Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  1. Peter Pettigrew hid in the body of a rat for twelve years, why is it a suitable animal form for him? Why is Scabbers a good name for him as a rat? Do you think he, Peter Pettigrew as Scabbers, ever cared for Ron, or any of the Weasleys?
  2. In the books so far, the only people to say Voldemort, instead of He-who-shall-not-be-named and You-know-who, are Dumbledore and Harry. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that changes. Why is it that Lupin and Sirius say Voldemort? What do you think it shows about their character or their past experiences? Why is it important that few people say Voldemort in reference to him?
  3. In class we’ve discussed how Dumbledore must sit back and let things play out when it comes to the missions Harry must go on. Since McGonagall gave Hermione the time turner, do you think McGonagall knew they could save multiple lives using it? Or do you think she only gave it to Hermione for her studies?
  4. As discussed in class if Harry would have confided in an adult, things could have gone differently. In this book, how do you think things would have changed if Harry told Lupin about the dog?  “[Harry] thought for a moment of telling Lupin about the dog he’d seen in Magnolia Crescent, but decided not to.”
  5. Why is Snape so unwilling to hear anything good about Sirius Black or Lupin? Why does he continue to be mean to Harry, Ron, and Hermione?
  6. What does Dumbledore mean when he says to Harry: “You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?” (p. 427) What is the importance of Harry learning to produce the Patronus?
  7. Dementors are soulless creatures that guard Azkaban and feed on happiness and positive feelings. Their presence makes things grow cold and dark and force surrounding people to relive their most awful memories. They can perform the Dementor’s Kiss where they suck out the victim’s soul. Rowling has said that she created the Dementors from her feelings of deep depression. Do you think these creatures are too dark for a book that children read?
  8. Harry has repeatedly said that he doesn’t feel worthy of the attention he receives because he didn’t do anything special when Voldemort attacked him, he literally is only “the boy who lived.” But Dumbledore and Lupin continue to give him hints to help him defeat evil. Why are they putting their trust and the fate of the wizarding world in the hands of a 13 year-old boy who has only studied magic for three years?  If they are such capable and amazing wizards, why don’t they just take care of the problems on their own?
  9. In the first book, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that Snape was trying to protect him because Harry’s father once saved his life. Snape obviously felt like owed a debt to Harry. Had the debt been repaid by Harry’s third year? If so, why does Snape continue to aid and protect him (e.g., Teaching a lesson on werewolves)?
  10. Finally, Hogwarts gets a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who actually knows what he is doing.   When the school gets Professor Lupin, even students that normally struggle did well in his class.  An example of such a student is Neville.   Do you think that Professor Lupin should have stayed and continued to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts or do you think he should have left once Professor Snape told everyone he was a werewolf?  If you think Professor Lupin should have stayed, what could have been some positives and negatives now that everyone knows he is a werewolf?
  11. Do you think Harry did the right thing by not allowing Sirius and Professor Lupin to kill Peter Pettigrew?  Could they have known that not killing him would lead to Sirius not having proof of his innocence?  The reason Harry didn’t want to kill Peter Pettigrew is so they could prove that Sirius is innocent. Sirius asked Harry to come live with him.  Do you think it would have been a good thing for Harry to go live with Sirius if he had been proven innocent?  How might Harry’s life have changed if he had had the chance to live with Sirius?
  12. Why did Dumbledore decide to hire Lupin as a Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor even though he knew of Lupin’s lycanthropy condition? Was it due to Lupin being a former student, did he think Lupin could control his transformation, or was there a more abstract reason? Was Dumbledore’s decision a poor one?
  13. In order to conjure a patronus, Professor Lupin tells Harry he must concentrate on a truly happy memory. The first time he tries the charm, the memory he chose did not work very well. In class we have discussed extensively about how difficult Harry’s life has been thus far,  do you think he could have chosen a better memory than the one he did? If so, what would it have been and why do you think Harry didn’t choose it? If you have seen the movie, why do you think they chose a different memory?
  14. Harry has called Hogwarts his real home since book one. He has made himself a family and a better life. While Harry has been in danger every year at Hogwarts thus far, in the first book the believed Professor Snape was after the Sorcerer’s Stone and in the second book the basilisk was after muggle-borns, but he was never targeted directly from the beginning (to his knowledge). In book three he finds out before he goes to school that he is in danger and that there is someone looking specifically for him. Do you think this knowledge made a difference in the way he conducted himself? Do you think his judgement changed? What could he have done better? Would it have been better had he not heard the Weasleys talking about it and been left in the dark for as long as possible?
  15. Give some examples in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban that exemplifies the vulnerability of characters to have two sides to them. Explain how this “duality of life” between the bad and good side of people affect their interpretation of doing the right thing. For instance, Hermione illegally used the time-turner to save Buckbeak and Black from execution.
  16. What was the significance of Harry finding out that he was the one that casted the Patronus spell to save himself and his friends?  How does this change the audience’s perspective on Harry?
  17. Until Pettigrew, we haven’t met anyone from any house other that Slytherin who has been evil or cruel. How does Pettigrew’s betrayal effect the stereotype “There’s not a single witch or wizard that went bad wasn’t in Slytherin,” we get from Hagrid in book one? Would this effect still be as strong if he had been a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff instead of Gryffindor?
  18. J.K. Rowling has stated “Remus Lupin was supposed to be on the H.I.V. metaphor.  It was someone who had been infected young, who suffered stigma, who had a fear of infecting others, who was terrified he would pass on his condition to his son,” in reference to his lycanthropy. How does this knowledge affect how we as readers see his condition? How does it affect our opinions of the people of the wizarding world who ostracize Lupin because of a condition he had no control over and despises?
  19. After Harry accidently uses magic against his aunt, Fudge says that he is not going to punish him for a “little thing like that”. If it were Ron, or anyone else besides Harry, do you think they would have been punished? Do you believe that Harry gets special privileges because of his home situation?
  20. Why do you think that Hermione takes an excessive amount of classes? Do you think that she feels the need to overcompensate because she is a muggle-born, or do you think that she genuinely enjoys  learning?
  21. How would the plot have advanced differently if Scabbers hadn’t been in the picture taken in Egypt that was published in the Daily Prophet, and if Black hadn’t then gotten a copy of that paper?
  22. Is the process of Lucius Malfoy blackmailing other school governors and ministry officials and getting them to say Buckbeak ought to be put down for harming his son a reflection of real life government and how so? Are there other examples from the text that reflect real life government?