Harry starts off his third year at Hogwarts rather eventfully. He inadvertently blows up his Aunt Marge, goes on the run and is then personally absolved by the Minister of Magic himself. He then learns that mass murderer, Sirius Black, is intent on killing him, and Mr. Weasley makes him promise a strange thing, that no matter what he hears he won’t go looking for Black. Confused, Harry agrees.
As he heads back to school armed with this knowledge, he learns that dementors, evil, soul-sucking creatures, have been stationed around Hogwarts for protection against Black. They effect Harry much more than the others students because of his terrible past, and he quickly resolves to learn to defend himself when he begins collapsing every time they come near. He finds a willing teacher in Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, who begins teaching Harry the Patronus Charm, which is the only spell that will work against the foul creatures.
As the school year progresses and the third years are buried under mounds of homework, Ron and Hermione start a bitter feud over their pets. Hermione is already stressed out due to her enormous course load, and none of them can figure out how she’s getting to all her classes. It doesn’t help that Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks, repeatedly tries to eat Ron’s rat, Scabbers, and the two friends argue ceaselessly about the animals. They stop speaking entirely when it’s discovered that Crookshanks seems to have eaten Scabbers for good, and Ron is devastated.
Harry has a few close calls with Black when he breaks into the castle, but is not apprehended. Things come to a head at the end of the year when a number of events fall like dominoes up Harry and his friends. Ron’s rat, Scabbers, turns out to still be alive and is really a wizard in hiding, Peter Pettigrew, long thought dead. Harry learns that it was Peter, and not Sirius Black, that betrayed his parents to Voldemort. Just when Harry is sure Peter is finally going to be punished for his crimes, he escapes into the night.
Sirius, long thought to be a mass murderer and Voldemort supporter, turns out to be innocent, and Harry learns that Sirius is his godfather. He’s overjoyed when, for a moment, he thinks he might be finally free of the Dursleys, but Sirius has to go on the run from the Ministry to avoid being apprehended.
Professor Lupin, Harry’s favorite teacher, ends up resigning his post when it’s discovered that he’s a werewolf. He narrowly avoids attacking the kids, and it’s Sirius that saves their lives when he turns into a huge shaggy dog to protect them.
It’s an action-packed year to be sure, but Harry is very happy that Sirius makes it out safely and is finally free from Azkaban. He’s comforted by the fact that he finally has a family-member, so to speak, out there watching over him.
Harry Potter – Harry is the main character in Prisoner of Azkaban. During his 3rd year at Hogwarts, Harry finds out that Sirius Black, a die-hard supporter of Voldemort, is intent on killing him. When Harry finds out that Sirius is the one who betrayed Harry’s parents he is filled with anger and wants revenge.
Ron Weasley – Ron is Harry’s best friend. This year Ron is almost attacked by Sirius Black, and later finds out that his rat, Scabbers, is really a murderous wizard traiter, Peter Pettigrew. He is a good and loyal friend to Harry.
Hermione Granger – Hermione is Harry’s other best friend. She is one of the smartest students at Hogwarts, and this year stresses herself out by taking more classes than is humanly possible. She and Harry help Sirius escape once they find out he’s truly innocent.
Sirius Black – Sirius is thought to be a murderer and Voldemort supporter, but he is able to prove his innocence to Harry. He is Harry’s godfather, and Harry helps him escape a fate worse than death and go on the run.
Peter Pettigrew – Peter is really Ron’s rat in disguise. He was supposed to have been killed by Sirius years ago, but in reality faked his own death and hid as Ron’s pet for 13 years. It was Peter that betrayed Harry’s parents to Voldemort, and just when Harry thinks he’ll finally get what’s coming to him Peter escapes.
Remus Lupin – Lupin is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. He is a wonderful teacher and is liked by all the students. He and Sirius are old friends, and he is overjoyed to discover that Sirius is innocent. He’s forced to leave Hogwarts, however, when everyone discovers that he’s a werewolf.
Severus Snape – Snape is the Potions professor and loathes Harry. Snape constantly gives Harry a hard time because James, Harry’s father, hated Snape while they were at school together. This year Harry discovers that Snape and Lupin knew each other growing up as well, and that Snape hates Sirius Black as much as he hates Harry himself.
Neville Longbottom – Neville is in Gryffindor with Harry and is a very nice but forgetful boy. This year he inadvertently lets Sirius Black into the Gryffindor Common Room when he writes the passwords on a piece of paper and then loses them.
Albus Dumbledore – Dumbledore is Headmaster at Hogwarts. It’s he alone that believes Harry and Hermione when they attest to Sirius’s innocence, and he gives them the idea that allows them to help him to escape.
Rubus Hagrid – This year Hagrid gets promoted to Care of Magical Creatures professor. He is devastated when a student gets injured in his very first class, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione cheer him up and bolster his confidence. He cares deeply for Harry and watches out for him as much as he can.
Draco Malfoy – Draco and Harry have hated each other from their first day at Hogwarts. This year Draco tries hard to get Hagrid fired, but doesn’t succeed. He is very into being a “pureblood”, and can’t stand Hagrid.
Cornelius Fudge – Fudge is the Minister of Magic. He is usually a nice man, but refuses point blank to even consider that Sirius might be innocent. He is livid when he discovers that Sirius escapes the dementor’s kiss.
Chapter 1: Owl Post
It’s been another long summer for Harry Potter. Cut off from the wizarding world completely and tormented by the Dursley’s, he’s really looking forward to getting back to Hogwarts where he belongs. He finally gets letters from his friends Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid on the night of his birthday. He gets his first ever birthday cards and some really nice presents. Ron tells him that his dad won a contest and they’re spending the prize money on a trip to Egypt.
Chapter 2: Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake
The next morning Harry’s heart sinks when he hears that Aunt Marge, Uncle Vernon’s sister, is coming for a visit. Harry makes a deal with Uncle Vernon, saying he’ll be as normal as possible while Marge is here if Uncle Vernon will sign his permission slip that will allow Harry to visit the village of Hogsmead during the weekends. After Uncle Vernon leaves to pick up Marge, Harry clears at his room, trying to make it look like a Muggle room.
The week of Marge’s stay is almost unbearable. She delights in insulting Harry, and makes constant suggestions for his improvement. Harry is able to hold his temper until her last night there, when she starts insulting Harry’s parents. Before he can help it, he swells Marge into a giant balloon and refuses to put her right again. He packs his trunk in a rage, and bolts out the door into the night.
Chapter 3: The Knight Bus
Once Harry cools down a bit he realizes he’s in a lot of trouble. He just did illegal magic and is sure he’s going to get expelled from Hogwarts. As he’s formulating a plan for living alone in London, he feels himself being watched. He turns around and just makes out a hulking shape in an alleyway, glaring at him. Surprised, he trips over his trunk and somehow manages to flag down the Knight Bus. Stan Shunkpike, the conductor, informs him that the Knight Bus can take him to London and Harry climbs aboard, still uneasy about the dog-like shape he saw in the alley.
As Harry tries to ride the Knight Bus, which is extremely lurchy, he sees in the Daily Prophet that a man, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban and is very dangerous. He was a big supporter of Voldemort, and killed 13 people with one curse.
When Harry finally gets dropped off at Diagon Alley he’s amazed to be met by the Minister of Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge. Fudge takes him inside the Leaky Cauldron and tells him that he’ll be staying there until school starts. Harry is amazed to find out that not only is he not getting punished for his illegal magic, but that he’s also allowed to stay away from the Dursley’s for the last two weeks of summer vacation.
Chapter 4: The Leaky Cauldron
Harry is so happy to be back in the wizarding world he almost doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s able to do his homework in the bright sunshine at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor and has fun people watching. One day he’s walking along window shopping when he sees that a new broom has come out, The Firebolt. It’s the best model available, and Harry has to muster all his strength not to spend his money on the superb broom.
Ron and Hermione meet up with Harry right before school starts. Hermione buys a cat, Crookshanks, and Ron buys some rat tonic for Scabbers, who has been looking sickly.
After dinner that night with Hermione and the entire Weasley family, Harry overhears Mr. and Mrs. Weasley having an argument about him. Harry finds out that Sirius Black has a vendetta against him, and might be coming to Hogwarts to kill him. He also finds out that dementors have been stationed outside Hogwarts for protection against Black.
Chapter 5: The Dementor
As they’re boarding the train the next day to head back to school, Mr. Weasley tries to tell Harry about Black, but Harry lets him know that he overheard the argument the night before and that he’s not that afraid. When the train starts he, Ron, and Hermione find a car and Harry tells them about Black’s vendetta. They’re both shocked and scared that Harry is in danger.
Right at dusk the train stops unexpectedly before they get to the castle, and all the lights go out. They can barely make out someone boarding the train, and then the mysterious thing opens their car door. Suddenly, Harry hears screaming and then collapses onto the floor. When he comes to he feels very sick and very ashamed, as no one else collapsed or got so sick. Professor Lupin, the teacher they were sharing their car with, tells him it was a dementor that came onto the train, and that they suck all the happiness out of people.
When they get to Hogwarts Malfoy is positively gleeful when he hears that Harry collapsed on the train, and immediately starts imitating him. Before the feast begins they find out that Professor Lupin is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, and that Hagrid has been promoted to Care of Magical Creatures professor.
Chapter 6: Talons And Tea Leaves
When course schedules are passed out the next morning, Hermione seems to be trying to set a new record for course loads. There are times when she has 3 classes at once, and she mysteriously avoids questions as to how she’s going to accomplish such an amazing feat.
As they sit down to their first ever Divination Class Harry is dismayed when Professor Trelawney predicts that Harry has the Grim in his teacup. The Grim is a black dog that is an omen of death, and this means Harry doesn’t have long to live.
That night Harry tells Ron and Hermione that he saw a black dog the night he left the Dursley’s house, and Hermione passes it off as coincidence.
The next day during Hagrid’s first class as professor things take a disastrous turn when Malfoy, refusing to listen to Hagrid’s instructions, insults the hippogriff’s they’re studying and gets injured by one.
Hagrid is devastated that his first class goes so badly, and that night they cheer him up by telling him it’s all Malfoy’s fault for not listening to the directions.
Chapter 7: The Boggart In The Wardrobe
During Potions class later that week Malfoy drops mysterious hints to Harry about Sirius Black that leaves Harry wondering what Malfoy knows that Harry doesn’t.
During their first Defense Against the Dark Arts class Lupin troops them upstairs to the staff room to battle their first boggart, which is a shape-shifting creature that turns into whatever you’re most afraid of. Everyone is successful except for Harry. When it comes to his turn Lupin steps in and gets rid of it before Harry can even test his skills against it.
Chapter 8: Flight Of The Fat Lady
As Lupin’s popularity grows among the student, Harry is still wondering why Lupin did not want him to battle the boggart. He thinks Lupin might think that he, Harry, doesn’t have the strength to face the creature, and feels pretty low about it. Ron and Hermione get into a huge fight over their animals. Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat, keeps trying to eat Scabbers, Ron’s rat.
He cheers up a bit when the Quidditch season finally starts, but the good mood doesn’t last long. With the first Hogsmead weekend coming up, Harry still can’t go because no one has signed his permission form.
While everyone else is away enjoying themselves in town, Harry wanders into Lupin’s office and finally voices his bewilderment about the boggart and questions Lupin about why he didn’t allow him to fight it. Lupin admits that he was afraid the boggart would turn into Lord Voldemort and scare everyone, but Harry tells him he’s more afraid of the dementors than Voldemort.
When Ron and Hermione return from Hogsmead they bring him tons of candy, and that night at the Halloween Feast they all stuff themselves full of delicious food. When they return to the Common Room, however, they discover the Fat Lady has disappeared and her portrait has been shredded. When Dumbledore shows up Peeves informs him that she refused Sirius Black entrance when he didn’t know the password, and that he cut up her painting in his rage.
Chapter 9: Grim Defeat
The entire school is sequestered in the Great Hall that night as the professors search the school for Sirius Black. He isn’t found, and the school talks of nothing else the next few days.
When the day of Gryffindor’s first Quidditch match arrives, Harry is dismayed to find the weather in a terrible state. As the match starts, Harry can’t see anything because of the torrential rain. Suddenly, Harry sees the huge black dog again and soon after spots about a hundred dementors on the grounds. His head is again filled with screams and shouting, and before he knows it, Harry passes out.
When he awakes he’s in the hospital wing, and more ashamed than he can say. He finds out that Cedric Diggory got the Snitch just as Harry collapsed and that they lost the game. Just when he thinks he can’t feel any worse he finds out from Ron and Hermione that his broom was destroyed when he fell off. It drifted into the Whomping Willow and was beaten to splinters.
Chapter 10: The Marauder’s Map
Harry realizes a few days later that the screaming he hears inside his head every time the dementors come around is the screams of his mother right before she is killed by Lord Voldemort. When he returns to classes Monday morning, Malfoy teases Harry endlessly for collapsing over the dementors.
Harry asks Professor Lupin why the dementors affect him so strongly, and Lupin tells him that dementors force people to relive the worst memories of a person’s life. Harry is affected more than the other students because he has horrors in his past that the others don’t have. Harry is cheered slightly when Lupin promises to start teaching him defense against the dementors after the Christmas break.
The day of the last Hogsmead visit before break finds Harry downcast over not being able to go again. Fred and George cheer him up immensely when they give him a secret map of Hogwarts that shows all the secret passages out of school, as well as the location of everyone in the castle.
Harry grabs his Invisiblity Cloak and then uses one of the passageways to sneak into Hogsmead. He quickly finds Ron and Hermione, and they head off to Three Broomsticks so Harry can taste his first butterbeer. Harry overhears some of the Hogwarts professors and Hagrid talking about Sirius Black, and he’s shocked to find out that Black used to be best friends with his father, and that Black is the one who betrayed his parents to Voldemort.
Chapter 11: The Firebolt
Harry doesn’t really know how to deal with this new information. He realizes he hates Sirius Black for what he did, and as the Christmas break starts the knowledge that Black is free enough to drive Harry out of his mind with anger.
He decides to go visit Hagrid to ask him why he never bothered to tell Harry anything about Black, but shoves the idea away when Hagrid tells him that Buckbeak, the hippogriff that attacked Malfoy, will be put to death in a few months. Hagrid is devastated and Harry, Ron, and Hermione try hard to cheer him up. Hermione promises to help Hagrid in his defense against Buckbeak.
As he opens presents the next morning Harry is shocked to unwrap a brand new Firebolt. He has no idea who sent him such a princely gift. Hermione and Ron get into another fight about their pets, but it’s Harry’s turn to get mad at her later that night. She brings in Professor McGonagall to look at Harry’s Firebolt, and McGonagall quickly takes away the broom. Harry is livid with her, and Hermione tells him she thinks that Sirius Black sent Harry the broom as a trap.
Chapter 12: The Patronus
Harry can’t forgive Hermione over the Firebolt despite her good intentions. He cheers up with the start of his private lessons with Lupin, and is anxious to learn how to defend himself against the dementors. Lupin tries to teach him the Patronus Charm, which is a guardian of happy thoughts that fights against the dementor. Lupin brings in a boggart for him to practice on, but Harry finds the charm extremely difficult. Every time the boggart is let loose, Harry hears more and more of the night his parent’s were murdered.
As the lessons wear on Harry doesn’t improve nearly as fast as he’d like to, although he is making progress. Lupin is quite proud of him. Harry cheers up when Professor McGonagall gives him back his Firebolt, proclaiming it safe to use, and Harry makes up with Hermione.
Right after they make up, however, she and Ron get into another huge fight when Ron finds blood on his sheets and little cat hairs around them. He accuses Crookshanks of eating Scabbers.
Chapter 13: Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw
Harry’s first match on his Firebolt is nothing short of amazing. The broom is superb, and Harry flies faster than anyone else. When 3 dementors show up during the match Harry doesn’t think twice. He shoots off an enormous Patronus Charm at them and then quickly catches the Snitch. When he lands he’s thrilled to discover that the dementors were actually Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle dressed up as a cruel joke, and they’re in big trouble for being involved in such a dirty trick.
That night, Ron awakes everyone by his screaming, and insists that Sirius Black was standing over him with a knife. When Professor McGonagall questions the Sir Cadogen, the portrait, he admits that Sirius Black was admitted into the Common Room because he had the password on a little slip of paper. Neville shamefully admits to writing them all down, and then losing the paper.
Chapter 14: Snape’s Grudge
Security inside Hogwarts is tightened after this near miss, and Neville is in total disgrace.
Harry decides to sneak into Hogsmead again with the Marauder’s Map in spite of Hermione threatening to tell on him. Harry is under his Invisibility Cloak when Malfoy and his cronies show up and start picking on Ron. Since he’s invisible, Harry decides to pick on them right back. To Ron’s delight, he ends up scaring them all senseless. Right at the end, however, Harry’s hood slips off his head and Malfoy sees him. Harry tears back up to Hogwarts before Malfoy can tell on him, and barely makes it back in time.
Snape drags him into his office and starts questioning Harry ruthlessly about being in Hogsmead. Snape then discovers the Marauders Map that Harry is carrying but can’t figure out how to get it to work. Lupin comes in and covers for Harry, confiscating the map himself. He scolds Harry later for leaving the school and for having the map, and tells him that this is the one and only time he’ll get Harry out of trouble.
Just when Harry can’t feel any worse, Hermione informs him and Ron that Hagrid lost his case and that Buckbeak is indeed going to be executed.
Chapter 15: The Quidditch Final
Ron and Hermione finally make up when Ron resolves to help Hermione save Buckbeak. Hermione shocks them all when she hears Malfoy berating Hagrid and suddenly slaps him. She surprises them again when, in Divination, she explodes at Professor Trelawney and quits the class for good.
As the last Quidditch match of the season approaches, tensions are high with expectations. Harry is unnerved when, the night before the match, he again sees the the Grim, only this time the shaggy dog is walking with Crookshanks on the grounds. The next day’s match against Slytherin is brutal, but Grynffindor plays spectacularly and they win the Quidditch Cup.
Chapter 16: Professor Trelawney’s Prediction
As exams begin an odd hush falls over the castle. The execution of Buckbeak is scheduled for the end of the week, and Hagrid is depressed and preoccupied as the date draws nearer.
During his Transfiguration exam, Professor Trelawney surprises Harry with a real prediction. She slips into a trance, and tells him that tonight Voldemort’s supporter will escape and rejoin his master, and will help him rise again. When she comes to she remembers nothing of the prophecy.
That afternoon Hagrid sends them all a note, telling them that Buckbeak lost his appeal and that he’ll be executed at sunset. They all sneak out under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak to be with him when it happens. When they get to Hagrid’s hut, Hermione is shocked to find Scabbers hiding in the cabinet, and then Hagrid shoo’s them all away when the executioner shows up. They sneak off back towards the castle, and are dumbfounded when they hear the dull thud of the ax and Hagrid’s cries.
Chapter 17: Cat, Rat, and Dog
None of them can believe that the executioner really killed Buckbeak. They numbly make their way back towards the castle, but suddenly Scabbers starts going crazy. He bites Ron and then takes off through the grass, followed closely by Crookshanks. Ron takes off after him and just manages to catch the rat and put him back in his pocket. Suddenly, the gigantic black dog Harry has been seeing attacks Ron, drags him to the Whomping Willow, and disappears out of sight.
They can’t figure out how to get inside until Crookshanks shows them the way. They slip into a tunnel that leads to the Shrieking Shack. When they find Ron upstairs Ron tries to tell them that Sirius Black is the great black dog, but he doesn’t have enough time. Sirius Black disarms them.
Harry explodes with rage, remembering how Black betrayed his parents, and suddenly attacks Black. When he has his wand back and Black cornered, Black tries to tell him there’s more to the story but Harry doesn’t want to listen. He’s trying to muster the will to kill him when he’s interrupted by Professor Lupin, who disarms Harry and helps Sirius to his feet. Harry is incensed at the betrayal, and is even more shocked when Hermione tells them all that Lupin is a werewolf. Lupin admits that Harry needs to hear the full story, and starts explaining. He tells them that the story starts with Ron’s rat, Scabbers. He says that Scabbers is really a wizard by the name of Peter Pettigrew, who is supposed to be dead.
Chapter 18: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, And Prongs
As Lupin starts the story, he tells Harry that he, Sirius, Peter, and Harry’s father James all used to be best friends at Hogwarts. He tells them that, because he was a werewolf, his three friends became unregistered Animagi to help him during his transformations. Lupin tells Harry that Snape was almost killed one night when Sirius put him in harm’s way during one of Lupin’s transformations, and it was James that pulled him back and saved his life. Just as Lupin as finishing this tale, Snape shows up and disarms them all.
Chapter 19: The Servant Of Lord Voldemort
Snape is deranged with anger, and quite out of his head. He resolves to let the dementors kill Black as soon as they’re outside, and Hermione pleads with Snape to let Lupin finish the story, which might prove Sirius’s innocence. Snape refuses, and suddenly he’s attacked by Harry, Ron, and Hermione and knocked out cold.
Lupin quickly finishes his story, telling Harry that all this while it was Pettigrew that had betrayed Harry’s parent’s, not Sirius. He forces Scabbers reveal himself to his true form, and they’re all amazed when the rat turns into the short, balding Peter Pettigrew. When they question him about Lily and Jame’s murder, he finally admits to selling them out to Voldemort. Harry believes Sirius was telling the truth all along, and then begs them not to kill Pettigrew. They tie him up, and head back up to the castle.
Chapter 20: The Dementor’s Kiss
As they’re walking up to the castle Sirius tells Harry that he is Harry’s godfather. He says that if Harry ever wanted a different place to live, he could come live with him. Harry is overjoyed at the thought, and is happier than he can say.
Suddenly, things start to go terribly wrong. Lupin begins transforming into a werewolf once he catches sight of the full moon. Sirius urges them all to escape and turns back into a dog in order to protect them from Lupin. Pettigrew, in all the commotion, manages to turn back into his rat form and takes off through the grass.
Harry then hears Sirius in pain and takes off after him. He’s terrified to see that Sirius has been surrounded by dementors, and tries to fend them off but can’t because there are just too many. Just as one of them is about to kiss him and suck out his soul for good, someone jumps out of the bushes and repels them all away with a huge Patronus Charm. Harry feebly looks at him, and then passes out.
Chapter 21: Hermione’s Secret
When Harry comes to he’s in the hospital wing. He goes ballistic when he hears from Fudge that they have Sirius locked and that the dementors will be giving him a kiss any minute. Harry tries to tell him about Sirius’s innocence and Pettirgrew’s betrayal, but Fudge won’t listen. It’s only when Dumbledore shows up that Harry has a spark of hope.
Dumbledore quickly forms a plan that will allow Harry and Hermione to help Sirius escape. They use a Time-Turner of Hermione’s that takes them 3 hours back in time. It is revealed that Hermione received the Time-Turner from Professor McGonagall at the start of term and that she has been using it to take classes scheduled at the same time.
They rescue Buckbeak from his execution, Harry saves himself from the dementors, and they rescue Sirius from his locked room right before the dementors show up to kiss him. Sirius thanks them with all his heart and flies away into the night on Buckbeak’s back.
Chapter 22: Owl Post Again
Fudge and Snape are livid when they find out that Sirius escaped, but Fudge certainly doesn’t suspect Harry and Hermione, who supposedly never left their hospital beds, while Snape is almost too convinced Harry had had a hand in Black’s escape. Dumbledore then shoos Snape away, and Fudge orders the dementors to leave.
The next day Harry is saddened to hear that Lupin has resigned. Everyone found out that he is a werewolf, so he’s leaving voluntarily.
On the train home they’re all surprised when a small owl shows up outside their car window, bearing a letter from Sirius. Sirius explains that it was him that sent Harry the Firebolt as a present, and he also encloses a signed permission form that will allow Harry to visit Hogsmead next year. He gives the owl to Ron since Scabbers is no longer his pet rat.
Ron cheers Harry up by telling him that the Quidditch World Cup is this summer and that Harry might be able to go with him, and Harry gets immense pleasure by informing the Dursley’s that his long-lost godfather is a convicted murderer and that he’ll be checking up on Harry. Uncle Vernon is at a loss for words at this news, and Harry, with a grin, sets off for Privet Drive