were su ddenly dim shadows on the ground.
Their party was bathed in moonlight.
Snape collided with Lupin, Pettigrew, and Ron, who had stopped
abruptly. Black froze. He flung out one arm to make Harry and
Hermione stop.
Harry could see Lupin ’s silhouette. He had gone rigid. Then his limbs
began to shake.
“Oh, my — ” Hermione gasped. “He didn ’t take his potion tonight!
He ’s not safe! ”
“Run, ” Black whispered. “Run. Now. ”
But Harry couldn ’t run. Ron was chained to Pettigrew and Lupin. He
leapt forward but Black caught him around the chest and threw him
back.
 380 ‘

THE DEMENTOR ’S
KISS


“Leave it to me — RUN! ”
There was a terrible snarling noise. Lupin ’s head was lengthening. So
was his body. His s houlders were hunching. Hair was sprouting visibly
on his face and hands, which were curling into clawed paws.
Crookshanks ’s hair was on end again; he was backing away —
As the werewolf reared, snapping its long jaws, Sirius disap - peared
from Harry ’s sid e. He had transformed. The enormous, bearlike dog
bounded forward. As the werewolf wrenched itself free of the manacle
binding it, the dog seized it about the neck and pulled it backward,
away from Ron and Pettigrew. They were locked, jaw to jaw, claws
ripping at each other —
Harry stood, transfixed by the sight, too intent upon the battle to
notice anything else. It was Hermione ’s scream that alerted him —
Pettigrew had dived for Lupin ’s dropped wand. Ron, unsteady on his
bandaged leg, fell. There was a bang, a burst of light — and Ron lay
motionless on the ground. Another bang — Crookshanks flew into
the air and back to the earth in a heap.
“ Expelliarmus !” Harry yelled, pointing his own wand at Petti -
grew; Lupin ’s wand flew hig h into the air and out of sight. “Stay where
you are! ” Harry shouted, running forward.
Too late. Pettigrew had transformed. Harry saw his bald tail whip
through the manacle on Ron ’s outstretched arm and heard a scurrying
through the grass.
There was a howl and a rumbling growl; Harry turned to see the
werewolf taking flight; it was galloping into the forest —
“Sirius, he ’s gone, Pettigrew transformed! ” Harry yelled. Black was
bleeding; there were gashes across his muzzle and back, but at Harry ’s
words he scrambled up again, and in an
 381 ‘

CHAPTER TWENTY

instant, the sound of his paws faded to silence as he pounded away
across the grounds.
Harry and Hermione dashed over to Ron.
“What did he do to him? ” Hermione whispered. Ron ’s eyes were only
half -closed, his mouth hung open; he was definitely alive, they could
hear him breathing, but he didn ’t seem to recognize them. “I don ’t
know. . . . ”
Harry looked desperately around. Black and Lupin both gone . . . they
had no one but Snape for company, still hanging, unconscious, in
midair.
“We ’d better get them up to the castle and tell someone, ” said Harry,
pushing his hair out of his eyes, trying to think straight. Come — ”
But then, from beyond the range of their vision, they heard a yelping, a
whining: a dog in pain. . . .
“Sirius, ” Harry muttered, staring into the darkness. He had a moment ’s
indecision, but there was nothing they could do for Ron at the moment,
and by the sound of it, Black was in trouble —
Harry set off at a run, Hermione right behind him. The yelping seemed
to be coming from the ground near the edge of the lake. They pelted
toward it, and Harry, running flat out, felt the cold without realizing
what i t must mean —
The yelping stopped abruptly. As they reached the lakeshore, they saw
why — Sirius had turned back into a man. He was crouched on all
fours, his hands over his head.
“ Nooo, ” he moaned. “Noooo . . . please.
. . . ”
And then Harry saw t hem. Dementors, at least a hundred of
 382 ‘

THE DEMENTOR ’S
KISS


them, gliding in a black mass around the lake toward them. He spun
around, the familiar, icy cold penetrating his insides, fog starting to
obscure his vision; more were appearing out of the dark - ness on every
side; they were encircling them. . . .
“Hermione, think of something happy! ” Harry yelled, raising his wand,
blinking furiously to try and clear his vision, shaking his head to rid it
of the faint screaming that had started inside it —
I’m going to live with my godfather. I ’m leaving the Dursleys.
He forced himself to think of Black, and only Black, and began
to chant: “ Expecto patronum ! Expecto patronum !”
Black gave a shudder, rolled over, and lay motionless on the ground,
pale as death.
He ’ll be all right. I ’m going to go and live with him.
“ Expecto patronum ! Hermione,
help me! Expecto patronum !”
“ Expecto — ” Hermione
whispered, “ expecto — expecto — ”
But she couldn ’t do it. The dementors were closing in, barely ten feet
from them. They formed a solid wall around Harry and Hermione, and
were getting closer. . . .
“ EXPECTO PATRONUM !” Harry yelled, trying to blot the
screaming from his ea rs. “EXPECTO PATRONUM !”
A thin wisp of silver escaped his wand and hovered like mist be - fore
him. At the same moment, Harry felt Hermione collapse next to him.
He was alone . . . completely alone. . . .
“ Expecto — expecto patronum — ”
Harry felt his knees hit the cold grass. Fog was clouding his eyes. With
a huge effort, he fought to remember — Sirius was inno -
cent — innocent — We ’ll be okay — I’m going to live with him —
“ Expecto patronum !” he gasped.

 383 ‘

CHAPTER TWENTY

By the feeble light of his formless Patronus, he saw a dementor halt,
very close to him. It couldn ’t walk through the cloud of silver mist
Harry had conjured. A dead, slimy hand slid out from under the cloak.
It made a gesture as though to sweep the Patronus aside.
“No — no — ” Harry gasped. “He ’s innocent . . . expecto —
expecto patronum — ”
He could feel them watching him, hear their rattling breath like an evil
wind around him. The nearest dementor seemed to be con - sidering
him. Then it raised both its rotting hands — and lowered its 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.
A paralyzing terror filled Harry so that he couldn ’t move or speak. His
Patronus flickered and died.
White fog was blinding him. He had to fight . . . expecto pa -
tronum . . . he couldn ’t see . . . and in the distance, he heard the fa -
miliar screaming . . . expecto patronum . . . he groped in the mist
for Sirius, and found his arm . . . they weren ’t going to take him. . . .
But a pair of strong, clammy hands suddenly attached them - selves
around Harry ’s neck. They were forcing his face upward. . . . He could
feel its breath. . . . It was going to get rid of him first. . . . He could feel
its putrid breath. . . . His mother wa s screaming in his ears. . . . She was
going to be the last thing he ever heard — And then, through the fog
that was drowning him, he thought he saw a silvery light growing
brighter and brighter. . . . He felt
 384 ‘

THE DEMENTOR ’S
KISS


himself fall forward onto the grass. . . . Facedown, too weak to move,
sick and shaking, Harry opened his eyes. The dementor must have
released him. The blinding light was illuminating the grass around
him. . . . The screaming had stopped, the cold was ebbing away. . . .
Something was driving the dementors back. . . . It was circling around
him and Black and Hermione. . . . They were leaving. . . . The air was
warm again. . . .
With every ounce of strength he could muster, Harry raised his head a
few inches and saw an animal amid the light, galloping away across the
lake. . . . Eyes blurred with sweat, Harry tried to make out what it
was. . . . It was as bright as a unicorn. . . . Fighting to stay conscious,
Harry watched it canter to a halt as it reached the opposite shore. For a
moment, Harry saw, by its brightness, some - body welcoming it
back . . . raising his hand to pat it . . . someone who looked strangely
familiar . . . but it couldn ’t be . . .
Harry didn ’t understand. He couldn ’t think anymore. He felt the last of
his strength leave him, and his head hit the ground as he fainted.











 385 ‘

C H A P T E R T W E N T Y -
ONE









HERMIONE ’ S
SECRET




hocking business . . . shocking . . . miracle none of them
S
were there, Snape. . . . ”
“Thank you, Minister. ”
“Order of Merlin, Second Class, I ’d say. First Class, if I can wangle it! ”
“Thank you very much indeed, Minister. ”
“Nasty cut you ’ve got there. . . . Black ’s work, I suppose? ” “As a
matter of fact, it was Potter, Weasley, and Granger, Minis - ter. . . . ”

“ No !”
“Black had bewitched them, I saw it immediately. A Confundus Charm,
to judge by their behavior. They seemed to think there was a possibility
he was innocent. They weren ’t responsible for their ac - tions. On the
other hand, their interference might have permitted
 386 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

Black to escape. . . . They obviously thought they were going to catch
Black single -handed. They ’ve got away with a great deal be - fore
now. . . . I ’m afraid it ’s given them a rather high opinion of
themselves . . . and of course Potter has always been allowed an ex -
traordinary amount of license by the headmaster — ”
“Ah, well, Snape . . . Harry Pott er, you know . . . we ’ve all got a bit of a
blind spot where he ’s concerned. ”
“And yet — is it good for him to be given so much special treat - ment?
Personally, I try and treat him like any other student. And any other
student would be suspended — at the very least — for leading his
friends into such danger. Consider, Minister — against all school rules
— after all the precautions put in place for his pro - tection —
out -of -bounds, at night, consorting with a werewolf and a murderer —
and I have reason to b elieve he has been visiting Hogsmeade illegally
too — ”
“Well, well . . . we shall see, Snape, we shall see. . . . The boy has
undoubtedly been foolish. . . . ”
Harry lay listening with his eyes tight shut. He felt very groggy. The
words he was hearing see med to be traveling very slowly from his ears
to his brain, so that it was difficult to understand. . . . His limbs felt
like lead; his eyelids too heavy to lift. . . . He wanted to lie here, on this
comfortable bed, forever. . . .
“What amazes me most is the behavior of the dementors . . . you ’ve
really no idea what made them retreat, Snape? ”
“No, Minister . . . by the time I had come ’round they were heading
back to their positions at the entrances. . . . ” “Extraordinary. And yet
Black, and Harry, and the girl — ” “All unconscious by the time I
reached them. I bound and
 387 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


gagged Black, naturally, conjured stretchers, and brought them all
straight back to the castle. ”
There was a pause. Harry ’s brain seemed to be moving a little faster,
and as it did, a gnawing sensation grew in the pit of his stom - ach. . . .
He opened his eyes.
Everything was slightly blurred. Somebody had removed his glasses.
He was lying in the dark hospital wing. At the very end of the ward, he
could make out Madam Pomfrey with her back to him, bending over a
bed. Harry squinted. Ron ’s red hair was visible beneath Madam
Pomfrey ’s arm.
Harry moved his head over on th e pillow. In the bed to his right lay
Hermione. Moonlight was falling across her bed. Her eyes were open
too. She looked petrified, and when she saw that Harry was awake,
pressed a finger to her lips, then pointed to the hospital wing door. It
was ajar, an d the voices of Cornelius Fudge and Snape were coming
through it from the corridor outside.
Madam Pomfrey now came walking briskly up the dark ward to
Harry ’s bed. He turned to look at her. She was carrying the largest
block of chocolate he had ever seen in his life. It looked like a small
boulder.
“Ah, you ’re awake! ” she said briskly. She placed the chocolate on
Harry ’s bedside table and began breaking it apart with a small ham -
mer.
“How ’s Ron? ” said Harry and Hermione together. “He ’ll live, ” said
Ma dam Pomfrey grimly. “As for you two . . . you ’ll be staying here until
I’m satisfied you ’re — Potter, what do you think you ’re doing? ”
 388 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

Harry was sitting up, putting his glasses back on, and picking up his
wand.
“I need to see the headmaster, ” he said.
“Potter, ” said Madam Pomfrey soothingly, “it’s all right. They ’ve got
Black. He ’s locked away upstairs. The dementors will be per - forming
the kiss any moment now — ”
“WHAT? ”
Harry jumped up out of bed; Hermione had done the same. But his
shout had been heard in the corridor outside; next second, Cor - nelius
Fudge and Snape had entered the ward.
“Harry, Harry, what ’s this? ” sai d Fudge, looking agitated. “You should
be in bed — has he had any chocolate? ” he asked Madam Pomfrey
anxiously.
“Minister, listen! ” Harry said. “Sirius Black ’s innocent! Peter Pet -
tigrew faked his own death! We saw him tonight! You can ’t let the
dementor s do that thing to Sirius, he ’s — ”
But Fudge was shaking his head with a small smile on his face. “Harry,
Harry, you ’re very confused, you ’ve been through a dreadful ordeal, lie
back down, now, we ’ve got everything under control. . . . ”
“YOU HAVEN ’T! ” Harry yelled. “YOU ’VE GOT THE WRONG
MAN! ”
“Minister, listen, please, ” Hermione said; she had hurried to Harry ’s
side and was gazing imploringly into Fudge ’s face. “I saw him too. It
was Ron ’s rat, he ’s an Animagus, Pettigrew, I mean, and — ”
“You see, Min ister? ” said Snape. “Confunded, both of them. . . .
Black ’s done a very good job on them. . . . ”
 389 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


“WE ’RE NOT CONFUNDED! ” Harry roared. “Minister!
Professor! ” said Madam Pomfrey angrily. “I must in - sist that you
leave. Potter is my patient, and he should not be dis - tressed! ”
“I’m not distressed, I ’m trying to tell them what happened! ” Harry
said furiously. “If they ’d just listen — ”
But Madam Pomfrey suddenly stuffed a large chunk of choco - late into
Harry ’s mouth; he choked, and she seized the opportunity to force him
back onto the bed.
“Now, please, Minister, these children need care. Please leave — ”
The door opened again. It was Dumbledore. Harry swallowed his
mouthful of chocolate with great difficulty and got up again.
“Professor Dumbledore, Sirius Black — ”
“For heaven ’s sake! ” said Madam Pomfrey hysterically. “Is this a
hospital wing or not? Headmaster, I must insist — ”
“My apologies, Poppy, but I need a word with Mr. Potter and Miss
Granger, ” said Dumbledore calmly. “I have just been talking to Sirius
Black — ”
“I suppose he ’s told you the same fairy tale he ’s planted in Potter ’s
mind? ” spat Snape. “Something about a rat , and Pettigrew being alive
— ”
“That, indeed, is Black ’s story, ” said Dumbledore, surveying Snape
closely through his half -moon spectacles.
“And does my evidence count for nothing? ” snarled Snape. “Peter
Pettigrew was not in the Shrieking Shack, nor did I see any sign of him
on the grounds. ”
“That was because you were knocked out, Professor! ” said Hermione
earnestly. “You didn ’t arrive in time to hear — ”
“Miss Granger, HOLD YOUR TONGUE! ”

 390 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“Now, Snape, ” said Fudge, startled, “the young lady is disturbed in her
mind, we must make allowances — ”
“I would like to speak to Harry and Hermione alone, ” said Dum -
bledore abruptly. “Cornelius, Severus, Poppy — please leave us. ”
“Headmaster! ” sputtered Madam Pomfrey “They need treat - ment,
they need rest — ”
“This cannot wait, ” said Dumbledore. “I must insist. ” Madam
Pomfrey pursed her lips and strode away into her office at the end of
the ward, slamming the door behind her. Fudge con - sulted the large
gold pocket watch dangling from his waistcoat. “The dementors
should have arrived by now, ” he said. “I’ll go and meet them.
Dumbledore, I ’ll see you upstairs. ”
He crossed to the door and held it open for Snape, but Snape hadn ’t
moved.
“You surely don ’t believe a word of Black ’s story? ” Snape whispered,
his eyes fixed on Dumbledore ’s face.
“I wish to speak to Harry and Hermione alone, ” Dumbledore
repeated.
Snape took a step toward Dumbledore.
“Sirius Black showed he was capable of murder at the age of six - teen, ”
he breathed. “You haven ’t forgotten that, Headmaster? You
haven ’t forgotten that he once tried to kill me ?”
“My memory is as good as it ever was, Severus, ” said Dumble - dore
quietly.
Snape turned on his heel and marched through the door Fudge was
still holding. It closed behind them, and Dumbledore turned to Harry
and Hermione. They both burst into speech at the same time.
“Professor, Black ’s telling the truth — we saw Pettigrew — ”
 391 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


“— he escaped when Professor Lupin turned into a werewolf — ”
“— he ’s a rat — ”
“— Pettigrew ’s front paw, I mean, finger, he cut it off — ”
“— Pettigrew attacked Ron, it wasn ’t Sirius — ”
But Dumbledore held up his hand to stem the flood of explana - tions.
“It is your turn to listen, and I beg you will not interrupt me, be - cause
there is very little time, ” he said quietly. “There is not a shred of proof
to support Black ’s story, except your word — and the word of two
thirteen -year -old wizards will not convince anybody. A street full of
eyewitnesses swore they saw Sirius mur der Pettigrew. I myself gave
evidence to the Ministry that Sirius had been the Potters ’
Secret -Keeper. ”
“Professor Lupin can tell you — ” Harry said, unable to stop himself.
“Professor Lupin is currently deep in the forest, unable to tell anyone
anything. By the time he is human again, it will be too late, Sirius will be
worse than dead. I might add that werewolves are so mistrusted by
most of our kind that his support will count for very little — and the
fact that he and Sirius are old friends — ”
“But — ”
“ Listen to me, Harry. It is too late, you understand me? You must
see that Professor Snape ’s version of events is far more convincing
than yours. ”
“He hates Sirius, ” Hermione said desperately. “All because of some
stupid trick Sirius played on him — ”
“Sirius has not acted like an innocent man. The attack on the Fat Lady
— entering Gryffindor Tower with a knife — without
 392 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

Pettigrew, alive or dead, we have no chance of overturning Sirius ’s
sentence. ”
“ But you believe us. ”
“Yes, I do, ” said Dumbledore quietly. “But I have no power to make
other men see the truth, or to overrule the Minister of Magic. . . .
Harry stared up into the grave face and felt as though the ground
beneath him were falling sharply away. He had grown used to the idea
that Dumbledore could solve anything. He had expected Dumbledore
to pull some amazing solution out of the air. But no . . . their last hope
was gone.
“What we need, ” said Dumbledore slow ly, and his light blue
eyes moved from Harry to Hermione, “is more time. ”
“But — ” Hermione began. And then her eyes became very round.
“OH! ”
“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 in -
nocent 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. ”
Harry didn ’t have a clue what was going on. Dumbledore had turned
on his heel and looked back as he reached the door.
“I am going to lock yo u in. It is — ” he consulted his watch, “five
minutes to midnight. Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good
luck. ”
“Good luck? ” Harry repeated as the door closed behind
 393 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


Dumbledore. “Three turns? What ’s he talking about? What are we
supposed to do? ”
But Hermione was fumbling with the neck of her robes, pulling from
beneath them a very long, very fine gold chain.
“Harry, come here, ” she said urgently. “ Quick !”
Harry moved toward her, completely bewildered. She was holding the
chain out. He saw a tiny, sparkling hourglass hanging from it. “Here
— ”
She had thrown the chain around his neck too.
“Ready? ” she said breathlessly.
“What are we doing? ” Harry said, completely lost. Hermione turned
the hourglass over three times. The dark ward dissolved. Harry had the
sensation that he was flying very fast, backward. A blur of colors and
shapes rushed past him, his ears were pounding, he tried to yell but
couldn ’t hea r his own voice —
And then he felt solid ground beneath his feet, and everything came
into focus again —
He was standing next to Hermione in the deserted entrance hall and a
stream of golden sunlight was falling across the paved floor from the
open fro nt doors. He looked wildly around at Hermione, the chain of
the hourglass cutting into his neck.
“Hermione, what — ?”
“In here! ” Hermione seized Harry ’s arm and dragged him across the
hall to the door of a broom closet; she opened it, pushed him inside
among the buckets and mops, then slammed the door be - hind them.
“What — how — Hermione, what happened? ”
 394 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“We ’ve gone back in time, ” Hermione whispered, lifting the chain off
Harry ’s neck in the darkness. “Three hours back . . . ” Harry found his
own leg and gave it a very hard pinch. It hurt a lot, which seemed to
rule out the possibility that he was having a very bizarre dream.
“But — ”
“Shh! Listen! Someone ’s coming! I think — I think it might be us! ”
Hermione had her ear pressed against the cupboard door. “Footsteps
across the hall . . . yes, I think it ’s us going down to Hagrid ’s!”
“Are you telling me, ” Harry whispered, “that we ’re here in this
cupboard and we ’re out there too? ”
“Yes, ” said Hermione, her ear still glued to the cupboard door. “I’m
sure it ’s us. It doesn ’t sound like more than three people . . . and we ’re
walking slowly because we ’re under the Invisibility Cloak — ”
She broke off, still listening intently.
“We ’ve gone down the front steps. . . . ”
Hermione sat down on an upturned bucket, looking desperately
anxious, but Harry wanted a few questions answered.
“Where did you get that hourglass thing? ”
“It’s called a Time -Turner, ” Hermione whispered, “an d I got it from
Professor McGonagall on our first day back. I ’ve been using it all year
to get to all my lessons. Professor McGonagall made me swear I
wouldn ’t tell anyone. She had to write all sorts of letters to the Ministry
of Magic so I could have one. She had to tell them that I was a model
student, and that I ’d never, ever use it for
 395 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


anything except my studies. . . . I ’ve been turning it back so I could do
hours over again, that ’s how I ’ve been doing several lessons at once,
see? But . . .
“Harry, I don ’t understand what Dumbledore wants us to do. Why
did he tell us to go back three hours? How ’s that going to help Sirius? ”
Harry stared at her shadowy face.
“There must be somethi ng that happened around now he wants us to
change, ” he said slowly. “What happened? We were walking down to
Hagrid ’s three hours ago. . . . ”
“This is three hours ago, and we are walking down to Hagrid ’s,”
said Hermione. “We just heard ourselves leaving. . . . ”
Harry frowned; he felt as though he were screwing up his whole brain
in concentration.
“Dumbledore just said — just said we could save more than one
innocent life. . . . ” And then it hit him. “Hermione, we ’re g oing to save
Buckbeak! ”
“But — how will that help Sirius? ”
“Dumbledore said — he just told us where the window is — the
window of Flitwick ’s office! Where they ’ve got Sirius locked up! We ’ve
got to fly Buckbeak up to the window and rescue Sirius! Sirius can
escape on Buckbeak — they can escape to - gether! ”
From what Harry could see of Hermione ’s face, she looked terri - fied.
“If we manage that without being seen, it ’ll be a miracle! ” “Well, we ’ve
got to try, haven ’t we? ” said Harry. He stood up and pressed his ear
against the door.
“Doesn ’t sound like anyone ’s there. . . . Come on, let ’s go. . . . ”
 396 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

Harry pushed open the closet door. The entrance hall was de - serted.
As quietly and quickly as they could, they darted out of the closet and
down the stone steps. The shadows were already length - ening, the
tops of the trees in the Forbidden Forest gilded once more with gold.
“If anyone ’s looking out of the window — ” Hermione squeaked,
looking up at the castle behind them.
“We ’ll run for it, ” said Harry determinedly. “Straight into the forest, all
right? We ’ll have to hide behind a tree or something and keep a
lookout — ”
“Okay, but we ’ll go around by the greenh ouses! ” said Hermione
breathlessly. “We need to keep out of sight of Hagrid ’s front door, or
we ’ll see us! We must be nearly at Hagrid ’s by now! ”
Still working out what she meant, Harry set off at a sprint, Hermione
behind him. They tore across the vegeta ble gardens to the greenhouses,
paused for a moment behind them, then set off again, fast as they
could, skirting around the Whomping Willow, tearing toward the
shelter of the forest. . . .
Safe in the shadows of the trees, Harry turned around; seconds la ter,
Hermione arrived beside him, panting.
“Right, ” she gasped. “We need to sneak over to Hagrid ’s. . . . Keep out
of sight, Harry. . . . ”
They made their way silently through the trees, keeping to the very
edge of the forest. Then, as they glimpsed the front of Hagrid ’s house,
they heard a knock upon his door. They moved quickly behind a wide
oak trunk and peered out from either side. Hagrid had appeared in his
doorway, shaking and white, looking around to see who had knocked.
And Harry heard his own vo ice.
 397 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


“It’s us. We ’re wearing the Invisibility Cloak. Let us in and we can take
it off. ”
“Yeh shouldn ’ve come! ” Hagrid whispered. He stood back, then shut
the door quickly.
“This is the we irdest thing we ’ve ever done, ” Harry said fer - vently.
“Let ’s move along a bit, ” Hermione whispered. “We need to get nearer
to Buckbeak! ”
They crept through the trees until they saw the nervous hip - pogriff,
tethered to the fence around Hagrid ’s pumpkin patch. “Now? ” Harry
whispered.
“No! ” said Hermione. “If we steal him now, those Committee people
will think Hagrid set him free! We ’ve got to wait until they ’ve seen he ’s
tied outside! ”
“That ’s going to give us about sixty seconds, ” said Harr y. This was
starting to seem impossible.
At that moment, there was a crash of breaking china from inside
Hagrid ’s cabin.
“That ’s Hagrid breaking the milk jug, ” Hermione whispered. “I’m
going to find Scabbers in a moment — ”
Sure enough, a few minutes l ater, they heard Hermione ’s shriek of
surprise.
“Hermione, ” said Harry suddenly, “what if we — we just run in there
and grab Pettigrew — ”
“No! ” said Hermione in a terrified whisper. “Don ’t you under - stand?
We ’re breaking one of the most important wizarding laws! Nobody ’s
supposed to change time, nobody! You heard Dumble - dore, if we ’re
seen — ”
“We ’d only be seen by ourselves and Hagrid! ”

 398 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“Harry, what do you think you ’d do if you saw yourself bursting into
Hagrid ’s house? ” said Hermione.
“I’d — I’d think I ’d gone mad, ” said Harry, “or I ’d think there was
some Dark Magic going on — ”
“ Exactly ! You wouldn ’t understand, you might even attack your -
self! Don ’t you see? Professor McGonagall told me what awful things
have happened when wizards have meddled with time. . . . Loads of
them ended up killing their past or future selves by mis - take! ”
“Okay! ” said Harry. “It was just an idea, I just thought — ” But
Hermione nudged him and pointed toward the castle. Harry moved his
head a few inches to get a clear view of the distant front doors.
Dumbledore, Fudge, the old Committee member, and Macnair the
executioner were coming down the steps.
“We ’re abou t to come out! ” Hermione breathed.
And sure enough, moments later, Hagrid ’s back door opened, and
Harry saw himself, Ron, and Hermione walking out of it with Hagrid.
It was, without a doubt, the strangest sensation of his life, standing
behind the tree, a nd watching himself in the pumpkin patch.
“It’s okay, Beaky, it ’s okay . . . , ” Hagrid said to Buckbeak. Then he
turned to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. “Go on. Get goin ’.” “Hagrid, we
can ’t — ”
“We ’ll tell them what really happened — ”
“They can ’t kill him — ”
“Go! It ’s bad enough without you lot in trouble an ’ all! ” Harry watched
the Hermione in the pumpkin patch throw the Invisibility Cloak over
him and Ron.
“Go quick. Don ’ listen. . . . ”
 399 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


There was a knock on Hagrid ’s front door. The execution party had
arrived. Hagrid turned around and headed back into his cabin, leaving
the back door ajar. Harry watched the grass flatten in patches all
around the cabin and heard three pairs of feet retreat - ing. He, Ron,
and Hermione had gone . . . but the Harry and Hermione hidden in the
trees could now hear what was happening inside the cabin through the
back door.
“Where is the beast? ” ca me the cold voice of Macnair.
“Out — outside, ” Hagrid croaked.
Harry pulled his head out of sight as Macnair ’s face appeared at
Hagrid ’s window, staring out at Buckbeak. Then they heard Fudge.
“We — er — have to read you the official notice of execution, Hagrid.
I’ll make it quick. And then you and Macnair need to sign it. Macnair,
you ’re supposed to listen too, that ’s procedure — ” Macnair ’s face
vanished from the window. It was now or never. “Wait here, ” Harry
whispered to Hermione. “I’ll do it. ”
As Fu dge ’s voice started again, Harry darted out from behind his tree,
vaulted the fence into the pumpkin patch, and approached Buckbeak.
“ It is the decision of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures that
the hippogriff Buckbeak, hereafter cal led the con -
demned, shall be executed on the sixth of June at sundown — ”
Careful not to blink, Harry stared up into Buckbeak ’s fierce or - ange
eyes once more and bowed. Buckbeak sank to his scaly knees and then
stood up again. Harry began to fumble with the knot of rope tying
Buckbeak to the fence.
“. . . sentenced to execution by beheading, to be carried out by the
Committee ’ s appointed executioner,
Walden Macnair . . . ”

 400 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET



“Come on, Buckbeak, ” Harry murmured, “come on, we ’re go - ing to
help you. Quietly . . . quietly . . . ”
“. . . as witnessed below. Hagrid, you sign here. . . . ”
Ha rry threw all his weight onto the rope, but Buckbeak had dug in his
front feet.
“Well, let ’s get this over with, ” said the reedy voice of the Com - mittee
member from inside Hagrid ’s cabin. “Hagrid, perhaps it will be better
if you stay inside — ”
“No, I — I wan ’ ter be with him. . . . I don ’ wan ’ him ter be alone — ”
Footsteps echoed from within the cabin.
“ Buckbeak, move !” Harry hissed.
Harry tugged harder on the rope around Buckbeak ’s neck. The
hippogriff began to walk, rustling its wings irritably. They were still ten
feet away from the forest, in plain view of Hagrid ’s back door. “One
moment, please, Macnair, ” came Dumbledore ’s voice. “You need to
sign too. ” The footsteps stopped. Harry heaved on the rope. Buckbeak
snapped his beak and walked a little faster. Hermione ’s white face was
sticking out from behind a tree. “Harry, hurry! ” she mouthed.
Harry could still hear Dumbledore ’s voice talking from within the
cabin. He gave the rope another wrench. Buckbeak broke into a
grudging trot. They had reached the trees. . . .
“Quick! Quick! ” Hermione moaned, darting out from behind her tree,
seizing the rope too and adding her weight to make Buck - beak move
faster. Harry looked over his shoulder; th ey were now blocked from
sight; they couldn ’t see Hagrid ’s garden at all.
“Stop! ” he whispered to Hermione. “They might hear us — ”
 401 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


Hagrid ’s back door had opened with a bang. Harry, Hermione, and
Buckbeak stood quite still; even the hippogriff seemed to be listening
intently.
Silence . . . then —
“Where is it? ” said the reedy voice of the Committee member. “Where
is the beast? ”
“It was tied here! ” said the executioner furiously. “I s aw it! Just here! ”
“How extraordinary, ” said Dumbledore. There was a note of
amusement in his voice.
“Beaky! ” said Hagrid huskily.
There was a swishing noise, and the thud of an axe. The execu - tioner
seemed to have swung it into the fence in anger. And then came the
howling, and this time they could hear Hagrid ’s words through his
sobs.
“Gone! Gone! Bless his little beak, he ’s gone ! Musta pulled him -
self free! Beaky, yeh clever boy! ”
Buckbeak started to strain against the rope, trying to get back to
Hagrid. Harry and Hermione tightened their grip and dug their heels
into the forest floor to stop him.
“Someone untied him! ” the executioner was snarling. “We should
search the grounds, the forest — ”
“Macnair, if Buckbeak has indeed been stolen, do you really think the
thief will have led him away on foot? ” said Dumbledore, still sounding
amused. “Search the skies, if you will. . . . Hagrid, I could do with a cup
of tea. Or a large brandy. ”
“O ’ — o’ co urse, Professor, ” said Hagrid, who sounded weak with
happiness. “Come in, come in. . . . ”
 402 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

Harry and Hermione listened closely. They heard footsteps, the soft
cursing of the executioner, the snap of the door, and then si - lence
once more.
“Now what? ” whispered Harry, looking around. “We ’ll have to hide in
here, ” said Hermione, who looked very shaken. “We need to wait until
they ’ve gone back to the castle. Then we wait until it ’s safe to fly
Buckbeak up to Sirius ’s window. He won ’t be there for another couple
of hours. . . . Oh, this is go - ing to be difficult. . . . ”
She looked nervously over her shoulder into the depths of the forest.
The sun was setting now.
“We ’re going to have to move, ” said Harry, thinking hard. “We ’ve got
to be able to see the Whomping Willow, or we won ’t know what ’s
going on. ”
“Okay, ” said Hermione, getting a firmer grip on Buckbeak ’s rope.
“But we ’ve got to keep out of sight, H arry, remember. . . . ” They
moved around the edge of the forest, darkness falling thickly around
them, until they were hidden behind a clump of trees through which
they could make out the Willow.
“There ’s Ron! ” said Harry suddenly.
A dark figure was sp rinting across the lawn and its shout echoed
through the still night air.
“Get away from him — get away — Scabbers, come here — ”
And then they saw two more figures materialize out of nowhere. Harry
watched himself and Hermione chasing after Ron. Then he saw Ron
dive.
“ Gotcha ! Get off, you stinking cat — ”
“There ’s Sirius! ” said Harry. The great shape of the dog had
 403 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


bounded out from the roots of the Willow. They saw him bowl Harry
over, then seize Ron. . . .
“Looks even worse from here, doesn ’t it? ” said Harry, watching the
dog pulling Ron into the roots. “Ouch — look, I just got wal -
loped by the tree — and so d id you — this is weird — ”
The Whomping Willow was creaking and lashing out with its lower
branches; they could see themselves darting here and there, trying to
reach the trunk. And then the tree froze.
“That was Crookshanks pressing the knot, ” said Hermione.
“And there we go . . . , ” Harry muttered. “We ’re in. ”
The moment they disappeared, the tree began to move again. Seconds
later, they heard footsteps quite close by. Dumbledore, Macnair, Fudge,
and the old Committee member were making th eir way up to the
castle.
“Right after we ’d gone down into the passage! ” said Hermione.
“If only Dumbledore had come with us . . . ”
“Macnair and Fudge would ’ve come too, ” said Harry bitterly. “I bet
you anything Fudge would ’ve told Macnair to murder Sirius on the
spot. . . . ”
They watched the four men climb the castle steps and disappear from
view. For a few minutes the scene was deserted. Then — “Here comes
Lupin! ” said Harry as they saw another figure sprinting down the
stone steps and haring toward the Willow. Harry looked up at the sky.
Clouds were obscuring the moon com - pletely.
They watched Lupin seize a broken branch from the ground and prod
the knot on the trunk. The tree stopped fighting, and Lupin, too,
disappeared into the gap in its roots.
 404 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“If he ’d only grabbed the cloak, ” said Harry. “It’s just lying there. . . . ”
He turned to Hermione.
“If I just dashed out now and grabbed it, Snape ’d never be able to get it
and — ”
“Harry, we mustn ’t be seen !”
“How can you stand this? ” he asked Hermione fiercely. “Just standing
here and watching it happen? ” He hesitated. “I’m going to grab the
cloak! ”
“Harry, no !”
Hermione seized the back o f Harry ’s robes not a moment too soon.
Just then, they heard a burst of song. It was Hagrid, making his way up
to the castle, singing at the top of his voice, and weav - ing slightly as he
walked. A large bottle was swinging from his hands.
“ See ?” Hermione whispered. “ See
what would have happened ?
We ’ve got to keep out of sight! No, Buckbeak !”
The hippogriff was making frantic attempts to get to Hagrid again;
Harry seized his rope too, straining to hold Buckbeak back. They
watched Hagrid meander tipsily up to the castle. He was gone.
Buckbeak stopped fighting to get away. His head drooped sadly.
Barely two minutes later, the castle doors flew open yet again, and
Snape came charging out of them, running toward the Willo w.
Harry ’s fists clenched as they watched Snape skid to a halt next to the
tree, looking around. He grabbed the cloak and held it up. “Get your
filthy hands off it, ” Harry snarled under his breath.
 405 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


“Shh! ”
Snape seized the branch Lupin had used to freeze the tree, prod - ded
the knot, and vanished from view as he put on the cloak. “So that ’s it, ”
said Hermione quietly. “We ’re all down there . . . and now we ’ve just
got to wait until we come back up again. . . . ” She took the end of
Buckbeak ’s rope and tied it securely around the nearest tree, then sat
down on the dry ground, arms around her knees.
“Harry, there ’s something I don ’t understand. . . . Why didn ’t the
dementors get Sirius? I rememb er them coming, and then I think I
passed out . . . there were so many of them. . . . ”
Harry sat down too. He explained what he ’d seen; how, as the nearest
dementor had lowered its mouth to Harry ’s, a large silver something
had come galloping across the l ake and forced the de - mentors to
retreat.
Hermione ’s mouth was slightly open by the time Harry had fin - ished.
“But what was it? ”
“There ’s only one thing it could have been, to make the demen - tors
go, ” said Harry. “A real Patronus. A powerful one. ”
“But who conjured it? ”
Harry didn ’t say anything. He was thinking back to the person he ’d
seen on the other bank of the lake. He knew who he thought
it had been . . . but how could it have been?
“Didn ’t you see what they looked like? ” said Hermione eagerly. “Was it
one of the teachers? ”
“No, ” said Harry. “He wasn ’t a teacher. ”
“But it must have been a really powerful wizard, to drive all
 406 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

those dementors away. . . . If the Patronus was shining so brightly,
didn ’t it light him up? Couldn ’t you see — ?”
“Yeah, I saw him, ” said Harry slowly. “But . . . maybe I imag - ined
it. . . . I wasn ’t thinking straight. . . . I passed out right after - ward. . . . ”
“ Who did you think it was ?”
“I think — ” Harry swallowed, knowing how strange this was going to
sound. “I think it was my dad. ”
Harry glanced up at Hermione and saw that her mouth was fully open
now. She was gazing at him with a mixture of alarm and pity.
“Harry, your dad ’s — well — dead, ” she said quietly.
“I know that, ” said Harry quickly.
“You think you saw his ghost? ”
“I don ’t know . . . no . . . he looked solid. . . . ”
“But then — ”
“Maybe I was seeing things, ” said Harry. “But . . . from what I could
see . . . it looked like him. . . . I ’ve got photos of him. . . . ” Hermione
was still looking at him as though worried about his sanity.
“I know it sounds crazy, ” said Harry flatly. He turned to look at
Buckbeak , who was digging his beak into the ground, apparently
searching for worms. But he wasn ’t really watching Buckbeak.
He was thinking about his father and about his father ’s three oldest
friends . . . Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. . . . Had all four of
them been out on the grounds tonight? Wormtail had reappeared this
evening when everyone had thought he was dead. . . . Was it so
impossible his father had done the same? Had he been seeing things
across the lake? The figure had been too far
 407 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


away to see distinctly . . . yet he had felt sure, for a moment, before he ’d
lost consciousness. . . .
The leaves overhead rustled faintly in the breeze. The moon drifted in
and out of sight behind the shifting clouds. Hermione sat with her face
turned toward the Willow, waiting.
And then, at last, after over an hour . . .
“Here we come! ” Hermione whispered.
She and Harry got to their feet. Buckbeak raised his head. They saw
Lupin, Pettigrew, and Ron clambering awkwardly out of the hole in the
roots . . . followed by the unconscious Snape, drifting weirdly upward.
Next came Harry, Hermione, and Black. They all began to walk toward
the castle.
Harry ’s heart was starting to beat very fast. He glanced up at the sky.
Any moment now, that cloud was going to move aside and show the
moon. . . .
“Harry, ” Hermione muttered as though she knew exactly what he was
thin king, “we ’ve got to stay put. We mustn ’t be seen. There ’s nothing
we can do. . . . ”
“So we ’re just going to let Pettigrew escape all over again. . . . ” said
Harry quietly.
“How do you expect to find a rat in the dark? ” snapped Hermione.
“There ’s nothing we can do! We came back to help Sirius; we ’re not
supposed to be doing anything else! ”
“ All right !”
The moon slid out from behind its cloud. They saw the tiny fig - ures
across the grounds stop. Then they saw movement — “There goes
Lupin, ” Hermione whi spered. “He ’s transforming — ” “Hermione! ”
said Harry suddenly. “We ’ve got to move! ”

 408 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“We mustn ’t, I keep telling you — ”
“Not to interfere! Lupin ’s going to run into the forest, right at us! ”
Hermione gasped.
“Quick! ” she moaned, dashing to untie Buckbeak. “Quick! Where are
we going to go? Where are we going to hide? The de - mentors will be
coming any moment — ”
“Back to Hagrid ’s!” Harry said. “It’s empty now — come on! ” They
ran as fast as they could, Buckbeak cantering along behind them. They
could hear the werewolf howling behind them. . . .
The cabin was in sight; Harry skidded to the door, wrenched it open,
and Hermione and Buckbeak flashed past him; Harry threw hims elf in
after them and bolted the door. Fang the boarhound barked loudly.
“Shh, Fang, it ’s us! ” said Hermione, hurrying over and scratch - ing his
ears to quieten him. “That was really close! ” she said to Harry.
“Yeah . . . ”
Harry was looking out of the window. It was much harder to see what
was going on from here. Buckbeak seemed very happy to find himself
back inside Hagrid ’s house. He lay down in front of the fire, folded his
wings contentedly, and seemed ready for a good nap.
“I think I ’d better go outside again, you know, ” said Harry slowly. “I
can ’t see what ’s going on — we won ’t know when it ’s time — ”
Hermione looked up. Her expression was suspicious.
 409 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


“I’m not going to try and interfere, ” said Harry quickly. “But if we
don ’t see what ’s going on, how ’re we going to know when it ’s time to
rescue Sirius? ”
“Well . . . okay, then . . . I ’ll wait here with Buckbeak . . . but Harry, be
careful — there ’s a werewolf out there — and the de - mentors — ”
Harry stepped outside again and edged around the cabin. He could
hear yelping in the distance. That meant the dementors were closing in
on Sirius. . . . He and Hermione would be running to him any
moment. . . .
Harry stared out toward the lake, his heart doing a kind of drumroll in
his chest. . . . Whoever had sent that Patronus would be appearing at
any moment. . . .
For a fraction of a second he stood, irresolute, in front of Ha -
grid ’s door. You must not be seen. But he didn ’t want to be seen. He
wanted to do the seeing. . . . He had to know. . . .
And there were the dementors. They were emerging out of the
darkness from every direction, gliding around the edges of the lake. . . .
They we re moving away from where Harry stood, to the opposite
bank. . . . He wouldn ’t have to get near them. . . . Harry began to run.
He had no thought in his head except his father. . . . If it was him . . . if
it really was him . . . he had to know, had to fin d out. . . .
The lake was coming nearer and nearer, but there was no sign of
anybody. On the opposite bank, he could see tiny glimmers of sil - ver
— his own attempts at a Patronus —
There was a bush at the very edge of the water. Harry threw himself
behind it, peering desperately through the leaves. On the
 410 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

opposite bank, the glimmers of silver were suddenly extinguished. A
terrified excitement shot through him — any moment now — “Come
on! ” he muttered, staring about. “Where are you? Dad, come on — ”
But no one came. Harry raised his head to look at the circle of
dementors across the lake. One of them was lowering its hood. It was
time for the rescuer to appear — but no one was co ming to help this
time —
And then it hit him — he understood. He hadn ’t seen his fa -
ther — he had seen himself —
Harry flung himself out from behind the bush and pulled out his wand.
“ EXPECTO PATRONUM !” he yelled.
And out of t he end of his wand burst, not a shapeless cloud of mist,
but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal. He screwed up his eyes, trying to
see what it was. It looked like a horse. It was gallop - ing silently away
from him, across the black surface of the lake. He saw it lower its head
and charge at the swarming dementors. . . . Now it was galloping
around and around the black shapes on the ground, and the dementors
were falling back, scattering, retreating into the darkness. . . . They were
gone.
The Patronus t urned. It was cantering back toward Harry across the
still surface of the water. It wasn ’t a horse. It wasn ’t a unicorn, either. It
was a stag. It was shining brightly as the moon above . . . it was coming
back to him. . . .
It stopped on the bank. Its hooves made no mark on the soft ground
as it stared at Harry with its large, silver eyes. Slowly, it bowed its
antlered head. And Harry realized . . .
 411 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


“ Prongs ,” he whispered.
Bu t as his trembling fingertips stretched toward the creature, it
vanished.
Harry stood there, hand still outstretched. Then, with a great leap of
his heart, he heard hooves behind him — he whirled around and saw
Hermione dashing toward him, dragging Buck - beak behind her.
“ What did you do ?” she said fiercely. “You said you were only go -
ing to keep a lookout! ”
“I just saved all our lives . . . , ” said Harry. “Get behind here — behind
this bush — I’ll explain. ”
Hermione listened to what had just happened with her mouth open yet
again.
“Did anyone see you? ”
“Yes, haven ’t you been listening? I saw me but I thought I was
my dad! It ’s okay! ”
“Harry, I can ’t believe it. . . . You conjured up a Patronus that
drove away all those dementors! That ’s very, very advanced
magic. . . . ”
“I knew I could do it this time, ” said Harry, “because I ’d already done
it. . . . Does that make sense? ”
“I don ’t know — Harry, look at Snape! ”
Together they peered around the bush at the other bank. Snape had
regained consciousness. He was conjuring stretchers and lift - ing the
limp forms of Harry, Hermione, and Black onto them. A fourth
stretcher, no doubt bearing Ron, was already floating at hi s side. Then,
wand held out in front of him, he moved them away toward the castle.
 412 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“Right, it ’s nearly time, ” said Hermione tensely, looking at her watch.
“We ’ve got about forty -five minutes until Dumbledore locks the door
to the hospital wing. We ’ve got to rescue Sirius and get back into the
ward before anybody realizes we ’re missing. . . . ” They waited,
watching the moving clouds reflected in the lake, while t he bush next
to them whispered in the breeze. Buckbeak, bored, was ferreting for
worms again.
“D ’ you reckon he ’s up there yet? ” said Harry, checking his watch. He
looked up at the castle and began counting the windows to the right of
the West Tower.
“Look! ” Hermione whispered. “Who ’s that? Someone ’s coming back
out of the castle! ”
Harry stared through the darkness. The man was hurrying across the
grounds, toward one of the entrances. Something shiny glinted in his
belt.
“Macnair! ” said Harry. “The executioner! He ’s gone to get the
dementors! This is it, Hermione — ”
Hermione put her hands on Buckbeak ’s back and Harry gave her a leg
up. Then he placed his foot on one of the lower branches of the bush
and climbed up in front of her. He pulled Buckbea k’s rope back over
his neck and tied it to the other side of his collar like reins.
“Ready? ” he whispered to Hermione. “You ’d better hold on to me — ”
He nudged Buckbeak ’s sides with his heels.
Buckbeak soared straight into the dark air. Harry gripped his flanks
with his knees, feeling the great wings rising powerfully be - neath them.
Hermione was holding Harry very tight around the
 413 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -ONE


waist; he could hear her muttering, “Oh, no — I don ’t like this —
oh, I really don ’t like this — ”
Harry urged Buckbeak forward. They were gliding quietly toward the
upper floors of the castle. . . . Harry pulled hard on the left -hand side of
the rope , and Buckbeak turned. Harry was trying to count the windows
flashing past —
“Whoa! ” he said, pulling backward as hard as he could. Buckbeak
slowed down and they found themselves at a stop, un - less you
counted the fact that they kept rising up and down several feet as the
hippogriff beat his wings to remain airborne.
“He ’s there! ” Harry said, spotting Sirius as they rose up beside the
window. He reached out, and as Buckbeak ’s wings fell, was able to tap
sharply on the glass.
Black looked up. Harry s aw his jaw drop. He leapt from his chair,
hurried to the window and tried to open it, but it was locked. “Stand
back! ” Hermione called to him, and she took out her wand, still
gripping the back of Harry ’s robes with her left hand.
“ Alohomora !”
The window sprang open.
“How — how — ?” said Black weakly, staring at the hippogriff. “Get
on — there ’s not much time, ” said Harry, gripping Buck - beak firmly
on either side of his sleek neck to hold him steady. “You ’ve got to get
out of here — the deme ntors are coming — Macnair ’s gone to get
them. ”
Black placed a hand on either side of the window frame and heaved his
head and shoulders out of it. It was very lucky he was so thin. In
seconds, he had managed to fling one leg over Buckbeak ’s back and
pull himself onto the hippogriff behind Hermione.

 414 ‘

HERMIONE ’S SECRET

“Okay, Buckbeak, up! ” said Harry, shaking the rope. “Up to the tower
— come on! ”
The hippogriff gave one sweep of its mighty wings and they were
soaring upward again, high as the top of the West Tower. Buckbeak
landed with a clatter on the battlements, and Harry and Hermione slid
off him at once.
“Sirius, you ’d better go, quick, ” Harry panted. “They ’ll reach Flitwick ’s
office any moment, they ’ll find out you ’re gone. ” Buckbeak pawed the
ground, tossing his sharp head.
“What happened to the other boy? Ron? ” croaked Sirius. “He ’s going
to be okay. He ’s still out of it, but Madam Pomfrey says she ’ll be able to
make him better. Quick — go — ”
But Black was still staring down at Harry.
“How can I ever thank — ”
“GO! ” Harry and Hermione shouted together. Black wheeled
Buckbeak around, facing the open sky. “We ’ll see each other again, ”
he said. “You are — truly your fa - ther ’s son, Harry. . . . ”
He squeezed Buckbeak ’s sides with his heels. Harry and Hermione
jumped back as the enormous wings rose once more. . . . The hip -
pogriff took off into the air. . . . He and his rider became smaller and
smaller as Harry gazed after them . . . then a clou d drifted across the
moon. . . . They were gone.






 415 ‘

C H A P T E R T W E N T Y -
T W O









OWL POST
AGAIN




arry! ”
H
Hermione was tugging at his sleeve, staring at her
watch. “We ’ve got exactly ten minutes to get back down to the hos -
pital wing without anybody seeing us — before Dumbledore locks the
door — ”
“Okay, ” said Harry, wrench ing his gaze from the sky, “let ’s go. . . . ”
They slipped through the doorway behind them and down a tightly

spiraling stone staircase. As they reached the bottom of it, they heard
voices. They flattened themselves against the wall and listened. It
sounded like Fudge and Snape. They were walking quickly along the
corridor at the foot of the staircase.
“. . . only hope Dumbledore ’s not going to make difficulties, ” Snape
was saying. “The Kiss will be performed immediately? ” “As soon as
Macnair returns with the dementors. This whole Black affair has been
highly embarrassing. I can ’t tell you how
 416 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

much I ’m looking forward to informing the Daily Prophet that
we ’ve got him at last. . . . I daresay they ’ll want to interview you,
Snape . . . and once young Harry ’s back in his right mind, I expect
he ’ll want to tell the Prophet exactly how you saved him. . . . ”
Harry clenched his teeth. He caught a glimpse of S nape ’s smirk as he
and Fudge passed Harry and Hermione ’s hiding place. Their footsteps
died away. Harry and Hermione waited a few moments to make sure
they ’d really gone, then started to run in the opposite direction. Down
one staircase, then another, alon g a new corridor — then they heard a
cackling ahead.
“ Peeves !” Harry muttered, grabbing Hermione ’s wrist. “In here! ”
They tore into a deserted classroom to their left just in time. Peeves
seemed to be bouncing along the corridor in boisterous good spir its,
laughing his head off.
“Oh, he ’s horrible, ” whispered Hermione, her ear to the door. “I bet
he ’s all excited because the dementors are going to finish off
Sirius. . . . ” She checked her watch. “Three minutes, Harry! ”
They waited until Peeves ’s gloating voice had faded into the dis - tance,
then slid back out of the room and broke into a run again. “Hermione
— what ’ll happen — if we don ’t get back inside — before
Dumbledore locks the door? ” Harry panted.
“I don ’t want to think about it! ” Herm ione moaned, checking her
watch again. “One minute! ”
They had reached the end of the corridor with the hospital wing
entrance. “Okay — I can hear Dumbledore, ” said Hermione tensely.
“Come on, Harry! ”
They crept along the corridor. The door opened. Dum bledore ’s back
appeared.
 417 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


“I am going to lock you in, ” they heard him saying. “It is five minutes
to midnight. Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good luck. ”
Dumbledore backed out of the room, closed the door, and took out
his wand to magically lock it. Panicking, Harry and Hermione ran
forward. Dumbledore looked up, and a wide smile appeared under the
long silver mustache. “Well? ” he said quietly.
“We did it! ” said Harry breathlessly. “Sirius has gone, on Buck -
beak. . . . ”
Dumbledore beamed at them.
“Well done. I think — ” He listened intently for any sound within the
hospital wing. “Yes, I think you ’ve gone too — get in - side — I’ll lock
you in — ”
Harry and Hermione slipped back inside the dormitory. It was empty
except for Ron, who was still lying motionless in the end bed. As the
lock clicked behind them, Harry and Hermione crept back to their own
beds, Hermione tucking the Time -Turner back under her robes. A
moment later, Madam Pomfrey came striding back out of her office.
“Did I hear the headmaster leaving? Am I allowed to look after my
patients now? ”
She was in a very bad mood. Harry and Hermione thought it best to
accept their chocolate q uietly. Madam Pomfrey stood over them,
making sure they ate it. But Harry could hardly swallow. He and
Hermione were waiting, listening, their nerves jangling. . . . And then,
as they both took a fourth piece of chocolate from Madam Pomfrey,
they heard a distant roar of fury echoing from somewhere above
them. . . .
“What was that? ” said Madam Pomfrey in alarm.
 418 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

Now they could hear angry voices, growing louder and louder. Madam
Pomfrey was staring at the door.
“Really — they ’ll wake everybody up! What do they think they ’re
doing? ”
Harry was trying to hear what the voices were saying. They were
drawing nearer —
“He must have Disapparated, Severus. We should have lef t somebody
in the room with him. When this gets out — ”
“HE DIDN ’T DISAPPARATE! ” Snape roared, now very close
at hand. “YOU CAN ’T APPARATE OR DISAPPARATE IN -
SIDE THIS CASTLE! THIS — HAS — SOMETHING — TO —
DO — WITH — POTTER! ”
“Severus — be reasonable — Harry has been locked up — ”
BAM.
The door of the hospital wing burst open.
Fudge, Snape, and Dumbledore came striding into the ward.
Dumbledore alone looked calm. Indeed, he looked as though he was
quite enjoying himself. Fudge appeare d angry. But Snape was beside
himself.
“OUT WITH IT, POTTER! ” he bellowed. “WHAT DID YOU
DO? ”
“Professor Snape! ” shrieked Madam Pomfrey. “Control your - self! ”
“See here, Snape, be reasonable, ” said Fudge. “This door ’s been locked,
we just saw — ”
“THEY HELPED HIM ESCAPE, I KNOW IT! ” Snape howled,
pointing at Harry and Hermione. His face was twisted; spit was flying
from his mouth.
“Calm down, man! ” Fudge barked. “You ’re talking nonsense! ”
 419 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


“YOU DON ’T KNOW POTTER! ” shrieked Snape. “HE DID IT, I
KNOW HE DID IT — ”
“That will do, Severus, ” said Dumbledore quietly. “Think about what
you are saying. This door has been locked since I left the ward ten
minutes ago. Madam Pomfrey, have these students left their beds? ”
“Of course not! ” said Madam Pomfrey, bristling. “I would have heard
them! ”
“Well, there you have it, Severus, ” said Dumbledore calmly. “Unless
you are suggesting that Harry and Her mione are able to be in two
places at once, I ’m afraid I don ’t see any point in troubling them
further. ”
Snape stood there, seething, staring from Fudge, who looked
thoroughly shocked at his behavior, to Dumbledore, whose eyes were
twinkling behind his glasses. Snape whirled about, robes swishing
behind him, and stormed out of the ward.
“Fellow seems quite unbalanced, ” said Fudge, staring after him. “I’d
watch out for him if I were you, Dumbledore. ”
“Oh, he ’s not unbalanced, ” said Dumbledore quietly. “He ’s just
suffered a severe disappointment. ”
“He ’s not the only one! ” puffed Fudge. “The Daily Prophet ’s go -
ing to have a field day! We had Black cornered and he slipped through
our fingers yet again! All it needs now is for the story of that
hippogriff ’s escape to get out, and I ’ll be a laughingstock! Well . . . I ’d
better go and notify the Ministry. . . . ”
“And the dementors? ” said Dumbledore. “They ’ll be removed from
the school, I trust? ”
“Oh yes, they ’ll have to go, ” said Fudge, running his fingers

 420 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

distractedly through his hair. “Never dreamed they ’d attempt to ad -
minister the Kiss on an innocent boy. . . . Completely out of con -
trol . . . no, I ’ll have them packed off back to Azkaban tonight. . . .
Perhaps we should think about dragons at the school entrance. . . . ”
“Hagrid would like that, ” said Dumbledore, smiling at Harry and
Hermione. As he and Fudge left the dormitory, Madam Pom - frey
hurrie d to the door and locked it again. Muttering angrily to herself,
she headed back to her office.
There was a low moan from the other end of the ward. Ron had woken
up. They could see him sitting up, rubbing his head, look - ing around.
“What — what happe ned? ” he groaned. “Harry? Why are we in here?
Where ’s Sirius? Where ’s Lupin? What ’s going on? ”
Harry and Hermione looked at each other.
“You explain, ” said Harry, helping himself to some more choco - late.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione left the hospital wing at noon the
next day, it was to find an almost deserted castle. The swelter - ing heat
and the end of the exams meant that everyone was taking full
advantage of another Hogsmeade visit. Neither Ron nor Hermione
felt like going, however, so they and Harry wandered onto the grounds,
still talking about the extraordinary events of the previous night and
wondering where Sirius and Buckbeak were now. Sitting near the lake,
watching the giant squid waving its ten - tacles lazily above the water,
Harry lost the thread of the conversa - tion as he looked across to the
opposite bank. The stag had galloped toward him from there just last
night. . . .
 421 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


A shadow fell across them and they looked up to see a very bleary -eyed
Hagrid, mopping his sweaty face with one of his table - cloth -sized
handkerchiefs and beaming down at them.
“Know I shouldn ’ feel happy, after wha ’ happened las ’ night, ” he said.
“I mea n, Black escapin ’ again, an ’ everythin ’ — but guess what? ”
“What? ” they said, pretending to look curious. “Beaky! He escaped!
He ’s free! Bin celebratin ’ all night! ” “That ’s wonderful! ” said
Hermione, giving Ron a reproving look because he looked as thou gh
he was close to laughing.
“Yeah . . . can ’t’ve tied him up properly, ” said Hagrid, gazing happily
out over the grounds. “I was worried this mornin ’, mind . . . thought
he mighta met Professor Lupin on the grounds, but Lupin says he
never ate anythin ’ las ’ night. . . . ”
“What? ” said Harry quickly.
“Blimey, haven ’ yeh heard? ” said Hagrid, his smile fading a little. He
lowered his voice, even though there was nobody in sight. “Er —
Snape told all the Slytherins this mornin ’. . . . Thought everyone ’d
know by now . . . Professor Lupin ’s a werewolf, see. An ’ he was loose
on the grounds las ’ night. . . . He ’s packin ’ now, o ’ course. ”
“He ’s packing ?” said Harry, alarmed. “Why? ”
“Leavin ’, isn ’ he? ” said Hagrid, looking surprised that Harry had to as k.
“Resigned firs ’ thing this mornin ’. Says he can ’t risk it hap - penin ’
again. ”
Harry scrambled to his feet.
“I’m going to see him, ” he said to Ron and Hermione.
“But if he ’s resigned — ”
 422 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

“— doesn ’t sound like there ’s anything we can do — ”
“I don ’t care. I still want to see him. I ’ll meet you back here. ”

Lupin ’s office door was open. He had already packed most of his
things. The grindylow ’s empty tank stood next to his battered old
suit case, which was open and nearly full. Lupin was bending over
something on his desk and looked up only when Harry knocked on the
door.
“I saw you coming, ” said Lupin, smiling. He pointed to the parchment
he had been poring over. It was the Marauder ’s Map. “I just saw
Hagrid, ” said Harry. “And he said you ’d resigned. It ’s not true, is it? ”
“I’m afraid it is, ” said Lupin. He started opening his desk draw - ers
and taking out the contents.
“ Why ?” said Harry. “The Ministry of Magic don ’t think you
were helping Sirius, do they? ”
Lupin crossed to the door and closed it behind Harry. “No. Professor
Dumbledore managed to convince Fudge that I was trying to save your
lives. ” He sighed. “That was the final straw for Severus. I think the loss
of the Ord er of Merlin hit him hard. So
he — er — accidentally let slip that I am a werewolf this morning
at breakfast. ”
“You ’re not leaving just because of that! ” said Harry.
Lupin smiled wryly.
“This time tomorrow, the owls will start arriving from par - ents. . . .
They will not want a werewolf teaching their children, Harry. And after
last night, I see their point. I could have bitten any of you. . . . That
must never happen again. ”
 423 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


“You ’re the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we ’ve ever
had! ” said Harry. “Don ’t go! ”
Lupin shook his head and didn ’t speak. He carried on emptying his
drawers. Then, while Harry was trying to think of a good argu - ment to
make him stay, Lupin said , “From what the headmaster told me this
morning, you saved a lot of lives last night, Harry. If I ’m proud of
anything I ’ve done this year, it ’s how much you ’ve learned. . . . Tell me
about your Patronus. ”
“How d ’you know about that? ” said Harry, distra cted. “What else
could have driven the dementors back? ” Harry told Lupin what had
happened. When he ’d finished, Lupin was smiling again.
“Yes, your father was always a stag when he transformed, ” he said.
“You guessed right . . . that ’s why we called him Prongs. ” Lupin threw
his last few books into his case, closed the desk drawers, and turned to
look at Harry.
“Here — I brought this from the Shrieking Shack last night, ” he said,
handing Harry back the Invisibility Cloak. “And . . . ” He hes - itated,
th en held out the Marauder ’s Map too. “I am no longer your teacher,
so I don ’t feel guilty about giving you back this as well. It ’s no use to
me, and I daresay you, Ron, and Hermione will find uses for it. ”
Harry took the map and grinned.
“You told me Mo ony, 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
 424 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

been highly disappointed if his son had never found any of the se - cret
passages out of the castle. ”
There was a knock on the door. Harry hastily stuffed the Ma - rauder ’s
Map and the Invisibility Cloak into his pocket.
It was Professor Dumbledore. He didn ’t look surprised to see Harry
there.
“Your carriage is at the gates, Remus, ” he said.
“Thank you, Headmaster. ”
Lupin picked up his old suitcase and the empty g rindylow tank. “Well
— good -bye, Harry, ” he said, smiling. “It has been a real pleasure
teaching you. I feel sure we ’ll meet again some - time. Headmaster,
there is no need to see me to the gates, I can manage. . . . ”
Harry had the impression that Lupin wa nted to leave as quickly as
possible.
“Good -bye, then, Remus, ” said Dumbledore soberly. Lupin shifted
the grindylow tank slightly so that he and Dumbledore could shake
hands. Then, with a final nod to Harry and a swift smile, Lupin left the
office.
Harry sat down in his vacated chair, staring glumly at the floor. He
heard the door close and looked up. Dumbledore was still there. “Why
so miserable, Harry? ” he said quietly. “You should be very proud of
yourself after last night. ”
“It didn ’t make any difference, ” said Harry bitterly. “Pettigrew got
away. ”
“Didn ’t make any difference? ” said Dumbledore quietly. “It made all
the difference in the world, Harry. You helped uncover the truth. You
saved an innocent man from a terrible fate. ”
 425 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


Terrible. Something stirred in Harry ’s memory. Greater and more
terrible than ever before . . . Professor Trelawney ’s prediction!
“Professor Dumbledore — yesterday, when I was having my
Divination exam, Professor Trelawney went very — very strange. ”
“Indeed? ” said Dumbledore. “Er — stranger than usual, you mean? ”
“Yes . . . her voice went all deep and her eyes rolled and she said . . . she
said Voldemort ’s servant was going to set out to return to him before
midnight. . . . She said the servant would help him come back to
power. ” Harry stared up at Dumbledore. “And then she sort of
became normal again, and she couldn ’t remem - ber anything she ’d said.
Was it — was she making a real predi c- tion?
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. . . . ”
“But — ” Harry loo ked at him, aghast. How could Dumbledore take
this so calmly?
“But — I stopped Sirius and Professor Lupin from killing Petti - grew!
That makes it my fault if Voldemort comes back! ”
“It does not, ” said Dumbledore quietly. “Hasn ’t your experience with
the Time -Turner taught you anything, Harry? The conse - quences of
our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the
future is a very difficult business indeed. . . . Profes - sor Trelawney,
bless her, is living proof of that. . . . You did a very noble thing, in
saving Pettigrew ’s life. ”
“But if he helps Voldemort back to power — !”
 426 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy
who is in your debt. . . . When one wizard saves another wizard ’s life, it
creates a certain bond between them . . . and I ’m much mistaken if
Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter. ”
“I don ’t want a connection with Pettigrew! ” said Harry. “He be -
trayed my parents! ”
“This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust
me . . . the time may come when you will be very glad you saved
Pettigrew ’s life. ”
Harry couldn ’t imagine when that would be. Dumbledore looked as
though he kn ew what Harry was thinking.
“I knew your father very well, both at Hogwarts and later, Harry, ” he
said gently. “He would have saved Pettigrew too, I am sure of it. ”
Harry looked up at him. Dumbledore wouldn ’t laugh — he could tell
Dumbledore . . .
“I thought it was my dad who ’d conjured my Patronus. I mean, when I
saw myself across the lake . . . I thought I was seeing him. ” “An easy
mistake to make, ” said Dumbledore softly. “I expect
you ’ll tire of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James.
Except for the eyes . . . you have your mother ’s eyes. ”
Harry shook his head.
“It was stupid, thinking it was him, ” he muttered. “I mean, I knew he
was dead. ”
“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we
don ’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trou - ble?
Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most
 427 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce
that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night. ”
It took a moment for Harry to realize what Dumbledore had said.
“Last night Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi, ” said
Dumbledore, smiling. “An extraordinary achievement — not least,
keeping it quiet from me. And then I remembered the most unusual
form your Patronus took, when it charged Mr. Malfoy down at your
Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. You know, Harry, in a way, you
did see your father last night. . . . You found him inside yourself. ”
And Dumbledore left the office, leaving Harry to his very con - fused
thoughts.

Nobody at Hogwarts now knew the truth of what had happened the
night that Sirius, Buckbeak, and Pettigrew had vanished except Harry,
Ron, Hermione, and P rofessor Dumbledore. As the end of term
approached, Harry heard many different theories about what had really
happened, but none of them came close to the truth. Malfoy was
furious about Buckbeak. He was convinced that Hagrid had found a
way of smuggling t he hippogriff to safety, and seemed outraged that he
and his father had been outwitted by a gamekeeper. Percy Weasley,
meanwhile, had much to say on the subject of Sirius ’s escape.
“If I manage to get into the Ministry, I ’ll have a lot of proposals to
mak e about Magical Law Enforcement! ” he told the only person who
would listen — his girlfriend, Penelope.
Though the weather was perfect, though the atmosphere was so
 428 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

cheerful, though he knew they had achieved the near impossible in
helping Sirius to freedom, Harry had never approached the end of a
school year in worse spirits.
He certainly wasn ’t the only one who was sorry to see Professor Lupin
go. The whole of Harry ’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class was
miserable about his resignation.
“Wonder what they ’ll give us next year? ” said Seamus Finnigan
gloomily.
“Maybe a vampire, ” suggested Dean Thomas hopefully. It wasn ’t only
Professor Lupin ’s departure that was weighing on Harry ’s mind. He
couldn ’t help thinking a lot about Professor Trelawney ’s prediction.
He kept wondering where Pettigrew was now, whether he had sought
sanctuary with Voldemort yet. But the thing that was lowering Harry ’s
sp irits most of all was the prospect of re - turning to the Dursleys. For
maybe half an hour, a glorious half hour, he had believed he would be
living with Sirius from now on . . . his parents ’ best friend. . . . It would
have been the next best thing to hav - ing his own father back. And
while no news of Sirius was definitely good news, because it meant he
had successfully gone into hiding, Harry couldn ’t help feeling
miserable when he thought of the home he might have had, and the
fact that it was now impossi ble.
The exam results came out on the last day of term. Harry, Ron, and
Hermione had passed every subject. Harry was amazed that he had got
through Potions. He had a shrewd suspicion that Dumble - dore might
have stepped in to stop Snape failing him on p urpose. Snape ’s behavior
toward Harry over the past week had been quite alarming. Harry
wouldn ’t have thought it possible that Snape ’s dislike for him could
increase, but it certainly had. A muscle
 429 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


twitched unpleasantly at the corner of Snape ’s thin mouth every time
he looked at Harry, and he was constantly flexing his fingers, as
though itching to place them around Harry ’s throat.
Percy had got his top -grade N.E.W.T.s; Fred and George had scraped
a handful of O.W.L.s each. Gryffindor House, meanwhile, largely
thanks to their spectacular performance in the Quidditch Cup, had
won the House championship for the third year running. This meant
that the end of term feast took place amid decoratio ns of scarlet and
gold, and that the Gryffindor table was the noisiest of the lot, as
everybody celebrated. Even Harry managed to forget about the
journey back to the Dursleys the next day as he ate, drank, talked, and
laughed with the rest.

As the Ho gwarts Express pulled out of the station the next morn - ing,
Hermione gave Harry and Ron some surprising news.
“I went to see Professor McGonagall this morning, just before
breakfast. I ’ve decided to drop Muggle Studies. ”
“But you passed your exam with t hree hundred and twenty per - cent! ”
said Ron.
“I know, ” sighed Hermione, “but I can ’t stand another year like this
one. That Time -Turner, it was driving me mad. I ’ve handed it in.
Without Muggle Studies and Divination, I ’ll be able to have a normal
sche dule again. ”
“I still can ’t believe you didn ’t tell us about it, ” said Ron
grumpily. “We ’re supposed to be your friends. ”
“I promised I wouldn ’t tell anyone, ” said Hermione severely. She
looked around at Harry, who was watching Hogwarts disappear from
view behind a mountain. Two whole months before he ’d see it
again. . . .

 430 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

“Oh, cheer up, Harry! ” said Hermione sadly.
“I’m okay, ” said Harry quickly. “Just thinking about the holi - days. ”
“Yeah, I ’ve been thinking about them too, ” said Ron. “Harry, you ’ve
got to come and stay with us. I ’ll fix it up with Mum and Dad, then I ’ll
call you. I know how to use a fellytone now — ”
“A telephone, Ron, ” said Hermione. “Honestly, you should take
Muggle Studies next year. . . . ”
Ron ignored her.
“It’s the Quidditch World Cup this summer! How about it, Harry?
Come and stay, and we ’ll go and see it! Dad can usually get tickets from
work. ”
This proposal had the effect of cheering Harry up a great deal.
“Yeah . . . I bet the Dursleys ’d be pleased to let me come . . . especially
after what I did to Aunt Marge. . . . ”
Feeling considerably more cheerful, Harry joined Ron and Hermione
in se veral games of Exploding Snap, and when the witch with the tea
cart arrived, he bought himself a very large lunch, though nothing with
chocolate in it.
But it was late in the afternoon before the thing that made him truly
happy turned up. . . .
“Harry, ” said Hermione suddenly, peering over his shoulder. “What ’s
that thing outside your window? ”
Harry turned to look outside. Something very small and gray was
bobbing in and out of sight beyond the glass. He stood up for a better
look and saw that it was a tiny owl, carrying a letter that was much too
big for it. The owl was so small, in fact, that it kept tumbling over in the
air, buffeted this way and that in the train ’s slipstream. Harry quickly
pulled down the window, stretched out
 431 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


his arm, and caught it. It felt like a very fluffy Snitch. He brought it
carefully inside. The owl dropped its letter onto Harry ’s seat and began
zooming around their compartment, apparently very pleased with
itself for accomplishing its task. Hedwig clicked her beak with a sort of
dignified disapproval. Crookshanks sat up in his seat, following the
owl with his great yellow eyes. Ron, noticing this, snatched the owl
safely out of harm ’s way.
Harry picked up the letter. It was addressed to him. He ripped open
the letter, and shouted, “It’s from Sirius! ”
“What? ” said Ron and Hermione excitedly. “Read it aloud! ”

Dear Harry,
I hope this finds you before you reach your aunt and uncle.
I d on ’t know whether they ’re used to owl post.
Buckbeak and I are in hiding. I won ’t tell you where, in case this owl
falls into the wrong hands. I have some doubt about his reliability, but
he is the best I could find, and he did
seem eager for the job.
I believe the dementors are still searching for me, but they haven ’t a hope
of finding me here. I am planning to allow some Muggles to glimpse me
soon, a long way from Hogwarts, so
that the security on the castle will be lifted.
There is somethin g I never got around to telling you during our brief
meeting. It was I who sent you the Fire -
bolt —

“Ha! ” said Hermione triumphantly. “See! I told you it was from
him! ”
 432 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

“Yes, but he hadn ’t jinxed it, had he? ” said Ron. “Ouch! ” The tiny owl,
now hooting happily in his hand, had nibbled one of his fingers in what
it seemed to think was an affectionate way.

Crookshanks took the order to the Owl Office for me. I used your name
but told th em to take the gold from my own Gringotts vault. Please
consider it as thirteen birthdays ’ worth
of presents from your godfather.
I would also like to apologize for the fright I think I gave you that night
last year when you left your uncle ’s house. I had only hoped to get a
glimpse of you before starting my journey
north, but I think the sight of me alarmed you.
I am enclosing something else for you, which I think will
make your next year at Hogwarts more enjoyable.
If ever you need me, send word. Your owl will find me.
I’ll write again soon.
Sirius

Harry looked eagerly inside the envelope. There was another piece of
parchment in there. He read it through quickly and felt suddenly as
warm and contented as though he ’d swallowed a bottle of hot
butterbeer in one gulp.

I.Sirius Black, Harry Potter ’s godfather, hereby give him
permission to visit Hogsmeade on weekends.

“That ’ll be good enough for Dumbledore! ” said Harr y happily. He
looked back at Sirius ’s letter.
 433 ‘

CHAPTER
TWENTY -TWO


“Hang on, there ’s a P.S. . . . ”

I thought your friend Ron might like to keep this owl, as it ’s
my fault he no longer has a rat.

Ron ’s eyes widened. The minute owl was still hooting excitedly. “Keep
him? ” he 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 do ’you reckon? ” Ron ask ed the cat. “Definitely an owl? ”
Crookshanks purred.
“That ’s good enough for me, ” said Ron happily. “He ’s mine. ” Harry
read and reread the letter from Sirius all the way back into King ’s Cross
station. It was still clutched tightly in his hand as he, Ron, and
Hermione stepped back through the barrier of platform nine and
three -quarters. Harry spotted Uncle Vernon at once. He was standing
a good distance from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, eyeing them suspiciously,
and when Mrs. Weasley hugged Harry in greet - ing, his worst
suspicions about them seemed confirmed.
“I’ll call about the World Cup! ” Ron yelled after Harry as Harry bid
him and Hermione good -bye, then wheeled the trolley bearing his
trunk and Hedwig ’s cage toward Uncle Vernon, who greeted him in his
usual fashion.
“What ’s that? ” he snarled, staring at the envelope Harry was still
clutching in his hand. “If it ’s another form for me to sign, you ’ve got
another — ”
“It’s not, ” said Harry cheerfully. “It’s a letter from my godfather. ”
“Godfather? ” sputtered Uncle Vernon. “You haven ’t got a god -
father! ”

 434 ‘

OWL POST AGAIN

“Yes, I have, ” said Harry brightly. “He was my mum and dad ’s best
friend. He ’s a convicted murderer, but he ’s broken out of wiz - ard
prison and he ’s on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me,
though . . . keep up with my news . . . check if I ’m happy. . . . ” And,
grinning broadly at the look of horror on Uncle Vernon ’s face, Harry
set off toward the station exit, Hedwig rattling along in f ront of him,
for what looked like a much better summer than the last.























 435 ‘

This
book was art
directed by David Saylor. The
art for both the jacket and the interior was created using pastels on toned
printmaking paper. The text was set in 12 -point Adobe Garamond, a typeface
based on the sixteenth -century type designs of Claude Garamo nd, redrawn by
Robert Slimbach in 1989. This book was printed and bound
at Quebecor Martinsburg, in Martinsburg, West
Virginia. The production was supervised by
Angela Biola and Mike
Derevjanik.
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