Read a full summary of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling below. If you can’t remember what happened in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.
Harry was back at the Dursleys, having another terrible summer. On his birthday he learnt Aunt Marge is coming to stay for a week. Harry managed to endure six days of Marge’s taunting but lost in on the last evening when she was talking badly about his parents. He inflated Aunt Marge and then ran away. He made it to the Leaky Cauldron, where he stayed until September. The night before he was to leave for Hogwarts, Harry overheard Ron’s parents arguing; he heard that the escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, is a convicted murderer who wants to kill Harry.
Harry’s classes made Harry pretty busy. In Divination, he learnt he will die and Care of Magical Creatures has been taken over by Hagrid. Harry only truly enjoyed Defense Against the Dark Arts. He also had several problems with the Dementors that guarded the school. Working with Harry outside class, Professor Lupin taught him the Patronus Charm to repel Dementors. Along with school work, Quidditch, Black and Dementors, Harry and his friends also worried about Hagrid. One of the Hippogriffs was sentenced to death because of an attack on Malfoy.
On the last day of exams, the trio came face to face with Sirius Black, who was supposed to be after Harry the whole time. But Sirius wanted Ron’s rat who was really Petter Pettigrew, the real murderer. Yet Pettigrew escaped again but Harry and Hermione still managed to save Black (and later also Buckbeak the Hippogriff) with turning the time back.
What happened in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban?
- Harry was back at the Dursleys, having another terrible summer, but at least this time Hedwig was allowed to go out. So when Harry’s birthday came along, he got gifts and messages from all his friends: Ron sent him a picture from a trip to Egypt – his father won 700 Galleons in Daily Prophet draw so they went on holiday and Ron would get a new wand. Ron also bought Harry a gift – a sneakoscope. Hermione wrote from holidays in France and sent him broom servicing kit as a gift. Hagrid’s gift was a terrible looking snapping book with huge teeth but Harry was still happy to get a card and a gift. Another letter from Professor McGonagall arrived with new school supply list and a form for Hogsmeade visits.
- Coming to breakfast on his birth day, he saw on television that a prisoner named ‘Black’ has escaped. He was supposed to be armed an dangerous. That day he also learnt that Aunt Marge is coming to stay for a week. Uncle Vernon agreed to sign the Hogsmeade form if Harry behaves in the oncoming week. Harry managed to endure six days of Marge’s taunting but lost in on the last evening when she was talking badly about his parents. Harry inflated Aunt Marge and then ran away.
- Sitting on one of the streets, Harry was being watched. Checking with a wand, he saw a great big dog. Getting scared he fell, flailed his hands and managed to get picked up by the Knight Bus. He was taken to the Leaky Cauldron in London, where he met Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. He learnt he won’t be expelled and that Aunt Marge has been set back to normal. The Minister asked Harry to stay in Diagon Alley for the remaining two weeks before the start of the school year at Hogwarts.
- Last day of holidays Harry met Ron and Hermione in Diagon Alley. They went shopping for Ron and Hermione’s school things and Hermione decided on buying an owl. While in the shop where Ron was asking about a rat tonic (for his sickly looking rat), he was attacked by a huge ginger cat. Scabbers, Ron’s rat, ran away after the attack and Ron and Harry followed. Soon after, Hermione joined them, and she bought the ginger cat. Ron was furious.
- The night before he was to leave for Hogwarts, Harry overheard Ron’s parents arguing; he heard that the escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, is a convicted murderer, and it is believed that he wants to kill Harry. On the train, the trio sat into a compartment with one R J Lupin. They all figured it must be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Half way to school, a Dementor boarded the train looking for Black, causing Harry to faint, but he was helped by Professor Lupin who drove the creature away. Harry, Ron, and Hermione learnt that the Dementors will be patrolling the school in an attempt to protect Harry from Black. Harry was more concerned about the Dementors; they made him hear his mother dying.
- Harry’s classes made Harry pretty busy. In Divination, he learnt he will die, as Professor Trelawney saw the Grim in his cup. Care of Magical Creatures has been taken over by Hagrid, and their first lesson included Hippofriffs. The lecture was going well until Draco Malfoy insulted one. The animal attacked and the whole affair got Hagrid in trouble. Malfoy was pretty happy about it and milked his injured arm for all its worth. Harry only truly enjoyed Defense Against the Dark Arts. First lesson was a great success and all Gryffindors had a great time. Quidditch practices at school were more severe than ever. Wood was determined he will win the House Cup this year and he made the team train extra hard.
- Third years got their first visit of Hogsmeade on Hallowe’en, and only Harry stayed behind as he was not allowed to go, because his uncle did not sign his permission form. Harry spent the day in Lupin’s office. Lupin told him that he did not let Harry face the Boggart in their first lesson because he did not want the Boggart to become Lord Voldemort. Harry realized he was more afraid of Dementors and that Boggart would probably take that form instead. Shortly afterwards, Snape appeared with a mysterious potion for Lupin. Lupin claimed to have an illness that was only aided by the potion.
- A few hours later, Ron and Hermione returned from their trip to Hogsmeade. They reached the portrait of the Fat Lady and met a huge crowd. After it shifted, they saw the portrait was slashed and that the Fat Lady was gone. Peeves revealed that he saw her fleeing through another portrait after Sirius Black attacked her for not letting him into Gryffindor Tower.
- At Hogwarts, Harry had several problems with the Dementors. Next big one came at a Quidditch match with Hufflepuff, during which Harry fainted and fell off his broomstick from close to 50 feet in the air. His broom was smashed by the Whomping Willow and ruined forever. Harry continued to practice on a lame school broom because he was reluctant to buy a new one; even though he knew he will have to at some point. Working with Harry outside class, Lupin taught him the Patronus Charm to repel Dementors in case they come to a game again.
- Hagrid told the trio that Buckbeak the Hippogriff will have a trial because of the attack on Draco. They all knew it wasn’t the animal’s fault but Draco’s father was an influential man. Harry, Ron and Hermione promised they will help Hagrid built the case for Buckbeak’s defense in front of the committee. From then on the Care of Magical Creatures classes got very dull.
- Just before the next trip to Hogsmeade, Ron’s brothers Fred and George gave Harry a map of the school grounds and show him the ways to Hogsmeade. Harry decided to try one out immediately and joined Ron and Hermione in Honeyduke’s shop. When they were having hot Butterbeer in Three Broomsticks, Harry overheard some of his teachers talking with Fudge about Black, saying that Black betrayed Harry’s parents, giving Voldemort access to their house, and that he killed thirteen Muggles and his friend Peter Pettigrew. Harry also learnt that Black was his godfather.
- At Christmas, Harry received a mysterious present, an international standard Firebolt broom. Fearing it might be cursed, Hermione reported the gift to Professor McGonagall. McGonagall confiscated it on the grounds that it might have been sent by Black. Harry and Ron were furious with Hermione and didn’t speak to her for weeks.
- Meanwhile, Harry also started his lessons with Lupin. Harry failed to produce a patronus at first but Lupin ensured him that’s to be expected; the Patronus Charm is beyond O.W.L. standard. During his first lesson, Harry learns that Lupin was a friend of his father James back during their days at Hogwarts, and also knew Sirius Black as well. By February, Harry became quite good at producing Patronuses after a few lessons. While going back tho the Gryffindor tower after one lesson, Harry ran into McGonagall. She gave Harry back the Firebolt, which has been proven not to be jinxed.
- Ron and Hermione’s friendship was strained ever since she bought the cat; Ron was sure Crookshanks the cat had it in for Scabbers. It all reached the boiling point when Ron found blood and hair on his bed; he was sure Crookshanks ate Scabbers. They had a huge fight and didn’t speak to each other for a long time because Ron kept insisting Hermione isn’t even sorry about what happened. Hermione was too busy with her many classes she was barely present at all; she studied all day and late into the night and always dodged the boys’ questions about her odd timetable.
- In March, Harry secured another win for Gryffindor in a match against Ravenclaw, but not before he sent a big Patronus toward three Dementors entering the pitch. It turned out the “Dementors” were really Draco, Crabbe, Goyle, and Flint, trying to sabotage Harry. McGonagall took fifty points away from Slytherin, and gave detention to them all. Harry was happy to see they were absolutely terrified.
- That night, Ron woke up to Sirius Black slashing his bed curtains in the boys’ dormitory. After McGonagall didn’t believe Ron it wasn’t a nightmare, the replacement portrait, Sir Cadogan, admitted he let Sirius Black into the Tower. Black had all the passwords, written on a paper that Neville Longbottom lost. Neville was punished by not being allowed to know any more passwords. The Fat Lady resumed her duty guarding Gryffindor Tower after Sir Cadogan has been fired. She got a guard as well.
- On the third trip to Hogsmeade, Harry used his Invisibility Cloak. He and Ron visited the Shrieking Shack, a house that was supposedly filled with violent ghosts. Soon, Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle showed up there and provoked Ron, so Harry, using his cloak, attacked the trio. Malfoy managed to catch a glimpse of Harry’s head when the hem of the cloak caught and slipped off Harry’s head. Harry sprinted all the way back to school where he was busted by Snape and led to his office for interrogation. Snape found the Marauder’s Map, but he was unable to discover how it worked so instead he got insulted by the map’s makers. Lupin was summoned to examine the map on suspicion of dark magic, and moments after Ron showed up as well, claiming the map is a Zonko product that insults everyone. Lupin saved both Harry and Ron but confiscated the map nevertheless. On their way back to Gryffindor tower they met Hermione. Buckbeak has lost the appeal and would be executed.
- Buckbeak’s execution caused the trio to reconcile. Ron promised to help Hermione work on filing an appeal for Buckbeak’s case. Harry was too busy with Quidditch practices because of the final. Gryffindor was still in the game and in May, Harry managed to win the final and secure the cup for his house.
- Buckbeak’s appeal was scheduled on the final day of the exams. After Harry’s Divination final on the last day, Trelawney had a genuine prediction that Voldemort’s servant will return to him that night and Voldemort will rise to full power again. Meanwhile, Buckbeak’s appeal failed. Same night, Harry, Ron, and Hermione used the cloak to go to Hagrid’s cabin to console him before Buckbeak was executed. Hermione found Scabbers in a milk jug and returned him to Ron. The trio departed after the executioner came with Dumbledore, Fudge and a committee member. Half way back they heard Buckbeak being executed and Ron’s rat escaped again.
- Ron chased Scabbers to Whomping Willow where he was attacked by a big black dog. The dog dragged Ron through a tunnel under the Whomping Willow into the Shrieking Shack. Harry and Hermione followed after Crookshanks immobilized the tree. In the house they met with Sirius Black, who has transformed from the dog. They realized it was a trap but Harry decided to stand up to Black.
- Harry managed to overpower Black, who admitted that he was responsible for the death of Harry’s parents. Shortly after that Lupin arrived and Hermione accused him of being Black’s accomplice and a werewolf. Lupin admitted that he was a werewolf, but denied helping Black. He explained that he found out where Harry, Ron and Hermione went with the help of Marauder’s Map, since he had helped create it. He also added that he saw a supposedly dead person on the map – Peter Pettigrew, an Animagus who had been living for years as Scabbers.
- Lupin and Black were given the opportunity to explain the situation. Lupin was a werewolf, which led to his friends James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew becoming Animagi. Lupin explained that Pettigrew has been hiding from Black, whom he had framed for the murders of Harry’s parents and the thirteen Muggles.
- Snape appeared mid-story and was sure he will be able to get Black killed, Lupin fired and the trio expelled. Before he did any damage, he was knocked unconscious by Harry, Ron and Hermione at the same time. Lupin and Black were allowed to prove their story further and they succeeded: they turned Scabbers into a man – Pettigrew aka Wormtail. He kind of admitted he was the one who got the Potters killed. Though he was mad, Harry stopped Lupin and Black from killing Pettigrew, as he felt his father wouldn’t have wanted it.
- As they went back toward Hogwarts, Lupin turned into a werewolf, because he failed to take the potion Snape gave him to prevent transforming. Pettigrew escaped again while Black prevented Lupin from attacking the others. Ron was unconscious on the ground while Black chased Lupin to the lake. Harry and Hermione followed. Black got hurt and he, Harry and Hermione got attacked by Dementors. Harry failed to produce a Patronus so they all fainted, but not before Harry saw a person casting a white light toward them.
How did it end?
When they woke up in the hospital after the Dementors attack, Harry and Hermione overheard that Black has been sentenced to receive the Dementor’s kiss to answer for his crimes. When Dumbledore came to talk to them, he told them he believes Black is innocent, but the words of two teenagers won’t count for much. He advised Hermione and Harry to use Hermione’s time-turner, a device she has been using to double-up on classes. He told them where Black was being kept and hinted they might save more than one life that night.
Three hours into the history, they manage to save Buckbeak from execution and hide with the animal in the Forbidden Forest. Watching intently to see themselves go to and back from the Shrieking shack, they followed to the lake where Harry saved Sirius and future self with a big Patronus when Dementors attack. When they felt like enough time has passed, they took Buckbeak up to Professor Flitwick’s office, busted Black out and let him escape with the Hippogriff. Running through school they made it just in time, getting back in hospital beds before Snape marched in and accused Harry of saving Black.
On the train ride home, Harry received a message from Sirius. He told Harry he was in hiding with Buckbeak. He also enclosed a signed permission for Hogsmeade. Sirius let Ron keep the tiny owl that brought the message. After Crookshanks confirmed it was an owl, Ron decided to keep it.
Lord Voldemort – a dark wizard in search of great power, who killed many wizards, even Harry’s parents
Hogwarts – magical school in Britain for young witches and wizards
Muggles – non-magical people
Diagon Alley – an allex full of magical shops and stores and a wizard bank Gringotts
Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Raveclaw and Slytherin – four houses of Hogwarts, like families for the school year
Quidditch – wizard sport played on brooms
Hippogriff – a mythical creature, half big bird half horse, proud and slightly dangerous
Sneakoscope – spinning device that warns the owner of any wrongdoing against him or her
Grim – a big black dog, wizards’ death omen
Hogsmeade – a village near Hogwarts where students from year 3 on are allowed to visit
Dementors – foul creatures that are blind; they feed on good things and memories, they make people feel sad and relive their worst memories. They can also kill a person by sucking out their soul. They guard wizard prison.
Azkaban – wizard prison
Time-turner – a dangerous item to turn back time with; Hermione has been using it to go to all her classes
Animagus – a person that can turn into an animal at will
This is a full plot summary of what happened in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!