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Talons and Tea Leaves

- Chapter 6

"I think Divination seems very woolly. A lot of guesswork, if you ask me."
-- Hermione Granger

PA6: Talons and Tea Leaves

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

Calendar and Dates

This chapter takes place on September 2, the first day of classes.

Interesting facts and notes

We encounter Professor Trelawney, Sir Cadogan and Buckbeak for the first time in this chapter, and Professor McGonagall demonstrates an Animagus Transformation during her Transfiguration class.

"....I mean, I know you’re good, Hermione, but no one’s that good. How’re you supposed to be in three classes at once?"

Hermione's full timetable is very suspicious and she becomes more and more tired and stressed through the book, in spite of her enthusiasm for every class except "woolly" Divination. Harry and Ron are continually trying to find out how she is managing it.

"So you have chosen to study Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts. I must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you."

In fact, is there anything Professor Trelawney would be able to teach someone? The students would be better off being tested for their aptitude towards being a Seer before even taking this class.

"The Grim, my dear, the Grim!" cried Professor Trelawney, who looked shocked that Harry hadn’t understood. "The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen – the worst omen – of death!"

From the moment Professor Trelawney reads Harry's tea leaves, there is only gloom and disaster in the air. However her final shocking pronouncement on the leaves does remind Harry that he had already seen the shape of a large black dog - when he ran from the Dursley house (PA3). A Grim also appeared on the cover of the book Death Omens: What To Do When You Know The Worst Is Coming, which he had noticed on display in Flourish and Blotts (PA4).

So, is it what is contained in the prediction that kills you or is it just the fear of what the prediction is saying that causes you to die?

"Really, what has got into you all today?" said Professor McGonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring around at them all. "Not that it matters, but that’s the first time my transformation’s not got applause from a class."

Professor McGonagall's surprise at their reaction is quite justified. An Animagus Transfiguration is rare and difficult. We have seen her before as a cat Animagus - when Harry was a baby (PS1).

"Yeh always wait fer the Hippogriff ter make the firs' move," Hagrid continued. "It's polite, see? Yeh walk towards him, and yeh bow, an' yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh're allowed ter touch him. If he doesn' bow, then get away from him sharpish, 'cause those talons hurt."

Harry is able to get on with Buckbeak the hippogriff by following Hagrid's instructions. The Slytherins were still making fun of Harry being affected by a Dementor. Now that Draco has been injured in Care of Magical Creatures class they have a new target - Hagrid. Draco gets into trouble with Buckbeak because he is arrogant and doesn't listen to anyone but himself. At this point in the series we really don't know of any Slytherin students who are nice or kind.

Exceptional character moments

At breakfast Fred and George telling Harry, Ron, and Hermione how Malfoy had reacted to the dementor on the train.

Harry and Ron discussing with Hermione her very full class schedule.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione meeting Sir Cadogan in his painting while trying to get to North Tower.

third years in their first Divination class

Harry and Ron trying to read each other's tea leaves.

Professor finding the Grim in Harry's tea leaves and predicting Harry's death.

Professor McGonagall explaining to her Transfiguration class about Professor Trelawney and Divination.

Professor Hagrid's first Care of Magical Creatures class learning about hippogriffs.

Harry meeting Buckbeak and getting to ride him.

Malfoy insulting a hippogriff and being attacked by it.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione's visit to see Hagrid in his hut.

Hagrid's anger at Harry for coming to visit him after dark.

Memorable lines

"Hermione, they've messed up your schedule. Look -- they've got you down for about ten subjects a day. There isn't enough time."

"I'll manage. I've fixed it all with Professor McGonagall."

"The Grim, my dear, the Grim! The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen -- the worst omen -- of death!"

"Then you should know, Potter, that Sybill Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favorite way of greeting a new class."

"I think Divination seems very woolly. A lot of guesswork, if you ask me."

"Now, firs' thing yeh gotta know abou' Hippogriffs is , they're proud. Easily offended, Hippogriffs are. Don't never insult one, 'cause it might be the last thing yeh do."

"That was a really bad thing to happen in Hagrid's first class, though, wasn't it? Trust Malfoy to mess things up for him..."

"He's faking it. Madam Pomfrey can mend anything. She regrew half my bones last year. Trust Malfoy to milk it for all it's worth."

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced


Related images:

             Professor Trelawney with crystal ball. Draco Malfoy

From the Web

Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore):

Tumbler (jonsnowhite): Animagi by J K Rowling

Harry Potter Wiki:

MuggleNet: Animagus Forms of the New Generation

The Leaky Cauldron: Divination: Muggle Magic

WizardingWorld (Pottermore) features:

Pensieve (Comments)

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