Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Year Six)

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The Prime Minister of Britain is told by portrait of Fudge wanting a chat, his call with the Prez to be rearranged. Fudge’s presence apparently was an annoyance across Muggle/Wizarding communities alike. The Prime Minister relives his handful of encounters with Fudge, the 2nd one regarding Sirius’ escape, the 3rd about their transport of magical creatures for the Goblet of Fire, the 4th regarding the Azkaban breakout, and now the 5th being Voldemort’s return. Fudge also details how the Muggle disasters had also been caused by Voldemort and his followers as of recently. Fudge reveals to him of already having been fired and was there to intro the new Ministry of Magic, as well, Rufus Scrimgeour. The man bustles in, the down-to-business, sort and taking care of certain Muggle-related needs in regard to the Jr. Prime Minister quacking, Fudge acting as the P.M.’s liaison.

Narcissa and her sister, Bellatrix are in a Muggle town, Bellatrix attempting to stop Narcissa from informing Snape of a secret, she not thinking it was in Voldemort’s best interest for her to reveal this. Despite her advice though, the 2 continue to Snape’s, he entertaining them readily and Wormtail preparing them drinks, since Voldemort had assigned him “to assist” him. After, Bellatrix goes off on him to explain his action and lack thereof in regards to the bidding of Voldemort. Snape comes back with how discerning Voldemort is and he’d already told the one whom most required it. Bellatrix is on a manic roll though, so Snape spends some time reasoning why he’d not been a team player more obviously to the team.

Snape does a stellar job of dotting all them i’s, and then Narcissa keeps stop starting on confiding her issue, but it going against Voldemort’s word, Snape agreeing with Bellatrix of she needing to keep her mouth shut, since he also was aware of the plan, pissing off Bellatrix again, but Narcissa focused on how this would endanger Draco, since he was such an eager puppy to help. She continues to beg for him to attempt to change Voldemort’s mind due to his inter-relationships with the Malfoys and Voldemort, he reminding her Voldemort’s main concern was allowing Snape to keep his position under cover, so would be in reserve to take over the task upon Draco’s failure, this ofc not comforting the distraught mother, but the consent to an Unbreakable Vow does the trick.

In regards to how Harry is found (I wonder if “fug” was supposed to be, “a misty ‘fog’.) at his window, asleep and breathing on the pane, he had been reading news referencing the attempted lifting of the prophecy in the Dept. of Mysteries, as well as another article about Fudge and his replacement, Rufus Scrimgeour, he and Dumbledore butting heads almost immediately. Regardless of this, Scrimgeour was setting up a variety of magical security for Hogwarts, and Harry currently was awaiting Dumbledore to collect him to return to the Burrow after a couple weeks at his Aunt’s (His letter concludes, “I am, yours most sincerely”, eye raise?).

Harry gets his visit from Dumbledore only a little bit after 11 pm. Harry hadn’t prepared the Dursleys, rightly so, but Dumbledore is a smooth talker anyways, he wiling some time away in their living room, so they could discuss some necessities before biffing off. One of these topics was Sirius’ will and leaving all to Harry, his home among them, but they needing to test if any charms placed on his possessions could be null if not a blood relative, Kreacher being the subject which showed Harry had claimed his inheritance. Dumbledore then details and requests the Dursleys allow Harry to return one last time before he came of age, so he’d carry the protection of the charm a bit longer, they then leaving for Dumbledore’s task.

This turns out to be convincing Dumbledore’s colleague, Horace Slughorn to teach at Hogwarts. They are met with what looks like a home broken into and weird, red, gelatinous goop high on the wall, Dumbledore detecting where Horace was laying, the two putting his home back to clean-state. Dumbledore intro;s Harry, and Horace, sensing why he’d brought him, straight out declines, but they staying for a drink. Harry learns Slughorn had been his mother’s teacher and he loving how his former students who had made themselves successful, send him gifts, and once Dumbledore has them leave abruptly, ensures Slughorn would come back for the new semester. Before next leaving Harry at the Burrow, Dumbledore gives him kudos on how he’d taken the Ministry of Magic drama, his loss, and how he should, most definitely confide in his buddies on what the prophecy contained. He’s then given some interesting news of studying under Dumbledore.

They then go to the Burrow, Mrs. Weasley and Tonks up to greet them at the early hour, the latter looking sickly and leaving quickly, Dumbledore following soon after, Harry getting fed. Molly mentions Arthur getting a promotion and was returning soon, Harry having to sit through a slightly embarrassing question and answer regarding a private name between the two. Soon after Harry is sent to the twins’ room to sleep, they staying in a flat above their shop, Molly acknowledging their natural business acumen. Later on Ron, Ginny, and Hermione come in to greet him, he getting breakies from Fleur, she sharing her engagement to Bill and the family not on-board. They also receive their grades from O.W.L.s and Harry’s dream of becoming an Auror being dashed.

On his birthday, they learn Karkaroff had been discovered dead, and a few days later came their class and book list, Harry learning he’d made Quidditch Captain and now had similar benefits as prefects. Molly would take them all to Diagon Alley for supplies and look in on the twins shop by the weekend, upon everyone going, they seeing how Diagon Alley looked much seedier with the closed shops, Hagrid escorting the trio whilst Ginny was stuck with her parents. They end up seeing Malfoy with mummsy in the robes shop, the two Malfoys being cunts in tandem, but Harry rising to the occasion, as well.

After, they see the twins had made quite an eye-drawing ad in front of their shop and inside, they learned the twins were making mad bank, Harry being offered whatever he fancied for free. As everyone is looking through the shop, the trio steal away after Malfoy, whom had gone solo to get an item fixed without any parentals finding out, they not able to discover what it was or what Malfoy wanted to purchase, they returning to Mrs. Weasley and Hagrid.

Harry can’t shake Malfoy’s odd request at the shop, he considering and sharing how he thought perhaps Malfoy had been sworn in as a Death Eater to replace his imprisoned father, neither buddy convinced, Arthur taking a similar opinion when Harry confides his suspicion at the train stop, Harry then hanging out with Neville and Luna, since Ron and Hermione had prefect duties. Harry and Neville end up bowing out due to an invite from Slughorn for lunch with promising students, one being passed on when he learns the boy wasn’t in close contacts with his powerful family member. Slughorn reserves interviewing Harry last, they all finally released when it darkened to evening, Harry getting his chance to snoop on Malfoy when a Slytherin enters his compartment.

His nosiness gets the best of him, ofc, so he allows himself to be caught by Malfoy, whom freezes him, breaks his nose, and covers him with his cloak in the hope he wouldn’t be discovered until the train had returned to London. Fortunately, Tonks helps him, she acting much sobered still and to top it off, Snape collects him from the highly secure gate. When Dumbledore gives his speech, Harry is shocked to learn Snape had gotten his wish to become the Defense teacher and when everyone leaves after the speech to dorms, Harry shares with Ron why his nose had been messed up and how the 3 would inform Hagrid none of them were continuing Care of Magical Creatures.

They get their new schedules and once going to Defense with Snape, he starts the class with silent spell-casting and shielding, which Harry gets a detention when talking back without thinking. Dumbledore sends a message about when his first lesson was, unfortunately the same time as poor Snape’s detention. When they take Potions with Slughorn, Harry’s borrowed textbook gives him notes on how to prepare the classwork perfectly and winning the good luck potion, Ginny worried by Harry having followed notes from an unknown person, it revealing in the back it’d been owned by the half-blood prince.

As their Potions lessons continue, Harry follows the half blood prince’s notes and Hermione sticks with the official way even after being offered to share, getting annoyed it wasn’t giving her the same results, Harry getting all the potions perfectly the next few times. When Harry makes it to his Saturday lesson with Dumbledore, he discovers he’d planned for them to learn more about Harry’s situation with Voldemort together, since Harry now knew as much as him, this point on being the theories into hopefully discovering more truth (Rowling has Dumbledore use a word like “huger” after he just claims to being a cleverer man than most?…say tf what???) To begin, Dumbledore has them view a memory through the Pensieve from a Bob Ogden, whom had shared a memory whilst he’d been working for Magical Law Enforcement. They are soon following Ogden to a hidden home outside Little Hangleton, he confronted by an intimidating grungy man speaking Parseltongue. He sets a spell on Ogden, an older man coming out to collect his son and warn how he’d had every right to defend himself and his property.

Ogden sees Gaunt’s daughter, as well, she ignoring them. Soon, Ogden shares a summons being given to Morfin, Gaunt having a cow, since they’d been purebloods for hundreds of years and were descendants of Slytherin, the group interrupted by a passing couple outside, Morfin then outing his sister for having eyes for the Muggle man and their father going into a rage because of their pure heritage and racism. Ogden returns later with more back up and the 2 men are sentenced to Azkaban, Harry also learning Morfin’s sister was Voldemort’s mother and his father had been the handsome Muggle.

By the time Gaunt had been released, Voldemort’s mother had biffed off and when Morfin had gotten out, his father was already dead. Merope had eloped with her bedazzled lover, gets pregnant and before giving birth, Tom Sr. ditches her for possibly returning to his senses and doesn’t inquire after his offspring thereafter. Before leaving for the night, Harry sees the same ring Gaunt had been wearing inside Dumbledore’s office, he hurting his hand around the time he’d acquired it, but this story still on pause.

Hermione’s begrudgement toward Harry’s mastering the Potions lessons so far was the only mo. she could claim, since everyone’s classes had become more detailed and work-heavy. The ability to spell-casting silently alluded many, but was needed in more than one class, so practice was viewed in Gryffindor’s common room often, and visits with Hagrid were nonexistent, he now ignoring them in halls. The trio contend with finding the time to attempt a chat with Hagrid, Harry having tryouts and the numbers be more excessive than the years before.

They learn through the news, the young conductor, Stan had been arrested for Death Eater info before they all go to the Quidditch field for the tryouts. Ron and Ginny make it again, Hermione jinxing the most talented boy, so Ron had a chance, they visiting Hagrid after and fixing his attitude about they not taking his class, he also sharing Aragog the spider seeming ill. Before reaching dinner, Slughorn invites Hermione and Harry for late din din saying he’d speak with Snape on postponing his detention once more, this not happening and Harry learning his task would be a messy one.

The day of Hogsmeade trip, Harry was flipping through the half-blood prince’s Potions textbook, the made up hexes and jinxes fascinating him. Later, he’s confronted by Slughorn in Honeyduke’s since he’d missed all of his invites so far, due to making Quidditch practice the same hour, his next save being his class with Dumbledore. When the trio decide to make an early day of Hogsmeade due to weather, Harry learning Mundungus was nicking Sirius’s stuff, and everyone getting into more of a mood, on their way back, a girl student has a disturbing episode in front of them, Harry getting Hagrid and he running back to the school with her. They told McGonagall what they’d witnessed, Harry still believing Malfoy was behind it, despite he being in detention, Ron and Hermione not arguing anymore, since he couldn’t see past his own theory.

Monday evening Dumbledore has them enter one of his own memories regarding Tom and the day he’d spoken with his orphanage mistress, she loosening her tongue about how he’d come there and the weird incidents to happen around him. Upon meeting Ton, he was suspicious, but eager to attend Hogwarts and after viewing the memory, Dumbledore has Harry remember Voldemort’s reactions during certain pieces of their interaction, before ending their session.

Harry is going on and on about how he mustn’t have feelings for Ginny because Ron would kill him. Instead, he gives Ron his luck charm, Hermione catching him, and he defiant. After Ron plays the best game of his life, Harry reveals of duping Ron with fake potion, but Hermione and he not making up, he ending his night with a snog with Lavender and Hermione siccing her conjured birds at him for being a snob and show off. At Slughorn’s party where Harry took Luna, he snoops on Malfoy and Snape by invisible cloak, they having retreated to a classroom nearby, it revealing quite a bit indirectly.

Harry shares this information with Arthur at Christmas, Lupin also present and saying the repeated, “If you trust Dumbledore, might as well trust Snape.” On Christmas morning, Percy is accompanied by Scrimgeour, whom obviously came to see Harry on the pretense of Percy wanting to spend time with the family, which was not the case. Harry soon learns Scrimgeour wanted him to agree to at least look like he’s aiding the Ministry, to calm people’s fears, but Harry not falling for being a fluffer for the Ministry in the press and declines outrightly.

When they return to school after holidays, they are presented with opportunity to receive apparating lessons, the trio all signing up. Harry’s lesson with Dumbledore had him relating his chat with Scrimgeour and the conversation between Snape and Malfoy, Dumbledore acting as Lupin anticipated, unphased. Harry shows his being butt-hurt, since Dumbledore became short with him about his loyalty to Snape having been unchanged, Dumbledore regarding this before refocusing them on the couple of memories he’s collected. He starts with how Voldemort dropped his father’s name and his search into his family background.

The first memory from Morfin which proved Voldemort had killed his father and grandparents. The second was an altered memory from Slughorn which Dumbledore tasked Harry in having him confess properly. Harry’s first attempt fails, another chance arriving on Ron’s birthday when he’s accidentally love-potioned, then poisoned in Slughorn’s office. Harry ends up next to Ron to recover a cracked skull from Quidditch, he also realizing and having Dobby and Kreacher do his bidding and spy on Malfoy for him.

When Harry meets with Dumbledore, he’s made to feel guilty for not completing the Slughorn task, but they continue with more memories, Harry apologizing and determined to try again. They go to a memory when Voldemort killed to retrieve his mother’s locket as well as a Hufflepuff cup from Hogwarts’ history and one from Dumbledore’s memory where Voldemort returns after Dumbledore had become Headmaster recently and asks for a position again, Dumbledore ofc refusing, this also being the origin of when Defense would employ an annually changing teacher.

Harry soon learns Malfoy was going to the Room of Requirement for an unknown purpose, learning later it was used for 2 pieces of furniture, one in the antique shop, but first Harry takes some good luck potion to help persuade Slughorn, which leads to him going to Hagrid’s invite to Aragog’s funeral, Slughorn tagging what with the acquisition of fang venom and Harry using a refilling of wine charm, getting Slughorn toasted and convincing him to supply the memory to him.

Once Harry learns Dumbledore had come back late, the two immediately view the memory. After which Harry gets his chance to destroy a horcrux after hearing Snape had been the snooper of the prophecy getting Harry’s parents killed. They retrieve the horcrux without too much trouble, but upon getting back to Hogsmeade, they see the Dark mark above Hogwarts. Malfoy soon has Dumbledore at his mercy, Harry enchantedly frozen, he having been the cause of the girl student and Ron’s close death calls. In the end, Snape must do the deed, Harry giving chase and losing him outside the boundaries of the school to disapparate. Hagrid doesn’t believe Harry, he seeing Dumbledore’s body, Snape also having admitted to being the half-blood prince.

Harry refuses to part from Dumbledore’s body, only Ginny able to lead him away, she guiding him to where everyone else was currently, the hospital wing. Bill had been disfigured by Greyback, a werewolf curse making it difficult to heal, but fortunately everyone had taken some lucky potion. McGonagall had taken the post as Headmistress and she having the Heads of Houses vote on whether they should keep the school open before the Minister of Magic arrived. They have Dumbledore’s funeral, Harry declares he planned on not returning to Hogwart’s and instead look for the horcruxes, but before setting out, Hermione and Ron ofc plan to join him, they having to go to Bill and Fleur’s wedding, Harry also having broken up with Ginny to protect her. The End. Good enough, onward!

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Year Five)

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Harry’s been attempting to keep an eye and ear out of word regarding odd deaths in relation to Voldemort all summer, he not having any luck. An interaction with Dudley gets him in enough trouble with the Dursleys and the Ministry of Magic where he’s first automatically expelled for using the patronum spell against a couple of dementors. Soon after, he gets word from Sirius, and 2 of the Weasleys, as well as Hermione as to how he should proceed. After which, he gets another official letter condemning him a bit more lightly in only being suspended until a hearing was held as to his reasons for applying magic outside the wizarding community. Throughout all this mess, his uncle officially kicks him out only to be swayed by a letter which Petunia was the only one to understand, so Harry is again “lucky” in having his back up “home” still being an option.

When Harry does finally get the chance to ditch the Dursleys, it’s with the newly introduced Nymphadora Tonks, as well as Lupin, Moody, and a few other wizards who would escort Harry by broom to their new headquarter for the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius’ family home. Hermione and Ron soon get a huge bitch fit from Harry, since he’d felt so alone and left out of being told anything and having been tailed all summer and everyone seeming to know. He receives updates on Percy and his new position having him fall out with the family because they feel he’s being used solely for information about his family and Dumbledore, whom was now a bad word in the Ministry of Magic. Kreacher is the elf of the house and was touched in the head, he attempting to periodically lift family heirlooms which Sirius was in the process of dumping, one of the portraits in the main hall of Sirius’ mother, whom continually shouted expletives against him and held similar views to the Malfoys.

Sirius decides to answer some of Harry’s questions despite Molly Weasley vehemently against it due to Harry still being a child, regardless of how the men in the house felt, which was he was old enough to hear what they thought was necessary for him to be safe. Later, Harry learns from a portrait of Sirius’ family tree, he was related to Tonks, a cousin, and also the Malfoys and Weasleys. After this, Kreacher is still on a rampage after more family items whilst talking shit about everyone under his breath, but not enough for it to be discreet. The night before his hearing he is updated of Arthur accompanying him and Sirius would sit this one out by Dumbledore’s order, Harry a little miffed he hadn’t wanted to speak with him personally after learning he’d been over the night before. He and Arthur walk to his office today, they entering by broken phone box. After a little runaround, Harry is only late by a few minutes, Arthur not able to join Harry inside, but the room shocking him, since he’d viewed it from the pensieve.

Harry sits in the chair with chains in front of the panel of about 50, Fudge in the center and Percy at the far end taking notes, Dumbledore arriving as introductions of the panel were made, to Harry’s surprise and Fudge’s displeasure. The change of venue and time seemed to have changed so abruptly being to keep Dumbledore out, but he’d prepared by arriving early. Fudge begins his damning questions when another wizard asks for Harry to elaborate after mentioning the dementors, Fudge cutting him off again making it seem he was lying, since Dudley couldn’t see them, but Dumbledore jumps in to state of another witness being available which puts Fudge off, so Dumbledore makes certain it’s within Harry’s rights to be allowed outside witnesses to testify on his behalf.

Figg is called in, Fudge attempting to make her sound un-credible. Bones seemed to take the story more seriously and Dumbledore admits the dementors wouldn’t have been there by chance and if Fudge wouldn’t admit to what Dumbledore had previously stated to him, then the Ministry would have to be responsible for releasing the dementors and ordering them to a Muggle city. Fortunately, even though Fudge kept attempting to throw Harry under the bus, Dumbledore had the answers and after stating the forum should make their decision, Fudge isn’t happy in having to announce Harry being cleared, Dumbledore not acknowledging Harry and leaving swiftly.

Harry tentatively exits and shares the verdict with Arthur, they seeing Malfoy speaking with Fudge, being a dick and then the two finally deciding to hold hands and skip to Fudge’s office to finish their important, gold-filled sharing conversation (not quite the way as describe, ofc). Arthur gets Harry back before returning to work, he sharing his good news again and they getting lunch. Sirius, apparently was happy, but also a bit aggravated, since Harry wouldn’t be staying with him now, in the trio’s opinion, anyways. After a few days, they receive their book list letter, Ron getting an extra surprise of also being prefect, Harry struggling with feeling truly happy for a bit, getting through it after reminding himself Ron is a friend (ffs). After, everyone meets for dinner and they also celebrate Ron and Hermione’s prefectdom, Harry feeling warm toward the group after reminding himself his papa wasn’t ever a prefect, either.

Harry helps Fred and George complete a deal with Mundungus for their shop, mentioning Moody possibly watching. Harry feels a bit guilty when imagining what Molly would think of him if she found out he’d helped the twins with their low quality dream. Harry’s good vibes at the party swiftly souring and feeling antisocial. When Molly bows out, Harry planned on following, but is side-tracked by Moody, whom shares a pic of himself and many people Harry knew, including the Longbottoms and his parents, he finally getting a reason to leave when Sirius interrupts them, Harry off after Molly. He also thinks about how unsettling Moody’s thoughtful photo share had been, when he heard crying, and seeing the dead bodies of some of the Weasley sibs and himself, Molly having trouble with the boggart, Lupin then assisting. Molly asks they keep her fears from Arthur, Lupin quelling her anxiety a bit, Harry awaying to his room and realizing how dumb he’d been feeling like shit over helping fund the twins and not making prefect.

Harry has odd dreams, waking to Ron in mid-sentence about his mother freaking out at the twins for almost killing Ginny with a trunk transporting method and being late for the train. Sirius joins them in dog-form despite Dumbledore’s opinion, everyone arriving as usual and no weirdness occurring. They get on the train, but Harry soon learns Ron and Hermione had to report to Head Girl and Boy in the Prefect carriage, he and Ginny finding a compartment. Neville joins them, Ginny suggesting they sit with Luna Lovegood, an odd owl-eyed girl, she responding to Ginny, then identifying Harry, and admitting she didn’t know Neville. The boys were unnerved by Luna’s flighty socializing skills, Ginny entertained.

Neville doused the group with stinksap when Cho decides to greet Harry to his and her severe embarrassment, an hour after the food trolley passing before Ron and Hermione are able to accompany them and share who were the other Houses prefects, one of Slytherin being easy to identify. Ron makes a joke at one point which completely overtakes Luna, everyone soon laughing at Ron’s reaction to Luna’s overreaction Harry then distracting himself with a politi-comic about Fudge wanting to buy Gringotts and an article on Sirius being an alias for a lead singer of a band. The lady whom identifies him believed Sirius would soon be pardoned from his crimes, since he couldn’t have been there at the time. Hermione makes an assertion about the magazine which Luna takes offense to, since her father was editor, Malfoy then dropping in, briefly to provide some paranoia about whether he knew about Sirius’ dog form. When they get to the station, Harry doesn’t hear Hagrid’s usual greeting, a female rounding up the first years. Another odd thing was how the horseless carriages now had creatures pulling them. Ron didn’t have a clue what Harry was talking about, but Luna confirms Harry’s vision, this not quite comforting.

Luna gives her opinion on how Ravenclaw students saw Hagrid’s teaching skills, Hermione’s response being the only one without loyal heat. When they’d gotten to the banquet hall and still didn’t see Hagrid, Harry suggests it could be due to the mission Dumbledore had given him, the Sorting Hat next doing its First Year division, but including a warning for the Houses to stay strong, together. When Dumbledore makes his introduction speech after supper, he’s interrupted for the first time, by Umbridge, the new Defense teacher, she having been a judge at Harry’s trial. She gives one helluva boring speech about being open to change where needed and keeping only the good rules in place. Hermione deduces the meaning simply for them: the Ministry had plans to mess with Hogwarts rules. As Harry and dorm boys readied for bed, there’s a bit of an upset between himself and Seamus, whom decided to believe his mother, whom thought the news written about Harry, the 2 quickly falling out and Harry wondering how many more people he’d lose before Voldemort made his presence known.

Next morning, Hermione sees Fred and George’s notice on the Gryffindor bulletin board for part-time workers, Hermione taking charge by stating they’d have to speak to the twins about their ad. When they enter the banquet hall, they are again greeted by a Hagrid-less room. Later on, Harry is made a fool of by Snape in class again. He was still so butt hurt, he takes it out on Ron and Hermione again, since they were still tiffing with each other. Then, in Divination Ron shares Hermione’s thoughts of Harry treating them unfairly, but the 2 also having stopped their little arguments. When they get to their first class with the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, she declares they’d be filling in their gaps of knowledge due to their teachers never staying past a year.

Umbridge decides to have them begin with a reading assignment, Hermione soon making a scene with her silent hand raise. The class is soon paying more attention to her as Umbridge ignores her for a few minutes until finally regarding her question about application of defense, Umbridge soon receiving more raised hands and Harry costing 10 points after suggesting Voldemort could be a danger to anyone outside, she maintaining this was untrue and they wouldn’t have to practice for their O.W.L.s, since reading should be enough. By the end of Harry’s insubordinance, he’d gotten detention for the rest of the week and sent to McGonagall’s office, she making certain Harry understood what was required of him and to watch his step around Umbridge.

At dinner, the trio leave early with all the loud retellings of Harry’s confrontation, Hermione incensed on how Dumbledore could’ve allowed Umbridge be their professor. The day of his first detention, Harry’s Quidditch team leader angrily demands he get Friday off for their tryout. Harry does ask, but it’s clear Umbridge planned on having him suffer, especially with his standards which cut and healed on his hand after each being written. He decides not to share this part of the punishment with his buddies. It does come out to Ron by the 3rd night, though, he having been practicing for Quidditch tryouts, Harry still attending detention, but viewing part of the tryouts from a bit of a distance, by the end of his session, he getting a shock from his scar and a weird feeling from Umbridge and how she responded to his pulling away from her, Harry leaving and busting in on Ron celebrating becoming Keeper.

On Saturday, the boys put off their other homework to practice for Quidditch before actual practice, it not going well in the proper practice, especially after Fred and George give a teammate a wrong pill and her nosebleed gets worse. As the boys get to their homework, Ron receives a message from Percy which has him promoting Ron to ditch Harry and to see what role Dumbledore would soon have listed in tomorrow’s paper. Sirius visits by flame, they learning what Fudge thought Dumbledore could be teaching and why they’d only be studying from text. Sirius also notes how Dumbledore wasn’t worrying about Hagrid’s absence, so they should do the same, but when the idea of he perhaps meeting up with them again at a Hogsmeade outing goes against him, he pulls a Harry and reacts petulantly and declares Harry was being unlike his father after he and Hermione noted the risk what with Malfoy and the news.

The news certainly showed how Umbridge’s position had doubled in title and power, since she also held the newly stated position of “High Inquisitor”, as well as professor, she now taking notes on the professors and sitting in on classes. Harry also gets himself a second week of detention after talking back in Defense again and getting an extra night in Care, etc., since Umbridge was rating the temporary professor and Harry butted in on Malfoy’s injury story. At night, Harry’s given the suggestion of he teaching his buds Defense, since he was the best at practical use, but it slowly descending into Harry getting upset, he frustratedly agreeing to think about it, at least.

Hermione waits a couple weeks before asking again, Harry a bit more flexible to the idea, Hermione even suggesting they hold an open meeting the weekend to Hogsmeade in case other students were interested. Harry’s only other concern was the possibility of Sirius turning up. Upon the day, they go to the Hog’s Head, so as to stay from under Umbridge radar, the group which Hermione expected to being more than a couple, a baker’s dozen, at least. Hermione warms the crowd up, since she’d set all this up and master-minded it, making sure those students understood it was for only those who actually wanted to know how to practice what they read. One kid seemed to want to make trouble, but the twins with Ron defending Harry and what he’d been explaining to them about half of what he’d done being good luck, the group wanting Harry to teach them, anyways. Setting time and place was a bit difficult, so Hermione had a parchment ready for people to sign and be given the details later, this also being an agreement to keep their lessons to themselves. After, Ron learns Ginny had a boyfriend and Hermione had seen the constant looks Cho was giving Harry, which left him in the clouds again, whilst Ron blustered.

The trio spend Sunday finishing homework and sitting outside whilst doing so, Hermione knitting magically. Harry stayed in happy spirits all the way to Monday morning, when on the “notice” board, Umbridge had posted all types of clubs canceled and those wanting to apply could only be approved by her, and any outlaws would be expelled. Ron shows Hermione, she believing no one from their meeting had done it, since she’d jinxed the parchment and they’d see. Harry didn’t realize until Angelina, the Quidditch leader reminded him, they’d have to behave themselves if they wanted Umbridge to allow Gryffindors team to re-form. Hedwig next interrupts Harry’s history class due to an injury, he leaving her with Grubbly-Plank, reading Sirius’ reply on meeting time and place. Hermione and Ron note how hopefully no one’s been reading his messages, a possibility for how Hedwig became injured.

In the meanwhile, at Potions, Malfoy is loudly sharing how Slytherins team had been reinstated quickly and bashing Harry indirectly until mentioning he should be sent to St. Mungo’s, Hermione attempting to warn the boys of keeping a cool head, but Neville being the first to react, Harry and Ron holding him back, Snape then coming out to see the 3 struggling and wresting 10 points from them. Today also happened to be Umbridge’s sit-in, Harry quite nosy about how Umbridge would display her stepping upon Snape’s toes. It not being worth the 0 credit he receives for his botched potion in class plus essay on how he fucked it up. In Divination it’s obvious Trelawney was sent her sit-in results, she quite aggressive and only a little bit passive toward the class in response. The trio learn later of how Gryffindors team would be on hiatus until Umbridge made up her flabby-assed mind, Hermione noting how Harry had time for Snape’s extra essay now, at least…huzzah. When Sirius shows up, he mentions how he’d heard about their rebel training and whom had spotted them, since Harry was still being tailed.

The trio also got a message from Molly about not continuing the group. but Sirius’ opinion opposing hers, he giving suggestions for meeting spots, but they being interrupted by Umbridge’s hand in the flames attempting to catch Sirius, the conversation quickly ending and the trio retreating. Hermione is now almost certain Umbridge has been the reason Hedwig was injured through her attempts at reading Harry’s mail. During free time, Angelina updates Ron and Harry of getting their team approved, so practice would resume in the evening. Hermione is considering how good an idea it was to keep their secret group active, what with not quite finalizing everything, yet, she noting how Sirius was preoccupied with his isolation (Boosh) and perhaps wanting the trio to do as he and James would’ve done, rebel; the boys don’t take reality well.

During Quidditch practice, weather was still at downpour level, they trying to play for an hour before the session ended, Harry’s scar hurting again due to Voldemort’s mood. Harry tries to do more of his essay late into the night, his mind wandering on Voldemort, before sleeping for a short while, Dobby visiting him in the common room when he wakes up again, he sharing how Hermione’s knitting endeavors was affronting most of the elves, so Dobby had been collecting them for himself and Winky, he even having a decent spot for the Defense group to practice. During the day, Harry tells Angelina of their practice area and time, she passing it on and Hermione agreeing once learning Dumbledore had spoken about it, as well, since Dobby’s word alone was similar to Sirius’ in quality. They have their first official group meeting by voting Harry leader and naming themselves Dumbledore’s Army, Harry then having them start with the disarming charm. The first practice goes so well, there is agreement to meeting more often, but it’d wait until next week for confirmations.

This turns out to be difficult with opposing schedules, but worked for their needs to deceive obvious patterns to be caught. Hermione did come up with a convenient way for everyone to be updated on when their next sessions were by using a coin to present date and time when Harry set his, this soon being put on hold with the game soon to be had. Snape and McGonagall also decide to refrain from homework, so their teams could practice, the day of. Ron is extremely nervous, and Slytherin kids are wearing a crown badge, saying “Weasley is our King”, because of how shit he is, sometimes, when nerves get him; They even have a flipping song!

By the finish with Gryffindor winning, Harry and George both get sent to McGonagall’s office for fighting with Malfoy. Umbridge steps in and bans the 2 from playing Quidditch for life. Harry and Ron have shitty feelings later on, respectively when Hermione sees Hagrid was home.When they see him, his ass had got beat! By giants, which Hermione guesses and it being the obvious choice, after all. Hagrid is then baited with deets from Harry’s summer so they could hear about his secret mission with Madame Maxime. They’re interrupted by Umbridge, Hermione not seeming to stress enough how serious Umbridge’s sit-ins were to Hagrid, he too tired for this shit.

They go to Hagrid’s first class back and Umbridge wasn’t there, Hagrid having his class in the Forbidden Forest to “see” Thestrals, Umbridge locating them, giving her usual spiel on having sent a message, etc, Hagrid continuing admirably, even whilst Slytherin kids shared insulting opinions of their time in class, how he spoke and whatnot, Umbridge relating similarly and talking to him like he wasn’t an English-speaker and slow. Hermione rages a bit after, Malfoy taking another hit at Ron and Harry, nothing of note happening up to the talk of holidays, Harry spending it with the Weasleys, Hermione skiing with her folks, and poor Sirius all alone. Upon their final D.A. meeting, Harry gets selfish when Cho breaks down after class and Harry having wanted it to be a sweet moment rather than being about Cedric, but then she gives him a happy Christmas, for a 15 year old, but his thought on whether to share or take it to his grave, is puzzling.

Hermione completely guesses, though, so she doesn’t care much after, but Ron getting a decent Q&A, Hermione rejoining the chat when the boys need some insight on why Cho may be conflicted about liking Harry. Afterward, Harry yearns for advice from the one fella whom probably had almost the same capacity of knowledge as Harry, emotionally. He does have one fairly forward-thinking thought, which was to have the school teach teen girl psyche (not a bad idea, if one wishes to be empathetic). He then wakes from a violent physically-ill-causing dream, he trying to have Ron believe his father had been in danger. When McGonagall hears his story, she decides to take him to Dumbledore, whom has orders given out to available wizards. He then has the other Weasley kids sent for so they and Harry could wait at Sirius’, Harry feeling some exorcism-hateful kind of thoughts toward Dumbledore, and when getting to Sirius’ before Umbridge had come, Harry retells his vision slightly differently to offset possible accusation for having let it happen.

Sirius soon has to convince the Weasley twins to stay put until they could get Molly there, he settling by giving all butterbeer, Harry shaken and guilty about his first-person-snake vision and his murderous feelings toward Dumbledore earlier. Molly sends a message with instructions to stay put, the kids not liking her choice of words, implying Arthur was only hanging in there. Everyone stays awake and wonders what was happening, until Molly arrives before dawn, confirming he’d be fine. Harry and Sirius both getting her grateful thanks, especially when he invites them to stay through the holidays. Harry has a not-so-fruitful heart-to-heart with Sirius when he admits his dream and feelings toward Dumbledore after reaching Sirius’ home. Harry doesn’t sleep, unlike the rest, caught up with his snaky feeling, they being escorted by Tonks and Moody to hospital later, it being through a closed shop front. The Weasley kids learn about Harry’s possession by snake whilst eavesdropping on Molly, Arthur, Tonks, and Moody’s chat after they’d had seen Arthur themselves.

Harry begins believing he was the weapon Voldemort was using which was why he was being guarded. In the end, he believes he’d be saving those around him if he stayed at the Dursleys, but Dumbledore sends word by one of the paintings to remain where he was, pissing Harry off again. Feeling teen loner angst, he falls asleep, doesn’t go down for supper, and when awaking again, comes back to his thought of going to the Dursleys due to thinking everyone was afraid of him again. He wastes the day sequestering himself away from everyone, Hermione showing up due to making an excuse and not being a great skier, as it was. When she leads Harry back to his and Ron’s room, Ginny also there, Harry acts stuck up and angry until Ginny reminds him she’d been possessed by Voldemort and would know better than most, he finally calming down, apologizing to her, and eating a sammie.

Christ Day was pleasantly begun, minus Percy returning his jumper and not speaking with his parents, still. Molly being cheered up by Lupin before breakies and they all going to visit Arthur again, she noticing new bandages and Arthur making light over his trainee healer giving him Muggle stitches. Molly’s reaction is so palpable, half the Weasley kids bow out for a cuppa, Harry and the rest soon following once she realizes what it meant. The bunch see Lockhart looking through a window from a floor below the tea room, he still memory-damaged, and wanting to provide them with autographs, until being collected by a healer, whom unfortunately ropes them into visiting him, since he hadn’t gotten visitors before, and he was in a locked ward for permanent residents.

Harry hears the healer speak to Mrs. Longbottom when they reach the ward, Ron noticing as well, and calling out to Neville, his grandmother asking about them in return, and recognizing them, also revealing who they were visiting, Ron being a bit of a ditz about it, until Neville’s grandma explains why his parents were there, giving Neville a bit of a hard time upon learning he hadn’t shared with his friends, yet. Before the 2 leave, Neville’s mother gives him a bubble gum wrapper, which apparently she did frequently, his grandmother stating how he had so many he should dump this one, but he keeping it. Lockhart impatiently waits for the kids to return so he could take advantage of his “joined-up writing” skills.

As vacay ends, Sirius’ mood becomes darker, Harry not wanting to leave him, ofc. Kreacher finally is discovered and acts oddly more content. Harry also wasn’t as keen on returning to Hogwarts with Umbridge awaiting them and no Quidditch, Mrs. Weasley begins the process of Harry receiving worse news from Snape, firsthand, he soon learning between jabs from Snape and Sirius, Dumbledore wanted Harry to study Occlumency (the study of defending one’s mind from outside violence) in secret, Snape being his teacher, as well, Harry’s early evening on Monday now scheduled. Before Snape leaves, he and Sirius continue getting deeply bent over insulting each other, until being interrupted by all the Weasleys and Hermione welcoming Arthur back. He’d been cured with a magic antidote, Molly making sure he wouldn’t mess with Muggle cures in future. In January, the kids were set to return to Hogwarts, Sirius giving Harry a package which he could use if he needed Sirius, Harry set on not giving him a reason to frolic off from Grimmauld Place.

The bunch go by Knight bus, the conductor, Stan remembering him and the other bus riders staring as he joined and departed. Lupin gives him the piece of advice to learn well, regardless of it being Snape, Harry still not looking forward to it, ofc., esp., since now he’d have to plan the next D.A. meeting accordingly. When Cho turns up, Harry is obv. too immature to be handling a girl like her, since she’d brought up the Valentine’s Hogsmeade day and he talking and thinking about D.A., but with a few missed beats he’s not dumb enough to not invite her, they sealing the date, fortunately for him. In the evening, Snape describes the power Voldemort has of essentially reading minds, so with Occlumency, one could lie “without detection”, if skilled. Snape impressively shares some deets on why Harry was learning this form and directly after decides a defense match was in order. Harry had hexed Snape as a knee-jerk reaction, he continuing to strengthen Harry by pointing out his weakness, which in turn made it difficult to resist Snape’s assault. He did have a Eureka moment about the door he’d been dreaming of periodically, and upon sharing with his buddies what he’d learned, he decides to got to bed for scar pain and tiredness, he getting a sense of Voldemort’s pure happiness which puts him through he ringer of pain.

Hermione gets her paper next morning, an article startling her about a group of Death Eaters in Azkaban escaping and Sirius being their leader according to Fudge, she also catching another terrible article about a resident at St. Mungo’s being strangled by a gifted plant, Harry recognizing the fellow being an employee in the Dept. of Mysteries. Hagrid was put on probation, and Harry had other students relating to his celebrity due to the Azkaban escapees relatives being noticed, now. Umbridge had also made more rules regarding what was said to students regarding anything other than their class subjects from teachers, another student being punished the same way Harry had been for stating a loophole in Umbridge’s new rule. Since all of Harry’s positive reinforcement at Hogwarts was being taken from him, he and his students focused more on D.A., Neville making great headway with the news of the Death Eaters.

Harry’s new practice course was making his scar hurt worse and gave him bipolar mood-swings from Voldemort. Hermione considering he’d feel better the more time he spent mastering it, but Harry becoming stubborn in his idea of all this being worse because of the practicing, Ron suggesting the idea Snape might be attempting to make it easier for Voldemort to enter Harry’s mind, but Hermione maintaining if Dumbledore trusted him, they ought to, as well. Harry’s day with Cho begins awkwardly and only gets worse as they go, some in-between moments going temporarily well. In the end, Cho, becomes tearily upset, and making a scene, the both not communicating to each other well or the feelings they were having being way off balance from the other, so Harry stops thinking about her and goes to the Three Broomsticks to await for Hermione to show up, he chatting to Hagrid.

Their conversation is mysterious and his cuts being explained away with his job being a difficult one, leaving quickly and Hermione soon after calling him to her table to join she with Luna and Rita Skeeter, oddly. Skeeter still attempts, but is turned down with her idea of writing down Harry having been chilling with another girl by Hermione’s comment. Rita is allowed to speak to Harry, though, but she only asks Harry whether he stuck to Dumbledore’s story about Voldemort being back. Harry confirms and Rita gets down to business with Hermione’s blessing to take down Harry’s list of Death Eaters, but properly and without making Harry sound nuts, Hermione confirming The Quibbler would publish it properly, regardless of the magazine’s reputation. Rita begrudgingly takes the interview, since she couldn’t argue what with the position she was in.

They wouldn’t know if it’d make the issue most recent to come out or the one after, but one of Harry’s roomies did point out the interesting reaction Umbridge would have. Later at dinner, Hermione explains the drama Harry had with Cho, Ron coming in after practice and stating how Hermione could write the manual for boys to understand easier. Gryffindor lost Quidditch by 10 points and Harry dreamt of the door again, Ron’s snoring this time preventing him from glimpsing inside. Harry receives post, surprisingly the next morning from a few different birds. His Quibbler story had been published and he was already receiving fan mail, some believers and some not, but people mostly accepting his version. Umbridge takes it horribly, ofc making a new rule of Quibbler possession = expulsion and Harry receiving more detention and 50 points from Gryffindor, Hermione over the moon about Umbridge’s ban, since it’d only have every student read it asap.

They see this to be true, since they keep overhearing students talk about it, Harry even getting points back for Gryffindor, teachers showing their support in varying fashion, Seamus and Cho even coming around, Luna learning her father had to make a reprint for selling out so fast. Later in the evening, Harry dreams of being Voldemort speaking of info Rookwood had acquired. Harry shares this nightmare with Ron and Hermione, she deciding they should ignore it and Harry should focus more on Occlumency. Harry does make headway with Snape after this, he seeing some of his memories for once. They soon interrupted by Trelawney’s screams for having been fired by Umbridge, McGonagall showing empathy and Umbridge challenges on whether Trelawney was allowed to stay by Dumbledore, he having authority on whether a teacher had to leave the grounds, he also already having replaced her with a centaur, Firenze.

Hermione expects Umbridge would be zeroing on Dumbledore for revenge by appointing a half-human professor, their first class being held on the first floor now and the room mirroring the forest. Firenze shares how he’d been kicked out of his herd upon agreeing to teach at Hogwarts. He certainly teaching them how leaving most predictions with a grain of salt was best, since it was difficult practice even for centaurs to be accurate. After class Firenze asks Harry send a cryptic message to Hagrid, which was not explained further other than Hagrid needing sound advice and Firenze receiving help by Hagrid and he wished to keep Hagrid on the right path. Hagrid doesn’t receive the advice open-heartedly though, and Harry bustles along, D.A. meetings keeping his brain occupied, the students starting practice for their patronuses.

Dobby interrupts with the almost too late warning of Umbridge having found out about D.A. and was coming for them, most everyone escaping except Harry, whom gets caught by a jinx from Malfoy, Umbridge taking him to Dumbledore’s office. They find Fudge, Percy, some other fella along with Dumbledore already waiting, Harry denying knowing what was wrong, Umbridge getting their witness, she being Cho’s buddy and showing the signs of the jinx, which prevented her from wanting to speak further. Umbridge soon crosses the line when she attempts to physically force the girl into responding, Dumbledore stopping this hastily. When Umbridge then provides the list of names with the D.A. title, Dumbledore confuses Fudge by offering to confess, and then states Fudge’s plan for him to await trial in Azkaban didn’t suit him, a hex being set on the 4 Ministry employees, and Dumbledore vowing Fudge would regret ousting him.

Notice of Umbridge taking over for Dumbledore was quite immediate, the students learning more than Harry expected, and Malfoy being promoted to a side project of Umbridge’s so he could take points from students. The twins turn up to confide of giving Umbridge a reason to expel them, not worrying anymore and wanting to give Umbridge a run, for Dumbledore’s sake. Harry is escorted by Filch directly after this, to Umbridge, whom required his presence and attempt to secretly have him drink a truth magic drink, she asking about Dumbledore and Sirius’ whereabouts, not getting any answers and then being interrupted by an explosion the twins had been warning Harry about. When Harry sees the sparkly mess the twins had created, it was impressive as it gained energy, not dying out past night. As he retreats, he discovers the twins hiding spot, the 2 quietly in hysterics as they shared what would occur if Umbridge attempted certain spells to make them stop.

Tonight Harry got even closer to Voldemort’s goal of seeing inside the Dept. of Mysteries for a glimpse of the weapon, but this time some late fireworks wake him. His upcoming training with Snape would be extra dreaded, but they end up postponing with Umbridge requesting his help elsewhere by Malfoy, whom was sure to spread the word of Harry’s remedial course. Before biffing off himself, however he sees Snape had left his Pensieved memories just hanging out, so thought he’d have a little perusal. What he sees is 15-ish Snape and his pops along with Sirius, Lupin, and Wormtail taking their Defense O.W.L.s. Harry witnesses his father’s bullying arrogance and the early reactions of his mother toward him. Eventually, he is caught in the memory and thrown out forcefully by Snape, not wanting to see him return again, he understanding the bullied Snape’s feelings.

Hermione can’t believe Harry had somehow finished his lessons with Snape for good, but focuses on scheduling their studying for the O.W.L.s. Harry can’t help, but be absorbed with the thought of his parents personalities and how this memory was affecting his non-memories of his most prized family members. Ginny helps him out by getting the twins on the case for diversion, so Harry would be able to use Umbridge’s office fire to speak to Sirius about his troubled thoughts regarding his father. His first Potions back with Snape was unusually and pleasantly quiet, until Snape breaks his classwork so as to continue his zeroes. When he has his occupational and coursework discussion later with McGonagall and Umbridge sitting in, the two argue about Harry’s chances on becoming an Auror and then McGonagall straight up offering to tutor him through if it was truly his dream, despite Umbridge’s every attempt at shutting this path down.

Before having him sit through more of Umbridge’s nonsense, she allows Harry to conclude and leave as the 2 yell at each other. Harry truly struggles whether he still wanted to continue the plan, deciding he couldn’t pass up a good diversion and proceeding to Umbridge’s office, invisible cloak and pick-locking knife ready. As he has this conversation via floo with Sirius and Lupin, he isn’t calmed by the information they give him, one being to continue Occlumency at any cost. He scurries to get to his invisible cloak again before Filch walks in. Harry leaves after him and witnesses the best school quitting to get out of punishment performance, ever by the twins. They had students tumultuously cheering at the end, the students from then on making the moment the stuff of legend, and becoming troublemakers, themselves and exacting revenge on Umbridge daily. Ron is currently concerned about his mother being outraged he hadn’t stopped them, but Hermione considers how long they must’ve been planning it if they already had a physical address for their shop.

Harry confesses he’d given the twins the money, Hermione soon reminded to ask if Harry had inquired about his training to Snape, he not glad of having shared this information from Sirius’ chat. (These periodic grammatical nonsensical sentences are hard to ignore, esp. when not much is driving this humungo story, other than narrative statements and updates of what’s happened.) Meanwhile, Ron has Quidditch to ‘look forward to’ and during the game, Hagrid steals Harry and Hermione to accompany him into the forest, they learning a bit more about what happened to Firenze and Hagrid’s falling out with the centaurs. This long trip into the forest though, had to do with Hagrid sensing his dismissal coming and he having to take care of Grawp, his half bro, whom wasn’t quite friendly. What he’d want from Hermione, Harry, and if Ron agreed, was to only chat with him, get him used to English society. As they’re about to leave, a bunch of centaurs interrupt. This interaction proves intimidating further to the 2 kids, whilst Hagrid makes note of the centaurs not hurting children. This isn’t a comfort to them, and they decide to save telling Ron, since Gryffindor finally won a Quidditch since he’d joined.

When Ron is told of Grawp, he only hopes (NOT against bloody hope, the dumbest Bible reference, ever) Hagrid sticks it out til summer vacay. When O.W.L.s weeks arrive, everyone becomes frenetic, focused, and quieter, Harry seeing the exam set up to be the same as the one witnessed in Snape’s memory. All 3 take their first week of exams well enough, esp. Harry in Defense, getting a bonus point for his patronus. Harry’s astronomy exam is punctuated by his noticing Hagrid being visited and eventually fighting against Umbridge and a few Ministry workers, they stunning Fang and McGonagall, before Hagrid concusses all but one and Umbridge. During the final exam for history, Harry struggles to remember what he’d studied, he soon dreaming of the door and upon seeing a conversation between Voldemort and Sirius, wakes by falling out of his chair.

Harry is soon absorbing whom he’d be able to share his vision with, since McGonagall had been sent to hospital, he settling on relaying his vision to his buddies, they not as ready as he is to jump after Voldemort to save Sirius. Hermione however, receives the brunt of his fuming anger, since she was attempting to make sense of what Harry saw, he becoming louder and more frustrated as they continued until Ginny and Luna come in to offer to help. This gives Hermione the momentum to have Harry at least chill the fuck out until they confirmed Sirius wasn’t at home, Kreacher giving away the information after some slight withholding, then Harry’s caught by Umbridge. When Snape’s called in to help have Harry reveal why he’d been there, Harry takes a chance by yelling a veiled message to him. To save time before Umbridge hit Harry with a curse and after she’d confessed to sending the dementors, Hermione fake breaks down, in preparation to share what Harry’d been doing, Umbridge eating it up. By the end, Hermione had convinced her they had been wanting to contact Dumbledore to confirm the finishing of a weapon, she having Hermione and Harry lead her as Malfoy and some Slytherins held Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Neville in her office.

Hermione leads them outside, Umbridge nervous when she shares it was in the Forbidden Forest, she leading them down a different path than the one to Grawp, they eventually stopped by centaurs, Umbridge making an arrogant dumb ass out of herself, she retaliating by binding one of the centaurs after a warning arrow flies past her head. She’s soon restrained and taken away further into the forest, Harry and Hermione still in trouble with the 50 strong centaurs, being interrupted by Grawp before they’d decided what to do with them. He apparently was out looking for big brah and in his attempt to pick up someone or other, the centaurs attack him for having knocked one of them down, he chasing them further in, and the 2 soon joined by the other captured kids, everyone arguing on who would accompany Harry, the thestrals soon making it easy for all of them to ditch, Harry annoyed, but wanting to biff off already.

They all arrive quickly and wearily, they getting their visitor badges no problem and without seeing anyone, including security, they proceed to the Dept. of Mysteries. After some time looking for the right door, they don’t discover Sirius, but do detect a jar with Harry’s name labeling it, Lucius soon having him pass it to him. More Death Eaters surround them, Lestrange taunting him as Malfoy continues to demand for the prophecy Harry held. He hoped the others were coming up with a solid plan, since all he had was killing time. Soon, though he helped relay to Hermione to have them all smash shelves as he continued talking with Malfoy, he learned his prophecy had the answer to why he’d been scarred. They take their chance, losing half their party on the way to the 2nd room, Harry, Hermione, and Neville fighting some Death Eaters. They soon do worse and it’s down to Neville being tortured and Harry wasting more time until Sirius and the group of 4 from the Order show up to help. By the end of it, Dumbledore had appeared, but not in time to save Sirius from falling through the veiled archway after being hit with a spell.

Harry is at first in denial, then upon seeing Lestrange attempt escape, follows her and has a one on one until Voldemort turns up, he ready to kill Harry, but Dumbledore protecting him and fighting the 2. Which upon Harry collapsing with scar pain, Voldemort and Lestrange escape which Fudge sees and can no longer deny. Dumbledore then begins giving instructions as to how Fudge shall proceed, he regaining his headmaster-ship. Harry is then sent back to Hogwarts to await everyone’s return by Portkey.

It lands him in Dumbledore’s office which he couldn’t leave, he overcome with having gotten Sirius killed. When Dumbledore arrives, he updates Harry on his buddies temporary condition, as well as Tonks. Harry soon loses his shit though, chucking Dumbledore’s breakables around, he verging on threatening Dumbledore, whom refused to let him leave, he wanting to confess why it was actually mostly his own fault Sirius was dead. This revelation stops Harry, Dumbledore starting again with Harry’s scar, but regarding why he’d been ignoring him was to calm the beast, so to speak, Voldemort possibly possessing Harry to get to him, or like in the Ministry of Magic, see if he’d kill Harry to get to Voldemort.

He goes on to confide how Kreacher had been able to lie to Harry about Sirius, and had revealed everything to Dumbledore, since it was a direct order, but also by truth jinx or whatever. He also regards Snape’s choices and how he’d actually helped, Harry not caring much, Dumbledore taking responsibility for not doing more with Harry’s training. After, he reveals a piece which he’d kept from Harry for 5 years, this stemming from the ancient protection charm his mother gave him through their shared blood, which was locked when her sister had taken him in. Dumbledore recaps his feeling to reveal the truth through each year Harry’d been at Hogwarts and eventually comes upon the weapon being the knowledge of how to kill Harry (which isn’t revealed), this within the prophecy (not) and the prophecy given by Trelawney. Harry soon also absorbs how someday, one or the other would have to die before the other could live, Dumbledore confessing his reason for not choosing him as prefect being due to the loads of responsibility Harry already bore.

Fudge gives the press update on the Ministry’s opinion of Voldemort being the correct one, now. Umbridge is rescued by Dumbledore, somehow unscathed, but she was quite shell-shock, clopping noises putting her on edge. Harry refrains from sharing the prophecy with Hermione and Ron, currently still on bed-rest and is waylaid from seeing Hagrid by the Malfoy trio, they interrupted by Snape, whom he loathed worse now. McGonagall interrupts by giving all the students at the Ministry of Magic points, so Snape could withdraw his measly 10 for almost cursing Malfoy, Harry then continuing to Hagrid’s, but soon leaves when he brings up Sirius.

Umbridge leaves the day before school ends and Harry opens the package Sirius gave him in case he wanted to talk. It didn’t work of course, it being like a telephone, Harry then getting no good answers from Nearly Headless Nick in regards to coming back after death, either. Also, even though he now knows why he must spend time at the Dursleys, it didn’t make the going there any easier. Cho had moved on with Ginny’s ex, she now dating Dean Thomas, this news not treating Ron any better than the first. The D.A. curse the shit out of Malfoy and his goons when they were readying to attack Harry on his way back to his carriage, the 3 remaining oozy messes. When the kids go through the station barrier, they’re greeted by some of the Order, who had the idea of speaking to the Dursleys before Harry began summer vacay with them to make sure they understood, they wouldn’t tolerate any misconduct against Harry, he not knowing how to thank them, so simply allows for all to bid him farewell til mid-end of summer.

The most uneventful, but easy read of a thick-ass book. I know I won’t be a re-reader, like so many others, but I’m glad to be finishing this series, since I’ve gotten through the movies a couple times and I still enjoy seeing the, hopefully fleshed out version in book form. This doesn’t particularly include this story, only because it meandered, which is great for beach reading, but only one spot near-ish to the end of the book being exciting; I referring to the Dept. of Mysteries fight against the Death Eaters. I am most definitely looking forward to the next, more slim book in the series.

Greetings, from Dogpatch (Skin Deep #3)

Image result for greetings from dogpatch skin deep book cover

 

This isn’t a mistake. I wasn’t thinking about whether there would be novels for the first two, so I’m beginning my review with the third, but the fact I’ve read this many should warm anyone else who hasn’t heard of this STELLAR online comic, and I may even perhaps go back eventually and review the first two for funsies. The bugbear Myra, Eustace – a fox spirit, Marshall the raven spirit, and Gabe the angel are currently driving into Arkansas in May, this being 2005. Myra is quite annoyed by her passengers and complaining about the reason Gabe is even along for the ride when he could fly, Eustace unable to shed light on his reasons, nor why he took the skull which had been given to a demon by Myra (this all being explained, here). Their next conversation has to do with whether Gabe is male or female, until he/she puts a stop to it, and they continue on their ride to Dogpatch.

When parking, Gabe notes how they had to get down there in an odd fashion, Eustace explaining how a tram used to be lowered down to the theme park when it was still open, a dryad currently keeping the place well hidden, even though it was right off the highway. After Myra points out how a Bigfoot was currently watching their movements, Gabe steps up to get the attention of whoever lived there, wanting to speak to the big kahuna, a chickadee, Hank with a shotgun sporting a trucker hat popping out near his feet. Myra’s had enough and states how Bigfoot let them pass, even though Hank was confused by how the group hadn’t been stopped, she then telling of only being there to pick something up and would be out of there quickly, since the place didn’t seem right. Marshall then steps up to vouch for Gabe being cool and they wanting to speak to Old Ivory about the guards.

Hank takes Gabe’s word when showing him the “nightmare” he was attempting to weed out the owner of, so Hank leads them all to where Old Ivory is, Marshall and Eustace then discussing how they agreed with Myra’s instinct about Dogpatch being out of the ordinary. The two then get into the last time Michelle and crew had run into the nightmare which was then related to the demons which were setting them up (Orientations and the One Eyed Bear being reference, the links, above). Hank then can’t stop himself from gabbing at Gabe due to not having ever been in the presence of an angel before and deciding to relate the communities history of where they traveled and how they picked up their guards. Then, before Hank could get into it, Gabe shuts down any questions he may have on religious topics and so Hank instead goes in to inform Ivory, a woodpecker of his visitors.

Gabe then interrupts to toss the nightmare into Ivory’s hands, he not knowing how the skull could’ve gotten to Missouri, nor how the demons picked it up, they having been searching for “her” for some months. Ivory then states how he’d been training some animals to take over his jobs when he was no longer there, Gabe inquiring into how he’d believed spirit animals were incapable of death, but Ivory’s case was due to most of the specific sort of woodpecker he represented had been dying out, and he was on the verge of being done, so he’d been having the other animals take care of the daily tasks whilst he trained them for the long-term workload, and Ivory didn’t have any hard feelings for humans causing the death of his species due to his long lifespan and curiosity of what came next.

After Ivory calls over the two who had been handling the responsibilities, but only one, Ricky arriving since the other, Obi was taking care of some specific sort of task, he apparently not being responsible for her disappearance, and they figuring she’d run away. Gabe asks a few pressing questions which suggested they hadn’t done much to aid the recovery of the nightmare, but Ricky makes clear how they’d been quite worried, and was annoyed when learning Gabe had found the nightmare a little while ago and hadn’t brought her back sooner, they then hearing a scream, Ricky believing Obi was in trouble and hoping the Howler didn’t have him. When they approach his yells, they see Myra looking pissed and relating how Obidiah was the cause of everything being off, and was getting ready to let the Howler out on them all, they thinking she’d gone crazy, but she adamant of Obi’s intentions being ill and making clear, bugbears were impossible to deceive.

Gabe questions further on Obi’s attitudes being odd recently, the critters confirming he’d been acting ill when the nightmare had left, but was working even harder as of lately, Obi agreeing he’d been getting too tired from work and pled to be released from Myra’s grip. Gabe then agrees Obi should be let down, but surprises everyone by bringing out his own weapon, Damien the demon then showing himself and looking pissed. As Gabe attempts to learn more about why Damien was turning up and seemingly trying to get closer to Michelle, Damien’s smart ass answers are getting on Gabe’s nerves, he making him pay for it with more pain. When Damien finally gives him a reason for the “Dark Lord’s” reason for tracking Michelle, Gabe is again thwarted by Damien’s resistance in divulging more. Gabe then tears Damien out of Obi, Gabe turning on the group of creatures to learn whom had figured out their close friend had been infested and no one stepping forward, Gabe properly pissed, and when inquiring if Myra had sensed any other demons about, she confirming there were none.

Then Obi describes how he hadn’t any control over himself and what it had felt like, not recalling much of anything whilst he’d been overtaken. Hank then elaborates about the caves nearby when Gabe considers how quickly the demons seemed to be able to return upon his sending them to hell, and demands Obi show him to this “not much sink” cave. Gabe then explains how hellmouths work and the one in the cave being shut could waylay a demon fairly well. After Obi shows where the cave was, he meekly asks to go, since he didn’t want to tempt another demon with his bod, Gabe agreeing to this, he then divvying out tasks for the other creatures whilst he dealt with what was within the cave, the one for Eustace being hilarious and adorably simple.

Marshall notes his tone to Eustace, but Gabe dismisses him what with not feeling he should have to keep an eye on him for he not being a fighter, Marshall and Myra following him deeper into the cave. Soon they approach an orange oozing mess from their high vantage point, Myra stating of it most likely being part of the cause for the odd senses she’d gotten from the place. Gabe then suggests Myra help him deal with some demons whilst Marshall brought along some buddy birds to draw attention, a view of an oddly shaped hole with what look like teeth coming out of the ground shown, which then reveals why a hellmouth is named as such. Myra is hella happy to do her duty and Gabe encourages her to do so, since some demons were currently taking the opportunity to crawl into the world, Marshall using his birdy friends to distract them as Myra walks up, big bear form ready to do some damage.

As Myra baits one of the creatures, Gabe stabs the other and takes a smoke break, the crows, meanwhile, do their job of flying about, but many also get too close to the teeth and are smushed. Gabe then steps up to attempt another phrase in whatever language which is shown, chopping at the hellmouth head right after another demon comes out, whom apparently was a bunch of other demons’ distractions, but fortunately, Gabe commands Marshall to continue his attack at the mullet demon and Myra informs Gabe of their coming,  so he begins saying some more magic speak. Damien had returned once more, and his buddy Mikhail upon seeing Myra, ditches the crew when one of the others suggest they attack them, but Myra gets up in Mikhail’s face as he explains how he didn’t want to fool around with her or Gabe. As Myra has the demon in a bear hug, another demon is looking irritated about their hellmouth dying, but as Gabe is fighting another, the little demon pushes Gabe into the hellmouth as it makes one last roar of defeat (to be fair, I’m feeling a little badly for the hellmouth, it didn’t do nuffin’ and Gabe takes him out easy as lemon meringue).

This new development pauses Myra and Marshall, but they then see Gabe’s spear pierce through the hellmouth, and when he emerges looking grim, one out of three of the demons have booked it, the other two standing and staring in shock. This definitely doesn’t help the two though, since Gabe lets out his anger and envelops them in holy light, Myra properly impressed. Gabe turns on her and notifies of the demon she’d been cuddling had escaped, Mikhail still sprinting for freedom, and feeling close to success when seeing the outside, but upon climbing the rock face out, realizes his strolling out into the world won’t be so cut and dry. As Gabe, Marshall, and Myra rush off after him, Eustace is looking pleased and gives props for Gabe having thought to give him his coat to hold, this being the item which had recaptured Mikhail (who has a multiple way of spelling his name, apparently), and Eustace not catching the look of surprise on his face. As Mikhail pleads for Gabe to let him stay, the latter gives him the opportunity to make himself useful with the need for information, but Mikhail has none to offer, so Gabe takes him out. He then relates now the hellmouth was closed in the area, the demons would have a more difficult time coming back, and wouldn’t be able to do so anywhere near Dogpatch. Eustace and Marshall also inquire if Michelle was still in danger, Gabe’s answer not a comforting one, and when Myra states she still didn’t understand Gabe, he was cool with it.

Another interesting episode, and onward I go!

 

The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1)

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I’ve decided to pair down this review due to how long it took to complete and my own inability to motivate a full edit. So here is the Epilogue about the main characters instead.

Regardless, though, I am hooked, and I’ll be quite happy to continue the series (with time). In the Appendix we learn who Bao-yu had seen the fates for in the fairy’s library, beginning with Skybright’s terrible fate by slanderers. Aroma does marry, Caltrop/Ying-lian is murdered by Xue Pan’s horrible wife, Xin Jin-gui. As for Bao-chai and Dai-yu, they are represented as two halves of a perfect woman and the meaning behind their songs are up for debate as to whether the first or second refer to one or the other, or the first to both, or the first and second about Bao-yu, alone. There are other characters explained, but I’ll only list those I remember, the last being Xi-feng, whom will have an unfulfilled life which may end in divorce.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower 1)

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King’s introduction tells of how prevalent hobbits were when he was nineteen, hippies galore dressed like Lord of the Rings characters at Woodstock and whatnot. He was fond of the novels to the point of certainty he’d be writing his own version when it came to him and then shares how the age of nineteen brought with it a prideful manner of seeing life bending to one’s will, and how one is supposed to think big, so later in life it can be made true. He describes the two types of novelist after this, the “serious” and “popular”, both of which being selfish in nature. He relates of his realization after watching The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, he wanted to marry Tolkien’s quest and magic with this Western sensibility. He couldn’t answer why he wanted to write an epic tome, but believed he mostly succeeded in doing so. Then he alludes to his car accident and how after a fan spoke of if he hadn’t survived, the Tower would forever have remained a mystery, he knowing he had to complete it, and glad he now has.

The Foreword explains why he’d changed The Gunslinger and what he’d added, he comparing this to when he’d expanded The Stand, he then going back to sharing how his accident had spurred him to finish the Tower series, regardless of how many readers had been interested in it (around the halfway mark when it came to those who attended readings). He describes how the start of the series hadn’t matched up with the end, he then sharing his writing process being to get it all out and let it simmer for six months or longer before the first revision, he stating how he’d cleaned up some unnecessary verbosity and attempted to have the story more clearly understood to first time readers.

19, Resumption (which is explained later, I suppose) titles the first two pages before chapter one. The gunslinger is following the running man in black, Walter o’Dim and was currently gauging his fairly full water bag which if he’d been a holy man, may have been able to more closely estimate when drinking was necessary, but didn’t follow Jesus or was a Manni, after which his guns are depicted, and where he’d gotten them. He no longer had his horn or hat, but wished he did, he then noticing a burnt out campfire, which he salvaged the leftover bacon and shared how he had so far only been discovering Walter’s campsites, knowing he’d track the man as long as it took to finally catch up to him, but also sensing he’d gotten a bit closer, regardless of only ever detecting dead camps with no signs of waste. He watches the slowly dimming horizon for a sign of a camp, none being viewed, so sets his own fire atop the old camp and rests for the night.

The gunslinger now had a mule after having passed through a town a few weeks previously, he seeing crazy men and lepers, and acquiring a compass he could make use of until Jesus showed himself; a crazy man’s terms of agreement. The gunslinger is surprised when coming across another hut with a young man attending his corn, the two greeting each other formally, and the young man offering corn to eat, the gunslinger noting the young man sounded like Manni, which he agreed he’d been with, but left, the young man introducing himself as Brown, the gunslinger sharing his own (we not privy, but I’ll be using from here on out).

Brown then shares his raven’s name as Zoltan, noticing Roland as a gunslinger, believing his type were no more, Roland confirming he’d come from In-World some time ago, and then vaguely asking of Walter’s passing by, Brown unable to determine with certainty how long ago it’d been, time being wonky out there. Brown then offers what Walter had spoken of, he having inquired after the weather, his wife, and her origins. Brown asks if he was a wizard, which Roland confirms of and he being more, as well. Brown declares Roland wouldn’t overtake him, but he states otherwise, Brown then going inside to prepare their meal whilst Roland filled his water-skins in the well at the back. When he joins Brown inside and rests whilst the man boils the beans, he thinks of how many hours he’d been traveling without rest, also thinking of how impossible Mid-World’s greenery seemed, Roland not bothered by Walter’s distance since he’d gotten an estimate in the most recent town he’d gone, though he not looking forward to the forthcoming desert.

When Brown wakes him, an hour’s gone by and his mule has died, upside being the food was done. Upon inquiry, Brown estimates the mule had perished due to age, and after setting out the food, prays, Roland learning Brown thought they were already in the hereafter. As the weather became rougher with the dark, Roland hungrily ate the tough corn and beans, he wondering why Brown didn’t eat Zoltan, talking animals being more difficult to decide to consume, apparently. When they’d finished their meal, Roland offers a smoke, he having a moment of paranoia when thinking of Walter having conjured these moments, Roland asking if Brown had been to Tull, he stating the last time he’d been to the town was to sell corn, Roland sharing how Walter had set up a trap for him when he’d passed through, the town now killed by Roland, in his own words. Roland then takes a moment to piss on Brown’s corn, as requested, he deciding whether Brown was Walter, and when he returns back inside, is called out by these thoughts from Brown, Roland debating if he needed to take him out, his morals holding his hand, Brown then offering to listen, if Roland still needed to unload his troubles. Brown makes it easier by plainly asking about Tull, and Roland lets it out.

Roland’s description of where he’d purchased the now dead mule, as well as his cross-country trudge follows, until getting to Tull. As he drew closer, hearing “Hey, Jude” being played, the inhabitants the usual slightly off country-folk, Roland approaches an old man pitching some hay in a barn, getting him to agree to look after his mule once tossing a gold piece in his direction. When Roland then attempts to get one of the boys playing marbles to inform him of whether there was a cafe in town, none answering until the youngest replies, he paying for it after Roland leaves, he views the inside of the bar mentioned before heading in. The people inside stare until he gets to the bar, he then ordering three burgers, attention called back to him as they cooked, he having to dissuade a man with a big knife to end his approach toward him. When he was nearly done eating another man puts a hand on his shoulder, Roland realizing Walter had made the man crazy, he already deceased. Roland, taken aback when he spoke the High Speech to him, gives him a gold piece as requested, from shock, the man returning to his table gladly. The bar quickly empties after this, even the piano player leaving, the bar-maid angry he’d gotten her customers to exit, Roland asking whom the man at the table was, then inquiring of Walter, she agreeing to tell for the price of getting laid. Afterward, she tells of how the man downstairs, Nort had died, then he asking once more about Walter.

Walter had arrived near sundown the same day Nort had passed, a fast wind having risen, people closing down windows, one man whom had seen him enter, not wanting to make his acquaintance. Walter heads for Sheb’s Bar, most within paying him no mind what with the storm and they involved in their own activities, only Alice, the barmaid the only interested eye-witness, he heading for the bar and requesting some good whiskey, Nort’s body lying on tables in the middle of the room. Alice leaves the bar a moment to open a keg, Walter stating of seeing the dead man, and Alice launching into how those in attendance weren’t real mourners, but seemed to mock him, as they had during his life, Walter putting back his shot, showing his money, as requested, she then consenting to pour his second drink. When Alice attempts to ask how long his stay would be, Walter turns the conversation on her, about how she had affection for Nort, she sensing a bad vibe and commanding he leave, but then Walter shows his eyes and she feels drugged, he laughing loudly and the ruckus around them quieting, people watching him.

No one was affected by his laugh to join him, he approaching a lady whom had been singing and whapping her tummy, she forced to laugh a couple times until fleeing and crying, Walter starting his little show with Nort, spitting on him with precision, more people starting to leave, and those still there gathering around, he continuing his resurrection, and as people saw Nort’s first breaths, more heading out, and upon opening his eyes, Alice running upstairs. Walter yells after her of this being for her, it impossible to undo, and its hilarity, she locking her door. Nort goes out for weed, Walter having gone when Alice returns downstairs, Nort taking his table by the door, he greeting her and sharing what Walter had told him, stating of his desire to stop using, but how he was addicted and it giving him tremors, which made him unable to, he saddened by this. She then finishes lighting the bar, only one other patron coming in, Nort then remembering to give her a message from Walter, revealing 19 being the number to say to Nort if she wanted him to reveal the truth of Death and the next world, he certain she wouldn’t be able to resist forever. Alice is sickened by realizing this truth, but by the next day, life already normalized, and by the day after, all the same as usual, Alice still struggling with the word she attempted to keep to herself, she dipping into the whiskey to help her ignore the urge.

This ended her recollection, she believing he’d dozed off, and was doing so herself when he inquires of this being all which had occurred, she agreeing, then he stating he shouldn’t linger there too long, since there was most likely a trap awaiting him, as well. He advises she do her best to forget the number, and if she gets an overwhelming urge, to retreat upstairs and say it as many times as necessary. She is comforted in knowing he wouldn’t leave yet, and next morning when she feeds him, he inquires of whether she had a map of the southeast, she stating of it only being desert, he then going off to see the hostler, Kennerly to see if he knew more, Allie warning him he tended to make up ‘facts’ if he didn’t know, she touched when he thanks her.

When he’d gotten to Kennerly, his daughters were roaming the grounds, his eldest, a horny teen, whom he kept having to threaten to get inside the house. Roland inquires what he knew about the desert and what lay beyond, he uncertain, Roland paying him another coin to continue watching the mule, he deciding he’d remain in town for a little while longer. Four days pass, Roland’s resolve to leave fading, he aware this could be the snare Walter had left him, Sheb busting in with raised knife and sounding nuts, claiming Allie was his, Roland then recognizing him from his past. Allie calms him as he cries and sets his broken wrists. Roland asks if Sheb remembers the time they’d met before, he then commanding him to leave, Sheb then spouting of Roland only having been a kid, but quickly obeying his demand. Allie then attempts to continue where they’d been interrupted, but Roland isn’t interested any longer, she considering the situation Sheb and he must have been in involving a girl he’d cared for, she trying to have him acquiesce to her desire, but failing.

The next evening, the bar is shut, this being a similar day to the Sabbath. Allie cleans shop, Roland walking to the church and watching the congregation sing, the preacher-woman massive and insane. Once the song finishes, the woman begins speaking, Roland getting the feeling he’d been there before, her subject for tonight being “The Interloper”, she describing how she knew most of the characters in the Bible and loved them, the only one she didn’t know, being The Interloper, she afraid because she wasn’t familiar with his inner thoughts, she clearly referring to Satan, warning her followers to be wary, bringing their hysteria to a climax and spouting of the apocalypse, the lady also including a name Roland vaguely had heard of before, realizing Walter had also infected her after witnessing the questions she asked the people, everyone in moaning agony, Roland uneasy. When the preacher-woman singles out a man whom was particularly affected, she gives him solace with Jesus’ forgiveness. She then makes certain they would all attack Satan if they saw him, Roland leaving and noting his time to move on almost arriving.

Allie next states how the preacher-woman wouldn’t entertain his presence, she secluding herself if it wasn’t a Sunday. When Roland asks when she’d come to town, Allie relays it could have been two or twelve year’s, she then being dishonest when he asks which way she’d walked from, she eventually relenting and confessing it was from the desert, where the dwellers made their homes, this news easing Roland a bit, since it was where he was heading, his final question of where she currently resided reluctantly answered. Roland senses his last day had arrived, Allie feeling this moment, as well, she feeding him, and their farewell abrupt. Roland mentions after this, seeing her again one more time before her death. When he’d gotten to the preacher-woman, Sylvia Pittston’s home, everything had become silent, the wind having dissipated, knowing it would come back with force the longer it was away. A strange light was tinting the view, and Roland knocked a few times, busting his way in to see her rocking in a chair, neither of them speaking for a moment, until she declares he wouldn’t get Walter, since Roland was with the dark side, he stating how Walter had gone to her, she admitting she’d slept with him, speaking the High Speech to her.

Roland informs her Walter had fucked her in more ways than one, she continuing to state Roland being on the side of the devil and having seen him lurking in the church. He asks her why Walter had brought back Nort, she stating Walter had informed her he was working with God and how Roland would want to sleep with her, but she wouldn’t allow this since Walter had made her pregnant, telling her it was royalty, Roland sharing what she truly had was a devil and he would be able to get it out of her, she reacting by drawing back. Roland asks what was beyond the desert, her answer being he wouldn’t get Walter, but “burn”, Walter giving her this information. Roland threatens the details out of her by making like he would begin removing her child, she finally relenting and confessing of Walter going to the mountains and stopping on the other end to regain his power, she stating Roland had murdered her child and he’d get his, demanding he leave. He states she didn’t have a baby, demon, or otherwise, then doing as she bid.

When Roland had gotten to Kennerly’s, he could see a dust storm on the way, but hadn’t reached them yet. Kennerly inquires if he was leaving today, Roland agreeing, and Kennerly informing his idea of moving on before the storm not giving him enough of a head start, stating it would be his death if he got caught in it. Kennerly’s eye movement gives away an attack by his daughter, Soobie, Roland missing most of the hit, it barely getting his elbow. Roland again insists for his mule, Kennerly acquiescing, he leaving the two in the barn and walking into the hot air. Roland makes a stop to see Allie, but she wasn’t working, and no one was inside, he getting some provisions and leaving payment, considering whether he’d be able to bypass Walter’s trap, but not holding onto hope. Walter pretended to be divine, spouting of royalty’s spawn, a crimson youth, and it made him wonder if he had been fooling around the whole time, the answer essential.

Then a shriek has townspeople pouring out from behind closed doors, all carrying weapons, Sheb using Allie as a hostage, stepping forward first, she begging to be put out of her misery for having said the number, Roland reacting automatically and putting them both down, all the others being fended off as they came, he locating temporary shelter in the general store/barber’s, reloading and shooting more as they attempted entry, and as he exits through the back, puts down more who meet him there, he backing into the desert, still shooting and yelling, getting them all as they closed in. As they became fewer, he’d only gotten minor scrapes, someone then catching him in the face with the butt of a knife, which puts him on the ground, he now getting stabbed in different spots, the worst one on his leg, Roland catching them all in the end, even those attempting to escape. As he retraces his steps back to where they’d ambushed him, he counts how many were dead, Tull’s fifty-eight residents no more. He saw what had become of Nort, located his mule, and led it back to the stable. After attending to Nort, he goes to Sheb’s bar, eats some burgers with beer, then spends the night in Allie’s bed. By morning, the sky was clear, he finished tending to his cuts, and starts through the desert.

Roland believed Brown had passed out, Zoltan even showing he’d been resting during the story, Roland ready to prepare a place for himself to sleep when Brown inquires if this retelling had helped him get a load off, Roland questioning why he’d feel negatively, and he stating of Roland being human, unless he hadn’t been honest, Roland denying he had misspoken, detecting his favor for Brown, asking whom he actually was, and he responding of being himself, and why Roland thought there was anything hidden. Brown believes Roland is close to catching Walter, he uncertain whether Walter would feel hopeless when Brown asks, and Roland not having reached this point himself, declaring of going and doing what’s necessary, Brown accepting this and rolling over to sleep. In the morning, Brown prepares him a final meal and gets him going, they parting with kind words. When the sun had set, Roland dreamt, the mountains near, but unseen, he having Cort repeatedly returning to his thoughts, the man showing him how to shoot and his morals. When he regains consciousness, he notes of his “romantic” nature only having been known by few, Susan from Mejis being one, and then reminding himself again of Cort and how he now was the last to survive, packing up and continuing his walk.

Roland gets a children’s rhyme stuck in his mind, his mother having sung it to him during nap time. He was now devoid of water and had been walking for a little over two weeks, the mountains not looking any nearer. When he scraped his hands after tripping and had maddened thoughts of the blood as it fell, he became aware of his sanity taking a break. He then notices a couple of buildings which caught his attention earlier upon checking the distance of the mountains, they much closer now. He makes out one as a stable and the other a motel or home, this “a way station” for coaches. There was a person propped against the building Roland recognizing as Walter once walking closer, exhausted he still prompts himself to run as he pulls his gun and declares of having him in his sights, but when the figure gets up, he sees he’s facing a blonde boy, the two staring and Roland not believing his eyes, heading toward the stable, a buzzing persistence in his head. When he reaches the black heat inside, he turns to see the kid had followed, he then falling face-down.

Roland resurfaces with light in his face and straw under his head, the boy having attempted to keep him at ease, the boy also giving him water, then offering food, but Roland taking it slow for knowing he’d gotten sunstroke, the boy then introducing himself as John, preferring to be called Jake Chambers. Roland senses he was ten or eleven, his slight look of intimidation letting Roland know he could rely on him. When Jake returns with more water, Roland admits he’d mistaken Jake for Walter at first, Jake revealing a man in black, a holy man had passed through, Jake not liking him, and when Roland insists he attempt a guess of how long ago he’d left, Jake hesitates between one to two weeks, but certain it was “three poops ago”, then reminded of a film he’d seen in Times Square, Roland not understanding this. When Jake goes off to acquire some meat for him, Roland knows the boy wasn’t from around there, and when he’d returned, Roland inquires into it, Jake no longer knowing, but mentioning someone from his past stating it was due to too much TV.

Roland asks what he’d meant by “Channel 11”, thinking it was a “beam”, Jake then becoming upset with the continued questioning, since he knew his memory was going and he may not remember what his own name was soon, and Roland would be leaving him. Roland essentially tells him to bite the bullet (a phrase I despise), but then requests Jake tell him what he could of his past. Jake only relented when Roland insists so he could decide whether he may be able to puzzle through the leftovers Jake couldn’t put together any longer, the boy describing New York City, the Statue of Liberty, cabs, buses, how he got to, what he brought with him, and what he wore to school, he only using half remembered details. Roland then inquires if Jake would like for him to put him to sleep, to help him regain his memories, he showing Jake what he meant, a similar trick to watching a pendulum swing, Jake quickly lulled, and Roland then thinking of another song his mother had sung to him. Roland disgustedly acknowledges his hands own talents for destruction before inquiring where Jake was. Jake is heading out, detailing what was in his packed lunch the cook had made him and what subjects he had at school, as well as how all the adults treated him cordially, he not experiencing any exceptional warmth from even his parents, and at school, he’s left alone, but has no buddies, girls attracted to him, but his stately manner throwing them off. When he gets to a corner, Walter is there, causing him to get run over by a car, the last he sees is Walter approaching and his own hand.

Roland is troubled by the boy’s story, he not having heard of a place like this before, the closest possibility being Lud, he then giving Jake the option to remember, but he choosing not to, Roland letting him go to sleep. He decides how fond of Jake he was, as he sipped water and looked through the stable, seeing the machine Jake had gotten the water from, Roland then sitting near him and debating whether Walter was allowing him to catch up on purpose. Next, when thinking of the children’s rhyme, Cort comes to mind, as well as others which circle back to Susan, he then entertaining himself with an old tune as he’s comforted in knowing Walter was drawing nearer, Roland then beginning to drowse. He regains consciousness near nightfall, Jake no longer there, Roland locating him outside on the porch of the house, he having made a fire. Roland sits nearby and discusses how he’d be continuing his chase of Walter, uncertain whether he’d end his life or would need him to lead him somewhere, when Jake asks his plan. Roland confides it was whether Walter could lead him to a tower, and then states Jake would need to accompany him, asking about how much food they had, and Jake sharing of a smelly cellar, but not going down, since it seemed unstable. After Jake shares how he was glad he hadn’t murdered Roland in his sleep, he asks if he could share the stable with him when they go to sleep, Roland gives permission, and thinks of his past before calling it a night.

Roland looks in the cellar the next morning, Jake correct in stating the stench being strong from rotten vegetables, he detecting some canned food, but upon the third round, the foundation beginning to creak loudly, Roland calling for Jake to exit, he then hearing Allie’s voice caution him about “the Drawers” and Walter, he then going to the wall he’d heard the voice at and punching through it, grabbing a jaw bone before returning upstairs and out. Jake is hysterical, and hugs him when he sees him exit. Roland realizes Walter may have counted on his affection for Jake, Roland then suggesting they leave, giving a water-bag for him to carry, and Roland taking the last two along with his possessions and the food. After walking a little ways, Jake waves goodbye to the way station, stating how he felt they were being watched and glad to be reassured they wouldn’t return, soon the way station no longer in sight, and they heading for the mountains.

The mountains became more distinct a few days later, Roland able to make out the colors and type of terrain was ahead, Jake watching the lightning ‘show’ which would occur nightly, lulling him to sleep. Roland considers the possibilities of what could be in store for him by Walter, since the boy was an exceptional travel companion, staying out of his way and not slowing him down, no questions being raised on Roland’s actions, he knowing Walter had some reason for putting Jake in his path, and it most likely a doozy if everything was going as well as it was. Walter’s nightly burned campsites were also becoming more recently abandoned, Roland wary upon soon confronting him. At noon on the fourth day, Jake was commanded to stop after he’d stumbled, Roland insisting he drink some water, he then stating from this point forward, they’d be taking breaks daily at this hour, Roland distracting Jake from his guilt by pulling his bullet trick and speaking of where he grew up, as well as Merlin, the boy then going to sleep.

Roland prepares a smoke for himself as he realizes he was no longer urgently desiring to catch up with Walter, thinking of how he may attempt to trick Roland. He imagines men from his past and the varying humors, as well as natures they had, concluding his thoughts of a bird he related to because of its unrelenting nature to kill, Roland affected negatively for a moment before letting the thought go. Another place and time is shown, spring being the season, Cort, David, the falcon, and Cuthbert or Bert were in a spot where a game would soon be started. Roland then makes certain all were prepared, none of them yet allowed to speak the High Speech, Cort letting a dove out of it’s cage, David following soon after, Bert then getting punished for not releasing the dove on time, Roland distracting them by yelling of seeing the dove and David’s progress, the falcon dropping the dove, Roland running at the fallen bird, as David tore into it, he distracting the falcon with a piece of rabbit, and when he tried putting David’s leash back on, was rewarded with a cut to his arm, David resumes consuming the dove until Roland succeeded with getting the falcon leashed, giving him another slice of meat, and hooding him so he’d set upon his arm, Cort regards how Roland had been cut because the falcon didn’t respect him, and wouldn’t ever do so.

Cort releases them for the evening and reminds Bert of his punishment for later and the next morning, but whacking Bert once more for seeing his insolence in the reflection of Roland’s eyes. When they are returning, Roland offers they both eat in a different kitchen which would possibly allow more safety for Bert to get away with eating dinner, Roland regarding how it shouldn’t matter if Cort learned of this or not. The kitchen cook was called Hax, he of mixed origins and a pleasant acquaintance to all of the children he encountered, even the wild ones becoming gunslingers, he giving the two meat scraps as work was quickly done around them. Hax is then approached by a scullery boy leading someone from the Guards to announce the Guard wanted to speak with him. Hax instructs the two to go get some pie and leave after so he didn’t receive backlash, the two eating under the stairs. When they were ready to go, Hax and the Guard make their way near the stairs, making it impossible for the boys to exit undetected, the two hearing something about a get-together for a job in a few weeks and poisoned meat. The men then agree how loyal they were to someone, Hax then inquiring about whether kids would be poisoned in the town and if it’d be painful, the Guard assuring it was mild.

The two speak more of how the Guard planned to make his leaving look normal as Roland notes how he’d had the chance to end the two where they’d stood, Bert and he digesting all they’d heard, Roland seeing Hax’s death in Bert’s eyes. When Roland’s father had returned home, he didn’t waste any time to inform him, the man surprised, wondering about Roland’s reasons for coming forward, he stating it was because they had tricked him, then declaring wanting to be present when he was hanged, his father deciding to allow it. As Roland inquires whether his father knew whom Hax and the Guard had referred to as a “good man”, and why, if caught, it wouldn’t satisfy the public, Roland’s father dismisses him instead of answering. Roland remembers how his mother, father, and Marten, the good man, had been found in the end, and debated how it could technically include himself among them, as well (mysterious).

Roland notes how Bert would’ve found where the gallows were, being quite a suitable relation to the information they’d overheard, the notes from each of their fathers letting them out of Cort’s lessons early, and he instructing the two to set half a loaf of bread under each of Hax’s feet once dead, which he supplied and threatened them to complete correctly. When the boys had arrived a couple hours before everyone else and realized what the bread was for, Bert was chickening out, but Roland saw the value of why they’d been given permission, although not forcing Bert and himself to climb the gallows as Roland had suggested, knowing Cort would’ve forced them both, he discovering how dissatisfied he was with the state of his childhood by this point, then retrieving a splinter of wood from the platform and replying it would be a reminder. They then sit down across the way and view the people as they arrived, Roland hoping there was a good reason behind betraying Hax, he apprehensive and Bert showing no emotion.

Roland was reassured by how the hanging had gone, Hax’s arrival not eliciting too much response from the gathered group, a gunslinger leading Hax to his rope and inquiring if he’d care to make confession, Hax denying the need, Roland planning on speaking with his father about what look he’d seen pass over the crowd as Hax spoke. Right before the deed was done, the gunslinger states his charges and pulls the trap door open as Hax is readying to deny it was true. Roland had stayed impressed with how Hax had continued to attempt speaking after he was hanging, after this everyone made their way off, the two boys approaching the body and Bert discussing how Hax didn’t look himself anymore, Roland disagreeing. The two then spread the bread under Hax’s hanging body, Bert declaring he’d enjoyed the show, Roland not denying this, but replying it was definitely an event. A few years after this, Roland had become a gunslinger, his father was already dead, and he’d killed his mother, his travels then starting.

Jake then brings Roland’s attention to the barely visible figure of Walter climbing high above them supernaturally jumping large areas, it seemed, this being a couple days at the bottom of the mountains for the two. Jake questions Roland of whether this was whom he was searching, whether they’d catch up, and what was beyond the mountains, Roland confirming it was the man he was chasing, believed perhaps they’d reach him on the other side, and couldn’t determine what they’d discover there, he hastening they continue. When they make camp later on, Roland wonders if Jake felt the gravity of their chase and eventual conclusion, however it may involve the Tower, as well, Jake then referred to as a “sacrifice” as Roland covers him as he slept.

Cryptically, Jake discovers “the oracle”, and it had nearly killed him, the days torturous, and Jake’s steadfastness making Roland look on him with pride, despite the crazed look in his eyes, but as they hiked further up, Roland was able to shoot a rabbit, he then ordering Jake to sit whilst he gathered wood, the boy asleep by the time he’d returned. When he’d gone to top off their water-skins, he’s reminded of Allie (King talks like she’d been completely forgotten by now, but possibly putting it like this because of how long it seemed for Roland walking through the desert), he returning to make the rabbit stew with the remainder of their veggies, and after waking Jake, informs him they were staying put the next day, sensing it wouldn’t hurt, but also not having a good feeling about it. As Roland nods off, Jake already back to sleep, he is reminded of Bert again as he throws his cigarette in the campfire, the night pleasant, he dreaming. Next, Susan is about to die, Roland’s love, he being held by a couple of townspeople, but in reality not having witnessed her death. People were chucking corn at her, the husks aflame before even hitting her, the witch, Rhea definitely amused, wherever she was, Roland’s attention then brought to Susan’s window when she’d shrieked about a boy, Roland viewing Jake with a sharp object in his head. Roland wakes when he begins feeling coals from the fire burning his hand, he still hearing a sound he thought had come from his dream, then seeing Jake wasn’t there, he up and after him. Jake had gone further up a ways, Roland smelling his scent, and when entering between some stones, understood what the boy was going through mentally, and physically, the oracle, or succubus emanating a feeling hard to ignore, Roland whipping out the jawbone in his pocket and putting it in front of his face, doing the same for Jake, he having more trouble coming around, but passes out, which allowed Roland to get them both back to the camp, the energy seeming upset, Roland aware now how deeply he cared for Jake, certain he could sense Walter laughing at him.

Roland wakes by Jake yelling at him, he having bound Jake before going back to sleep, he now hungry and angry, Roland explaining he had wandered off, showing him the jawbone, which reminded him, Roland then informing him he was to stay at the camp whilst he took care of something, stating if Jake believed for any reason he had to desert the camp, to look at the jawbone, Jake resisting his ability to do this, due to his revulsion to it. Roland instructs how he should use it when necessary, he relating Jake to another childhood buddy of his, Alain, Jake then relenting with sad resignation, Roland considering how dangerous his task was, but he needing to learn more about the oracle, and attempt to defeat it. Roland then takes out a pill of mescaline, explaining to Jake of what it did, Jake describing its similarity to LSD, which he couldn’t remember the reason for it being similar, Roland then taking the pill and cleaning his weapons whilst he waited. After, he sewed a tear in Jake’s shirt, he then noticing the physical affects of the drug kicking in. Roland announces it was time he go, Jake wishing him luck and safety, Roland rumpling his hair as he walked past him.

Roland heads for the rocks, he taking a moment to sip some water from the stream he would be crossing, looking at his reflection curiously. Roland realized his thoughts were becoming heavier and felt like it was slowing his actions, but  he moved himself onward, fortunately still peaceful in mind, the drug usually irritating him, and as he entered the circle, not feeling the way he had before, he lying on the altar and thinking of a line of Manni poetry, seeing faces in the trees, finally feeling a presence and requesting it to share what needed to be passed on to him. He now was forced to envision Susan, as the oracle mourned and pled for Roland to be warm toward her, since it was already frigid there, the oracle denying of hearing about Jake when Roland brought him up, and continued to go after Roland’s lust with desperation, he negotiating to give what the oracle desired after he received honest information, he withholding and realizing the oracle was moving off sadly, he insisting being told, the oracle then stating he sleep, but when being denied, suggests half sleep, Roland debating this due to the serious nature of what was being asked of him, he also considering its necessity, and then succumbing to half sleep.

The first item he learns is the number three being his fate, another number to show up later, Roland then asking for this to be elaborated, he told of a “young, dark-haired…demon” called, Heroin, the oracle then warning of unfound “doorways”. The second piece of knowledge is brief, a female arriving on “wheels”, and the third about someone else’s end, Roland then inquiring of Walter and learning they’d be chatting of the Tower soon, he afterward insisting to hear about Jake, whom was his ticket to Walter, and in turn he leading him to the three, and this getting him to the Dark Tower, the oracle unable to explain, to Roland’s aggravation. He learns Jake could be saved though, which would have him turn back, he unable for Marten deceiving his father, the oracle stating Walter had consumed Marten’s essence and wasn’t accessible any longer, as Roland was aware, but he not able to give up, the oracle replying of he being cursed in this case, and Roland allowing the oracle then to do as she willed.

The oracle does her ‘bidness’, Roland having to stop her when he’d finished, she persisting, so he being more aggressive to leaving, then considering how long her next wait could last, time being an overpowering hindrance. Jake goes toward him when he approaches the camp, looking worried, Roland clarifying he wasn’t ill, and Jake could leave the jawbone he carried with him, Jake tossing it with loathing, Roland so exhausted he had been ready to share his problems (dan-dinh, also a gamer, apparently), and update him of what he’d experienced, but immediately turns away from the idea, and wondered if he was losing his mind by even having thought to attempt it. He instead shares of their plans for later and right then he would sleep. Jake uses an idiom which confuses Roland until rephrased, and when he’d resurfaced, he designated the task of rekindling the fire to the boy, he shocked to hear a rhyme he hadn’t remembered saying in front of him. Jake is proud of himself when succeeding with using the tools required to restart the fire, Roland walking off to hunt, he returning with three rabbits ready for boiling, and praising Jake on having prepared the water for them, the boy blushing. As the stew boiled, Roland gathers vines as possible rope for later, but sensing “ka” was with them. They break camp at sunrise, their food supply quite light, and as they hiked, Jake and Roland discuss the boy’s views on their upcoming hike up the mountain being strenuous or not, Jake believing the latter.

Jake guesses correctly about the start of their hike up, it not terribly taxing, and when they viewed their progress, Roland was struck by how non-threatening the desert looked from this height, and how it had almost been the end of him. As they continue forward, their path getting steeper, Roland hears the sounds of a storm, but they being safe for now, since it was on the other side of the mountain currently. At sunset, the two set up camp, Roland supplying them a blanket tied up to cover them from wind, Jake being reminded of his mother when remembering a descriptive phrase she used in reference to how deeply he slept, he fighting the urge to get upset. Roland is reminded of a phrase Cort would use when he’d ask useless questions, then Jake wonders how he’d gotten there and the reason for his memory loss, Roland stating it was caused by Walter and the Tower. When Jake confesses confusion, Roland agrees with the sentiment, Jake then asking where he was from, Roland sharing the place was called New Canaan and wasn’t there anymore.

Roland then reminisces to himself of a time when his parents had set him up with a suitable girl for a party, and how the surroundings had begun to lose its luster when he had been about to leave to follow Walter, he saddened by the state of its decline compared to his earlier memories. After he and Jake speak of how the place had turned to ruins, Jake shares how he’d want to have lived there, he then lying down to sleep. Roland considers the unfortunate situation to come for Jake, but this only asserting itself temporarily before he came back to himself and slept. The further on they arose, the more treacherous it became, but Jake stayed useful with his agility in small rock faces, he able to help Roland with a few narrow spots with the ropes they’d brought. The next day, they were trudging through an icy spot of the mountain caused by a cloud, they detecting a footprint in the ice, making camp later upon sunset, and Roland believing Jake may start asking questions, but instead goes to sleep quite quickly. Roland follows suit, but wakes with a similar nightmare as before with Jake and the object in his head, he waking and seeing Jake wasn’t soundly sleeping either, Roland then attempting again to sleep.

One week after the footprint, they were in Walter’s presence for a short moment. Before this happens, they reach a point where they begin going downhill, and when they stop at a stream, they smell Walter on the air and continue on until approaching a bend, Jake wanting to stop and looking terrified, he pleading they turn around, and when Roland refuses, Jake is dazed with the knowledge of he going to be murdered, and this time by Roland, the latter attempting to not straight up lie and only saying he’ll be wary, Jake resigning and holding Roland’s hand as he leads him forward. The two see Walter and the wall of granite he was already climbing, he greeting Roland magnanimously, but with sarcastic quality. Roland fires three shots before controlling himself, Walter amused and inquiring if Roland would deny himself the answers he was chasing. Roland suggests he return to eye level to discuss it, but Walter thinking a good chat on the other side of the mountain a better plan, he regarding Jake and adding he wouldn’t be present, this making him emit a noise of fear. Walter then leaves them through a crack in the face of the granite. Roland watches Jake and thinks how with training he could’ve become a gunslinger, he now able to separate any emotion he’d had for Jake, he bluntly stating of he having the option to join him or not, Jake knowing he’d starve if he stayed, so continued forward, they reaching the point Walter had been and following his route.

Roland next confides to Jake, speaking as if dreaming, of he, Alain, and Bert going somewhere they weren’t supposed to, he having been speaking nonstop since leaving the outside. When night fell, they walk a bit longer before making camp, no longer hearing Walter. Roland had continued his recollection of a particular Ball and how the three had snuck in by balcony, seeing gunslingers with their ladies and elders being entertained, at one point Roland’s mother dancing with Marten until his father motioned for her, everyone by this time knowing his father would become Dinh of Gilead, at the least, but only one person, Gabrielle Veriss not being aware, Jake asking of her being his mother, and Roland confirming. He then tells of Marten having been the gunslingers’ counselor, but soon started repeating himself, so Jake lies down as Roland makes a cigarette, and notes how the memory pained him because of his father’s betrayal. Roland then sleeps, this time Jake looking at him with affection before also sleeping.

Roland’s ability to understand time had been partially effected by the desert’s sameness and completely wiped by the mountain consistently dark. The days which could have been weeks or hours passed, at one point Jake wandering off a ways and Roland hearing him state of having found what felt like a railroad track, Roland following to investigate, and upon seeing for himself by striking a light, couldn’t imagine what the metal conduits could’ve been meant for, but deciding they’d see where they led when waking again, the two bedding down. When Roland woke, Jake was already up and waiting by a rail, they following this for three sleeps, and after the fourth, bump into a car, Jake recognizing it for what it was because of cartoons, he demonstrating how it worked, a strange electronic voice encouraging the continuation of pushing it, Roland then helping.  He locates the button to end the electronic voice, thankfully since it would speak every time it was pushed and they move on in silence.

The river they traveled by was sometimes close and at others almost inaudible, the workout for Roland of mostly pumping the car by himself helped his ability to pass out when they stopped, Jake eventually asking about his fight with his teacher after a long period of no conversation, and this not long before the ambush by the Slow Mutants. Roland explains how an unseen man had been hung for rape, Jake supplying he’d been “invisible”, Roland deciding not to share how the man had been captured right then. He continues with how a couple years later he had ditched a girl which he wished he hadn’t, but Jake knowing his sentiment wasn’t true, Roland fessing up to start his story of how he truly grew up. It took place in Gilead, the seriousness of war beginning, this is a few years after Hax’s death, Roland now fourteen and feeling like a horny teen, passes by his mother’s quarters on his way to the roof for some self-love, Marten calling to him of his mother wishing to speak with him. When he comes in to see she sitting there impassively, asking of his schoolwork and training, he notes Marten next to her seeming to have some control of her, the man stating he could leave, but Roland replying of his mother being the one to give this permission, Marten again excusing him and mentioning knowing where he’d been headed and the reason, Roland leaving and shockingly hearing Marten smack his mother and addressing her inappropriately.

Roland’s other buddy, Jamie was passing by and was deciding whether to update him on the most recent news of war, but upon seeing the look on Roland’s face, instead goes off to grab the other kids, Roland continuing on to Cort’s cabin where he rested and ended his schooling when awaking him, the man giving him a chance to change his mind, speaking of how bright a possibility he’d had if he had patience, but Roland’s mind was set, he being sent away to prepare for his probable expulsion. Roland gets David from the barn, the bird quite old now, but also allowing Roland to take him outside to the area the fight to adulthood would ceremoniously be won or lost, normally the spectators surrounding the spot being with friends and family, but today was only filled with Roland’s fellows, looking on with fear. When Bert mentions where Roland’s weapon was, he confirms he had it with him, Cort then entering and asking the traditional questions. Roland thought of his mother and father, the former somewhere currently inside the castle and the latter away on a hunt. When Roland announces his weapon was David, it only pauses Cort for a moment before they begin. When Roland uncovers David’s eyes, Cort speaks with contempt of Roland’s choice, fortunately David flying true, right at Cort’s face, he doing the first thing which could save the battle, the result leaving David on the ground, Roland attacking whilst the timing was right, but Cort still quick and grabbing at him, which tripped him, his possibility for success dwindling, until he felt David pecking at him, not able to see, so as Cort comes at him, Roland throws the broken bird at Cort, commanding David to “kill”, Cort landing on Roland.

Cort was still fighting him when he landed, Roland fending him off, David still inflicting damage, but he finally freeing himself of the bird, Roland breaking his nose and moving away before Cort could retaliate, grabbing the man’s weapon and standing over him. Cort makes a final play and Roland squarely hits him, Cort then gladly giving in, naming Roland a gunslinger, his recovery including a week in a coma. Before allowing Cort to fully pass out, he requests the key to where his guns would be, Cort leaving him with one final piece of advice, Roland acknowledging his words, stating he’d speak to the whores in town to not expect him for awhile, then designates his buddies to build a stretcher and instruct two nurses to attend to Cort. Roland comes to terms with now being the youngest gunslinger and the first of his group to ‘graduate’. This was also to be the night he lost his virginity, and whilst Roland hadn’t confided every detail, he believed Jake could deduce most of it, the boy’s reaction defensive and arrogant which was making Roland mad, especially when he mentions how the “game” he’d played may have been his foray into adulthood, but wondered if men ever truly matured, stating how he knew Roland was planning on using him as a bargaining “chip”, Roland then telling him to sleep.

When they’d moved on again, Jake saw the Slow Mutant first, they passing unharmed, but the three more ahead of them, standing in the way, Roland not expecting to be attacked, but shoots the first which heads for them. When they’re again lunged at, Jake is being pulled off the car, even after Roland shoots the creature, but after a bit more struggle, gets Jake loose, having him hang on by his belt (this calling back to the day I learned what this meant in prison, ha ha), they moving forward until again halted, this time by rocks on the track, Roland informing Jake he’d have to move them whilst he held them off with his guns, Jake not wanting to, but making a quick job of it, every “mutie” which made for him, Roland shooting. As more headed for them, Roland calls to Jake to return, they barreling over the rest, he keeping their fast pace well after he didn’t need to, they moving on for a few more days without any surprises. On their fourth waking, they approach a light source, Jake thinking the end was close, but Roland sensing otherwise.

As the light gets brighter, they see more stopped train cars of varying sorts, as well as more rail lines, many entrance ways ahead of them, and one of the signs in a language Roland could read, the two eventually getting off the car to walk, Jake reminded of this place looking like a “subway” station, but unable to define it, Roland seeing and taking a bow with arrows from a “weapon shop”. Jake points out a mummified body, the two supposing what had occurred and began seeing a few more as they proceeded. Roland instructs they return to the push car, but Jake deciding to stay, Roland feigning this was fine as Jake shouts after him of he believing Roland had made an agreement about him with someone, Roland then thinking how if he could wait until Jake matured a bit more, they both would be able to deal with Walter more easily, but turned from this idea, knowing they’d both be killed if they turned back, so Roland began moving the car, but Jake comes after him anyways, Roland sensing now the end was near.

Jake pumps the car for awhile so Roland could test the bow and arrows, which weren’t in good shape and couldn’t be repaired. The river becomes louder as they traveled, and after a few sleeps a new light begins to grow, it heading to an eventual crossing over the river. As well as this, natural sunshine was ahead, barely a pinprick, Jake halting them for a moment to inquire whether Roland thought Walter wanted them to cross the river to fall in the middle, Roland knowing this wasn’t probable, but stating ignorance, Roland then after inspecting the drop, suggests they walk across, Jake leading and Roland ready to help him should he stumble, the beams settling audibly as Roland walked across them, Jake almost taking a tumble when losing his balance for a moment before recovering, warning of a pot-hole and speaking of it like the game Simon Says, Roland knowing it as “Mother Says”. Roland feels like the walk was taking much more time than it truly was, also imagining how he’d react if he fell, he attempting to keep his thoughts from wandering to the boy’s future and how close the agreement was to completing.

Jake announces of planning to jump across the remaining distance, he stating Roland’s weight wouldn’t hold where he’d been standing and should head back without him, Roland noticing the underlying terror in his voice despite the attempt to sound calm. Roland takes a large step forward, Jake repeating for Roland to return the way he’d come and not wishing to die by Roland’s hand, the gunslinger demanding Jake continue on so both wouldn’t plummet into the river, and upon walking on, they inclined toward the sunshine, it then blocked by Walter, he greeting them mockingly. Roland reaches for the jawbone, but he no longer had it, and as Walter laughed, Jake lost his footing and hung to the side, Walter stating Roland approach, or not see him again, as Jake requested aid. Walter threatens to go as Roland debated, but he jumps forward with his goal of the Tower in his mind. Jake relents to his fate and speaks of accepting Roland ditching him as he grasped the ledge, the whole railing giving way and falling as he clung to it, Jake not making a sound. Roland knows he would be thinking of Jake and this moment long into the future, and as he approached Walter, the man in black envies his moving to the next step, Roland taking some shots at him, as Walter leads him to where they’d speak.

Walter takes him to an ages old murder circle with different animal skulls surrounding them, Roland noting how Mid-World must be near, if he hadn’t already arrived. Walter suggests Roland gather wood, since the cold would still bite, afterward he building and lighting a fire, he then designating Roland to make their food, he giving him a dead rabbit. Roland cooks it and hands the whole body back to him when done, he taking out the leftover jerky he had, Walter seeming annoyed Roland would think he’d hex the food. Roland states of Walter’s looks being younger than he’d thought, Walter confessing he’d wanted to show his real one, he then bringing Roland’s attention to the sunset which he believed Roland should view for the idea he may feel like he won’t again see it for quite some time, Roland stating his indifference by this point.

Walter prepares to read Roland’s future with his extended Tarot deck, the first card drawn being told of signifying “strength”, and by the second card turned, Walter having mentioned Jake both times, then by the fourth, Roland wanting to know why Walter was having him view the cards at all, he answering by commanding he only sit through it like one would at a religious service, and upon continuing, pulls the reaper and the Tower (it reminding me of the oracle’s prophecy), then upon getting to his seventh card, Walter states of it meaning life, but not in regards to Roland, he sharing how he wasn’t the man he was searching for, he only working for him. Walter then commands Roland sleep, he lunging for Walter, but not connecting, and when next conscious, Walter has light come on when announcing wanting some, and expanding the scenery as he spoke of it.

Roland sees earth made and animals crawling on it, also seeing moons revolve, and other planets. Walter continues to demand “light”, Roland now requesting him to stop, and Walter telling him he’d have to end his quest for the Tower, but when Roland refuses, Walter continues his command for light, and before protecting himself from it, Roland views something highly significant before returning to a safety within. When Roland gets up, Walter isn’t in sight, but speaks from behind him, confessing of being impressed with how he’d handled what he’d shown him, sharing of what he’d seen, and Roland not understanding, then bluntly stating how the Tower would remain beyond his reach. Roland defends himself by stating of Walter not understanding him enough to make such an assumption, Walter becoming serious and relating how he had been Marten, which he knew Roland believed and he’s the farthest traveled servant of the red ruler of the Dark Tower, Roland inquiring about Walter’s words of why he’d mentioned “red”, but he not delving further, only stating how Roland wouldn’t learn anything new and wouldn’t ever do so, then asking him to describe the last thing he’d seen, Roland detailing of it being a single purple “blade of grass”, Walter then requesting Roland listen.

Walter begins with the universe being “the Great All”, going further to explain how a mind couldn’t “grasp the infinite”, and one company “or cabal” had gotten closest, “the North Central Positronics”. When Walter goes on to confess how many accomplishments had been made, regarding disease, space travel, and the closeness of curing old age, Roland interrupts by declaring disbelief, Walter allowing he didn’t need to believe it, but even with all of this headway, no one seeming impressed with the knowledge, nor understood it, the reason he mentioned this was how the universe didn’t offer “life”, but the vastness of everything, claiming there was an “end” to anything would be presumptuous. After giving many examples of what he meant about universes being right out of reach or stacked on, or beside each other, he brings in the idea of the Tower being connected to another place, and rhetorically asks if he’d go to the top and see what was in the “Room”, he believing he wouldn’t do so.

Roland suggests God would go, or Walter’s king, then inquires if the room contained anything, Walter uncertain and wary of what would happen should he look, Roland then napping after stoking the fire. When he notices Walter looking at him, he demands he stop, checking for the dawn, which Walter sees and states of they having more to discuss, as his king had informed him, before the sun was meant to rise again. Walter makes certain, after Roland asks about the king again, whether he truly saw him as an equal, this being the only way honesty could be had, Roland beginning with what Walter had meant when mentioning a “glammer” (which I don’t remember reading…), Walter defining this in how it stayed dark, the king responsible for this. Walter then states their discussion would take quite some time and the specific amount unknown. Roland then is given his chance to ask whatever he wished, Walter stating how he’d not met his king before and Roland would locate “the Ageless Stranger”, and kill him first before he did.

Walter describes how his king visited him through his dreams, he working for him since he was a child, Roland being the end of his tasks. Upon being asked the name of the Stranger, Walter shares it was Legion, Roland inquiring whom was the one which was worse, when Walter mentions this, but he denying to answer, mentioning anything of End-World being the killer of souls. Roland approaches the subject differently, asking whether after Legion was the Tower, Walter confirming, but again knowing this wasn’t what Roland wanted to know. When he asks, Walter states how if he gave him the answer, he’d surely shoot him, Roland agreeing, so instead inquires where he would next need to go, Walter going off tangent about how Marten had not left, and Roland coming to terms with how the man had only changed form, Walter then stating how he’d share stories of Roland so he could learn more, he stating how he knew his mission was to locate the Tower, Walter informing him it was more about his mind, he being an original kind, he then offering Roland tobacco, making sure he was satisfied with it, since it could be the final smoke he had for quite awhile, he then going into the Tower being sought after, since it had come to be, and it had been standing an infinite amount of time.

Roland didn’t absorb much of their long conversation, the important bit being his heading for the ocean, which was twenty miles away and would gain “the power of drawing”. Walter clarifies Roland already had this power and would draw three, Walter readying to leave and before doing so, again brings light, this time Roland glad to see it. He wakes ten years older, Walter now a skeleton, which Roland is suspicious to believe was truly Walter, he taking the jawbone, and making it to the coast. He then waits for the moment of the drawing, imagining the day he’d reach the Tower and the fight which would come.

And immediately I want to know more, but I’ll be continuing with The Eyes of the Dragon before I do. This was a quick and interesting official start into the series, and I’m exhilarated in my foray into King reading. I also wonder if this will be covered in the movie, or if it truly is a continuation after the 7th book… We shall see!

The Little Sisters of Eluria (The Dark Tower 0.5)

Image result for little sisters of eluria book cover

A scorching day has Roland of Gilead approaching a town’s gate in the Desatoya Mountains. His horse was on his last legs and Roland noted decayed flowers attached to the gate, which signified a festival of some kind, and the quiet within erroneous. The few sounds heard coming from a bug which made a deep buzz, a rap on wood, and little bells. Roland dismounts the slowly dying horse, and respectfully grooms him a bit as he notes the sounds and enters through the gate, the only other defining mark being an odd looking cross, he having seen the typical style of this in other towns he’d seen in the ten months he’d been travelling, the norm being a large cross at the entrance, a smaller one upon exiting. He views the usual businesses within, two bars, a motel, a trade shop, town hall, and a metal-smith, he also viewing a church the further into town he got, the god of choice being Jesus, which wan’t a common deity in Mid-World, but still having a following. He then is pulled back into the only sounds described, he wary of the meaning of this involving death. As Roland led his horse through the gates, he saw a forgotten cob pipe in front of the trade shop, and the swinging doors of The Bustling Pig bar were in disrepair, one hanging open, the other leaning on the building, and what looked like blood on the door still attached. A fire had taken out a barn behind a stable, and as he gets ever closer to the church, he estimates the town’s current condition would’ve occurred possibly two weeks ago due to the flowers not being completely dead in front of the church.

Roland learns where the bells he heard came from, the cross on the church door having bells strung up, he then shouting out a greeting to the town, no reply being heard. He sensed he was being monitored though, he continuing his trek to the front of the Sheriff’s office, a billow of trapped heat consuming him upon opening the door. Roland sees a blood stain in the cell, flies getting a snack from the spatter, he discovering a notebook revealing the town’s name of Eluria. He then reads some of the entries, the last leaving him to suppose the criminal may have escaped. Roland continues toward the center of town, he identifying the wooden tapping to a lame dog chewing at the boot upon a dead body in a trough. When the dog notices him and doesn’t move along after Roland shoos him, he fires a warning shot which gets the dog limping away, and mournfully howling as he headed toward the back exit of the town. When he takes a look at the body, it’s of a teenager, he noticing a trinket around the boy’s neck, which he retrieves, the engraving including the name, James. Roland was pleased he’d gotten the necklace since he now could save it on the chance he met anyone knowing the boy, realizing ka could make the possibility more certain. He debated whether to bury the lad when his horse finally drops, he catching a glimpse of eight green-tinged people walking in his direction, their gender uncertain and approaching like zombies. The group carried wooden sticks off of furniture, one of them falling as they got closer.

Roland finally fires a warning shot after another pitches a stick at him, but not far enough, and his verbal warnings go unnoticed; the shot has the desired effect of pausing their progress. As he begins instructing them to keep still as he backs away, another of the green men shoots forward, making odd noises as he came (Roland beginning to identify their sexes as they got closer). Roland shoots him squarely, the man’s reaction being to step backwards at his same quick momentum, scratching at the bullet wound, he finally tripping and staying down. The dead(-er?) bodies reaction to the sun, bullet, or both, has Roland believing there wouldn’t be a corpse to think of an excuse for soon enough. The others stay put, until “Bowler Hat” takes another step after Roland had gotten behind the trough, he blasting a final warning shot, and sharing his plans of leaving unhindered, when another greenie is heard from behind him, this one hidden by a toppled wagon, the man-thing whacking Roland on the shoulder, and he missing his aim at the greenie, the gang he’d kept still, now speeding closer. The greenie whom hit him was a whopper of a fella with two heads, Roland putting him down with a head shot as he was readying to club him again, he now having to deal with the gang finally upon him, more club hits to contend with. Roland is able to send a few back, and hopes he’s able to get the buffer of the wagon so he could finish them off, he wanting to believe ka wouldn’t have his search end so early before locating the Dark Tower. Roland gets whacked hard enough to hit the wagon, he still working on escape, now aware of more greenies coming, perhaps thirty strong. As he’s losing consciousness, he still plans to shoot, but the gun is knocked away from him, he being consumed by darkness as the previously mentioned sounds, plus the dog’s barks, lull him into unconsciousness.

When Roland ascends to wakefulness, which he hadn’t experienced before, he believes he was no longer living, but as his sight came back slowly, he no longer thought he was dead, the singing he heard changing his mind, similar buzzing bugs being heard, he opening his eyes again and being tested whether he was actually living, noting he was hovering in a white, majestic place, thinking he was inside a cloud at first, hearing the buzzing and bells. Then, upon an attempt to turn, he felt straps holding him in place, feeling a hurt sensation climb up his back, another more terrible one in one of his legs. He realizes these pains came from the club with the nails in it, his head feeling terrible, as well. When he tries to call out, he’s having trouble convincing himself he was hearing his own voice, which sounded crow-like. He believed he imagined hearing the dog bark again, and then felt a hand on his face, comforting him at first, before thinking it could be a greenie, but then she spoke, attempting to keep him quiet so he could rest longer, he thinking of how he must be hanging above a bed, too wounded to be lain prostrate.

Roland, soon after this thought, falls into unconsciousness, only this time not as deeply as before. Some time later, he hears the girl angrily protesting to someone seeming to want to acquire something he had. When he awakes again, the “white beauty” place still charmed him, he recognizing it was a long, high, narrow space, he estimating it was about two hundred yards in length, he feeling it was a bit like being inside a large tent, silk above him giving the impression of being inside a cloud, from each section of silk having a rope with little bells attached, wind making them sound pleasantly. Roland saw two rows of forty beds, and two more were in use next to him, one Roland was suspicious in believing was truly the boy in the trough, now alive and sleeping, the necklace Roland had taken from him, on the neck of this one, supporting his disbelieved notion. The other man he saw was further away from the two, and much older, hanging above his bed, and Roland thinking his eyes were tricking him when he viewed the unconscious man’s multiple fractured legs in motion, dark impressions surrounding them, as well as one on his cheek; his back feeling the same, he attempting to ignore his curiosity to learn why. He then notices a cotton cloth on his chest, he recognizing he was wearing the same gown as the old man, and when grabbing and inspecting a chain he wore, realized he had the dead boy’s chain still. When he took a last look at the old man, the black line on the man’s cheek was gone, a wound still healing there, Roland confused by this, but able to fall asleep with the bells chiming and the bugs buzzing.

Roland next wakes and believes he must be having a night terror, seeing the first witch he’d ever met as more than a single woman, but five, and they were dressed in uniform, their faces heavily lined, small bells on the silk upon their heads. When Roland saw the sign of the Dark Tower on the front of their habits, he realized he was actually awake, then they noticing he is conscious, and when they approach, the age of their faces become a bit younger. When he inquires who they are, the one whom had spoken to him first introduces them as the Little Sisters of Eluria, and she was called Sister Mary, she revealing the others as Sister Louise, Sister Michela, and Sister Coquina, the final one sharing her name was Sister Tamra, her face changing quickly into quite an old crone’s, the group moving closer to him, and he bringing pain when cringing away, they curious by his pain, and as Michela readies to touch him, Mary warns of not doing so, Roland thinking it had to do with the medallion which had fallen out. A sixth, Jenna also bids them to go away, the Sisters teasing her of having fallen for him, she ignoring them and insisting they move along so Roland could rest, Jenna easing her tone with Mary’s sober reply of they not ever kidding around, after stating this, she deciding they’d visit the other needy souls.

Jenna attempts to soothe him with the fact of they not wanting to hurt him, but Roland knows this wasn’t the case. He then asks whether they followed Jesus, she amusedly denying this, which prompts him to inquire where the doctors were, Jenna debating sharing and finally warning him not to yell in panic with the boy right next to him, to which he agrees. So, she moves to where the old man hung, Jenna ringing the bells on her head as she leaned over him, the bugs he heard buzzing, going down his legs, Roland realizing this was what he was feeling on his back, securing his wounds. Roland definitely felt the urge to shriek as the bugs jumped off the man on to the floor. When Jenna rejoins him, she informs him how he was discovered, he grateful to her and sharing his name as requested, he sensing she wasn’t being truthful when she shares of not knowing where his weapons were, but didn’t hold this against her, believing she could be declaring this dishonesty for being scared. When she’s called by Sister Mary, she has him promise not to make known she’d shown him the doctors, and before going, has him stick to the story of he being James, the young man next to him his brother, otherwise she’d be in great danger. Roland considers the reason Jenna had moved the medallion to encircle his neck, thinking the Little Sisters may murder Jenna if they learned of this, Roland then drifting to sleep.

Roland is sleepily imagining a bug which could be one of the doctors, irritatingly bumping his face and chuckling whilst he uncoordinatedly attempted to swat it away. When the nightmare turns to a large greenie sneaking up on him, he jolts to consciousness to see Coquina had been happily tapping his face with a wooden spoon, and made her drop the bowl she had been holding with his sudden movement. Roland snatches the bowl before it drops out of reach, which impresses Coquina, he then gesturing for the spoon which she gives him, but he soon realizes isn’t necessary, drinking from the bowl directly, whilst warning Coquina to remember his agility. The two then get into discussing the pull each had on the other: if Roland mentioned Coquina’s teasing to Mary, and she making Jenna’s life difficult if he did. The two agree to stay silent about their exchange, Coquina confiding Jenna was currently on a ‘time out’, she then inquiring if he knew the no-longer-sleeping boy, he watching them, Roland not missing a beat to claim him as his brother, the boy supplying his own name to Coquina and Tamra, whom walked up, John also referring to Roland as Jimmy.

After the two Sisters leave, they speak of James’ fate, Jenna’s uniqueness, the non-mortal state of the nurses, and how John had gotten there, he deducing why James hadn’t been saved. As they spoke, Roland isn’t aware the soup he’d drank had been spiked, he becoming tired, John describing how many beds had been occupied before he’d gotten there, and how they didn’t return when healed, and as Roland became more deeply affected by the drug, John confesses what had happened to Roland to make him feel sluggish, the boy also questioning Roland’s thoughts on his presence when he was pretty much healed now, and his belief neither of them would see daylight again. When Roland wakes up in the night to laughter, he struggles to turn his head to see all of the Sisters except Jenna surrounding the old man, Mary speaking words he didn’t understand. When the room is thrown into pitch black, Roland hears the sounds of slurping, and when they’re done, he moves his head the other way. As they get closer to him and speak of their wanting to kiss him, but the medallion keeping them away, this doesn’t stop one of them from grabbing his boner until he quickly finds release, he seeing two faces bewhiskered with blood, and Roland’s assurance of not ever sleeping again. (Liar.)

When next Roland woke, it is brightly day, John asleep, and the old man removed, Sister Mary soon arrives with Louise, she speaking of not being grateful to him and revealing his ways had brought about Jenna’s revolt, she demanding he show his hand, the bowl of soup they’d brought with them making his stomach growl, Mary annoyed with how well he stuck to his story of being Jim, even after threatening Jenna, Roland stating of ending her if Jenna was harmed. Then, after refusing the soup unless given to him by Jenna, Mary informs whilst she had been released from time-out, she was bound to extra meditation, Roland having no choice, but to acquiesce, Mary’s threat of whipping Jenna keeping him trapped. When he sleeps once more, he believes he’s visited by Jenna, whom advises him to check beneath his pillow later, and when he’s finally able to, sees six stems of reed heads with instructions, and once finishing reading, realizes the importance of following the words carefully. The last time Roland speaks with John, they regret the circumstances they’d met, John unable to move well, and next heard from him, being a shriek. Michela comes with his soup next, along with bread, her words of his leaving soon giving him the impression of this being otherwise, what with her wolfish looks of hunger.

Roland eats another reed upon waking after his dose of soup, believing he’d overdone it with feeling ill, and having to stay still as all the Sisters, except Jenna had another person with them to obtain his and John’s necklaces. When Roland sees Mary with one of his guns, he vows she’ll regret having been so bold. The Sisters bribed Bowler Hat to relieve the two of their protection, he giving the impression he was about to obey their orders with John first, but then taunting them with leaving it on, he knowing their threats didn’t hold much water, other than the firearm, which after another threat from Mary, gives him pause. When he does finally go through with his task, he does a bit extra by killing John quickly after. The Sisters properly preoccupied, Bowler Hat escapes, the Sisters feeding, and when they’d gone, Roland taken over by the soup drug again, a nightmare hitting for the first time since his arrival, it foreboding the spread of the Sisters to surrounding towns, Bowler Hat’s presence in his dream waking him, he seeing John’s bed now empty, Roland being the last man swinging. He had some of the reed before Mary came with porridge, her youthful image strong due to her feast. Roland mentions his idea they’d been drugging him, but Mary denies this gleefully, she then turning to his lie about John being his brother when he asks after him, he then attempting to bribe the truth he kept by seeing Jenna, Mary angered and threatening his willingness to confess would come regardless.

 It ended up being quite a drawn out day, he fitfully napping and maintaining optimism of being able to survive this due to Jenna’s aid. He then bides his time with reminiscences of the past, he periodically chewing some reed, and noting they seemed to be overpowering the Sisters’ drug, and when evening came, Sister Tamra delivers his supper of soup, as well as a desert lily from Jenna, which Tamra asks of the topic being promised to Roland, he making up she’d told him they’d speak again, Tamra getting a kick out of this and sharing how Mary had chosen to deny this possibility already, she then asking why he didn’t take his necklace off, pointing out how John had, and when her words to convince him to do the same fail, she leaves, indifferent. Roland then plans on getting both necklaces to the Norman brothers’ family, as he chews another reed and feels actual endurance in him, he then drowsing easily, he awaking at true nightfall, and hearing the loud bugs, he chewing a reed. He hears a voice which turns out to be Coquina, she revealing herself, then Jenna walks toward them to confess she’d supplied the reeds to Roland, he thrusting the medallion toward Coquina to keep her away from him, Jenna having brought Roland’s firearms as he thought she would, but he still caught in the slings after attempting to break loose.

Jenna then uses the bells around her head to call the bugs, they swarming, and Jenna getting Roland loose, the two walking out of the tent, which is when Roland realizes he’d forgotten John’s necklace with regret, but Jenna revealing she’d picked it up, requesting he take it quickly because it was burning her. Then, three of the four Sisters approach, teasing Jenna as they get closer, she responding by speaking of leaving with Roland, the three surprised into silence, they warning her of what would occur if she tried, but Jenna stating how none of them truly knew whether there were consequences, she then threatening the bugs on them if they didn’t let she and Roland pass, but they standing aside willingly, Jenna leading Roland up a road, away from Eluria, not liking how Mary hadn’t shown herself, yet. They discuss how they were both in agreement in keeping each other company when Mary interrupts, she looking properly death-like. Jenna attempting and failing to summon the bugs, and Mary coming closer, Roland deciding he’d try choking her out, her flesh disgusting to the touch, and she thrusting him away with her power. Jenna then tries her bells again, this time getting a dog to answer the call, it going after Mary with gusto, as Roland pulls Jenna along.

When they stop to catch their breath, Roland considers why the dog had been immune to the Sisters’ powers when Jenna senses he must know something about it, which he responds by relating his theory, and then suggests they cover some ground before daylight. They cover a few miles, but not too many because of Roland still flushing out the Sisters’ drug, they locating a decent spot to spend the day, the two sharing a kiss before he passes out, dreaming of the dog discovering the Dark Tower, he then hearing bells and a scream which doesn’t fade with his dream, he waking to see he was alone, detecting Jenna’s clothes and then hearing the bugs, he ringing the dropped bells and the bugs making a sign which seemed to confirm his thoughts, Roland then tracking Walter once more, he troubled with the imagined ringing bells as he traveled on by himself. I liked this story, but I’m also annoyed I won’t be getting my hands on the comics any time soon, alas. At least I’ll be on to the next soon enough though, which isn’t actually soon enough.

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!