Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw
Chapter 13 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw
Scabbers' apparent demise at Crookshanks' claws appears to have ended Ron and Hermione's friendship. Ron feels Hermione is unsympathetic and fails to take responsibility; Hermione apparently believes that attacking rats is normal cat behavior and there is only circumstantial evidence that Crookshanks killed Scabbers. Harry agrees with Ron, given the physical evidence and Crookshanks' history of attacking Scabbers. Hermione, claiming Harry always sides with Ron, storms off. Ron takes the loss hard, and not even the Twins' reminding him that he thought Scabbers was useless (mere days before) consoles him. Finally, Harry invites him to Quidditch practice, offering him a chance to ride his Firebolt, which cheers him up a bit.
Arriving at the Quidditch pitch, Harry meets the team and Madam Hooch, who has been delegated to guard Harry during practice. She is as entranced by the Firebolt as the Gryffindor common room was, and soliloquizes about it until Oliver reminds her they have to practice. And it is a magnificent practice. Inspired by the Firebolt, everyone works so well that Oliver does not have a single criticism—a first for him. Oliver asks Harry again about his Dementor problem, and Harry replies, a bit untruthfully, that he has mastered the spell. As practice breaks up, Ron flies the Firebolt into the darkening sky. Madam Hooch awakens, reprimands Harry and Ron for letting her fall asleep, and sends them to the castle. Along the way, Harry thinks he sees a pair of eyes watching him. Ron casts the Lumos charm to reveal Crookshanks. Harry does not want to admit that he thought it might be a Grim.
The Quidditch match is the next morning. The Gryffindors form an honor guard and carry the Firebolt down to breakfast. Students from the other Houses, including Ravenclaw, come over to check it out, including Draco Malfoy who, as expected, makes a wisecrack. The team head for the Quidditch pitch. Oliver mentions Ravenclaw's new Seeker, Cho Chang, saying she is good, but is riding a slower broom, a Comet Two-Sixty. Harry notices she is pretty. Madam Hooch blows her whistle, and the match is on. Lee Jordan is commentating, but repeatedly lapses into descriptions of the Firebolt, for which he gets a stern warning. Harry spots and loses the Snitch several times, finally seeing it by the Gryffindor goalposts. When he accelerates for it, so does Cho, but she gasps and points downwards. Harry, seeing three Dementors on the field, draws his wand and summons a Patronus, sending it at the Dementors. Then he blasts ahead of Cho to grab the Snitch, winning the game.
In the ensuing celebrations on the field, a visibly shaken Professor Lupin comments that Harry produced quite the Patronus. Harry says the Dementors had not affected him, but Lupin says they were not Dementors. It was actually Draco Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and Marcus Flint disguised in Dementor-like robes (with Draco and Goyle having shared a robe, to appear larger). Professor McGonagall berates them soundly, giving them detention and deducting House points.
The Gryffindors celebrate in the common room, and Fred and George hand out treats from Honeyduke's and The Three Broomsticks. Hermione, who has 422 pages of Muggle Studies to read before Monday, does not join the party. Ron comments loudly that Scabbers would have liked to be there, causing Hermione to depart crying. Harry asks Ron to cut her some slack, but Ron refuses until she shows some remorse about Scabbers. The party lasts until Professor McGonagall appears, at one A.M., and sends everyone to bed.
Terrified screams awaken Harry. Sirius Black has slashed Ron's bed curtains and is standing over him with a knife. Harry, chasing Sirius, sprints down to the common room as other Gryffindors emerge from their dormitories. Percy orders everyone back to bed, and is ignored amidst the revelations. Professor McGonagall arrives and asks Sir Cadogan how Black got in. Sir Cadogan states proudly that he allowed a man in because he had the passwords — a whole list of them. Livid, McGonagall demands to know who was stupid enough to write down all the passwords and then lose the list. A shamed-faced Neville raises his hand.
Harry is unable to take the time to look at his own Patronus' shape, but Lupin's reaction to it seems significant. Despite his being visibly shaken, he composes himself enough to congratulate Harry. If, as seems likely given Lupin's reaction, Harry successfully conjured a corporeal Patronus, then nearly everyone in the Quidditch pitch now knows he can produce one and what form it takes. However, only Lupin seems to understand the shape's significance.
Even though Draco and his cohorts were disguised as Dementors, Harry, believing they were real, was unaffected by them. However, when he faced the Boggart in its Dementor form, despite knowing it was a fake Dementor, Harry was affected enough that he again heard his mother's screams and fainted. This could suggest Harry is gradually overcoming his fears, even though real Dementors would likely still affect him.
Unable to remember the numerous new passwords, Neville had made a list and then apparently lost it, as we saw in the previous chapter. This of course allowed Black to find and use it to enter the Gryffindor dormitory. The repercussions are severe: Neville is humiliated before his classmates and punished by McGonagall, further eroding his already fragile self-confidence. Though McGonagall is quite right that keeping such a list was a bad idea, expecting any student to memorize the numerous and constantly-changing passwords seems unfair.
Ron was terrified by his encounter with Sirius Black, but Black’s behavior in Gryffindor Tower belies his mass murderer record. Though he slashes Ron’s curtains with a knife, neither Ron nor Harry are harmed, though Black had every opportunity to do so. They wonder why, when Ron yelled, Sirius bolted. Presuming Sirius was targeting Harry, it would have been simple enough for such a vicious killer to permanently silence Ron and swiftly move on his real target in the next bed. What stopped him?
Meanwhile, a new rift develops between Ron and Hermione. Hermione's refusal to express sympathy or take responsibility for Scabbers' apparent death would seem out of character in earlier books. Being that she has just patched things up with Ron and Harry, she may be reluctant to admit to anything that could threaten their repaired friendship. Another factor is that Hermione's stubborn nature causes her to rarely, if ever, believe she is wrong, and there is no absolute proof that Scabbers is actually dead rather than missing. However, the key factor here seems to be that Hermione, increasingly tired and shrill, is clearly suffering a tremendous amount of stress from her studies. Considering she has always easily been at the top of her class, this is difficult to understand, though having to prepare Buckbeak's appeal, which Ron and Harry had promised to help with but had quickly lost interest in, is also adding to her workload.
Harry has his first encounter with Ravenclaw's Seeker, Cho Chang, the first girl he is attracted to. Harry "felt a slight jolt in the region of his stomach that he didn't think had anything to do with nerves." Cho is pretty and also a good flier, who, at least once, thwarts Harry for the Snitch despite having a slower broom. This may make her even more attractive to Harry.
Also, Madam Hooch's rhapsodizing about the Firebolt actually feels quite misplaced. Readers may not understand why, but they should be somewhat disturbed by it all the same. Looking back two chapters earlier, we see that when Professor McGonagall confiscated the broom, she had said she was going to give it to Madam Hooch and Professor Flitwick to examine for hidden jinxes. Thus, Madam Hooch has been working with the broom for almost four months, from late December to mid-April, which is certainly enough time for the (non-magical) charm to have worn off.
- How was Sirius Black able to get into the Gryffindor Common room?
- Is Hermione acting insensitively towards Ron after Scabbers disappears? Does she take any responsibility for what Crookshanks may have done? Is Ron overreacting?
- Was Crookshanks actually responsible for Scabbers' disappearance? Explain.
- We have been told that Sirius Black murdered another wizard and twelve Muggles. Although Black enters Harry's dorm, he does nothing to harm him and instead slashes Ron's bed curtains. Why do you think Black didn't kill Harry when he had the opportunity?
- Remus Lupin congratulates Harry on the strong Patronus he conjures during the Quidditch game, but its form surprises Lupin (although its shape remains unknown to readers). What form might it have taken and why was Lupin so affected by it?
- Why was Harry so strongly affected by the Boggart, knowing that it was not a real Dementor, but, during the Quidditch game, he feels no effect at all when he thinks the fake Dementors are real?
Harry's Patronus is later revealed as a stag. At this point, only three people understand its significance; Sirius Black, Professor Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, James Potter's school friends, would recognize the stag as James' Animagus form. Of the three, Lupin is the only one known to be present. Pettigrew is currently probably hiding in Hagrid's hut, and while Sirius has been seen earlier watching Harry play Quidditch, there is no mention of him in this instance.
That Harry can produce a corporeal Patronus in his third year at Hogwarts shows that, if properly motivated, he can perform advanced-level magic. The Patronus charm is normally taught to sixth or seventh-year students. In Harry's fifth year, many students seem awed by Harry's ability to perform this charm. One might wonder why they are surprised, having quite possibly seen the Patronus here on the Quidditch pitch. It is, of course, possible that the students who are most surprised by Harry's ability either were looking at something else and failed to notice the white and misty stag, or if they saw, were unaware what it was.
Later explanation reveals that when Sirius entered Gryffindor Tower, he was actually after Scabbers, who is now missing and presumed killed by Crookshanks. Sirius, it will turn out, learned from an article in the Daily Prophet that Scabbers is Ron's pet, and probably learned from Crookshanks which bed Ron sleeps in. This would explain why Sirius targeted Ron. It is likely that, with Scabbers' apparent demise being so recent, Sirius was unaware of it.
This also explains why Scabbers (Peter Pettigrew) disappeared. While Ron believes Scabbers' haggard appearance was due to Crookshanks' actions, we should recall how poorly he looked when Ron and Hermione met up with Harry in Diagon Alley, which was before Hermione had Crookshanks. Ron purchased the rat tonic at the pet store, feeling Scabbers needed it. That was when Crookshanks first attacked Scabbers, and Hermione bought him. Scabbers' bedraggled appearance actually dates back to Black's escape. Scabbers, overhearing it being discussed in the Weasley household, would have known that Black was headed to Hogwarts. As Black got ever closer to the Gryffindor common room, Scabbers decided it was time to disappear, faking his own death, as he had done before, then departed to a safe location that was still in close proximity to the Wizarding world.
It will be discovered later that Black, in his Animagus form, won Crookshanks' confidence. Crookshanks then stole the password list from Neville, giving it to Black. It is uncertain why Crookshanks was unable to inform Black that Scabbers had disappeared, though as there were only two days between Scabbers' disappearance and Black's attack, it is quite possible that they simply had not had a chance to communicate.
The rift between Ron and Hermione will be mended only by an outside event: Hagrid writing to say that Buckbeak lost his final appeal and is to be executed. The Trio reunite to visit Hagrid, against his instructions, to support and comfort him.
As a side note, it may be worth mention that this is also Harry's first and only game against Ravenclaw. His many adventures throughout the series have resulted in his missing playing against them until this book, and will prevent his playing Ravenclaw again during his school career.
- The shape of Harry's Patronus will be revealed as being the same as the shape of his father's Animagus form. This will provide a link to Harry's father, but will also later prove to be a way of detecting his presence despite his being under the Invisibility Cloak. Harry's being able to produce a corporeal Patronus will also be referred to with some surprise at his Ministry hearing, give him some status in the eyes of the then-nascent Defence Association, and will earn him an extra grade in his Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. exam.
- Cho Chang, seen here for the first time, will become a crush for Harry in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and a love interest in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As mentioned in the article on Cho Chang's relationships, Harry will need some form of romantic interest, as he matures. Cho will be positioned to provide that interest, and then fall by the wayside to allow Harry to pursue his mission through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince without excessive romantic distraction.