Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

Talons and Tea Leaves

  • Harry's first day of school gets off to a bad start when a bunch of Slytherins make fun of him for passing out on the train.
  • Fred and George tell Harry to cheer up as they hand out class schedules.
  • Ron and Harry are confused over how jam-packed Hermione's schedule is. It looks like she'll be taking three classes at once, but Hermione dismisses Ron and Harry's questions saying, "Don't be silly" and "Pass the marmalade" (6.1.21; 6.1.23).
  • Well, OK, then.
  • The three friends head off to Divination, which is a long way off in the castle.
  • On the way, they meet a portrait of a demented knight named Sir Cadogan, who acts like he's starring in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • He does get the gang to the elusive North Tower, at least.
  • Everyone heads inside the Divination classroom, which looks like "a cross between someone's attic and an old-fashioned tea shop" (6.1.57).
  • Professor Sibyll Trelawney proves to be a bit of a mystical nut.
  • She makes vague predictions, has everyone practice reading tea leaves, and then predicts Harry's imminent death, since there's a "grim" in his tea leaves.
  • On that note, class is dismissed. Everyone is freaked out by Trelawney, except for Hermione, who thinks Trelawney is a total quack.
  • Next, the Gryffindors head to Transfiguration, taught by Professor McGonagall.
  • McGonagall is an Animagus, which means she can transform into an animal – a cat, in her case.
  • The class doesn't react much to her transformation and she wants to know what's up.
  • Upon finding out, McGonagall has this to say: "Then you should know, Potter, that Sibyll Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. [...] Seeing death omens is her favorite way of greeting a new class" (6.1.125).
  • Finally, the Gryffindors and Slytherins meet up for Care of Magical Creatures.
  • Hagrid is nervous and has a setback when everyone complains about his crazy textbook, The Monster Books of Monsters, which has already tried to eat everyone.
  • We'll never complain about our heavy textbooks again.
  • Things are looking up when Hagrid presents his lesson: a Hippogriff, which is half-bird half-horse.
  • Hagrid describes Hippogriffs as "Easily offended […]. Don't never insult one, 'cause it might be the last thing yeh do" (6.2.30).
  • Harry volunteers to approach a Hippogriff first, out of loyalty to Hagrid. He bows to one named Buckbeak, who eventually bows right back.
  • Then Hagrid plops Harry on Buckbeak, who takes Harry for a bumpy flight around the paddock.
  • Harry is glad when it's over.
  • The class begins bowing to the Hippogriffs, but Malfoy and his friends act like punks. Malfoy's Hippogriff gets insulted and slashes Malfoy's arm.
  • Everyone freaks out and Hagrid rushes Malfoy to the infirmary.
  • That evening, the trio visits Hagrid to cheer him up. Hagrid is grateful, but then yells at them for letting Harry wander around after dark. He escorts them back to the castle.

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