Grim Defeat

chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The students spend a night in the Great Hall as the teachers search for Sirius Black; Snape takes over Lupin’s class for a day and is more intolerable than ever; and in a Quidditch match amidst a thunderstorm, Harry is overtaken by dementors and loses the match.

Percy Weasley, by Cambryn

Percy… had been prowling between the sleeping bags, telling people off for talking.

(by Cambryn)


by Tealin Raintree

“Have you any theory as to how he got in, Professor?”


The Potions Master, by LMRourke

“Detention, Weasley,” Snape said silkily…. “And if I ever hear you criticize the way I teach a class again, you will be very sorry indeed.”


The Grim, by Tealin Raintree

But at that moment, another flash of lightning illuminated the stands, and Harry saw something that distracted him completely – the silhouette of an enormous shaggy black dog, clearly imprinted against the sky, motionless in the topmost, empty row of seats.


Dementors, by Helene Sirois

And then a horribly familiar wave of cold swept over him, inside him, just as he became aware of something moving on the field below….


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

In Harry’s first year, the students considered it a really big deal when Dumbledore showed up for a Quidditch match, as though it were an uncommon occurrence. Now, however, it’s not even noted that the headmaster is present until he runs out on the field to save Harry from falling to his death. It’s possible he still doesn’t attend often, came to this one because he was nervous about the conditions and dementors, and that the team simply didn’t see him because of the storm. But I think it’s more likely that ever since Harry’s near-catastrophe in his first match (when Quirrell tried to buck him off his broom), Dumbledore has been a faithful attendee of at least the Gryffindor matches. That way he can keep an eye on Harry – and after all, we know he is a fan of professional Quidditch, so why not his house’s team as well?

The Wizarding World

I know wizards are substantially hardier than your average Muggle, but it still seems a bit excessive to me that they would allow the students to play a Quidditch match in a torrential thunderstorm. With only six matches a year, would it really be that big of a deal to postpone it a week? At while the players are flying around and not on the ground (and therefore can’t get electrocuted by lightning), what about the spectators? Are there anti-lightning charms on the stands?

Life at Hogwarts

The Gryffindor team is outraged when Slytherin gets out of their match, but I can’t help but wonder how the Hufflepuff locker room responded when they were suddenly assigned to play. The conditions may favor Hufflepuff because their Seeker is bigger, but they certainly haven’t been training for the match the way the Gryffindors have, as we consistently see the teams stepping up their training when a match is approaching. So wouldn’t that be a huge advantage for Gryffindor? And as a result, wouldn’t it also be a matchup that Slytherin wouldn’t particularly want to see happen either? Gryffindor’s Chasers certainly outscore Hufflepuff’s by a wide margin….

25 Responses to “Grim Defeat”

  1. As to the lightening strike.. it may interest you to know that unless the players were grounded, there’s little the lightening could do to them. You can stand on electric railway tracks and not be harmed, unless you touch the ground at the same time.

  2. Ahh, yes of course! I should have thought of that, but of course I have my head in Muggle games which are (so far as I know) all played on the ground.

    Still seems rather dangerous for the spectators though, no?

  3. Thought you might want to know that there is a typo in one of the quotes:
    “Detention, Wealey,” Snape said silkily…. “And if I ever hear you criticize the way I teach a class again, you will be very sorry indeed.”

    Weasley is missing the s.

  4. Thanks berlin – fixed.

  5. The dog, again…

  6. I find it interesting how Snape expresses to Dumbledore his fear that Lupin may not be entirely trustworthy. Makes me think of the (many) times Harry has voiced similar thoughts about Snape. And Dumbledore’s answer is the same almost verbatim: “No way. I trust him.”

  7. I still don’t know why any character would question Dumbledore’s decisions. Its Dumbledore! To trust him is to trust his judgment. On whomever. I realize though that they are only 13, and its hard to look past Snape’s ‘redeeming’ qualities, lol. Snape is just a tool sometimes. Although I may not like him as a person, the fact that Dumbledore trusts him is enough for me. :)

  8. I’ve heard a lot of people say that the dementors are attracted specifically to Harry, and other refuting, saying that in this chapter, they are only drawn by the arena full of emotion. Mightn’t they also have sensed Sirius’s presence?

  9. Love LMRourke’s Snape!!

  10. In this book, Cedric Diggory is said to be in his 5th year,the same year as Fred and George and,thus,making him two years older than Harry,but in the next book,Cedric is said to be 17, making him three years older than Harry. Maybe he was simply the oldest in his year and is still only in his 6th year,like Hermione. She said so herself that her birthday was in September

  11. David Kenny, I think you answered your own question – as long as Cedric’s birthday is in September or October, he (like Angelina) would have been a sixth year eligible to put his name in the Goblet on October 30. It’s easy to forget that students who aren’t Harry turn a year older during each book, and don’t wait for the beginning of the following one. :)

  12. An interesting note on the discrepancies of the film for this book: during this Quidditch match, a Hufflepuff player (whom I think is supposed to be Cedric) is hit by lightning whilst riding his broomstick. Not only does this not follow how the match ends up in the book, as Lizzie said, the lightning should not have struck him since he wasn’t on the ground at the time. I love pointing out how bad that movie was n_n

  13. Agree with Eliza. That Snape by LMRourke is awesome.

  14. During the DADA lesson, Snape is going around and criticizing the students’ work. One thing he says is that the Kappa is more common in Mongolia, which is actually false. The Kappa is a Japanese water demon. If Snape is so fascinated with the Dark Arts, why does he not know much about the monsters?

  15. Hpfan: in the book “Fantastic beasts & where to find them” there is a scribble at Kappa wich also notes that. :p

  16. yraM, that was what I initially thought too! But I realized if the dementors did, indeed, swarm the grounds that day because they were attracted to Sirius’ presence, then why did they fail to notice Sirius the night he attacked the Fat Lady’s portrait?

    Dumbledore: “I am afraid no dementor will cross the threshold of this castle while I am headmaster.” No wonder he was so angry when the dementors swarmed the Quidditch field. ;)

    Lastly, I want to know how Peeves entered Gryffindor Tower. He woke Harry up, didn’t he? Can he, what, pass through walls and other tangible objects like a ghost?

  17. “There’s nothing wrong with Malfoy’s arm!” said Harry furiously. “He’ faking it.”
    “I know that, but we can’t prove it,” said Wood bitterly.

    Why not just ask Madam Pomfrey?

  18. Just noticed page 177, US version, “…another clap of thunder, followed immediately by.forked lightening”. Maybe weather works differently in Wizard World but in Muggle Land, thunder comes after the lightening.

  19. Casey, you’re right about that film discrepancy (Cedric getting struck by lightning). However, I always appreciated that moment for its foreshadowing–in the next book/film, Cedric will be struck down while Harry goes on. I do agree with you that most of the PoA film is deeply aggravating, though!

  20. @willie weather works same in both worlds.
    Its a blooper! Nice observation.

  21. @May well dumbledore didnt know about the other two secret passageways and hence they were without protection. Remember how easily harry was able to sneak out to hogsmeade using one of them. I guess Sirius used one too.

  22. Love the Dumbledore speculation about attending matches!

  23. It’s possible for thunder to be followed immediately by lightning; the lightning would also need to be followed immediately by thunder, like two rapid-fire two-tone hammer-blows.

  24. For what it’s worth, it is more than possible for objects in the air to be struck by lightning (NOT “lightening”–sorry, that’s one misspelling that always drive me nuts!). It happens frequently to airplanes and even happened to one of the rockets that carried astronauts to the moon (Apollo 12). The effects from the electrical current if you were hit by lightning in midair are not entirely clear, since you would not be “grounded,” but the heat energy involved would almost certainly cause some injury. Lightning bolts heat the immediately surrounding air up to as much as 55,000 degree Fahrenheit, and while the area of air involved is relatively small and the duration of the event relatively short, serious burns could reasonably be expected at a minimum.

  25. When you are near where lightening strikes, you hear the thunder at the same time as the flash. You can also seem to hear the crash of noise just before you witness the light. I have experienced a lightening strike on a tree in my front yard, while I was in the garage. In my case I was not looking in the direction from which the light came, but I was aware of the sound before I was aware of the light. You also do not hear the sound in the same way as you would when it is at a distance. There is a crash, a very LOUD crash of sound, not the sonorous boom that you hear in distant thunder. And you are not aware of echoes and rumbles. The sound in your ears is so loud and lasts more than a second, it would drown out any echoes that would have reflected off nearby barriers. Also, the echoes would have been so close in time, because of the nearness spatially, that you would hear them as part of the original sound.

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