Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’: Chapter 14

In the fourteenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, EVERYTHING MARK HAS EVER KNOWN ABOUT THE UNIVERSE HAS BEEN UTTERLY DESTROYED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


Once I finished chapter 13, I, of course, glanced at the next chapter’s title.


And this chapter isn’t just unbearable tension. It’s a complete deconstruction of nearly everything I’d come to believe about this series and its characters.

oh god my poor brain.

Hogwarts is sent into a state of ordered chaos. Despite that there is higher security from the staff (and, ostensibly, the dementors outside), the students understandably have a hard time concentrating on much of anything. I mean, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THAT, RIGHT? Plus, Neville gets a Howler, Ron’s eating up the attention for surviving a chance encounter with Sirius Black, and Hermione…well, we’ll get to her.

Upon Hagrid’s request, Ron and Harry go off to visit Hagrid for tea. Which…look, where is my invitation to Hagrid’s hut for tea? The world hates me.

They find out the reason they were invited, though: Hermione.

  • “She’s in a righ’ state, that’s what. She’s bin comin’ down ter visit me a lot since Chris’mas. Bin feelin’ lonely. Firs’ yeah weren’ talking to her because o’ the Firebolt, now yer not talkin’ to her because her cat–”

    “–ate Scabbers!” Ron interjected angrily.

    “Because her cat acted like all cats do,” Hagrid continued doggedly. “She’s cried a fair few times, yeh know. Goin’ through a rough time at the moment. Bitten off more’n she can chew, if yeh ask me, all the work she’s tryin’ ter do. Still found time ter help me with Buckbeak’s case, mind….She’s found some really good stuff fer me….reckon he’ll stand a good chance now….”

Guess what, Harry and Ron? You are assholes. Officially.

  • “If she’d just get rid of that cat, I’d speak to her again!” Ron said angrily. “But she’s still sticking up for it! It’s a maniac, and she won’t hear a word against it!”

    “Ah, well, people can be a bit stupid abou’ their pets,” said Hagrid wisely. Behind him, Buckbeak spat a few ferret bones onto Hagrid’s pillow.

Touche, Hagrid.

And so begins the rapid descent into douchebaggery for Ron and Harry:

  • “Harry, if you go into Hogsmeade again…I’ll tell Professor McGonagall about that map!” said Hermione.

    “Can you hear someone talking, Harry?” growled Ron, not looking at Hermione.

    “Ron, how can you let him go with you? After what Sirius Black nearly did to you! I mean it, I’ll tell–“

    “So now you’re trying to get Harry expelled!” said Ron furiously. “Haven’t you done enough damage this year?”

    Hermione opened her mouth to respond, but with a soft hiss, Crookshanks leapt onto her lap. Hermione took one frightened look at the expression on Ron’s face, gathered up Crookshanks, and hurried away toward the girls’ dormitories.

Yeah. Ron, seriously, shut up. Jesus, just get over this and move on.

I love that Rowling creates a situation of conflict for Harry and then has him make a poor decision, not only because it’s good fiction, but because a thirteen-year-old with a magical map and the temptation to get more candy would do the exact same thing.

Harry’s trip, which includes him bringing the Invisibility Cloak, actually presents him with several opportunities to remain back at Gryffindor instead of breaking the rules. First, Neville, who isn’t allowed at Hogsmeade either, tries to tag along with him. When he tries to enter the one-eyed witch, Snape shows up, suspicious of what Harry’s doing there. In fact:

  • As they turned the corner, harry looked back. Snape was running one of his hands over the one-eyed witch’s head, examining it closely.

There’s your opportunity to NEVER ENTER THE WITCH AGAIN. I mean, yeah, you’re 13, BUT SERIOUSLY. Why on earth would you enter a secret passage that SOMEONE HAS PROBABLY DISCOVERED?

Oh, because there are candy and jokes on the other end!

  • Then they visited Zonko’s, which was so packed with students Harry had to exercise great care not to tread on anyone and cause a panic. There were jokes and tricks to fulfill even Fred’s and George’s wildest dreams; Harry gave Ron whispered orders and passed him some gold from under the cloak. They left Zonko’s with their money bags considerably lighter than they had been on entering, but their pockets bulging with Dungbombs, Hiccup Sweets, Frog Spawn Soap, and a Nose-Biting Teacup apiece.

Yep. Not only is Harry breaking the rules, but now he’s being greedy. And yet…still not done risking everything for nothing.

When Malfoy shows up to bully Ron some more, Harry takes advantage of his invisibility to throw some mud on them. It’s an understandable temptation; Harry finally has a chance to make Malfoy and his goons feel like he does when bullied. But at this point, he’s been riding so much on chance and luck reeling in his favor that things were bound to go completely awry.

And oh god, do they ever.

  • As Ron was the only person Crabbe could see, it was Ron he started toward, but Harry stuck out his leg. Crabbe stumbled–and his huge, flat foot caught the hem of Harry’s cloak. Harry felt a great tug, then the cloak slid off his face.

Oh, you’re fucked now, Harry Potter.

Harry bails from Hogsmeade as quickly as possible, ideally quicker than Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. Except…umm….

  • He reached inside of the witch’s hump, tapped it with his wand, stuck his head through, and hoisted himself out; the hump closed, and just as Harry jumped out from behind the statue, he heard quick footsteps approaching.

    It was Snape. He approached Harry at a swift walk, his black robes swishing, then stopped in front of him.

    “So,” he said.

    There was a look of suppressed triumph about him. Harry tried to look innocent, all too aware of this sweaty face and his muddy hands, which he quickly hid in his pockets.

Yep. There’s no way out of this, Harry. Not surprisingly, Snape is ecstatic at finally being able to pin a bout of mischief on Harry. He uses this opportunity to gloat and lecture him:

  • “So,” he said, straightening up again. “Everyone from the Minister of Magic downward has been trying to keep famous Harry Potter safe from Sirius Black. But famous Harry Potter is a law unto himself. Let the ordinary people worry about his safety! Famous Harry Potter goes where he wants to, with no thought for the consequences.”

Funny part about this? Snape is actually right. Harry’s own selfish desire is overpowering what’s normally the rational, loyal, and kind persona he’s shown us in the previous books. I never expected this from him.

But then, I didn’t expect what happens next. Because everything I thought about Snape was completely and totally wrong.

  • “Your father didn’t set much store by rules either,” Snape went on, pressing his advantage, his thin face full of malice. “Rules were for lesser mortals, not Quidditch Cup-winners. His head was so swollen–”

    “SHUT UP!”

    Harry was suddenly on his feet. Rage such as he had not felt since his last night in Privet Drive was coursing through him. He didn’t care that Snape’s face had gone rigid, the black eyes flashing dangerously.

    “What did you say to me, Potter?”

    “I told you to shut up about my dad!” Harry yelled. “I know the truth, all right? He saved your life! Dumbledore told me! You wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for my dad!”


  • “I would hate for you to run away with a false idea of your father, Potter,” he said, a terrible grin twisting his face. “Have you been imagining some act of glorious heroism? Then let me correct you–your saintly father and his friends played a highly amusing joke on me that would have resulted in my death if your father hadn’t got cold feet at the last moment. There was nothing brave about what he did. He was saving his own skin as much as mine. Had their joke succeeded, he would have been expelled from Hogwarts.”



Never in a million years would I expect her to VALIDATE SNAPE’S INTENSE HATRED FOR HARRY POTTER.

oh….oh my god. brain. melting. BRAIN IS MELTING.

I wasn’t surprised, however, when Snape gets a hold of the Marauder’s Map (which insults him AND IT IS AMAZINGLY HILARIOUS, JSYK) and calls upon Lupid to determine if it is infused with the Dark Arts. Lupin defends Harry, once again, claiming that it’s clearly a product from a joke shop.

And then Lupin blows my mind by not only immediately criticizing Harry as soon as they’re alone, but he hints towards something I find interesting.

  • “Why did Snape think I’d got it from the manufacturers?”

    “Because…,” Lupin hesitated, “because these mapmakers would have wanted to lure you out of school. They’d think it extremely entertaining.”

    “Do you know them?” said Harry, impressed.

    “We’ve met,” he said shortly. he was looking at Harry more seriously than ever before.

Oh god WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT. Are those four people ghosts now? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

  • “Don’t expect me to cover up for you again, Harry. I cannot make you take Sirius Black seriously. But I would have thought that what you have heard when the dementors draw near you would have had more of an effect on you. Your parents gave their lives to keep you alive, Harry. A poor way to repay them–gambling their sacrifice for a bag of magic tricks.”

Does it hurt, Harry Potter? Because Lupin’s righteous TRUFAX are stinging over here.

Ready to have everything blown to hell?

  • He broke off; they reached the corridor where the security trolls were pacing, and Hermione was walking toward them. One look at her face convinced Harry that she had heard what had happened. His heart plummeted–had she told Professor McGonagall?

    “Come to have a good gloat?” said Ron savagely as she stopped in front of them. “Or have you just been to tell on us.”

    “No,” said Hermione. She was holding a letter in her hands and her lip was trembling. “I just thought you ought to know…Hagrid lost his case. Buckbeak is going to be executed.”

BE RIGHT BACK GUYS i’m gonna go fellate a shotgun OH GOD 🙁