Talons and Tea Leaves
chapter six of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry has an eventful first day of classes, in which a wacky knight leads him to the North Tower, Trelawney predicts his demise, McGonagall refutes the prediction, and he rides a hippogriff. After that same hippogriff attacks Malfoy, though, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the evening with Hagrid, assuring him he won’t be fired.
“Just ignore him, it’s not worth it….”
“A quest!” The knight’s rage seemed to vanish instantly…. “Come follow me, dear friends, and we shall find our goal, or else shall perish bravely in the charge!”
“Many witches and wizards, talented though they are in the area of loud bangs and smells and sudden disappearings, are yet unable to penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future,” Professor Trelawney went on, her enormous, gleaming eyes moving from face to nervous face. “It is a Gift granted to few.”
Everyone was staring, transfixed, at Professor Trelawney, who gave the cup a final turn….
“My dear,” Professor Trelawney’s huge eyes opened dramatically, “you have the Grim.”
(by Tealin Raintree)
She transformed herself in front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes.
(by Heather Campbell)
Once you got over the first shock of seeing something that was half horse, half bird, you started to appreciate the hippogriffs’ gleaming coats, changing smoothly from feather to hair, each of them a different color….
When they reached Hagrid’s hut, they knocked, and a voice growled, “C’min.” … One look told them that Hagrid had been drinking a lot.
about the chapter
The Power of Magic
Professor Trelawney’s brand of Divination seems remarkably similar to Muggle astrology, wherein the predictions made are so general, they always seem to come true. Count me with Hermione among the unimpressed, especially once we learn that Trelawney has predicted a student’s demise on the first day of every class, and it has never yet come to pass. Still, it’s fun to see all the predictions that Rowling writes into the classes and follows up on in some way later on, like Parvati being wary of a redhead or someone leaving the class forever around Easter (do you think that might happen every year?).
Life at Hogwarts
As I read about Harry eating sausages and fried tomatoes for breakfast, I started thinking about how deliciously unhealthy all the food seems to be, and wondering how on earth the students can ever manage to stay in shape (even their sport is played sitting down!). Of course, that breakfast is immediately followed with a trek to the top of the North Tower, which took more than ten minutes and involved a lot of running. When even getting to Gryffindor Tower demands a whole lot of stairs, maybe it’s not so hard to fathom after all. :)
The Boy Who Lived
Hagrid will later say that “everything seems to happen to” Harry, but sometimes it’s Harry’s own doing – in this case, he willingly volunteered to be the first to meet a hippogriff. It’s part bravery (did you really think a Slytherin would volunteer?), and of course part loyalty to his friend Hagrid. But as usual, Harry had a bit of a scare, and things worked out all right in the end.
The Final Word
“I didn’t invent the Hippogriff. The mediaeval European people genuinely believed they existed. We won’t go into the reasons that might be, but it’s a mythical creature. It’s an unusual mythical creature, it’s not as famous as a unicorn or a griffin…. I’m very fond of my Hippogriffs. I like Buckbeak.”–J.K. Rowling, October 1999