The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 12-13: My Patronus is a Narwhal

Hey guys, are you sick of me yet? I just have to say, before I dive in, that I absolutely loved the amount of discussion that was generated in the comments section of my last post. It outstripped the post itself by a long shot. You guys are FREAKING AMAZING. I’m still conversing with people on that post, nearly a month later. It’s kind of funny, because I originally planned to incite the “what’s your Patronus?” discussion on this post, but it was already done for me! Since we will be discussing Harry’s first casting here, however, I will still talk about the awesomeness that is the Patronus charm. How could I not?

It is no secret that PoA is one of my favorites in the series. I was just floored by it the first time I read it. The twists! The turns! The Marauder’s Map! By the way, I totally want a “Mischief Managed” tattoo. I know that it has been done, but I want it so bad.


I specifically requested a chapter where Lupin and Harry have one-on-one time so I could talk about how much I love their relationship in the books and how I thought the movie made it look downright creepy. I understand that it’s hard to show a caring mentor/mentee relationship between an older man and a young boy without it being misinterpreted. In this day and age, with priest abuse scandals and unfortunate celebrity molestation trials, it’s easy for our minds to go there. In the HP movies, however, I think they do a pretty good job of showing these relationships as they truly are. Sirius and Harry pull off a loving relationship with no weird vibes, no one thinks Dumbledore is being creepy when he has heart-to-hearts with Harry, and Snape’s favoritism toward Draco doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable in any way. Lupin and Harry, on the other hand… I don’t know if it is the way things are staged, with them always meeting in secret, walking the deserted grounds as if their relationship is forbidden, but it gives me the icks.

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Now, before you all yell at me in the comments for being wrong, just consider other relationships that were a little off. For example, how affectionate Harry and Hermione are in the movies as compared to the books. They throw themselves into each other’s arms and exchange meaningful looks a lot. I bet that scene in Goblet when she comes down the stairs in her gown sent Harry/Hermione shippers into a frenzy of fanfictioning. My point is that sometimes the movies get it a bit wrong, portraying relationships differently than we picture them in our heads. For me, this is one of those instances.

That being said, let’s focus instead on the Harry/Lupin book relationship which, as I said, I love. I had no idea, when I requested a chapter with a heart-to-heart, I was going to get to talk about the chapter where Harry learns how to cast a Patronus. YAY!


Everyone’s mad at Hermione! Again! As she points out later, she was right about where the Firebolt came from, but we don’t know that yet, so we are mad at her for getting it taken away. I’ve always wondered how Sirius managed to use his Gringotts gold and no one wondered “hey, that escaped convict took gold out of his vault and ordered a broom via owl post that was subsequently delivered to Harry FREAKING Potter. MAYBE WE SHOULD CHECK INTO THAT!!” But alas, that would make sense. Ah magic, how you casually explain away my reasoning. IT WAS JUST MAGIC, JEN! GET OVER IT.

Speaking of which, the Patronus charm is probably my favorite piece of magic in the Potterverse. Harry’s little wispy hints at a true full-blown Patronus are so exiting on re-read. It is a truly beautiful and elegant piece of magic and I am on the edge of my seat, wanting Harry to figure it all out, to reach his true magical potential. Go Harry, go!

Several things are interesting to me about this lesson. First, Harry is facing a boggart, but it has the impact of a real dementor. Harry actually feels his happiness being sucked away. Does this mean that a boggart not only assumes the form of what scares you the most, but actually takes on very real characteristics? Could a boggart kill you, then, rather than just scare you? Also, what is its motivation? Why so scary, boggart? I’m just so curious about them. Now is the part where everyone comes in and tells me that on Pottermore, Rowling explains everything about them. I have never really explored the site, so I’m left with my musings, which I quite enjoy, but explain away.

As usual, I get a bit sad about Harry and his childhood. He doesn’t have a happy enough memory for a corporeal Patronus yet. I would think the moment he first arrived at Hogwarts, or found out he was a wizard, would be pretty good ones, but they don’t quite cut it. My happy Patronus memory would probably be the day I married Mike, or the time I went scuba diving in Kauai and I saw dozens of sea turtles. Those days were awesome. What would yours be? 

I know we have discussed the “what would your patronus be?” question on a couple of different posts, but I think mine would be a Narwhal. This is for no reason other than they look like they should be some sort of mythical creature. I mean, a sea-dweller with a big horn on its forehead that basically swordfights (the term is actually “tusking”) with other narwhals? That’s so badass. I can see it charging down and happiness-impaling a dementor. Plus, I love the ocean, and always thought my patronus or animagus form would probably be a sea creature of some sort.

En garde, dementor scum!

En garde, dementor scum!

The thing I love about this chapter is Lupin is Harry’s teacher, his mentor, but he is still kind of a rebel, hearkening back to his Marauder days. What other professor would teach secretly teach Harry a Patronus charm and let a surrogate dementor attack him over and over again? Remus Lupin makes this book for me. Not only is he one of the few competent Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers we have ever seen, but he is so supportive of Harry. He treats him like his nephew before we realize that it’s practically true; we see all the little hints of the compassion he feels for Harry. This is why I was SO OUTRAGED on my first reading when I thought, just for a moment, that he had betrayed Harry to help  the “evil” Sirius attempt to kill him. But that’s a subject for another chapter.

“You heard James?” said Lupin in a strange voice.

“Yeah…you didn’t know my dad, did you?”

“I – I did, as a matter of fact…We were friends at Hogwarts.”

“If you knew my dad, you must have known Sirius Black as well.”

“Yes I knew him… Or I thought I did.”

Tell him, Lupin! Tell him things! Tell him about his father!!! I know that Jo was saving this for the big reveal and to throw us off track even more, but I really want Lupin to stop being so cagey and explain things to Harry RIGHT NOW. I’m actually sort of surprised that Harry doesn’t push harder. It is Harry, after all. He’s pretty nosey, to say the least, and to get information about his parents, I would think he would jump at the chance. Unfortunately, Lupin distracts him by attacking him with the “dementor” again and then sending him back to the Gryffindor common room.

Every night, without fail, Hermione was to be seen in a corner of the common room, several tables spread with books, Arithmancy charts, rune dictionaries, diagrams of Muggles lifting heavy objects, and file upon file of extensive notes; she barely spoke to anybody and snapped when she was interrupted.

Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel every week of grad school. Also, wizards must not be very fit if they never lift anything. Think about it, their only sport involves flying on broomsticks. It’s really not the most athletic pursuit.

Ron, though pissed off at Hermione, is still constantly wondering how she is managing to get to multiple classes at once. IT’S MAGIC, RON! GET OVER IT! Harry, on the other hand, couldn’t care less. He treats Ron like every adult treats him when he is sticking his nose in it. He dismisses him as crazy and doesn’t even consider that he might have a point. Way to go, Harry. This reaction is perfectly reasonable, given that they are teenage boys, and Jo doesn’t want the reader thinking about all this too much, because we might figure out what’s up with Hermione. Having her narrator ignore it is the best way to throw us off the scent. It was the same thing when Ginny was acting all nutty in the last book.

“Bad news, Harry. I’ve just been to see Professor McGonagall about the Firebolt. She – er – got a bit shirty with me. Told me I’d got my priorities wrong…. Just because I told her I didn’t care if it threw you off, as long as you caught the Snitch first.”

Wood is so hilariously intense about Quidditch.

Lupin and Harry have another heart-to-heart, during which Harry STILL doesn’t press him for details about his parents. Instead, we find out what a dementor’s kiss is, and it is so not sexy. Instead, it’s incredibly disturbing. I remember being horrified by the concept when I first read this.



Then, OMG! Scabbers is missing and there are GINGER CAT HAIRS nearby. Ron assumes the worst.

I eated your rat.

I eated your rat.


Everyone’s even madder at Hermione! Well, Ron is anyway. The first time I read this, I completely empathized with Ron. Hermione is being a little nutty about Crookshanks. He did attack Scabbers at every opportunity, so it seems reasonable that he ate him. In my own experience, however, I can be a little nutty about my cats as well, and if I thought they were being unjustly accused, I’d probably be pretty pissed at the accuser.

But, who cares about “murdered” “rats”? It’s time for Quidditch!! McGonagall has given Harry back his Firebolt in the previous chapter so it’s party time. This is actually something that intrigues me about Quidditch. Broomstick superiority is obviously a big deal. A so-so player’s abilities are seriously enhanced by the quality of his or her broom. I’m not sure how, in a school sports team in particular, they get away with that. The richer students automatically have the advantage? Seems a little sketchy to me. I can see a gaggle of overprotective moms arguing that everyone should use the same brooms and protesting at the Quidditch pitch. Good thing parents seem to have absolutely no impact on their children’s lives while at Hogwarts. Shouldn’t they have a parents day or something? They never even come to Quidditch matches. I always found that intriguing, because my parents came to a LOT of football games and band competitions to support me, both in high school and college, I would think the same thing would happen here. I guess a big part of the appeal of Hogwarts for the reader is that it’s a parent-free zone.

So, despite inciting that little broom debate, there is not a lot going on this chapter until we hit the end. I know you’re very thankful for that, because I went on and on about the previous chapter. Let me hit you with some bullets.

  • Everyone drools over the Firebolt, including Madam Hooch.
  • Harry meets Ravenclaw’s sexy new seeker, Cho Chang. CRUSH ALERT!
  • The d-bag squad from Slytherin show up, disguised as dementors, to try to freak out Harry and sabotage Gryffindor. Harry casually casts what we can assume to be a corporeal stag Patronus at them and then goes on to win the Quidditch game singlehandedly. He still doesn’t know how cool his Patronus is; he doesn’t pay attention because QUIDDITCH.
  • Hermione is still completely overwhelmed with her schoolwork (for obvious reasons) and Ron hurts her feelings and she runs off crying. Poor Hermione. Harry is somewhat unsuccessfully diplomatic in trying to get Ron to lay off of her.
  • Harry has a dream that he’s following his Patronus around in the woods. He almost sees it when he wakes up suddenly to Ron screaming. Ron! Come on!
  • Sirius has broken into the dorms and gone after Ron Peter. At this point, we don’t know if Ron is crazy or what, but more pieces are falling into place. 
  • Turns out Sir Cadogan is the worst guardian ever. You would think he would recognize Sirius, but no, he lets him in with Neville’s password list. Poor Neville, he’s so unpopular all over again.

Thanks again, guys! See you in the comments section!

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42 thoughts on “The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 12-13: My Patronus is a Narwhal

  1. Kevin O'Shea says:

    I always imagined that the goblins just didn’t care. Wizards are wizards and gold is gold, so as long as they’re doing their jobs the wand-carrying bastards could just go dunk their heads.

    There’s a particular bit of headcanon I have that details Cornelius Fudge, setting Sirius’s affairs in order after the Ministry Rescue, finding out about the Firebolt purchase and demanding to know why they didn’t tell him at the time, and the goblins just grinning in that way they do and saying “Nobody asked us.”

    It’s these Wood moments in this book that make me miss him all the more the following year. Sure, we see him at the beginning, but I’d have really loved to see him gushing as much as Ron about the Quidditch Haderach walking around Hogwarts all year.

    • Jen says:

      I always thought that was the only explanation. If the Ministry of Magic had the forethought to tell the Goblins to watch Sirius’s account, the goblins were probably thinking that wizard business just didn’t concern them. They play by their own rules, and it probably doesn’t help that Wizard/Goblin relations are a bit… tricky.

      Wood is hilarious. So is “Quidditch Haderach”. I bet he would also be amusingly outraged about the pitch being covered in a hedge maze.

  2. Ashley says:

    1. About the Firebolt gold, Sirius says later that Crookshanks helped him submit the order, so it would have been the Firebolt people who took the gold out and the goblins who gave them that gold, so I guess we just have to believe that the goblins don’t give a flying fuck and neither do the Firebolt people, because they’re both getting their money either way.

    2. That Oliver Wood quote is perfection. I love him so much.

    3. You bring up interesting points about parents and Hogwarts that I will have to think over before I post more.

    4. I still don’t know what my Patronus is!!!

    • Jen says:

      1. I wonder how Crookshanks helped. Did he take an order to the owlery? Show up somewhere in Hogsmeade with the order in his mouth? So many questions…

      2. Me too. He is so funny and unreasonable.

      3. It was honestly something I never really thought about before.

      4. In all honesty, my Patronus would probably be a cat or perhaps a turtle, but I had to think of something more badass than that.

  3. Valerie Anne says:

    1. Of all the moments thus far in my life, I think my patronus-making moment would be the time my goddaughter, at two years old, looked up at me and (totally unprompted) said, “I love you, Auntie Balerie.”

    2. “I eated your rat” caption had me rolling.

    3. Your comment on Harry/Hermione reminded me that, the first time I read these books as a pre-teen, I so wanted Harry and Hermione to end up together. In hindsight, it was probably because I was head over heels for Hermione and Harry was my ticket into this story so if she fell in love with him it would be like falling in love with me. Or something. I was a weird kid. And gay. So very unknowingly gay.

    4. Totally unrelated to anything Pottery, but your patronus being a narwhal (excellent choice) reminded me of this video that my friends and I used to watch in high school and devolve into uncontrollable fits of laughter:

    5. I suddenly feel like you all know too much about me and my chapters are coming up soon please still read what I write I swear I’m only kind of really weird.

    • Jen says:

      1. That’s so sweet! That’s a really good one.

      2. 🙂

      3. I wanted them to get together at first too. Especially because the actors had so much chemistry in the movies. I also always seem to be a shipper of the more unlikely couplings in my TV and movies and such.

      4. That was awesome. Thank you for that.

      5. We still like you. And we’re all weird.

      • Lindsay says:

        I was so afraid I was the only one who shipped Harry/Hermione for a little while. I was feeling so ashamed. I just never could get behind Cho Chang.

        • Dan says:

          Cho was never gonna happen. I briefly wanted Harry and Luna to get together.

          • Jen says:

            Harry and Luna would have been hilarious. Anything that brings in more Luna time is fine by me.

          • squidwarrior says:

            I totally thought that Harry and Luna were going to be a thing at first. As with most of my Harry Potter predictions in those days, I was incorrect.

          • Kevin O'Shea says:

            Harry and Luna have this epic understanding and friendship that I just absolutely love. Luna and Harry just get each other in a way that Ron never will.

            That said, they’d be all wrong for each other romantically. But I imagine they’ve got an epic bromance.

          • Jen says:

            Luna has amazing insights, especially about Harry. I always thought they should hang out more.

          • Jennie says:

            I could totally get behind Luna/Harry. Though I do enjoy the idea of Luna/Neville, too. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK.

        • Jen says:

          Cho was nice and everything, but they had no real connection. It was just a crush. Maybe that’s just me projecting. I’m a firm believer in being best friends with one’s significant other.

        • Kevin O'Shea says:

          Proud flag-bearing crewmate of the HMS Pumpkin Pie, here.

    • Ashley says:

      I think I read somewhere that one of the trio’s actors had a crush on the other, but I could be making that up out of me head. I want to say it was Dan crushing on Emma, and maybe it’s in one of the special features?

      P.S. We embrace the weird here. Let your freak flag fly.

  4. Dan says:

    I never got the Harry/Hermione thing. Putting the main male and main female (or main males, or main females, whatever) protagonist together just seems like a cop-out to me (I’m looking at you, Moonlighting, X-Files, Bones, Castle, and Russell T. Davies!). But, that’s just my opinion.

    Also, the bit about Lupin and Harry reminds me of the problems Joss Whedon had with Giles during the first season of Buffy: How close and intense can your adult authority figure get to your teen star without the network or audience freaking out?

    • Lindsay says:

      They handled he Giles Buffy relationship well, Buffy would make fun of Giles being old and Giles would get all awkward and say “we’re doomed” and that was that.

      Jen, I definitely agree that they mishandled their movie relationship. It is one of my favorite of Harry’s relationships on the books and I just don’t get the same warm fuzzies in the movie. Could be the actor too. :p

      • Dan says:

        It was more along the lines of “If they’re alone in a scene together, make sure you leave room for Jesus.” There’s a scene in “Welcome to the Hellmouth”/”The Harvest” where Giles kinda pins Buffy to a locker and gets all Watcher-y on her that could have been really creepy under certain circumstances.

      • Jen says:

        Yeah, he was never very natural as Lupin. Maybe it’s just that I pictured him so completely differently in my head.

    • Jen says:

      I’m a fan of the Niles/Daphne will-they-or-won’t-they. They weren’t the primary characters and the relationship wasn’t the main focus of the show so it works a bit better and it was still very satisfying in the end.

      I would also like to add The Nanny to that list. I’m still a sucker for that kind of thing sometimes, but it can be handled poorly (Bones!). I am still on board with Melissa & Joey, though. Even though it’s a comedy, the relationship-forming seems more honest and realistic than most.

      Giles and Buffy was done well. It never grossed me out, and I have a radar for these sorts of off-putting things. It was strongly father-daughter from the beginning, with no sexual tension I could perceive.

      • Gretchen Alice says:

        Yes to everything about Giles and Buffy. Perfectly handled.
        I’m re-watching Frasier these days (or rather, re-listening to it while I shelve books at the library) and the Niles and Daphne thing STILL gets to me. It’s so good.

        • Jen says:

          The best thing about Niles/Daphne is how she is already close to the Crane family and she sort of seamlessly integrates into being a full-fledged family member. There is an episode, after they get together, where they are all taking a vacation. They are taking pictures and Frasier says “now just the family” excluding the other S/Os on the trip. There is no question that Daphne is included in that family unit even though she and Niles aren’t married. I just really love that moment.

          I do a lot of re-listening as well. Right now I’m re-listening to Ugly Betty while I do artifact analysis.

  5. squidwarrior says:

    I think my Patronus would either be a monkey (who could throw Patronus poo at the dementors), or a honey badger because NO ONE FUCKS WITH THE HONEY BADGER.

    And my happy memory would be when I married Jen (obviously)!

  6. Jeff says:

    I think mine would be some sort of whale. But that seems a tad ridiculous. I just picture a humpback taking out an entire regiment of dementors. Or a duck. A duck would be cool too…

    This really got me reflecting on my life in an effort to determine which moments would be Patronus worthy. Still haven’t found a single one. Thank you for the philosophical slap in the face, Jen.

    • Jen says:

      A whale would be an awesome patronus. I also considered a big shark, but it doesn’t have a big horn in the middle of its head, so it lost to narwhal.

      I think your patronus would be a T-Rex.

      Whatever it would be shaped like, it would be named George.

      Sorry about your philosophical conundrum. I’m sure you have at least one happy memory.It doesn’t have to be the most amazing memory ever, just a good one.

  7. ladysugarquill says:

    – I’d love a unicorn Patronus, but I think I’d get just a horse.

    Hey, horses are cool. Ginny’s Patronus is a horse 🙂

    – Well, better gear gives you an advantage in every sport, not only Quidditch, but that’s not all there is. We never did see Harry win a game just because his broom is better, and Draco’s Nimbus 2001 did no good against Harry in Chamber.

    They never even come to Quidditch matches.


    he doesn’t pay attention because QUIDDITCH

    I love it how before he’s like “I gotta learn how to defeat Dementors and stop hearing my dead parents’ voices OR I WILL NOT WIN AT QUIDDITCH”.

    Harry is adorbs.

    • Jen says:

      I think we do see Harry having an advantage because of his broomstick. It might not be all there is, but it’s definitely something. I’m not sure it’s on the level with a football team having better pads or something.

  8. Samantha says:

    Movie lupin really have me the creeps…

    And I had a huge crush on Giles as a middle schooler! Ah

  9. Julie Merson says:

    From learning in HBP that Patronuses change, I’ve thought that the Patronus Harry produces in this chapter isn’t a stag. Jo just says it’s “something enormous”, which stags aren’t, really. At the end of the book, Dumbledore mentions, something along the lines of, “How else could you have produced that PARTICULAR Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.” I think it’s significant considering that Dumbledore was at the match and saw Harry’s first patronus, and doesn’t make any mention relating to it later. After learning who Sirius is, Harry’s character significantly changed, and I think his Patronus changed too.

  10. Julie Merson says:

    Little late, here, 2015 and all. But this whole thing is fabulous. LOVE IT. Anyway.

    From learning in HBP that Patronuses change, I’ve thought that the Patronus Harry produces in this chapter isn’t a stag. Jo just says it’s “something enormous”, which stags aren’t, really. At the end of the book, Dumbledore mentions, something along the lines of, “How else could you have produced that PARTICULAR Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.” I think it’s significant considering that Dumbledore was at the match and saw Harry’s first patronus, and doesn’t make any mention relating to it later. After learning who Sirius is, Harry’s character significantly changed, and I think his Patronus changed too.

    • Jen says:

      Oh hello there! That is an interesting point. I never really thought about it. I am wondering if, at the match, he produced a non-corporeal patronus.


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