Owl Post

chapter one of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Late at night, Harry is doing his homework and hiding from the Dursleys when he suddenly realizes it’s his birthday – and soon presents come in from Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid.

Writing, by Ditraveler

It was nearly midnight, and [Harry] was in bed… a flashlight in one hand and a large leather-bound book (A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot) propped open against the pillow.


Muggle Technology, by gerre


(by gerre)


A Disgruntled Harry, by salamandersoup

So Harry had had no word from any of his wizarding friends for five long weeks, and this summer was turning out to be almost as bad as the last one.


The Weasleys in Egypt, by Marta T

Harry scanned the moving photograph, and a grin spread across his face.

(by Marta T)


Harry, by Amanda Grazini

Extremely unusual though he was, at that moment Harry Potter felt just like everyone else – glad, for the first time in his life, that it was his birthday.


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

I love that Harry’s using an eagle-feather quill to do his homework under the covers. Wouldn’t those be huge? And therefore be constantly brushing against the covers overhead and splattering ink all over the place?

The Wizarding World

It’s really amazing what wizarding post owls are capable of. Hedwig knew Harry’s birthday was coming up, realized that Hermione wouldn’t be able to send him her present, figured out that she was on vacation in France, found her to pick up the present, and then found Errol on her way back and helped carry him to Privet Drive (along with the Hogwarts owl which was coming from the other direction and also found both of them) – and she was only gone from Privet Drive for two days! Somehow the birds just seem to *know* things. I wonder how that all works.

The Boy Who Lived

Hermione will later get exasperated with Harry for never having “opened” A History of Magic, but here we see him not only with the book open, but diligently doing his homework out of it a month before it’s due. This is not remotely like the Harry we know and love during the school year, who has to copy Hermione’s homework last minute. It seems he’s really, really missing the wizarding world, and as his homework is his only link to it, he spends the summer working on it. Still not to the point of Hermione though, of course (two rolls of parchment more than Binns asked for?!?!?).

23 Responses to “Owl Post”

  1. YAY!! POA is here! I can’t wait for the next chapter. Thanks!

  2. This is one of the best chapters in PoA. :)

  3. Followup: Then again, they’re really all amazing!

  4. I always enjoyed reading this chapter. It’s such a nice change to see Harry having a nice birthday. He certainly deserves it!

  5. I thought it was “Hogwarts, A History” that he never read, not “History of Magic”? Of course there was no need for him to read about the history of Hogwarts, as Hermione could just tell them anything they might want to know.

  6. No, it was ‘A History of Magic’ – Hermione gets frustrated when Harry doesn’t know that Godric’s Hollow is named for Godric Gryffindor when they’re planning to go there in DH16.

  7. He also found the name Hedwig in A History of Magic, so he must have at least opened it twice ;)

  8. I believe that Hermione also gets on Harry and Ron for not opening Hogwarts, A History as well as A History of Magic.

  9. This book it’s great. I do not dare to say the best, but until HBP this book was my favourite of them all. Thank you!

  10. I never stopped to ask why Harry does his homework so diligently when he’s on holiday. I like the idea that it’s his only link to the wizarding world, but I think there’s a bit of rebellion going on here as well. At Hogwarts, where his teachers and Hermone are contsantly on at him to get his work done, he doesn’t do it. But at Privet Drive, where anything magical is forbidden, he does his work religiously – it seems like he’s just doing the opposite of whatever the people around him want him to do! Also, I think it’s worth pointing out that at Hogwarts there’s always something going on whereas at Privet Drive he must be bored out of his mind.

  11. I wonder if the eagle-feather quill Harry uses in this chapter is the same one that Hermione gave him for Christmas in Chamber of Secrets. If so, the friend connection helps explain why he would use a quill that would be burdensome under the covers.

  12. Why are they getting homework over the holidays for? Its absolute heaven for Hermione,of course,but for everyone else it must be a right pain. And also,how’s Ron going to get his done in Eygpt? Hermione obviously had hers done ages before she went to France.

  13. @David Kenry. They can take their homework on holiday with them, much as that sucks.

    I think the eagle feather quill not being able to fit under the covers is a bit picky. A textbook, roll of parchment and ink bottle won’t fit either given that Harry only has the width of his shoulders worth of room (I’ve tried reading under the covers like that, believe me it doesn’t work). :) But that’s the kind of physics writers in general tend to ignore.

  14. RE: The Wizarding World – It’s been said quite a bit throughout the books that pets in the Wizarding world have magical properties. A good exlanation of this is when Ron takes Scabbers to get looked at in Diagon Alley a few chapters ahead in this book, and the store clerk asks him what kind of magical properties it has, and he’s just bewildered, as he never thought of that. This is sort of funny too, seeing as how what Scabbers turns out to be in the end! But anyway, I always assumed owls in the Wizarding world had magical properties that allow them to zone in on their destinations and what-not. Add in the fact that Hedwig is basically Harry’s Familiar, being so very intelligent (her name actually meaning “wisdom” in some other language, I believe), I’m not surprised at all she was able to do all of this. Her timing really is uncanny though, you’re right!

  15. Oops, typo – I meant “explanation” =P

  16. Aw, I’m so glad you posted a comment on here Casey. I haven’t been here in ages and it emailed me when you did. Thanks :)

  17. I love the phone call. :) …when Uncle Vernon is holding the receiver at arm’s length and speaking as if they were on opposite ends of a football field. That never fails to make me laugh.

  18. I would love it if you mentioned the pocket sneakoscope that Ron sends to Harry for his birthday. Rowling uses it to forshadow Scabbers actually being Pettigrew. Ron says ‘it kept lighting up at dinner last night’. Ron blames this on the fact that Fred and George had put beetles in Bill’s soup, but I find it more likely that it is reacting to the presence of Scabbers/Pettigrew. The sneakoscope goes off on several other occasions when the animagus is present.

  19. Re: Owls.
    The Harry Potter books have been responsible for one of my biggest interests as a child and teenager – owls. After collecting owls of all sorts of material and sizes since I was nine, all thanks to JKR, I have done quite the reading up on owls and I dare say I know VERY much about these animals. In the books, though, the owls aren’t behaving like the “should” if they were simply non-magical creatures. Just as an example, among the snowy owls only the males are completely white, while the females are more speckled. An owl like Hedwig is therefore very abnormal and wouldn’t exist in nature unless she is an albino.

    I know JKR never said anything like this, she actually contradicts this theory on her website, but I always liked the idea of wizards breeding owls the same way we breed dogs. That would mean that the wizards would have a number of owls that aren’t “regular” at all, maybe even completely new breeds that looks, sounds, and behaves completely different from the “muggle owls”. If they’ve done this for centuries, the owls may very well have developed some kind of magical ability tailored for their purpose as mail deliverers.
    Does that make any sense? :)

  20. There were a couple of things I noticed this time around that I haven’t before. The first one is the length of Hogwarts’ summer holiday. In the UK kids have 6 weeks off; they break up mid July and return the beginning of September (about now as it happens). However, in this chapter it states that Harry had had no word from Ron or Hermione for five weeks. It’s his birthday (end of July) so it means he had at least 3 weeks off before Muggle schools broke up. So not only is he stuck with the Dursleys but he doesn’t even have Dudley around to distract them.

    The second point regards Bill. In Goblet of Fire Harry is surprised to see Bill as he thinks he looks cool with his long hair instead of an older version of Percy. However, in this chapter it states that the photo from the newspaper included all 9 Weasleys i.e. Mr, Mrs and all 7 children – including Bill. So Harry has seen Bill and Charlie before he actually meets them (and acts like he’s never seen what they look like). I can only imagine that in this chapter Harry is too excited with his presents (since he still isn’t used to getting them) to pay much attention to the photograph. Although, thinking about it, he notices Percy has pinned his Head Boy badge to his fez and he realizes all the Weasleys are there. Hmm, I think this must just be an oops.

  21. Re: Something You May Not Have Noticed. I know! I picked up on that too on my second read. It’s hard enough to use a fountain pen without having ink splattering on the covers from time to time (I used to toy with a fountain pen back during God knows when). What more for a large eagle-feather quill, no? :)

    A good Something to Remember: That photo of the Weasley family will prove to be a major catalyst for the events that will unfold later in the book.

    I find it funny that Fred and George were dropping beetles in Bill’s soup. Too bad one of them wasn’t Rita Skeeter. ;)

  22. @Amy About school breaks… In the US, summer break is either from the middle of May until the middle of August or the beginning of June until the beginning of September, depending on what region of the country you live in. (Northern schools tend go on break later than southern schools)

    Maybe UK schools used to run on the same kind of time table? Maybe Jo was just recalling her school days? Not sure…

  23. It seems to me that Hogwarts terms always end on June 30th and, as we know, restart on September 1st. They always talk about “two months” for the holidays, rather than “six weeks”, which is what the usually 46-day-or-so British summer holiday length is. I highly doubt that this length has ever been any different in the UK, as my parents, 8 years older than JKR and both teachers, have never said “back in my day the holidays were longer”.

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