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PoA - Chapter 11 - The Firebolt
PoA - Chapter 11 - The Firebolt
Published by Fortescue
PoA - Chapter 11 - The Firebolt

Prisoner of Azkaban

Chapter 11 – The Firebolt


The chapter begins as Harry makes his way back to Hogwarts from Honeydukes cellar through the tunnel Fred and George showed him on the Marauders Map. He is very upset having just learned the truth about Sirius Black. Sirius Black had been his father’s best friend at Hogwarts and had betrayed his parents to Voldemort resulting in their deaths. Harry wonders why none of the adults in his life had ever told him the truth.

After dinner, Harry returns to the Gryffindor common room and quickly goes upstairs to the dormitory to find the photo album Hagrid had given him in his first year full of wizard pictures of his parents. Harry finds the photo of his parents wedding, and for the first time he knows the handsome man standing next to his father: Sirius Black. Harry notices the difference twelve years in Azkaban had on Black’s appearance. Harry lays awake in his bed until dawn as hatred builds within him for Sirius Black.

When Harry wakes late the next morning, he finds Gryffindor tower deserted; the other Gryffindor’s having gone home for the holidays - except for Ron and Hermione who are in the common room. Ron and Hermione both talk to Harry about what they’d heard the day before trying to convince Harry not to do anything stupid like go looking for Black.

Harry confesses to them what he hears when the dementors get near: that he hears his mother pleading with Voldemort before she is murdered. Hermione tells Harry there’s nothing he can do and Ron is concerned that Harry might want to find Black and kill him.

Ron suggests a visit to Hagrid to try to distract Harry, but Harry wants to see Hagrid and ask him why he’d never told Harry the story behind Sirius and his parents. When the trio gets to Hagrid’s hut, they find Hagrid crying. He’d received notice of Buckbeak’s hearing set for April 20th before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. The trio promises Hagrid they will help him with Buckbeak’s defense.

The castle is decorated for Christmas and even Scabbers peeks out of Ron’s pocket long enough to smell the aromas of the pending Christmas meal. On Christmas morning, Ron wakes Harry to their pile of presents and Harry finds someone has sent him a Firebolt; the fastest broom in the world, yet there is no tag to show who sent it.

While Harry and Ron admire the broom, Hermione enters the boy’s dormitory with Crookshanks. When she finds out there was no tag on the broomstick to identify the sender, Hermione voices her concerns – why would anyone send Harry such an expensive present, yet not enclose a card? Crookshanks tries to get to Scabbers again by attacking Ron’s pajama pocket, and with a bad aim at the cat, he kicks Harry’s trunk releasing the Sneakoscope from Uncle Vernon’s old socks and it ‘whirled and whistled” on the floor.

Dinner in the Great Hall is an intimate affair as there are only fourteen people, students and teachers, who remained at Hogwarts for the holiday. Professor Lupin is again ill, and doesn’t join them. Dumbledore shares a “Cracker” with Professor Snape and gets a large pointed witches hat topped with a stuffed vulture like the one on Neville’s boggart, to Snape’s chagrin, while Professors McGonagall and Trelawney have a verbal wrestling match.

After dinner, Harry and Ron leave the Great Hall and return to Gryffindor tower, while Hermione stays behind to speak to Professor McGonagall. Back in the common room, as Harry and Ron are again admiring the Firebolt, Hermione and Professor McGonagall enter through the portrait hole. Mirroring Hermione’s concerns over the broomstick from the unidentified sender, Professor McGonagall confiscates the broom so it can be checked for jinxes. After she leaves the Gryffindor common room, Hermione confesses they believe the broom was sent to Harry by Sirius Black.

Interesting Movements/Actions:

In this chapter, we see Harry’s emotional turmoil after he finds out the generally perceived truth about his parents and Sirius Black. Once again, Harry is left alone to absorb and deal with a crucial piece of his family history. As before in his past, he feels betrayed by those adults in his life that know the truth, but don’t tell Harry who is believed responsible for his parents’ deaths.

We also see into Harry’s character when, determined to get the truth out of Hagrid, and to show his anger at being kept in the dark about his parents death - he finds his friend in such desperate emotional distress over the impending court hearing, Harry hasn’t the heart to bring up the subject of Sirius Black. Once again, Harry shows his human depth and maturity. As much as Harry is suffering, he doesn’t broach the subject with Hagrid and he keeps his feelings between himself, Ron and Hermione to spare Hagrid any more heartache.

Through Ron’s dialogue, we see a view of Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore and Lupin in that he suggests that either of them care enough for Harry to send him the expensive Firebolt. The reader sees through Ron’s eyes how much these two important people care for Harry without either man ever having expressed a close, emotional bond to him. Their caring and concern for Harry is evident to the other characters closest to Harry.

Plot Specific:

After Harry tells Ron and Hermione what he hears when the dementors are near; that he hears Voldemort murdering his mother - Hermione pleads with him to not do anything stupid like going looking for Sirius Black – as it’s not what his parents would have wanted. Harry said, “I’ll never know what they’d have wanted, because thanks to Black, I’ve never spoken to them.” (pg. 216). Crookshanks is laid out stretching on the floor and we are shown Scabbers, quivering in Ron’s pocket. Scabbers did not quiver because of Crookshanks as the reader is led to believe, but because of the dialogue just disclosed between Harry, Ron and Hermione. The quiver is for the reader to see Scabbers having a possible guilt connection to Harry’s current circumstance, and the fact that Sirius is the one to which Harry’s hatred is erroneously directed.

In chapter five, The Dementor, we see the Sneakoscope go off in Harry’s trunk on the Hogwarts Express. The reader is led to believe that Professor Lupin might be a character to watch as the Sneakoscope only activates when someone has done or is doing something ‘sneaky’. In chapter eleven, we see the Sneakoscope activate again, when Ron kicks Harry’s trunk, but the reader is then left to wonder why it activated. The clue is laid that Professor Lupin, who the reader has now come to like and trust, could not be the one who activated the device on the train, therefore we look at other characters, specifically, Scabbers, around the Sneakoscope both times that it activated.

The reader is shown another reason to mistrust Professor Lupin when, on Christmas Day, Harry unwraps the Firebolt and Ron suggests to Harry who might have sent the broomstick. Ron tells him that the Firebolt was possibly a gift from Professor Lupin. Through Ron’s dialogue, the reader learns that while Professor Lupin was supposed to be ill, Ron tells Harry that he wasn’t in the hospital wing as he had served Snape’s detention of non-magically cleaning out bedpans, and Lupin was not there. Later in the story we learn that he is in his office at this time, and we also learn why he is there.


Professor Dumbledore


Mr. Weasley (mentioned)

Cornelius Fudge (mentioned)

Ron Weasley

Hermione Granger

Fred Weasley

George Weasley

James and Lily Potter (mentioned as mother and father)

Sirius Black (mentioned)

Voldemort (mentioned)

Dementors (mentioned)

Peter Pettigrew (mentioned)

Neville Longbottom (mentioned)

Secret-Keeper (mentioned)



Malfoy (Draco – mentioned)

Sir Cadogan


Lucius Malfoy (mentioned)

Flobberworms (mentioned)

Norbert (mentioned)


Mrs. Weasley (mentioned)

The Dursleys (mentioned)

Professor Lupin (mentioned)

Slytherins (mentioned)


Professor McGonagall

Professor Flitwick

Professor Snape

Professor Trelawney

Professor Sprout



Places and Things:

Marauders Map

Invisibility Cloak

Honeydukes (mentioned)

Hogsmeade (mentioned)


Azkaban (mentioned)

Peppermint Toad

Order of Merlin First Class (mentioned)

Gobstones (mentioned)

Forbidden Forrest

Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures (mentioned)

London (mentioned)

The Three Broomsticks (mentioned)

Christmas (et al)

Great Hall


Diagon Alley (mentioned)

Pocket Sneakoscope

Magical Menagerie (mentioned)


Broomstick Servicing Kit
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