Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 10 & 11, ‘The Marauder’s Map’ & ‘The Firebolt’

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Chapters 10 & 11

Mark True statements with a “T” and False statements with an “F.” I will post T/F Answers tomorrow with responses to discussion point posts and my own thoughts. 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 Ten, The Marauder’s Map, begins with Harry in the Hospital Wing, lamenting the Quidditch loss to Hufflepuff and the demise of his Nimbus 2000 broom.

2. _____ Dumbledore explains to Harry that dementors “drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them” and that “if it can,.the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soul-less and evil.”

3. _____ Fred and George stole the Marauder’s Map from Snape their first year while in detention and figured out how to use it to escape into Hogsmeade and move about Hogwarts secretly. They give it to Harry as a gift.

4. _____ Harry, while hiding under a table, overhears Cornelius Fudge in The Hogshead Tavern tell Hogwarts teachers and Hagrid that Sirius Black was his parents’ Secret-Keeper and that he betrayed them to Voldemort.

5. _____ Chapter Ten, The Firebolt, begins with Harry explaining to Ron and Hermione how is going to trap Black in the castle over the Christmas vacation using himself as bait. His two friends agree to stay over the holiday to help.

6. _____ The Terrible Trio (Ron, Hermione, and Harry) go to Hagrid’s hut and learn that the School’s Board of Governors has decided that Buckbeak must appear before the Committee for the Disposal of Magical Creatures. Hagrid weeps.

7. _____ Harry receives a Firebolt broom for Christmas but the gift comes without a card. Ron and Harry are ecstatic but Hermione is concerned that the broom has been cursed. She tells Professor McGonagall who confiscates the Firebolt.

8. _____ Professor Trelawney explains at the Christmas Feast that “when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die.” When Hagrid and Harry get up from the table still wearing their party hats, she shrieks loudly.

9. _____ Dumbledore and Snape pull a party “cracker” favor that explodes to reveal a “large, pointed witch’s hat topped with a stuffed vulture.” Snape laughs and puts it on.

10. _____ Professor Lupin is not feeling well and misses the semi-private Christmas feast. Professor Dumbledore asks Severus if he has made the potion that will help him; he says, “then he should be up and about in no time.”

Discussion Points: Please write out your thoughts about (a) echoes and differences with the mystery unfolding 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 these Prisoner of Azkaban chapters in understanding the meaning of Prisoner and the series as a whole.

I’m most interested in a discussion of The Marauder’s Map as text and an illustration of Ms. Rowling’s thoughts of a reader’s relationship with a text, especially with Prisoner of Azkaban. “Compare and contrast with Riddle’s Diary in Chamber of Secrets.” Any thoughts on the Quarreling Couple in these chapters, too, are much appreciated.


  1. JohnABaptist says

    What struck me most was the moment in Chapter 11 where Crookshanks has attacked Scabbers, Ron has tried to kick Crookshanks and has instead spilled the Sneakoscope out of Harry’s trunk which has immediately began screaming that an enemy was present. Ron is emotional, Hermione being logical, and Harry is trying to be philosophical about the whole thing. So what do we have?

    The Natural Universe has detected that the betrayer is in their midst. [Crookshanks]

    The Technological Universe has detected that the betrayer is in their midst. [Sneakoscope]

    But the Intellectual [Hermione], Emotional [Ron] and Philosophical [Harry] Universes are ignoring all Omens and Warnings because Intellect and Emotion are at odds with each other and Philosophy is trying to make peace between them.

    Also interesting is that in the next few paragraphs we are reminded that Ron has taken to carrying Scabbers continually in his pocket. This means that when everyone sets down to eat Thanksgiving dinner, there are actually 13 at the table before Trelawney shows up.

    Sybill as usual has things slightly mixed up. The metaphor being played out is that of the Last Supper where thirteen sat at table and the first to rise was not the next to die, but rather Judas the Betrayer who left to begin the betrayal process.

    Of course, when Ron rose, Scabbers also rose, and Scabbers is really Pettigrew, the Betrayer.

    And it all looked like childish byplay whereas we, the super intelligent readers, all knew the real crisis issue was the impounding of the Firebolt. We were all standing there scoffing at the paranoid idea that Sirius Black could have had anything at all to do with Harry’s new Firebolt!

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

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

    Wow! These chapters are packed with cockroach clusters!

    Discussion Point (a): The echoes are the Terrible Trios delight in breaking rules – I mean, the Map is Olympic grade mischief making — and their loyalty to each other and to friends (amazing the way they decide to research a court case for Hagrid’s Buckbeak at the drop of some giant Half-Giant tears). Hermione, however, is loyal to the truth and to prudential wisdom even if it means the anger of her friends. The differences we see in the leadsin these chapters are Harry’s first self-confrontations as the survivor of the Halloween Massacre in Godric’s Hollow. He hates Black, certainly, but is at a loss about what to do. If we have to mark a point where Harry wakes up to the fact that Voldemort is still his problem, internally and externally, it is when he hears Fudge’s story about Black. Fudge, in addition to telling the Fidelius Charm story, confirms that Voldemort is still alive and that the Ministry thinks Black, his most loyal supporter, is on his way to him. We have a hint of Lord Voldy’s return in Stone but here we see the difference two years make.

    (b) In the DH rear-view mirror, Severus’ thin lipped refusal to wear the vulture hat popping out of the party favor he shares with Dumbledore seems a highlighting of these men not being equals or friends. We also get the word on Azkaban and the Dementors from both Lupin and Hagrid. Suddenly the Wizarding World isn’t at all what it used to be. Bad guys and good guys (!) are sent to a place where guilt and innocence mean nothing to the jailers? A Best Man is the Worst Traitor? The blamelessness of a Magical Creature is insufficient to prevent its murder because of the influence of a man of bad faith? This is a lot for a 13 year old boy to get his head around, especially when he’s up at night listening to his mother’s voice and Lord Thingy’s laugh. [Note the resemblance of Pettigrew and Longbottom in his febrile dreams…]

    (c) We open these chapters with the Marauder’s Map, a text that reveals everything to the reader and which s/he can prevent others from reading. Dave the Longwinded at Sword of Gryffindor wrote last week that “Rowling often points out the inherent dangers of looking to texts as sources for information, and, thus, meaning. Whether she writes about diary/horcruxes, tabloid style journalism, disappearing maps, or sundry other items, Rowling riddles her books with warnings of accepting anything as “the source” for Truth.”
    I’d note on top of this that Ms. Rowling seems to be discussing how any reader’s engagement with art, music, and book (all texts) are best understood. The Magical Book of Monsters, Riddle’s diary, the Marauder’s Map, the Common Room paintings, the Kitchen bowl of fruit, the Headmaster’s Office portraits are living things that only respond and give up their contents when the reader approaches them correctly, be it with a stroke of the spine or banana or the appropriate word. I offer for your consideration that (a) Ms. Rowling is saying that real art requires personal engagement, even relationship, for the artist’s meaning to be uncovered and “open up” and (b) that she is inviting her readers to engage with her artistry at a more than superficial level because, like the books inside her novels and the magical paintings, the texts only spill their magic out to their friends.

    Perhaps, because some books have wicked authors with demeaning intentions (their books are filled with dark materials? or are just Horcrux murderous idolatry a la the diary and Lockhart’s lies?), we should read a book the way Hagrid teaches us to approach a Hippogriff. Look it in the eye respectfully, without blinking. Demonstrate your good intentions and your discerning vision. A book of any worth, however proud, will bow to this respect and give you flight — a thrilling experience and a larger view.

    The biggest difference in these chapters and the previous books is that there is a teacher who loves and respects Harry, Remus Lupin. He doesn’t talk to him as a child and even offers to help him. We’ll see the fruit of this engagement in the coming chapter in something like a psychologist’s therapy session — and in Deathly Hallows when Lupin learns the reason Dumbledore told him and Shacklebolt “Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him.”

    Anyone out there? Or is it just you and me, JAB? Maybe we should have this conversation over the phone.

  3. schmalchemy says

    I disagree with the answer to number 4. It is False! It becomes false because this conversation happened in the Three Broomsticks. I don’t think Harry and company go to the Hogshead Tavern until their fifth year when Dumbledore’s Army becomes a reality. Other than that, I would agree with the answers. I know I’m being picky, but that is the nature of T/F questions.

  4. Good catch, schmalchemy! #4 is False. My mistake…

    Um, did you want to join in the discussion? Please do!

  5. JohnABaptist says

    Arrrrrrggggghhhhh, I had a perfect paper until schmalchemy pointed out the error of my ways on number 4. (Good catch by the way.) In college days I used to hate T/F with a burning passion. Let me say something about a subject, not try to psychoanalyze the Professor and what he may have sneaked into the question. Then I learned the trick of writing a reason beside the all the false answers to explain what I thought made them false. Got lots of extra credit that way.

    Don’t panic John. I think that there is value in the chapter by chapter quiz thingy. I just think the class is preoccupied with other things around the holidays/exam times. Keep them going.

    And Hey Out There! If you like these little posts, say something!

  6. I’m enjoying chapter by chapter posts!! Just not enough time to think them through and reply. I enjoy the DH rearview mirror discussions — I reread all the books a couple months ago after reading DH and wish we’d had these discussions then… I recall lots of “aha” moments but didn’t write them down.

  7. schmalchemy says

    Prior to the publication of “Deathly Hallows”, I read some “prediction books” as well as re-read the previous six books in the Harry Potter series. Each time I re-read the books they give me new insight into the world of Harry and friends. Since hindsight is always 20/20, I also have re-read even the last book already. As Scoobs mentioned, it is at those moments that “aha” moments come.

    As a body of work, the novels work exceedingly well together, or to quote Ron Weasley, they are “bloody brilliant”. I do believe these books will be read and re-read for years to come. I think Rowling joins the ranks of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and their body of work. A book that I have read recently put it about as well as any that I have read regarding the themes of each of these. To paraphase, Lewis and Tolkien worked to write stories that would stand on their own merit. They wanted stories that would challenge readers at the core of their being. Rowling seems to do this, also. Their stories and hers stand by themselves without interpretation and are useful inquiries into the great answers regarding life, death, time, and eternity…basically those questions that lie underneath what it means to be human (regardless of one’s belief or non-belief).

    I will continue to re-read the Harry Potter books, just like I will re-read those books that “click” for me. Books like Chronicles of Narnia and Atlas Shrugged. I am not sure that dissecting them to the ‘nth degree makes the read better (at least for me). But I know that each time I read them again I will see things that I didn’t see before. Part of that will be because I will be at a different point in my life (because circumstances of life shift constantly); however, as a Monotheist, I know the outcome is never in doubt.

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