Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Year Three)

 

Harry is revealed to loathe the summer holiday, he studying undercover, to attempt writing an essay about witch burning in the 14th century. He listens for any movement would definitely be punished if caught. Harry smuggles some of his locked up school books from the closet to his room, he being extra careful to stay out of his Aunt and Uncle’s way for Ron having called one day and Vernon answering. After the trouble made from Ron’s loud call, Harry didn’t receive anymore correspondence over the phone. After ending his studying for the night, he realizes it was his birthday (he claiming he’d never gotten a birthday card before, which I forget whether is accurate), Hedwig having been gone a couple nights since Vernon had given in to Harry letting her out at night due to the noise she’d make if sequestered for too long. A recap of Harry’s history with Voldemort is mentioned, then he sees three owls heading for his window, the one being carried belonging to Ron. Harry read the article accompanying the letter, Ron and family visiting his eldest brother, Bill in Egypt. The present with this was a Pocket Sneakoscope, he then opening the letter and present from Hermione, her gift a Broomstick Servicing Kit, Harry impressed. Hagrid’s gift was a snapping monster book (he expecting a book from Hermione, the monster-related part definitely making sense from Hagrid, though), which he had to bind, then opening the letter from Hogwarts which included a permission slip to go to the wizard-town, Hogsmeade on certain weekends, he contemplating how he’d get it signed, but going to bed, to worry about it in the morning.

When Harry goes down to the kitchen next morning, the Dursleys were watching their new TV as they ate, the news detailing an escaped prisoner, Black, Vernon then sharing he’d have to leave soon after having shared his opinion about what should be done to prisoners, he off to pick up Aunt Marge at the airport, Harry reacting with horrified discomfort. As Vernon readied to leave in the hall, Harry attempts to bribe him to sign his permission slip, Vernon agreeing (but it falling through, quite conceivably), Harry then sending a note with Hedwig for Ron to allow her to stay for the week of Aunt Marge’s stay. During the time he endured with her, he had a slight accident whilst she spoke of Harry’s mother in comparison to dogs, but the last day arrived, and Harry took all he could bear before ballooning Marge, and making a hasty exit after gathering his belongings.

Harry contemplated on how screwed he was, with nowhere to go, no means of contacting Ron and Hermione, and most certainly expelled from Hogwarts. Then when Harry felt as if he was being watched, he raises his wand to illumine the area, he inadvertently stopping the Knight Bus, whatever Harry had attempted to see, no longer there. He then gives the young conductor-like man Neville’s name due to the suspicious look he threw at Harry, and as they traveled Harry recognizes Black on the front of Stan, the young man’s newspaper, he letting Harry read the story. Sirius Black is mentioned being crazy, armed, and Fudge informing the Muggle Prime Minister for precaution, Black’s history of having killed over a baker’s dozen of people with a curse. Stan mentions Black’s support of Voldemort, the details of how he’d killed the people, and his capture. When the previous riders all left the bus, Harry asks to be dropped at Diagon Alley, and when he exits the bus, he’s met by Minister Fudge, he giving away Harry’s identity to an excited Stan. When the two are seated in a private room, Fudge shares how they’d handled his blown up Aunt, and happy Harry wasn’t hurt. He then suggests Harry stay in a room at the Leaky Cauldron for the remainder of his vacation, Harry sensing this suggestion odd, Fudge not normally involving himself in underage magic rule-breakers. When Fudge returns with the news of which room he’d be staying in and his curfew, as well as not to wander in Muggle London, he leaves. Harry then is led to his room by the owner, he surprised by Hedwig waiting inside for him, then going to sleep.

Harry made good use of his free time, also enjoying the ability to sleep-in and choose his own menu. He would spend time people-watching in the Leaky Cauldron, and studied at an ice cream parlour with the help of the proprietor whom also supplied free sundaes for him. One item which tested Harry’s spending skills was the latest broom at the Quidditch store, instead he buying replenishments for his potions supply, a better fitting robe, and school books. When entering the shop, he realized Hagrid had taken care of one of his required books, the next one he needed being pointed out by the book keeper, but Harry becoming entranced by a death omens book which depicted a large black dog which seemed familiar, but continues with his requested reading selections, afterward dropping everything off in his room. Soon enough, it’s his last day of vacation, he being spotted by Ron with Hermione at the ice cream parlour. Soon Hermione talks of getting her own owl, whilst Ron dealt with his rat Scabbers’ pallid state at the pet shop. As Ron was getting his rat tonic, a cat jumped on his head, scaring Scabbers out the door, Hermione coming out of the shop with the orange fatty, completely content with her buy of Crookshanks. They go back to the Leaky Cauldron where Harry is greeted first by Mr. Weasley, then Mrs. Weasley as she returned with Fred, George, Percy, and Ginny. Everyone had their dinner together, and when returning to their rooms to finalize packing, Harry hears Percy and Ron arguing about missing items, Harry helping Ron out by retrieving Scabbers’ tonic, down in the bar, he overhearing an argument between Mr. and Mrs. Weasley over Black coming after Harry. He hears them settle the argument and return upstairs, Harry locating Scabbers’ rat tonic, giving Ron the remedy and learning from Fred and George what had become of Percy’s badge. Harry then also realizing he would have no chance visiting Hogsmeade with Black on the loose.

Harry is in the process of getting ready the next morning when Ron enters, sharing the new accusation he’s now suffering from Percy, Harry about to share his news when interrupted by the twins who were giving Ron their kudos for his irritating Percy. The boys go down where everyone else is waiting, their rides arriving soon after. Mr. Weasley sticks close to Harry, even walking him through the barrier when they arrived early for a change. As everyone was being given a sandwich by Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley was about to inform Harry privately of the danger he was in, Harry making it easy on him by confessing he’d heard the two talking and not to worry, since he wasn’t. Mr. Weasley then attempts to have Harry promise him, no matter what he heard about Black, not to go looking for him, the train by this time about to leave, so Harry having to rush on board. Harry then insisted on speaking with Ron and Hermione alone, the three going to the last compartment, which had an adult passenger dozing, it uncommon to see anyone but students on the train. Hermione was first to mention the man’s name on his luggage, Professor Lupin, Harry then confiding the information of Black after him, the two taking the news gravely. Ron then notices a noise which they soon connect to the Sneakoscope, Harry having to deaden the sound by smothering it with socks from his luggage. As the group switched subjects to Hogsmeade, Harry informs them of he not allowed to go, the two considering whom Harry could ask for permission. When no ideas stuck, they passed the time idly until the food cart came, Malfoy showing up later with Crabbe and Goyle, but the three backing off when seeing the professor. Soon they notice the train was slowing, but they weren’t yet at Hogwarts.

The lights go out once the train fully stops, Hermione leaving the compartment after Neville joined them, planning to ask the conductor what was happening when she runs into Ginny, Ron seeing people entering the train and Lupin finally waking. He lights the compartment with small flames when a figure wearing a hooded cloak walks in, Harry noticing the hand protruding from the covered figure not looking plump with life. As the figure breathed in, Harry could no longer take in a breath and felt cold. When he comes to, the train is moving, Harry asking whom had screamed, no one else having heard, Lupin giving everyone a piece of chocolate and sharing what they’d seen being a dementor. After again insisting Harry eat the chocolate to make him feel better, he exits to speak with the driver. Ron and Hermione then relate to Harry what had happened to him and how Lupin had made the dementor leave. When they reach Hogsmeade station, they go to the awaiting carriages, when they reach Hogwarts, Malfoy accosts them once more to ask if Harry had actually blacked out, he being turned away once more when Lupin gets out of his carriage. When they enter, McGonagall calls for Harry and Hermione to follow her to her office, Harry then learning it was related to his reaction to the dementor on the train, he irritated by the attention and insisting he was alright. He was then sent outside to wait so McGonagall could speak with Hermione about her schedule. After, they all return to the dining hall, Harry in the process of updating Ron, but Dumbledore standing to make a speech, Harry shutting up to listen. After noting the dementors presence, he introduces the new professors, Lupin getting a look of hate from Snape, the next professor mentioned being Hagrid, whom would be teaching Care of Magical Creatures to the trios shocked delight. After the feast they give their congratulations to Hagrid, then go to their dorms, Harry quite pleased to be back.

The trio enter the dining hall to Malfoy reliving his own version of what happened to Harry on the train with a group of Slytherin youth. Fred and George cheer him up with schooling Malfoy at Quidditch this year as a consolation for his big mouth, and Malfoy’s reaction to the dementors being quite embarrassing, as well. Ron then notices Hermione’s full schedule, a few starting at the same time. The three then quickly finish breakfast so they could locate their first class, Divination, getting help from a knight in a picture. When the class begins, Professor Trelawney appears slowly, speaking how this class would be difficult to pass without the Sight. She proceeds to freak the class out with upcoming events, one foreboding statement of someone leaving forever near Easter, she then giving the first assignment of reading tea leaves. Ron and Harry get a kick out of attempting to read the other’s cup when Trelawney comes to look at Harry’s and what she sees eventually makes her swoon. Harry’s cup had the Grim omen of death, which is a large ghostly dog which haunts churchyards, Harry recalling the book he’d seen at the bookshop and seeing a similar dog on a cover. After the ill-fortune being told, the class ends early and they’re off to Transfiguration where McGonagall soon notices how distracted the class was to be unphased by her turning into a cat, Hermione explaining why, and McGonagall calming them with Trelawney’s penchant to choosing someone to die on every new term, it not having happened yet.

Ron is still spooked by lunch, Harry sharing how he’d seen a Grim already when he caught the Knight bus, but it soon falling to Ron and Hermione bickering over psychic reliability. They were then off to Hagrid’s for their Magical Creature’s lesson, Harry soon spotting Malfoy and goons, but no time wasted on them, Hagrid anxious to have the class see what he had in store for them. After leading the group to an empty paddock, Hagrid learns his students hadn’t figured out how to open their books yet, showing them how easy it was to coax the buggers to be complacent. Then he goes to lead their study subjects to the group: Hippogriffs. The animals looked, and were quite intimidating, but Harry offered to be first to approach one, he going through the formalities Hagrid coached him through, and the Hippogriff allowing Harry to touch him, then ride him, the rest of the class following suit, but Malfoy ruining it by insulting the Hippogriff, and getting hurt. The class disbanded to their common rooms as Hagrid took Malfoy to the nurse, Harry and friends still not seeing Hagrid at dinner, but noticing his light on after, they off for a visit. Hagrid was drowning his sorrows and the group attempts to convince him it was Malfoy’s stupidity and was acting more hurt than he was. Hagrid overcome with their positive reinforcement, and after calming down, realizes Harry was outside at night, he switching to getting mad and escorting them all back.

Malfoy returns to classes late on Thursday, during Potions class, Harry and Ron soon to be put upon by Malfoy needing all chopping and busy-work to be done for him, and since he’d decided to set up right by them, they are the slaves. Malfoy also lets on he was milking his injury for the pleasure of getting Hagrid fired, and of course to be waited on. Then they learn through another classmate of how Sirius Black was spotted nearby, Malfoy partially letting on to some knowledge of why Harry should look for him, but leaving them wondering. Another confusing moment happens with Hermione disappears and reappears, she making an excuse, but Ron still wondering what she was hiding from them. They then have Defense Against the Dark Arts, Lupin taking the class out of the classroom for their first subject, Peeves and how Lupin deals with his insubordination by not removing gum from a key hole, they then moving on after viewing the useful spell, to the teacher’s lounge where a boggart awaited them in a closet, Lupin instructing them to picture their worst fears in a ridiculous way so as to complete the spell he teaches them, they doing this with no problem, and Harry not having needed worry since he didn’t get a turn with the boggart. Harry and group left, he wondering why he hadn’t gotten a turn, but also learning Lupin had a fear of crystal balls, mysteriously (at least, according to a student).

Defense Against the Dark Arts was soon many students favorite class, whilst Potions with Snape was fast becoming the worst since he’d found out about the boggart and Neville’s dress choice, he receiving the brunt of abuse, but Harry not enjoying it either.  As for Divination, Harry was losing patience with the classwork and Trelawney, Care of Magical Creatures taking a dive, as well since Hagrid had seemed to become timid, and so the class now were learning of a kind of worm. Harry was then saved by the Quidditch season nearing, their first team meeting being scheduled. After returning to the common room after first practice, Harry learned the first visit to Hogsmeade had been determined for the end of October, so Harry was convinced by Ron to ask McGonagall for mercy, he then settling to do his Astronomy assignment. Ron then gets a scare when Crookshanks attacks his bag for a resting Scabbers, he retrieving the rat physically unharmed, but this fueling him to insist Hermione get a handle on the cat. The next day, Harry was set on asking McGonagall after Transfiguration class about his fate on going to Hogsmeade, but his request didn’t work in his favor.

The day for Hogsmeade quickly arrives, Hermione and Ron having made up over their pets not getting along what with feeling bad for Harry, promising him souvenirs, Harry attempting neutrality on his stay. He walks the two to where everyone was readying to go, then goes to the common room where Colin spots him quickly. So as not to get stuck with him, Harry excuses himself with going to the library to get some assignments done, leaving, but as he’s on his way, changes his mind to go elsewhere, and runs into Filch, he commanding Harry return to his common area, he deciding he’d visit Hedwig instead, when Lupin calls to him, wondering why he was wandering alone, then showing him what creature the class would study next. When the two sat having a cup of tea, Harry asks about why Lupin hadn’t allowed him to take a turn with the boggart, Lupin confessing it was because he thought Harry would conjure Voldemort. Harry confides he’d actually been thinking of the dementors, to Lupin’s surprise, but impressed with Harry’s logical fear. Snape drops by with a requested potion for Lupin, then exits, Harry divulging Snape’s history with the Dark Arts and ambition about teaching Lupin’s subject, he paying no mind, and then dismissing Harry so as to get back to work. Later, Ron and Hermione return with sweets for Harry as they promised. After hearing about all the interesting places they’d visited, Harry told them of Snape, the group walking to the Great Hall as they discussed this. The feast was magnificent and couldn’t even be spoiled for Harry by a comment from Malfoy. As they walk back to the common room, there was a holdup at the portrait, Percy calling for Dumbledore, and the trio seeing someone had slashed the painting. When Dumbledore had ordered Filch to go locate the Fat Lady, Peeves comes by joyfully and spills where he’d seen her last, and of Sirius Black being the one whom had attempted to enter.

Dumbledore has the Gryffindors wait in the Great Hall, soon being met by the confused other houses, everyone soon learning they’d be spending the night there whilst the castle was searched, Head Boy and Girl designated as guards and Dumbledore magicking everyone a sleeping bag before exiting. The students talk with fervor over how Black could’ve gotten in, Hermione rolling her eyes to most suggestions since knowing the grounds were charmed, and the dementors having all entrances guarded. At three in the morning the chatter quieted, Dumbledore returning and speaking with Percy near Harry and duo, they listening about how no one was found and Gryffindor would be allowed to return to the dorms the next night, Snape also approaching to inform all other areas had turned up nothing, then speaking cryptically since Percy was still present, but letting on how he thought Black could’ve gotten help from within the castle, Dumbledore not believing the validity and dismissing the idea, off to relay to the dementors of the search being done, Percy then asks if the dementors had wanted to help, and Dumbledore stating how of course they had, but having vowed not to ever let one inside. The three separate, leaving Harry and crew wondering the finer details. Over the next days, Black was main chat topic, Gryffindors not happy with their replacement portrait of Sir Cadogan, whom when not challenging people to duels, changed the password too often, complaints to Percy being met with the information of Sir Cadogan being the only taker brave enough to accept the duty. Harry was more affected by the reaction of teachers and Percy, the latter Harry sensed was caused by Mrs. Weasley, all keeping a close watch of him, McGonagall summoning Harry to her office to discuss the issues with his late practices of Quidditch, she deciding a chaperone would be given.

As the match got closer, Oliver breaks the news of Gryffindor now playing Hufflepuff since Slytherin had backed out with the excuse of Malfoy’s arm having not healed, but more likely due to the damp weather, Harry pissed since knowing it was a fallacy, but Oliver relating they couldn’t prove it. The couple days before the match had Harry dealing with Oliver giving him pointers between classes since Hufflepuff had a new captain, and he was a seeker, but the chats making Harry late for Defense Against the Dark Arts one day, and instead of seeing Lupin, Snape waiting and deciding Gryffindor would lose ten points, in the end losing fifteen in total for not complying with commands to sit and asking after Lupin, Snape making remarks to Lupin’s disorganization and the class defending him. Snape disregards this, deciding they’d learn of werewolves, giving them a hard time when no one, but Hermione knew how to spot one from an actual wolf. When she interrupts twice to answer, Snape takes away more points and announces the cause being for her “know-it-all”-style, upsetting her, and Ron defending her, getting a detention. The rest of the lesson silent with note-taking and Snape’s criticisms on past test scores given. Ron had to stay after class for his detention details, Snape giving homework on the subject gone over. When Harry and Hermione go outside to wait for Ron in the hall, they complain of Snape and hoped Lupin returned soon, Ron coming out to meet them with his task being bedpan cleaning in the hospital wing without the aid of magic.

The next morning Harry is woken by Peeves so early it’s still dark, but unable to return to sleep with Quidditch in a few hours, Harry dresses and takes his gear, on his way out, having to stop Crookshanks from going in the boys dorm, making Harry suspicious, knowing how many mice were up for pouncing in the building. Harry waits in the common room until he thinks it’s breakfast time, Crookshanks making a few more tries to get into the boys’ dorm. Harry was finishing his meal as the rest of the team came in, Oliver obviously nervous, the team discovering how much when he didn’t even give them a pep talk, the game readying to begin in the windy storm. Harry was soon drenched and stiff with cold, he almost getting hit by a Bludger twice with the scene difficult to view, Oliver calling a time-out, and Harry explaining the trouble he’s having spotting the Snitch, Hermione helping him with a spell to repel rain, he now able to see, and the game starting back up, Harry prowling for the Snitch and being distracted with the vision of a large black dog in the stands, disappearing with another lightning flash. Oliver warns Harry to watch out, Cedric, the other captain, heading at him with his eyes on the Snitch. Harry goes after it, as well, until noticing a swarm of dementors below him, he again hearing screaming, and the impression of seeing his mother protecting him, he blacking out and next hearing voices speak, he coming to with his team, Ron, and Hermione around him in the infirmary, they speaking of how Harry had plummeted to the ground. He then learns he’d outrightly lost the game this time, Fred and George attempting to make him feel better with their odds of still being in the tourney. When the team is told to leave, Ron and Hermione share of Dumbledore helping Harry to fall slower, shooing the dementors out, and having a floating stretcher take him off-field, Harry’s broomstick being destroyed by the Whomping Willow.

Harry had to stay in the infirmary over the weekend, but he not minding, only insisting on keeping his Nimbus remnants despite Pomfrey wanting to dispose of it, Harry affected by losing his loyal broom. Many visitors came and went, but none truly helping Harry for not knowing his true trouble, the Grim seeming to follow him, he unable to speak to Ron and Hermione about it, and the dementors also worrying him. He slept fitfully, but content with returning to normal class procedures on Monday, despite Malfoy making impressions of his fall, Malfoy’s arm fully healed…now. When he didn’t let up in Potions, Ron loses Gryffindor fifty points for chucking a crocodile heart at Malfoy’s face. Lupin returns after this and is greeted by everyone breaking out into complaints of Snape and their homework, Lupin deciding they could disregard it, but Hermione already having it finished. The lesson was a good one, Harry being asked to stay after class because Lupin asked after the damage of his broomstick, Harry taking the moment to ask why he was affected by dementors so strongly, Lupin supplying it was because most kids Harry’s age hadn’t experienced anything close to trauma like his, Harry confessing what he hears, then Lupin discussing with Harry why the dementors had trespassed onto the field, he believing it was caused by their hunger, Harry then stating of how the prison must be, Lupin agreeing it’s depravity, most prisoners losing their minds shortly after entering. Harry then remembers how Lupin had fended the one dementor off, hoping he could teach him, Lupin agreeing, but needing to wait due to his illness hitting at an inopportune time.

During winter, Harry’s mood took a turn for the better when the next Quidditch match had determined Gryffindor still having hope to win, Oliver grinding the team down for practices with renewed vigor. Harry was also grateful Ron and Hermione were staying at Hogwarts over vacation, but wasn’t so happy to hear of another trip to Hogsmeade being set before term ended. When the day came, Harry borrowed a book on models of brooms from Oliver and planned on spending his day learning of what style of broom would suit to replace his Nimbus, he waylaid on his walk back to the common room by Fred and George giving him his Christmas present early, to Harry, only looking like a blank piece of parchment. Fred and George explaining how they’d come by it, then showing how to use it, they having met Harry at the last unknown entrance into Hogsmeade, the two going off with plans of seeing him in Honeydukes. Harry weighed his options on whether to go for a moment, then taking the passage to Hogsmeade. The trek took what seemed a long time, ending in a couple hundred steps, but making it to the basement of Honeydukes, where he edged past one of the owners, backing out from behind the counter, and blending in with the swarm of Hogwarts students, Harry imagining how Dudley would automatically get Diabetes looking at the place. Harry spots Ron and Hermione in the unusual taste department and surprise them as Ron searches for a good choice for Harry, he then sharing of the Marauder’s Map, Ron annoyed why it hadn’t been bequeathed to him, Hermione believing Harry would turn it in to McGonagall, and then Harry stating how useful it could be, also reasoning how Sirius Black couldn’t know of the open passage, plus dementors crawling all over town being a big deflector. Hermione still worries for Harry, but Ron and he have moved on to other sweet wonders after getting begrudging approval.

The trio head out into a blizzard, Ron suggesting the Three Broomsticks for butterbeer, Harry fully agreeing for not having dressed for the weather. Then, as they’re enjoying the refreshment, McGonagall, Hagrid, Flitwick, and Fudge walk in, Harry getting dunked under the table, Hermione moving the Christmas tree in front of them, and the teacher’s sitting down right next to their table. Soon, Fudge is discussing the possibility of Sirius Black’s whereabouts still expected to being close by with the group and the proprietress, Rosmerta. He continues to share Black’s worst deed not being the one most known, he explaining how Black and James Potter had been besties way back and troublemakers which Hagrid believed were only barely topped by Fred and George, everyone going on about Black being Harry’s Godfather and how the friendship had lasted for years, he being chosen to keep the location of the Potters secret since Voldemort was after them, Black suspected of playing mole for him. Rosmerta, surprised since knowing Black from his youth and didn’t believe he’d have been a Voldemort supporter. Hagrid then gets quite angry over how he’d been fooled by Black right after he’d saved Harry, going on to describe how Black had given him his flying bike (and there begins Book 1). Then it’s told of another friend of Lily and James Potter, Peter Pettigrew having died attempting to capture Black, discussing how it had ended and Fudge’s encounter with him being in quite sound mind despite the constant dementor guard. The group soon taking their leave after this, Ron and Hermione uncertain how to break the silence after all they’d heard.

Harry’s shell-shocked by the conversation, he not remembering how he made it back to Hogwarts so easily, Ron and Hermione only looking at him worriedly at dinner, Harry secluding himself to his bed and looking at the photo album from Hagrid to end his night. He finds a picture of his parents with Black on their wedding day, he thinking of how Black was unaffected by dementors despite what he’d supposedly done to betray his parents, he not getting to sleep until dawn, and when getting up, is told how bad he looked, he having forgotten it was the start of their holidays, Ron and Hermione then broaching the subject of Harry hopefully seeing reason and wouldn’t go after Black, Harry confessing the screams he heard when around dementors, he not certain how he wanted to handle Black, but having to do something. Harry then discusses what Black’s role to Voldemort could’ve been, Ron then suggesting they should visit Hagrid, he hoping it’d lighten the mood, Harry agreeing, but only to learn more about why Hagrid had kept so much information about Black from him. When they get there, they hear odd noises from inside, Harry yelling and knocking, Hagrid finally appearing, and looking distraught. When Ron and Hermione help Hagrid to sit, Harry is offered the letter Hagrid received which had caused his pain, it regarding his innocence to the hippogriff incident, but Buckbeak and Hagrid required to go to a hearing concerning what would become of the bird by the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, the odds not in their favor. Hermione attempts to show positivity by the need for building a defense, but Hagrid knew the committee had been strong-armed by Lucius, and upon more talking, Ron making tea, Hagrid calming, and the subject of Azkaban coming up, Hagrid confiding the sorts of memories he’d suffered. By the end of the visit, Ron and Hermione had gotten what they’d wanted out of their chat with Hagrid since Harry now had another focus, the three borrowing books next day from the library which could help Hagrid with his case.

Then Christmas arrives with Ron waking Harry ceremoniously with a pillow hit, the two discovering their Christmas sweaters and hearty foodstuffs from Mrs. Weasley, he locating a slimmer present under them all, the two marveling at the Firebolt broomstick by an anonymous gift-giver, Ron suggesting Dumbledore, then Lupin, and when Hermione comes in and hears about the mysterious gift, is first to sense danger, but all being distracted when Crookshanks jumps on Ron, he hurting his foot when accidentally hitting Harry’s chest. Hermione finally listens to Ron and takes the cat out when Harry’s Sneakoscope falls out of his sock and whirs. Harry then seeing Scabbers for the first time in a while, noting how scrawny and patchy the once fat rat had become. The three move to the common room where Ron and Hermione are now freshly aggravated with each other, Harry also getting on Hermione’s nerves for bringing the Firebolt with him. At lunch, one table was set and shared by the teachers and six students including the trio, Dumbledore wishing them a happy Christmas, giving Snape a cracker where a witches hat pops out, Snape giving it to Dumbledore, whom immediately dons it. As Dumbledore then bids everyone begin, Trelawney (of whom I’ve started to make notes calling her Tre, making me think of Tre Cool) floats in, she having planned to dine alone, but her crystal-gazing telling her otherwise, but after Dumbledore magicked a chair for her, she refuses to sit, for making the table thirteen. McGonagall convinces her to sit, she then noticing Lupin not being present, Dumbledore sharing of his being sick again, McGonagall giving Trelawney a hard time what with supposedly having the ability to see what was happening, Trelawney sharing she acted like she didn’t so it wouldn’t make people feel weird, she then professing of Lupin leaving them soon, Dumbledore dismissing the statement when confirming with Snape of having made the same remedy. Trelawney acts fine throughout, until the end of the meal when Ron and Harry get up first, McGonagall downplaying Trelawney’s shrieking reaction, and Hermione sharing of staying a bit longer to speak with McGonagall.  The boys return to the common room where Harry brings out the Firebolt once more, the two gazing at it in wonderment until Hermione comes in with McGonagall, the former sitting and blocking her face with an upside-down book whilst McGonagall confirmed Hermione’s story of the Firebolt not coming with any personal identification from Harry, then informing him she was going to confiscate it until it was tested for jinxes, Ron exploding at Hermione when McGonagall leaves, she confessing rebelliously of how she suspected the broom was from Sirius Black.

Harry was upset with Hermione despite knowing she had good intentions, he convinced the Firebolt wasn’t sabotaged, and wondering how the tests would affect its riding capabilities, Ron was infuriated by the thought of the Firebolt’s dismantling, Hermione sticking unapologetically to her belief she’d done rightly, but leaving the two to themselves for the rest of vacation. When the other students returned, Oliver came to speak with Harry about his dementor situation, Harry interrupting him before he got kicked off the team, Oliver also then learning how Harry had gotten the Firebolt and lost it, he vowing to speak with McGonagall about the issue, unable to accept the stripping down of it, either. The first day of classes brought the caring of salamanders whom dwelled in flames, palmistry in Divination, and Harry setting up his dementor spell training, Ron wondering what Lupin had been sick with and Hermione baiting him with knowing, but Ron not falling for her attempt at getting them to speak with her and deciding it was the reason since she didn’t go through with sharing. Harry meet up with Lupin at the designated time and place, Lupin having a big case, he having found a second boggart to practice with, Harry attempting to hide his nerves. After learning the spell, Lupin releases the boggart-dementor, but Harry doesn’t succeed and must take a break before trying again with a different happy memory. The second time failing as well, Harry confiding hearing his dad this time, Lupin confessing he’d known and was friends with him, Harry then attempting the spell one last time, he succeeding, then asking if Lupin had known Sirius Black as well, he admitting this and then ending the session, to be continued next week.

Harry soon became bogged down with practices five times per week for Quidditch, he having one day to complete school work, but Hermione was overrun with assignments, she no longer socializing for all her work. Ron wondered aloud how she was doing it, Harry not answering for doing his own essay, but then being interrupted by Oliver, whom had spoken with McGonagall to no good effect, Harry refusing to order a broom like Malfoy’s. Harry had started to take learning about the Firebolt’s condition in his own hands as the Quidditch match neared, McGonagall updating him and making it clear from here on, she’d locate him if his broom was ready, hearing from him every day taking toll on her patience. He also stagnated progress with the Patronus spell, he unable to get the silvery cloud to push the boggart-dementor back. Lupin stays positive about Harry’s progression, even though Harry was giving himself a hard time, Lupin deciding a treat of butterbeer could lighten his mood, Harry asking about what was under a dementor’s hood, Lupin stating how no one with sanity would know, depicting of they only revealing their mouths for a Dementor’s Kiss, Sirius Black in the running for one, now as incentive to the dementors. They end the practice upon finishing their drinks, Harry so overcome with the terrible information, he runs straight into McGonagall with her good tidings, as well as his broom, he immediately brightening and Ron showing up looking gleeful, they returning to the common room where everyone had a chance to pass it around, Hermione staying out of it, but the three talking again, Ron taking Harry’s broom to their room and giving Scabbers his tonic, but returning with a sheet with blood on it, and red cat hairs.

From Harry’s viewpoint, Ron and Hermione’s friendship was taking its last breath, the two not considering the other’s side of why they were mad, Harry not making it any better when attempting to have Hermione see how obvious it looked about Crookshanks’ guilt. Ron was moping over Scabbers, Harry offering a ride on the Firebolt to cheer him up, it succeeding. Harry practices with the team first, it being their best, yet, Harry owning the field and catching the Snitch easily, Oliver so pleased, he didn’t criticize anyone for once. After Ron has his ride, Harry gets a scare when seeing eyes which belonged to Crookshanks staring at him, thinking it was the Grim, again, the two returning to the castle. In the morning, Harry officially brings out his Firebolt, everyone admiring it at breakfast, afterwards the team readying for the game, Harry secreting his wand in case a swarm of dementors reappeared. When they start, Harry gets a bit unnerved by the other Seeker’s beauty, but when seeing the Snitch, is able to go so fast, he ditches her, but loses the Snitch due to a Bludger getting in his path. The opposing Seeker continues to tail Harry rather than go after the Snitch, so Harry attempts to teach her a lesson by feigning a dive and pulling out of it, she going down, he then seeing the Snitch at the Ravenclaw goal-post, but upon noticing a few dementors on the field looking at him, he does his spell effortlessly and catches the Snitch, everyone going wild. Lupin gets a chance to commend Harry on his spell-casting, also revealing the dementors were actually Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and the Slytherin Captain, Harry scaring them with his silvery cloud creature, McGonagall taking points from them, giving them detention, and awaiting to report to Dumbledore. Harry and the team leave to have a victory party in their common room, Harry trying to get Hermione to join in, but she studying and Ron making it clear he hadn’t forgiven her by shouting into the room of Scabbers not being able to eat his favorite treat anymore, Hermione becoming upset and leaving for the dorms. Ron explains how if she’d at least show some sympathy for him, he’d let it go, but she resisting due to not feeling responsible. The party continues past midnight, Harry falling asleep quickly when it was broken up, and having an odd dream, then being woken abruptly when Ron shouts of seeing Sirius Black slashing his curtain. Many return to the common room, Percy attempting to talk him down for it being a nightmare, but Ron insists, McGonagall showing up and he persisting on she asking Sir Cadogan if he had let anyone in, he confirming he did since the man carried a paper with the week’s passwords, Neville upon hearing, is horrified.

Everyone in Gryffindor stay up to hear the update by dawn of Sirius Black again escaping. The staff makes Hogwarts even more secure by boarding up any possibly entrances, training inanimate objects to facially recognize Black, and the Fat Lady coming back with body guards. Harry still battled informing a school official about the Honeydukes passage, Ron easing his mind, by reasoning of they hearing about if the shop were to be strong-armed. Ron was reveling in his newfound celebrity, and wondering why Black had fled instead of taking the boys out. Neville was having a pretty bad time with his punishments from McGonagall, but to top it off, his granny sent him a Howler, and Harry got a letter from Hagrid to meet up later. Ron and Harry go to the meeting spot, and once inside Hagrid’s hut, had forgotten how Buckbeak’s trial was coming up and their agreement to help Hagrid, but he wanting to talk about Hermione and her ever more frequent visits due to the boys freezing her out, and whilst she was upset, had still helped Hagrid with his case, Harry apologizing for not doing so, as well, but Hagrid not holding it against them. He attempting to speak on Hermione’s behalf about her good intentions, Ron explaining his side having to do with Hermione needing to see his side about Crookshanks. The rest of the night dedicated to Quidditch conversation, and upon getting back to the castle, seeing the next Hogsmeade trip. Ron plans to have Harry join again, but Hermione shows up to confide if he goes, she’d out his map, Ron ignoring her, but angrily confronting her when she insisted, Crookshanks popping up, and making her withdraw, Harry agreeing to join, with invisibility cloak. When he was preparing to go, he’s interrupted by Neville, then Snape, ditching them both and going through the passage after a detour. He meets Ron outside and they go to the Post Office first to see all the sorts of owls. They move along to Zonko’s for trick items, then to a haunted shack where no one, not even the twins could enter.

Malfoy and goons then turn up and when seeing Ron, give him a hard time as usual, so Harry takes the opportunity to make them regret it, chucking mud at them, but being found out when getting Crabbe and Goyle, the former being tripped and taking a part of Harry’s cloak with him. Malfoy sees and dashes off, Harry retreating and hoping to get back before Malfoy, then hiding the cloak in the passage, but being met by Snape as soon as he comes from behind the statue. He is led to Snape’s office again where he’s interrogated about what Malfoy had seen, he soon pushing Harry’s buttons about his father, Harry getting out of line and mentioning his father having saved Snape’s life, hearing this from Dumbledore, Snape asking if he was also told the reason behind this, Harry not knowing, Snape figuring he didn’t when he gave no reply, and he sharing how Harry’s father had caused the need for his saving, so wasn’t as valiant as being made out. He then commands Harry to empty his pockets, his Zonko’s buys and Marauder’s Map being shown, Snape looks over the parchment after Harry explains away the Zonko’s items had been a gift from Ron. After Snape attempts a few spells to test the map, a message appears, insulting Snape and telling him to back off, he then calling for Lupin, whom comes through the fireplace, Snape asking about the map, Lupin quickly thinking of the most likely scenario being Harry getting it from Zonko’s, Ron arriving and corroborating breathlessly. Lupin sees this as viable and excuses the two along with him on the reason of speaking of the vampire essay, Lupin then sharing how he knew what the map was and wasn’t interested in knowing where he’d gotten it, he also admitting to knowing the men who made it, he keeping the useful tool and also imparting Harry with the advice to not squander his life away by being so reckless. Lupin’s words successfully worked to make Harry feel terrible about his actions, leaving the invisibility cloak for now, the two seeing Hermione, whom informed them of Hagrid losing the case and Buckbeak’s impending death.

Hermione shows the letter Hagrid sent her with the details of what he was going to do next, Harry in denial the committee could vote in favor of such an inhumane verdict. Hermione reminds them of Lucius Malfoy’s hold on the men and whilst an appeal would happen, she didn’t see much hope coming from it. Ron defends the possibility and volunteers his help, Hermione so overcome, she smothers him in a hug, and after hearing her apology about Scabbers, is so uncomfortable, he automatically gives his forgiveness. The next time they see Hagrid is in class, still numb by all which had occurred at the hearing, but Ron lets him know they still had a chance, Hagrid not relying on the slim hope, but making certain Buckbeak had the best time with what he had left. As Hagrid withdrew to his hut, Malfoy again makes a smart remark, but before either Harry or Ron can make a move, Hermione bitch-slaps him. Everyone is so surprised, Malfoy and goons back down as Ron and Harry stood watching. After Hermione demands Harry win the Quidditch cup against Slytherin, they all hurry to Charms, Hermione disappearing and not turning up at lunch. They discover her fast asleep in the common room and when Harry wakes her, she’s aghast at the news of missing Charms, she promising to meet them at Divinations after speaking with Flitwick. When they meet up, Hermione is disappointed she’d missed the Cheering Charm lesson since it was possible it’d be mentioned in the final, they then taking their seats and noticing they were learning crystal balls earlier than planned. As they stared blankly at their orbs, Hermione was starting to feel her time could be better utilized, she making her thoughts perfectly clear when Trelawney is in mid-reading of Harry’s orb, she interrupting impatiently about having heard enough about the Grim, then stating how she was over learning about Divinations after Trelawney called her mind unremarkable.

After she’d left, a classmate enthralled with the class reminds Trelawney how she’d predicted one of the students would leave, Trelawney feigning she’d known it was Hermione from the start. Easter holiday wouldn’t bring relaxation to the third years due to the workload given, Hermione having it worse even without Divinations, she starting to show signs of exhaustion. Ron had picked up the slack for studying the laws for Buckbeak’s appeal, Harry dividing his time between school work and Quidditch practice, Gryffindor and Slytherin at each other’s throats, and Malfoy still aching to get Harry back for the mudslinging at Hogsmeade, but the Gryffindor class making it quite difficult to get to him since they clustered about him everywhere per Oliver’s orders, in case Harry was injured before the game. The night before the match, most were attempting to distract from the pressure, Hermione and Ron trying to keep positive for him, but Harry glad when Oliver commanded curfew for the team. Harry slept badly with all the nightmares, he grabbing some water and noting the weather looked fair. Harry then sees an animal, quickly grabs his specs and sees Crookshanks, but then also seeing the cat walking with a big black dog. Harry tries to wake Ron, but the two images being out of sight before Ron had woken and fallen back to sleep. Next morning the Gryffindor team enters the Great Hall to applause, Oliver coaxing everyone to eat, but also ushering them out before finishing to survey the conditions of the field. When the school begins to fill the bleachers, the team goes to dress and when back on the field, the most defensive game begins, Oliver saving the team with blocking most of Slytherin’s attempts at scoring. When they reach 60 points ahead, Harry begins his search of the Snitch, it high above him, Malfoy fouling him by grabbing the end of his broom, everyone so agitated, the Gryffindors miss a shot, but they get another when Harry makes a path straight for the goal. Harry then notices Malfoy already in mid-dive, Harry doing the improbable, and catching up, then snatching the Snitch before him, everyone overjoyed. Dumbledore presents the cup to them, and Harry notes how strong his Patronus would be for this wonderful memory.

Harry rode his winning high for about a week, the weather becoming mild, but the students needing to stay focused for exams, Fred and George even getting serious for their O.W.L.s, Percy studying for his N.E.W.T.s (Fink-Nottle), and was severe about keeping the common room quiet. Hermione beat Percy for stress-level though, Ron and Harry unable to stop from commenting about her schedule, Harry then getting a note from Hagrid brought by Hedwig, the news shared about how the appeal was set at Hogwarts and would be attended by the executioner, they all not happy about the presumption it made, Harry and the two unable to even see Hagrid for the security measures, and Harry not able to regain his Invisibility Cloak. When the week of exams start, Hermione had the minor concern of her tortoise looking like a turtle in Transfiguration, and Charms goes a bit rockily for Harry, everyone having dinner after and going straight back to studying for Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, and Astronomy. Fortunately, Hagrid made his exam easily passable and the three took the time to speak with him, since he was obviously overcome with Buckbeak’s appeal date. In Potions, Harry was worried about Snape’s look of happiness in his inability to perform the necessary needs of the potion and thought he saw Snape give him a zero. They then had Astronomy, History of Magic, and Herbology. Finishing up the week, Defense Against the Dark Arts being second to last, and Divinations at the end. The former consisted of an obstacle course made with all the creatures they’d learned to defend themselves from, Harry getting a good grade, whilst Ron and Hermione struggled with certain parts.

As they returned to the castle, Harry sees Fudge, whom shares he was there to witness the execution and also to get an update about Black. Two more wizards come out and were obviously a part of the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures Committee, Hermione ushering Ron inside before he said anything which could get his father in trouble, and she keeping positive to the bright side of Hagrid remembering all information necessary to help Buckbeak, she not too hopeful, though. Ron and Harry go off to their Divination exam whilst, Hermione goes to Muggle Studies. Trelawney was doing one-on-one exams with the class, and when Ron and Harry were next, Ron began to consider Hermione being right about Trelawney’s talent after hearing why Neville wouldn’t share how his exam had gone. Ron goes first, making Harry last to go in the class, Ron supplying how he’d made up what he’d seen and Harry making plans to meet in the common room. He takes a lesson from Ron and makes up a vision, he readying to leave after not impressing Trelawney when she speaks in an odd voice about the Dark Lord rising before midnight to rejoin his servant, she then regains consciousness and denies what he’d heard, he rushing back to the common room to confide what she’d said, but Ron informing him of Hagrid’s note sharing Buckbeak’s doom at sunset, Harry wanting to disobey Hagrid’s request of they staying away, but Hermione deciding she’d get the Invisibility Cloak for them, Ron stating how impressed he was becoming with her rebellion, she pleased by his words. The three get to Hagrid’s, he again saying how he hadn’t wanted them to come, his nerves shot and breaking his milk jug, Hermione taking over tea-duty. As they discuss the futility of saving Buckbeak now, Hermione discovers Scabbers in the second milk jug, still looking worse for wear, Hagrid then seeing the group coming for Buckbeak and escorting them to the back door, they getting back under the cloak. Ron stops as they walked back to the castle due to Scabbers struggling to get loose, Hermione becoming faint when hearing the ax come down, in shock it had actually happened.

Harry and Ron were also in shock, the former ready to turn around when hearing Hagrid’s cries, but the two keeping him still, reminding him of the trouble they’d get themselves and Hagrid into if he returned. They continue to the castle when Scabbers makes a getaway after biting Ron, Harry spotting Crookshanks, and Ron running after the pair, Harry and Hermione pausing in dread for a moment before following, then Harry is knocked down by a large black dog, Ron protecting Harry from a second attack, but getting dragged to the Whomping Willow and breaking his leg when resisting, Harry unable to follow. Then Crookshanks stands on a spot making the Whomping Willow freeze, allowing the two to follow, they getting to a tunnel under the tree and when reaching the end, see a room with broken furniture. Hermione realizes they were standing in the Shrieking Shack, and noise could be heard upstairs. The two discover Ron on the floor, in pain and warning of the trap they were running into, Black showing himself once Ron had shared of he being an Animagus, Harry soon livid and trying to attack Black once he’d magicked his and Hermione’s wands away. Hermione and Ron attempt to help, but when Harry gets his wand back and Black was knocked against a wall, Harry states of Black’s transgressions against his parents and Black wanting to share his side, but Harry ignoring him, Crookshanks lying atop Black’s chest. Harry was psyching himself up, when noises downstairs were heard and Hermione shrieks of where they were and whom they were with, Lupin busting in. He disarms Harry and Hermione, whom was holding the other two wands, then asks Black, where “he” was, Black pointing to Ron, and the trio confused. After saying a few more incomplete thoughts aloud, Lupin hugs Black, Hermione shouting her disbelief and how she’d been helping him, Harry yelling about how he’d trusted him, and Hermione confessing how Lupin was a werewolf. She states how Snape’s essay had helped her discover it, Lupin then returning their wands so they’d listen to his side. Lupin also admits to having helped write the Marauder’s Map and saw the three accompanied by a fourth when exiting Hagrid’s, he asking to see Scabbers, and naming him Peter Pettigrew.

Ron calls madness on this statement, Lupin wanting to explain, but Black wishing to take care of Pettigrew whilst he could, Ron deciding he would leave, but Lupin taking initiative in making him listen, Black responding to Harry’s comment of so many people seeing Pettigrew’s demise. Hermione then speaks up about how she would’ve seen Pettigrew’s name on the Animagi list she’d looked up, Lupin confessing there were three not listed. Lupin began the explanation at the behest of Black for impatiently awaiting to kill Scabbers. Lupin admits when he’d been bitten, Snape’s potion allowing him to keep his human mind whilst turning, plus the origin of the Whomping Willow and the Shrieking Shack, he also sharing how Black and James Potter had helped Pettigrew become Animagi with them, he having struggled to confide the truth to Dumbledore, whom had helped him for so long, Lupin letting out how Snape was teaching at Hogwarts when Black asked why Lupin had mentioned him. Lupin was about to go on about how Snape’s life had been endangered by Black when the latter interrupts with how Snape had deserved it, for continually looking for ways to get them expelled. Black shares with Snape of how to get past the Whomping Willow all those years ago, and when James Potter found out, stopped Snape before he was attacked by Lupin, Snape then revealing himself from underneath the Invisibility Cloak.

Everyone reacted defensively, Snape holding Lupin off with pointed wand and explaining how he’d found them, Lupin again going through the process of getting the chance to tell all, but Snape isn’t as open and restrains him with a gag, then focuses on Black. Hermione attempts to reason with Snape to listen to the other side of the story, but he is far too emotionally unstable to consider this and snaps for her to be quiet for once. Snape begins to have everyone start back to the castle, Harry blocking the door to try and reason with him, as well. After Snape insults Harry’s father, he, Hermione, and Ron all attack at the same time without meaning to, and knock Snape out. Harry states he still didn’t know if he believed Lupin’s story, after Lupin had been freed, offering to share the rest of the story, Black first telling how he’d found Scabbers with help from Crookshanks, and then what Pettigrew had done before transforming into a rat on the day so many people had died. Lupin attempts to have Ron hand over Scabbers again to show the proof of his story, Harry declaring how Black was the reason for his parents’ deaths, Black not denying this for having passed off the responsibility as Secret-Keeper to Pettigrew, he getting upset with guilt. Ron finally hands Scabbers over when Lupin admits to planning on having Pettigrew show himself, the spell doing so, Pettigrew looking rat-like and speaking squeakily, all the while eyeing the door.

Lupin informs him of wanting his side of the story, Pettigrew maintaining of Black’s guilt and his imminent death if left with him. Pettigrew tries to keep Black looking like the bad guy, but Black brings up how Pettigrew had made many enemies of the supporters of Voldemort since it seemed he’d doubled-crossed them, Lupin replying how much sense Black was making since Pettigrew had decided to spend so many years as a rat. Black then begins listing the order of events and how perfect it must’ve been when Pettigrew had knowledge of the location of the Potters to pass on to Voldemort, Pettigrew looking more nervous. Hermione then asks a couple questions which made Pettigrew latch on as if she would support his side, Black responding reasonably to both, the first question dealing with Pettigrew not trying to kill or capture Harry for three years, and how he escaped Azkaban having to do with his Animagi power, then speaking to Harry of his innocence, which Harry finally accepts. Pettigrew immediately pleads for mercy to Black, Lupin, Ron, Hermione, and lastly Harry, which Black explodes with rage by his tenacity, then he and Lupin forcing him to confess (bad, editor! “terribly fury…” makes sense to you? Tsk). As the two ready to dispatch him, Harry steps forward (which, I believe he wanted to step “…in front [of] Pettigrew…”, editor getting tiwed?), he believing Pettigrew should be taken to Azkaban and not be the cause of Black and Lupin’s hands getting dirty. Lupin then binds Pettigrew and then splints Ron’s leg, Hermione reminding him of Snape and he making it so he’d float along behind them, Ron and Black then volunteering to be manacled to Pettigrew, Crookshanks leading the way out.

As the procession came through the tunnel, Harry, Hermione, and Black last, the latter brings up how this development of Pettigrew being brought to justice meant he may soon be free, and if Harry wanted, he’d be able to move in with him since he was his godfather, Harry keen on making it happen immediately. When they made it to the outside of the Whomping Willow, Lupin is first to stop, moonlight hitting them, Hermione first to state Lupin having not taken his potion, Black then urging them to run as Lupin changed. Pettigrew moved next as Lupin and Black struggled with each other in canine form, he grabbing Lupin’s wand and striking Ron and Crookshanks. After Harry disarms him, Pettigrew changes, Lupin takes off toward the forest, Harry alerts Black, and he chases after him. Harry and Hermione readying to get Ron and Snape inside, when he hears yelping, running toward the noise and Hermione following, the two seeing Black changing back as he’s swarmed by dementors. Harry attempts to perform the spell, encouraging Hermione to say the words with him, but doesn’t succeed, Harry trying to stay motivated, his useless Patronus keeping one dementor at bay, but it revealing its disturbing-looking head which killed his Patronus for pure fear enveloping him. The dementor was going to suck the life from him when he was saved by an animal giving off a light, at least it seemed this way to a slowly blacking out Harry, the animal returning to someone he recognized, but disbelieved could be present, then falling unconscious.

Snape is then shown in mid-conversation with Fudge whom was praising him for his bravery and listening to his story of what he claimed happened, Black being allowed to escape once more if he hadn’t stopped him. He then shares how he’d found the dementors returning to their posts, binding Black, and magicking stretchers for all, Harry then popping his eyes open to first see Pomfrey aiding Ron, Hermione motioning him to stay quiet as Snape and Fudge spoke in the hall. Pomfrey approached and noted Harry’s consciousness as she broke a block of chocolate. They learned Ron would be fine and they would be staying under observation, but Harry was moving quickly when hearing Black could be getting the Dementor’s Kiss as they were speaking, but he nor Hermione getting far, Fudge and Snape entering, the former’s attempt at soothing Harry only succeeding in angering him, and Pomfrey able to get him back in his bed. Fortunately, Dumbledore walked in and stated of his need to speak with Harry about Black’s story, Snape getting in the way again with stating of its nonsense, but Dumbledore making all three leave due to their interruptions, wanting Harry and Hermione’s versions of events. The two fire him with facts until he stops them to explain how regardless of he believing them, they had no proof, but he making clear to Hermione what they should do with their time and making sure they weren’t viewed, he then stating of locking them inside, giving the hour, and what Hermione should do next, Harry bewildered and asking her about the hinting instructions, but she immediately doing as Dumbledore had bid, they going back three hours and she leading Harry to a cupboard as she listened to the three of them in the hall going to Hagrid’s, she wondering what Dumbledore expected them to change. Harry comes up with the idea of Buckbeak saving Black later, so they head out, running to the forest and wait for the right moment to free the bird whilst Harry suggested ideas about capturing Pettigrew, Hermione explaining the laws they were already breaking.

Harry then offers to untie Buckbeak as Fudge read the court papers to Hagrid inside the hut, getting Buckbeak hidden as they were stepping out, and Hagrid crying for joy when Buckbeak was nowhere to be found, Harry and Hermione attempting to keep Buckbeak there as he tried to return to Hagrid, the two then quietly leading Buckbeak to a spot where they could see the Whomping Willow as everyone exited, he and Hermione settling in until they emerged once more. Hermione ties Buckbeak up and asks about what had happened when the dementors surrounded them, Harry finally confiding whom he thought he’d seen. The two then wait, Hermione first to notice them come back from the tunnel under the Whomping Willow, Harry again wanting to get Pettigrew right then, but remembering Lupin would be heading their way soon, he suggesting they go back to Hagrid’s and when all three were safely inside, Harry nonchalantly suggesting he go out to be certain what was happening, assuring Hermione he wouldn’t meddle, but then noticing the other Harry and Hermione would be chasing after Black about then, he considering getting a view of whom had sent the Patronus, instinctively dashing off, arriving to realize he was the one whom had sent the Patronus, and the animal, a stag. Hermione then comes after him riding Buckbeak, he explaining what he’d done, then the two seeing Snape retrieve their other selves, Ron, and Black. They prepare to time their rescue of Black and upon seeing the executioner coming out of the castle most likely rounding up dementors, Harry and Hermione fly Buckbeak to Black’s window, Hermione getting it open and the three splitting up after they get to the top of a tower, Black attempting to thank him, but he and Hermione desperate for him to escape, he and Buckbeak flying away.

Hermione then warns Harry of they only having ten minutes before Dumbledore would lock them out, they going downstairs, but stopping when hearing Snape and Fudge speaking of Black. When they pass, the two run onward until needing to hide from Peeves, then speeding on in time to see Dumbledore ready to lock the door, he seeing them and glad to hear the plan had gone well, then locking them in the room after they’d left. They return to their beds, Pomfrey coming in to be certain they ate their chocolate, after awhile hearing Snape losing it and bursting in, Fudge and Dumbledore following as he accused Harry of setting Black free, Dumbledore quieting him as he furiously walks out, Fudge not looking forward to dealing with the press when they learned of Black as well as Buckbeak, Dumbledore making certain the dementors would be leaving, as well. The two then leave to continue their tasks elsewhere, Ron then waking to ask questions about what he’d missed, Harry passing off the relaying to Hermione. When they are released the next day, the three decide to stay on the grounds rather than go to Hogsmeade, instead walking to the lake, Hagrid walking up to them, happy as a clam as he told of his celebrating Buckbeak’s escape, and Lupin having given notice, Harry immediately off to see him and informing he’d meet them back at the lake.

Harry confronts Lupin on why he was leaving, Snape having blurted of his werewolfness, Harry attempting to think of a way to get him to stay, but Lupin asking about his Patronus, he proud of Harry’s progress. He then returns Harry’s cloak and the Marauder’s Map since he was a professor no longer, Dumbledore arriving to announce of Lupin’s carriage waiting for him. Lupin exits with a smile and farewell, Dumbledore regarding Harry’s look of disappointment since Pettigrew had escaped, he reminding Harry of the lives he’d saved. Harry then remembers Trelawney’s prediction, Dumbledore pleasantly surprised of her second time succeeding with the Sight, Dumbledore calming Harry with the thought of Voldemort not being glad to have a servant indebted to Harry. Dumbledore then relates to Harry in how easily he could mistake himself for his father (except for the eyes), Dumbledore leaving him to ponder. No one except for the trio and Dumbledore knew the truth of events concerning Black and Buckbeak, Harry looking let down as the school year ended, he knowing he would have to return to the Dursleys.

The three learned they’d all passed their classes, Snape looking even more peeved when Harry was in his presence, but when they sit on the train, Hermione shares of dropping Muggle Studies in order to have a normal schedule, then noting Harry still looking serious, Ron offering to have him stay with him since the Quidditch World Cup was approaching and his dad got tickets through work, this getting Harry out of his funk since thinking how the Dursleys would be glad to be rid of him, Hermione then noticing a small owl outside the window with a letter, Harry letting it in, and happy to read it was from Black, whom confesses a couple of things and gives Harry a nice present of a permission slip to Hogsmeade. Black also gifts the small owl to Ron in replacement of Scabbers, he allowing Crookshanks to sniff him to be certain the little fella was actually an owl, satisfied with the cat’s results. When Harry splits from Ron, whom confirms getting in touch with news of their scheduling a get-together, Harry speaks to Vernon after he’d noticed the letter in his hand, he sharing of it being from his murderer escaped-convict Godfather and how he’d be writing to make certain Harry was happy, he now believing this summer would top the others.

Still enjoying myself, fortunately and the next one I read will be a side-story; Fun!

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Truckers (The Bromeliad Trilogy #1)

The beginning tells of the lifespans of nomes and the differences of other species. Some of their tenets from when they moved into the Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) is shared. Then a day when a lorry crashes is mentioned, but this being a false start and moving further back to a dismally wet, rainy day. Masklin was hunting for food when he notes of the lorry stopping as usual, he running to get Grimma and the others before the lorry drove off again. Masklin returns to the lorry whilst Grimma gets the others ready to go as they slowly made it to the truck and were hoisted into it, one of the old men dropping the Thing. Masklin also hears the footsteps of the lorry driver, he believing there wasn’t time to retrieve it. After being convinced he must get it, he does, but the lorry begins moving.

Masklin is pulled up whilst the lorry moved faster, he hearing and smelling loud and nasty pollutants from the truck. Masklin then considers the possibility of death and where nomes go when they die. After being brought in from his loud elevator ride, the number of nomes there used to be is mentioned, but since the takeover of man, the areas they used to live were harder to uncover.It’s also told of how much more difficult it was to hunt for their group without as many hunters, Grimma having the hope of Spring bringing natural foodstuffs, like berries, etc. The difficulties there were in returning with food, when found, as well as their process for keeping their home warm and deterring predators is also made clear. At one point Masklin confessing to Grimma of wanting to leave for not being appreciated for all he did for them, Grimma attempting to convince him to stay, even whilst feeling guilty for sensing his being right.

After having this conversation, Masklin contemplated the lives of the humans, seemingly having it much easier, then a flashback of he hearing a scream, and upon investigation sees a fox, he taking out his anger and frustration on the creature by stabbing it in the leg to save Torrit. Even after driving the fox away into traffic, they still act as if he hadn’t done enough, he not entertaining their lack of thankfulness. Then back in real time, Grimma fretting over the older nomes missing their meal and how long their trip would be, Torrit calm for the Thing knowing what they’d do next, Masklin not having heard the Thing say or do anything before. When Masklin looks outside the truck, he can’t make out where they are, and when they stop and he checks again, he sees many lorries and humans roaming about. Masklin goes out to gauge the place, but then they hear a click and silence after, until seeing a human-like creature descending from the ceiling and surveying his surroundings, he built stockier than a sumo wrestler and looking hardcore.

Masklin is looking about outside and discovering an edible apple core as well as a rat with a collar, someone exclaiming for he not to kill it once he’d reached for his spear. Whom he saw looked like a nome, but wasn’t wearing the proper nome-attire. The weirdly dressed nome began interrogating Masklin until he learned what Masklin was doing, his tone changing. The nome is resistant to believing Masklin was from outside, he inquiring of what it was like, Masklin not sure how to describe the nature of outdoors, the odd nome describing it like one would the interior of a house. The nome finally gets a grip on himself to finally give his name, Angalo, and his rat, Bobo. Angalo is also impressed by the old people Masklin was traveling with, he leading them to where his father was and they learning they were in the perfect place, the Store.

The Book of Nome mentions how the indoor nomes lived, forgetting the outside, they having wars with nomes in other departments. Meanwhile Angalo has led the group to a hole in the wall, Granny Morkie insisting it was a rat hole and wouldn’t go inside, Grimma describing how the inside didn’t look like a rat hole for the stairs and lights. When they get to the bottom, they see more nomes than they’ve heard of being in one place before, all eating and walking through aisles and some walking rats, some ladies walking mice, and Granny Morkie disapproving of the whole scene. After Angalo explains some of the foods they saw, and the group pretending to know some of them, Angalo offers them to go and sample, anyone asking to mention it would go on the Haberdasheri account, Masklin being the only one to hang back, asking questions about Angalo’s father, he learning of how many title’s the man held, he seemingly important.

When they meet the man, he doesn’t believe they are from the Outside, saying the Thing was “amusing”. Masklin attempts to convince him, but the Duke allows only the possibility they came from an area of the store which hadn’t been fully explored. Masklin openly asks why the Duke would bother fighting with his own kind, upsetting the Duke to the point of he dismissing them from his presence to go where they will, but would not be accepted to the Haberdasheri. Masklin then considers how ridiculous nomes with food reacted as opposed to those who go without, then believing humans may not be as dumb as presented since the nomes were stealing items made by them. Masklin almost had an interesting reply to a thought of the humans brain similarities to a rat when Grimma asks Angalo what became of the nomes who didn’t join a department, it being a lamentable life, but he believing them and positive of his father lightening up. Masklin then seeing more of the Store and noting it was incomparable to the lorry since being infinitely larger.

Masklin decides he’d be returning outside for an odd feeling of being watched which he shares with Grimma, he letting her know he’d help the group settle in a spot but then would leave to help ease his mind, Grimma believing it was more because he wouldn’t be needed to hunt for food any longer. More information about the different territories is given, Millineri being a faction which wasn’t currently fighting with the Haberdasheri, Angalo encouraging their group shouldn’t have trouble being taken in by one of the factions. Granny Morkie dismisses him and has Torrit lead them on. Masklin then becomes annoyed when Torrit mentions the Thing helping them, Masklin insisting to know what the Thing has actually said to Torrit. He struggles to explain, Masklin calling him out on it, Grimma standing up for him, and as Torrit feels the pressure of relaying the Thing’s value, it speaks out loud, Masklin now impressed, but Torrit in shock since it hadn’t spoken aloud before, he dropping it, lights illuminating it all over. Masklin is first to comply with the Thing’s wishes of being nearer the electrical wires. Torrit is still processing the renewed chatter of the Thing, sharing how the nome before him told of the Thing not having spoken for hundreds of years.

As this is being discussed, Masklin is mesmerized by the patterns the lights are making on the Thing, which reminded him of a time he’d seen a human sign, the nomes guessed the meaning and Masklin the only one attempting to think outside the norm. The Thing then states thousands of years have passed, repeatedly. Masklin being the only one brave enough to respond to it, the Thing begins to ask probing questions of terms their kind used to know, Masklin stating they didn’t anymore. After the Thing is told their current whereabouts, Granny Morkie becomes impatient for them to consider their next move. The Thing responds with information on their past, but Masklin thought it was referring to someone named Shipwrecked, the Thing then informing them the sorts of tasks it could be used for, but Masklin not understanding the words. Everyone agreed they didn’t want what they didn’t understand, so Masklin conveys the group only wanted to “go home, and be safe”, no one knowing how famous this quote would become in the future for nomes. The Thing withdrew to essentially a “working sign” indicated by all lights shutting off, but for one, Grimma asking what their next move should be and Granny responding with how Angalo made it seem their lives would be quite bleak.

An overview with what the Thing was attempting to do for the nomes is shared and what the previous chapter contained, through excerpt of the Book of Nome. The group spent their “night” in a small space next to some large wooden walls, they noticing the Thing seemed to have developed what looked like a small satellite dish and some additional lights. Meanwhile Granny was first to voice of more noise than last time being heard, Masklin looking through a crack in the wall which revealed a horde of humans, the Store open. Masklin then asks the Thing about humans, the Thing stopping and starting the main task previously requested. Then an old nome they didn’t know began to speak with them about the humans, introducing himself as Dorcas del Icatessen, Masklin was at the end of his patience with nomes treating him like he didn’t know anything when the Thing informs him, they would need Dorcas, he overhearing and thinking the Thing was a small radio. Dorcas then offers to take them with him to where he stayed, he showing how he’d made use of the human elevator to aid him, not being so good with so many steps these days, Granny resisting, but then agreeing due to being shocked by Dorcas referring to her as “madam”.

When they arrive on Dorcas’ floor, they also learn how he’d gotten away with his own space since no one else had figured how to work human contraptions. Dorcas also showed them his drawing of what he believed nomes from outside should look like, explaining the reason of body shape. Masklin inquires why none of the Store nomes didn’t end the mystery by looking for themselves, realizing after, the nomes inside would be blinded by the sunlight since living in such dim light their whole lives. Dorcas asks to know everything they can remember of Outside as the Thing flashed a second green light of progress. As the nomes ate, they chat of different subjects, Dorcas mentioning his status as inventor with focus on electricity, Dorcas then asked about the Outside, Masklin sharing the name of the moon and not knowing why it was there at night. They were chatting about why the nomes happened to be living in the Store, when Grimma interrupts to learn about whom the person was to have started it, Dorcas not being able to divulge much since the Thing came out of his work mode to state the monitoring of telecommunications. The nomes take his big words in stride, the Thing finally realizing they didn’t understand, it discovering they understood the word destroyed, after attempting a simpler terminology which also landed on deaf ears. The Thing then relates the Store would be destroyed in twenty one days and needed to inform the community leaders.

The Book of Nome then tells of deaf ears being plentiful since none of the leaders would believe the bad news. The group being followed as they shadow Dorcas looking for the most open-minded, but not by much, Abbot, Masklin attempting to calm him with the prospect of having plenty of time, but Dorcas knowing it wouldn’t be easy since many didn’t believe the Outside existed. Dorcas tries to keep them away from crowded nome areas since they didn’t have a department and it was dangerous for them, but they get ambushed by bandits from Corsetry, regardless, the group discussing how to handle the attempt at robbing them and whether to comply. Masklin returns with the answer of respectfully declining, but when the bandits move to grab Granny, they get the surprise of a slap for each who touched her. Torrit held his own against one, as Grimma dropped another. After Masklin makes it clear what they were doing was wrong, he gives the leader a chance to leave, he and his gang taking it.

Dorcas was quite amused by the scene and wondered aloud what the Abbot would make of them, they walking on to Stationeri. When they arrive, they learn this group is obviously the oddballs of the communities since they knew how to read and write. When the Abbot and the group were in his guest hall, the Abbot refused to acknowledge the presence of Masklin and bunch, only speaking with Dorcas, the Abbot not receptive to the news of the Store closing since it seemed to occur every year, and nothing happened. When Masklin sets the Thing in front of the Abbot, it describes what it was and what it had understood from the Store computers, but the Abbot was stubborn to believe, dismissing them. One young Stationeri monk gets their attention, wanting to speak with the Outsiders. After asking about the Thing and whether they believed what it said was true, Torrit tells of how long it had been looked after by the men in his family. The monk, Gurder introduces himself and confesses to being the Abbot’s assistant, asking if they’d follow him, since the Abbot was aware of something different in the Store and was worried. Granny Morkie complying if snacks would be in attendance, Gurder acquiescing to send for some.

The Book of Nome mentions the unrest over the new signs not being understood when expecting ones for Christmas once more, but those up only showing “Clearance Sale”. Gurder guides them through a place with many books which were closely guarded, the Thing stating the necessity of acquiring them, but Gurder unable to do so, he leading them to a place where the Abbot waited once more, he commanding Gurder to show them the food whilst he spoke with acting leader, Masklin, the Thing staying behind as well to speak with the Abbot, whom begins by smiling awkwardly, confirming he had Masklin’s name right, which he had, Masklin relating being confused by the Abbot’s conduct earlier, he explaining he had to officially shun them since many Abbots before him would’ve done the same, and if he suddenly changed, it would look bad and make him sound crazy. The Abbot then explains politics more clearly than ever I heard before, politics is about being certain, not about “being right or wrong”. The Abbot also speaks of how they helped the nomes in the Store through some wars, using “cunning and common sense and diplomacy”.

After the Abbot noted how Masklin had all the qualities of a leader, he gave him sound advice about not underestimating people, then he moved on to his memory of seeing the Arnold Bros (est. 1905) for himself when he was young. He inquiring about Masklin’s home, which as he spoke of it now, seeing more of the good than the bad. After, Masklin invites him to come with them when the Store is demolished, the Abbot declining pleasantly for having other plans, he sending for Gurder to show Masklin out and educate him a bit, but to leave the Thing whilst he rested, and once Masklin’s brief education was done, to return. The Abbot begins by asking the Thing what it was and its function, the Thing giving more detail about the nomes ship and its other task of returning them home safely, the Abbot at first seemingly to understand well enough. As he sends Masklin and Gurder out, he also mentions upon their return he’d have a task for them. Gurder takes them to where the Book of Nome was kept and began reading, Granny first to interrupt with questions about whether the Store had been built for nomes, and what was there before, he then sending the elders of the group to wait for them in the Food Hall as he showed Masklin and Grimma how he knew of seasons, but not weather.

The Book of Nome about the signage within being ignored by humans. As Gurder led them along, Masklin learned the Stationer weren’t considered a department since only boys were chosen from each department every year so they could serve the entire Store. Grimma asked why women weren’t chosen, Gurder stating it was caused by women’s inability to read due to overheating. Ha! Grimma plays it down, but Masklin knew the tone as a start of trouble. They then note how respectfully the nomes acted around Gurder. When they reach the Haberdasheri department, Gurder points out the odd sign, as well as the usual ones, he wondering what they could mean, also worrying over the shelves not being restocked anymore. Grimma asked why they didn’t ask Arnold Bros (est. 1905), himself what was happening, but Gurder balked at the idea and the only one to see him being the Abbot. When they get back to the elders, they inform them the Abbot had asked for them, they doing so after Torrit marveled over the soft read and nearly choking when foxes are mentioned.

When Masklin and Gurder go in to see the Abbot, he’s deep in thought, he sharing what the Thing had told him sounding demented, and eventually decides they had to ask Arnold Bros (est. 1905) what the truth was. Gurder attempts to dissuade him due to it being a perilous undertaking, the Abbot agreeing and so sending the two in his stead. On their way out Masklin asks about whom Bargains Galore was, Gurder explaining she was the opposite and enemy of Prices Slashed. Gurder then departs to gather some belongings for their trek, planning on leaving immediately since if they didn’t, he’d lose his nerve. Meanwhile the Abbot was still questioning the Thing about how they arrived and was told of nomes relationships to humans in the past in the hopes of developing the technology of metal so they could return to the main ship, the Abbot also asking about what agriculture was and having reached his limit of understanding which resulted in a funny response by the Thing. The Abbot continued to listen about astronomy and drifted off happily as he listen to the Thing go on.

The Book of Nome then describes Arnold Bros (est. 1905)’s sign which indicated someone would be available to answer questions if something can’t be found. Meanwhile Masklin is speaking on Grimma’s behalf to join them, Gurder not wanting her to come due to the danger, it not being suitable for a female. Masklin’s viewpoint was if she wanted to accompany them she should, women stepping into dangerous situations plenty, but Gurder not brought up to think this way. Grimma insists since no one needed her to stay, in the end Gurder relenting, Masklin unimpressed with their journey to the Kiddies Klothes and Toys Department, where a kind people lived, no danger occurring at all. The Klothians offer them a guide to the “moving stairs”, these people on a higher floor and not getting many visitors, their food coming from the staff restroom (break-room). The guide points them to the escalator and retreats, Gurder nervous due to the superstition of Arnold Bros (est. 1905) was said to be waiting at the top and an unfinished thought relating to when nomes die. Grimma is first to sprint forward to see if it’s true, impatient by all the dallying. They get to the top with nothing terrible happening, Gurder leading them on.

They go down the hall to find the general manager’s office, Masklin volunteering to go in first, the room dark, and the carpet thicker, the three eventually making it onto the desk, no Arnold Bros (est. 1905) to be found. What Gurder does discover is a letter confirming the closing of the store and the construction of what would be built in its place. Gurder takes this news badly, needing help to move after it’s decided they would take the letter with them for the Abbot, and Masklin noticing a shadow heading in their direction caused by the lamplight. Masklin sees the man’s hat which spelled “security”, he ready to incapacitate him if he saw Grimma and Gurder on the floor, but he doesn’t. Gurder becomes uncontrollably emotional, getting the attention of the security, the cleaning lady working her way down the hall with a vacuum. As Masklin rejoins the other two, they consider a better hiding spot, Gurder insistent the woman is Bargain’s Galore come to protect them, Masklin and Grimma letting him believe what he wanted since he was calmer, the group escaping through an opening in the floor, their return to The Kiddies Klothes Department taking half a day since Gurder kept breaking down. After being fed and requesting an escort back, they make it to Stationery just in the nick.

The Abbot seemed ill in the way of being close to death, he indicating for Masklin to come closer, and requests he ask Granny Morkie to step out. She had provided one of her medicines which tended to pack a wallop. She agreeably goes and Gurder has the chance of relaying the letter, the Abbot instructing their people would have to leave. He then relates to Masklin of what the Thing had shown and told of the universe. He commanding Masklin to get everyone Home, and then dying, and Masklin wondering aloud to the Thing of how he was going to convince everyone to leave. Next, the odd funeral for the Abbot, Masklin not having known a nome die of old age before, and the customs of a service being new to him. When Gurder attempts to explain the dead’s ability to possibly return to see them once more as a spirit, no one understands, so he has them visit the gardening department to see if a demonstration could be given. As they walked through the fake grass and seed packets of flowers Masklin had not seen in the real world, Gurder inquires if it was similar to the Outside, Masklin relating the differences. They also see the garden gnomes people buy to adorn their lawns, Gurder believing these were Arnold Bros (est. 1905)’s way to show nomes lived after death, the area this falls apart being their weren’t any female gnomes.

Torrit shares a story where he’d actually seen a gnome out in the world when he was a boy with his grandpa, the priest whom had been giving them the tour becoming quite upset for the group not comprehending their ideas. Granny Morkie reluctantly attempts to soothe him whilst Torrit insists of what he’d shared of his memory to be true. Then Gurder, whom wasn’t happy to learn the former Abbot had chosen him to take his place is covered, he not liking the idea of leading, but everyone else being in agreement with the former Abbot’s decision. Gurder believed he wouldn’t be suitable due to his Doubt over the Outside which Masklin supposed was partly the reason the former Abbot picked Gurder. The group, as well as the rulers of other Departments were currently in the area for important meetings, Gurder sensing Masklin had a plan, he knowing if he was going to convince all the nomes they’d be able to take everything with them so all could leave safely was going to be a delicate process, Masklin going over all the important details learned from the Thing. Especially of the larger Ship still waiting for the nomes’ return in space. Masklin then shares the plan with Gurder whom was preparing his speech as the new Abbot, Masklin insisting Gurder needing to break the plan to all at the same time.

In the Book of Nome, Gurder gets the leaders to listen to Masklin as he shares his plan. Masklin has difficulty convincing them though, the Duke Haberdasheri vocal of the absurdity, but Angalo looking starry-eyed. When the Duke had heard enough, once Masklin mentions the stealing of a truck to get them and all their belongings out, some followed whilst few waited in the back near the door, uncertain. The Count of Ironmongri and the Baroness del Icatessen stayed to listen, Masklin going on to say everyone would need to cooperate in order for the plan to succeed which would mean to share previously secret information from individual Departments, Masklin also mentions how Stationery would be extending to anyone who wanted to learn to read, including women, would have the opportunity, due to needing as many as possible to begin reading books so they’d learn the information, if any, needed to survive and help with the plan, Gurder balking at the idea, but not disagreeing. Grimma then gets the chance to mention how she’d already begun to learn to read which interested the Baroness, Masklin divulging how they had a driver’s manual to study and if humans could do it, they wouldn’t have a problem.

The two leaders were convinced enough to share the news with their people, the grand total of volunteers being twenty-eight, Masklin seeing it as a fair start until others decided to join, he conveying to Grimma of how the instructing process would go and how he thought she should continue to learn to read more so they could think critically and have the right words to explain things properly. Gurder was still prickling over Masklin’s open offer to everyone learning to read, but made it so he’d have to go along to save face. Masklin then had Gurder look into the books which would help them understand certain words and the possibility of uncovering one which would help a nome learn to drive a human truck, complications unfolding, but working it out one at a time.

When they’d made it to a truck, Angalo had insisted learning to read so he could assist with the driving, he getting to the drivers seat, and Masklin knowing he was now the only nome whom knew anything about trucks, but it still not being much, which was why he’d be hiding so he could accompany a human driver to learn the process. The only other unknown was why the trucks were loaded with product and came back with product, the thought being they were the same trucks, but the process took no longer than two days, so Angalo would hopefully be able to explain upon returning. Masklin not looking forward to describing to Angalo’s parents the scenario if he was lost, but knowing Angalo had the motivation, this as Dorcas mentions the possibility of discovering an easier way to get nomes into the trucks. Another work in progress.

The Book of Nome then regards the status of Angalo’s trip. Masklin was sleeping in Stationery when a group of nomes are seen waiting for him, books in hand. Masklin gets exasperated with the books and how their usefulness wasn’t straight forward. A particularly quick, but not quite attentive reader came up with an idea involving taking a human hostage with a “gnu” and forcing said human to drive them wherever they wanted, Masklin too tired to disagree and replying he’d keep it among the working ideas. Masklin then asks the Thing what a gnu was, it being an antelope, he then realizing the nome’s idea wouldn’t work, the Thing suggesting Masklin sleep, he overextended on what they needed to do, and dropping off after sharing his worries. A couple days passed and another issue arose when they realized the garage door button was high up on a wall, as well as Gurder informing Masklin he found a map.

After showing the map to Masklin, it was “logical” guesswork as to where they were and then the truck returns during this exchange, without Angalo. Masklin rushes to the truck, one of the nomes knowing for certain it’s the same one for the license plate. When Masklin reaches the nomes already at the window who inform him of it being dark and seeing no one within, Masklin decides he wants them to lower him inside while someone else goes the long way to the steps to the door. Masklin is lowered to the ground, he going to get in through the bottom of the truck somehow, but when he does, he discovers Angalo’s jacket, and no Angalo, so he goes back out and shows the group of nomes who’s imaginations of what could have happened run wild, Masklin attempting to keep the possibilities logical, when the Duke shows up, motioning for his son’s jacket, asking the odds of detecting Angalo Outside, Masklin knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the possibility still there, and the Duke then offering as many people necessary to operate the truck so they could go out and search.

When fifty Haberdasheri show up at night, Masklin immediately put those who seemed able, on to the reading program. Gurder argued with their status being basic soldier-types, but Masklin sensed they would need them. The material found in the books ranged so widely between all genres, Masklin found it difficult to decide what to ignore, especially with the fiction books which no one understood couldn’t occur (usually) in reality. For instance, when the same reader found Alice in Wonderland and thought the “Drink Me” bottles could be utilized for one nome among them to drive the truck, Masklin decided to err on the side of safety and dedicated a night with some others to search the Store for a bottle of the tincture, it nowhere to be found, then noticing some of the information in the books weren’t easily discovered in the Store and why Arnold Bros (est. 1905) would keep them at all. Masklin had found a book for children with constellations and other facts of the sky which he knew was true, he enjoying looking at it when he was overloaded with other responsibilities. He shared some of the names with the Thing to see if it knew them, but due to differing knowledge of the names, it failed to be recognized. Masklin inquires what the name of the nome planet was, but Masklin learned the Sun they’re from isn’t the same as the one in the Milky Way Galaxy. He also learns how many planets nomes had gone to, it a large, impressive number, and when considering his task of moving a measly truck, made his difficulty seem insignificant.

The Book of Nome then alludes to one of their own having returned from the Outside by vehicle, and how vast the Outside was in size. Angalo then returns after four days, exhilarated, dirty, and tired, but eager to share what he’d seen. The nomes who heard him, found he’d seen plenty and how majestic the Store looked from Outside. He also wrote down what a sign in front of the building had on it, most of the nomes able to read now, it being another reference to a “Closing down sale”. After, Angalo fell asleep still raving over the sights, later Masklin visits to notice Angalo’s eyes still brilliant with his new adventure. Granny Morkie was watching over him and discouraged any talk of excitement already having dealt with the Duke, Masklin stating his need to speak with him, Granny Morkie allowing him some time, Angalo chattering about all he’d seen and how he’d gotten lost, Masklin then able to ask about how the trucks were driven, Angalo showing his detailed notes, but it seeming quite complicated, Masklin becomes overwhelmed with how they’d manage to pull it off.

Angalo looks for confirmation of his notes being well-written, but Masklin looking unhappy, he letting Angalo know he’d given him much to think over, Angalo then blurting excitedly over the other Stores he’d seen and the possibility of other nomes living there, Masklin urging Angalo to rest. Masklin walks out of the room to witness Granny Morkie facing off with the Duke from taking his son and provide his own care in recovery. When the Duke saw Masklin, he decides to give in, but they then negotiate the minutes allowed for visits, and after coming to an agreement, he catching up with Masklin on how well the people he’d sent were working out, Masklin conveying their value, and the Duke offering to aid him any way he could, before walking off. Masklin asks Granny Morkie’s opinion of why the Duke seemed to be acting strangely, she stating it was because he had to think about something which put him at unease.

Masklin is next shown moaning over the amount of steps one must learn to drive a truck with Gurder and Grimma, he about to share his most recent idea when Vinto, the imaginative reader walks in with a fresh idea from a book. Masklin was in the middle of turning him away when Grimma encourages him to listen, Masklin doing so and Gurder passive-aggressively questioning the sort of wild idea he was bringing this time, Vinto showing them an illustration of a human caught by nomes with rope, Gurder recognizing the story as Gulliver’s Travels, but Masklin becoming inspired, and then yelling of his moment of eureka. After the Store closed, Masklin and a few dozen others go to where the trucks are parked and test out the pedals, Masklin unable to move one by himself without quite a few others to help.

Dorcas then brainstorms with Masklin of how they could work the pedals, he deciding a lever would be needed, they testing the idea with a long piece of wood lowered through the door, and after learning how many levers it would take, Masklin mentioning the use of ropes with squads of nomes moving the truck where they wanted. Dorcas figuring the only issue being the noise (to him, fixable), and the need for training (everything would be set up in time, but a day for training the nomes, would not be enough), Dorcas suggesting Masklin locate a small practice truck, as well as thinking over how he was going to get the elderly and children on-board. Masklin open to any ideas, Dorcas deciding they’d meet up again the next night, he having an idea which could solve the practice and entrance for minors and elderly nomes. Masklin’s only other concern was for the nomes acting like it was life as usual, he noting even the leaders weren’t completely convinced, Masklin resting and waking an hour later when the panic began.

The Book of Nome has a poem which has the rhythm of a song (Skip to My Lou works pretty well) and about escape. The Store is then mentioned being currently quiet on a work day, the nomes attempting to reassure themselves nothing was amiss, but then humans arriving to remove the remainder of the product off the shelves and into trucks, they also removing floorboards, this setting a panic into motion, Gurder waking Masklin to inform him of what was happening, and Masklin then asking the Thing which explained the fourteen days until demolition didn’t include the time for the removal of stock, Masklin advising the people to gather as much food as they could, but some good news coming in the form of a member of Dorcas’ group, the humans storing everything in a convenient spot.

The Book of Nome then gives detail of the humans making nomes relocation easier by loading a variety of items onto the trucks. Masklin is informed by Dorcas of the items being loaded in the garage, a couple runs already having been made and Dorcas deducing the travel wasn’t far due to their quick return to the Store. So far the items being moved were carpets and mannequins which nomes debated about the latter’s immobility being caused for some religious reasons. The two were deciding whether the humans would be able to clear the Store in a day, Dorcas struggling to come up with a way of securing one of the trucks, he confident the new Ironmongery exiles would be able to help, and as Masklin left, became worried with the looks they gave him being hopeful of his working everything out.

News looked grim since many items were being moved out and when Masklin returns to Dorcas, he’s told one positive development being Dorcas had lifted a part of the truck which would keep the humans from driving off, since it contained many items they could utilize. Dorcas having gone to great lengths with back up plans to be certain the humans didn’t succeed in fixing the truck, Masklin satisfied and then speaking to the Thing about where they’d need to go once in the truck, he told of where an airline was, and Masklin knowing the Thing would be nonoperational until they were next around electricity, Masklin losing drive on his next move, Grimma entering when Masklin desperately needed to vent his stress, she giving him tough love by informing him of the nomes asking for him, to get himself together, and start making a plan. Masklin gets defensive, but Grimma snaps him into game face mode, and looks on the bright side of the Thing’s last words being read as, they would succeed, it only depending on the length of time it could take.

When night fell, and the last human gave up attempting to fix the lights in the garage due to Dorcas’ handiwork, the nomes got to fixing what was ‘broke’. Masklin learning it could take about an hour to get the truck in working order. As they were getting on, Granny Morkie was ‘cattle herding’ all the nomes into the back, and doing so with efficiency due to her natural talent. Once realizing Granny Morkie had taken care of Masklin’s only other idea of checking boxes, he returned to the cab of the truck due to not having left himself a task, and after watching Dorcas attempt to lead a practice for the nomes grouped at the gear shifts, Masklin asks about progress, the update not being positive, but they being ready to give it a whirl and deal with the hiccups on the fly, and when the time came, Masklin, Angalo, the Thing, Gurder (in case of any ‘splainin’ to Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) was needed), and Grimma were all in front, Gurder asking why she was up front with them, Masklin responding it was to help him read, he not being as quick as she.

Grimma set up The High Way Code and related the first instruction to check the mirror, no one knowing why, but Masklin still checking, not noticing anything but himself, Gurder deciding he should be the one to relay to the others they were ready to go after Grimma had taken initiative, but then giving Masklin the duty, he asking to start the engine, the air then alive with vibration, Angalo assuring him he’d get accustomed, the next signal to move forward not going as planned, since they ended up in reverse and hitting something, making the engine die, Dorcas going off on the teams on gears. As he does, Gurder is overcome with they moving at all, Angalo annoyed they hadn’t gone far. Then Dorcas informed of they ready to attempt it again, Angalo glad, since then smelling petrol, so when the time came to open the garage, Dorcas and Masklin having trouble hearing each other at first, but Dorcas wanting practice time for the teams, and when conveyed to skip it and get the garage open, Masklin discovers Dorcas had forgotten to fix it, this the perfect time for security (Prices Slashed) to walk in with flashlight in hand, Angalo noticing the bad (in many ways) cigarette in his mouth, he explaining why to Masklin, and then when security reached the door, Gurder speaks biblically in anger for the man to leave with his ciggie, he giving (what I imagine the same look as Flash from Zootopia)  when coming to the realization of, in this case, terror, he moving quicker than nomes are used to seeing a human move, but drops his ciggie, Masklin and Angalo yelling to their signaler to sign for Dorcas to inform the teams to shake a tail feather out of there. Masklin urging them to go faster to hit the door, which to a nome still looks like sauntering, they successfully breaking through though, and on to the street with little difficulty, they hearing the phwoosh of fire Angalo had expected.

The Book of Nome plainly states the items and departments all needing to go. Also, the Book describes the store going out with a “bang”, when it was actually a “whoomph”. None of the nomes paid this much attention due to the all encompassing need to follow the directions Angalo dictated quickly, not hitting any cars, fortunately, but did hit a store window in passing, stopping soon after when hitting a wall, the group needing a powwow about a more efficient way to steer, and to detect the headlights lever. As this is discussed, Masklin decides he, Grimma, and Gurder would go check those in the back whilst Angalo and Dorcas hashed it out. They found Granny Morkie helping a nome with a broken leg caused by a falling box, then Masklin invited Gurder a look Outside, he surprised by the rain. After hearing the “singing” cars, Gurder views the burning Store, he taking it better than Masklin expected. They return inside and Angalo had worked out a new string-pulling system to help with what he wanted done with the gears below. Angalo then attempted to have the lights turned on, instead getting the windshield wipers and radio, the switch for the lights discovered soon after, turning the radio off, which they couldn’t understand, but had news of the fire and the missing truck, they moving sort of along the road, and it close to midnight, the town fairly asleep, and then when a sign is misinterpreted as working, Masklin has them quickly stop for a hole in the middle of the road, Angalo meekly asking to back up.

When next they attempt to figure out what a roundabout is, Angalo obviously becomes a speed demon, they again stopping abruptly, Masklin and Grimma putting the smack down on Angalo and Gurder, the latter for not giving correct information and arguing, Masklin especially getting on everyone to start cooperating with each other for all the nomes relying on them, Angalo finally calming down enough to take Grimma’s original advice of taking it slow. Then when Masklin was considering a place to stop, they see Prices Slashed with a cop car, Angalo ready to knock into him, but Masklin grabbing a string for them to steer clear, they instead backing into the cop car, Angalo taking over again, and vying for Gurder to agree it would’ve been acceptable to hit Prices Slashed, but Gurder unsure it was the same being, Angalo having lost faith and Gurder forming the idea, if Arnold Bros (est. 1905) was in one place, he could be in all places, needing to think further on it. They they notice the cop car behind them, Masklin asking Angalo to get to another road when available, then going to report what’s occurring to Dorcas, Masklin having a plan needing pliers, Dorcas offering to join him.  When the truck stops, the police car stops more forcefully, the two men running and wrenching the door open, wondering where the driver had gone, they checking the bushes, Masklin and Dorcas dashing to the car, and quickly returning to the truck, it starting, the cops running for the car, but unable to start the ignition. The truck was abandoned and discovered a couple days later, the battery, wires, light bulb, radio, and switch missing, only the strings left.

The Book of Nome relates of a “New Place”, for keeps, and of a silent “Outsider”. The nomes had settled in a quarry after running hurriedly through fields, fussiness about the Outside and the state of the food found being dealt with in stride, and Dorcas even finagling some electricity, Masklin getting the Thing close to it, and only receiving a response of a few lights flashing. He was content not to bother the Thing until they accomplished more, this resulting in the passing of a few seasons, they fast-forwarding to Summer. Masklin was on watch with a button Dorcas had installed so if Masklin saw danger, those below would see a light turn on. Dorcas also had students to instruct on the finer points of electric. Masklin considering how whilst they were getting comfortable, he knew the probability of they having to pack up again someday, something they’d need to look forward to, he then looking below where he sat, Grimma teaching a few young nomes to read, he then thinking about how the departmental nomes tented to tiff fairly often and looked to him as mediator, he reminding himself of their true home, he glad though, they at least aware of the goal, their current location in view of the airport, he having sent a large team to investigate more closely, the last bit a conversation between Masklin and Dorcas of they considering the likelihood of being able to hijack a jet, Dorcas believing it possible due to only having three wheels.

One thing is for sure, this story is great for kids (the sensible ones), conquering one’s fear, teamwork, planning, organization. Another thing, this beats the movie ten-fold, I was intrigued only until catching the dialogue after a few minutes, finding other pastimes as I listened, I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Year Two)

 

Harry’s Uncle is woken from sleep by hooting sounds from Harry’s room, his Uncle complaining in the morning and Harry explaining Hedwig wouldn’t do so if he could let her out at night, Vernon knowing what it would mean if he allowed this. Dudley states his indifference to the subject, as well as hunger through belch form, he then requesting bacon by demanding Harry to pass the frying pan and Harry responding for Dudley to say the magic word, everyone reacting with surprise, fear, and anger, Vernon having been treating him like a ticking time bomb whom could activate at any time. Harry missed Hogwarts with an aching passion, Vernon having locked up all of Harry’s magic-related belongings, being unable to practice Quidditch or do his homework. We are then recapped of Harry’s past and physical descriptions of he and the Dursley’s, we also learn of Voldemort mysteriously losing his powers after being unable to kill Harry. Vernon then mentions again of the dinner party to come which was supposed to help him land a deal for his business in drills, Harry realizing no one seemed to remember it was his twelfth birthday. Vernon proceeds to run through the plans for the night, Harry’s job being to stay in his room and pretend to not exist. After, Vernon goes to pick up his and Dudley’s dinner-wear and Harry goes outside, missing his buddies.

We then recap Harry’s last year at Hogwarts and his run-in with Voldemort, Harry realizing he was zoning out and looking at a bush which was staring back, Dudley then appears and taunts Harry with the knowledge of he knowing it was his birthday and asking why he was gazing at a bush, which prompts Harry to make up the reason being to decide what spell was best to set it aflame, startling Dudley to trip back and after egging Harry with the start of another unkind comment, is scared when Harry makes up magic words, his Aunt setting him chores after chucking the half clean frying pan at his head with the extra threat of not being fed until his tasks were complete. Exhausted after finishing, it takes him until early evening, Harry getting a disappointing dinner and is commanded to go upstairs. After one more unfinished threat by Vernon, Harry silently enters his room to fall on his bed, but sees it being occupied by a guest.

Harry is almost startled enough to shout out, but resists, he knowing this was the creature he’d seen in the bushes. The creature formally bows, Harry noting the pillow-case he wore, he greeting the creature, and the elf in return speaking in normal-squeaky pitch, Harry sure it would be heard below, the creature stating it had been wanting to meet him. Harry tries to convey of the inconvenient timing for the visit, he being glad to meet Dobby, but attempting him to cut to the chase for his visit, Dobby unsure where to start and Harry offering Dobby a seat, which brings the elf to a loudly bawling state, Harry attempting to calm Dobby, he making light of how wizards must not have been kind to him often, Dobby almost agreeing and so having to punish himself with a few head butts into the window, Harry grabbing him and setting Dobby back on his bed, the abrupt reaction waking Hedwig, whom screeches. Upon further inquiry, Harry discovers Dobby has come without informing the wizard family he serves and would be punishing himself severely later for this transgression. Harry attempts to offer his assistance in escape for Dobby, but it’s useless, Dobby relating of his visit to Harry being to warn him not to return to Hogwarts, this after gushing over Harry’s kindness in wanting to help him. Harry attempts to learn more about the dangers Dobby hints of, but Dobby obviously has rules to which he can’t overcome in regards to the details.

Dobby hints at whom it could be, but begins beating himself again which brings Vernon to the room with more threats, and afterward Dobby confessing to having stolen Harry’s letters and would only give them back upon his word of not going back to Hogwarts. Harry refuses, so Dobby apologizes regretfully for what he was about to do, he running out of the room, Harry following quietly. Dobby releases the cream pudding in the kitchen, (unlike the movie where it lands atop the guests), Harry getting caught and made to mop up immediately. What gets the guests out of the house is a barn owl delivering a letter to the female guest’s lap, she deathly afraid of birds and fleeing out, the husband not amused. Vernon enters the kitchen with the letter, it being about the non-use of magic by minors and in front of Muggles. Vernon then goes about sequestering Harry in his room, only allowing bathroom breaks twice a day, food to be given through a door flap, and his windows barred. Harry descends into a troubled sleep, awakened by rattling bars, he seeing Ron outside his window.

Harry opens the window, unable to communicate his confusion of how Ron was there and what was happening. Ron takes over with questions of why Harry hadn’t answered his letters and then relating how his father had heard about Harry’s warning letter since he works for the Ministry of Magic, Harry attempts to convey the complexity of his situation when Ron interrupts with how easily they were going to liberate him, Harry having digressed of Ron giving a message to Hogwarts about his incarceration for him. George and Fred then help Harry get his gear, stored under the stairs, with lock picks to aid them after they wrench the bars off the window with the car, the Dursleys undisturbed by the noise, so far. Whilst Harry passed the belongings he needed within his room, Fred and George retrieved his Hogwarts trunks downstairs, all going accordingly, until Hedwig screeches for being left behind and waking Vernon whom crashes through the door and seizes Harry’s ankle, the brothers pull Harry into the car, they shooting off into the night as the Dursleys watched, Harry finally able to release Hedwig so she could fly with them, then Harry explains what he had gone through during the summer break. The boys considered Dobby’s message and honesty, Harry and Ron instantly thinking of their main enemy, Draco when provided with the idea of who could have it out for Harry. George and Fred then speak of their father having brought up Draco’s father, Lucius and his involvement with Voldemort. The twins then profiling the kinds of families who own house-elves, they being rich, and usually manor-owning.

After seeing the likelihood of Malfoy being behind Dobby’s visit, Harry questioned whether he should’ve believed Dobby. Ron then explains his concern and the lengths he’d gone to when Harry didn’t answer his letters, they then discussing Percy’s strange behavior lately and how they’d successfully swiped the car, now hoping they could return it before their mother noticed. Harry also inquired of the Department their father worked, it involving the “misuse of Muggle artifacts”. The twins share of how fascinated their father was of Muggle items, the illegality of his hoarding of non-magical items driving their mother up the wall, they almost home by this time, and it nearing dawn. Harry then lays eyes on Ron’s family home for the first time, it looking like it was held together with magic due to the angle of its standing. Ron was excusing the state of the house, but Harry returned with how great it was, the boys then discussing how they’d explain Harry’s presence when they’d sneak him in and up to the second floor, so they could go down for breakfast when the Weasley boys’ mother is seen marching right at them, she not happy for her worry, the boys not having a chance to explain, since she was still in the process of sharing what she’d witnessed of their being gone, and all which could’ve gone wrong, the threat of she bringing all this to their father’s attention when he returned from work, she then greeting Harry and inviting him in for breakfast, he nervous, but reassured by Ron, he experiencing his first wizard home. As Mrs. Weasley cooked breakfast she still muttered her disbelief and displeasure of the boys’ actions, but lost steam when George mentioned the Dursleys weren’t feeding Harry regularly, Ginny then stepping downstairs and retreating quickly when seeing Harry, Ron introducing her and how she’d been talking about him a lot during break.

After they ate, Fred attempts nonchalance of going to sleep, their mother nixing the wishful plan with chores, she offering Harry welcome to sleep, but he quite awake and curious of Ron’s de-gnoming chore. As the boys walked to the garden, Ron shows Harry a real gnome, the little fella sounding adorable with his demands to “gerroff” him. Ron then shows the simple process of de-gnoming involving a lasso motion as the boys chucked them out of the yard, making them dizzy so they wouldn’t know how to return. When they hear their father enter the house, they return, Mr. Weasley looking worn out. He begins to share what his night had consisted of when his wife accuses him with the enchanted car, he acting guilty. Mrs. Weasley gains momentum especially when he halfheartedly shows disappointment of the boys taking the car, Ron having Harry retreat with him to his room, they passing Ginny’s room on the way, she quickly shutting her door, and Ron remarking how odd her quiet, withdrawing behavior was, they reaching Ron’s room, Harry surveying his belongings and posters of Quidditch players plastered all over his walls, Ron shy about Harry’s opinion being unimpressed, but Harry blurting of his room, and his home being the best he’s experienced, Ron going flush.

We then share the other oddities Harry experiences at the Weasley house, from ghost in the attic to periodic explosions in Fred and George’s room, all of these happenings normal for the household. The main strange occurrence being how everyone treated him well: Ron’s mother overfeeding him, his father wanting him to sit by him so he could relate all kinds of Muggle appliances and government jobs: post workers, specifically. Ginny still had trouble keeping it cool when Harry was around, he kindly ignoring her clumsiness due to her severe embarrassment. One morning the boys receive letters from Hogwarts detailing the place and time they’d be going back, Harry also having the list of required textbooks, most by Gilderoy Lockhart. Harry then learns Ginny will be starting Hogwarts this year, and the group talk about how expensive Lockhart’s books were, Ron then getting a letter from Hermione about meeting up at Diagon Alley. The boys then practiced Quidditch later, Percy still keeping to himself which had Fred wondering what was going on with him. On a Wednesday they get up early, Mrs. Weasley waking them for their shopping day in Diagon Alley. Harry was offered to use the Floo powder first, but didn’t know how to go about it, Mr. Weasley becoming sidetracked upon knowing Harry’s route last year, but interrupted by Mrs. Weasley, and Fred showing him how it’s done.

When Harry does get his turn after tips from Mrs. Weasley and Ron, he still ends up in the wrong place, a strange shop, the view outside not Diagon Alley, and as Harry attempts an exit, he sees Malfoy walking in with his father, he hiding in a cabinet and viewing the two waiting for the clerk. As they stand there, Draco finds a way of complaining about Harry which his father was apparently used to, advising Draco should keep his dislike in check due to Potter’s celebrity. Then the shopkeeper appears, assuming Lucius was there to purchase, he setting him straight about his visiting to attempt to sell due to some possessions he didn’t want to be caught with if the Ministry raided his home. When Draco chimes in about a possible gift for himself, it leads to a conversation about Hermione being the reason he didn’t get good grades: teacher’s pet. As Lucius and the shop owner haggle, Draco gets unnervingly close to opening Harry’s hiding spot, but being called back, Lucius ready to leave. When they do, Harry times his moment to exit, and views his surroundings, all the shops Dark Arts related, he “hoping against hope” he’d make his way to Diagon Alley (I’m disappointed in Rowling for joining the ranks of Dan Brown to make one of her characters hope against hope).

Harry is surprised by an old witch talking to him which he’s glad to be interrupted by Hagrid, and the two easily getting to Diagon Alley whilst Harry related how he’d gotten lost and why he hadn’t responded to Hagrid’s letter, they then being spotted by Hermione. Soon the Weasleys had found him, the boys jealous of Harry having gone to Knockturn Alley, and Hagrid bowing out, having business elsewhere. Harry spills on who he’d seen whilst there, Mr. Weasley wishing to catch Malfoy with contraband and Mrs. Weasley warning him to watch himself, the group going into Gringotts where Hermione’s parents were exchanging some money for the proper currency for Hogwarts, Mr. Weasley delighted with meeting some Muggles and seeing their ten pound notes. As Hermione stayed with her parents, the Weasleys and Harry are taken to their vaults, Mrs. Weasley taking everything inside theirs and Harry embarrassed and attempting to hide the amount inside his own. Percy goes off by himself upon the group leaving the bank, Fred and George off to greet a buddy, Mrs. Weasley taking Ginny to get a secondhand robe, and Mr. Weasley inviting the Grangers for a drink at the Leaky Cauldron. Harry, Hermione, and Ron go off window shopping, Harry buying them all ice cream, seeing Percy with his nose in a book, then going to the bookshop to discover Lockhart would be signing his autobiography, Hermione squealing with excitement.

The line out the door consisted of women Mrs. Weasley’s age, she also further up near the front of the line, Harry, Hermione, and Ron meeting her there. Harry is then spotted by Lockhart, whom saw the celebrity photo-op and jumped at the chance of getting front page coverage, plastering a smile on his face and suggesting Harry do the same, not letting him return to the Weasleys though, upon he attempting this, instead being steered by Lockhart to stay with him as he made a speech to his fans of how he was presenting his autobiography to Harry, as a gift and announcing his post as teacher of Defense of the Dark Arts. Harry then gets all of Lockhart’s collection of books, he walking off and giving them to Ginny, Malfoy then piping up how Harry must’ve enjoyed the attention, Ginny sticking up for Harry and Malfoy embarrassing her by stating how Harry had what looked like a girlfriend, Ron walking up and getting a bit of talk-back from Malfoy, as well, he ready to throw down, but Hermione and Harry stopping him. Mr. Weasley walks up and suggests the group go outside due to the crowd, before being able to, caught by Lucius whom couldn’t resist but take a dig on Weasley’s obvious struggle with financing his children’s school books and the company he kept, the Grangers also present. Mr. Weasley doesn’t take his words lightly, body-checking Lucius and knocking books on top of them both, Hagrid breaking their fight up, they leaving for the street, the Grangers heading for the pub to get to Muggle territory, the Weasleys and Harry off using the Floo powder, Harry knowing now it wasn’t his preferred traveling choice.

Summer ended in a flash to Harry, whom was having the most idyllic vacation, but he had conflicting feelings since he also loved Hogwarts, only tainting this with the thoughts of how the Dursleys would welcome him when the next vacation began. Mrs. Weasley made the children’s final evening home a memorable one with a wonderful dinner menu, the evening topped with indoor fireworks and hot cocoa before sleepy-time. Next morning the family rushed about at dawn, getting ready for the trip to the station. Mr. Weasley having magic-suped the small car to fit all luggage and comfortably seat the clan, Mrs. Weasley none the wiser. The group didn’t make it to the station quickly, since three of the siblings had to run in the house for last minute forgotten items, everyone’s frustration rising. Mr. Weasley attempted to convince his wife to allow him to fly the car with invisibility, but she refused, they making it to the station with five minutes to spare to get to their platform. Harry and Ron were last to go, and didn’t make it, the carts crashing into the wall. They get attention from many Muggles due to the resounding ruckus, but discuss their options, having missed the train. Harry didn’t have any “normal” cash, Ron wondering how his parents would return from the platform. Since the barrier remained closed, Harry suggested they wait at the car for Ron’s parents to return due to still getting stares, Ron now excited since they could use the car to follow the train to Hogwarts, his parents able to teleport themselves home.

Harry now more eager by the idea, they return to the car, shoving luggage and Hedwig quickly in, Ron starting the invisibility device and have them in the air when the cloaking fails, Ron gunning the car into the clouds. He dips them below cloud level to locate the train, Harry detecting its whereabouts and Ron noting the direction as they follow above the clouds. The longer the ride though, coupled with the heat and thirst, begins to wear down the fun, the car even whining which added to their nerves, but when darkness comes, Harry spots Hogwarts, the car crapping out whilst they were over the water, Ron maneuvering the car as well as possible, until letting go of the wheel to attempt using his wand, Harry taking after George of the Jungle when the car was aimed at a tree. Harry grabs the wheel to steer them clear, but they hit hard, Ron’s wand suffering damage along with Harry’s head, the abuse not quite over when blows to the car begin. Ron suggests fleeing, but the tree opposed this, the car starting up, allowing Ron to back the car away from the tree, the car then ejecting them and luggage out on to the lawn, before driving off, Ron shouting after it for its return, knowing his father would be angry with him, but the two walking off with their luggage to the front door, Ron noticing by peering through a window the Sorting Hat was placing new students.

Harry then notices Snape was missing from his seat, the two considering aloud whether he resigned, Snape speaking up of he being curious as to why they hadn’t been on the train. Snape then leads them indoors to his office where he shows them a newspaper stating of the car having been seen in flight. He then declaring he would be summoning those who were responsible for deciding the boys expulsion. First McGonagall arrives, Ron and Harry getting the chance to explain, Dumbledore entering after. Harry explaining to him his side, the boys safe from being expelled for now, but they needing to be aware of how serious they were of receiving it with any other troubles which could arise, both of their families being sent letter of their bad deed. Snape attempts to impress Dumbledore with the fact of the rules being broken which would support expulsion, but Dumbledore reminds Snape of the boys being in McGonagall’s house, making the decision hers, he then relaying of returning to the feast, Snape in tow, whilst McGonagall looked at the boys sternly. In the end, they each receive a detention, and wouldn’t be joining the feast, McGonagall magicking sandwiches and iced pumpkin juice to be dined upon there, before going straight to their dorm. They discuss the good fortune they had, but also needing to be careful what with the odd closing of the barrier at the station. When they arrive at the portrait for their dorm, they realize they hadn’t gotten the new term’s password, but Hermione arrives just in time.

Hermione launched into questioning where they had been and the talk of what had happened, surprised to learn they having flown to Hogwarts not being a rumor, she ending with a tone similar to McGonagall’s, so Ron cuts her off so they could learn the password, but she wouldn’t have been able to continue her questioning anyways, since as soon as the portrait had let them pass, it seemed all of Gryffindor house was waiting in the common room for them, cheering and giving kudos to Harry and Ron, only Percy looking annoyed. Ron was made aware of this by Harry, so they begin to make their way to the dorm rooms, marveling at the greetings they had received, and happy when their other roomies, Neville, Seamus, and Dean came in, still showing disbelief by their one of a kind arrival. The next morning, the boys met Hermione in the Great Hall, she still a little cold due to their bad behavior, Neville showing up to wait for owl deliveries of items he’d forgotten at home, Ron properly dreading opening the letter he’d gotten upon realizing it was a Howler, Neville urging him to get it over with since it’d be worse if he waited, Harry wanting to know what it was, but Ron instead working up courage to open it rather than answer, Harry understanding by witnessing it. After it was over, Ron was quite embarrassed, and Harry ashamed he’d helped in Mr. Weasley now having an inquiry from work for his magicking Muggle items.

Meanwhile Professor McGonagall was passing out schedules, Harry seeing their first class was Herbology, and when the trio had gone out to the Greenhouse to be met by Professor Sprout, she was accompanied by Lockhart, she seeming unusually annoyed as she instructed the students to Greenhouse three, they not having been inside the more interesting and dangerous greenhouse. As the three begin to walk with the rest of the class, Lockhart blocks Harry from joining and gives him a lecture on how he understood why he had flown the car being caused by his front page picture in the paper, Harry was shocked by how off he was, but joined his friends as Sprout spoke of the class preparing to re-pot Mandrakes, Hermione getting Gryffindor ten points for answering what they were for, as well as the next question, they then getting a demonstration of what they’d be doing, Harry surprised to see a green baby attached to the fronds of the plant, the three friends making up a third of their group, being joined by a Hufflepuff boy, Justin, as he shook their hands and offered individual knowledge of each one of them, he then speaking of Lockhart being quite impressive. The class had quite a time attempting to re-earth the little suckers, but Harry wasn’t exactly at ease in his Transfiguration class either, his previous year’s knowledge having seeped out over summer.

Harry didn’t do well, but Ron was worse off with his damaged wand, after class his mood not improving despite it being lunch, since their next class after was Defense Against the Dark Arts. When they’d finished eating and walked to the courtyard, Hermione read whilst Harry and Ron talked Quidditch until being stared down by a small boy, Colin whom finally got the nerve to ask for a signed picture when Malfoy walks up behind him to scoff. He again insults Ron to the point of getting him to draw his broken wand, but Lockhart interrupts with the nose for someone asking for signed pictures. Lockhart offers to jump in with Harry and sign it as well, Malfoy withdrawing, and everyone going off to classes. Harry is leached upon by Lockhart giving more unwelcome and off the mark advice since they were both heading for his class, Harry choosing a seat in the back before Lockhart gave out his lengthy personalized quiz, ridiculous questions relating to himself and spanning three sides of paper. Hermione was the only one to ace the quiz, she also scoring another ten points for her house. Lockhart then reveals the Cornish pixies as their study subjects, he letting them loose and they immediately having Neville in the air by his ears (memorable scene in the movie), other pixies throwing out books through the back window, and everyone taking cover, Lockhart playing it cool by instructing the class to capture them and showing them how, his spell doing nothing, so takes cover like the rest until the bell for next class rings and everyone hastily leaves, Lockhart commanding the three to handle capturing the rest before shooting out the door, himself. Ron was enraged by his ineptitude, Hermione trying to stick up for him, but Ron declaring the great deeds Lockhart spoke of in his books seemed to only be stories.

Harry now spent much time avoiding Lockhart, he not so readily able to do the same about Colin. He was pleased to make it to the weekend, the trio planning on a visit with Hagrid, but Harry was unexpectedly awakened by Oliver, the Gryffindor Captain. He found out they had practice, Oliver explaining this was a new training plan since no other team would be training this early in the season. He writes a note to Ron, then Colin runs after him with a picture he’d taken of Lockhart whom was talking about Harry, this time when asked, is bluntly rebuffed to autograph it. After Harry attempts to leave him, Colin puppy-dog’s his way after Harry, since not having seen a Quidditch game before, and only left him alone from his incessant questioning to locate a good seat whilst Harry changed. Oliver launched into a tactical speech when all were present, but few, if any were truly absorbing his words for sleepiness, George asking a smart-ass question which Oliver responds to by informing how terrible their defeat was last year, Harry feeling responsible for having been unconscious and unable to help their team to victory. The team finally gets to the field, Harry spotting Hermione and Ron in the stands, he informing them of practice only having now gotten started. Fred was first to hear a loud clicking which was coming from Colin’s constant picture-taking. Harry denies knowing him, but admits the boy is in Gryffindor when Oliver gets suspicious of what House he’s from. George then shares how Slytherin didn’t need spies since some were currently walking on to the field, Oliver going off to meet them to learn why they were there, the opposing team captain deciding there was enough space for both. The boy then hands a note written by Snape for the Slytherin team to be allowed to practice so they could train their new seeker, Draco. The team also shows the latest model of Nimbus they’d received as gifts by Draco’s father. Tensions heighten when Ron and Hermione join them and Malfoy calls her a Mudblood, everyone responding with rage, and Ron hitting himself with a wand blast when aiming at Malfoy.

Hermione and Harry decide to guide him to Hagrid’s, for being the closest, Colin getting in the way once more when attempting to get a shot of Ron belching up slugs. They had almost arrived when Lockhart was seen exiting Hagrid’s, Harry deciding to hide until he was gone. When they get inside, Ron is given a bowl since it was about waiting for the slugs to stop being regurgitated, Harry and Hermione learning how terrible a name Malfoy had used, Hagrid also taking it seriously. They discuss Lockhart, as well, his reason for visiting Hagrid being to instruct him on how to remove kelpies from a well, Hagrid then showing them what he’d been growing: humongous pumpkins for Halloween. Hagrid had obviously been helping the growth of his pumpkins illegally, since he’d been expelled from Hogwarts for unknown reasons and wasn’t supposed to use magic. After the trio return inside for lunch, McGonagall approaches Harry and Ron to give them their detention tasks, Ron polishing silverware and Harry getting stuck with Lockhart to answer his fan mail. Lunch is tainted by their news, and soon enough it’s time to do their time, Harry goes to Lockhart’s office, immediately being put to write the addresses for envelopes. Later in the night, as Harry is still writing addresses, he hears an odd voice speaking death threats, Lockhart not hearing, but surprised four hours having passed, dismissing Harry. A half hour after, Ron is back and Harry describes what he heard, Ron confused as to how it could’ve been overlooked by Lockhart.

In October, certain students and teachers visited Madame Pomfrey, the nurse for her immediate remedy for colds which left smoking ears for awhile after, Ginny among them. It would rain days at a time, but practice wasn’t postponed in these instances, so Harry was covered in mud and water, it seeming pointless due to the effortless speed the upgraded Nimbus gave to their opponents. During his walk back, Harry speaks with Nearly Headless Nick, whom was dealing with his own injustices for being denied entry into the Headless Hunt, since his head hadn’t been completely detached. Harry was in the middle of explaining his reason for being down, upon request, when Mrs. Norris makes an appearance, Harry not having time to retreat before Filch saw the mud he’d tracked through the hall, he leading Harry back the way he’d come to Filch’s office where Harry saw Fred and George’s file cabinet of mischief along with other cabinets of various students. As Harry awaited Filch to write his punishment on the official form, Filch is distracted by a loud bang from above them which gets him out of the room before finishing, he believing the poltergeist Peeves was making the ruckus, Harry not fond of the ghost, but relieved by his good timing. Harry does the honest thing though, and waits for Filch to return, he noticing a letter on his desk which seemed to be a beginner’s guide to charms. Harry quickly returns the letter to envelope when he hears Filch returning, but forgets to put it back close enough to where he found it, Filch noticing and putting the letter in his desk, Harry denies having read it, but Filch shows his anger and embarrassment, letting Harry go without reprimand, Harry taking the opportunity and dashing out. Nearly Headless Nick stops him to learn if his plan had worked, he having convinced Peeves to drop the cabinet they’d heard, Harry thanking him and wanting to assist with Nearly Headless Nick’s problem with the Headless Hunt, Nick realizing Harry could by attending his 500th death-day party and relate to the man in charge of the Hunt Admissions, Sir Patrick, of Nick’s scary magnificence, Harry agreeing even though the day coincided with Halloween.

Harry then mentions the trio’s invite, Hermione intrigued with the prospect, Ron not as impressed since he was overloaded with homework and had other unfavorable tasks to deal with. Harry then plans on sharing the letter in Filch’s office, but is distracted by Fred and George’s experiment with a fire lizard and some fireworks. When Halloween arrives, Harry is second-guessing his hasty decision to attend Nick’s death-day after seeing and hearing the festivities for the school feast, but Hermione insists on they keeping their word, walking past the Great Hall, to the dungeons. The path was lined with black candles with blue flame, Nick greeting them at the entrance and the group hearing strange music and then seeing through guests dancing and chatting. Hermione spots Moaning Myrtle, relating to the boys the trouble she’s been making in one of the girls bathrooms, it now being out of order, they instead checking out the buffet, which consisted of rotten or charred food. When they were turning to walk away, Peeves gets in their way, having overheard what Hermione had said about Myrtle, calling her over, and Hermione making nice, but Peeves egging on a disaster, Myrtle not taking Hermione’s hopeful compliment well, especially when the boys halfheartedly agree, Myrtle crying her way out as Peeves antagonizes her. Nick approaches after, the group having to lie about having a good time and he preparing for his speech, when Sir Patrick makes his lively entrance, Harry doing as Nick asked and being called out by Sir Patrick, Nick then attempting to give his speech, but being overshadowed by Patrick’s flash game of Head Hockey, the trio taking this moment to ditch, but as they return upstairs, Harry hearing the death-threatening words again and has Hermione and Ron following him up to the Great Hall, and then to the first floor, where Hermione is first to notice a message written on the wall, and Ron spotting a stiff and unmoving Mrs. Norris, Harry tentatively suggesting they should help, but unable to retreat like Ron wishes when the feast had obviously ended, students heading their way and noticing the message, Malfoy spouting of Mudbloods being next and looking exhilarated by the scene.

Filch is next to view Mrs. Norris, he horrified, and spotting Harry, believes he’d caused her death, spouting threats, but being cut off by Dumbledore, whom has Filch, Harry, Hermione, and Ron come with him to Lockhart’s office. Dumbledore starts studying Mrs. Norris along with McGonagall, and Snape, Lockhart not helping with his idle chatter of his ability to help if having been there sooner to apply the counter-curse, Harry hoping Dumbledore didn’t believe Filch’s accusation for knowing his education at Hogwarts would be over. Dumbledore though, seemed to be testing different spells on Mrs. Norris, and interrupts Lockhart sharing another story of his bright, helpful ideas when they learn Mrs. Norris wasn’t dead, only Petrified. Filch was still convinced Harry caused her fate, Harry having to defend himself even after Dumbledore shares it was far too advanced for a student. Snape piping up with asking why he hadn’t attended the Halloween feast and after not at least going in to eat, Harry struggling with a good excuse since he had led Hermione and Ron upstairs because of a voice only he heard not sounding applicable, he deciding to answer with they being sleepy, but Snape seeming dubious to they going to bed without supper. Snape then offers a punishment to Harry which would make him be forthcoming with the truth (I grew up with people of similar model), but Dumbledore, even if believing Harry wasn’t confessing all, wouldn’t punish him unless he were proven the culprit, Snape quite displeased. When Filch was ready to melt down again, Dumbledore reminds him Professor Sprout could get the ingredients necessary to make a potion to revive her, Lockhart offering to make it, but Snape stepping in with he being the Potions master, Dumbledore then allowing Harry and friends to be dismissed, they hurrying out, Harry asking if he should have been truthful and discussing what the message on the wall could mean, Ron supporting Harry’s decision and the message about a chamber sounding familiar, but the group ending it there once Ron explained what a squib was in reference to Filch, they not wanting to run into Snape in the hall, and going off to bed.

The next few days, students were still gossiping about it, Filch not helping by standing vigil at the scene of the Petrifying, the message not succumbing to cleaning. Hermione was acting oddly by reading constantly and not being receptive to conversation anymore, Harry learning why the next week when Justin, from Hufflepuff acts strangely by walking back the way he’d come rather than greeting Harry, the latter going into the library and asking Ron if he’d seen Hermione, she making herself known and seeming ready to speak with them, albeit not looking pleased at the moment. She begins by stating her frustration over the book Hogwarts: A History being unavailable and she having to leave her copy at home because of all the Lockhart books, she needing it for the bit on the Chamber of Secrets. Ron changes the subject when asking Hermione for a look at her homework, the two squabbling over it as the trio walk to their only ghost taught class. Everyone who attended was consistently bored stupid, but Hermione came up with a decent idea by asking their history lecturer about the Chamber. Professor Binns skirts the answering by replying he only entertaining (except not to the students, ha-ha) definite truths, but Hermione again interrupting with how the “legend” could be based on truth, Binns finally giving in once he saw how much interest the class was showing for once. Binns goes over the general history of Hogwarts beginnings before sharing how the legend began with Slytherin supposedly adding a hidden chamber none of the other founders knew about. After the telling, Binns reiterates its nonsense, Hermione asking of the sort of “horror within” mentioned inside the Chamber, Binns responding of it supposedly being a monster only the heir to Slytherin can control and would be the cause of expelling all unworthy students from Hogwarts. Once Binns had enough of the theories on how Slytherin could have hidden the Chamber though, he continues his mind-numbing lecture.

Harry sensed a rumor must be going around of he possibly being the Slytherin heir. When they reach the corridor where Mrs. Norris was found, Harry decides a quick looky-loo couldn’t hurt, he spotting some scorch marks, Hermione noticing a clutter of spiders fighting their way through a crack in the wall, Ron relating a story of why he hated spiders, Harry then remembering the water on the floor before, and the group then entering Moaning Myrtle’s territory after Hermione reminds them of no one likely being inside for the Out-of-Order sign, once within, noting its somber atmosphere. Hermione goes to speak with Myrtle whom doesn’t take the boys’ presence sitting down. Ha,ha. She gets more upset when she thinks they’re talking behind her back when Harry was mouthing for Hermione to ask about if Myrtle knew anything about the Chamber, etc. When Hermione does finally get the question out, Myrtle hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary the other night due to being upset over Peeves, she again getting worked up over being reminded she was dead, leaving the three wet with toilet water from her exit. The three are heading out when they’re found by Percy, he not amused at all and taking on his mother’s tone. Ron and Percy argue over how upset all this is making Ginny and they should be currently at dinner, when Percy ends the fight by taking five points from them, thinking it would be a good incentive for not getting a P.I. state of mind. When they were back in the common area, Ron was annoyed over his homework igniting by his wand, and Hermione frustrated over whom could be causing all of the trouble. Ron passive-aggressively mentions Malfoy, Harry supporting the possibility. Hermione then shares an idea which would give them the proof, it being to charm themselves into looking like Slytherin students and get Malfoy to confess without knowing. Hermione then admits getting the recipe could be difficult since the book was most likely in the Restricted Section of the library. The three then discuss how they’d manage obtaining permission, it not ending in agreement.

Lockhart stuck to reading aloud and acting out the more “exciting” scenes since live examples didn’t work out so well for him, Harry normally getting dragged in to play the minor roles. The latest call up would’ve been met with firm refusal if Harry didn’t have an ulterior motive this time, so he played along and when the bell rang to end class, Hermione, Ron, and Harry wait for everyone to leave before approaching Lockhart, Hermione asking for him to consent permission for she to be allowed access to the restricted book, Lockhart readily agreeing when she mentioned it regarding one of his books. Lockhart then offers Harry his vast knowledge on Quidditch if he so chose, essentially making it seem Harry was inept at the game, Harry not responding other than a vague growl. The three spoke of how lucky they were Lockhart hadn’t noticed the book they were after, Ron bad-mouthing Lockhart, and Hermione vehemently defending him again. They head straight to the library, Hermione having trouble letting go of the celebrity professor’s note when the librarian reaches for it, but Ron has her let it go, knowing another autograph would be a dime a dozen for Lockhart. The librarian retrieves the book for them, and they head out, trying to look nonchalant. They set up in Myrtle’s bathroom, knowing no one would bother them, the book’s illustrations and spells immediately made clear why it was only upon request. Hermione discovers the page they needed, Harry attempting optimism the artist was exaggerating the looks of pain during transformation. Hermione began listing off the items they needed, some easy to acquire, others not so much. Harry voiced his doubts on the amount of ingredients needing to be nicked, Hermione stating her views on not ever wanting to break rules, but believing uncovering the culprit threatening the Muggle-born an important issue, and if they wanted to back out she’d return the book. Ron was surprised Hermione was basically giving permission to be bad for once, and would go through with the acquisition as long as the part of the people they took wasn’t toenail related. Hermione, pleased with Ron’s decision, then calculates how long it would take to ready the elixir, it being a month, Ron complaining how terrible acts could occur in such a span, but supports the plan when Hermione gives him a scathing look, he then suggesting Harry could make this easier if he could set up a fall for Malfoy during their game the next day.

On the morning of the match,Harry thought about how Oliver would take another loss which made Harry uneasy, as well as the prospect of facing off with a team on speedster brooms. He gets up and goes to an early breakfast, seeing the other members of his team already there, everyone quiet. the student body and staff beginning to take seats on the field, Harry receiving wishes of luck from Ron and Hermione as he entered the locker room, and everyone getting ready, Oliver making his speech, talking up their team’s talent and relentless practicing, he then ordering Harry to stay on top of getting the Snitch “or die trying”. They go onto the field and the game begins, Harry quickly getting higher than the others, Malfoy mouthing off and humming-birding around on his broom. Harry then quickly maneuvering around a Bludger which barely misses him, and when George whacks it at a Slytherin, it again re-aims at Harry, this continuing to recur, Harry flying off in another direction where Fred gives it a whack, but it still going after Harry. The Slytherins were in the lead now, Fred and George sticking to Harry to swat at the Bludger. The twins finally get Oliver’s attention to call a Time-Out, they sharing why they weren’t able to back up another team mate, they believing someone had tampered with the Bludger, but Oliver knowing the Bludgers had been in a professor’s office locked up, and nothing was amiss with them before. Harry insists Oliver command George and Fred to let him deal with the Bludger himself since he didn’t have a chance getting the Snitch with them hanging about him, Oliver eventually agreeing and the game continuing. Harry shoots off, dodging the Bludger and presumably looking ridiculous whilst doing so, after awhile of this, Malfoy makes a smart remark and laughs so hard he doesn’t notice the Snitch by his ear, but Harry had, he not moving in time to dodge the Bludger, and feeling his arm break, but then lunges at Malfoy, fighting the pain, Malfoy looking scared for the quick confrontation, swerving out of the way, Harry feeling his grasp on the Snitch as he balanced on his broom, no hands, and heading for the earth, close to unconsciousness, but realizing Gryffindor had won before passing out, awaking on the ground with Lockhart above him, he moaning and protesting loudly, Lockhart conveying his conviction on fixing Harry’s arm, Harry firmly stating his not wanting this, and shouting at Colin of not needing “photographic memories”Eduardoof this moment, but after Lockhart did his worst, Harry didn’t feel his arm anymore, and Colin was on a picture-taking rampage. When Harry looks, he slowly understands his bones weren’t there anymore, Lockhart playing it off like this sometimes occurred, Ron and Hermione taking him to Madam Pomfrey’s hospital wing, she enraged by they not having come to her as soon as it happened, the growing back of bones taking more time, and painful, he having to stay the night, and Hermione still sticking up for Lockhart’s mistake. When Pomfrey leaves, Ron brings up the look on Malfoy’s face when Harry had caught the Snitch, Harry saying they’d have to remember to ask him how he set up the Bludger in response to Hermione wondering this out loud. Then the Gryffindor team busted in with refreshments and good times to drown out Harry’s upcoming pain when Pomfrey kicks everyone out so Harry can go through his pain alone. Harry awakens in the night, startled by what he thought was the splintering pain in his arm, until he realized Dobby was sponging his forehead and looking upset. Dobby then not only admits his disappointment in Harry getting to school, but also being the cause for the train station barrier locking them out, Dobby surprised Harry had still been able to get to Hogwarts. Harry angrily threatens Dobby with physical violence unless he left, but Dobby made clear this was a usual occurrence in his day, Harry losing some steam for Dobby’s unfortunate appearance. Harry then asks why he wore a pillowcase, Dobby explaining the terms of his enslavement, and then revealing he being the culprit of the Bludger, Harry’s anger renewed. Dobby attempts to explain the reason for he trying to get Harry sent home being due to the hope Harry brought to Dobby’s kind, but then lets loose with mention of the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby immediately reprimanding himself. Harry attempts to coax Dobby into divulging who had opened the Chamber, Dobby unable to, and only repeating Harry should leave for the extreme danger. Dobby is interrupted by noises outside, Dumbledore and McGonagall carrying a statue to a bed, McGonagall fetches Pomfrey whom was surprised and asking what had happened, Dumbledore announcing it was a second attack, the boy presumably attempting to sneak up to see Harry, and Harry getting a glimpse of Colin, McGonagall having various questions of what could be happening, and whether Colin had captured his attacker with a snapshot, but when Dumbledore checks, the film is destroyed, Dumbledore relating of this being a sign the Chamber was open again and how this could be.

Sunday morning, Harry’s awakened by bright sunlight, his arm not flexible, but all bones accounted for, he noticing Colin’s bed was blocked by curtains, Pomfrey bringing his breakfast and testing his arm’s mobility. He was allowed to leave when he was finished eating, Harry going off to Gryffindor Tower, but his buddies unfound, disappointed they didn’t seem to care about how he was, but also wanting to share what he’d learned about Colin and Dobby. Harry runs into Percy coming out of the library seeming to have a lighter step than recently apprised. Percy mentions the points Harry had gotten for his win, the latter then inquiring if he’d seen the duo, Percy responding to the negative and hoping they weren’t hanging about anymore girls restrooms, Harry making light of this and going straight to Myrtle’s spot, immediately hearing his friends chattering in a stall, and upon announcing himself, still surprising them, and once entering the stall, viewing they had a cauldron set over the toilet, a waterproof fire inside, Hermione’s forté, he also finally able to answer about his arm being in working order. Hermione shares how they’d heard their hiding spot was being uncovered so figured they’d better get a move on with the potion, Harry also sharing his story about Dobby, the group now even more curious about the Chamber and Malfoy’s possible relation to its opening.

By Monday the school had heard of Colin’s state, people more cautious, Ginny shaken since she sat by him in one of her classes, and Neville buying charms to ward away danger. After, during the second week of December, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were signing the sheet to stay at school for the holidays, seeing and suspicious of Malfoy also being on the list, they thinking it’d be an apt time to implement the potion and also swipe the remaining ingredients from Snape’s office, Harry not looking forward to the adventure. Hermione first to suggest a plan where they would supply a diversion so one of them could get into Snape’s office, Harry and Ron looking apprehensive, since Hermione then adds she needed to be the one to pillage since the boys already were so close to severe punishment, Harry thinking about the difficulty this raised when it came to intentional acts of havoc in Snape’s presence, but when the day arrived, Harry awaited Hermione’s signal nervously, when it comes, readying a firework to drop inside Malfoy’s lackey, Goyle’s cauldron, making his target, and the potion covering most of the class, Hermione in and out with no problem, Snape addressing all who had been hit, then vowing to expel the trouble-maker if ever discovered. Harry certain Snape knew he was guilty, Ron attempting to ease his mind with the thought of Snape unable to prove it, and they watched Hermione complete their potion when class let out, it now going to be two weeks before they could test it.

A week goes by when a flyer for a Dueling Club was posted, many students excited to check it out, the trio deciding to go, as well. Hermione wondered whom the instructor would be, they getting double the fun when Lockhart and Snape step forward. Lockhart begins with how Snape would assist him before class began, he allowing Snape knowing “a tiny little bit” about dueling, the demonstration starting. Lockhart gave a play by play until Snape’s first spell left his mouth, leaving Lockhart in a heap at the wall. Lockhart recovers and explains how transparent Snape’s choice had been and allowed him to go through with it so the students would see what it could do (It’s so sad I have family this bumpkin-like *sigh*), Snape not taking kindly to this, so Lockhart and he begin setting up couples of students to practice, Snape reaching Ron, Harry, and Hermione first and pairing Harry, of course with Malfoy, whilst the other two got forgettable students. When everyone began, Lockhart had unleashed mayhem by having all the students start at once, everyone taking down the other, Harry and Malfoy among them, Lockhart stopping all vocally, but Snape allowing this by disarming everyone’s spells, Hermione last since her partner had taken to physical combat, Harry struggling to help Hermione get out of a headlock with a Slytherin girl. Lockhart had picked two students to demonstrate how to block hostile fire, but Snape vetoes by offering the better choice of Malfoy and Harry, Snape instructing Malfoy, but Harry having the moron show him what to do, he gesturing with his wand seemingly in a meaningless way, so when Malfoy fired, Harry did nothing, but watch as a snake exploded from the tip of the wand, Snape offering to get rid of it, but Lockhart stepping in, he only angering it, and it turning to another student, Harry then yelling for it to leave the boy, Justin alone, he upset about it, and storming out. Ron urges Harry to get down and leads him out as students whispered and Snape looked intrigued, Hermione and Ron sharing what the name of a snake-talker was, and Harry sharing his first experience doing it, thinking others must have the gift, as well, Ron explaining the rarity of it, and this being bad news. Once Ron mentions how Harry seemed to be urging the snake to do its worst, Harry explains what he had said and didn’t even know he was speaking Parseltongue, Hermione divulging how it seemed Harry was somehow related to Slytherin and it would be difficult to prove otherwise.

Harry was having difficulty sleeping because of how little he knew of his father’s family. He then decides he’d explain to Justin when he saw him in class the next day, but class was canceled due to a blizzard, and Hermione urged him to go locate him if it was vital, so Harry goes, checking the library, he seeing some Hufflepuffs from the canceled class and was ready to ask them where Justin was when he began overhearing parts of their conversation and stayed out of sight in the Invisibility Section (ha-ha, Rowling), he learning the boy speaking, Ernie had advised Justin to stay in their dormitory if Harry was after him, Ernie hard-pressed to believe Harry was a good snake-talking wizard. Harry heard all he could take after Ernie began supposing what had happened with his run-in with Voldemort, and made his presence known, pretty mad, but asking after Justin, he sort of explaining what happened in the Dueling Club, but getting more angered the longer Ernie made excuses in support of Harry being a dark wizard, Harry leaving and running into Hagrid, whom was on business to ask permission to charm the hen coop so no more chickens could be attacked by an unknown creature, Harry then playing off why he was upset and instead going off to retrieve his books for his next class, a darkened corridor robbed of light because of a windowpane and wind getting through, a torch going out, Harry tripping over Justin, and seeing Nearly Headless Nick with the same shocked, expression, also immobile, Harry now debating whether to get someone to help or flee, knowing what people would think. Peeves then turns up and plays with Harry until he notices the bodies, belting out a wallop of an alarm, classes emptying, McGonagall restoring order, and Ernie again, literally this time, pointing the finger at Harry, McGonagall putting a stop to it, as well as Peeves’ wonderful little song about the trouble, Ernie fanning Nick presumably to the hospital wing and McGonagall escorting Harry to a hidden passage where he soon guesses Dumbledore stays.

When they reach the top, McGonagall knocks at the door, the two entering, then McGonagall advising Harry stay where he was, he viewing the place as quite interesting (Q.I. shout out! Harry…Daniel Radcliffe is a fan, too), and would’ve been happy to take a closer look if he didn’t believe he was about to be kicked out of school. Harry caught sight of the Sorting Hat and learns a bit more of the Hat’s insight on the choice of Gryffindor over Slytherin, he taking it off before he hears anymore due to not wanting to discover the reasons why he would’ve excelled in Slytherin, the puss, but then he hears a noise and discovers a sick looking bird, what startles him is when it goes up in flames. Dumbledore details the bird’s breed, Fawkes rising from the ashes, Harry temporarily side-tracked by this before being brought back to reality by the steady gaze of Dumbledore, before either can proceed though, Hagrid bursts in with his dead rooster, and immediately speaks on Harry’s behalf about the boy found having no connection to Harry since he’d been speaking with him so recently beforehand, he not allowing Dumbledore a word until he rose his voice to state they having the same opinion, Hagrid feeling foolish and returning to wait outside the room. Dumbledore inquires whether Harry had anything to admit, he going over all the troubling thoughts he’d had since the start of school, and declining anything was pressing. Next is the reactions to everyone to Nearly Headless Nick’s condition, most people leaving for the holiday, Harry content with this since being a pariah. Fred and George had fun clearing hallways on Harry’s behalf which didn’t amuse Percy or Ginny, she not liking the dark humor. Ron mentions how Malfoy not being pleased with Fred and George’s jokes was due to his jealousy for Harry getting the credit, which Hermione then changes the subject to the Polyjuice being almost ready for use.

The Weasley’s, Harry, and Hermione were able to mess about with a game called Exploding Snap, only Percy above joining in. Then on Christmas morning, Hermione wakes the boys with presents and the good news of the potion being done, they trying it out when evening came. Harry then gets a visit from Hedwig with a package consisting of a toothpick and note inquiring if he could stay through Summer, as well, by, guess who? Harry also receives fudge from Hagrid, a Quidditch book from Ron, an eagle feather quill from Hermione, and a hand-knit sweater and plum cake from Mrs. Weasley, her card bringing back guilt about the car, which hadn’t returned from the woods. Fortunately, Christmas dinner eased any anxiety they would’ve had in relation to using the Polyjuice. Dumbledore starting the group in singing carols, Percy’s badge being changed to read “Pinhead”, and Harry not bothered by Malfoy attempting to put down his sweater, since boy, did they have plans for him. Hermione started the planning after third-dessert, what with needing Crabbe and Goyle items, plus a way to keep them preoccupied, she seeming to have set them up what with already having sleep potion-laden chocolate cakes ready for the Neanderthal team to discover, she planning on using hair left by the Slytherin girl during her close proximity in Dueling Club. Ron was unsure how much this plan had a chance for success, but first part of acquiring hair had gone well, Harry and Ron booking it to Myrtle’s, Hermione nervously going over the instructions, they each taking their potions to separate stalls for size-changing reasons, then all drinking at the same time.

Harry’s transformation definitely wasn’t a sleigh ride, he and Ron ready to go, but Hermione insisting she couldn’t join, the boys going off and having difficulty locating the Slytherin common room. They go down some dungeon steps, eventually running into Percy, Ron speaking to him familiarly, and Percy responding by demanding they get to their common room, Harry glad to see Malfoy approach them, he also asking why Percy was down there, Percy taking offense, again, the three walking around the corner, and Malfoy gossiping about how Percy had been snooping around a lot, Malfoy thinking he was trying to catch the Slytherin heir by himself, he then saying the password to the Slytherin common room where he motioned for Harry and Ron to sit whilst he got the item his father had sent which he thought was hilarious, he coming back with an article about Ron’s father and how he’d been fined for bewitching the car, and Lucius having asked for Mr. Weasley to resign. After Malfoy gives his own opinion about the Weasley’s, he moves on to Dumbledore and how he’d have to catch the cause of the trouble soon or he’d get fired, he making fun of Colin at his expense, and then leaving no doubt he didn’t know whom was doing these deeds or opened the Chamber, only knowing how long ago it had last been opened, and hoping for a Muggle death like last time, he happily mentioning Hermione being victim. He then also reveals where his father had hid all their Dark Arts memorabilia, Ron making a noise of surprise and Harry noticing how he was changing, the two dashing out with Ron giving the excuse of an upset stomach, they returning to Myrtle’s. Ron was planning on sending word to his father about the one piece of good news, he then rapping on Hermione’s stall to share the details, but she didn’t want to come out, Myrtle sounding way too gleeful, and when she does finally show her furry face, the boys urge her to go to the hospital wing.

Hermione is sequestered in the hospital wing for some weeks, when students return to realize she’s missing, they think she’d been another victim, Pomfrey soon having to put a curtain around her bed since she didn’t need to be embarrassed by her fuzz face every time someone decided to rubberneck, during these days Ron and Harry come to visit each night to drop off homework, she asking if any progress had been made, no reports available, Ron spotting a book under her pillow, and reading the inscription by Lockhart, to Ron’s distaste, Pomfrey then interrupting with medicine, and the boys leave, hearing a loud angry voice sounding like Filch, the boys wait to hear more, and when he’d gone, they view a flood at Myrtle’s bathroom, they investigating, Myrtle sounding more upset than usual, she explaining of a book having been thrown at her, she directing them where it was in the bathroom, Harry ready to retrieve it when Ron discourages him for all the horror stories he’d heard from his father of worst case scenarios. Harry feigns he wouldn’t, but grabs it, learning it was T.M. Riddle’s diary from fifty years ago, Ron recognizing the name for the student having been honored for good deeds, and when looking inside, was disappointed when discovering no entries, but still keeping it. Hermione was released in February, Harry showing her the journal and sharing the same speculation of timing between the Chamber being opened and the age of the journal, Hermione then attempts a spell and using a Revealer as her last resort, neither working. Harry meanwhile, couldn’t place why he felt a connection to Riddle, the three looking at his awards in the trophy room the next break, only learning he’d been a Head boy, Prefect, and had a Magical Merit medal. As the weather became brighter, no more attacks had happened and the Mandrakes would soon be ready for stewing, but Harry was still getting accusing looks from Ernie, and Lockhart explains to McGonagall his imagined role in stopping the attacks as class let out. He also hints of a “moral-booster” to be revealed later, and on the 14th of Feb., as Harry was making his way quickly to breakfast a bit late for not sleeping well due to a late Quidditch practice, was met by the confusing sight of big, pink flowers, and confetti-shaped hearts, Ron looking nauseous and Hermione amused.

Lockhart greets the room with a “Happy Valentine’s”, and promises more surprises, McGonagall and Snape not looking overjoyed by the decorations. The other “gift” Lockhart had planned, walked in with harps and wings, he introducing his Valentine card-giving dwarves making deliveries for the rest of the day, Harry getting trapped by one whilst walking to his next class, to his shame, and as Harry attempts to escape when the dwarf grabs his bag to make him stay, it rips, all of his school items falling out. The dwarf then sang the telegram, Malfoy one of those to hear it, Percy attempting to help get the group of students to keep moving to class, Malfoy spotting Riddle’s diary and believing it was Harry’s, but before he could take a look, Harry disengages the book from Malfoy’s grasp with a spell, Percy now having to report it. When Harry and Ron had gotten to their Charms class, Harry detects how everything but the diary had been ink-soaked, Ron too preoccupied with his wand oozing big, purple bubbles. When evening came, Harry retires early to examine the diary, as well as escape hearing the Valentine tune sung at him by Fred and George. Harry then tests the diary with an inkblot, it getting sucked into it and disappearing, he then writing a greeting with his name, it also being sucked in, and a reply coming from Tom Riddle, asking how he’d gotten his diary.

As Harry continued with this chat, Riddle revealed how his diary held dark memories about Hogwarts, Harry learning more about the first time the Chamber was opened and why Riddle had received his medal, Harry then informing of the Chamber’s reopening and when asking whom had opened it the first time, Riddle offers to show Harry the memory, the book flipping to June 13th, and as a picture formed like watching a movie, Harry is thrust into the scene of Dumbledore’s office, Harry apologizing to the man sitting at the desk for bursting in, but he taking no notice, allowing a knocker at the door to enter, Riddle coming in and sitting, Dippet regarding Riddle’s letter he’d written in hopes of staying at Hogwarts over Summer, since he lived in a children’s home, he sharing some of his origin. Dippet states it may have been possible if not for the attacks, they still not knowing who is causing it. After Riddle was dismissed, Harry follows, he sensing Riddle had made a decision, rushing off, and running into Dumbledore whom advised him to get to his dorm, Riddle continuing on to the dungeons, and going to the room Harry had his Potions class, Riddle waiting for what seemed an hour to Harry, then hearing someone in the corridor. Riddle following quietly, then going around the corner where Harry struggles to identify Hagrid attempting to coax, what they soon learn, is a large spider into a box, Riddle informing Hagrid he’d have to report it, then trying to kill it with a spell, but Hagrid overpowering him, Harry then returned to his room, Ron coming in, asking what was wrong when he saw Harry’s face, and he confiding whom he believed had opened the Chamber the first time.

Due to the three knowing Hagrid’s penchant for unusual and dangerous pets, they didn’t put it past him wanting to reign in the ginormous spider, but Harry also was aware Hagrid wouldn’t want to cause any innocent’s death. After sharing the story of what he’d seen repetitively, he became tired of having the same conversations about it, Hermione attempting to reason of Riddle potentially getting the facts confused, but Harry reminding them they knew Hagrid had been kicked out for some reason. Hermione being the one to suggest they go to Hagrid to see if he corroborates the story. They decide to wait the awkward exchange until another attack was made, but four months down the road, all was quiet, the song Peeves had made up getting old, even Ernie becoming cordial, and in March, Sprout happy some of the Mandrakes were quite close to maturity. Then, during Easter holiday, the second years were given the list of choices for classes during their third year, Hermione checking off everything, Harry getting advice from Percy to choose according to his strengths, but Harry not feeling certain about anything other than Quidditch, so follows Ron’s lead, taking the same classes. Quidditch practice resumed nightly, but Harry was confident with their ability to win against Hufflepuff. As he goes toward the dorms, Neville looks frantic about showing Harry what had happened to his belongings, everything strewn about, Ron noting someone was searching for something, and Harry realizing Riddle’s diary was taken, and when they share the news with Hermione in the common room, they contemplate whom among the Gryffindor’s would want it.

The next morning, Harry sat with his Quidditch team wondering if he was in the room with the thief, he not wanting to report the theft like Hermione suggested due to the delicate details involved. As Harry returned from breakfast to gather his Quidditch equipment with Ron and Hermione, he yelled when hearing the voice speaking death threats again, Hermione coming to a realization and dashing to the library, Ron reminding him of the time, and Harry retrieving his gear, getting ready for the match as everyone was taking seats and warming up on the field, McGonagall with a megaphone, then announces of they cancelling the match, amid boos, and everyone returning to their common rooms where the Heads of Houses would dictate further instructions. McGonagall then had Harry follow her, she not turning Ron away when he tagged along, they being led to the hospital wing to discover Hermione and a Ravenclaw girl, the next victims, a mirror found with them, the boys confessing nothing, and McGonagall escorting them back with plans on speaking with the rest of the Gryffindors. She lists the new rules and earlier hours to be spent in common rooms, hoping anyone with information will come forward, otherwise the school would be closed, she visibly upset. When she exits, everyone was disgruntled by the news, Harry announcing to Ron it was time to go to Hagrid. Harry determines his Invisibility Cloak would need to be utilized, they having to navigate through corridors busier with staff and prefects patrolling in pairs, Harry and Ron making it to Hagrid’s door undetected.

When the door opened with Hagrid aiming a crossbow at them, Harry inquires about it, he dodging an answer and setting up tea, but becoming visibly to be parting at the seams when serving them boiling water with no teabags, a knock interrupting them, Harry and Ron moving to a corner of the room, back under the cloak, Dumbledore entering with Ron’s father’s boss, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, Hagrid collapsing in a chair, and Dumbledore backing Hagrid up on his innocence, but Fudge insisting Hagrid had to be detained, if found innocent, released, regardless Fudge needing to show some action being done, Hagrid worriedly asking if he’d be taken to Azkaban, but an answer not given for another knock at the door, Lucius Malfoy entering, Fang and Hagrid bristling at his presence, but Lucius there with a suspension for Dumbledore, Fudge protesting due to the timing, Hagrid making the oath Dumbledore would be the only one capable to stop whatever the monster is if it began taking lives, but Dumbledore acquiescing to the suspension without a fight, only noting those who favored him would make it seem like he hadn’t left, and Dumbledore saying something else which seemed aimed at Harry and Ron, Hagrid doing the same with his advice to follow the spiders, everyone exiting, Hagrid also loudly stating someone would need to feed Fang, Ron mentioning how their dark days would soon be darker without Dumbledore.

Even though Summer was settling in, the school was thrust into a feeling of unease, Ron and Harry now no longer able to visit Hermione since it was banned for the thought of the attacker returning for them. Dumbledore’s presence, as well as Hagrid’s were severely missed, Malfoy again using his fat mouth to talk loudly about his thoughts of Dumbledore and Hermione in Potions. When they’d gone to Herbology, Harry received an apology from Ernie, Ron and Harry noticing the spiders again, the gaggle heading for the Forbidden Forest, the two discussing it on their way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ron had reservations, but Harry gave him the positive sides of the forest being the centaurs and unicorns, Lockhart rushing in like he was providing sunshine and rainbows, the usual attitude of the teachers being subdued. Lockhart then states how the grim looks were unnecessary since believing Hagrid was guilty, this annoying the two, Ron consenting to go for Hermione after sitting through his nonsense. The boys had to wait well past midnight before the common room emptied, they retrieving Fang, leaving the cloak at Hagrid’s since it was dark enough in the forest, and Harry soon spotting two spiders leading them into the forest and eventually off the path.

They walk for at least a half hour as the denseness of their trek thickens, until Fang barks, scaring the boys, but something big ahead of them. After a little time passes, lights turn on at them, startling them again until Ron realizes it’s his father’s car gone native. After Ron approaches it, and sees what the car was illuminating behind Harry, his unbridled fear was plain on his face, Harry, Ron, and Fang all picked up and carried deeper into the forest. When they enter a clearing, Harry sees an army of gigantic spiders, they dropping them to await Aragog, and Harry recovering his voice to share they knew Hagrid, as Aragog commands their deaths when learning it wasn’t Hagrid, himself. Aragog thought the trouble with the Chamber had resolved years ago, once Harry related Hagrid’s trouble, Harry also learning how Hagrid had gotten and cared for Aragog. When Harry suggests he and Ron would leave them alone now, since Aragog refused to confide what the monster was, Aragog denies the idea, but the boys saved by the car, it leaving them at the edge of the forest, retreating back to whence it came. Ron is sick, and Fang’s under his doggy covers when Harry gets his cloak, one upside to their trip was in knowing now Hagrid wasn’t responsible for the Chamber opening. Later, Harry realizes whom the girl which had been killed all those years ago could be.

Whilst Harry and Ron waited for the right time to go see Myrtle, a shock of exams still coming up leaves their whole Transfiguration class in irritated grumbles. Good news was coming though, when McGonagall shares of the Mandrakes ready for plucking, so they may soon know more on the monster and or the one who opened the Chamber. Then an encounter with Ginny, whom was searching for the courage to share something which seemed to have frightened her, gets scared off by Percy, asking for her seat, he waving off the news she could’ve been about to share as something he’d hoped she’d keep to herself (the boys alluding to Percy wanking). Then Harry and Ron get their moment to see Myrtle when convincing Lockhart they were fine to walk the rest of the way to their next class, they home free until McGonagall runs into them, Harry making a quick excuse of they wanting to see Hermione, McGonagall surprisingly receptive. So instead of going to Myrtle, they go see Hermione, Harry noticing she was gripping a piece of paper in her hand, when reading it, he understanding why he’d been hearing the voice, also learning what defeated the creature. The two lay out all the missing pieces, they going to the teachers lounge with plans to confess what they’d found, but when hearing a message from McGonagall informing the students to return to their dorms, and teachers to the break room, Harry decides they’d hide in the closet, hear what was going on, and then share their news.

When the teachers arrive, they learn the monster took a student, a new message left, and the one taken, Ginny. Lockhart pops in, missing all this, but Snape mentions how it was his moment to shine, all the teachers having something to say about his boastful and arrogant comments, Lockhart off to his office to ‘ready’ himself, then McGonagall noting the Head of Houses should instruct the students on preparations to go home the next day, in the afternoon. Everyone was silent and solemn, the Weasleys the most, Ron suggesting they go to Lockhart in the evening and share with him what they knew. They catch Lockhart mid-flurry of packing up, the two getting more angry when he finally admits to stealing the credit of all the true stories he wrote about. When he was ready to leave and planning on using a Memory Charm on the boys, Harry disarms him and commands him to join them in their next move. They go to Myrtle’s, she gladly sharing her death story, and where she saw the eyes. Upon closer inspection, Harry sees a snake symbol, he able to speak Parceltongue for the moment necessary to open it, Lockhart unsuccessfully excusing himself, the two allowing him to go first, they all landing deep below the school. As they walked further, Harry sees what ends up being a giant snake skin, Lockhart then lunging at Ron, taking his wand to attempt his memory spell, it backfiring so hard the ceiling collapses and separates Ron and Lockhart from Harry. Ron decides to move rocks whilst Harry attempted to locate Ginny. He gets to another daunting blocked passage with two snakes with emerald eyes adorning it, Harry speaking snake once more to get it open, he nervously entering.

More serpent carvings within the room, plus the dimness of the place made it difficult to see the “monster” or Ginny, the place not giving off any defining sounds other than his footsteps, when he got further into the space, he sees Ginny at the feet of a statue depicting a wizard. When Harry shakes her to see if she’ll wake, it doesn’t work, and Riddle voices the reality, Harry seeing a fuzzy-around-the-edges body. Tom then points to the diary as the reason he was there, Harry upon lifting Ginny talks of they needing to leave before the basilisk came, Riddle replying it wouldn’t until summoned, Harry then looking for his wand, noticing Riddle had it, but still not putting together why Tom wouldn’t hand it to him. Riddle having been waiting to speak with Harry for some time, he sharing of how tolerant he’d been in biding his time with Ginny, how he’d set up Hagrid, Dumbledore not trusting him from the beginning, and wanting to know how Harry defeated Voldemort, Riddle finally revealing his connection. Then once Harry denies Tom being greatest wizard in relation to Dumbledore’s talent, Fawkes appears with the Sorting Hat, Harry’s courage bolstered, whilst Riddle was amused by the seemingly unthreatening additions, he instead allowing Harry to confess how he could have defeated Voldemort. Harry shares what he’d learned the year before about the part his mother played in his survival, as well as the state of Voldemort, Riddle then deciding to see what Harry could do to defend himself only with Fawkes and the Hat, Tom calling for the basilisk. Harry shuts his eyes and attempts to run, but realizes after hearing the snake, but not being harmed by it, Fawkes had distracted it, plucking it’s eyes so Harry had a chance to survive. Riddle commands the snake to focus on Harry, the basilisk swinging the Hat with its tail as it turned for him, Harry puts it on, gets conked on the head with a sword inside the hat, and on the snake’s second thrust forward, Harry stabs it good, but also gets punctured. Riddle is certain Harry will die, but doesn’t “remember” what tears of a phoenix can do, he watching as Fawkes heals Harry, then deciding this way was better. Fawkes drops the diary right into his lap, Harry using the tooth to pierce the book, successfully having Tom disappear, he retrieving the sword, Ginny coming-to soon after, confessing her part and worrying about expulsion, he guiding her out. Ron had made a large enough space for the two to get through, they postponing explanations for when they fully exited the Chamber, Fawkes being their way back up the tunnel. The bird then leading them to McGonagall’s office.

Inside, the four viewed Mr. and Mrs. Weasley with Dumbledore and McGonagall, Mrs. Weasley overcome with emotion and asking how they’d saved Ginny. Harry begins with the voices he’d heard, he attempting to avoid any mention of Ginny’s manipulated part of the Chamber, to spare her any repercussions, but Dumbledore saves him from implicating her, by announcing his knowledge of she being taken over, but not uncovering how until Harry supplies with whom the diary belonged, Ginny admitting how she’d found it in one of her school books. Dumbledore then sends Ginny to the hospital wing, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley accompanying her, he then sending McGonagall to alert the kitchen staff for a feast in celebration of the danger being over, he dealing with the boys on all their rule-breaking, he giving the impression of the severity of the issue, and instead awarding their house points as well as awards for assisting the school, and once learning Lockhart had charmed himself, he has Ron show Lockhart to the infirmary so he could speak with Harry. Dumbledore states his idea of why Harry had similarities with Tom Riddle, but also the reason why he belonged in the House he chose, the sword he’d pulled from the Sorting Hat not appearing if he didn’t belong to Gryffindor House. Harry was on his way out, having been advised to go to the feast when Lucius Malfoy burst in with a bandaged Dobby following. Lucius demanded to know why Dumbledore was back, he being made aware of the members of the board having confessed of being threatened to put Dumbledore out, Dobby meanwhile, was signalling Harry, which he finally understands, and asks Lucius about when he’d slipped the diary to Ginny in the bookshop, they not able to prove it, but Dumbledore warning what would happen if Mr. Weasley discovered one of his family with a Riddle possession again, and being able to connect it to Lucius, the man leaving with Dobby, and Harry figuring a way to help the elf (it being slightly different from the film), he taking his sock off and stuffing the diary into it, and when Lucius disgustedly throws the sock down and commands Dobby to follow, Dobby states of his freedom in disbelief, since catching the sock he’d thrown away, he then protecting Harry when Lucius goes after him, Harry making Dobby promise to not save him again. At the early morning (three am-ish) feast, Hagrid shows up, McGonagall announces the cancellation of exams, to Hermione’s newly awakened horror, and of Lockhart leaving to regain his memory. When the school year ends and Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny are on the Hogwarts express, Harry remembers the secret Percy had made Ginny not speak of, she confiding he’d been snogging with the Hufflepuff girl whom had been Petrified with Hermione, Fred and George promising they wouldn’t make fun of big bro (yeah, yeah, sure, sure) Harry giving Ron and Hermione his phone number, they going through the barrier to begin their vacations once more.

I notice how many offices of professors the boys were taken to in this one, it not being a necessarily interesting fact, only something I noticed upon review of my notes. Definitely read through quickly enough what with cycling four other books in the process, as well as my lengthy blawg entries, still enjoying the story, though so I’ll immediately begin the third!

Bone Vol. 7: Ghost Circles

For the 6th volume. We begin with Ted waking Jonathan to learn what has been going on, Ted realizing the news Jonathan had, wasn’t good and learning Lucius had done something which endangered Gran’ma Ben and Phoney Bone. Ted then discovers Jonathan had seen something questionable happen which made him think this, and Ted reasoning there must be a viable answer for it, the bug then easing Jonathan’s mind on he telling the Stick-eater Headmaster of what he’d seen. We then see Wendell being summoned to the main gate by the Headmaster due to tremors getting more noticeable, the Headmaster noting how he spoke, his conduct disclosing his obvious feelings about the Stick-eaters and how Lucius wasn’t one of them, the orders of the monks not coinciding with his own goals and being too hung up on Rose and devoted to her and her sister, Briar. This leads into Wendell discussing  with the Stick-eater about the disappearance of Gran’ma Ben and Phoney, the reason for the war beginning, and their disappearances lying on Phoney’s head, to which the Stick-eater discusses why his notion is ludicrous. The Stick-eater then shows Wendell the crest of the Harvestar family, he not recognizing it but being told of the purpose of the current keepers of “the source”, Wendell then uncovering how serious the legend of the Lord of the Locusts actually was. When they hear an explosion, the attack begins, Wendell being told to go and lead the villagers whilst the Stick-eater Headmaster took care of business on his end. We then get a close up of the destruction occurring at the mountain, seeing Gran’ma Ben leading Thorn and the Bones through the exploding rocks. When Fone almost gets crushed by a statue, he realizes they are going the wrong way, even though they were heading down, but then they are confronted by Kingdok, Thorn looking straight at him until Gran’ma Ben pushes her and Fone out of the way, Kingdok trying to bite them and getting a mouthful of rubble. They all get behind another statue and Gran’ma Ben uses it to throw at Kingdok, he busy spouting death threats.

They all retreat as Kingdok continues his pursuit, Fone looking for a secret passage which will get them down the mountain safely, Phoney thinking he’s crazy and Smiley the one to discover it, everyone piling in before Kingdok can lunge at them again, Gran’ma Ben offering to hold off Kingdok, but Phoney hearing something in the tunnel, they having no choice but to continue, and Fone remembering and warning everyone of how the tunnel had made them hallucinate the first time around, Gran’ma Ben knowing this for having been there before, as well. Thorn is first to speak up about leading them deeper through the tunnel, Gran’ma Ben advising the Bones to get ready to run, she grabbing them as she let Kingdok’s face push through. Another explosion gets Kingdok’s attention and then we see the fighting amongst the rat creatures, villagers, and Stick-eaters. The Stick-eater Headmaster is ordering one of his men to deal with a gathering of enemies when they see the explosion on the mountain, his orders changing to get as many villagers and men into a cave, knowing there won’t be time for proper refuge from the danger to come. We then see Briar being revived by the Lord of the Locusts and learning she had configured their powers incorrectly, losing part of them and being told to fix her mistake. Meanwhile the Bones are continuing down the stairs of the passage and wondering if they’d missed a turn for having been walking awhile, Fone starting to notice he and his cousins were starting to take on the personalities of the characters in Moby Dick, soon realizing he’s sharing the hallucination with the other Bones. Gran’ma Ben then calls them further down where Thorn has collapsed and is ice cold despite the extreme heat they were all feeling and we find she had seen Thorn being invaded by the locusts and confiding in the Bones of this.

When Thorn revives and shares of speaking with the Lord of the Locusts, Gran’ma Ben relates to this story by confessing of how she had the same experience many years before (the details of which are in Rose and isn’t needed to complete this volume). She relates of following her sister to the cave and being confronted by the Lord of the Locusts, Thorn finishing for her by supplying what he’d been searching for, she being saved by Fone before the Lord of the Locusts had found her dreaming power source. Thorn then shares with Gran’ma Ben of a mistake regarding her sister’s abilities, they heading for a light source up ahead which turns out to be the end of the tunnel, they thinking it was snowing until realizing they are seeing ashes in the wind and everything’s gone. Thorn then speaks of only some of the destruction being real, Briar having used many ghost circles to give the illusion of everything being destroyed, sharing with them of she able of seeing where they must walk, but having to follow her exactly, failing to do so would mean the walker being gone forever. Fone asks how Thorn would reverse the changes, she unsure, but knowing it’s possible for how Fone had given her the charm necessary to repel the Lord of the Locusts and she having the missing powers Briar is searching for. As the Bones follow Gran’ma and Thorn, they argue about whether they believe the ladies about the ghost circles and all the fantastical creatures mentioned, Fone not interested in rocking the boat, especially when he and his cousins were attired like his Moby Dick dream. Phoney then lays into Fone about how he consistently seemed to come up with a reason why they couldn’t escape and go home, he making Fone promise the next time he figures a way out, he’ll drop everything and come with him, Fone reluctantly agreeing.

Meanwhile Gran’ma Ben reaches the spot she’d left Lucius and is becoming upset about not seeing him there, Thorn trying to calm her by speaking of the possibility she may still be able to help him, she attempting to see if she could sense him, but when it fails, has a vivid vision with Fone there, he seeing a new place and Thorn warning him to stay close to her, they finally returning to the others, Gran’ma Ben is relieved to hear of the trees surrounding them since she had left Lucius elsewhere. They then go toward the spring Thorn had noticed and stop for the night for Phoney requesting desperately for a break. Smiley then speaks frankly to Fone about whether he was feeling homesick and how they didn’t have to listen to Phoney all the time due to his usually being wrong, Fone seeming to be surprised by Smiley’s insight. Smiley going on to mention how even though Fone believed dreams didn’t mean anything, Smiley saw Fone react as if he’d dreamt something and told the others of Thorn being alright when she’d still been lost. Fone dismisses this and goes to sleep, dreaming of being in the middle of the ocean on a casket, and sinking under water. Fone then sees a large body, it coming into focus as being the Red Dragon, Fone attempting to get his attention and failing, the Dragon opening his mouth to yawn and inhaling Fone, we soon only seeing a spark.

Fone awakens to everyone gone, but is called to by Smiley whom was bathing, then mentioning Phoney had woken without his pirate look. Fone then has a bad feeling of Thorn being in danger, but Phoney trying to calm him, mentioning where she was and how she and Gran’ma Ben had argued about where they should head, Thorn thinking back to Old Man’s Cave, it having less ghost circles than going south, Gran’ma Ben wanting to head south. Neither Gran’ma Ben nor Thorn could pick up anything from the veiled world, Thorn only noticing the ghost circles seemed to be spreading. She then describes what the ghost circles signified, it having to do with the dreaming and the real world getting mixed. Fone then asking how the piece of the locust inside Thorn could be removed, which leads into why Gran’ma Ben wanted to head south to Atheia, where help could be found. Gran’ma Ben is still attempting to discover signs of life from the villagers, but soon hears sounds on the other side of a ridge, everyone seeing it was a slew of rat creatures. Due to where they were headed and they not having noticed Thorn and gang, they would now have to head south, Phoney agreeing, and assuring Smiley it didn’t matter if it took them further away from Boneville (giving the sense the little grifter had a devious plan), Phoney sharing quietly what he was thinking with Smiley.

As the group then discusses whether the rat creatures may have actually noticed them, they run right into them. As they attempt escape, Thorn and Fone get separated from Gran’ma Ben, Phoney, and Smiley, but Smiley then sees someone whom makes him smile. We then seeing Thorn and Fone trapped at the edge of a cliff, Thorn threatening to kill the Hooded One, she of course dead already, but sharing of how two would be needed to help the Lord of the Locust, Thorn not wanting to take part, and Briar attempting to convince her of the good she could do with the power it would give her, then confessing how her parents were responsible for her death and how they had actually died, then confiding when they would perform the ritual. As Fone defends Thorn though, it is revealed he also had a piece of the Locust within him which meant she no longer needed Thorn, but as Briar seemed about to do something terrible, she’s bum rushed by Smiley on a rat creature. The group now reunited, Thorn is thrown on Bartleby with Smiley as the rest ran after, Thorn stating she’d be able to lead them through the ghost circles as the herd of rat creatures again headed towards them.

As they traveled down a dune, Thorn describes their current route being filled with ghost circles and would need to slow down so they could navigate through them, which they implement as they see rat creatures disappearing due to stepping in the wrong spots. They stop after some distance, Thorn wanting to take a break, but Phoney eager to push on for thinking they weren’t quite safe yet, the group moving once more. We then see Wendell picking up robes nearby a bunch of dead, then being called since the group had found Lucius, he being carried and they describing how and where they’d found him. Wendell wakes Lucius, whom’s memories are hazy after the blast, after deducing Jonathan not being as fine as Wendell made it seem, they then being approached by the Stick-eaters, the Headmaster wanting to know if Lucius knew where Thorn and Rose were, he not knowing, but did know where they’d go if they had survived, the Headmaster not seeing the logic behind it, regardless of it being the place of their throne and believing Atheia was deserted, then stating Lucius was an enemy of the royals and to place guards outside the infirmary.

We then see Thorn and group still on their trek across deserted land, Thorn stopping them for the ghost circles getting thicker, she thinking it would be the opposite as they got closer. Phoney decides they were breaking, and it soon leads to him accusing Fone of being the cause of the trouble, the rat creatures not even going after the others anymore, only Fone, Smiley shocking the two with his electric fingers, then Gran’ma Ben interrupting Phoney’s revelation of they being chased because of what the Hooded One had said of only needing Fone for the ritual, to let them know of the new path they would walk. Gran’ma Ben deciding she’ll bring up the rear, for now being suspicious of Fone’s part which could be played, and everyone walking a longer, but safer way around to Atheia. Bartleby then informs Fone of Smiley falling, Thorn warning him to be careful not to fall into ghost circles already avoided as he rushes to aid him. When they reach Smiley, he indicates his fall was due to “taco”, he being hungry, of course. Phoney then comes up with the idea of Thorn and one other should go into a ghost circle to search for food, she considering the idea, Fone offering to go with her again and the two going in before logic set in, they near a farmhouse and Thorn sensing a family within, not alive but moving, they grabbing fruits, but then Thorn hears a sound, she figuring it was the family, which spooks her and drags Fone away, but too quickly since he dropped their loot.

Thorn continues to hear the dead call to her for help, then relaying a message from her mother, also warning her of how to extract the locust piece from Fone and of the Hooded One being close. Thorn and Fone escape before the Hooded One gets near, and then we see Lucius getting a visit from Wendell, they discussing the Headmaster being stubborn on moving the camp and whether the villagers were willing to travel to meet the Atheians. Wendell then begins asking Lucius of his connection to Rose and her sister and whom he’d been with when he was found by Jonathan. Lucius admits his story from his youth when he’d fallen for one of the sisters, and after Wendell spoke of his concerns, Lucius decided they were going to leave. We then hear from Bartleby speaking of the rat creatures superstitions about their tails and other parts of them which were medically altered, Fone inquiring what had happened when Bartleby had returned to them, the rat creatures shunning him due to believing he wouldn’t eat the Bones and group when it was necessary, he admitting the truth to the statement, Thorn then collapsing and Gran’ma Ben reassuring of they finally reaching where the ghost circles thinned. Fone is ready for them to go through Tanen Gard in order to reach the people who can help Thorn, then being more wary when Gran’ma Ben mentions of  the trespassing penalties if caught; it being of a serious nature.

Thorn is becoming weaker as they journey on, Fone mentioning to Gran’ma Ben of what he felt when Thorn had returned them, Gran’ma Ben trying to push them more quickly, especially after Thorn mentions of the Hooded One coming. As Phoney and Smiley struggle to follow Fone, Gran’ma Ben, and Thorn, Smiley mentions how he felt ill at ease and likening it to a story of their youths when Phoney had prompted Smiley to steal pies off of windowsills, they going through the dragon graveyard feeling similarly wrong. Fone then runs to them to share the news of discovering a way across the possibly bottomless crevasse, when the ground begins to shake. Bartleby recognizes the smell first and shouts of dragons coming from the pit, everyone rushing to the slim way across, Fone being the first to slip, but being caught by Thorn, whom at first had to be carried by Gran’ma Ben, but she relaying how she was starting to feel better due to Tanen Gard, they continuing across. When they get across, which is also the end of Tanen Gard, Thorn mentions of they being clear of ghost circles and the hope of the villager survivors making their way to Atheia since she still couldn’t sense Old Man’s Cave. We then see Wendell leading the villagers toward the Stick-eater guarding Lucius, they disarming him. The Headmaster meets Lucius as he’s walking out of his cell, he again mentioning of only destruction anywhere else and they being safe there. After Lucius shares how he can’t understand why they were protecting their brotherhood when everyone was going to die anyways, the Headmaster shows his face, and finally agrees to accompany them to the Old Kingdom. We then see Kingdok surrounded by darkness and walking somewhere. Gran’ma Ben is guiding the group to higher ground for a better view of where they were heading. When they reach the top, Gran’ma Ben breaks down how long it would take them to reach Atheia and what they could have in store with two days out with no cover. Smiley and Phoney have a little quarrel which Bartleby concludes by confessing of Smiley being “aces”; this volume coming to a close and making me start the next, immediately! If my statement isn’t a testament of the staying power and greatness of this series, then I’ll be blunt: It’s quite good and if other readers have made it this far there’s no sense in stopping now.

Bone: Trilogy Tour II – Rose

trilogy-tour-ii

For the sixth volume. I found this story should probably be read after the 7th volume, but doesn’t really hurt anything, only makes the flashbacks of Rose flow a little better. This seems to be a background story for Rose which has us start with seeing her coming back for her dogs who are glad to see her, she being pleased they’d obeyed her orders to stay where she left them and giving them a treat, the Red Dragon appearing to tell her she must get back to what she’d been originally meant to be doing with her time. Rose gives in after defending her reason for being out, the dogs sad to leave their bones behind, but the three going off, Rose wondering why she was sent on this quest by her mother, she then seeing Briar, her sister going up the side of a mountain and deciding she should follow her to see where she was going, even though Briar was supposed to be attending a class with Rose. Rose is noticed before long and chases after her despite the terrifying omen of shouting for her to flee which she ignores and is soon overcome by locusts, deciding she’ll continue forward to discover what was going on and this being where the story ends, but most likely will continue in another volume. Before completely finishing the side-story, we get a two page throw-away of Phoney Bone and Smiley in which Phoney asks why the townspeople don’t like him and Smiley believing it had to do with his unabashed love of greed and Phoney and Smiley coming up with ideas of how they could get the townspeople to admit they either loved greed or at least could warm up to it, the two believing a political party or religion centering around greed would work, but abandoning the idea in the end leaving us with the idea of the irony of their plan.

Castle Waiting is a separate comic, beginning with a nun on a picnic visiting a grave and being interrupted by an imp from Hell masquerading as someone she’d known, until she’d figured out it was a trick, the little demon going on to argue how similar they were, and she shouldn’t be so up in arms around him, whilst she offers a type of cookie not common in his fiery home. After being certain there wasn’t anything holy in the ingredients, he munches gladly and then offers to walk her to her vehicle, the nun then wondering how the creature could be walking on hallowed earth, the imp stating how it wasn’t as off-limits as it seemed and could even foot through her church if he so desired, she wondering why he didn’t then, and upon the imp learning he wasn’t barred, getting a wink as she bikes away, he calling it “a date”, and poofing into nothingness. Iiiinteresting, I may have to look further into this.

Scary Godmother begins with a little girl, Hannah Marie, her scary godmother, and the two hosting a tea party, a little boy, Orson, spying on what they were up to with a bear called Harry. Orson wanted to join in, but Harry holds him back for believing it was only for the females, since his mother had stopped him from eating the finger sammies she’d been preparing, Harry left to fend for his own tummy. Then, upon Orson hearing about the best shrimp puffs and the one man allowed to attend having arrived, he insists they figure a way to get invited, Harry not wanting to miss the “boo-fay”. Hannah Marie is then prompted to share a story as Mr. Pettibone grabs the door, Harry and Orson masquerading as exterminators and offering a limited time offer to dust the bugs, but Pettibone declares it’s unnecessary, due to another attendee having already taken care of this. The two resort to attempting to get through an outside window, but fail to make it, Orson greeting his father as the two sat, forlorn under a tree to admit their want. His father suggest he ask, Orson going for it, and Mr. Pettibone immediately allowing them entry after sprucing up their outfits, Orson now more interested in the party games then the snackies, but Harry staying focused on the plentiful variety of yum-yums. As the two sit and listen to Hannah Marie’s story though, their resolve fades a bit with boredom along with the constant story-telling and chat, but Harry finally gets his mouth full, which keeps him content. Orson is bad mouthing the state of the stories he’d had to listen to, not realizing until too late Scary Godmother was listening, she unphased and offering he share the next story, Orson down for this, but then walking in to Harry getting into the story of a series, and starting with the first one, since Hannah Marie hadn’t heard of them, Orson dreading how long this would take, Harry successfully boring everyone to sleep, then contemplating his plan for pizza and if Scary Godmother had a running bill he could take advantage of, since the party hadn’t covered what they would do for supper. Weeks later, Scary Godmother is asking Skully if he remembered ordering a multi-hell-layered pizza, he denying able to stomach it. Entertaining, but not my cuppa, which was also covered at the tea party! Har Har!

Akiko was mentioned being a stand-alone, so those who didn’t know of it could be properly introduced to the main characters (hooray for me!) It begins with a child, Kiko and an oddly looking super-hero whom looks like Neil Gaiman, called Spuckler, in search of a Mr. Beeba, they discovering a path of books where he’d been, a robot, Gax bringing this to their attention. Kiko is certain he’s been kidnapped, but Spuckler isn’t sure Mr. Beeba had the foresight to unload such a perfect plan for them to locate him so easily, Kiko not arguing, only certain they needed to get to him quickly, running off. Mr. Beeba is then shown caught in a web and attempting to sweet talk a “monster” out of harming him. Kiko and Spuckler arrive outside a cave where the book trail ends, Spuckler insisting they needed a game plan before rushing in to a place where a large creature was mostly likely lurking, he having seen massive footprints. Spuckler relieves Gax of a sharp looking implement upon his robot-hood (near his neck, pervs!), and leads them inside, he warning them to hang back a bit, and rightly so, as he’s attempting to threaten the big fella into releasing Mr. Beeba, but instead getting entwined in the creatures tongue. Mr. Beeba confesses how much entertainment he’d gotten from Spuckler’s failure, they fortunately saved by Poog, a round face which sings unintelligible words, the creature lulled to sleep and everyone returning outside, Spuckler grateful, but relating how he’d like to discuss further a way to implement Poog’s talent upon requirement, so he didn’t look a fool next time. Not bad, I believe I’d read more if I had the means or was quite bored.

Usagi Yojimbo is about a ninja rabbit, Usagi, whom also guest appeared on The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show. Usagi is in this episode called, The Guardian, and immediately has to choose which path he will go down, allowing a butterfly to make the decision, and he following complacently. He walks on to see a samurai, he greeting him pleasantly, but when the fully armored samurai stays in his way, he learns of his leader preventing any “enemy” entry. When Usagi denies being an enemy, the guard relates of anyone not under the rule of his master was an enemy, and Usagi properly disgusted by this, decides to announce of locating another way to cross, unfortunately, the guard denies him this idea, since he could be going back to inform his friends of his leader’s defenses, Usagi confiding he was a ronin and traveled alone. This guard was on guard though, and declared of all enemies dying, Usagi backed into his metaphorical corner to the point of having to teach this fool a lesson, readying to fight. Usagi pulls a fast one, and jumps over the samurai into the water, believing his armor would prevent him quick pursuit, Usagi correct and slicing him, but as he’s retreating, the samurai returns a blow and states of not failing his leader again. Usagi next wakes to a couple of monkeys (literally a couple, they referring to each other as “husband” and “wife”) wondering if he had survived, soon learning this to be so as Usagi opens his eyes. He’s shocked to see he hadn’t been killed, and then can’t believe the bridge which had been guarded was years older and broken, the couple sharing how the civil wars had brought the bridge down, a samurai having caused enemies to get through and gave the general such a good fight, he almost lost, and in his rage, trashed the bridge and the ghost unable to leave his failed mission after death. The couple then asked why he hadn’t taken the newer bridge across the way and must have gone down the wrong path, Usagi blaming the butterfly and attempting to cut it down in anger, the two monkeys regarding him with confusion as he continued to attempt to split the butterfly. Now this is entertaining, I could definitely see myself reading more of these, if I can find them.

The final comic is a two-page Bone throwaway, Smiley and Phoney discussing why Phoney was so despised in the village, Smiley figuring it was because of Phoney’s blatant selfish greed. Phoney doesn’t buy this though, since in his mind, people understood greed and only couldn’t come to terms with it. The idea of if they were able to convince people they truly did love greed, they’d have them wrapped around their little finger, Smiley building on this by suggesting he turn it into a political party, so the people would love him because they’d be voting for him, Phoney taking it a step further and thinking a religion would work much better, then almost drooling with the thought of combining the two and having an uber-greed dual politico-religion. In the end though, disbelieving it could work and going back to washing dishes whilst Smiley dried. I loves ’em! Next is the cross-over of Castle Waiting and the Bones!

Bone Vol. 6: Old Man’s Cave

For the fifth volume. We discover Fone climbing a tree to get bearings as to where they were in the woods, Smiley waiting below. They’d been lost for days already and Fone still wasn’t familiar with the area, meanwhile Smiley is having trouble watching for Fone’s climb down due to a groundhog getting mad at Smiley for stepping on his home’s entrance, Fone having a moment to break his handhold and falling directly onto the groundhog. Ted the bug then finds Smiley as he’s trying to extricate Fone from his fall into the groundhog’s hole (ha ha) and Fone is as happy to see Ted, as well. The groundhog then overhears their happy reunion and who Fone was, getting scared since the rumor was Fone had killed Kingdok, he retreating inside, Ted then catching the Bones up on what had been going on, Fone getting angry with Phoney and they both being led by Ted back to where the village was.

We see Phoney in cover of the trees spying Thorn helping a family escape the burning village, meeting the rest in the brush before two groups of rat creatures approach from two sides of the clearing and everyone hiding in the darkness of the trees hoping not to be seen. The two rat creature group leaders speak of the news about Kingdok, one group leader not knowing the most recent news being of his death. The two group leaders then digress into another language which gives Wendell time to threaten Phoney for being the one with the star mentioned by the rat creatures and wanting to give him hell for getting them in this mess, Phoney cowering and knowing his words bore truth. Thorn then divulges she understood the language the two groups were speaking in, not knowing how but then giving orders as to where to take the new family and getting Wendell and a couple others to do what they had already done before, everyone having their tasks and Phoney surprised Thorn believed in his innocence. When Thorn and company get back, they don’t see the town, she making it clear they were in it already. Wendell gets newly enraged at the thought of everyone’s home being obliterated and chasing imaginary dragons because of Phoney, Thorn having to come to his rescue yet again, but not succeeding so Phoney lets out with Thorn’s secret which at first they have trouble believing.

Thorn then tries to get everyone’s attention on a trail she wanted to follow, with or without the group which she believed may lead to the other Bones. Jon, one of the group then encounters a note Thorn had written to Fone Bone and discovered it wasn’t in the place she left it, Lucius most likely having put it in the known spot for trading messages, the group, other than Thorn and Phoney deciding to check Gran’ma Ben’s farm in the morning. The two then go off in search of Fone, but the men in the group notice hooded figures, the Stick-Eaters heading towards them. When Thorn acknowledges them, one confides a message from her grandmother and where she wished Thorn to meet her, Thorn than asks what they know of Fone and they recount the latest news as to his whereabouts, she still struggling with what to do first, deciding she’ll make her final decision in the morning. We then see a dream Thorn has which shows her looking like Snow White and speaking to her younger looking grandmother who urges her to cut the vines around her, younger Lucius advises her to disobey, another young grandmother coming from behind Thorn, but not being able to see her. The younger “evil” grandmother tries to take Thorn’s sword and Thorn wakens clutching Fone’s spiked club, she walking off into the darkness.

The four left in Thorn’s group, being deserted by her during the night, end up walking in the dark trying to uncover Old Man’s Cave. The biggest in their group is still steaming about Phoney’s trouble-making ways and is about to take it out on him again when Wendell tries to hold him back, enforcing Thorn’s order to leave him alone. Gran’ma Ben soon shows up and enquires where Thorn is, stopping the two from fighting amongst themselves. They escort them back to the cave, Lucius going after Thorn. We then see where Fone and Smiley have gotten to, they soon finding themselves amongst rat creatures and when they begin threatening them with death, Thorn comes out to defend them, but upon seeing the club she brandished and giving to Fone, they truly show fear and run off for believing they were the ones to kill Kingdok. After greeting each other warmly, Thorn then figures out which direction will take them to Old Man’s Cave, then promptly heads in the opposite direction, believing they can’t be helped by anyone there, looking for shelter instead. We then see the Hooded One speaking with the Lord of the Locusts who was concerned with his interest in the one who bears the star, the Lord of the Locusts making it clear if the Hooded One’s idea failed, he’d pay for it.

We then see the Bones and Thorn spitting cherry pits at each other in the tree hollow and they getting so loud as to bring Ted back to inform them to keep it down for having to try and keep them hidden. Thorn then shares their plans to confront and over-power the Hooded One, Ted then voicing his opinion they should be going to Old Man’s Cave. Thorn still denying this to be a suitable plan and the three discussing what more is known of the Hooded One and where the Lord of the Locusts came from. Thorn then confides why the Lord of the Locusts was showing such interest in herself and Phoney and how it will aid his release from bondage, going on to confess why she doesn’t trust Gran’ma Ben at the moment and it having to do with the knowledge of a nursemaid Thorn had come to realize didn’t exist. We then see Roque Ja confronting whomever is in his presence, it turning out to be the Hooded One asking for a favor, Roque Ja turning him down before he can continue, taunting him with how he probably wouldn’t have been able to get the information from Kingdok who is now lacking an important appendage needed to speak, he coming out from the darkness as well and the Hooded One having to hold him back.

The Hooded One goes on to mention needing Roque Ja’s help in capturing the Bones once more and what state he wished the princess to be in, he accepting once he gets an agreed upon reward for his efforts. Then we see Phoney being wakened by Jon, he revealing how long Phoney’s been asleep since he’d been ill and now they all residing in Old Man’s Cave. Jon explains some of the cave’s history and Gran’ma Ben comes to see Phoney as well, he realizing her status and thinking he’s going to pay for his bad behavior, she agreeing to judge him lightly. Gran’ma Ben then takes Phoney to a part of the cave which shows drawings on the walls implying the beginning which started with a dragon queen and how the Lord of the Locusts became involved, including an ancestor of Gran’ma Ben’s and in extension, Thorn. Phoney then learns what role the rat creatures believed he would be playing in all of this, Lucius interrupting by coming to update how he hadn’t found Thorn due to her excellent training from the dragons and how they were getting boxed in by the Hooded One and rat creatures setting up camps around them. Gran’ma Ben then defends Phoney from getting decked by Lucius since he was only worried about the well-being of his cousins and when Lucius departs, he asks Gran’ma Ben who the Hooded One was, she not knowing either, but being able to clarify what would occur if he succeeded in releasing the Lord of the Locusts, the outcome not a good one.

Fone and Smiley meanwhile, are gathering water at the barn to prepare for a bath whilst Thorn was within, looking through her grandmother’s belongings. They continue to discuss what the next item of business will be for their group, they not knowing and figuring Thorn would be the leader. Thorn meanwhile is hearing their conversation and interjects what her plan is and reveals why she hadn’t told them until then. Fone puts in his two cents and Thorn expands on why she doesn’t want to go to Old Man’s Cave, but then Fone with Smiley’s help, convinces her it’s the best idea for now and they head in the same direction instead. Lucius is then shone giving command to the group following him in order to keep the rat creatures from completely surrounding Old Man’s Cave. Lucius then sees a woman who introduces herself as Briar and we learn who she’s related to, he in denial it could be her and Jonathan overseeing their conversation from within the woods, also noticing rat creatures approaching. Jonathan then shouts of their closing in and Lucius breaks away from Briar to help defend the cave. We skip to where Gran’ma Ben is updated on what was happening outside the cave, the scout not learning much and then continuing conversation with Phoney in relation to his soul and as she’s explaining she again gets the “gitchy” feeling and Phoney feels a rumbling around them. When they get outdoors they see the place where the Lord of the Locusts is trapped has a dust cloud rising up around it and then Gran’ma Ben learns of what’s happened to Lucius, he coming to inform what had happened to them, she hoping Thorn is alright. Then Roque Ja comes out from behind Gran’ma Ben’s farmhouse sniffing around and seemingly stalking Thorn and co.

Lucius reports back to Gran’ma Ben of who he’d seen as the Hooded One to which she has trouble believing for the one mentioned was thought to be dead, after only seeming to feel pity for her. Gran’ma Ben goes on to share no one else coming to help them and they would most likely be fighting among their own, alone. Wendell then walks up demanding for Phoney to be given to them since he’s the one the rat creatures are looking for and being in this mess because of him. Gran’ma Ben tries to appeal to Wendell and those with him they shouldn’t hand over the one thing they were after if they believed it would help release the Lord of the Locusts, but whilst they were being held off, Phoney takes off and so Gran’ma Ben spreads everyone out looking for him so he doesn’t get caught by the enemies and lose the war inadvertently because of his absence, she going off in search of him on her own and being seen by Roque Ja. Gran’ma Ben notices Phoney and stops him before he made matters worse, Lucius coming up behind the two and Roque Ja looking ready to act, Lucius warning her and Roque Ja pouncing, getting Gran’ma Ben, Lucius jumping on him and the three falling off the cliff. Gran’ma Ben starts by punching the lion though, showing her strength isn’t only rumors, Phoney continuing his ditching of them.

Roque Ja ignores them after and mentions his targets being Phoney and “the princess”, we then seeing Phoney run straight into Fone, Thorn and Smiley walking close behind. Phoney explain how he’d been to Old Man’s Cave and it not being safe anymore and then of Gran’ma Ben’s run in with Roque Ja, which makes Thorn want to go and defend her, Phoney and Fone trying to stop her, but not getting far since Roque Ja had followed Phoney and swatted Thorn out of the way. Fone gets swatted down some boulders and Roque Ja picks up Thorn and Phoney to finish his mission, Smiley trying to get Fone to wake up, but he’s gone into his dreams and sees the Red Dragon there stating for him to wake up and of Thorn’s condition, needing him to follow her. After the Red Dragon conveys how he won’t be able to go with him, Fone wakes and Smiley tells him which direction they’d gone, the two running after Roque Ja.

We then see Gran’ma Ben tending to Lucius who had been hurt, but advising her to make haste for Roque Ja so she can try and divert the lion from succeeding in catching Thorn or Phoney, he assuring her he’ll be going back to Old Man’s Cave and so Gran’ma Ben follows their trail. Smiley and Fone are then shown running over some rocks to where they witness Kingdok, some rat creatures and the Hooded One, Phoney having been bound on a flat stone, the Hooded One remarking how he may have evaded them for some time, but he was caught now and his mystic powers must not be as strong as he thought, Phoney denying knowing anything about this and admitting it was a big misunderstanding and refusing to take part in the Hooded One’s ritual to release the Lord of the Locusts, but she warning Phoney if he didn’t help her willingly she’d accept him as a sacrifice, Bone trying to reason with her, but the Hooded One then showing how the foretelling of Phoney’s coming had been known, an obvious sign, appearing through the thick smoke behind her.

Phoney then realizes what they’d seen and how Fone would definitely be mad if he knew, Fone and Smiley putting two and two together and the balloon shaped like one of the Bones being the cause of them being run out of Boneville. Gran’ma Ben then tries to stop the Hooded One from continuing the sacrifice, after Bone had tried to explain what the balloon had been for and the message beneath, it having a banner at the bottom which was ripped, partially. Gran’ma Ben then speaks of the mistake the Hooded One had made and how the balloon wasn’t the one needed to free the Lord of Locusts but Thorn, who the Hooded One said was dead. Kingdok then goes on to berate how the Hooded One had disgraced his people with the mistake made and then we see what happens to the Hooded One due to the incompetence allowed to play out. Fone goes to Thorn and gives her the necklace the dragon had given him whilst he’d been unconscious, meanwhile locusts having covered her, but when he gives her the necklace, she awakens and Gran’ma Ben and the Bones all try to make sure she can walk so they can escape the area due to it’s instability. Thorn stops only for a moment to put up her hood, giving the impression they haven’t quite saved her yet and this volume ending. I won’t like pausing in the story, but there’s a side-story to be read: Rose, but this volume and the whole series so far is definitely worth the effort.

Bone Vol. 5: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border

For the fourth volume. Smiley is shown pointing out Fone’s process of making a sandwich to the cub rat creature whilst Fone sulked. He then assuring Smiley they couldn’t linger in the woods much longer, needing to return to town soon for running out of food. Fone is then privy to Smiley naming the cub rat creature, Bartleby which makes him remind Smiley what they’d gone to the woods to do in the first place, being to set him loose. Smiley then manipulates Fone into talking about Moby Dick so he could teach Bartleby how to nap after lunch, Fone falling right into his ploy. We then see Fone settle into perusing through his book as they are being spied upon by other rat creatures. The two rat creatures sneak up on the Bones and Smiley promptly commands Fone to read from the book to bore them, but when Smiley tries first and believes he’s failed, gets Fone to start reading and it knocking them out as he suspected it would.

Smiley, trying to comfort Fone in their escape by it being possibly Fone himself whom is boring and not the story at all, then noticing Bartleby hadn’t followed and saw he was sniffing around the snoozing rat creatures. Fone gets Smiley to realize this was exactly what they were trying to do anyways and continue up the mountain, we seeing the rat creatures revive and following them. Fone and Smiley are trapped, but Bartleby comes to their rescue and ends up sticking with the Bones. Fone is stumped as to their next step when a humongous mountain lion comes up to tell them they’re trespassing. As the mountain lion tries to figure out what group the Bones belong to, he introduces himself as Roque Ja, the master of the eastern border, he wondering aloud if the Bones knew of the Bone with the star on his chest. Fone then tries to ascertain what side Roque Ja is on, but he dodges the question since they hadn’t answered themselves and when the Bones try to walk away, Roque Ja knocks them off the cliff, they hanging onto the ledge and he requesting them to hand him the rat creature cub first, to turn them all in. They try to resist, but Bartleby is first to comply and we leave them awaiting Roque Ja’s next move.

We then see the Possum kids discovering Smiley’s trail after having lost them once before. One of the kids has a slip of conscience and then they hear something, they all playing dead, but realizing it’s only a raccoon. The raccoon, Roderick tells of not trying to scare them, but was on the trail of his parents killers, getting the kids to follow him. He leads them to where he’d last seen the rat creatures, they all then encountering Roque Ja and the Bones after moving past the rat creatures. The Bones are still arguing with Roque Ja about they not wanting to choose a side and how Roque Ja seemed to be catering to the rat creatures for someone who was supposedly the ruler of the eastern border. The Possum kids then learn which side Roque Ja is on after talking with Roderick about who Roque Ja was and his thoughts on the dragons versus the rat creatures, the kids continuing closer to the Bones.

As the Possum kids are close on their tail, Roque Ja is starting to hear something suspicious, but then gets distracted by continuing his rant about rat creatures. We then see what the rat creatures are doing when the Possum kids show up to use themselves as bait to create a chase for them in the direction of Roque Ja and the Bones. Roque Ja is in the middle of relating the tale of why the valley people thought dragons created the mountains when the Possum kids show up as the rat creatures catch one of them in front of Roque Ja, who jumps at the rat creature for trespassing. The Possum kids and Roderick stop at the end of a precariously hanging log, the rat creature and Roque Ja soon following and then the second rat creature joining them, sealing their fated fall, the kids jumping to the small branch across the way. When the Bones realize the kids are safe, Smiley is first to see Roque Ja is angrily making his way back up the cliff, they needing to book it out of there, the Possum kids calling for Roderick to come along, but he not being able to for the other orphans of the mountain, hoping they could all help each other.

The orphan kids tell of their hiding places, willing to help Fone and his friends out before Roque Ja finished his climb back up, but they don’t get away undiscovered, Roque Ja following close behind them until the Bone crew have jumped into a cave in the ground, he not fitting down the gap, but Roque Ja staring at them through the crevice. Soon the orphan kids are trying to exclude the rat creature cub and the Possum kids try to aid the Bones by defending their trustworthiness of allowing the cub rat creature to accompany them through the tunnel. Soon they’re convinced to its necessity the rat creature cub be able to come along, everyone going through in darkness, until Smiley sparks a light. Soon they’re through the tunnel and walk out into an area with Aztec looking statues. The orphan kids show them how they would next need to climb down a cliff to get to the forest, which would take a moment longer to get to, but once they did, they realizing getting down was going to be tricky, unfortunately before they can even attempt it, the two rat creatures come out and stop them, then being engulfed in bugs which then turns out to be Kingdok. He is not happy to see his cronies here with the Bones, having failed to stay with him and then pushing them off the cliff, but two orphan kids are left on the side with Kingdok, Bartleby then showing how useful he could be, by jumping back over for them and bringing them to everyone else, they all then having to figure out where they’d go next.

Fone comes up with everyone needing to walk along the steep edge of the rock. Kingdok then speaking to them and giving them the option to tell him of Phoney’s whereabouts and he granting them their lives, but Fone decides not to take it and Kingdok collapses some rocks impedes their path. Roderick is almost lost, but is saved by a rat creature for selfish reasons as we observe when they stop to account for everyone’s presence. Fone decides to make a deal with the rat creatures, since the orphans weren’t going to help them, they having to agree to stop trying to eat their group and they, in return would help them get away from Kingdok, the two rat creatures taking up Fone’s offer. As they continue down the ledge though, Kingdok is seen patrolling above and since Roque Ja was back the way they’d come, they would need to go down, but then Kingdok sends his locusts out, it engulfing the bunch and they trying to stay calm as the grasshoppers’ presence thickened. Fone doesn’t make it through the locust shower, getting pushed off the ledge and then being pulled off by the locusts when the hoard clears from Smiley and the rest. Kingdok then shows up, trying to crunch on Smiley, the locusts picking up Fone, but something falling from his bag and scaring the locusts away. They then proceed to look through the items Gran’ma Ben had Fone keep safe, the rat creatures acting squirrel-y around a particular one. The orphan kids then discuss how Kingdok didn’t seem real, especially when he vanished and considered how the temple was built on a ghost circle, which would explain the strange things they were experiencing. Fone then decides they need to check on Thorn so they try to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, hoping nothing else arises.

Smiley voices how the rat creature cub would now be able to stay with them as Roque Ja stalks the group. Fone decides the cub should stay with the dense rat creatures, they taking offense, Smiley then noticing the fire which was seen near the village was out and Fone not wanting to jump to conclusions until they saw for themselves what was going on. They then learn a bit about where the Hooded One came from by the rat creatures when they were asked what they knew about the war. The rat creatures then tell of when their race were a content bunch until the locusts came and threatened them into helping the Hooded One. Fone tries to convince the rat creatures it’s possible for them to be happy without following the Hooded One, but then Roque Ja butts in with his own advice, surprising everyone and he deciding they all would return with him back up the mountain, he explaining as they go what the difference is between power and happiness, they then running into Kingdok and the two rat creatures realizing how much trouble they were in whilst the others contemplated whether Kingdok was real this time, settling with the fact he smelled real enough.

Roque Ja then claims to Kingdok he was taking his prisoners to him after Kingdok commands he release them into his custody, then scaring Roque Ja off and Fone debating escape when he and Smiley are grabbed by the two rat creatures, but the Possum kids bite them and give them their chance to flee, they taking it and jumping down a decline. They plan on splitting up at the woods, but Kingdok jumps down to block them, they then trying to get into a depression in the rocks, Roque Ja coming back to body slam Kingdok giving everyone another chance to get to the trees. When everyone gets covered, the orphan kids seperate from the Possum kids, everyone saying their goodbyes with promises to visit, they following the Bones. Smiley then notices Bartleby hadn’t followed them, they returning to the bottom of the mountain expecting to see the rat creatures, but running in to no one until they look higher on the mountain to see the rat creatures carrying Kingdok away with the two traitors following and Bartleby trying to join them, they all going off together and Smiley uncertain whether Bartleby will be alright amongst them, watching him worriedly as they walk away in the opposite direction. This series is getting better as I go, quite captivating. Here‘s the next volume.