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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Chapter Four:
The Leaky Cauldron

Are you planning to eat or sleep at all this year, Hermione?

Synopsis: Matt Allair
Notes and links: Steve Vander Ark and Michele L. Worley

US hardcover edition: pages 49 - 68
UK hardcover edition: pages 42 - 55
Timeframe: 7 August - 31 August, 1993 [Y13]

In which Harry enjoys his new-found freedom, purchases his school supplies, and meets with Hermione and Ron. Hermione buys Crookshanks after the cat takes after Ron's Scabbers. Back at the Leaky Cauldron, Harry overhears Mr and Mrs Weasley talking about the danger he is in.

The Leaky Cauldron PA4, by Mary GrandPré

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

Harry's life takes an abrupt change here. From the horrible oppression of the Dursleys and Aunt Marge to almost complete freedom in one go. These are perhaps the happiest days of Harry's life. He doesn't have the understanding of the horrors of his past or the awareness of the darkness of his future to bother him. He will learn so much of this in the coming months. This is the last time we will see Harry as a carefree little boy.

quotes to come

Notes still to come!

Characters introduced in this chapter:

  • Crookshanks

  • Fortescue, Florean

  • (unnamed) a square-jawed wizard

  • (unnamed) a boy younger than Harry and his dad

  • (unnamed) the proprietor of Quality Quidditch Supplies

  • (unnamed) the manager of Flourish and Blotts

  • a talking mirror

  • (unnamed) an assistant at Flourish and Blotts

  • (unnamed) witch behind the counter at Magical Menagerie

  • (unnamed) a wizard asking about double-ended newts

Characters returning in this chapter:

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

Settings and locations:

  • Diagon Alley

    • Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor

    • Flourish and Blotts

    • Magical Menagerie

    • Quality Quidditch Supplies

  • Leaky Cauldron, the

    • a parlor in the Leaky Cauldron

    • Room 11

    • Room 12

Settings and locations referenced in this chapter:

Exceptional character moments:

  • According to the sign describing The Firebolt, this broom "incorporates an unbreakable braking charm." Too bad the same charm was not on Harry's Nimbus 2000.

  • The Irish International Quidditch Team ordered seven Firebolts for the up-coming World Cup. The Irish are favourites for the World Cup with these brooms, and they later win.

  • Ron's new wand is 14 inches long, willow, containing one tail-hair from a unicorn. The same as Cedric Diggory's wand. Could this be foreshadowing Ron's untimely death - only time will tell? Ron receives nearly all of his possessions second-hand, but his new wand is brand-new.

  • Knowing the secret of Scabbers, how and when did Percy first receive Scabbers as his pet before Ron acquired him?

  • According to Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Crookshanks is part Kneazle. A Kneazle is "a small catlike creature with flecked speckled, or spotted fur, outsize ears, and a tail like a lion's, the Kneazle is intelligent, independent, and occasionally aggressive, though if it takes a liking to a witch or wizard, it makes an excellent pet. The Kneazle has an uncanny ability to detect unsavory or suspicious characters and can be relied upon to guide its owner safely home if they are lost." Does this suggest that in the future Crookshanks will save someone who is lost?

  • When Harry overhears Mr. and Mrs. Weasley discussing Sirius Black, they are heard to say regarding Ron and Harry that "--they've ended up in the Forbidden Forest twice!" This is a mistake. Harry, Hermione, Draco, and Neville had a detention in the Forbidden Forest in PS. Ron did not go into the Forbidden Forest until his second year at Hogwarts when Harry and he went looking for Aragog. So, Ron has only been in the Forbidden Forest once at this point in the series.


  • Unbreakable Braking Charm (mentioned)

  • a spell to change Percy's Head Boy badge to read Bighead Boy

Links and Resources:

  • Bestiary, the

    • dead blowflies

    • cats of every color

    • Grim

    • rabbit, a fat white

    • rats, a cage of sleek black

    • ravens, a cage of

    • snails, poisonous orange

    • toads, enormous purple

    • tortoise, gigantic, with a jewel-encrused shell

    • custard-colored humming furballs (Tribbles?)

Memorable lines:

  • "It can't have been a death omen. I was panicking when I saw that thing in Magnolia Crescent. . . .It was probably just a stray dog. . . ." Harry

  • "Brand-new wand. Fourteen inches, willow, containing one unicorn tail-hair" Ron describing his new wand

  • "Are you planning to eat or sleep at all this year, Hermione?" Harry referring to Hermione's number of classes

  • If Black can break out of Azkaban, he can break into Hogwarts." Arthur Weasley

  • "...The safest place on earth was wherever Albus Dumbledore happened to be."

  • "What to do when you know the worst is coming..."

  • "I'm not going to be murdered." Harry

Strictly British:

Calendar of the chapter

We are given no hint of the days of the week, so we'll go with the dates from the actual calendar of the summer of 1993.

Aug 1 Aug 2
at lunch, Marge's wineglass explodes
Aug 3 Aug 4 Aug 5 Aug 6
dinner at which Marge becomes inflated and Harry flees No. 4 Privet Drive
Aug 7
Aug 8 Aug 9 Aug 10 Aug 11 Aug 12 Aug 13 Aug 14
Aug 15
new Firebolt on display in Quality Quidditch Supplies this week
Aug 16 Aug 17 Aug 18 Aug 19 Aug 20 Aug 21
Aug 22 Aug 23 Aug 24 Aug 25 Aug 26 Aug 27 Aug 28
Aug 29 Aug 30 Aug 31
Harry meets Ron and Hermione in Diagon Alley, all are staying at the Leaky Cauldron
Sep 1 Sep 2 Sep 3 Sep 4


last three weeks of August, Y13

Harry spends several days getting used to his new freedom from the Dursleys. Harry eats breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, watching other wizards, little witches from the country, warlocks, dwarfs, a hag, and two wizards argue over the latest issue of Transfiguration Today. Harry visits Diagon Alley, finishing homework while sitting at Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, finishing with some help from Mr. Fortescue himself.

Harry fills his moneybag from his vault at Gringotts. A week into his stay at the Leaky Cauldron, while visiting Quality Quidditch Supplies, he spots the new prototype of The Firebolt. Harry has to talk himself out of buying the broom. Harry goes to the Apothecary for potions ingredients, buys new school robes from Madam Malkin's Robes for all occasions.

Harry goes to Flourish and Blotts for his schoolbooks, including two new subjects, Care of Magical Creatures and Divination. Harry notices at the shop window, copies of The Monster Book Of Monsters in a cage, Harry pulls out his book list and sees that Hagrid's gift is on the list. The manager walks over to the cage when Harry tells him he doesn't need the Monster book, the manager is relived. Harry follows to the back of the shop.

Harry asks for Unfogging The Future by Cassandra Vablatsky, while waiting he notices a book on a small table, Death Omens: What to Do When You Know the Worst Is Coming. Distracted, Harry notices the cover shows a bear sized Black Dog with gleaming eyes, it seems familiar. Harry then asks for Intermediate Transfiguration and The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Three. Harry leaves the store, goes back to The Leaky Cauldron, entering his room, he reassures himself he didn't see a death omen on Magnolia Crescent weeks before.

Over the following days, Harry comes across some of his Hogwarts students such as Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan while shopping at Quality Quidditch Supplies. He runs into the real Neville Longbottom with his grandmother. The last day of Holidays, while having a last look at the Firebolt, Harry runs across Ron and Hermione at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor.

While explaining that they looked everywhere, Ron admits he knew that Harry was staying at the The Leaky Cauldron because his dad. Mr. Weasley, due to his connections at the Ministry of Magic, would know about the blowing up of Aunt Marge. Ron is humored by the story but Hermione is stern. Harry admits Hess surprised he wasn't expelled, much less arrested. Ron and Hermione reveal that they are staying over night at the Leaky Cauldron, before the trip to Kings Cross the next day.

Ron shows off his new wand, fourteen inches, willow, containing one unicorn tail-hair. Ron comments about the Monster book when Harry notices Hermione is carrying three bags of books. Hermione admits to taking more subjects this year including Arithmancy, Care Of Magical Creatures, Divination, the Study of Ancient Runes, and Muggle Studies.

While Ron playfully sniggers as to if she plans to sleep or eat this year, Hermione changes the subject and mentions extra birthday money and wanting to but a pet owl. Hermione reminds them that Harry has Hedwig and Ron has Errol, which Ron reminds her is really the Weasley family owl, he mentions his pet rat Scabbers which he pulls out of his pocket, commenting Ron's belief that Egypt didn't agree with the rat. Scabbers does indeed look thin, Ron wants to have him checked out.

All three go to the Magical Menagerie, while waiting they notice a variety of amazing creatures in cages. Ron brings out Scabbers and shows him to the witch behind the counter. She asks how old is the rat and what powers does it have. Ron doesn't know of any powers, she observes that a garden rat isn't expected to live longer then three years. She offers Ron a rat tonic to help, suddenly a ginger cat leaps on Ron's head, propels itself and chases Scabbers to the door. Harry and Ron find the rat outside, in a bin near Quality Quidditch Supplies.

As they make their way back to the Magical Menagerie, Hermione comes out with the ginger cat, Crookshanks. Ron is horrified by her purchase. Hermione comments that the cat had been in the store for ages, no one wanted him. They go back to the Leaky Cauldron where they find Mr. Weasley reading the Daily Prophet, looking strained. Ron comments the idea of them three of them catching Sirius Black, which Mr. Weasley dismisses.

Soon the other Weasleys appear. Ms. Weasley comments about Percy becoming head boy, much to the dismay of the twins while Ginny giggles. That night they have a large dinner in the parlor. Percy and Fred ask how they are getting to King's Cross in the morning, Mr. Weasley mentions that the Ministry are providing cars. After dinner the family make their way to their rooms and bed. Harry overhears Percy yelling at Ron about Percy's Head Boy badge missing, while Ron shouts back about his Rat tonic going missing. Harry offers to go get the rat tonic from downstairs. Harry is half way along the bar when he overhears voices from the angry voices from the parlor. It's Mr. & Ms. Weasley. Arthur is arguing that Harry must be warned about Sirius Black, but Molly is against it. Arthur retorts that he doesn't want to make Harry miserable, but to put him on his guard. Remind her of the two time Ron and Harry were in the Forbidden Forest, or what could have happened if the Knight Bus hadn't picked Harry that night three weeks before.

Harry overhears that Dumbledore has agreed to allow the Azkaban guards to be stationed around the school, even though Dumbledore isn't fond of the Azkaban guards. Molly reminds Arthur that as long as Dumbledore is headmaster of Hogwarts, Harry should be safe. Harry moves out of sight as the Weasleys get up from the parlor. Grabbing the rat tonic that was lying under the table, Harry runs into Fred and George who admit to taking Percy's head boy badge for a prank.

After giving the tonic to Ron, Harry goes into his room, reviewing what he had heard. the Prisoner Sirius Black after him, Cornelius Fudge's lenient reaction, the two Ministry cars taking them to King's Cross in the morning. Harry reminds himself of what Ms. Weasley had said, that he should be safe at Hogwarts. Harry wonders about the Azkaban guards and is upset with knowing there's no chance he'll get to go to Hogsmeade village, Harry assures himself he won't be murdered.


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