Hermione’s Secret

chapter twenty-one of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

After overhearing that Sirius Black is to get the dementor’s kiss, Harry and Hermione travel back in time at Dumbledore’s insistence. There they rescue Buckbeak, Harry casts a Patronus to save them (and Sirius) from the dementors, and they fly Buckbeak to Sirius’s rescue from the tower.

Hermione's Secret, by FizzingWhizbees

“Ready?” she said breathlessly.
“What are we doing?” Harry said, completely lost.


The Time Turner, by Jess Siswick

The dark ward dissolved. Harry had the sensation that he was flying very fast, backward….


I Don't Understand, by Tealin Raintree

“Harry, I don’t understand what Dumbledore wants us to do.”


Buckbeak Strained, by Tealin Raintree

Harry threw all his weight onto the rope.


Doing the Job, by pojypojy

There was a swishing noise, and the thud of an axe. The executioner seemed to have swung it into the fence in anger.


The Dementors, by Miri

And there were the dementors. They were emerging out of the darkness from every direction, gliding around the edges of the lake….

(by Miri)


Patronus, by sharpfish

And out the end of his wand burst, not a shapeless cloud of mist, but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal.


Patronus, by Sanna Lorenzen

It wasn’t a horse. It wasn’t a unicorn, either. It was a stag.


Prongs, by TomScribble

And Harry realized… “Prongs,” he whispered.


Flying Over Hogwarts, by bluefooted

Harry urged Buckbeak forward. They were gliding quietly toward the upper floors of the castle….


by Victor Cagno aka: Muddgutts

“He’s there!” Harry said, spotting Sirius as they rose up beside the window.


How - How - ? by Tealin Raintree

“How – how – ?” said Black weakly, staring at the hippogriff.


Harry and Sirius, by FizzingWhizbees

“We’ll see each other again,” he said. “You are – truly your father’s son, Harry.”


Sirius and Buckbeak, by glockgal

Black wheeled Buckbeak around, facing the open sky.


Escape, by TomScribble

The hippogriff took off into the air…. He and his rider became smaller and smaller as Harry gazed after them…. then a cloud drifted across the moon…. They were gone.


about the chapter


I absolutely love this chapter. Of course there are a few strange inconsistencies with the time-travel paradoxes – have wizards really ended up killing their past or future selves? – but for the most part, the way Rowling weaves together the past with the present is absolutely brilliant. It’s also fun to look back at previous chapters and see clues that it’s happening, like the trio’s hearing Harry and Hermione running across the entrance hall just before they leave for Hagrid’s.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

So Lupin knew that Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, and Pettigrew were heading down under the Whomping Willow because he was watching them for the whole evening on the Marauder’s Map. Now we know that the whole time he was watching, it wasn’t just that group running around – it was also a duplicate Harry and Hermione. Given the amount of time Lupin was watching the map, and the fact that Harry and Hermione were retracing their steps, there’s almost no chance Lupin didn’t realize what was going on. He would have seen two Harrys and two Hermiones, seen the duplicates saving Buckbeak, and seen them watching as the group went down under the Whomping Willow. So the question is, did he already know about Hermione’s time-turner? And if so, can’t you just imagine him sitting there, watching multiple versions of kids walking around with Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew and trying to figure out what the heck was going on?

And more importantly, did he then tell Dumbledore?

Because Dumbledore must have had a very interesting evening as well. Perhaps he saw Harry or Hermione saving Buckbeak, perhaps not. But either way, Buckbeak was gone. And then the next time we see Dumbledore, he’s been talking to Sirius Black and getting his story of what happened. Why would Dumbledore have talked to him, or believed a word of what he said? Well, because Lupin’s already raised his suspicions. After all, Lupin came running out of the castle toward the Whomping Willow minutes after Dumbledore went in – why not sooner, if he was watching everything unfold on the Marauder’s Map? My guess is he pulled Dumbledore aside and shared his suspicions before joining the party in the Shrieking Shack. And then, by the time Dumbledore talked to Sirius, he was open to hearing what Sirius had to say, and soon realized that he had to be the one to set everything in motion.

In other words, J.K. Rowling is brilliant. :)

Life at Hogwarts

It’s really interesting that the Ministry permits thirteen-year-olds to have Time Turners at all – what an incredibly powerful tool! But given how willing they are to hand them out (we’ll see evidence later that this is probably actually a fairly regular occurrence), I’ve also wondered before whether Hogwarts teachers might routinely have them as well. Look at Snape, for example – he has to teach Potions to students at five grade levels (plus two N.E.W.T.-level classes), spread across four houses, and each class multiple times a week. That’s something like eight or nine class periods a day, not to mention all the planning for that many unique classes and the grading for hundreds (!) of students. And then he always seems to be patrolling the corridors at night! It’s possible to make a feasible schedule with a few backbends, and it’s probably even more likely that Rowling simply never thought about it. But I would be curious to know whether time-turners are the solution that makes the most sense.

The Final Word

“The time-turner was a very difficult invention for me, because it created as many problems as it solved.”–J.K. Rowling, July 2007

35 Responses to “Hermione’s Secret”

  1. Wow, yes, this is my favorite chapter as well! Very nice artwork! And I was wondering the same thing about Lupin and the Marauders Map.

  2. What you wrote in the “Something You May Have Not Noticed” passage made me realize that I apparently do not have this book as figured out as I thought I did. Great job and keep it up, this website is fantastic :).

  3. In your “what you may not have noticed” you said that Lupin might have told Dumbledore what he had seen before he went to the Shrieking Shack. But why didn’t Dumbledore come with him? Wouldn’t he want to see Pettigrew and Black himself? (Or, in case he might not right away believe Lupin, wouldn’t he want to go to the Shack to protect Harry? (and the others))
    Besides, is it so weird for Dumbledore to believe Sirius without Lupin’s story? He’s always been a man of reason (and seconnd chanches), and he must’ve seen the flight of Buckbeak…
    The only reason I can come up with is that he might’ve still had Fudge over, and couldn’t come to the Shack himself…
    Also, I do think that every teacher at least knows about the timeturner… Even if McGonnagal and Dumbledore didn’t inform them at the start of the term, they could at least have figured it out, couldn’t they?
    Sorry for the lenght…:)

  4. Regarding Live at Hogwarts:

    Potions lessons are just once a week for every class. And since 2 house are together at potion, there must be 10 potions lessons from year 1 – 5. For the NEWT-level there must be just one lesson/week incl. all 4 houses, since they contain far less students. so Snape had to give 12 lessons/week.

  5. I always figured that all the teachers were aware of any student with a time-turner. It seems like the sensible thing to do with such a powerful object; the MoM gives it to Hermione but they probably also trust her teachers to keep an eye on her.
    I have also wondered many times whether Dumbledore hasn’t been planning Buckbeak’s escape all along; during the execution scene he always has a sort of “funny look” on his face and he seems to be purposedly distracting the Ministry staff in order to give Harry and Hermione time to save the Hyppogriff. There is no conclusive proof of this but I always get that feeling when I read the passage, and I think it’s a Dumbledore-ish thing to do; he’s not worried about it because he knows there’s a time-turner in the school and it can be used to save the animal.
    My guess is that after learning about Sirius’ story he just takes advantage of the plan he was already going to get the kids to carry out and gets them to save Sirius as well.

  6. In the fifth book, Dumbledore tells Harry he “watched him from afar” when Harry was fighting off Dementors from Sirius in his thrid year.

  7. Yes, this is a great chapter, a bittersweet one. Everything you say in “Something…” is true, I have always thought that there were some problems with the time turner scene but never really figured out what they were, so good observations.
    Dumbledore says that he is watching Harry all the time and I think that he only steps in when Harry’s life is at risk. Even though his life was threatened I suppose he never believed it to be an unmanageable situation for them to handle.

  8. If they ever make the Harry Potter series into animated films sometime in the future, they better hire Tealin Raintree to do the character sketches!

  9. In the ‘Something….’ space I think you made a good point. But think about it this way. The Marauder’s Map is used to show people, obviously. If past Remus were looking at the map then it wouldn’t be possible for him to see future Harry and Hermione, because the map probably only shows people who you are expecting. Remus wouldn’t be expecting to see Harry and Hermione on the map twice, therefore he wouldn’t. The Marauders were in their late fifth year, early sixth when they started on the map. I don’t think any of them were thinking, ‘You know I ought to make sure that this map will work with people using time turners on the off chance that I end up here as a teacher with a best friend who was accused of murder and two of my students run off after them and one of those students has a time turner.’

  10. Elizibeth, you have an interesting thought, but I’m not sure I agree. I think the Map should show all people who are present, regardless of anything else. The map wouldn’t look at the second Harry and Hermione and say, “they’re time travelers, so I won’t show them” any more than it would say “Peter Pettigrew is supposed to be dead, so I won’t show him either.” There are two Harry Potters and two Hermione Grangers, so my thinking is that they would both show up on the map (just like if Barty Crouch Sr and Barty Crouch Jr both came, it would show two Barty Crouches). Unless I’m misunderstanding something you’re saying?

  11. Wow the painting by sharpfish is amazing. New background for my pc! :)

  12. Re: Elizabeth and Josie – That is an interesting thought, Elizabeth, but I agree with Josie. When time travelers come around, it is confusing for we non-travelers to grasp how it works, but both sets of Harry and hermione were out on the grounds the whole time, so the map would have shown all four of them. Also, Remus wouldn’t have been expecting to see Peter, yet he did.

    I love the final word quote because I’ve had so many arguments with myself about why everything can’t be fixed with a time-turner.

  13. I think I agree with Elizabeth because what she is saying kind of makes sense…
    The future Harry and Hermione are not from that time period and they do not belong there, it’s almost as if they are supposed to be invisible or sumthing although I know that they are not ACTUALLY invisible but i guess figuratively speaking, right? so the marauder’s map might not show them on the map

  14. I thought about Harry’s experience with the Time-Turner, and it seemed to me that since he relived three hours of his life, he would be three hours older than he was supposed to be. Meaning, chronologically he would be the same age, but his cumulative age would have increased three hours.

    That seemed just fine to me. Then I remembered Hermione.

    This wasn’t the first time Hermione used the Time-Turner. She’s been using it to take extra classes ALL YEAR! How much older would that make her?

  15. Thinking about the timeturner stuff gives me a headache, but I had always assumed that when Lupin looks at the map, he is seeing it as it would appear the first time, so to speak. Harry and Hermione have not yet gone back in time, so there would only be one Harry and one Hermione on the map. That’s the way I always thought about it anyway. I try not to overthink this part, as JK herself obviously had trouble with it too! :-)

    Regarding timeturners in general, if all of the other teachers knew about the timeturner, then wouldn’t Snape figure out that Harry could have gone back in time to rescue Sirus? If so, why did he not bring this up to DD? I think only DD and McGonagall knew about the timeturner. Personally, I can’t see the minstry giving them out very often at all, only in exceptional situations.

  16. Let’s see, roughly 2 extra hours per subject, let’s say 6 extra hours a week for 39 weeks = 234 hours. Therefore, in that circumstance, she’d be 9 days and 18 hours older. Not really life-changing.

  17. Sorry. By per subject I meant 2 extra hours total when taking into account that she has 2 extra subjects.

  18. Oh, that’s not too bad then. She was probably told she could only use it to attend all of her classes, meaning she couldn’t use it at night to complete all of her homework in the space of about an hour.

  19. It would mean though that technically Hermione actually turns a year older nine days before her birthday. Unless a person who travels back in time is suspended in time or something. Since the Time Turner is magical, the person might become a magical entity until they get back to the moment from which they started.

    Roonil Wazlib, I absolutely agree, her sketches are exactly how I picture the characters. And she is actually an animator by profession, for Disney no less. She worked on The Princess and the Frog.

    I have to agree with kim about the Something You May Not Have Noticed passsage, if Lupin had told Dumbledore about what he saw on the map then Dumbledore would surely have gone into the passage too. Dumbledore may have a hidden agenda, but the events in the Shrieking Shack have nothing to do with it. And he might allow the trio a lot of room to fight their own battles, but not against a dangerous murderer who he has been trying to protect Harry from all year, even to the point of allowing the Dementors to guard the school, which we know he hates.

    I do have to wonder though how much he knows about what was going on when he’s in Hagrid’s hut. The way he stops Macnair from going outside early and then doesn’t seem surprised, but merely amused, about Buckbeak’s disappearance does seem a little suspicious. The film makers also seemed to believe that he knew, making him draw Fudge’s attention to the strawberries. Perhaps he cast the same spell as in Hagrid’s hut in CoS and released there were too many people about. Maybe he saw Harry and Hermione running across the grounds. Hermione did say something about, “If anyone looks out of the window…” Hint perhaps from Rowling? He might even have seen Hagrid let the trio in and realised that there were two Harrys, two Hermiones, and just one Ron wandering about.

  20. I don’t understand why they turn up in the Hall when they use the time turner…

  21. I know this is a late entry, but I just discovered this site. Which is great btw.

    I liked the Somthing You May Not Have Noticed, and yeah, I didn’t notice it, but it makes alot of sense. I do believe Lupin said somthing to Dumbledor when they passed. I think that D did notice something fishy about the Buckbeak incident, but I don’t think he stalled because of the resuing, because he hadn’t talked to L yet, but because he was giving the trio time to leave if they were around because knowing the trio as he did, he thought they would want to offer Hagrid their sympathy. Of course once Lupin filled him in he probobly thought, of course.

    To the questions of Dumbledore going with Lupin to save Harry. Since L informed him that a future Harry and Hermione were present, and they were spending the second go at time saving an animal and not their best friend, then things must have gone okay and all he needed to do was wait and find out the details. Why raise suspension with the Minister who would then know what happened to the “excaped” hippogriff and suspect D of being involved, not to mention the Ministers quickness to summon Dementors. The story would then be guaranteed not to come out. Cause we all know what happens when you involve the government.

    One thing we that we have to remeber is D is not a stict man, he understands the rules and laws, but only seems to follow the ones that either touch his conciouse or help him out. He understands and encourages learning and always gives people second chances. It can’t have excaped his notice that when Sirius broke into the dorm he did not try and kill Harry, even though he had a chance. It had to make him pause and wonder.

  22. hey who knows what chapter of what book has a little picture of good ‘ol Voldy under the influence of cheering charms? ive been looking for it for ages.

  23. G-Love, it’s here: PA15

    You can also see it on Heather Campbell’s artist page here.

  24. As far as Lupin seeing a future Harry and Hermione on the map goes, I think it should be taken into consideration just what exactly shows up on the map. Remember Lupin said he couldn’t see the trio when they were in Hagrid’s hut, obviously it doesn’t extend that far, so I think it’s safe to assume that areas such as the forbidden forest and the great lake might not be visible on the map either. And these were the places that future Harry and Hermione were in- not out in the open where they would be visible on the map. So although Lupin may have said something to Dumbledore about seeing something fishy going on with Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black on the grounds, he wouldn’t know anything about a second set or harry’s and hermionie’s.

  25. Pam, your theory would make sense, if there weren’t clues earlier on about Harry and Hermione already having traveled back in time as we saw events unfold the first time. Such as them hearing the door slamming, and Harry saving himself from the dementors. All those things happened the first time we see them, therefore Harry and Hermione *have* traveled back in time already at that point. Think of the time traveling as a constant loop. It is somewhat confusing (as all time paradoxes are), but it’s a common theme when time travel is written into stories.

    As for the idea that the Map wouldn’t have shown two Harry and Hermione dots because Lupin wouldn’t be expecting them, it just doesn’t make sense to me. The Map would be completely useless against watching for “enemies” as you roam the corridors of Hogwarts. Harry would never be *expecting* Filch or Snape to be headed toward him, if he just happened to glance at the Map at the right time. He would see them anyway, because they exist in the school. I don’t think it has anything to do with expecting to see anyone, if they’re there, they show up, cause the Map never lies.

    And I agree with lovelyheartedlady. At least to the point that we don’t know just how much the Map shows. We don’t really know what it’s limits are. Harry is always seen thinking “headed toward the Forest” or “headed toward Hogsmeade” but this could just be his knowledge of the area speaking. Or it just says “to the Forest” or “to Hogsmeade” on the side of the map. However, Lupin says he saw Harry, Hermione, and Ron head to Hagrid’s. So doesn’t that mean he would have at least seen the other Harry and Hermione in the broom closet off the Entrance Hall? I think it’s definitely a possibility he saw this, and informed Dumbledore. I think Dumbledore had an idea all year that he would have Harry and co. save Buckbeak from execution, and that’s why he was so amused at the site of what would have been the execution. But he didn’t know just how much this rescue mission would involve. I think he started to put the pieces together, knowing Sirius wouldn’t slash the portrait unless he was mad, since he knows Sirius was a Gryffindor, and then Sirius didn’t kill anyone when he found his way to Harry’s dormitory. He had his thoughts, and then the way events unfolded on June 6th, hearing from Lupin beforehand, talking to Sirius, and seeing Harry and Hermione’s sincerity (obviously not Confunded) he made up his mind that Sirius must be innocent and hatched the complete rescue plan for Harry and Hermione in the end.

    And I also think all the teachers must know of Hermione’s Time-Turner, because they must communicate with each other somehow at meal times and in the staff room. I can just see them all discussing how Hermione is coping with her immense workload, McGonagall being proud yet worried, and Snape being a jerk talking about how she’s still an insufferable know-it-all. I think that’s also a part of the reason why Snape is so angry about how things unfold for him in the last chapter. He realized what happened, and it always drives him crazy when Dumbledore allows all of this to happen and let them all get away with these things.

    And last but not least, why Dumbledore didn’t go in to help Harry at the Shack. Of course, I’ve already explained that I think Dumbledore already had an idea that Sirius was innocent. He also knew Lupin was going to go in after them, and as I see how Lupin must have been appointed as a defender for Harry, he knew nothing bad would happen to Harry in case Sirius was guilty. He also has always let Harry figure things out for himself unless he’s in serious danger from Voldemort. I don’t think Harry would have learned as much if Dumbledore had interfered, and I think Dumbledore fears that. He wants Harry to experience things for himself, because that’s the best way to grow and learn.I’m sure he must have been extremely worried for his safety that night, but somehow knew Harry would be alright in the end, knowing it’s Harry. He has already seen him go up against Voldemort and protect the Philosopher’s Stone, *and* go into the Chamber of Secrets and come back out, bloodstained and dirty, but safe. He puts a lot of store in Harry’s abilities, and hasn’t been wrong yet.

    Sorry about the length. That was huge =P

    (Moderated for language)

  26. This is a late post but I just stumbled across this site, and I must say I am very entertained and impressed Mr. Kearns!

    However regarding the map and the two Harry/hermiones, I think you may possibly be reading too much in to it. I don’t think lupin knew any time traveling was going on. Whether he didn’t see Harry and hermione twice because they were out of bounds of the map, it’s part of the magic of the time turner that they wouldn’t show up or he simply didn’t notice, I don’t think anyone was aware of what happened that night except Dumbledore, Harry, hermione and ron ( after they told him.)

    I wonder if they ever even explained to Sirius how he was saved. Hmm..

  27. Another late post… This definitely falls into the category of “using the Time Turner to solve everything” but regarding how Dumbledore knew what to do, I have a mental image in my head of him saying to Hermione and Harry when they get back: “Oh good, everything worked out! Now please turn back 4 hours and explain it all to me.” Cracks me up every time!

  28. The events in Harry and Hermione’s time travel adventure (such as Harry summoning the Patronus that he’d seen before he went back in time) could answer the question often raised about Time Turners: why didn’t the characters (before the Time Turners were all destroyed in Book Five) use them to go back in time to change things for the better (like stopping Voldemort and his followers from killing people?).

    Apparently time travelers were already in the past all along, and the things that they did were things that showed themselves even before they went back. So you can’t go back and, say, stop Voldemort from killing Cedric Diggory, because nobody stopped him from killing Cedric. But you can conjure up a Patronus to drive the dememtors away from your younger self, if it had already happened. (I hope I’m making myself clear.)

  29. Todd, that’s very well put. To build on what you said: You can’t go back in time to stop Voldemort killing Cedric, because if you DO, then Cedric’s never died – and therefore you aren’t aware of a need to go back in time to prevent it from happening!

  30. A sidenote regarding Patronuses and Animagi; it seems like these two kinds of magic has something in common – they both seem to be a kind of magic that conjures an animal that is the animal form of the wizard who casts the spell, right? I mean, at least I’m quite sure Sirius’ patronus would be a dog, and Pettigrews would be a rat. I don’t know, these two just seem to be a bit similiar regarding the animal aspect. Does anybody else have thoughs on this?

  31. I know probably no one but you, Josie, will read this but I had to comment on the outstanding artwork for this chapter. There are two that really move me: sharpfish’s picture of the Patronus and glockgal {Black & Buckbeak) are breathtaking. I selfishly wish the discussions would start up again because I’m sure these people have reread the books and have further insight. Having originally followed my church’s advice about HP being evil, I only got into HP two years ago (my grown son had kept after me to give them a chance). Now, I’m constantly relating some insight from the books to my senior citizen friends .

  32. willie, thanks for your comment! sharpfish’s drawing is one of my favorite HP drawings of all time. I remember I literally gasped when I first saw it (and I was well into the project by the time I came upon it, so I knew how different it was).

    In terms of the discussion, one thing you’ll find from time to time is people jumping back into a discussion – lots of readers have subscribed to the comments on a particular page, so if somebody posts they’ll get an e-mail and pop back in to share their thoughts again. So that may at least help some. :)

  33. Pardon the intrusion, but this evening I found myself thinking somewhat differently about the patronus than I had before, and wanted to float this. My inspiration was Stephanie Zacharek’s review of the movie *Prisoner of Azkaban,* which began with a quote from E. T. A. Hoffman to the effect that the essence of romanticism is “infinite longing.” [Her larger claim was that Cuaron had for the first time recognized the romanticism at the heart of the Potter books]. That got me to thinking specifically about the movie version of the scene in which Lupin teaches Harry to cast the patronus. In the movie version, the memory that works is not discovering he’s a wizard or departing Privet Drive; it’s the memory of seeing his parents in the Mirror of Erised. It wasn’t “happy, exactly,” but it was powerful. That, in turn, led me to rethink what is going on when Harry casts the stag patronus in this chapter. Earlier, he’d been convinced that his Dad had come and saved him and Sirius from the dementors, and here he’s at first convinced that his Dad will come to him on the opposite shore of the lake. Of course, he winds up casting the patronus himself, and I’d long figured that he’d concluded that it was up to him–that he could no longer hope for a parental protector. Now I’m not so sure. Now I believe that he was able to cast such a powerful patronus because the most powerful emotions aren’t those of happy memories–they’re those of longing for that which you think would make you happy. And that longing isn’t for some *thing*–it’s a longing for some *one.* In that sense, James Potter really *is* present on that lakeshore, as the embodiment of Harry’s longing for family [Just as, in the epigram from William Penn at the start of DH, the dead never die if they live within us]. Harry’s patronus, thus, is a projection not of a happy memory [As was noted in the HPC commentary on the “Patronus” chapter, his happy memories are pretty thin gruel] but of that “infinite longing” of which Hoffman speaks. That would also explain two of the other really emotionally powerful patroni in the books: Tonks’s wolf and Snape’s silver doe. And that view of them gives them an emotional power *for me* that they’d never had before. Has this been said before? Does it make sense?

  34. @David Carlton: I think you make an excellent point here! Snapes Patronus is a doe but even though he probably has some happy memories with and about her but I think the main thing he feel is longing for her and for his ‘happy past’ which she somehow symbolizes!
    Same goes for Harry and, even more importantly: Tonks! Her Patronus changes into a wolf before she got together with Remus. And loging she must’ve felt for him …
    Very great thought David!

  35. @Amanda – I’ve wondered the same thing about the link between a patronus and an Animagus form. The only time in the books we see an Animagus cast a patronus is in DH30, when Prof. McGonagall casts three patronuses to summons the other heads of house – and the patronuses are indeed cats with spectacle markings. So I think you must be right.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: