Books and Writing

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

- Book 3

"D'you get the feeling Hermione's not telling us something?"
-- Ron Weasley

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the series. This book marks a turning point in the saga, as Harry for the first time confronts the darker side of his own past and the pasts of some of the people he loves and trusts. Harry is forced to grow up a lot in this book, but he forms some very strong relationships with people who will be immensely important in his life.

first British printing: July 8, 1999 (3:45 pm)
first American printing: October 1999
illustrations by Mary GrandPré, 1999


Reader’s Guide to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

a complete chapter-by chapter guide with notes and commentary

Chapter 1 – Owl Post

In which we are reminded of Harry’s previous adventures and told of his summer holidays, he receives birthday cards and presents from his friends, and Harry learns what Ron and Hermione did during the summer.

Chapter 2 – Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake

In which Aunt Marge comes to visit and her taunting drives Harry to inflate her, then gather his belongings and leave Privet Drive without permission to visit Hogsmeade.

Chapter 3 – The Knight Bus

In which Harry tries to decide what to do when the Knight Bus arrives to take him to London. En route Harry learns about Sirius Black, is met by Cornelius Fudge at Diagon Alley and installed in a room in the Leaky Cauldron.

Chapter 4 – The Leaky Cauldron

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.

Chapter 5 – The Dementor

In which the students leave the Leaky Cauldron for Hogwarts, board the train, discuss Hogsmeade and a sleeping Professor Remus Lupin prevents a fight with Malfoy. The train is boarded by dementors, Harry passes out, McGonagall wants a word with Harry and Hermione and Hagrid is the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher.

Chapter 6 – Talons and Tea Leaves

In which students begin the new year of classes, Hermione is taking a very full course load and in Divination class Professor Trelawney predicts Harry’s death. Hagrid introduces hippogriffs at his first class and Buckbeak is insulted and scratches Malfoy, Harry, Ron and Hermione go to console Hagrid.

Chapter 7 – The Boggart in the Wardrobe

In which Malfoy takes advantage of his injury in Potions, Snape orders Ron and Harry to do his work, Black has been sighted near the school, Lupin conducts his first DADA class on confronting Boggarts.

Chapter 8 – Flight of the Fat Lady

In which DADA class remain a favourite, Quidditch practice begins, Crookshanks goes after Scabbers, tension builds between Ron and Hermione, Harry is denied permission to visit Hogsmeade, Lupin talks to him about fear, Snape brews a potion for Lupin, Hallowe’en feast, and Black slashes the Fat Lady’s portrait.

Chapter 9 – Grim Defeat

In which the students are gathered in the Great Hall for the night, Quidditch practice continues, DADA is taken over by Snape when Lupin falls ill, Peeves wakes Harry, Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff in a thunderstorm, Harry sees the Grim and Dementors on the pitch and passes out to awaken in hospital having lost the game.

Chapter 10 – The Marauder’s Map

In which Harry spends the weekend in hospital, Lupin returns to class and tells Harry about Dementors, and Fred and George give Harry the Marauder’s Map. Harry uses a secret passage to join Ron and Hermione in Hogsmeade, they overhear a teachers’ conversation, and learn that Black is believed to have betrayed Harry’s parents and is his godfather.

Chapter 11 – The Firebolt

In which Harry mulls over what he heard about Black, almost everyone has gone on holiday, Harry, Ron and Hermione go to visit Hagrid, find him distraught about Buckbeak’s hearing before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures and Harry, Ron and Hermione begin seeking precedents to help Buckbeak’s case. Christmas comes and Harry gets a Firebolt broom from an unknown (Black) benefactor, Crookshanks goes after Scabbers again and revives bad feelings between Ron and Hermione, dinner is taken with the teachers, McGonagall takes the Firebolt to check for jinxes.

Chapter 12 – The Patronus

In which both Harry and Ron are angry with Hermione for reporting the Firebolt to McGonagall, Oliver Wood tries to get it back, classes resume, Lupin teaches Harry Patronus to use against the Dementors, Harry asks repeatedly about his Firebolt and finally gets it back, makes up with Hermione just as Ron finds bloody traces of what he thinks is Scabbers.

Chapter 13 – Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw 

In which Ron and Hermione’s anger grows, Quidditch practice resumes, Gryffindor plays Ravenclaw and wins despite Slytherin’s attempts to sabotage the match by dressing as Dementors. Gryffindor celebrates into the night while Hermione studies. Black gets into the dorm and apparently slashes Ron’s bed curtains.

Chapter 14 – Snape’s Grudge

In which security is tightened, Hagrid is summoned to London with Buckbeak, Ron and Harry plan another visit to Hogsmeade despite Hermione’s appeals, Harry wears his invisibility cloak and while playing a trick on Malfoy and his goons was unmasked, rushing back to school only to be confronted by Snape, questioned and only saved by the arrival of Lupin.

Chapter 15 – The Quidditch Final

In which Hagrid loses his case and Buckbeak is sentenced to death, Ron and Hermione make up, Hermione slaps Malfoy, misses Charms class and storms out of Divination. Tensions rise as the Gryffindor-Slytherin match approaches. When it comes, it is the roughest match Harry has ever played, but Gryffindor still wins.

Chapter 16 – Professor Trelawney’s Prediction

In which OWLs and NEWTs are coming up and everyone is studying, exam week arrives, Buckbeak’s appeal is scheduled, Professor Trelawney unknowingly predicts the return of the Dark Lord, Harry, Ron and Hermione use the cloak of invisibility to visit Hagrid, try to comfort him, Hermione finds Scabbers in a milk jug, men come to execute Buckbeak, Harry, Ron and Hermione go out the back door under the cloak and Scabbers goes berserk.

Chapter 17 – Cat, Rat, and Dog

In which Harry, Ron and Hermione 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.

Chapter 18 – Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs

In which Lupin tells his story of becoming a werewolf and school days with James Potter, Black and Snape, the last of whom now appears.

Chapter 19 – The Servant of Lord Voldemort

In which Snape threatens Lupin and Black with the Dementors, Harry, Ron and Hermione disarm Snape with a spell, Lupin and Black tell the truth about Harry’s parents’ deaths, Scabbers reverts back to Peter Pettigrew, the truth comes out about all the players in the drama, revealing that Pettigrew was responsible for the Potters’ deaths, and Harry keeps Lupin and Black from killing Pettigrew.

Chapter 20 – The Dementor’s Kiss

In which they go back through the tunnel towards the castle, Black invites Harry to live with him, Lupin becomes a werewolf when the moon comes out and Black transforms to a dog prevent him from attacking Harry, Ron and Hermione, Pettigrew becomes a rat and escapes, Black goes after him and is confronted by Dementors, Harry and Hermione run for help but are caught by Dementors as well.

Chapter 21 – Hermione’s Secret

In which Harry awakens in hospital, desperately tries to tell Black’s side of the story but is not believed until Dumbledore arrives, who tells Hermione to use her Time-Turner (which she had been using to increase the amount of classes she could attend) to go back and change events to save Buckbeak and Black. First they rescue Buckbeak, then Harry rescues himself from the Dementors with a Patronus Charm, then they ride Buckbeak to rescue Black, who escapes on the hippogriff.

Chapter 22 – Owl Post Again

In which Harry and Hermione safely return to the hospital wing, where Snape arrives to blame them for Black’s escape but cannot prove it. Lupin resigns, returning the invisibility cloak and Marauder’s Map to Harry. Term ends, Harry, Ron and Hermione return home on the Hogwarts Express, Harry gets owl post from Black, and Ron gets a new owl.

Calendar and Dates

The events in the book take place from 26 June 1993, when Ron tries to call Harry on the telephone, through 18 June 1994, when the Hogwarts Express travels back to London.


To Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely, the Godmothers of Swing.

Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely were two of JKR's flatmates and good friends from her days in Porto. Swing does not refer to swing dancing, but rather to the name of a disco in Porto, where the three women spent many Saturday nights (SS_JKRB). Molly Weasley's maiden name was Prewett (WBD).

Interesting facts and notes

Bloomsbury (Britain) covers



Notes from the title pages:

First published in Great Britain in 1999
Copyright (c) Text J.K. Rowling 1999

Scholastic (U.S.) Edition covers



This cover of the US edition, by Mary GrandPré, shows Harry and Hermione riding Buckbeak. Both children seem to be having a really great time, which doesn't really fit with the mood of the actual event. Clearly, they are intent on rescuing Sirius, who appears in silhouette toward the bottom of the page. On the back, we see four Dementors prowling around the castle and the Whomping Willow in the distance. Crookshanks is waiting under the tree.

On the inside front flap, a small rat with a large shadow sits outside Sirius' window and watches the hippogriff go by. On the back flap, a silver stag stands in front of a small house with smoke rising from its chimney -- probably Hagrid's hut.

Interestingly, it is the ride on the hippogriff which appears on almost every cover all over the world.

Characters Introduced

Table of Contents
The Harry Potter novels
Book 3 — Prisoner of Azkaban
Dimensions 107,253 words
UK Edition 1999 Bloomsbury
US Edition 1999 Scholastic
Abbreviation Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Canonicity Primary Canon


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Tags: third year

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The Harry Potter Canon