Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!! !!!!! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.

Before I start this review, I unfortunately have to talk about the spoiler issue in the comments.

I was going to threaten Dementors on you guys, but it seems my fictional-and-not-actually-possible threat is…kind of empty. So the wonderful Stephalopolis wrote a comment this morning that beautifully summarizes how I feel about this, which is JUST SAY NO TO SPOILERS.


THINGS THAT STEPHALOPOLIS COUNTS AS SPOILERS(aka- Stephalopolis brain vomits an essay about spoilers.)

1.) Outright telling Mark plot points. This one is obvious. Don’t tell him in Chapter 3 that Quirrell is the one trying to get the stone. Don’t tell him Harry’s Nimbus gets broken by the whomping willow. Let him get to these points himself.

2.) Do not hint towards the future. Mark will get there eventually. By hinting, you ruin the shock factor that comes at the end. When you first read HP1, what if someone kept telling you, pay attention to Quirrell? Well, your focus would be on Quirrell knowing that something would happen to him. When you find out he’s the main bad guy, you just think “Oh, so that’s why I had to focus on him, not “OMG IT WAS QUIRREL?????” This also includes hinting to chapters. If you say “wait till you get to Chapter 5!” well, now Mark knows something really important is going to be happening in chapter 5. There goes all the suspense. It’s just not suspenseful if you’re expecting it to be. It also ruins the pacing of the story. He could be reading one of the action-less, descriptive chapters, but because someone told him “Oh, wait till you get to Chapter 67!” he now knows that at some point in the chapter, something big and action-y is going to happen.

3.) Do not say when he will get more answers. Yes, Mark asks a lot of questions. No, Mark is not looking for answers from us. [NOTE FROM ME: My questions are a rhetorical method to bring up questions I have or to acknowledge plot bits from Rowling. DON’T ANSWER THEM. Thanks! -m] He is looking for answers from the books. He’s asking on his blog-of-thoughts exactly what we were asking in our heads when we first read the books, only we didn’t have 100s of commentators in our heads. When he demands backstory, do not tell him WHEN he is going to get it, or even IF he is going to get it. Did we know there would be backstories on various characters? No. That’s why we were so happy when we finally got them.

4.) Do not talk about your favorite/hated characters. Yes, we are all Harry Potter fans. That means we love to talk. And debate. And explore. However, we have had time to create our likes/dislikes based on evidence from several books. We need to let Mark create his own opinions. Don’t say you like/dislike this character but you can’t tell him why till later. Because to Mark, that means that that character is important later and must have done something to you make you feel that way. Discussing characters is part of the fun, yes. But only discuss them up to the point that Mark currently knows about them. In Book 1, talk about how much of a wuss Quirrell is and how he has no spine and how you generally like him but he’s not really that important to the plot. After mark reads ch 17, The Man With Two Faces, you can then start talking about how evil Quirrell is. Not before. When Rowling first brings up a character’s name, don’t instantly go “OMG I HATE HER”, let Mark get to a point where that character DOES something first, then discuss your hatred of that character based on that fact. (i.e, in Book 2 where Lockhart is first mentioned as a resource for pulling gnomes- that is not a point to say I hate Lockhart. But, when Lockhart pulls Harry to the front of the store and is a fame whore, that is a time to say you hate Lockhart because he pulled Harry to the front of the store and is a fame whore.) No hints either. As Mark starts to read Book 2, don’t say “oh, I hate the DADA teacher in this one.” Now Mark knows this year will have a bad DADA teacher. Also, no initials. Mark will figure that out immediately.

5.)Don’t tell Mark he missed a hint/clue. We’ve read the books. We know exactly what is important and what is not. But, Mark has not. He doesn’t know what to focus on, and that’s part of the fun. Telling Mark he missed a hint, or he should have paid close attention to a certain part in the book/his review again just alerts Mark to something ahead of the fact. “Wait, I missed a clue in Dumbledore’s office? I should really focus on that line about Fawkes crying healing tears, or that Harry talked to a snake at a zoo?” Rowling does a GREAT job of hiding clues throughout the book. Then, by the end, it’s WHAM, WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??? But… she’s also great at not just pulling the end out of her ass. If you have all the clues, it’s quite easy to put together the “surprise” ending. The difference is, you have the clues, you just don’t know you have them. So don’t just give them to Mark. Part of the fun of being a Harry Potter fan is re-reading the books and picking out all the clues you missed.

We have lots of resources for us to discuss spoilery stuff. Fromthisgirl has set up a wonderful Buzznet spoiler page for us to talk about EVERYTHING to our hearts content. //

Buzznet not your thing? Try the Facebook page! Another spoiler-ific zone! //!/group.php?gid=130773336944146&ref=ts

Read the book so fast you’re ahead of Mark? Haven’t read the books in awhile? Have no clue what just happened in the chapter Mark read and what’s safe to comment? Well, the rule of thumb is if you’re not sure, then don’t say anything. But you can also use this guide to help you. //

This is a fun and exciting experience for ALL of us. Everyone remembers the first time they watched The Sixth Sense, watched the fulfillment of Jack and Rose’s story, and read the Harry Potter series. That first time is always so mysterious and joyous and there’s a part of all of us that wishes we could Obliviate ourselves so we can get that first time back. Don’t ruin Mark’s first time. Don’t ruin our vicarious enjoyment of Mark’s first time. Just say no to spoilers.

Thank You.


Jesus. Jesus oh my god. oh my god. OH MY GOD. I am in total shock at the mindfuck I just got served.

Basically, bricks have been shat during this chapter.

But let’s talk about something awesome before we return to my brain turning to mush. Again.

  • Ron and Hermione left Harry’s bedside only at night.

Seriously, bestest best friends you could ever ask for. <3

Ok, on to mind-melting:

  • Because Harry knew who that screaming voice belonged to now. He had heard her words, heard them over and over again during the night hours in the hospital wing while he lay awake, staring at the strips of moonlight on the ceiling. When the dementors approached him, he heard the last moments of his mother’s life, her attempts to protect him, Harry, from Lord Voldemort, and Voldemort’s laughter before he murdered her….Harry dozed fitfully, sinking into dreams full of clammy, rotted hands and petrified pleading, jerking awake to dwell again on his mother’s voice.

oh my god. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

There’s a brief respite from the madness as Professor Lupin returns to class. I’m beginning to like him a lot and this chapter is when I realized why.

Lupin is a character who doesn’t live in extremes. Where McGonagall is very strict, Snape is super mean, Dumbledore in incredibly accepting and calm, and Filch is controlled by bitterness, Lupin just exists in the middle.

This isn’t to suggest that he’s a mediocre character; he’s kind, he’s got a mysterious past, and his strange affinity for Harry is very fascinating.

When Lupin pulls Harry aside to talk to him about his accident during Quidditch. I didn’t expect him to answer Harry’s pointed questions about dementors:

  • He hesitated, and then the question he had to ask burst from him before he could stop himself. “Why? Why do they affect me like that? Am I just–?”

    “It has nothing to do with weakness,” said Professor Lupin sharply, as though he had read Harry’s mind. “The dementors affect you worse than the others because there are horros in your past the others don’t have.”

WHOA! I did not expect an answer to this so soon. I also did not expect it to also be completely heartbreaking.

  • “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself….soulless and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life. And the worst tht happened to you, Harry, is enough to make anyone fall off their broom. You have nothing to feel ashamed of.”

This is the best thing Rowling has ever written. holy shit J.K. Rowling knows my absolute pain.

But honestly….I’ve suffered from severe depression in my life. Actually tried to kill myself twice. That is possibly one of the most accurate depictions of depression I’ve ever read.

love you bigtime, Rowling.

Harry also learns that the dementors wandered onto the Quidditch field because they were “hungry” for human joy. JESUS THAT IS INSANE. But it’s ok because….Lupin agrees to teach Harry how to fight dementors?

WHAT???? First of all, awesome. AWESOME. Please teach me next. :/ But….why? Why has Lupin taken a liking to Harry Potter? And why have I taken a liking to him? Oh god, please don’t end up being evil, Lupin. 🙁 🙁

The students learn they’ll be taking another trip to Hogsmeade before the Christmas break, so of course I get really sad because Harry Potter knows my pain. But leave it up to the Weasleys to make everything awesome, specifically George and Fred:

  • It was a map showing every detail of the Hogwarts castle and grounds. But the truly remarkable thing were the tiny ink dots moving around it, each labeled with a name in minuscule writing. Astounded, harry bent over it. A labeled dot in the top left corner showed that Professor Dumbledore was pacing his study; the caretaker’s cat, Mrs. Norris, was prowling the second floor; and Peeves the Poltergeist was currently bouncing around the trophy room. And as Harry’s eyes traveled up and down the familiar corridors, he noticed something else.

    This map showed a set of passages he had never entered. And many of them seemed to lead–

    “Right into Hogsmeade,” said Fred, tracing one of them with his finger.

Weasleys for Presidents of the Universe in 2012. AMIRITE?

Harry has a brief moment of reluctance, as he remembers Mrs. Weasley’s advice about enchanted physical objects: Never trust anything that can think for itself, if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. Wise words.

Which Harry ignores. And I’m actually kind of ok with this. Look, Harry is having the worst time of his life. He’s being forced to come to terms with the death of his parents and the idea that he’s not immune to the pitfalls of responsibility. (Again, I love that Rowling’s characters take risks and fail. Hard. It’s a sign of a good writer if you can make your character fail.)

I don’t like that there is–yet again–another scene with Harry traveling down a slide (Chamber of Secrets) through a dark passage under the school (Sorcerer’s Stone) to get to Hogsmeade. First of all HOW FUCKING DEEP IS HOGWARTS and HOW THE FUCK DOES NO ONE KNOW ALL THIS SHIT. Look, I’m willing to suspend disbelief and all, but COME ON. No more tunnels or shit under Hogwarts, PLEASE.

I also don’t like the method in which Harry learns about Sirius Black’s backstory. How many times does Rowling have to have Harry hide while he overhears other people’s conversations? Seriously?

That being said, the conversation he, Ron, and Hermione overhear…JESUS. Let’s instead just focus on the new twists in the larger narrative:

  • “Do you know, I still have trouble believing it,” said Madam Rosmerta thoughtfully. “Of all the people to go over to the Dark Side, Sirius Black was the last I’d have thought…I mean, I remember him when he was a boy at Hogwarts. If you’d told me then what he was going to become, I’d have said you’d had too much mead.”

    “You don’t know the half of it, Rosmerta,” said Fudge gruffly. “The worst he did isn’t widely known.”

    “The worst?” said Madam Rosmerta, her voice alive with curiosity. “Worse than murdering all those poor people, you mean?”


  • “You say you remember him at Hogwarts, Rosmerta,” murmured Professor McGonagall. “Do you remember who his best friend was?”

    “Naturally,” said Madam Rosmerta, with a small laugh. “Never saw one without the other, did you? The number of times I had them in here–ooh, they used to make me laugh. Quite the double act, Sirius Black and James Potter!”


are you serious ARE YOU SERIOUS?????? WHAT THE

As Fudge begins to explain how Dumbledore gave the Potters a Fidelus Charm (which allowed them to hide the secret of their location as long as the Secret-Keeper never spoke), my heart is then broken. AGAIN.

Because Sirius Black, James Potter’s best friend, was their Secret-Keeper. And he betrayed them.

  • “He did indeed. Black was tired of his double-agent role, he was ready to declare his support openly for You-Know-Who, and he seems to have planned this for the moment of the Potters’ death. But, as we all know, You-Know-Who met his downfall in little Harry Potter. Powers gone, horribly weakened, he fled. And this left Black in a very nasty position indeed. His master had fallen at the very moment when he, Black, had shown his true colors as a traitor. He had no choice but to run for it–“

Yeah. YEAH. Sirius Black is definitely far more despicable than I thought.

But wait:

  • “I met him!” growled Hagrid. “I musta bin the last ter see him before he killed all them people! It was me what rescued Harry from Lily an’ James’s house after they was killed! Jus’ got him outta the ruins, poor little thing, with a great slash across his forehead, an’ his parents dead…an’ Sirius Black turns up, on the flyin’ motorbike he used ter ride. Never occurred ter me what he was doin’ there. I didn’ know he’d bin Lily an’ James’s Secret-Keeper. Thought he’d just’ heard the news o’ You-Know-Who’s attack an’ come ter see what he could do. White an’ shakin’, he was. An’ yeh know what I did? I COMFORTED THE MURDERING’ TRAITOR!” Hagrid roared.

YEAH SO THIS IS HOW MY MIND WAS BLOWN. Because I had totally forgot this sentence in the very first chapter of the first book:

  • “Borrowed it, Professor Deumbledore, sir,” said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. “Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I’ve got him, sir.”


And then….wow. Another instance, I think, of Rowling’s ability to show us something in very few words:

  • “I was Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes at the time, and I was one of the first on the scene after Black murdered all those people. I–I will never forget it. I still dream about it sometimes. A crater in the middle of the street, so deep it had cracked the sewer below. Bodies everywhere. Muggles screaming. And Black standing there laughing, with what was left of Pettigrew in front of him…a heap of bloodstained robes and a few–a few fragments–“

WOW. This book is awesome.

  • “Yet I met Black on my last inspection of Azkaban. You know, most of the prisoners in there sit muttering to themselves in the dark; there’s no sense to them…but I was shocked at how normal Black seemed. He spoke quite rationally to me. It was unnerving. You’d have thought he was merely bored–asked if I’d finished with my newspaper, cool as you please, said he missed doing the crossword. Yes, I was astounded at how little effect the dementors seemed to be having on him–and he was one of the most heavily guarded in the place, you know. Demetors outside his door day and night.”

Look, as messed up as Black is….I’m kind of excited for him to make an appearance? WHY DO I LIKE TROUBLED ANTI-HEROS? oh god.

Excuse me while I go pick my brain up off the floor, guys.