Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

Owl Post

  • Harry is being rebellious: it's midnight and he's up...writing an essay for his History of Magic class?
  • This really is rebellious, though, since Harry's Muggle relatives, the Dursleys, don't approve of magic and won't let Harry have access to his school books during the summer.
  • Harry actually had to sneak his magic books up to his room so he can do his homework.
  • Summers are a real bummer for Harry since he doesn't get to see or talk to his friends.
  • His friend Ron tried to call, but Ron didn't know how to use a telephone and ended up just shouting at Uncle Vernon.
  • It's Harry's thirteenth birthday and it's shaping up to be yet another bummer.
  • "Yet another unusual thing about Harry was how little he looked forward to his birthdays. He had never received a birthday card in his life" (1.26).
  • But then Harry's owl Hedwig comes bearing gifts.
  • Harry gets a letter and a birthday gift from his three closest friends: Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid.
  • Ron's family won a drawing and took a vacation to Egypt – he sends Harry a picture of the Weasley clan that appeared in The Daily Prophet.
  • Ron sends Harry a Sneakoscope, which goes off like an alarm if something untrustworthy or shifty is going on in the vicinity.
  • Hermione sends Harry a Broomstick Servicing Kit and Hagrid gives Harry a monster of a book – literally. It's the Monster Book of Monsters and it tries to eat Harry's arm before he restrains it with a belt.
  • We'll never complain about our heavy textbooks again.
  • Harry also gets a letter from Professor McGonagall, though it's not about his birthday. Professor McGonagall just writes to give him his list of books for the new school year and a permission slip that a guardian needs to sign so that Harry can visit the wizarding village of Hogsmeade this year.
  • Harry goes to bed happy on his birthday for the first time.

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