Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [11]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapters 13 - 17

Ron isn't speaking to Hermione at all and Harry is kind of distant from her too ever since Ron accused Hermione's cat of eating Scabbers. Harry's next quidditch match is up against Ravenclaw and just as Harry is about to catch the snitch, dementors come on the field again - and Harry uses a Patronus Charm to chase them away - but it wasnt a dementor after all! It was Malfoy and his friends in costume, which they got in huge trouble for. After celebrating their win on the field, when the boys are in bed, Ron wakes up screaming that Sirius Black had been standing over him with a knife, and Ron's curtains are slashed. Black escapes once again!

Harry sneaks into Hogsmeade once again but uses the Invisibility Cloak so he wont be seen. Harry hears Malfoy and his friends harassing Ron about Hagrid and Harry uses the cloak to attack them with mud without being seen. The cloak slips and Harry's face is revealed and he races through the tunnel to beat Malfoy back to the castle before he is found! After he leaves his cloak in the tunnel, Snape finds him and makes him empty his pockets in which he finds Zonko's merchandise and the Map. Snape tries to make the map reveal itself but it just insults him instead. Snape calls Lupin in and the two teachers act very strangely and hostile. Lupin confiscates the Map and reams Harry out for using it and say he once knew the creators of the Map. Hermione tells the boys that Buckbeak lost his case and they friends make-up instantly.

Leading up to exams and Buckbeak's appeal, Hermione smacks Malfoy for sayign things about Hagrid and she quits Divination for good when Professor Trelawney tells her she is terribly mundane. After an extremely dirty match, the Gryffindors beat out the Slytherins and win the Quidditch cup for the first time in seven years! The days following the win are euphoric for Harry and his friends, until of course the day of exams come which is when Buckbeak is going to have his appeal. The Minister has come and brought an executioner for Buckbeak. Harry did well on most of his exams but during his Divination exam which was a crystal ball reading alone with the Professor, Harry fakes a prediction the Trelawney gives a real one. Her voice turns deep and her eyes roll back and she says something about the faithful servant returning to his master tonight, but Trelawney doesnt remember saying it and Harry doesnt know what she means.

Before he can tell his friends, they tell him that Buckbeak's lost the appeal and will be executed at sundown and though Hagrid doesnt want them to come, they sneak down in the Invisibility Cloak to be with Hagrid. While they're there and trying to calm Hagrid down, Hermione finds Scabbers who looks even more ill and thrashes wildly when Ron tries to hold on to him. Hagrid makes them leave and after they hear the axe swing down and Hagrid crying, they cant believe they actually killed Buckbeak. Scabbers escapes Ron's grip and in their pursuit, the giant black dog Harry had been seeing around the castle attacks them and drags ron down into a gap underneath the whomping willow tree!With some difficulty, Harry and Hermione follow, leaving the cloak behind to rescue their friend. Inside the shack the the tunnel leads to, Ron lays on a bed with a broken leg and reveals to his friends that the dog was really Sirius Black, who is an animagus! Professor Lupin comes down and the kids think they're about to be saved, but Lupin and Black exchange words and Lupin... hugs him. Harry finds out that Lupin was one of the makers of the Marauder's map and thats how he found them down in the Skrieking Shack. Harry thinks they are all about to be dead when Lupin asks for Ron's rat. Why? Because he says the rat is also an animagus... Peter Pettigrew!


So much happens in the second half of the book, especially the last few chapters. I almost didnt want to post the recap because of how long it is, but I decided to, just in case any important details escape you (or me). I can barely even focus on anything but the last paragraph, which is essentially the last chapter of this discussion, chapter 17. Every chapter is important, all of the little details, but how can I talk about anything except the part where we meet Sirius and find out the supposed truth about Peter Pettigrew! We obviously have several more chapters to go (which I've already finished and am bursting to talk about) and we know very little at this point about the "captors" of the children.

I'm most intrigued about the fact that Harry had a chance to kill Sirius (though Crookshanks tried interfere) but he didn't do it - and aren't we glad? Phew! But really though, we know Harry has a pure heart here. We know why he didn't do it, we know killing someone is something he's avoided actually physically doing for the entire series, even as they fight death eaters at the battle of Hogwarts (they're frickin disarming people trying to kill them.. smh). He likely wouldn't have been able to live with himself, it's true. But could you have done the same? All depth aside (I know we all really want to say "but you'd have to live with yourself forever, blah blah blah) but, really? In the moment, how hateful would I have felt? I mean I'm a scaredy cat along with the rest of us (and definitely would not be in Gryffindor) so I don't know that killing my parents' "murderer" would be possible for me, but in a rage, out of retribution? Maybe... I think it shows his level of maturity, not reluctance or childishness, that he didnt do it, and decided to let him talk.

I also want to talk about Ron's growth in this book. I know its pretty random, because so much else happens in these chapters but I couldnt help but notice how much more important Ron's character became (especially when helping Hagrid with research for Buckbeak's appeal) and how much more depth he had. He was no longer a silly supporting character who said all the things Harry was thinking but wouldn't say. Well... he does still do that, but he's becoming more. All of the characters obviously grow in each book, but I was especially impressed with Ron this time, where in the last book Hermione really surprised me. Well, I guess none of it is really a surprise, right? Its nice to pretend though.

Last but not least, this book finally picked it all back up for me. I loved reading the first book as I always do, and I enjoyed the second one slightly less. This book was about the same as the last one, just kind of moseying along in HP world, but halfway through I started to notice that Rowling's action scenes and descriptions of things started getting me excited and all worked up when reading them (ex. Harry's final quidditch match against Slytherin, Ron being dragged under the whomping willow). That woman knows how to write! And pardon my French but, this is where sh*t gets real! Even more now, I'm excited to get into the nitty gritty of this series with the end of this book and the next four.

Love discussing HP with you guys! Thinking I'm definitely gonna have to cut the recaps shorter now that the books are getting longer and so much more in depth, lol. Talk to ya'll soon!


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