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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Chapter Seventeen:
Cat, Rat, and Dog


Synopsis by William Silvester
Notes and links by Michele L. Worley

US hardcover edition: pages 332 - 348
UK paperback edition: pages 358 - 375
Timeframe: 6 June, 1994 [Y14]

In which HRH start back to the castle, Crookshanks chases Scabbers, and a big black dog drags Ron into a tunnel under the Whomping Willow. Crookshanks stops the tree from attacking Harry and Hermione, and they follow the cat down the tunnel to emerge in the Shrieking Shack outside Hogsmeade. They find Ron a captive of Black, who disarms them. Harry attacks Black, and with Ron and Hermione overpowers him, but Crookshanks stands between Harry and Black when Harry threatens to kill him. Lupin arrives and admits that he's Black's friend and a werewolf. It is revealed that Scabbers is an Animagus named Peter Pettigrew.

Cat, Rat, and Dog, PA17, by Mary GrandPré

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

The chapter title on one level is an obvious reference to, respectively, Crookshanks (the cat), Scabbers / Pettigrew (the rat), and Sirius Black (the dog).

On another level, the title is a quotation from an old, old political jingle about Richard III: The cat, the rat, and Lovell our dog/ Rule all England under a hog. In the rhyme, as in this chapter, the animals referred to are actually people (Catesby, Ratscliff, and Lovell were all high-ranking political figures of Richard III's reign, while Richard's own badge featured a boar.)

This chapter is a beautiful piece of work, when we consider what Harry - and we - thought was going on upon a first reading, and what was really going on when one re-reads Sirius' and Remus' dialogue with fuller knowledge of the situation.

Something was bounding toward them, quiet as a shadow - an enormous, pale-eyed, jet-black dog.

This is one of the few hints as to the colour of Sirius' eyes, something that is not unequivocally specified in PA, GF, or OP. However, we do not know whether the colour of Padfoot's eyes in his Animagus form corresponds to the colour of his eyes in human form.

Note that Sirius' hair colour is the same as that of his fur, just as Wormtail's hair matches his fur in colour. Suggestive, although not proof of the colour of Sirius' human eyes.

"The point is, even if you're wearing an Invisibility Cloak, you still show up on the Marauder's Map."

Since James owned the cloak when he helped write the map, he and his friends would have been able to verify this feature of the map.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

Characters returning in this chapter:

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:

Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:

Exceptional character moments:

  • Harry is shown thinking of Sirius Black as 'Black' throughout this chapter. Only two chapters later, after he has been convinced of Sirius' innocence, does he begin thinking of his godfather by his given name.

  • Without exchanging a word, Ron and Hermione grabbed Harry simultaneously to keep him from throwing himself at Black.

  • Ron, standing despite his broken leg, and saying that if Black wants to kill Harry, he'll have to kill all three of the trio.

    Hermione, Harry, and Ron in the Shrieking Shack by Marta T.
  • Harry can't bring himself to kill Sirius if it means going through Crookshanks.


Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • "He's the dog...he's an Animagus..."

Strictly British:

  • none


The entire action of this chapter takes place later on the same evening as that of the previous chapter.


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