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PoA - Chapter 3 - The Knight Bus
PoA - Chapter 3 - The Knight Bus
Published by Fortescue
PoA - Chapter 3 - The Knight Bus


The chapter begins as Harry walks down Magnolia Crescent, away from the Dursley’s house. He is dragging his heavy trunk and carrying Hedwig’s cage. He stops several blocks away from number 4 and sits on a wall. The anger still surges through him over what happened at the Dursleys, and fear of what will happen to him now that he has broken the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry by blowing up his Aunt Marge. He knows he is surly expelled from Hogwarts and the knowledge sends panic through him. Harry realizes that he has nowhere to go in the Muggle world, so he devises a plan to fly to London, get his money out of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and disappear before the Ministry of Magic catches up with him.

As he rummages through his trunk in search of his Invisibility Cloak, he has an odd feeling he is being watched. To his surprise he finds the “hulking outline of something very big, with wide, gleaming eyes,” staring at him from the alleyway behind him.

In Harry’s moment of shock, he trips over his trunk, flings out his wand hand to catch himself and immediately there is a loud “Bang” and a blinding light. The “triple-decker, violently purple, Knight Bus,” appears in front of him.

The conductor of the Knight Bus, Stan Shunpike, steps off the bus and greets Harry with his spiel, but stops when he sees Harry sitting on the ground. Harry looks for the black dog with the help of the buses headlights, but the dog has gone. Stan notices something on Harry’s forehead and asks him what it is, but Harry flattens down his bangs and replies, “nothing,.” and when Stan asks Harry his name, out of fear of the Ministry, Harry recites the first name that comes to mind; Neville Longbottom. Stan explains to Harry that the Knight Bus goes anywhere except under water. Harry pays fifteen Sickles for a ticket to London and a hot chocolate, which Stan later spills all over Harry’s pillow.

Harry notices the bus is full of beds instead of seats, and there is a sleeping Wizard in the back of the bus muttering in his sleep. Harry meets the driver, Ernie Prang, and Stan introduces Harry as Neville Longbottom. With a loud “Bang”, the bus is off through the countryside, changing locations every time Harry hears the “Bang.” Trees, mailboxes and light posts jump out of the buses way as Ernie drives up over the curb and off the side of the road. Harry watches an ill Madam Marsh as Stan helps her down the staircase and off the bus, throwing her suitcase out after her. Harry notes he will not be able to sleep if he tries because of the noise and the lurching motions. Instead of sleeping, he sits and wonders what is going to happen to him because of what he has done, and he wonders if they have yet gotten Aunt Marge off the ceiling.

Stan has a copy of the Daily Prophet open. “A large photograph of a sunken-faced man with long, matted hair blinked slowly at Harry from the front page. He looked strangely familiar.” Harry asks about the picture and tells Stan he’s seen the same man on the Muggle news. Stan is surprised at Harry’s ignorance and tells him he needs to read the paper more often. Harry reads the article about Black, which depicts him as mad. “While Muggles have been told that Black is carrying a gun (a kind of metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other.)" As Harry stares at the picture of Sirius Black, he compares his likeness to a vampire. “Harry looked into the shadowed eyes of Sirius Black, the only part of the sunken face that seemed alive.” Harry reads about Sirius and the murder of thirteen people with one curse, and Stan tells him, “Black was a big supporter of You-Know-‘Oo.”

In Harry’s struggle to understand the information he hears, he inadvertently says the name, “Voldemort,” which turns Stan’s pimples white and makes Ern drive off the road so that an entire farmhouse has to jump out of the way. Once Stan calms down he tells Harry that after Voldemort disappeared, Black was cornered and blasted the street apart, killing one wizard and twelve Muggles, all the while “laughing ‘is ‘ead off. ‘Cos ‘es mad, inee Ern? Inee mad?” Ern and Stan relate to Harry how the Ministry covered up the incident by saying it was a gas explosion that killed all those people, and Ern relayed how the Azkaban guards gives him the “collywobbles,” and he requested that Stan change the subject.

Harry imagines what Stan might tell his passengers in days to come about Harry, “’Ear about that ‘Arry Potter? Blew up ‘is aunt! We ‘ad ‘im ‘ere on the Knight Bus, di’n’t we, Ern? ‘E was trying’ to run for it…” Harry’s fear increases as he realizes he too had broken Wizarding law by “inflating” Aunt Marge, and he wonders if that is enough to get him sent to Azkaban.

The bus empties, leaving Harry as the final passenger and Stan asks Harry where in London he wants to go – Harry tells him Diagon Alley, and “Bang!” Moments later the bus stops and Harry finds himself outside “a small and shabby-looking pub, the Leaky Cauldron.” As Harry disembarks, to his surprise, he is greeted by none other than Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, who places his hand on Harry’s shoulder to guide him inside. Stan hears Fudge speak Harry’s name, and Stan asks, “what didja call Neville, Minister,” and Fudge informs Stan “This is Harry Potter.”

“I knew it!’ Stan shouted gleefully. ‘Ern! Ern! Guess ‘oo Neville is, Ern! ‘E’s ‘Arry Potter! I can see ‘is scar!”

Fudge steers Harry into the Leaky Cauldron and into a private parlor. Harry sits in a chair by the fire across from Fudge and notes he has goose bumps even though he is quite warm by the fire. Fudge introduces himself to Harry, although Harry already knows Fudge from the previous year when Ron and Harry were under the Invisibility Cloak in Hagrid’s hut. Fudge tells Harry “but you’re safe and that’s what matters.”

Harry learns that Aunt Marge has been “punctured and her memory has been modified,” by two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad and will have no memory of the events that took place on Privet Drive. Fudge informs Harry that as long as he stays at Hogwarts for the Christmas and Easter holidays, the Dursley’s are prepared to let him return to Privet Drive the following summer. Harry tells the Minister that he always stays at Hogwarts for the holidays and he never wants to return to the Dursleys. “They are your family, after all, and I’m sure you are fond of each other – er – very deep down.”

Harry is confused as to why he is not punished for his use of magic, and for breaking the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry.

“Oh, my dear boy, we’re not going to punish you for a little thing like that!” cried Fudge, waving his crumpet impatiently. ‘It was an accident! We don’t send people to Azkaban just for blowing up their aunts!”

Harry doesn’t buy this and points out to Fudge that the previous year he had gotten a warning when a house-elf smashed a pudding at Privet Drive. Fudge tells Harry circumstances change, and Harry notes that something isn’t quite right about Fudge and he wonders why someone as important as the Minister of Magic would involve himself with something as trivial as underage magic. Fudge tells Harry he is leaving him at the Leaky Cauldron for the remaining two weeks of the summer under the watchful eye of Tom, and that Harry is not to go into Muggle London, but remain in Diagon Alley.

Harry asks Fudge if they’ve had any luck with Black, and Fudge admits they haven’t, but he is certain the Azkaban guards will handle the situation. As Fudge excuses himself Harry asks the Minister if he could possibly sign his Hogsmeade permission form. Fudge says no, it wouldn’t be right since he’s not Harry’s parent or guardian, and indicates it would be best if Harry didn’t go to Hogsmeade. Harry follows Tom to Room 11, and is surprised to find Hedwig already there. Harry sits on the bed with Hedwig and relishes the thought of the two Dursley-free weeks ahead of him, and then he falls peacefully asleep.


As in many other instances in Harry’s life, he is forced to hide his scar in order to blend in. His desire for anonymity, especially under the circumstances, is difficult because of his history and his fame in the Wizarding world.

The first appearance of the black dog is significant and begins the true rising action of the story. Further chapters delve into the importance of the dog as an emotional symbol of fear, hopelessness, and finally hope – and the possibility of future happiness.

The Knight Bus is Harry’s savior. Stranded in the Muggle world; a place that feels alien to him – and along comes something from his world. The bus rescues him from his isolation and fear on Magnolia Crescent, and forcibly shoves him back into the magical world to which he belongs, and where he can find some form of security and control over his circumstances. Although, in this instance, he continues to realize the fear over what he has done, and what might happen to him because of the emotional magic he used on Privet Drive, but at least he is back in his own world.

Fudge’s behavior foreshadows future incidents in the story that again, because of the Invisibility Cloak, leads Harry to new discoveries about himself and his parents. Fudge appears to show true concern for Harry and his safety and he is depicted as the kindly, older-gentleman Harry perceives up to this point. Clearly, Harry sees that Fudge is not completely honest regarding why he is at the Leaky Cauldron and why he is so concerned with Harry’s safety and his family unity with the Dursleys.

“A large photograph of a sunken-faced man with long, matted hair blinked slowly at Harry from the front page. He looked strangely familiar.” - We have seen several instances of Harry’s memories of his childhood coming in the form of dreams or visions, as in the instance from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when Harry dreamt of a flying motorcycle, which of course was how he arrived at the Dursleys with Hagrid twelve years earlier. Harry had seen the picture of Sirius on the Muggle news, in the paper, and again when Sirius was best man at his parents wedding, but later revealed that he did not even recognize Sirius in the wedding picture because of how much Azkaban had changed his appearance. It is also possible that he remembers the face from his childhood, and the man who was his father’s best friend.

The chapter begins with Harry in emotional turmoil because of what he has done, and the fact that he is alone in the Muggle world with his suffering. As the chapter end Harry finds resolution once again in the presence of someone who brings him a feeling of security when Hedwig turns up unexpectedly, just in time to comfort Harry after his trying day.


Harry Potter

Black Dog

Stan Shunpike

Neville Longbottom – Mentioned

Ernie Prang

Madam Marsh

Sirius Black - Mentioned

Cornelius Fudge

Minister of Magic

Ron – Mentioned

Hermione – Mentioned

Hagrid – Mentioned

Aunt Marge/Miss Margery Dursley – Mentioned

Aunt Petunia – Mentioned as aunt

Uncle Vernon – Mentioned as uncle

Assorted unnamed passengers

Tom the Innkeeper


House-elf - Mentioned

Muggles (mentioned)

Voldemort (mentioned)

You-Know-Who (mentioned)


Magnolia Crescent

The Knight Bus



Invisibility Cloak

Hogwarts (mentioned)

The Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry

Ministry of Magic (mentioned)

Azkaban (mentioned)

Gringotts Wizarding Bank (mentioned)


Vampire (mentioned)

Defense Against the Dark Arts (mentioned)



Diagon Alley (mentioned)

Charing Cross Road

Leaky Cauldron

Privet Drive

The Accidental Magic Reversal Department (mentioned)

Room 11

*Direct quotes in italics.

]Memorable Quotes

“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board, and we can take you anywhere you want to go. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor this eve –“

(Notice how much better Stan’s English pronunciation is when he says his introduction.)

“Them!” said Stan contemptuously. “Don’ listen properly, do they? Don’ look properly either. Never notice nuffink, they don’.” (Regarding Muggles.)

“While Muggles have been told that Black is carrying a gun (a kind of metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other), the magical community lives in fear of a massacre like that of twelve years ago, when Black murdered thirteen people with a single curse.”

“ Black woz a big supporter of You-Know-‘Oo,” he said.

“What, Voldemort?” said Harry, without thinking.

Even Stan’s pimples went white; Ern jerked the steering wheel so hard that a whole farmhouse had to jump aside to avoid the bus.

“You outta your tree?” yelped Stan. “’Choo say ‘is name for?”

“Laughed,” said Stan. “Jus’ stood there an’ laughed. An’ when reinforcements from the Ministry of Magic got there, ‘e went wiv ‘em quiet as anyfink, still laughing ‘is ‘ead off. ‘Cos ‘e’s mad, inee, Ern? Inee mad?”

“’Ear about that ‘Arry Potter? Blew up ‘is aunt! We ‘ad ‘im ‘ere on the Knight Bus, di’n’t we, Ern? ‘E was tryin’ to run for it ….”

“Neville?” he repeated, frowning. “This is Harry Potter.”

“I knew it! Stan shouted gleefully. “Ern! Ern! Guess ‘oo Neville is, Ern! ‘E’s ‘Arry Potter! I can see ‘is scar.”

“Last year, I got an official warning just because a house-elf smashed a pudding in my uncle’s house!” he told Fudge, frowning. “The Ministry of Magic said I’d be expelled from Hogwarts if there was any more magic there!”

“Oh, my dear boy, we’re not going to punish you for a little thing like that!” cried Fudge, waving his crumpet impatiently. ‘It was an accident! We don’t send people to Azkaban just for blowing up their aunts!”

Fact: The word “Black” is mentioned twenty-one times in the chapter.
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