- "Out of the five books I've published, writing Azkaban was the easiest, and in some ways I think that shows.."
- —J. K. Rowling
To Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely, the Godmothers of Swing
Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously?
Chapter 1: Owl Post
- "Harry scanned the moving photograph, and a grin spread across his face as he saw all nine of the Weasleys waving furiously at him...Right in the middle of the picture was Ron, tall and gangling, with his pet rat, Scabbers, on his shoulder..."
- —Harry seeing the photography of the Weasleys in Egypt.
Harry Potter spends another horrible summer with the Dursleys in mid-1993. On 31 July (his thirteenth birthday), after midnight, he receives gifts and letters from Rubeus Hagrid, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, each wishing him a happy birthday and sending him a gift. According to Ron, his dad, Arthur Weasley, won a Daily Prophet Prize Draw for seven hundred galleons. Mr. Weasley then took the family to Egypt to visit his eldest son, Bill Weasley using the prize money, with the remainder being used to provide Ron with a new wand to replace the one that was broken last year. Harry also learns that Percy Weasley is entering his seventh year at Hogwarts and has been named Head Boy. According to Hermione, she and her parents are currently spending the holiday in France. Also both Ron and Hermione mention in their letters they'll be in London on the last week before term to pick up their school supplies and want Harry to join them. Hagrid hints in his letter the book he sent Harry will come in handy next term but he wants the reason for it to be a surprise until the term starts. Another letter from Professor McGonagall arrives, saying that third years are allowed to visit the village of Hogsmeade and that their guardian needs to sign the permission form in order for them to do so.
Chapter 2: Aunt Marge's BIG Mistake
- "Bad blood will out. Now, I'm saying nothing against your family, Petunia, 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."
- —Marjorie Dursley, about Lily Potter.
Vernon Dursley's sister, Marjorie "Marge" Dursley, comes to visit her brother's home for a week. Harry agrees to behave normally during her visit, if his uncle will sign his permission form and has to send Hedwig to the Weasley's for the week due to Marge not knowing Harry is a wizard. After a few days with her, on the final night, Harry feels insulted when she calls his father, James Potter, a drunk man. Harry loses his temper and accidentally inflates her. She explodes, and Harry decides to take his school things and run away, fearing he will almost certainly be expelled from Hogwarts, after using magic outside school.
Chapter 3: The Knight Bus
He reaches Magnolia Crescent and sees a black dog staring at him. In his shock, Harry falls and the Knight Bus, a triple-decker bus designed for wizard transportation, arrives. The dog vanishes and is nowhere in sight. Harry meets the Knight Bus's conductor, Stan Shunpike and the driver, Ernie Prang. Harry departs with the Knight Bus to the Leaky Cauldron in London. He learns from the Daily Prophet, Sirius Black, a convict and a follower of Lord Voldemort, broke-out of Azkaban, the first person to ever do so. He was imprisoned for murdering thirteen people with a single curse in 1981, right after the Potters' murder. At the Leaky Cauldron, he meets the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, in person, though Harry has to pretend that he doesn't know him since Harry and Ron were technically breaking school rules during their previous school year when they saw him in Hagrid's Hut. After explaining that Marge has been restored to normal and her memory modified, to Harry's surprise, Fudge doesn't take any action against him. Fudge books a room for Harry, where he will stay for the rest of the summer, but refuses to sign Harry's Hogsmeade permission slip.
Chapter 4: The Leaky Cauldron
- "Are you planning to eat or sleep at all this year, Hermione?"
- —Harry referring to Hermione's number of classes.
Harry spends the rest of the holidays in Diagon Alley, purchasing his school things and making sure not to make any unnecessary purchases. On the last day of the holidays, Harry meets up with Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Weasleys who are also staying at the Leaky Cauldron. When Hermione decides to spend her birthday money on a magical pet, to Ron's displeasure, Hermione purchases a cat named Crookshanks, who harasses Ron's pet rat Scabbers. At some point during the night, Harry overhears a conversation between Ron's parents, Arthur and Molly Weasley. From what he hears, he learns that when Voldemort met his downfall, Black lost everything, and is now trying to kill Harry. Harry realises that Fudge let him off because he was relieved to find Harry alive. He is unconcerned about Black, doubting that he could harm him at Hogwarts, with headmaster Albus Dumbledore around.
Chapter 5: The Dementor
- "I felt weird, like I'd never be cheerful again..."
- —Ron, about the Dementor.
The next day, shortly before he boards the Hogwarts Express, Arthur tried to warn him about Black and makes him promise not to go looking for Black no matter what he hears. Harry tells him that he already knows because he heard Mr. and Mrs Weasley talking about it earlier. Harry is also confused and asks why He would go looking for somebody who wanted to kill him. On the train, Harry, Ron, and Hermione share a compartment with Professor Remus Lupin, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. After several hours, the train breaks down and a sinister, cloaked figure enters. It sucks the happiness out of Harry, who faints, possibly to kiss him, until Lupin drives it off with a spell.
Lupin explains that the creature was a Dementor, a guard of Azkaban, and that they were searching the train for Sirius Black. At Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy taunts him over his reaction to the Dementor. After the sorting ceremony (which Harry and Hermione miss due to being called away by McGonagall and returning just after it ended), Dumbledore announces the two changes in staffing during the year: Lupin, and Hagrid, who has been made the Care of Magical Creatures teacher in lieu of the retirement of Professor Kettleburn. Dumbledore also announces that Dementors are to be stationed around the school, as a precaution against Black.
Chapter 6: Talons and Tea Leaves
- "Then you should know, Potter, that 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 favourite way of greeting a new class."
- —Professor McGonagall, about Trelawney's predictions.
Lessons start the next day. Harry, Ron and Hermione head to the North Tower for their first Divination lesson. They meet Sybill Trelawney, and predict future events using tea leaves. Harry sees a black dog in his tea cup, which Trelawney identifies as the Grim, the omen of death. This worries Harry as he remembers the black dog he saw when he ran away. In their next lesson, Transfiguration, Professor Minerva McGonagall assures Harry that Trelawney has predicted the deaths of a number of students, none of whom have died. In their Care of Magical Creatures lesson, Hagrid teaches them about hippogriffs (horse/eagle creatures).
Although initially nervous, Harry successfully approaches and then rides a grey hippogriff named Buckbeak. Later in the lesson, Malfoy, who had not been listening to Hagrid's lecture, insults Buckbeak, causing it to slash his arm with its talons. He is taken to the hospital wing, and Hagrid fears that he will take the blame for letting Buckbeak attack Malfoy, even though Malfoy provoked it in the first place.
Chapter 7: The Boggart in the Wardrobe
- "What would it have been for you? A piece of homework that only got nine out of ten?"
- —Ron, to Hermione about her Boggart.
Later in the week, in Potions, Malfoy returns with a heavily bandaged arm. Although it is implied that he is exaggerating the seriousness of the injury, there is no way to prove it. Harry learns that Black has been sighted near Hogwarts. During the lesson, Malfoy hints that Black may be connected to Harry's past. In Defence against the Dark Arts, Lupin teaches the third years about Boggarts, shape-shifters that take the shape of a person's worst fear. The class then take on the Boggart, forcing it to assume a shape they find amusing. When it comes to Harry's turn he is sure the Boggart will turn into a Dementor but Lupin jumps in and repels the boggart for him, which takes the shape of bright glowing orb. Harry is disappointed that Lupin does not let him fight the Boggart, thinking that Lupin feels he is not up to the task.
Chapter 8: Flight of the Fat Lady
- "Oh yes, Professorhead, he got very angry when she wouldn't let him, you see. Nasty temper he's got, that Sirius Black."
- —Peeves to Professor Dumbledore regarding the Fat Lady.
In October, the Gryffindor Quidditch team practises hard for the upcoming Quidditch season, especially since this is their team captain Oliver Wood's final year at Hogwarts. Oliver believes that despite the misfortune which occurred during the previous two years their team should be able to win the Quidditch Cup before he graduates. Third years are also visiting Hogsmeade on Hallowe'en, and only Harry isn't allowed, because his uncle did not sign his permission form. Harry then spends the day in Lupin's office, drinking tea with him. Lupin tells him that he didn't have Harry practise the spell, assuming his boggart would become Lord Voldemort. Shortly afterwards, Snape appears with a mysterious potion for Lupin. Lupin claims to simply have an illness that is aided by the potion. A few hours later, Ron and Hermione return. They reach the portrait of the Fat Lady and see it slashed and the Fat Lady gone. When Dumbledore, Argus Filch, and Percy find her after Peeves reveals that he saw her fleeing through another portrait because she would not allow Sirius Black into Gryffindor Tower.
Chapter 9: Grim Defeat
- "Well, you know the Whomping Willow. It - it doesn't like being hit."
- —Ron regarding Harry's Nimbus 2000.
Every student is moved in the Great Hall to sleep, while teachers search the castle. They fail to find any sign of Black, and Snape suggests that someone inside the castle helped Black enter it. Dumbledore refutes this argument. Gryffindor's first Quidditch match is coming up, but due to Malfoy's injury, Gryffindor are unable to play against Slytherin, so they will play against Hufflepuff instead. On the day before the match, Lupin becomes ill and Snape is taking his place for his classes. Oddly, he ignores Lupin's syllabus and instead gives a lesson on werewolves and assigns the class to write an essay on werewolves. During the match, it is raining badly, and Harry sees a large black dog in the topmost empty row of seats in the Quidditch stadium, which appears to be the grim. Dementors enter the match, causing Harry to faint and fall from his broomstick. Harry realizes that the screaming he had been hearing during these fainting spells that occur whenever a Dementor is too close, happens to be the last moments of his mother as she tries to protect him from Voldemort. Dumbledore saves Harry, but his Nimbus 2000 broomstick flies into the Whomping Willow and is destroyed, and Hufflepuff win the match shortly afterwards. After the match, Harry wakes up in the hospital wing and learns what happened, including that Oliver Wood had declined Hufflepuff captain Cedric Diggory's offer for a rematch despite the circumstances of how Hufflepuff won the match.
Chapter 10: The Marauder's Map
- "This little beauty's taught us more than all the teachers in this school... Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs... We owe them so much."
- —Fred and George Weasley, about the Marauder's Map.
The following week, Lupin is back teaching class and states that the class doesn't have to write the essay Snape assigned for them, though Hermione had finished hers. After class, Harry goes to Lupin wondering why the Dementors affect him so much while no one else faints when they come near. Lupin explains that Dementors are fear itself and they pull forth the horrors from a person's past, which is why just before he faints, he hears his mother screaming before she dies. Harry asks Lupin if he can give him private lessons on teaching him the spell to drive off Dementors in case another one arrives at the next Quidditch match. Lupin says he will, but after the Christmas holidays, citing his frequent illness. Hufflepuff is defeated by Ravenclaw in their next Quidditch match, which still gives the Gryffindor team a chance in the running for the Quidditch Cup, but despite using an old school broom in their training sessions, Harry is busy looking towards obtaining a new broomstick for himself so Gryffindor can stand a chance in their remaining matches. During the last weekend before the holidays, while the eligible students visit Hogsmeade, Harry is yet again not able to go. To bring some Christmas cheer to Harry, Fred and George reveal they know, apart from Filch, secret passages in and out of Hogwarts. They give Harry the Marauder's Map as a Christmas present, and instruct him in using it. It shows Hogwarts' secret passages, corridors, classrooms, offices, common rooms, etc. and also shows every person's location within the castle and the grounds.
Harry uses it to sneak into Hogsmeade. He then meets Ron and Hermione in Honeydukes where they were discussing what kind of sweets to get Harry. Afterward they visit the Three Broomsticks, a pub run by Madam Rosmerta. When Cornelius Fudge, Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick and Rubeus Hagrid arrive, Harry must hide underneath their table to avoid being seen, and the trio overhear a conversation between them and Madam Rosmerta, in which they discuss how Sirius Black was a close childhood friend of Harry's father, James and that he was made Harry's godfather. However, Sirius betrayed them to Voldemort by willingly telling him about the Potters' whereabouts of their hiding place (in which Voldemort found them and murdered them both). Sirius also killed another one of the Potters' friends, Peter Pettigrew, along with some other Muggles. After Fudge and the teachers leave, Harry, Ron and Hermione are stunned by this information.
Chapter 11: The Firebolt
- "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?"
- —Harry mulling over what he heard about Black.
During the start of the holidays, Ron and Hermione console Harry to help Harry get over his depression of finding out that Black was his godfather and that everyone who knew about it did not want to tell him after Harry had a rough time sleeping through the night due to these nightmares. Harry chooses to talk to Hagrid about Sirius Black despite Ron and Hermione's protests. However when the trio arrive at his house and find him distraught about Buckbeak's upcoming hearing before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creature, Harry decides it is better not to bring this up.
After overcoming his depression, Hagrid reveals his horrible experience with the Dementors during his brief time in Azkaban which is why he can't set Buckbeak free without the risk of being sent back there. The trio then decide to help Hagrid prepare his defence for Buckbeak's case. For Christmas, among his presents, Harry receives a new broomstick, the Firebolt; the best model ever released. Hermione is not happy when she learns that it came without a note and is driven out of Harry and Ron's dormitory after Crookshanks attacks Scabbers again. During Christmas dinner, Hermione reports it to McGonagall and McGonagall sends it to have it tested for tampering, because they both suspect Black might have sent it to him and it could be jinxed.
Chapter 12: The Patronus
- "Oh no... Much worse than that. You can exist without 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. "
- —Remus Lupin, on the dementor's kiss.
Harry ceases speaking with Hermione, even though he knew she had good intentions with reporting the Firebolt. Ron is also no longer on speaking terms with Hermione, after he and Hermione start to row often after Crookshanks begins attacking Scabbers non-stop. Meanwhile, Harry starts his lessons with Lupin. Lupin tells Harry that the spell to drive off Dementors is called the Patronus Charm, instructs him in how to cast one, and lets him practise on a Boggart. Harry fails to produce one at first. This, however, is to be expected; the Patronus Charm is well beyond O.W.L. standard. During his first lesson, Harry learns that Lupin is an old friend of his father James back during their days at Hogwarts, and also knew Sirius Black as well. In January, Slytherin beats Ravenclaw in their Quidditich match that helps Gryiffindor's chances of getting the Quidditch Cup as long as they don't lose in their own match against Ravenclaw.
By February, Harry becomes quite good after a few lessons, but doesn't master it entirely. At the end of their most recent lesson, Lupin explains the concept of a Dementor's Kiss and reveals that it will be Black's punishment, as a recent article in the Daily Prophet confirmed that the Ministry gave the Dementors permission to use the Kiss on Black when they find him. While thinking on the horrific thing he just learned, Harry runs into McGonagall on his way back to Gryffindor Tower. McGonagall gives Harry back the Firebolt now that the examination for possible curses on the broomstick has been completed and suggests that he practise with it before the match. Harry meets up with Ron and they decide to go make up with Hermione, but after arriving at Gryffindor Tower, Scabbers disappears, ruining any chance for Ron and Hermione's reconciliation.
Chapter 13: Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw
- "She was shorter than Harry by about a head, and Harry couldn't help noticing, nervous as he was, that she was extremely pretty."
- —The begining of Harry's interest in Cho Chang.
As March arrives, a new Quidditch match approaches: Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw. Harry spends the last practise session before the match to get used to his Firebolt. During the game, just as Harry is about to catch the Snitch, Cho Chang, a fourth year Seeker for the Ravenclaw team, screams. Harry looks around and sees three Dementors in the stands. He reacts instantly, unknowingly sending a full-fledged Patronus at the dementors. Harry catches the Snitch, winning the match before Cho Chang.
Lupin compliments Harry on his Patronus, and shows Harry that the "dementors" were really Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, and the Slytherin team captain Marcus Flint dressed as dementors trying to sabotage Harry resulting in McGonagall taking fifty points away from Slytherin, and sentencing all four of them to detention as punishment. However, at night, Ron sees Sirius Black, slashing his curtains while sleeping, in the boys' dormitories. Everyone thinks it might be a nightmare, but the curtains were indeed ripped, and the replacement portrait, Sir Cadogan admits he let Sirius Black into the Tower as he had the password, which Neville Longbottom had written down and misplaced.
Chapter 14: Snape's Grudge
- "Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git."
- —The Marauder's Map writing the insult to Snape.
Another search of the castle takes place, but Black evades discovery again. The Fat Lady resumes her duty guarding Gryffindor Tower on the condition her portrait is to be guarded. Neville on the other hand is stripped of his visitation rights to Hogsmeade for the rest of the school year and the other Gryffindors are forbidden to tell him the password as punishment. Hagrid sends a letter to Harry, telling him that he and Ron are to meet him in the entrance hall so he can take them to his hut for tea. Other than learning that Buckbeak's trial is that week, Harry and Ron learn the reason Hagrid summoned them is to talk about Hermione and the way they were treating her. Hagrid mentions their feud had been hurting Hermione more than they think who was only concerned about protecting Harry from Sirius Black. Despite Hagrid's advice, it doesn't help things when Hermione threatens to tell McGonagall about the Marauder's Map when she learns that Harry plans to sneak into Hogsmeade during the upcoming trip that Saturday.
While on the trip that weekend, Harry using his Invisibility Cloak travels with Ron and make a few stops before visiting the Shrieking Shack, a house that is supposedly filled with violent ghosts. Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle show up there and provoke Ron. Harry, using his cloak, attacks the trio and Malfoy catches a glimpse of Harry's head and later reports it to Snape, who interrogates Harry after he returns from Hogsmeade. Taking Harry to his office, Snape finds the Marauder's Map, but isn't able to discover its true identity as he doesn't use it properly, and before he can, the map's creators each take a turn to insult Snape. Lupin is summoned where he feigns ignorance about the map, just as Ron shows up to help cover for Harry regarding the Zonko products Snape found on Harry earlier. Afterwards, Lupin brings Harry and Ron to the entrance hall where he confiscates the map, and reprimands Harry for not handing in a valuable source of information on Hogwarts, as well as risking his parents' sacrifice to sneak into Hogsmeade.
On their way back to Gryffindor Tower they find Hermione who informs them that via a letter from Hagrid, the Ministry has decided to execute Buckbeak despite the help she provided for Hagrid with Buckbeak's defence.
" 'Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business.' ... "Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professer Snape is an ugly git.'...'Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.' ... 'Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape a good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.' "
-The insults the map throws at Professor Snape.
Chapter 15: The Quidditch Final
- Oliver Wood: "So you must catch it only if we're more than fifty points up... 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..."
- Harry Potter: "I KNOW, OLIVER!"
- — Wood constantly nagging Harry about the final Quidditch game.
The event of Buckbeak's execution causes the friends to reconcile. Ron promises to help Hermione work on filing an appeal for Buckbeaks case since Harry will be too busy with the Quidditch practise sessions for the final match. After she sees Malfoy mock Hagrid during one of his classes, Hermione smacks him in the face. She then accidentally skips Charms. In Divination, Hermione finally explodes, and drops the class.
In May, the Quidditch final takes place: Gryffindor vs. Slytherin, with Gryffindor needing to be more than fifty points ahead before Harry can catch the Golden Snitch to win not only the match, but also having enough points to overtake Slytherin in obtaining the Quidditch Cup. On the morning of the match, Harry catches another glimpse of the dog, with Crookshanks. In the match, Gryffindor take an early lead, and Slytherin resort to all manner of dirty tactics, which helps the Gryffindor team to have penalty shots allowing them to get further ahead. Eventually, Harry manages to win the match at the right moment, allowing Gryffindor to come in first in the overall points and earn the Quidditch cup.
Chapter 16: Professor Trelawney's Prediction
- "IT WILL HAPPEN TONIGHT."
- —The beginning of Professor Trelawney prediction.
The students take their end of year exams in June and Buckbeak's appeal is scheduled on the final day of the exams. After Harry's Divination final, Trelawney genuinely predicts that Voldemort's servant will return to him that night, and Voldemort will once again rise to full power. Meanwhile, Buckbeak's appeal fails. That night after Hermione retrieved Harry's Invisibility Cloak from the one-eyed witches hump where he previously left it (since he was trying to get back to Hogwarts Castle after Malfoy spotted him in Hogsmeade and had to leave it behind in the passageway) and once dinner was over Harry, Ron, and Hermione use the cloak to go to Hagrid's cabin even though he asked them not to, to console him before Buckbeak is executed. Hermione finds Scabbers in a milk jug and returns him to Ron. After the trio depart, Dumbledore, Fudge, a representative of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, and the executioner, Walden Macnair, arrive. Buckbeak is then apparently executed.
- Sirius Black: "Going to kill me, Harry?"
- Harry Potter: "You killed my parents."
- Sirius Black: "I don’t deny it... But if you knew the whole story."
- — In the Shrieking Shack.
Shortly afterwards, Scabbers escapes from Ron's grasp. Harry, Ron and Hermione run after him, where they see the black dog and Crookshanks. After Ron catches Scabbers, the dog grabs him by the arm (breaking his leg in the process of trying to hold onto a tree root with that leg to avoid being dragged off) and pulls him in a passage under the Whomping Willow. Harry, Hermione, and Crookshanks follow after them. The passage leads them to the Shrieking Shack, where they find Ron, Scabbers, and Sirius Black, who was the dog that dragged Ron to the Shrieking Shack. Harry manages to overpower and subdue Black, who admits that he was responsible for the death of his parents. Lupin then arrives, and is accused by Hermione of being Black's accomplice, and a werewolf, revealing that she found out following Snape's lesson on werewolves, as well as a number of other signs: he was always absent on nights of the full moon which is also his Boggart. Lupin admits that he is a werewolf, but denies the charge of helping Black. He explains that he found out where Harry, Ron and Hermione went through the Marauder's Map , being one of the four writers of it and knowing the three would visit Hagrid that night due to Buckbeak's execution. He also adds that he saw a supposedly dead person on the map with the trio; Peter Pettigrew , in the form of Scabbers.
- "But make it quick, Remus. I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for..."
- —Sirius Black, about killing Pettigrew.
Harry, Ron and Hermione refuse to believe that Pettigrew is alive, pointing out that he was murdered by Black. Black denies this, and Lupin convinces him to tell Harry the truth of what happened. Lupin tells the story about his time at Hogwarts; he had been bitten as a child, and Dumbledore took precautions for his stay at Hogwarts, having the Shrieking Shack, and the passage leading to it built to provide Lupin with a safe place to transform. The Whomping Willow was planted on the entrance to the tunnel, to prevent anyone from running into the transformed Lupin. The rumors that the Hogsmeade residents started about the Shack being haunted by violent ghosts was allowed to spread by Dumbledore to keep people from guessing that it was actually a werewolf making those sounds to protect Lupin's secret.
Eventually, Lupin's friends, Sirius, Pettigrew and James Potter discovered Lupin's secret, and became Animagi to support him; Sirius became a dog, to keep Lupin under control with James, and Pettigrew became a rat, so he could disable the Willow. There is a spot on the Willow if touched, the Willow will freeze. Lupin admits that he hasn't told Dumbledore about Sirius being an animagus, as it would have meant admitting that he had betrayed his trust, leading three students into becoming animagi. He also reveals the reason for Snape's animosity towards him during the year; during their days at school, Sirius had played a near-fatal trick on Snape involving Lupin until James stopped him and Snape thought both of them were involved with Sirius' trick. Just then Snape arrives using Harry's Invisibility Cloak that was left at the Whomping Willow.
Chapter 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort
- "I must admit, Peter, I have difficulty in understanding why an innocent man would want to spend twelve years as a rat."
- —Lupin, about Peter Pettigrew.
Snape arrives and tries to arrest Lupin and Black, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione, curious to hear the rest of the story, stun Snape. Sirius reveals he broke out of Azkaban after seeing the Weasleys in Egypt in the Daily Prophet he saw Scabbers and immediately recognised it was Pettigrew in his Animagus form (Pettigrew was missing a finger, Scabbers was missing a toe). He searched for Pettigrew to kill him and avenge the Potters with Crookshanks helping him since he could tell that Scabbers was no rat and Black was no dog after meeting him in his animagus form. Sirius explains after he gained Crookshanks' trust, Crookshanks helped him get into Gryffindor Tower by using the password that Crookshanks stole from Neville's notes.
According to Black, Pettigrew was the Potters' Secret-Keeper due to Sirius backing out at the last moment, and Peter, not Black, revealed the location of the Potters' hiding place to Voldemort. He was a spy for Voldemort, and he is his servant. After the Potters' murder, Sirius confronted Pettigrew, who killed the twelve muggles and faked his own death by cutting his finger and turning into a rat and escaping, framing Black for the crimes. Sirius was innocent all along and means no harm to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. He and Lupin force Scabbers to turn into Pettigrew. During their interrogation Sirius explains the obvious reason why Pettigrew remained as a rat and did not try anything is that he was afraid that Voldemort's followers would try to kill him, thinking Pettigrew betrayed Voldemort for being partly responsible for his downfall. Black also knows that Pettigrew only stayed with the Weasleys to keep up on the news until he felt it was safe to find and rejoin his master once Voldemort regained his power.
Hermione then asks how Sirius escaped, to which he reveals his knowledge that he was innocent wasn't a happy thought which the Dementors could not drain from him and he often transformed into a dog, since Dementors cannot affect animal emotions. After learning where Pettigrew was and knowing Pettigrew would use the opportunity to capture Harry to regain favour with his allies when the time was right, Black escaped while in his animagus form. Before Lupin and Sirius can kill Pettigrew, Harry stops them, saying that James would not want his two best friends to become killers. The group takes Pettigrew back to the grounds, where he will be handed to the Dementors.
Chapter 20: The Dementor's Kiss
- "Are you mad? Of course I want to leave the Dursleys! Have you got a house? When can I move in?"
- —Harry to Sirius.
Sirius and Harry talk about the former's friendship with his parents including that Sirius is Harry's godfather, before Sirius tells Harry that he can choose to live with him if he wishes. Harry quickly and happily agrees, knowing this would mean he would never have to the return to the Dursleys.
Unfortunately, the full moon rises, causing Lupin, who had not taken his Wolfsbane Potion, to turn into a werewolf and allowing Pettigrew to turn into a rat and escape. During his escape he knocks out Ron. Harry and Hermione run after Lupin and Black (who is transformed into a dog). After seriously injuring Black, Lupin flees to the Forbidden Forest. However, a hundred Dementors arrive and suck the happiness from Harry, Hermione, and Black and attempt to perform a Kiss on them. Before they all faint, Harry sees a familiar figure across the lake, who conjures a powerful, stag shaped Patronus that drives all the Dementors away.
- "What we need... is more time... If all goes well, you will be able to save more than one innocent life tonight. But remember this, both of you: you must not be seen."
- —Dumbledore, instructing Harry and Hermione.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron are taken to the hospital wing, and Black is taken to West Tower, where he is sentenced to a Dementors Kiss. When Dumbledore arrives Harry and Hermione try to tell him what actually happened, but Dumbledore tells them that he cannot save Black, as the evidence against him is too great since Snape had lied about what happened earlier to Cornelius Fudge and that the Minister will not take the words of underage students seriously.
Dumbledore gives them instructions and bids them good luck. Hermione reveals she has a Time-Turner, a device that will take them back through time, which McGonagall gave to her during the Sorting on their first day back and it explains why throughout the year, there had been occasions of Hermione taking multiple classes at the same time, and apparently disappearing into thin air. Harry and Hermione travel three hours into the past, watching themselves in the previous events. Figuring out that the secret behind Dumbledore's message, they realise that Dumbledore wanted them to travel three hours back to not only save Buckbeak from being wrongfully executed, but also use Buckbeak to free Black from West Tower where Black would be held so Black can escape on Buckbeak. After narrowly rescuing Buckbeak before Macnair could execute him and making sure Hagrid won't get into trouble without being seen, Harry and Hermione hide in viewing distance of the Whomping Willow in the Forbidden Forest to wait for the "other Harry and Hermione" and everyone else to return from the Shrieking Shack.
During this time Harry tells Hermione about the man he saw across the lake and how he thinks it was his father who conjured the Patronus. After two hours, following Lupin's transformation Harry decides they need to head back to Hagrid's empty cabin (due to Hagrid being at the castle) since the transformed Lupin could attack them if they stay in the forest. After spending some time there hiding, Harry leaves the cabin by himself to check out the present situation to know when they can make their move, arriving to see himself, Hermione, and Black fainting from Dementors. He realises that the silver stag he saw earlier across the lake was not cast by his dad, it was himself and conjures a powerful Patronus that drives all the Dementors away. When it returns to him, he pets it and realises that it was "Prongs", his father.
After Hermione and Buckbeak catch up, they wait until they see Macnair leave the castle to retrieve the Dementors. He and Hermione then fly on Buckbeak to West Tower, and rescue Black and after arriving on the roof, Harry and Sirius say their goodbyes before Sirius flies away on Buckbeak.
Chapter 22: Owl Post Again
- Vernon Dursley: "You haven't got a godfather!"
- Harry Potter: "Yes, I have. He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of wizard 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..."
- — Harry telling Uncle Vernon about Sirius.
Harry and Hermione barely make it back to the hospital wing within the ten minutes they have left just as Dumbledore is ready to magically lock the door. Shortly after Snape bursts in followed by Fudge and Dumbledore who accuses Harry that he helped free Black, though it is clear to Fudge and Dumbledore that Snape is suffering from severe disappointment since Snape's chances of receiving the Order of Merlin have gone up in smoke. Fudge leaves to inform the Daily Prophet of the news and agrees to remove the Dementors from Hogwarts due to the Dementors' attempt to perform the Dementor's Kiss on Harry the previous night. Shortly after they leave Ron wakes up.
The next day, while most of the other students are at Hogsmeade, the trio learn from Hagrid that Lupin is resigning after Snape told the Slytherin house during breakfast that Lupin is a werewolf. While going to see Lupin by himself, though he is unable to sway Lupin's mind about staying since Lupin does not want to risk endangering the students again, after learning about Harry's Patronus, Lupin confirms Harry's suspicions that James' animagus form was indeed a stag. Lupin then gives Harry his Invisibility Cloak back along with the Marauder's Map since he is no longer their teacher and Harry has a better need for the map and leaves after Dumbledore arrived to inform Lupin his carriage has arrived.
While talking with Dumbledore, Harry feels bad for not letting Lupin and Black kill Pettigrew, realising that he was the servant of Voldemort that would aid his return which Trelawney mentioned. Dumbledore reminds Harry that he saved Black, an innocent man, from a terrible fate and that Pettigrew owes a life debt to Harry for saving him, which Dumbledore is sure will prove useful later on. Before he leaves Dumbledore mentions that Harry has some of his father's qualities within him which is why his Patronus took the form of Prongs. At the end of the year feast Gryffindor wins the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup.
The students return to London aboard the Hogwarts Express. Hermione mentions to Harry and Ron that she gave up the Time-Turner due to the amount of stress it caused and is also dropping Muggle Studies so she can have a normal schedule again. Ron announces that he is planning to invite Harry to the Quidditch World Cup since his father can get them tickets from work and he can use a telephone now. A tiny owl from Black then arrives on the train with a letter. On the letter, Black reveals he is traveling far away from Hogwarts to avoid causing further problems and admits he bought Harry the Firebolt with Crookshanks' help. A separate section of the letter provides Harry with permission to visit Hogsmeade which Harry knows Dumbledore will accept. Sirius also mentions this tiny owl is a gift for Ron (later named Pigwidgeon by Ginny), as it's Black's fault Ron no longer has a rat.
After arriving at King's Cross, Harry heads back to Little Whinging with Uncle Vernon, and Ron says he will contact Harry about whether they are going to go to the finals of the Quidditch World Cup. Harry is also happy he now has a true family member to depend on since Harry mentioned to Uncle Vernon his godfather who had escaped from wizard prison likes to check up on him so the Dursleys won't make his new summer vacation unpleasant like last year.
Behind the scenes
- Along with Half-Blood Prince, this is one of the books in the series in which the US and UK cover artwork depict the same scene and the same characters. In addition, all cover artwork for any edition in any country depicts this scene, with the exception of the Adult version, the Signature Bloomsbury version and the German version.
- The Prisoner of Azkaban is the only book to not have a chapter with the same name as the title of the book, apart from the Philosopher's Stone.
- Although somewhat darker than the previous two books, this one holds the distinction of being the only Harry Potter book where no one actually dies during the events of the book (with the possible exception of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where the Basilisk, a magical creature of indeterminate sentience, was the only being to die). Although it appears that Buckbeak dies, he was in fact saved by the time-travelling Harry and Hermione. What the trio thought was the execution was in fact Macnair swinging his axe into a stump out of frustration.
- This is the only book where Voldemort is not seen, only mentioned, whether in past or present.
- This is the first of two books in which the title refers to a character, the other being the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- This is the only book in the series whose name has a word completely original to the series, this word being "Azkaban".
- One of the biggest morals from the series is that it is not one's abilities that make them who they are; it is their choices. However, the climax of this book possibly creates a predestination paradox, which, essentially, negates the doctrine of free will.
- This is the only book where the main antagonist is not directly or indirectly (in the case of book 5) influenced by Voldemort or is Voldemort himself.
- When Harry restrained Lupin and Sirius from killing Pettigrew, he (arguably) made the first mistake that led to the second rise of Lord Voldemort.
- In early British editions of the book, as Harry does his summer assignment in the first chapter, "Owl Post", he uses the textbook A History of Magic by Adalbert Waffling. But the real author of the book is Bathilda Bagshot, as mentioned in other books and a point emphasised in Deathly Hallows. The American edition and later editions of the English version correct this error.
- Before Harry and Hermione go back in time, it mentions that Buckbeak is tied to a tree. But when they go back in time, Buckbeak is tied to a fence.
- When Harry is buying his books at Flourish and Blotts, it mentions that he is being served by the manager. But when Harry was staring at the book 'Death Omens,' it says that he is being served by the assistant of the store.
- The length of time Sirius has known Pettigrew is hiding at Hogwarts is inconsistent. From Mr. Weasley's conversation at the Leaky Cauldron in chapter four, Sirius has known about it for several months. But in the Shrieking Shack in chapter eighteen, Sirius says that he first learned about it the night he escaped from Azkaban. However, it is possible that Sirius may have been referring to someone else, perhaps Harry or Voldemort. Sirius would know that Harry is at Hogwarts by the time that he is reported to start talking in his sleep and he might have heard about the Chamber of Secrets incident when Hagrid was imprisoned here.
- When they first come out of the Shrieking Shack, the order is Crookshanks, Lupin, Pettigrew, Ron, Snape, Harry, Hermione, and Sirius. However, when they go back in time, the order is now Lupin, Pettigrew, Ron, Hermione, Snape, Harry, and Sirius. (This is corrected in later editions of the book.)
- In June, Fred and George Weasley find out they have scraped "a few O.W.L.s apiece". However, in subsequent books, it is firmly established that O.W.L. results are sent home by owl and are not received until August. A possible explanation for this would be that when Harry and company receive their results, the Ministry of Magic is at war with Voldemort which could have made test grades a lower priority.
- It says "Ron crawled to the four-poster and collapsed onto it". But when Professor Lupin comes in, it says "his eyes flickered over Ron, lying on the floor". This could not be, as Ron should still be on the bed. Crookshanks was on the bed, and 'on the floor beside him.... was Ron' Ron moves from this position to 'protect' Harry. 'If you want to kill Harry, you'll have to kill us too' at this point he is standing, 'clinging painfully to Harry to stay upright'.
- Mr. Weasley says that Ron and Harry have ended up in the Forbidden Forest twice. But only Harry has been in the forest twice. Ron went once to see Aragog with Harry in Chamber of Secrets, but the other time Harry went was for detention in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ron wasn't there. This error was corrected in later editions.
- When Harry and Hermione leave from the hospital wing using the Time-Turner, Dumbledore says it is ten minutes until midnight, but on the way back to the ward after they rescue Sirius, they hear Dumbledore say to the other versions of them that it is five minutes to midnight. (Corrected in later editions, making Dumbledore say "five minutes to midnight" the first time, instead of ten.)
- Chapter sixteen (Professor Trelawney's Prediction) takes place in June 1994. In the beginning of that chapter, Harry Potter reads a note from Hagrid and says, 'Buckbeak's appeal — it's set for the sixth.' The night after the Hippogriff's appeal, Remus Lupin is forced into a werewolf form by the full moon, which means that this happened on the night of June 6th, 1994. The web page HP-Lexicon.org also backs this up. However, a brief look at lunar phase calendar sites such as 1994 and lunar phases in 1994 definitely shows June 9th, 1994, as a new-moon night, which means that a full moon could not possibly rise three days earlier. (It is possible that like dates and days not matching up in the Harry Potter series to the real world, JK Rowling slightly adjusted the moon's phases to fit the story.)
- On the American version of the cover, the front art is the night that Harry and Hermione save Sirius and Buckbeak. However on the back side of the cover, the moon is crescent when it should be a full moon.
- The cover depicts Harry and Hermione riding Buckbeak. Harry's legs are shown to be in front of Buckbeak's wings. However, when Harry was in Care of Magical Creatures and rode Buckbeak for the first time, Hagrid had told him to sit behind the wing joint (as he did in the movie).
- Sirius Black says that Voldemort has been in hiding for fifteen years. He's actually been in hiding for twelve years (almost thirteen at the time that he says it), about the same amount of time since Black was imprisoned. Voldemort went into hiding right after he was ripped from his body after failing to kill Harry. Of course, Black could just be rounding off to an approximated number (fifteen years), but this seems unlikely since he keeps talking about being in Azkaban for twelve years, being that the two time frames are almost exactly the same. Sirius also says to Pettigrew 'you haven't been hiding from me for 12 years, you've been hiding from Voldemort's old supporters'
- During chapter fifteen (pg. 308) it says, "A minute later, Katie had put another penalty past the Slytherin Seeker". When the correct word should have been "Keeper" not "Seeker".
- ""He's friends with that dog," said Harry grimly"
- —chapter 17[src]
- Another bit of foreshadowing takes place in the chapter "Aunt Marge's Big Mistake". When Uncle Vernon watches the news report about Sirius Black, he gets mad that the reporter didn't say where he escape from and comments, "Lunatic could be coming up the street right now!" He does not know that in a week, this will be true.
The book was also adapted into a film, the third Harry Potter film of the series. The movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on May 31, 2004 (UK) and on June 4, 2004 (US). It was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and the trio was starred by Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (soundtrack)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (character index)
- Third year