Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Compassion and Forgiveness

By J.K. Rowling

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Compassion and Forgiveness

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban isn't so much about forgiveness as it is about the difficulty of actually forgiving someone. Forgiveness and compassion are ongoing processes here, and they are things that don't come naturally to every character. Throughout the novel we're confronted with situations that may or may not be forgivable. Ron manages to forgive Hermione for her role in Scabbers's "death," but Snape doesn't get over the almost-deadly prank that James, Lupin, and Sirius played on him as schoolboys. Some things seem unforgivable, such as Peter's role in the death of Lily and James. But, as Harry's actions toward Peter demonstrate, even unforgivable acts can inspire mercy.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. How is the moment when Ron and Hermione reconcile significant? What's happening there and why is it important?
  2. In what ways are grudges and revenge shown to be destructive in the novel? Which characters seem to suffer for their pursuit of vengeance?
  3. Why do Lupin and Sirius seem to be able to forgive one another for the past so quickly and easily?
  4. How is Snape's refusal to forgive past actions significant to understanding his character?
  5. Harry showed Peter mercy, but did he forgive Peter? Is it possible for Harry to ever forgive Peter?
  6. What examples do we get of Hermione's compassionate nature in the novel?

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