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"Now, pay attention. Sirius is locked in Professor Flitwick’s office on the seventh floor. Thirteenth window from the right of the West Tower. If all goes well, you will be able to save more than one innocent life tonight. But remember this, both of you: you must not be seen. Miss Granger, you know the law — you know what is at stake... You — must — not — be — seen."
Albus Dumbledore advising Hermione Granger to use her time-turner to save both Sirius Black and Buckbeak[src]

The rescue of Sirius Black and Buckbeak took place on 6 June, 1994, in which Albus Dumbledore allowed Hermione Granger and Harry Potter to use the Time-Turner to rescue the Animagus Sirius Black and Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Sirius then rode Buckbeak to hide out in an unknown area.[1]


Background information

Earlier that evening, when Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger learned that the Hippogriff, Buckbeak, was to be executed they went to visit Rubeus Hagrid in order to console him.[2] During that visit, Hermione discovered Ron's lost rat Scabbers. They were hastily ushered out the back door by Hagrid when the trio realised that the executioner was on his way with the Minister for Magic and Albus Dumbledore. They departed the scene quickly after one last-minute attempt to persuade Hagrid that they could tell the Minister what really happened.[2]

The Shrieking Shack

"A mass of filthy, matted hair hung to his elbows. If his eyes hadn't been shining out of the deep, dark sockets, he might have been a corpse.The waxy skin was stretched so tightly over the bones of his face, it looked like a skull. His yellow teeth were bared in a grin. It was Sirius Black."
— The Trio first see Sirius Black in the Shrieking Shack[src]

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, and Sirius in the Shrieking Shack

After the apparent execution of Buckbeak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were headed back to the castle when Scabbers got loose. As he escaped, the trio were drawn into the Shrieking Shack when Sirius Black, who was in his Animagus form, dragged Ron into the tunnel underneath the Whomping Willow.[3] In the Shrieking Shack, the truth about Sirius came out.[4] Harry was forced to believe the truth when Scabbers was revealed to be Peter Pettigrew.[5]

After deciding how best to remedy their situation, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, and Remus Lupin, who had joined them in the Shrieking Shack shortly after their arrival, left with Peter Pettigrew bound to Hermione, while Lupin dealt with an unconscious Severus Snape, who had followed them in an attempt to capture Sirius.

Pettigrew's escape

Upon leaving the tunnel, they headed for the castle, where Pettigrew was to be turned over to the Dementors. When they were still on the grounds, Lupin transformed into a werewolf when the full moon came out. In the ensuing chaos, Pettigrew transformed back into Scabbers and escaped after cursing Ron. Sirius, after fighting with Lupin in his Animagus form, was left injured by the edge of the lake. He was attacked by the Dementors, who had been seeking him since his escape from Azkaban the previous summer. Harry tried to save him, but he was overwhelmed by the Dementors. A mysterious person drove the Dementors away with an exceptionally powerful Patronus.[6]

The rescue

Harry Potter: "Dumbledore just said — just said we could save more than one innocent life.... Hermione, we’re going to save Buckbeak!"
Hermione Granger: "But — how will that help Sirius?"
Harry Potter: "Dumbledore said — he just told us where the window is — the window of Flitwick’s office! Where they’ve got Sirius locked up! We’ve got to fly Buckbeak up to the window and rescue Sirius! Sirius can escape on Buckbeak — they can escape together!"
— Harry and Hermione planning their course of action[src]

When Harry Potter came to, he was informed that Sirius had been apprehended and that the Dementor's Kiss was to be performed as soon as possible.[1] He and Hermione attempted to convince Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, of the truth about Sirius and Peter Pettigrew, but he refused to believe them, believing himself that they were Confunded, based upon the testimony of Severus Snape.

Harry, Hermione, and Dumbledore in the Hospital Wing discussing the nights previous events

Dumbledore arrived and asked to speak to Harry and Hermione privately. They immediately burst into speech, explaining what really happened. Dumbledore told them that he believed them, but that he could not make other men see the truth and that the word of two thirteen year old wizards was unlikely to convince many people.[1] He informed Hermione that they need more time and that with any luck two innocent lives could be saved.

On this perplexing note, he bade them good luck and told Hermione that three turns should do. Before leaving, he gave them the exact location of Sirius in Flitwick's office. Dumbledore also mentioned that it was five minutes to the hour and that they had better return before the final bell.[1]

Travelling back in time

Albus Dumbledore: "I am going to lock you in. It is — five minutes to midnight. Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good luck."
Harry Potter: "Good luck? Three turns? What’s he talking about? What are we supposed to do?"
— Dumbledore's advice to Harry and Hermione[src]

Harry and Hermione use a Time-Turner to travel back in time

Once Dumbledore had left, Hermione pulled a fine chain from around her neck and threw it around Harry's. Ron was incapacitated; therefore, he could not join them. She turned the small hourglass on the end of the chain three times. Ending up in a broom closet off the Entrance Hall, Hermione revealed to Harry that they had just gone back in time three hours.[1] She explained to him that she was given a Time-Turner by Professor McGonagall at the beginning of the school year; which explained all of her mysterious appearances and disappearances during the year.

While Hermione was quite sure the time to which she and Harry had travelled, she could not figure out why. Thinking back to what Dumbledore had told them about saving two innocent lives, Harry surmised that they were to save Buckbeak from execution and then fly him to the window where Sirius was being held.[1] Hermione fretted that this seemed impossible, but they had to try. Harry was all for taking off straight to Hagrid's house, but Hermione explained to Harry the laws governing time travel, most importantly that they must not be seen. They set off for Hagrid's house keeping to a path that would prevent them from being seen, going behind the greenhouses.[1]

Rescuing Buckbeak

Hermione Granger: "If we manage that without being seen, it’ll be a miracle!"
Harry Potter: "Well, we’ve got to try, haven’t we? Doesn’t sound like anyone’s there.... Come on, let’s go...."
— Hermione and Harry heading off to save Buckbeak[src]

Harry and Hermione attempt to set Buckbeak free, while Minister for Magic Fudge is yards away

When Harry and Hermione reached Hagrid's house, Harry wanted to immediately free Buckbeak. Hermione had to hold him back, explaining that Fudge needed to see Buckbeak so that he would not think that Hagrid had set the hippogriff free. A little later, when the Hermione in Hagrid's house found Scabbers, Harry wanted to go in and retrieve him. Once again, Hermione held him back, explaining that it was incredibly dangerous to fiddle with the past. She asked Harry what he would think if he saw himself charging in through Hagrid's back door. Harry admitted that he would likely think himself mad or else bewitched.[1]

Harry and Hermione continued to wait until they saw themselves emerge from Hagrid's house. After their past selves had donned Harry's Cloak of Invisibility and Fudge had seen Buckbeak in the pumpkin patch, Harry left the cover of the forest to untie Buckbeak. His initial tries to release the animal were unsuccessful, as Buckbeak struggled to get back Hagrid's hut and time was ticking away. After some seconds and with Hermione's aid, Harry led Buckbeak into the Forbidden Forest.[1]

Harry and Hermione watch as Remus Lupin approaches the base of the Whomping Willow

Harry and Hermione prepared themselves to wait once again. They watched their past selves disappear into the tunnel underneath the Whomping Willow. Harry expressed a want to fetch the Cloak of Invisibility that the trio had left at the base of the Whomping Willow, but Hermione convinced him that this action was ill-advised. This was fortuitous as Professor Lupin soon emerged from the castle heading straight for the Whomping Willow. He was soon followed by Professor Snape.[1]

They waited for the time when all of those who had gone down the to the Shrieking Shack came back. While they waited, Harry discussed the Patronus that drove the Dementors away with Hermione. He believed that his father had conjured the Patronus.[1] When Hermione reminded Harry that his father was dead, Harry became slightly defensive, and they went back to waiting. When their past selves had all returned from the Shrieking Shack, Harry and Hermione witnessed Lupin's transformation and Pettigrew's escape from afar. After Lupin transformed, Harry and Hermione made for the safety of Hagrid's cabin, since they had seen him departing for the castle earlier in the evening.[1]

Rescuing Sirius

"We’ll see each other again. You are — truly your father’s son, Harry...."
Sirius Black's grateful farewell to Harry Potter, before flying away on Buckbeak[src]

Harry and Hermione watch as Dementors attack Sirius Black and Harry himself

When Harry left Hagrid's cabin, he told Hermione that he was going to watch the progress of events.[1] He secretly wanted to see who cast the Patronus charm that drove away the Dementors. Harry travelled to the far side of the lake to watch. He saw the Dementors descending upon Sirius and his past self. Realising that no one was coming, Harry stepped forward and cast his Patronus. A stag erupted from his wand, and it drove off the Dementors. As it approached him, Harry realised that was "Prongs", his father's Animagus form. Harry returned to Hermione and Buckbeak. When she asked Harry what happened, Harry told her about the Patronus.[1]

Harry and Hermione break Sirius out of the top most tower

They waited a few minutes longer until they were sure that Sirius was locked in the tower. When Macnair, the Executioner, exited the castle to get the Dementors, Harry and Hermione knew it was their time. They flew Buckbeak up to the window of Flitwick's office where Sirius was being kept. Hermione opened the locked window and Sirius, who was shocked by their appearance, mounted Buckbeak as well.

On the top of the tower, Sirius bade goodbye to Harry and Hermione, thanking them and telling Harry that he was truly his father's son.[1] As Sirius and Buckbeak flew off into hiding, Harry and Hermione realised that time was running out. They sprinted back to the Hospital Wing, ducking out of the way to hide from Peeves. They got back just as Dumbledore was locking them in. They reported their success to Dumbledore and returned to their beds in time for Madam Pomfrey to begin treating them.[7]


Soon after, Snape, Fudge and Dumbledore returned to the Hospital Wing. Snape was fuming and certain that Harry had something to do with Sirius' escape. After being talked down by Dumbledore, the three of them left the Hospital Wing. Ron came around moments later, and Harry let Hermione tell him the story.[7]

Behind the scenes

Mary GrandPré's illustration of the escape of Sirius and Buckbeak

Sirius Black's escape in LEGO Harry Potter form

  • Though Dumbledore states that the word of two thirteen year old wizards will convince no one, Hermione is in fact fourteen years old. She buys Crookshanks for her birthday in September. The point remains the same that two underage wizards will not convince anyone of the truth.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione is shown punching Draco Malfoy on the trio's way to Hagrid's house, because of this Harry and Hermione have to hide from Malfoy when they go back in time. This event occurs under different circumstances in the book, eliminating this problem.

Differences between book and film

  • In the book, in the Hospital Wing, Snape, Fudge and Madam Pomfrey are present when Harry and Hermione try to explain that Sirius is innocent before Dumbledore enters. In the film, only Dumbledore is there who try to convince him and instantly believes them, like in the book and gives them rules how to rescue Sirius.
  • In the book, Dumbledore tells Harry and Hermione that Sirius is locked up in Professor Flitwick's office in the West Tower, thirteenth window from the right of the tower, but in the film, Dumbledore tells Harry and Hermione that Sirius is locked up in the topmost cell of the Dark Tower.
  • In the film, when Harry and Hermione go back in time, Hermione throws 2 ammonites fossils at both Hagrid's pot (because that had happened) and at Harry to get his attention, so he can see Fudge and Macnair coming to Hagrid's hut. Hermione later howls like a wolf to call Lupin away from fighting Padfoot, in turn causing him to come after them instead, at which point they are rescued by Buckbeak. In the novel, neither of these two events occur.
  • Hermione throwing ammonites fossils is obvious of not occurring in the novel, especially since neither the pot or Harry got hit by any of the fossils.
  • In the book, Harry is alone when saving himself, Hermione, and Sirius from the Dementors due to Hermione and Buckbeak being in Hagrid's empty cabin when they went there to hide after Lupin transformed to avoid for Lupin to attack them and Harry went out to scout ahead. In the film, Hermione is with Harry.
  • In the book Hermione rescues Sirius with "Alohomora", but in the film, she uses "Bombarda", a spell made up for the films. In the French adaptation of the movie, the spell "Alohomora" is used, instead of Bombarda.
  • In the film, when Harry and Hermione go back to the Hospital Wing after saving Sirius and Buckbeak, Ron is already awake and asks how he and Hermione got outside the wing, when they were right in front of him. In the novel, Ron is still sleeping when Harry and Hermione get back.
  • In addition to Ron being asleep, the novel also has a part where Snape is talking to Dumbledore, Fudge and Madam Pomfrey about Sirius escaping, and it being Harry's fault. This is omitted from the film.


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16 (Professor Trelawney's Prediction)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 17 (Cat, Rat and Dog)
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
  6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)