"Malfoy! Wait 'til he sees you on this! He'll be sick as a pig! This is an international standard broom, this is!"
-- Ron Weasley
Harry mulls over what he heard about Black, almost everyone has gone on holiday, HRH go to visit Hagrid, find him distraught about Buckbeak’s hearing before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, and HRH 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, and McGonagall confiscates the Firebolt to check for jinxes.
Calendar and Dates
1296: a manticore savaged someone and was let off, but only because everyone was afraid to go near it.
1722: a hippogriff was convicted.
Interesting facts and notes
The arrival - and nearly immediate confiscation - of Harry's Firebolt drives a wedge between Hermione and the boys.
Hagrid talks for the first time about what Azkaban is like.
"Another jumper from Mum...maroon again..."
Just like last year and the year before...
Exceptional character moments
Hagrid, remembering Azkaban and what the Dementors are like.
Hermione offering to look up case histories for Hagrid; of the three members of the trio, only she persists with her promise to help with Buckbeak's defence before his first hearing past the Christmas holidays. (However, see PA15 for later stages of the case, when Ron took over the research).
Dumbledore, Hagrid, Mr. Weasley, Cornelius Fudge... why hadn't anyone ever mentioned the fact that Harry's parents had died because their best friend had betrayed them?
"Think that matters to them? They don' care. Long as they've got a couple o' hundred humans stuck there with 'em, so they can leech all the happiness out of 'em, they don' give a damn who's guilty an' who's not." [Hagrid on Dementors]