The Patronus

chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Classes start up again, and soon after Lupin begins teaching Harry how to conjure a Patronus. Harry also gets his Firebolt back, but when he tries to make up with an increasingly frantic Hermione, they are interrupted by Ron – who is irate that Crookshanks seems to have eaten Scabbers.

The Trio, by gerre

“She doesn’t know,” said Ron, staring resentfully after Hermione. “She’s just trying to get us to talk to her again.”

(by gerre)


Professor Lupin, by Laurence Peguy

“Ah yes,” said Lupin, when Harry reminded him of his promise at the end of class. “Let me see … how about eight o’clock on Thursday evening?”


Dementor, by Laurence Peguy

A dementor rose slowly from the box, its hooded face turned toward Harry, one glistening, scabbed hand gripping its cloak.


Voldemort Attack, by Hala Zabaneh

The sounds of someone stumbling from a room – a door bursting open – a cackle of high-pitched laughter –


Expecto Patronum! by Mudblood428

And then a huge, silver shadow came bursting out of the end of Harry’s wand, to hover between him and the dementor, and though Harry’s legs felt like water, he was still on his feet….


Neville, by pojypojy

“I’ve lost the passwords!” Neville told them miserably. ” I made him tell me what passwords he was going to use this week, because he keeps changing them, and now I don’t know what I’ve done with them!”


Hermione Studying, by reallycorking

Harry looked around at the cluttered table, at the long Arithmancy essay on which the ink was still glistening, at the even longer Muggle Studies essay… and at the rune translation Hermione was now poring over.


by Tealin Raintree

“LOOK!” he bellowed, striding over to Hermione’s table. “LOOK!” he yelled, shaking the sheets in her face. “SCABBERS! LOOK! SCABBERS!”


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

A week after term begins, Slytherin plays Ravenclaw in Quidditch, and Slytherin narrowly wins – so does this mean that Draco Malfoy finally caught a Snitch? Or did Slytherin’s Chasers outscore Ravenclaw’s by so much that Cho Chang caught the Snitch for Ravenclaw and they still lost? Either way, the result would be mildly interesting to know (especially since it was a “narrow” victory – somebody’s Chasers must have done some serious scoring!).

The Wizarding World

Boggarts are funny creatures. They seem to spontaneously move into wizarding buildings for no reason at all. Why not Muggle buildings as well? It seems like some magical creatures must be drawn to magic, somehow, and avoid Muggles all on their own. Boggarts certainly fit into this category. But one other thing I can’t help wondering about them: what (and, for that matter, how) do boggarts eat?

The Boy Who Lived

Harry doesn’t know any differently, and Lupin doesn’t ask him about it, but when Lupin tells Harry to come up with the happiest memories he’s got, the results are so, so sad. Harry tries three memories in succession: his first ride on a broomstick, winning the House Championship, and finding out he was leaving the Dursleys. I hope, very much, that there aren’t many children in this world who can’t come up with a memory happier than any of those.

The Final Word

(When asked, “What one spell would you like to bring to life and why?”)
“Ooh, there are so many, aren’t there? So many. Erm, I think for me there … the outstanding spell is ‘Expecto Patronum’, and you know what that does don’t you? It creates the Patronus, it creates a kind of spirit guardian in a way. And that’s partly because of what it does. It’s the protector, and you could protect yourself and other people that you cared about with a Patronus, but it’s also because it’s such a beautiful spell. you know, the image of the silver Patronus emerging from a wand. I really like that.”
–J.K. Rowling, July 2005

26 Responses to “The Patronus”

  1. I love this chapter. It’s kind of bittersweet to read about the conjuring of the Patronus. Maybe Boggarts feed of the magic, so they need to be close to a wizarding family? Or maybe they’re more like Dementors: Muggles can’t see them, so they might think about the thing that scarees them most when they walk past a Boggart or something….

  2. I’ve always thought that boggarts do come into contact with muggles as the “monster” in the closet or under the bed that children see. I think Lupin says something to this effect when he’s talking about the boggart for the first time in DADA.

  3. I also have a thought about Boggarts. I know early on Lupin says no one knows what a Boggart really looks like, but later we find out that Moody might know. What do you think he sees? Is it what scares him? or is it what a Boggart truly looks like?

  4. I think muggles just don’t see them. Maybe they feel them, like Ben said: they’re the monster in the closet or under the bed. Like dementors, they feed off people’s good feelings and memories. I wish they’d eat dust bunnies instead!

  5. Re: to something you may not have noticed-
    Malfoy must be a fairly decent seeker. They wouldn’t keep him around if he wasn’t, despite the hugely generous gift of the brooms in COS. My understanding is that the only team he fails to catch the snitch against is Griffindor, and only because Harry’s a better seeker.

  6. Jayce I believe that Moody sees what a Boggart really looks like. Lupin (or Harry or Hermione) says that a Boggart turns into a persons biggest fear when the Boggart sees the person, and I think that we can be pretty sure that the Boggart didn’t see Moody as he was donwstairs in another room.

  7. Boggarts probably *do* move into Muggle homes at times – particularly since they turn up in British folklore (they’re “real” legendary creatures, like hippogriffs, basilisks, and phoenixes, rather than inventions of Rowling’s), and the Muggles would have had to have found out about them somehow.

  8. I’ve always wondered..what would happen if what you are most scared of is a boggart o_o

  9. Kasia, that’s a good question. :)

    Re: The Boy Who Lived. I don’t think I agree with you on that. The fact that one of Harry’s more powerful happy memories is leaving the Dursleys is sad because it’s a testiment to his childhood, but I don’t think that those memories are less happy than most children would have. In fact I think that they’re probably more happy. The happiest memories are of events where major positive changes happened in your life, e.g. meeting the person you love, or a problem in your life being resolved. People who never had many problems won’t have experienced that very much. Their lives will be one long timeline of little happy events, most of which will fade into one big contentment-enducing blur in their memories, rather than individual events standing out. Plus those who expect happiness will feel it much less acutely and passionately because they will appreciate it a whole lot less. Harry is actually lucky in a way.

  10. Just out of interest… are Dementor boggarts capable of performing the Dementor’s kiss? They seem to have the same abilities as Dementor’s (Harry hearing voices etc.), but then, in GoF, a Dementor boggart STUMBLES, which isn’t something you could picture a Dementor doing, is it?

  11. I really like Laurence Peguy’s drawing of a dementor-very unusual!

  12. I thought Boggarts lived off fear – the same way that dementors live off unhappiness.

  13. Going off what Tom said about boggart-dementors causing Harry to hear voices and pass out, I have another question. If the boggart can do that as a dementor, can it take on the qualities of everything that people are scared of? For example, would the giant snake be capable of striking or the spider of attacking? If that is the case, then why doesn’t the boggart-moon turn Lupin into a werewolf?

  14. That’s a good point, Gina. I never thought about that. Maybe how real it is in your mind? Lupin *knows* it isn’t a real moon, so he doesn’t turn into one? And Harry gets so overwhelmed by the boggart-dementor because in his mind, he’s expecting the effects of the dementor. However, after he learns to fight off dementors, they’re less scary to him, hence why the boggart-dementor in GoF stumbles? I don’t know, just a thought.

    And I also believe they must live off fear. However, what happens to them if they’re in an enclosed space for a very long time without any human contact? Do they wither away and die? I’m also a believer that they do exist in the muggle world. And it isn’t a case of whether they see them or not, because a boggart changes its form to adopt the features of the greatest fear of those who are looking at it. So they do see it, but they only see their fear, just like witches and wizards. I hope that makes sense.

    One thing I wanted to point out about this chapter: after his first lesson with the boggart-dementor, Harry reflects on how he half-wants to hear his parents in his head. When he tells himself to stop it, they’re dead, he says they’re “just echoes”. This is exactly what Dumbledore insists Harry understand at the end of GoF after he witnesses the effects of Priori Incantatem. I just thought that was an interesting connection, especially since Harry is the one that first says it, not Dumbledore.

  15. I like the idea that muggles can’t see Boggarts, they can’t see Dementors. Maybe they can’t see other magical pests, such as kappas, red caps, etc. They can apparently see dragons and giants, though. I wonder what a creature has to be in order for a muggle not to see it…

  16. I always thought that muggles *could* see boggarts. Didn’t Lupin make a comment about how all monsters that live under the bed are really boggarts? Correct me if I’m wrong; I haven’t read it in a while and I don’t have it with me at the moment.

  17. Adele, Lupin did say that boggarts enjoy living in dark enclosed spaces, and gives the space under a bed as an example to one of those spaces. I always automatically assumed that meant that muggles and wizards alike see a boggart when they see the monster under the bed. Seeing as how JKR did not make up boggarts herself, and they actually come from folklore, I would assume that means muggles *must* be able to see them in order to make up stories about them. Then again, they are stories, so who knows? But anyway, yes, Lupin did make a comment alluding to that idea. At the very least, that’s how I see it.

  18. Maybe they can’t see them, but can sort of sense them, like the feeling of being watched. I think that would be enough to scare a child but it wouldn’t be enough to faze a grown parent. I just think it’s asking too much to believe that they can be seen but it never gets really recognized as a real thing. What if the child asks a parent to look under the bed and the parent actually sees a monster. The implications of that would be enormous. I suppose Oblivitators from Ministry could attend to that if if becomes an issue.

  19. I agree with elizabethauthor 100% about Harry’s happiest memory being leaving the Dursleys. Considering that Harry used to “dream that a distant relative would come take him away” the idea that he would only see the Dursleys 3 months out of the year would be the best thing that could possibly happen to Harry. Sorry Josie, I disagree that this memory is not a powerful one.

    As for Malfoy catching the Snitch, it never says anywhere that he is *bad* at seeking, its just he never beats Harry. Keep in mind that Harry and Draco were the only two able to master a broomstick at age eleven, and the fact that Malfoy is able to hold onto his spot in the Slytherin Quidditch team for 4 years after his father bought the team members brooms. Also you never see Cho cathc a snitch either so she may be even worse than Malfoy

  20. The boggarts remind me of the book “IT” by Stephen King, you know the one with the clown that eats children? Although the clown is something worse than a Boggart, it does also turn into whatever the person infront of it fears the most.
    I’d like to think that the boggarts feed of the fear they cause in the person’s mind – why else would they do it? – just like the King’s evil clown does (before it eats its victims, that is…). I just find it rather logical that they wouldn’t cause fear unless it matters to them, like any other creature wouldn’t do something unless there’s something in it for them. :)

  21. Oliver Wood HAS got his priorities messed up where there is Quidditch. Really, if a person tells me face to face that he doesn’t care whether or not I get killed as long as I win him a competition, I’d take that as an insult. I was wondering why Harry wasn’t in any way offended, until I realized he must also want to win the upcoming match so badly that he just waved Oliver’s words away.

    I agree with what the rest say: Malfoy is a good Seeker, it’s just that Harry is better than him. At age 11, Malfoy can already ride a broomstick well enough. Considering that he stayed on the team for the second year running, he must have good flying and/or Seeking skills.

    And yeah, I always thought that Boggarts eat fear. Like they morph into the thing a person fears most, so as to feed on the fear being emanated. In a way, ‘sensing’ or breathing in fear for them is like eating food is for us. Well, that’s how I always saw it anyway.

  22. I think that the boggarts are the monsters under the bed or in the closet but since its mainly Muggle children who believe in them, the boggart stays there until the child stops believing there is a monster under the bed or the boogy man

  23. I know boggarts take on the shape you fear the most but what if you have more than one thing you’re afraid of?

  24. I was under the impression that boggarts eat fear.

  25. I believe that boggarts feed on fear. Certainly it would make sense, and they are not the only creatures which would feed on emotions (dementors)
    Also, whos says they avoid muggle buildings? what about every kid who’s scared of the monster under the bed, or in the wardrobe? besides, ministry of magic probably does damage control on them.

  26. Why don’t Muggle buildings have boggarts? Well, who says they do not? Muggles can’t see other aspects of the Wizarding world even when they are present. In fact, I think boggarts are not only Ms Rowling’s attention to British folklore, but also to one of the fears of every child in the western world…
    Haven’t you noticed how boggarts don’t simply occupy buildings, they occupy furniture, trunks, wardrobes, cupboards, etc.

    In my younger childhood, I had a “monster” as I called it, surely it was a boggart, in my closet. Sometimes it was under the bed. I made sure my bare feet were on a rug so it wouldn’t get me, if I stepped on the floor I was vulnerable. And to know that to get rid of it, all I had to do was imagine it in some silly fashion, and say Ridikulus! to get rid of it. I’m a Muggle, but I had a boggart that bedeviled my childhood. I’m sure others did, as well.

    And what do boggarts look like when they are hidden? They don’t look like anything until you see them. We imagine how creepy they look when we can’t, but they don’t look like it till they come out. Mine never did come out (thank goodness).

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