Synopsis by William Silvester
Notes and links by Michele L. Worley
U.S. hardcover edition: pages 509 - 534
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 442 - 464
U.K. paperback edition: pages 554 - 581
Thursday 25 February - Saturday 6 March,
In which Ron becomes a celebrity, Skeeter writes an article about
Hermione, Snape reads it in class, Harry overhears Snape and Karkaroff,
and HRH meet Sirius outside Hogsmeade, learning about Barty Crouch's son
dying in Azkaban.
Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:
Padfoot is Sirius' nickname from his schooldays, taken from his Animagus form,
and indeed his first appearance in this chapter is in the form of the bearlike
Sirius' conversation with HRH provides the single largest block of information
about the Death Eaters to this point in the story.
As they entered March the weather became drier...
Be at stile at end of road out of Hogsmeade (past Dervish and
Banges) at two o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Bring as much
food as you can.
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle were standing in a huddle outside the classroom
door with Pansy Parkinson's gang of Slytherin girls.
Pansy's pug-like face peered excitedly around Goyle's broad back...
Harry saw that Pansy had a magazine in her hands - Witch Weekly.
The moving picture on the front showed a curly-haired witch who
was smiling toothily and pointing at a large sponge cake with her wand.
"You might find something to interest you in there,
Granger!" Pansy said loudly, and she threw the magazine
at Hermione, who caught it, looking startled.
Once Snape had turned his back on them to write up the ingredients
of today's potion on the blackboard...
A colour photograph of Harry headed a short piece entitled:
HARRY POTTER'S SECRET HEARTACHE
...Pansy Parkinson, a pretty and vivacious fourth-year student...
...she'd be well up to making a Love Potion, she's quite brainy.
Love Potions are, of course, banned at Hogwarts...
...she, Harry, and Ron started unpacking the ingredients they would need for their Wit-Sharpening Potion.
- scarab beetles (ground up with a pestle)
- ginger roots (sliced)
- armadillo bile
"Known what?" said Ron quickly. "You haven't been mixing up
Love Potions, have you?"
His hands were shaking slightly out of anger, but he kept his eyes down,
as though he couldn't hear what Snape was saying to him.
"So I give you fair warning, Potter," Snape continued in a softer
and more dangerous voice, "pint-sized celebrity or not - if I catch
you breaking into my office one more time -"
"I haven't been anywhere near your office!" said Harry angrily,
forgetting his feigned deafness.
"Don't lie to me," Snape hissed, his fathomless black eyes
boring into Harry's.
"Boomslang skin. Gillyweed. Both come from my private stores, and
I know who stole them."
Harry stared back at Snape, determined not to blink or to look guilty. In
truth, he hadn't stolen either of these things from Snape. Hermione had
taken the boomslang skin back in their second year - they had needed it
for the Polyjuice Potion - and while Snape had suspected Harry at the time,
he had never been able to prove it. Dobby, of course, had stolen the
Snape had drawn out a small crystal bottle of a completely clear potion...
"It is Veritaserum - a Truth Potion so powerful that three drops would
have you spilling your innermost secrets for this entire class to
hear," said Snape viciously. "Now, the use of this potion is
controlled by very strict Ministry guidelines."
They went into Gladrags Wizardwear to buy a present for Dobby,
where they had fun selecting the most lurid socks they could
find, including a pair patterned with flashing gold and
silver stars, and another that screamed loudly when they
became too smelly.
Then, at half past one, they made their way up the High Street, past
Dervish and Banges, and out toward the edge of the village.
Harry had never been in this direction before. The winding lane was
leading them out into the wild countryside around Hogsmeade. The
cottages were fewer here, and their gardens larger; they were walking
toward the foot of the mountain in whose shadow Hogsmeade lay. Then
they turned a corner and saw a stile at the end of the lane.
They followed Sirius higher, up onto the mountain itself.
For nearly half an hour they climbed a steep, winding, and stony path...
Then...they saw a narrow fissure in the rock.
They squeezed into it and found themselves in a cool, dimly lit cave.
Sirius was wearing ragged gray robes; the same ones he had been wearing
when he had left Azkaban.
"I've been living off rats mostly. Can't steal too much food from
Hogsmeade; I'd draw attention to myself."
"I've been stealing the paper every time someone throws one out..."
"You three and Dumbledore are the only ones around here who know I'm an Animagus."
"Are you saying whoever conjured the Mark stole my wand in the Top Box?"
"It's possible," said Sirius.
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at
how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
Sirius is very good at spouting bits of excellent personal philosophy, but he does not always
live up to them. For instance, he says in "Goblet of Fire" that if you want to know what a
man is really like, 'look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.' But Sirius loathes
Kreacher, the house-elf he has inherited, and treats him with nothing but contempt.
Similarly, Sirius claims that nobody is wholly good or wholly evil, and yet the way he
acts towards Snape suggests that he cannot conceive of any latent good qualities there.
Of course, these double standards exist in most of us; we might know how we ought
to behave, but actually doing it is a different matter!
Sirius is brave, loyal, reckless, embittered and slightly unbalanced
by his long stay in Azkaban. He has never really had the chance to
grow up; he was around twenty-two when he was sent off to Azkaban,
and has had very little normal adult life. Lupin, who is the same
age, seems much older and more mature. Sirius's great redeeming
quality is how much affection he is capable of feeling. He loved
James like a brother and he went on to transfer that attachment to Harry.
"Crouch's own son was caught with a group of Death Eaters who'd managed
to talk their way out of Azkaban."
"He can't have been more than nineteen."
"...[Snape] was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out
to be Death Eaters."
Sirius held up his fingers and began ticking off names.
Rosier and Wilkes - they were both killed by Aurors the year before
The Lestranges - they're a married couple - they're in Azkaban.
Avery - from what I've heard he wormed his way out of trouble by
saying he'd been acting under the Imperius Curse - he's still at large.
But as far as I know, Snape was never even accused of being a
Death Eater - not that that means much. Plenty of them were never caught.
And Snape's certainly clever and cunning enough to keep himself
out of trouble."
Snape knows Karkaroff pretty well, but he wants to keep that quiet.
"He [Karkaroff] showed Snape something on his arm?" said Sirius,
looking frankly bewildered.
"Why are Moody and Crouch so keen to get into Snape's office then?"
Sirius lapsed into silence, still staring at the cave wall. Buckbeak was
ferreting around on the rocky floor, looking for bones he might have
"Well, maybe she's changed since I knew her, but the Bertha I knew
wasn't forgetful at all - quite the reverse. She was a bit dim, but she
had an excellent memory for gossip."
"It used to get her into a lot of trouble; she never knew when to keep her
Harry checked his watch, then remembered it hadn't been working since
it had spent over an hour in the lake.
"And don't forget, if you're talking about me among yourselves,
call me Snuffles, okay?"
Characters introduced in this chapter:
Characters returning in this chapter:
Characters mentioned in this chapter:
Crouch, Bartemius, junior
Crouch, Mrs. Bartemius
Moody, Alastor "Mad-Eye"
(Bulgarian Minister of Magic)
(unnamed) members of the Bulgarian Minister of Magic's entourage
to the Quidditch World Cup
Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:
Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:
Exceptional character moments:
Padma Patil, hanging around Ron now that his involvement
in the Second Task has brought him into the limelight.
Ron, exaggerating his involvement
in the Second Task to a tale of grand adventure to impress anyone who'll
listen. (The fact that Harry doesn't embarrass Ron by calling him
on it is also a telling character moment.)
Harry, keeping his promise to
himself to buy Dobby a lot of socks to show his gratitude for Dobby's
help in the Second Task.
Sirius, sneaking around
Hogsmeade as Padfoot, living off rats and scraps, to fulfill his
duties as Harry's guardian.
Bartemius Crouch, turning
his own son over to the Dementors, valuing his political ambitions over
Ron's take on Percy: that Percy loves rules and his
own ambition to the point that Percy, like Crouch, might
sacrifice his family for the sake of his career.
Links and Resources:
He tipped his ginger roots into the cauldron too, and wondered whether he
ought to take a leaf out of Moody's book and start drinking only from a
private hip flask.
"No one's tried to attack me so far, except a dragon and a couple of grindylows."
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats
his inferiors, not his equals."
"They took him into a cell near mine. He was screaming for his mother by nightfall.
He went quiet after a few days, though . . .they all went quiet in the end. . . except
when they shrieked in their sleep. ..."
For a moment, the deadened look in Sirius's eyes became more pronounced than ever,
as though shutters had closed behind them.