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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

J. K. Rowling

Quotes

Section Eleven

Facts

But a reckless rage had come over Harry. He kicked his trunk open, pulled out his want, 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."

This quote occurs at the end of Chapter Two, shortly after Aunt Marge has acted so despicably that Harry was compelled to unconsciously blow her up. His magical powers have surpassed his control, and with this competence and confidence, Harry charges out of the Dursley house, not to be stopped by the confused dismay on the faces of the household; in other words, Harry takes initiative. He has always been rescued from the Dursleys, either by Hagrid or Ron, and here he helps himself out. The fact that Harry threatens Uncle Vernon with his wand places Harry in a quite precarious situation, as he will have to return to live with the Dursleys once again. But Harry doesn't care. In this scene, we realize the extent to which Harry has become a part of the Magical world. He will create his own entrances into it, and he will defend it at all costs. Harry has matured by this third book, gaining confidence and agency, and in this exchange we see it at this degree for the first time.

Harry didn't have to do his homework by flashlight anymore; now he could sit in the bright sunshine outside Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlous, finishing his essays with the 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.

This scene, at the beginning of chapter four once Harry is safely situated in Diagon Alley awaiting the start of school, illustrates the ultimate idyllic freedom of being back in the wizard element. Suddenly secrets, like Harry's Hogwarts homework assignments, are allowed into open air; he may roam free under the sun, instead of being quarantined under the Dursleys' roof. He is given all the food he wants, and he is treated kindly and respectfully. He is independent and enjoying life. This passage contrasts the Dursleys' Muggle life, with all of its limitations and concerns. Much of the description of Hogwarts and the wizard world is inherently cozy, as it is a small but complete world, supplying everything for life. Yet this world fosters a greater understanding between its people, as the shared sense of magic provides a community blanket for wizards everywhere.

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 lowered 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 it 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 another tinkle of breaking china; Neville had smashed his second cup.

This passage takes place in Chapter Six, during Harry, Ron, and Hermione's first Divination class. Professor Trelawney, a psychic who is really somewhat of a quack, instantly turns on Harry as the possessor of the world's most ill- appearing future. She finds the deadly enemy, danger, and ultimately the Grim, which is especially frightening because Harry believes at this point that he has already seen it, with its form of the black dog representing death. This passage touches on a fear of certain elements of the future that plague Harry, but more importantly, this passage belies the very idea that the future can be understood and predicted. Hermione is the only one in the class who directly challenges the professor, and she is an appropriate person to do this because she, with her magic-time-turner for fitting so many classes into her day, realizes the complexity of time and the capacity for one event to encompass many possibilities in any given instant. As if to drive in further the inconsistency of predicting the future, we hear a sound of breaking china as soon as Professor Trelawney screams; but the natural assumption that she had dropped her cup in alarm is overturned by Rowling's placement of Neville as the instigator of the event. Even in small moments such as these, we are taught not to assume things about a future that we have not yet seen.

A dementor rose slowly from the box, its hooded face turned toward Harry, one glistening, scabbed hand gripping its cloak. The lamps around the 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 patromun!" Harry yelled. "Expecto patronum! Expecto—" But the classroom and the dementor were dissolving…Harry 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—"

This passage in Chapter Twelve describes the sensation produced by dementors, and it contributes to the intensive psychological element of this book. Lupin as a werewolf has learned to reconcile and control his dual natures of kind, competent teacher with that of a savage, flesh-hungry werewolf. Harry, as the most susceptible to the effects of dementors (namely depression) is here learning through Lupin's instruction how to control himself under this influence. J.K. Rowling places all of the elements of depression within this effect. The dementors cause darkness and coldness to take over a room. They cause the victim to be aware of nothing in his surroundings except for his or her own intense fear. They bring terrible thoughts and memories to the surface. The difficult cure against a Dementor is a shield of happy thoughts, and a simpler cure is eating chocolate. This is one of many instances in which Rowling imbues her characters with traits of worldly problems and their cures.

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? (Chapter twenty-one, p. 407)

The loss of his parents is prevalent in Harry's mind at any given time, but most of all in this book, as hidden information about their deaths surfaces with the growing concern about Sirius Black. This passage, from chapter twenty-one, when Harry is watching to see who conjured the patronus that saved his life, illustrates Harry's perpetual awareness of his loss of his parents. He sees someone that looks faintly like his father, and he allows himself to wonder whether Prongs, his father's animagi shape, had joined his best friends on the grounds of Hogwarts that night. Few things are impossible within the realm of magic, so this notion is not entirely uncanny. Harry knows that they are gone, even though in his more hopeful moments he wonders if somehow they could have escaped secretly the way Black and Pettigrew did. Harry is never free from thoughts of his parents, and after this passage of quite vulnerable wishfulness, these speculations end in a realization that the maker of the patronus was in fact Harry himself—and that his patronus took the shape of prongs.

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