Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Malfoy uses his injury in Hagrid’s class to make everyone around him as miserable as possible. And then: BOGGARTS! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


ohhhhhh my god, do I love this chapter. But mostly because of SNAPE IN A DRESS. Did we need a dose of silliness in the midst of all this madness? Well, there’s still madness, especially because of Malfoy and Professor Lupin’s strange behavior towards Harry, BUT AT LEAST THERE IS SILLINESS, OK?

  • Malfoy didn’t reappear in classes until late on Thursday morning, when the Slytherins and Gryffindors were halfway through double Potions. He swaggered into the dungeon, his right arm covered in bandages and bound up in a sling, acting, in Harry’s opinion, as though he were the heroic survivor of some dreadful battle.

Oh, so that’s what you’re going to do, Malfoy? SEETHE WITH ANGER. That is what I’ll do.

Except…maybe I should reserve that for Snape. And look, I know we’ve got a lot ahead to read and I should just be patient, but I’m going to need some Snape backstory. Like….right now.

I like Snape’s character and for two books, he’s been far more nuanced and interesting than I expected. But I’m getting slightly irritated at his outright anger and disgust with Ron and Harry, most especially with what happens in this chapter.

  • “Sir,” Malfoy called, “sir, I’ll need help cutting up these daisy roots, because of my arm–”

    “Weasley, cut up Malfoy’s roots for him,” said Snape without looking up.

Really??? Quirrell was right. You do make this too obvious, Snape.

Of course, when Ron lazily chops Malfoy’s roots, Snape forces him to give his perfectly trimmed roots to Malfoy. Joy.

  • “And, sir, I’ll need this shrivelfig skinned,” said Malfoy, his voice full of malicious laughter.

    “Potter, you can skin Malfoy’s shrivelfig,” said Snape, giving Harry the look of loathing he always reserved just for him.

I know Snape’s hatred for Harry was explained at the end of the first book, but I’m at a point where that isn’t a satisfying enough explanation. IT’S BEEN YEARS. Literally, are you that upset, Snape? Ugh.

As Snape then turns his disdain to both Hermione and Neville, there’s a really strange bit with Malfoy that I thought was significant.

  • “Of course, if it was me,” he said quietly, “I’d have done something before now. Iw ouldn’t be staying in school like a good boy, I’d be out there looking for him.”

    “What are you talking about, Malfoy?” said Ron roughly.

    “Don’t you know, Potter?” breathed Malfoy, his pale eyes narrowed.

    “Know what?”

    Malfoy let out a low, sneering laugh.

    “Maybe you’d rather not risk your neck,” he said. Want to leave it to the dementors, do you? But if it was me, I’d want revenge. I’d hunt him down myself.”

    What are you talking about?” said Harry angrily, but at that moment Snape called, You should have finished adding your ingredients by now; this potion needs to stew before it can be drunk, so clear away while it simmers and then we’ll test Longbottom’s….”

I have a feeling that Draco’s dad, Lucius, was the one who filled him in on something. (Consider this: Ron’s dad, Arthur, told Harry the exact opposite, that he was not to go looking for Black himself.)


Oh wait, more of Snape being a total douche after he tests to see if Neville’s shrinking potion actually works:

  • There was a moment of hushed silence, in which Trevor gulped; then there was a small pop, and Trevor the tadpole was wriggling in Snape’s palm.

    The Gryffindors burst into applause. Snape, looking sour, pulled a small bottle from the pocket of his robe, poured a few drops on top of Trevor, and he reappeared suddenly, fully grown.

    “Five points from Gryffindor,” said Snape, which wiped the smiles from every face. “I told you not to help him, Miss Granger. Class dismissed.”

All right, let’s get to some fun: the first Defense Against the Dark Arts class, taught by R.J. Lupin. Surprisingly (and I mean that, as I did not expect this), Lupin is not a total asshole. Not only that, but he ends up being a pretty fine professor as well.

He tells the students they won’t need their books for their first lesson, as he is going to show them something more practical. Not only does this include him using gum to send Peeves flying off to another part of the castle, but it involves my personal favorite lesson that any Hogwarts professor has ever taught.


It’s really a quite brilliant invention by J.K. Rowling that accents the theme of the book. What if there was a creature that was shapeless until it could attack a single person as the thing it most feared?

  • “So the boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. Nobody knows what a boggart looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears.”

yeah this is bad ass personified.

  • “Right, Neville,” said Professor Lupin. “First things first: what would you say is the thing that frightens you most in the world?”

    Neville’s lips moved, but no noise came out.

    “Didn’t catch that, Neville, sorry,” said Professor Lupin cheerfully.

    Neville looked around rather wildly, as though begging someone to help him, then said, in barely more than a whisper, “Professor Snape.”


  • “When the boggart bursts out of this wardrobe, Neville, and sees you, it will assume the form of Professor Snape,” said Lupin. “And you will raise your hand–thus–and cry ‘Riddikulus’–and concentrate hard on your grandmother’s clothes. If all goes well, Professor Boggart Snape will be forced into that vulture-topped hat, and that green dress, with that big red handbag.”

this is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

When Lupin lets the boggart out of the wardrobe, it’s not chaos or horror or frightening. Lupin helps to teach the kids how to face their fears and make them…well, silly.

  • There was a noise like a whip crack. Snape stumbled; he was wearing a long, lace-trimmed dress and a towering hat topped with a moth-eaten vulture, and he was swinging a huge crimson handbag.

YES YES YES YES YES YES. Oh god I hope this is in the movie.

As the boggart moves to different students and they each turn it into something completely ridiculous, Harry starts to freak out about turning it into a dementor. Except that when it becomes Harry’s turn, Lupin calls the boggart away from Harry and towards himself. (He also turns it into a crystal ball? What?)

Even Harry questions the fact that he did not get a turn, especially when Lupid awards five points to everyone on the Gryffindor team.

So why did Lupin not let Harry have a turn? Harry thinks it’s because Lupin saw Harry collapse on the train when he saw the dementor, but….