Prisoner of Azkaban, The Last Chapters (Matching and Discussion Points)

Prisoner of Azkaban: Chapters 20, 21, & 22

Match ’em up! Identify the following characters with something they said in Prisoner of Azkaban, the last three chapters. Write the letter of their speech in the space before the character’s name. I will post Answers tomorrow with responses to discussion point posts and my own thoughts. If you disagree with my answers, please do send me an explanation about where I went wrong. Click on “Chapter Quiz” for previous quizzes and discussion points.

1. ______ Harry Potter

2. ______ Hermione Granger

3. ______ Ron Weasley

4. ______ Rubeus Hagrid

5. ______ Cornelius Fudge

6. ______ Severus Snape

7. ______ Remus Lupin

8. ______ Sirius Black

9. ______ Madam Pomfrey

10. ______ Albus Dumbledore

A. “Order of Merlin, Second Class, I’d say. First Class, if I can wrangle it!”

B. “So he –er—accidentally let slip that I am a werewolf this morning at breakfast.”

C. “Harry? Why are we in here? Where’s Sirius? Where’s Lupin? What’s going on?”

D. “But trust me…the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.”

E. “It’s called a Time Turner and I got it from Professor McGonagall on our first day back.”

F. “We’ll see each other again. You are – truly your father’s son, Harry….”

G. “I knew I could do it this time because I’d already done it…. Does that make sense?”

H. “Am I allowed to look after my patients now?”

I. “Gone! Gone! Bless his little beak, he’s gone! Musta pulled himself free! Beaky, yeh clever boy!”

J. “You haven’t forgotten that, Headmaster? You haven’t forgotten that he once tried to kill me?”

EC: Who says, “Godfather? You haven’t got a Godfather!” __________________

“Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him.” _________________

Discussion Points: Please write out your thoughts about (a) echoes and differences with the 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 Prisonerand the series as a whole.

The Whole Book O.W.L. T/F exam is tomorrow; I hope you’ll take a minute today to think and write out your thoughts about perhaps the most bizarre, confusing, and ultimately satisfying endings of the seven book series. It’s daddy issues time with a chunk of time-turning wizardry and sacrificial heroics, and how about Severus’ break down at story’s end? I look forward to reading your thoughts in preparation for tomorrow’s book test.


  1. There’s so much rich material to discuss here, but I don’t have a copy of Prisoner of Azkaban handy, and I don’t have much time, so I’ll just mention one aspect of the final chapters of POA which changes dramatically, for me, when seen through the rear-view mirror. After Sirius Black escapes, we see Severus Snape so unbelievably angry that even Dumbledore thinks Snape is coming unhinged. When I first read this book, I was not a Snape sympathizer. I thought that Snape was obsessed with rage toward Sirius Black, even to the point of wanting him dead, or worse, having his soul sucked out, simply because he was mad about being picked on in school. This seemed so petty, even for a prickly guy like Snape, that it just didn’t make sense to me. In hindsight, however, it seems that at this point in the series, Snape still sincerely believed that it was Sirius who betrayed the Potters, resulting in the death of his beloved Lily, and for Snape himself, a lifetime of grief and regret. In this light, his extreme anger with Sirius makes more sense, and casts Snape in a somewhat better light.

    John, keep your commentaries coming! We’re interested and reading all of them, even when we don’t have time to respond. Congrats on the book deal!

  2. 1.G 2.E 3.C 4.I 5.A
    6.E 7.B 8.J 9.H 10.D

    EC: Uncle Vernon, Albus Dumbledore

  3. Phew! The end of a book! I can’t imagine keeping this up through the next three books — especially if this is a conversation I’m having with MaryN and JAB (as much as I appreciate their company!). On to the last four notes…

    (a) Echoes: We have Harry’s faux-death and resurrection in the presence of a symbol of Christ (the stag, and if that weren’t enough, we’re told it “looks like a unicorn”). We have the denouement with Dumbledore. We get the satisfying trip back to King’s Cross with our friends. The world is a little darker than it has been — Pettigrew did escape and Trelawney’s prophecy seems to be clear in this meaning the return of the Dark Lord — but this far enough off that Harry and friends can still enjoy a Gryffindor Houce Cup victory and celebration. Formula requirements met.

    The Differences? The future is not bright because Lord Thingy is on the horizon. We have also seen the underbelly of both Snape (insane and murderously sadistic) and the Ministry (totally in the pockets of men like Malfoy). We get our first and last look at a plot destroyer – the Time-Turner — which Ms. Rowling has characters destroy in Phoenix lest readers ask the obvious question of any sad event; why not whip out a Time-Turner? Even though it is implausible that the knowledge of how to make these has been destroyed with all Time-Turners, it’s best to let it go. They served a wonderful purpose in Prisoner. I’m glad Voldy didn’t think of creating or stealing one of these before his re-birthing or the Battle in the Ministry. Think of the endless confusions.

    (b) Deathly Hallows rear view mirror: Dumbledore’s explanation to Harry about why he doesn’t need to regret preventing Pettigrew’s execution (“But trust me…the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life”) is the necessary background for Pettigrew’s strangled fate in the Malfoy’s holding cell in Deathly Hallows. I discussed the Severus Shrieking Shack points in the previous chapters’ discussion but there is one more point. It’s hard to miss in the rear view mirror that Dumbledore and Snape are not friends in any sense of the word and that Dumbledore is the man Aberforth describes in Deathly Hallows. He hasn’t told Severus certain things and won’t tell him things he’s learned — and he certainly hasn’t done sufficient work in the ten years plus they have worked together to inspire Severus’ trust and admiration. “You haven’t forgotten that, Headmaster? You haven’t forgotten that he once tried to kill me?” This is more than a “severe disappointment.” This is believing your leader doesn’t care about you.

    One paragraph that only post-DH was striking to me was one in which Harry is confronyed with the reality that Dumby is not omnipotent (page 393 in the Scholastic hard back). “Harry stared up into the grave face and felt as though the ground beneath him were falling away. He had grown used to the idea that Dumbledore could solve anything. He had expected Dumbledore to pull some amazing solution out of the air. But no… their last hope was gone.”

    This is to prep us for Dumby’s fall in Harry’s estimation in Deathly Hallows but we miss it in Prisoner. With Fudge, we just think Severus is dangerously deranged and Dumbledore does seem to pull the situation’s solution out of thin air.

    But he doesn’t. He just provides one suggestion and the opportunity for Harry and Hermione to “save more than one life tonight.” He doesn’t tell them what to do, how to do it, or the consequences of their failure. If their adventure back into time had gone badly awry (and Hermione tells us that wizards have done stupid things with Time-Turners and wound up murdering their past or future), Harry, assuming he survived, might have had his Dumbledore doubts several years earlier.

    (c) These chapters are important for the book and the series because of Ms. Rowling’s masterful presentation of the experiencing we are having as readers inside Harry’s story about experiencing his own story. Via the Time-Turner, Harry and Hermione re-visit Hagrid’s hut to rescue Buckbeak and, eventually, Sirius Black.

    This is a very odd experience and Harry says more than once that he is uncomfortable and this is the weirdest thing they’ve ever done. Harry is reading a Harry Potter novel. As a reader of his own past, his-story, what does Ms. Rowling have him do? He frees the condemned. He does what he knows he can do, must do, because he’d “already done it.” He found his father and his Patronus/savior inside himself, according to Dumbledore, and saved his own life and those of friends. Only in reading his own story did he act to salvage his past.

    What are we readers of Harry Potter invited to do here? We’re reading Harry’s story. Is Ms. Rowling suggesting we are gods who can save ourselves?

    I can understand that position, if it seems to require you start with that conclusion to arrive there. Ms. Rowling, as we read in the New Testament more than one hundred times, seems to be telling us that God is immanent, that the kingdom of God, of heaven, is within us. God/Dumby will not save us. We will be given the opportunity to reflect on our stories, our immediate and distant pasts, and engage that past as much as it bledds into the present with what we have learned from it. That knowledge and the choices we make to show forth the Image of the Father within us will redeem the past. Salvation is not God’s work alone, but to use a Hesychast theological term in vogue today, it is a synergistic exercise requiring our engagement, reflection, and effort, even eagerness to transcend ourselves in a larger picture of our destiny than we have from the circumstances of our childhood.

    Ms. Rowling has written Prisoner as a book about a son’s relation to his father, whose title character’s name is assonant with the Latin word for father (Pater), who learns a spell about a “little father/savior’ (Patronus), and who is the image of his father. Dumbledore says Harry will no doubt grow tired of hearing that truth; Sirius affirms Harry is truly his father’s son. The story is about Harry reading his story, seeing this image, and then choosing to become both image and likeness, performing magic he didn’t know he could perform. This magic is only possible after forgiving the unforgivable and showing mercy on those responsible for his condition.

    I offer to you as a point of reflection that Ms. Rowling is, if not urging her readers to do something similar, is at least showing the liberation such choices make possible. By having us identify with Harry as we do because of the voice in which the story is told, we experience this freedom ourselves and the cartharsis Harry enjoys. It’s a wow ending and an invitation to a synergistic effort to write a better ending for ourselves than the story line we are now on suggests this is possible.

    We just have to start by showing forgiveness and mercy, reading our stories, and re-writing them in light of what those experiences have taught us. This will allow to find that father that is within us and Who will save us if we use Him as our Patronus.

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