Talons and Tea Leaves

chapter six of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry has an eventful first day of classes, in which a wacky knight leads him to the North Tower, Trelawney predicts his demise, McGonagall refutes the prediction, and he rides a hippogriff. After that same hippogriff attacks Malfoy, though, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the evening with Hagrid, assuring him he won’t be fired.

Just Ignore Him, Harry, by Cambryn

“Just ignore him, it’s not worth it….”

(by Cambryn)


Sir Cadogan, by Gnatkip

“A quest!” The knight’s rage seemed to vanish instantly…. “Come follow me, dear friends, and we shall find our goal, or else shall perish bravely in the charge!”

(by Gnatkip)


Professor Trelawney, by lberghol

“Many witches and wizards, talented though they are in the area of loud bangs and smells and sudden disappearings, are yet unable to penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future,” Professor Trelawney went on, her enormous, gleaming eyes moving from face to nervous face. “It is a Gift granted to few.”


Reading Tea Leaves, by odella

Everyone was staring, transfixed, at Professor Trelawney, who gave the cup a final turn….

(by odella)


Professor Trelawney, by Tealin Raintree

“My dear,” Professor Trelawney’s huge eyes opened dramatically, “you have the Grim.”


Animagus McGonagall, by Heather Campbell

She transformed herself in front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes.


Buckbeak, by masterdragon09

Once you got over the first shock of seeing something that was half horse, half bird, you started to appreciate the hippogriffs’ gleaming coats, changing smoothly from feather to hair, each of them a different color….


Bow to a Hippogriff, by Agatha Macpie

“Easy now, Harry,” said Hagrid quietly. “Yeh’ve got eye contact, now try not ter blink…. Hippogriffs don’ trust yeh if yeh blink too much….”


C'Min, by gerre

When they reached Hagrid’s hut, they knocked, and a voice growled, “C’min.” … One look told them that Hagrid had been drinking a lot.

(by gerre)


about the chapter


The Power of Magic

Professor Trelawney’s brand of Divination seems remarkably similar to Muggle astrology, wherein the predictions made are so general, they always seem to come true. Count me with Hermione among the unimpressed, especially once we learn that Trelawney has predicted a student’s demise on the first day of every class, and it has never yet come to pass. Still, it’s fun to see all the predictions that Rowling writes into the classes and follows up on in some way later on, like Parvati being wary of a redhead or someone leaving the class forever around Easter (do you think that might happen every year?).

Life at Hogwarts

As I read about Harry eating sausages and fried tomatoes for breakfast, I started thinking about how deliciously unhealthy all the food seems to be, and wondering how on earth the students can ever manage to stay in shape (even their sport is played sitting down!). Of course, that breakfast is immediately followed with a trek to the top of the North Tower, which took more than ten minutes and involved a lot of running. When even getting to Gryffindor Tower demands a whole lot of stairs, maybe it’s not so hard to fathom after all. :)

The Boy Who Lived

Hagrid will later say that “everything seems to happen to” Harry, but sometimes it’s Harry’s own doing – in this case, he willingly volunteered to be the first to meet a hippogriff. It’s part bravery (did you really think a Slytherin would volunteer?), and of course part loyalty to his friend Hagrid. But as usual, Harry had a bit of a scare, and things worked out all right in the end.

The Final Word

“I didn’t invent the Hippogriff. The mediaeval European people genuinely believed they existed. We won’t go into the reasons that might be, but it’s a mythical creature. It’s an unusual mythical creature, it’s not as famous as a unicorn or a griffin…. I’m very fond of my Hippogriffs. I like Buckbeak.”–J.K. Rowling, October 1999

35 Responses to “Talons and Tea Leaves”

  1. the tomatoes and sausages are part of a typical English breakfast… I live in the Netherlands, and we once had English guest, who, as a surprise, made us an English breakfast…I can’t blame fleur for commenting in book four that the food is all so heavy in England… :)

  2. or if you come to Philadelphia it’s Scrapple, eggs, and toast. yummy.

  3. I never figured out what the Parvati being wary of a redhead was referring to…is that just me?

  4. To Julia’s comment above, I never figured it out either. I say though, that it was probably just something that never came true. Just another one of Trelawney’s wrong predictions.

  5. Hmmmm. Beware of a redheaded man. Well Ron was a red-head and he took Pavarti’s twin Padma to the dance, so I have always connected this to the fiasco at the dance. I know it’s a reach, but it still seemed logical to me.

  6. Pam, that’s funny – I always connected it to his relationship with Lavender in book six, which seemed to annoy Parvati as much as it did Harry. But in hindsight, that’s a stretch, too. :)

  7. My daughter and I visited the Harry Potter exhibition in Chicago. One of my favorite things there wa a life(?)sized version of Buckbeak. The tour guide explained that although the hippogriff in the movie was CG they had this model for the actors to reference. It was absolutely exquisitely beautiful and looked like a real animal! It had multilayers of greay and white feathers that must have been applied by hand and fur that looked like a soft grey horse an the back half and was tall as a real horse. I just wanted to touch it so bad!!! It looked amazingly so amazingly real! The drawing of Buckbeak by masterdragon09 reminds me of that ‘real hippogriff at the museum.

  8. I love Buckbeak.
    And to keep the comments on breakfasts, I’m from Argentina, we usually have coffee, tea, chocolate with buiscuits or cookies, may be toasts…
    And regarding Trelawney, I love Emma Thomsom playing her in the movies, she is a genuinly good actress and she caught the character really well.
    And again, in this chapter we meet somebody who would be of a gigantic importance on the books (Trelawney, I mean).

  9. I always thought it was horrible how Hagrid drinks so much around these kids. I mean I don’t oppose it being in the books because I think it adds so well to his character. I mean if he were real and he drank that much around 11 year old’s, as a parent I think I’d be a little concerned.

  10. I think Parvati was supposed to beware of Ron, who takes her twin sister to the Yule Ball and dates Lavender in book 6. she does have a connection to him.

    And another thing about “one will leave the class forever around Easter”– Ginny! In book 7 she disappears over the Easter holidays.

  11. Great animation by Heather.

  12. @pancake: the one leaving the class around Easter is Hermione.

  13. Just something that sort of popped into my head while I was just reading this chapter (I’m going back through the entire series and trying to be more thorough this time…) was that Hagrid should take points off Slytherin for the fiasco in the class. You know if Harry or any Gryffindor caused a ruckus like that (even if they had ended up getting hurt, as Malfoy did) in a potions class that Snape would have instantly taken points away from them for not listening closely enough, etc. I guess it’s just not in Hagrid’s nature to do such a thing…and he felt so awful about it, I’m sure it didn’t even cross his mind that it was someone else’s fault but his own.

  14. Just thought it might be nice to have some clarification on the full english breakfust thing-
    We don’t have it EVERY day! Maybe on a sunday or once or twice a month :) and if you stay at a B+B or hotel and have breakfast there, the breakfast will be a full english (most likely) :) Which is lovely by the way. I’m not a fan of hash browns or mushrooms and sometimes the baked beans are a bit much, but the rest is cool :)

  15. I love the one of Trelawney by Odella –and it looks like it’s based on a painting of Morgan le Fay: http://www.sir-lancelot.co.uk/images/Morgan-le-fay.jpg. :)

  16. Good catch, hazelwillow! Odella actually drew that as a challenge to imitate a famous piece of art. Here’s her original post on it: users.livejournal.com/_odella_/52189.html

  17. Joyce, he doesn’t drink when the kids are present, which would be inappropriate, he drinks alone in his hut. HRH only see him like that because they come to visit him, which other students probably wouldn’t do very often.

    As a Brit I too would like to testify to the fact that a full English breakfast (or full Scottish if you’re in Scotland, which is basically the same dish) is a treat and not eaten all the time. Hogwarts, like a hotel buffet, seem to serve a variety of breakfast foods and let the students pick what they like. Harry is described in other places as eating porridge.

    This chapter reminds me of how much of a twerp Malfoy is. Tom Felton plays him with charisma but I don’t really get that from book-Malfoy. “I’m dying! It’s killed me!” Pft! I couldn’t help thinking it in Borgin and Burkes in CoS too when he was moaning about Harry, and again in this chapter when he’s saying loudly about how he knew handling Buckbeak must be easy if Harry could do it. He’s really quite pathetic, at least early in the series. I forgive him in HBP though.

  18. I thought the ‘redhead’ was the red fox that ate her rabbit? or was that another persons pessimistic prediction? WOAH ALLITERATION.

  19. @Tasneem, it was Lavender whose rabbit got eaten, the prediction was aimed at Parvati. And she said, “A redhaired MAN.”

  20. I think its funny in this chapter how no one is impressed with mcgonagalls transformation into an animagi because they are all worrying about harry and the grim. like its so unusual for harry to be marked for death.

  21. It’s not unusual, but he’s still not used to it. He’s not used to being close to death so many times yet because he’s not mature enough yet. And of course, neither are the other children.
    About Hagrid drinking, I’m from America, so here that would be outrageous, but I’m guessing in Britian since their drinking laws or more lax it’s not as big of a deal as some might think in America. I could be wrong though. But that’s what I always assumed. I mean the kinds themselves drink sometimes. Isn’t Butterbeer somewhat alcoholic?

  22. Technically the full English breakfast is cornflakes, followed by bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms, followed by toast and marmalade. The full Scottish begins with porridge instead of cornflakes, occasionally includes a taste of Haggis or trout instead of sausage or bacon, and the finishing marmalade is always made in Dundee.

    But it really is rare. It’s something we’d only eat on a special occasion; I’ve most often had it while on holiday and it was cooked in a hotel. Even in the days when the upper classes ate it regularly (mid-C19 to mid-C20), I don’t think they ate it every day.

    The red-headed man who threatened Parvati always bothered me too. I actually wondered whether JKR had originally intended Parvati and not Lavender to be Ron’s HBP girlfriend? Or whether Parvati and not Padma was originally going to accompany Ron to the Yule Ball?

  23. I also imagined that the red haired man was to add comedy when they look at Ron with suspicion like he’s the red haired man. She’s not actually making predictions, remember? Just spouting general things that could be interpreted as her actually predicting them.

  24. Ari, I was thinking along the same lines. Here in America, the drinking laws are very strict, which I think is what causes more of us to turn into alcoholics compared to the UK’s number. By making it a forbidden thing, all the kids want to do it and end up drinking very early by sneaking it. It’s a rebellion thing, and I don’t think the UK has that very much. Correct me if I’m wrong, Brits, but don’t English children sometimes grow up drinking a glass of sherry after dinner or something? I heard that somewhere. By making alcohol not a big deal, they effectively mature children in the ways of alcohol much faster than those over here in America. I was a counselor at a summer camp one year, and we had a few young adults from other countries come over for the job as well, and those under 21 would get so angry they couldn’t have a drink on their nights off. Anyway, back to Harry Potter, you can notice how relaxed Harry, Ron, and Hermione are around drunk adults. Hermione somewhat takes care of Hagrid by taking away his booze, and you never read Harry thinking he wishes he could have some (as many US children do when faced with alcohol, due to the taboo). I think you’re correct also, in that butterbeer is somewhat alcoholic. I would guess somewhere along the same alcohol content as a regular Muggle beer (although I would hazard a guess that it tastes quite a bit better ;]). And then Professor Slughorn in HBP doles out the oak-matured mead no problem, and no one seems to get upset with him that he did (other than the obvious implications it has). But yes, I believe alcohol is just not a big deal where they are, and that’s why it isn’t shocking when Hagrid is drinking around kids (even if he started out by himself, he doesn’t stop when they enter).

  25. Casey, there’s a very interesting discussion about drinking in the UK (with speculations about just how alcoholic butterbeer is!) under HBP chapter 15: “The Unbreakable Vow.”

  26. Casey, drinking age is 18 in Britain. Entry to a pub is permitted aged 14-17, but only for soft drinks. This means that younger peers can share their of-age friends’ social more easily.

    “A glass of sherry after dinner” is over the top – few families would do that to their children! However, we do tend to give older children a half-glass of champagne on a special occasion. And, yes, it is fairly common in some families for the adults to have a glass of wine with dinner. An adult who is eating a full meal wouldn’t become drunk on that quantity, but it means the children accept social drinking as something fairly normal.

    I don’t think Harry would want Hagrid’s booze. Hagrid is actually pretty unappealing while drunk, and HRH love him despite it.

  27. No, I don’t think Harry would want Hagrid’s booze either. That’s exactly my point. These thirteen year-olds aren’t wondering about how alcohol is so amazing or something. Over here in the US, kids steal booze from the parents and stuff all the time, just because of the fact that it’s been made a taboo until you’re over 20 years old. Even parents won’t drink in front of the kids except on holidays and stuff (at least in the typical well-brought up middle/upper class household) for fear they’ll “get ideas”. I’m aware the drinking age in Britain is 18 (that’s what I mean when I say young adults, because you can’t even be a counselor at a summer camp here without being 18. Or at least that’s how it was at the camp I counseled for), but I didn’t know about the youth admittance for socializing with friends who have reached their majority. That’s interesting, and definitely a good idea since the drinking age is much younger there. I’m glad you cleared up the “glass of sherry” thought for me. I’m not sure where I read it, but at least now I know it’s codswallop!

    Anyway, I guess the point I was trying to make is that drinking is much less of a deal over in the UK than it is here. I’ve heard that alcoholism is generally frowned upon, and while it is here too for mature adults, you can definitely walk into a college here, spit, and have it land on an “alcoholic” because it’s the norm. I know the Brits can party, but over here it’s just sad how far it goes, and unfortunately the main reason is because we’re brought up thinking it’s this bad thing that you should never do until you’re much older. So once you hit that age it’s an all-out booze-fest.

  28. I’m from Sweden, and the drinking age here is also 18, but you have to be 20 to buy it. They don’t sell alcoholic beverages in regular grocery stores here, instead you’ll have to go to a specialized store run by the government. It’s the only business in Sweden that has monopoly. This is done because apparently, back in the days, alcoholism was extremely common in Sweden, and this was done as a try to fix the problem. As Casey said, this kind of strict taboo doesn’t really fill its function since alcohol becomes more of a “cool” and forbidden thing to drink. It also opens up a wide black market for alcohol, which is actually quite easy to come by illegaly. Since the booze is so expensive in the special store, most Swedes will go to Denmark or Germany to buy it cheaper, too, and bring back home a stack of it. The fact that almost every single Swedish tradition contains alcohol isn’t helping matters, either.
    But, to the actual point I thought I’d make; I was always under the impression that butterbeer doesn’t contain much alcohol at all, a bit like cider. :) Sorry for the long alcohol related rant, delete my comment if it’s too much off topic.

  29. I absolutely love how I’m getting an education in culture! I’m learning about Different foods and alcohol laws from European countries on a HP website! Lol. See this is proof that HP can change your life for the better! Thanks everyone! :D

    As for Trelawney’s predictions, just out of curiousity… the ” Beware a red-headed man” one was the only one that didn’t come true wasn’t it?

  30. Re: The Power of Magic. So why did Dumbledore hire Trelawney again? Was it only because she was able to make a true prophecy the night Dumbledore set out to meet her? Or is it because, like the DADA subject, there are only very few Seers and Trelawney was the best option Dumbledore had at the moment?

    The topic above about breakfast among different countries is really amusing. Here in the Philippines, the typical breakfast setting for the average Filipino would be a plate of fried rice, along with tomatoes and fried fish. The elite ones would typically enjoy sunny side-ups, bacon, sausages, a piece or two of toast, and more. And besides, Josie, the university I’m studying at also offers a wide selection of “unhealthy” foods (think pizza, pasta, ice cream, hamburgers), yet with all the stairs we have to climb and the distance between the buildings we have to cross, we might as well haven’t eaten anything. ;)

    Re: The Boy Who Lived. Truly a classic example of the “brave yet stupid” stereotype associated with Gryffindors. ;)

    Iberghol’s portrait of Trelawney is extremely accurate! Though, Josie, I think you’re supposed to say “area”, instead of “are” in the said artwork’s description. I, for one, think masterdragon09’s Hippogriff is very life-like!

  31. I wonder when Hermione sneaked off to use the time turner in this chapter. She doesn’t seem to leave Harry and Ron’s side. She’s with them all the time and yet by lunch time she has clearly used it.

  32. Amy, that’s a brilliant catch, and one I’d never noticed before. She seems to stay by Harry and Ron’s sides from the moment she gets her course schedule until lunch, when she states that she’s already been to Arithmancy.

    The only possibility I can think of is that she hung back while they were chasing Sir Cadogan, went to her other classes first, and then rejoined Harry and Ron mid-chase later on. That’s impressive, though, considering this is the first time she’s ever used the time-turner!

    One thing that would be interesting about that, however, is that we know Hermione thought her Arithmancy class was very good; if she attended that one first, she might well have been a little extra biased towards Divination when she went to that one shortly afterward.

  33. Is has been mentioned before, but in GB there are only two kinds of breakfast: Sausages and similiar heavy stuff or no breakfast at all. I’ve the feeling, that the lunch at hogwarts is less extensive, with something sweet around teatime offered to tide the pupils over until dinner.
    It all depends on the country you life in…In Germany, the traditional breakfast would normally be extensive, but with nothing cooked in it (aside from boiled or scrambled eggs), lunch would be a warm meal and dinner something small, a piece of bread with something on it and tea most likely.

  34. Something I find incredibly fascinating about Trelawny is how almost EVERYTHING she predicts comes true, despite the fact that most see her as a fraud.
    You may recall her mentioning at christmas that when thirteen dine together the first to rise will be first to die. Before you say that neither harry nor ron died, might i remind you that there were FOURTEEN after trelawny joined them to eat? Let’s not forget Scabbers, or pettigrew, which means that the first to rise before trelawny turned up would be first to die. and that was dumbledore, in greeting to the divination professor.
    Also in book 5, there is a point in grimmauld place where 13 people dine together and sirius is the first to rise from that meal.
    and in book 6 trelawny is shuffling through tarot cards and pulls out the Major Arcana XVI the lightning struck tower. This is a clear reference to the tower at the end of the book, more so as the card depicts two people falling from the tower, and two people died at the end of the book – dumbledore and the unknown death eater. The lightning may also be a reference to harry, or the dark mark being cast.
    And when she was predicting harry’s death, are we sure she did not in fact predict the death of voldemort residing within harry?

  35. I took a medieval literature course last semester, and was very surprised to find Hippogriffs showing up in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, a 16th Century Italian epic poem. J.K. Rowling did such thorough research, and really showed her work!

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