Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 6, ‘Talons and Tea Leaves’ (True/False Quiz and Discussion Points)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Chapter 6

Mark True statements with a “T” and False statements with an “F” on your tally sheets at home. I will post T/F Answers tomorrow with responses to discussion point posts and my own thoughts if there aren’t any of yours to which I can respond! Please don’t post your answers to anything except the Discussion Points after the True/False Quiz. If you disagree with my answers tomorrow, please do send me an explanation about where I went wrong. Click on the Category “Chapter Quiz” in the right column for previous quizzes and discussion points.

1. _____ Chapter Six, Talons and Tea Leaves, begins in the Great Hall at breakfast with Fred and George teasing Harry about swooning in front of the Demontor on the train.

2. _____ Ron is befuddled because Hermione has three classes scheduled for 9 am. Hermione says, “I’ve fixed it all with Professor McGonagall.”

3. _____ Sir Cadogan, the mad knight, leads Harry, Ron, and Hermione to Hagrid’s first Care of Magical Creatures class after lunch.

4. _____ Professor Trelawney reads Harry’s tea leaves and sees a falcon, a club, a skull, and the Grim, which she says are omens of an enemy, an attack, danger, and death.

5. _____ Professor McGonagall and Hermione are concerned about Harry and the Grim; Ron thinks Professor Trelawney is a fraud.

6. _____ The Monster Book of Monsters are soothed by feeding them scrap pieces of parchment and tickling them with a quill feather.

7. _____ A hippogriff is a magical creature that have “the bodies, hind legs, and tails of horses, but the front legs, wings, and heads of what seemed to be giant eagles, with cruel, steel-colored beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes.”

8. _____ Ron calls his Hippogriff a “great ugly brute” and gets ripped by the talons of the offended Magical Creature.

9. _____ Hagrid carries Ron straight up to the Hospital Wing where Madame Pomfrey bandages him up. Hagrid gets good and drunk before resigning his position; he fears the Board of Governors is about to fire him.

10. _____ The chapter ends with Hagrid walking the trio back up to the castle from his hut in the dark. He is upset that Harry strolled down to see him and that Ron and Hermione let him.

Discussion Points: Please tell me what you think about (a) Echoes and differences with the first day of classes in the two previous books, Stone and Chamber, (b) the most interesting elements in this chapter when viewed in the Deathly Hallows rear-view mirror; and (c) the importance of the way Prisoner of Azkaban‘s Hogwarts unravelling of the mystery begins in understanding the meaning of Prisoner and the series as a whole. Enjoy meeting Sir Cadogan, Sybill Trelawney, and Buckbeak all over again.


  1. It was fun to pick up Prisoner of Azkaban again. It’s probably my favorite book, since it has so many interesting plot elements, and it’s the last of the “innocent” books. Nobody dies!

    I’ll try to answer discussion point “C.” Chapter six, “Talons and Tea Leaves,” introduces many concepts that turn out to be critical to the denouement of the book. With regard to Hermione’s very crowded class schedule, there are references to the concept of time and the manipulation of time. Turns out, of course, that Hermione’s hidden time turner allows Harry and Hermione to go back in time and dramatically change the outcome of events in POA.

    In chapter six, there is also an offhand reference to Professor McGonagall telling her transformation class about animagi, and transforming into a cat before their eyes. The tale of the animagi marauders, of course, turns out to be part of the “big twist” of POA: the black dog (Grim!) Harry keeps seeing is really Sirius Black, who’s not a bad guy after all, Scabbers is really Peter Pettigrew, who faked his own death and turned into a rat, Harry’s dad transformed into a stag, which turns out to be Harry’s Patronus, etc.

    And of course, Buckbeak the hippogriff is introduced, and the drama which leads to Buckbeak’s death sentence unfolds in chapter six. Buckbeak is critical to the climax of POA, because when Harry and Hermione go back in time, they save Buckbeak’s life. Without Buckbeak, they would not have been able to fly to the tower to rescue the imprisoned Sirius Black.

    There are also several references in chapter six to Harry’s fear of the dementors. Harry’s personal growth in POA comes about as he learns to master his fear of dementors, and gathers the strength he needs to defend himself against them. He proves that he has won this battle within himself when he produces a Patronus powerful enough to fight off one hundred dementors, thereby saving his own life and Sirius Black’s.

    Chapter six of Prisoner of Azkaban, in short, is very rich in references to concepts critical to the outcome of the book, but these concepts are introduced in such a casual manner that the reader fails to grasp their significance until much later in the book. I could go on about how this chapter relates to Deathly Hallows (Sir Cadogan introducing the idea of a hero’s quest, Sybill Trelawney accurately predicting Harry’s “death,” etc.) but I’ll let someone else take over from here!

  2. 1.F, 2.T, 3.F, 4.F, 5.F,

    6.F, 7.T, 8.F, 9.F, 10.T

    Nothing especially tricky here. How did you do?

    Discussion Point (a): The echoes are the schedules, life in the always bizarre Hogwarts classrooms (talk about making a case for home-schooling or teacher certification…), and the Malfoy-Potter antagonism. The differences are Hermione’s schedule, the new teachers Sybill and Hagrid, the new mystery of the Grim Harry is seeing, and Buckbeak. A very bust chapter as Mary N. has pointed out, with the introduction of plot lines that won’t be resolved for quite a while.

    (b) In the DH rear-view mirror, I’m struck by the accuracy of Trelawney’s predictions. Loony as she is and offered to us as a fraud by both Hermione and MacGonagall, she is spot on in her reading of Harry’s leaves. Ms. Rowling has said the New Age and occult arts leave her cold (and she has given us a particularly harsh image of the sort of person involved with these things in Xenophilius Lovegood) but Trelawney is not the mono-valent mockery of divination she is often offered as by Harry defenders. Her track record, despite her histrionic and self-important airs as a seer, is impprtant and not so bad. Her seeing the Grim, actually Sirius, is quite the accomplishment, even though she misunderstood what her Inner Eye revealed. I suspect Ms. Rowling is telling us that we all have spiritual powers that can eclipse time and space but that our psychic failings (ego) and spiritual eclipse (the fall) leave these powers atrophied and what they tell us difficult to understand. Trelawney is a comic image of an important understanding of “cardiac intelligence.”

    (c) The importance of the first day of classes is re-establishing the routine of classes and introducing the characters and plot elements that give Prisoner its direction and meaning. Lots of fun, too — I loved reading it again. You?

  3. JohnABaptist says

    I find it fascinating the way Rowling trolls the depths of British History to come up with fitting names for her characters. Consider dear Professor Trelawney. Supposedly the great-great-granddaughter of a ‘very gifted, very famous Seer.‘ She proves in life to be rather unreliable but highly entertaining (unless you are one of her students.)

    Surprisingly (or perhaps not) there is an identical character surnamed Trelawny in British history–Edward John Trelawny. Descendant (at about the great-great-grandson span of time) of the famous Sir Jonathan Trelawny a Bishop of the Church of England whose name is the focus of the so-called Cornish National Anthem:

    And shall Trelawny live?
    And shall Trelawny die?
    Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
    Will know the reason why!

    Edward John on the other hand is most famous for his ‘notoriously unreliable but enormously successful autobiography, Adventures of a Younger Son, as well as his celebrated reminiscences of Shelley and Byron.’

    Yet on occasion, this glib talking rascal was the man of the hour especially when he arranged the cremation of Shelley, financially aided Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in the immediate aftermath of Shelley’s death, and later when he directed the safe recovery of Byron’s body and papers from Greece.

    Key I think to Rowling’s use of Professor Trelawney is the contrast between her vain attempts to “see” the future, and the powerful moments when she “receives” a prophecy. It illustrates the difference between trying to be a telescope peering into the future, rather than a radio listening for God’s message. This is the principle that separates the true from the false prophet in the the Bible, and Trelawney makes an amusing case study in its application.

  4. And I thought Trelawney was a reference to Squire John Trelawney from Treasure Island (a self-impressed man in love with his own opinions and naive as a greenhorn) and a tip of the hat to Robert Louis Stevenson!

  5. JohnABaptist says

    No reason it can not be both as in his autobiography,”Adventures of a Younger Son” , Edward John Trelawney goes on at some (imaginary) length as to how he deserted from the Royal Navy and sailed the Indian Ocean as a pirate. (In actuality he was honorably discharged from the Royal Navy and was never a pirate.)

    However his fantastical-autobiography as published in 1831 was extremely popular, a best-seller of its day. Just the thing to have hopped off the bookshelf into the hands of a young Stevenson in the 1860’s. Especially since his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all lighthouse designers and engineers with an avid interest in the sea and therefore, almost certain to have had a copy of “Adventures of a Younger Son” lying about somewhere.

  6. Wonderful! Thank you for returning my mental picture of Sybill channelling one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s know-better gentry.

  7. Nathan Rodriguez says

    i was also home schooled when i was younger and it is also a great weay to get your education.’~:

  8. Michael Miller says

    i was home schooled and it is quite satisfactory when providing basic education~`*

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