No gifs or pictures or captions for me today. This is not a chapter that lends itself to humor. This is a chapter that explodes, illuminating the final act of the book and setting that act into motion. It is the chapter where shit gets real.
It’s also a chapter of lovely little character moments. JKR is a smart lady and she shows the way Ron and Hermione are all a little bit different after this, not just Harry. Ron and Hermione and Harry are 13 and they are growing up. Time carries on, whether you have a Time Turner or not.
Side note: I’ve loved time travel stories since I was a kid and I love what this story is doing and where it’s going. It’s complex and sophisticated and helps launch the series into a new direction. And I’m so glad that Hermione gets to have this adventure – unlike Rachel McAdams who is about to appear in her third time travel movie without ever being allowed to travel through time.
The chapter begins with exams approaching. Percy is tense and even the Weasley twins are working and oh my god, I am so glad I don’t have to do do that anymore. Seriously, the best thing about being a grown up (after being able to eat ice cream whenever you damn well please) is the fact that you never have to take a test ever again. Homework? I don’t think so. It’s the best. Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, I remind myself at least I don’t have to do homework anymore.
Hermione makes a schedule of her exams. She has two at nine and two at one but she’s absolutely not in any in two places at once to make that happen. Oh, Hermione. She has to be so tired by now. Everyone else isn’t doing much better. Students fret about the difficulty of the tests which include Cheering Charms and turning tea pots into tortoises and I now want a toile-patterned pet tortoise desperately. Get on that, science.
The last day of exams is the most important for two reasons: Buckbeack’s appeal is scheduled that day and so is Harry’s Divinations final. Harry, the optimist, makes up a story about seeing Buckbeak flying away in his crystal ball. Trewlaney’s disappointed in the general lack of blood and death and general terribleness until everything changes.
TREWLANEY BEGINS TO SPEAK IN CAPSLOCK.
And everybody knows, capslock means either something supernatural is going on or someone’s about to confess to being a serial killer. Trewlaney gives Harry her second true prediction, prophesying that “the servant will set out to join the master.” That was vague of you, Trewlaney, thanks. Naturally, she doesn’t believe Harry when he relays the prediction. Too bad. An adult perspective could have helped.
BECAUSE WHEN SOMEONE HAS A VISION OF THE RETURN OF THE DARK LORD, YOU GET AN ADULT, HARRY.
Instead, the Trio sneaks out to see Hagrid before Buckbeak’s appeal where they discover Scabbers hiding. And as they head back up to the castle, struggling to keep Scabbers, they hear the thump of an axe and know Buckbeak is dead.
I bet Macnair speaks in capslock.
And now a list of the character moments that make this chapter sparkle:
- Ron protests the apparent fix for Buckbeak because they did so much research. It’s not enough that Buckbeak is going to die but that all the research he did for the defense will be wasted. This is hilarious.
- He later protests the injustice because Ron’s a good kid at heart.
- Hermione breaks the rules and sneaks off to retrieve the Invisibility Cloak. She’s growing beyond the worrying bookworm and making things happen.
- Ron is impressed with her and someone call Fed Ex because I’ve got some shipping to do.
- Not too much happens to Harry. He receives the prophesy and that’s about it. That’s not a character moment but it is a smart choice because things are going to go pear-shaped for Harry in just a few pages.