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J.K.Rîwling >> Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (page 11)


“I think so,” said Neville tremulously.

“I wouldn't be so sure if I were you, dear,” said Professor Trelawney, the firelight glinting on her long emerald earrings. Neville gulped. Professor Trelawney continued placidly. “We will be covering the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be devoted to reading the tea leaves. Next term we shall progress to palmistry. By the way, my dear,” she shot suddenly at Parvati Patil, “beware a red-haired man.”

Parvati gave a startled look at Ron, who was right behind her and edged her chair away from him.

“In the second term,” Professor Trelawney went on, “we shall progress to the crystal ball—if we have finished with fire omens, that is. Unfortunately, classes will be disrupted in February by a nasty bout of flu. I myself will lose my voice. And around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever.”

A very tense silence followed this pronouncement, but Professor Trelawney seemed unaware of it.

“I wonder, dear,” she said to Lavender Brown, who was nearest and shrank back in her chair, “if you could pass me the largest silver teapot?”

Lavender, looking relieved, stood up, took an enormous teapot from the shelf, and put it down on the table in front of Professor Trelawney.

“Thank you, my dear. Incidentally, that thing you are dreading—it will happen on Friday the sixteenth of October.”

Lavender trembled.

“Now, I want you all to divide into pairs. Collect a teacup from the shelf, come to me, and I will fill it. Then sit down and drink, drink until only the dregs remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the left hand, then turn the cup upside down on its saucer, wait for the last of the tea to drain away, then give your cup to your partner to read. You will interpret the patterns using pages five and six of Unfogging the Future. I shall move among you, helping and instructing. Oh, and dear”—she caught Neville by the arm as he made to stand up—”after you've broken your first cup, would you be so kind as to select one of the blue patterned ones? I'm rather attached to the pink.”

Sure enough, Neville had no sooner reached the shelf of teacups when there was a tinkle of breaking china. Professor Trelawney swept over to him holding a dustpan and brush and said, “One of the blue ones, then, dear, if you wouldn't mind... thank you.. .. “

When Harry and Ron had had their teacups filled, they went back to their table and tried to drink the scalding tea quickly. They swilled the dregs around as Professor Trelawney had instructed, then drained the cups and swapped over.

“Right,” said Ron as they both opened their books at pages five and six. “What can you see in mine?”

“A load of soggy brown stuff,” said Harry. The heavily perfumed smoke in the room was making him feel sleepy and stupid.

“Broaden your minds, my dears, and allow your eyes to see past the mundane!” Professor Trelawney cried through the gloom.

Harry tried to pull himself together.

“Right, you've got a crooked sort of cross... “ He consulted Unfogging the Future. “That means you're going to have 'trials and suffering'—sorry about that—but there's a thing that could be the sun... hang on... that means 'great happiness'... so you're going to suffer but be very happy...”

“You need your Inner Eye tested, if you ask me,” said Ron, and they both had to stifle their laughs as Professor Trelawney gazed in their direction.

“My turn...” Ron peered into Harry's teacup, his forehead wrinkled with effort. “There's a blob a bit like a bowler hat,” he said. “Maybe you're going to work for the Ministry of Magic...

He turned the teacup the other way up.

“But this way it looks more like an acorn... What's that?” He scanned his copy of Unfogging the Future. “'A windfall, unexpected gold. ' Excellent, you can lend me some... and there's a thin, here,” he turned the cup again, “that looks like an animal... yeah, if that was its head... it looks like a hippo... no, a sheep...”

Professor Trelawney whirled around as Harry let out a snort of laughter.

“Let me see that, my dear,” she said reprovingly to Ron, sweeping over and snatching Harry's cup from him. Everyone went quiet to watch.

Professor Trelawney was staring into the teacup, rotating it counterclockwise.

“The falcon... my dear, you have a deadly enemy.”

“But everyone knows that, “ said Hermione in a loud whisper. Professor Trelawney stared at her.

“Well, they do,” said Hermione. “Everybody knows about Harry and You-Know-Who.”

Harry and Ron stared at her with a mixture of amazement and admiration. They had never heard Hermione speak to a teacher like that before. Professor Trelawney chose not to reply. She lowered her huge eyes to Harry's cup again and continued to turn it.

“The club... an attack. Dear, dear, this is not a happy cup...

I thought that was a bowler hat,” said Ron sheepishly.

“The skull... danger in your path, my dear...”

Everyone was staring, transfixed, at Professor Trelawney, who gave the cup a final turn, gasped, and then screamed.

There was another tinkle of breaking china; Neville had smashed his second cup. Professor Trelawney sank into a vacant armchair, her glittering hand at her heart and her eyes closed.

“My dear boy... my poor, dear boy no it is kinder not to say.. . no... don't ask me...”

“What is it, Professor?” said Dean Thomas at once. Everyone had got to their feet, and slowly they crowded around Harry and Ron's table, pressing close to Professor Trelawney's chair to get a

good look at Harry's cup.

“My dear,” Professor Trelawney's huge eyes opened dramatically,

“You have the Grim.”

“The what?” said Harry.

He could tell that he wasn't the only one who didn't understand; Dean Thomas shrugged at him and Lavender Brown looked puzzled, but nearly everybody else clapped their hands to their mouths in horror.

“The Grim, my dear, the Grim!” cried Professor Trelawney, who looked shocked that Harry hadn't understood. “The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen—the worst omen—of death!”

Harry's stomach lurched. That dog on the cover of Death Omens in Flourish and Blotts -the dog in the shadows of Magnolia Crescent... Lavender Brown clapped her hands to her mouth too. Everyone was looking at Harry, everyone except Hermione, who had gotten up and moved around to the back of Professor Trelawney's chair.

“I don't think it looks like a Grim,” she said flatly.

Professor Trelawney surveyed Hermione with mounting dislike.

“You'll forgive me for saying so, my dear, but I perceive very little aura around you. Very little receptivity to the resonances of the future.” Seamus Finnigan was tilting his head from side to side.

“It looks like a Grim if you do this,” he said, with his eyes almost shut, “but it looks more like a donkey from here,” he said, leaning to the left.

“When you've all finished deciding whether I'm going to die Or not!” said Harry, taking even himself by surprise. Now nobody seemed to want to look at him.

“I think we will leave the lesson here for today,” said Professor Trelawney in her mistiest voice. “Yes... please pack away your things...”

Silently the class took their teacups back to Professor Trelawney, packed away their books, and closed their bags. Even Ron was avoiding Harry's eyes.

“Until we meet again,” said Professor Trelawney faintly, “fair fortune be yours. Oh, and dear”—she pointed at Neville—”you'll be late next time, so mind you work extra-hard to catch up.”

Harry, Ron, and Hermione descended Professor Trelawney's ladder and the winding stair in silence, then set off for Professor McGonagall's Transfiguration lesson. It took them so long to find her classroom that, early as they had left Divination, they were only just in time.

Harry chose a seat right at the back of the room, feeling as though he were sitting in a very bright spotlight; the rest of the class kept shooting furtive glances at him, as though he were about to drop dead at any moment. He hardly heard what Professor McGonagall was telling them about Animagi (wizards who could transform at will into animals), and wasn't even watching when she transformed herself in front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes.

“Really, what has got into you all today?” said Professor McGonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring around at them all. “Not that it matters, but that's the first time my transformation's not got applause from a class.”

Everybody's heads turned toward Harry again, but nobody spoke. Then Hermione raised her hand.

“Please, Professor, we've just had our first Divination class, and we were reading the tea leaves, and —”

“Ah, of course,” said Professor McGonagall, suddenly frowning.

“There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?”

Everyone stared at her.

“Me,” said Harry, finally.

“I see,” said Professor McGonagall, fixing Harry with her beady eyes. “Then you should know, Potter, that Sibyll Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favorite way of greeting a new class. If it were not for the fact that I never speak ill of my colleagues —”

Professor McGonagall broke off, and they saw that her nostrils had gone white. She went on, more calmly, “Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic. I shall not conceal from you that I have very little patience with it. True Seers are very rare, and Professor Trelawney —”

She stopped again, and then said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in.”

Hermione laughed. Harry felt a bit better. It was harder to feel scared of a lump of tea leaves away from the dim red light and befuddling perfume of Professor Trelawney's classroom. Not everyone was convinced, however. Ron still looked worried, and Lavender whispered, “But what about Neville's cup?”

When the Transfiguration class had finished, they joined the crowd thundering toward the Great Hall for lunch.

“Ron, cheer up,” said Hermione, pushing a dish of stew toward him. “You heard what Professor McGonagall said.”

Ron spooned stew onto his plate and picked up his fork but didn't start.

“Harry,” he said, in a low, serious voice, “You haven't seen a great black dog anywhere, have you?”

“Yeah, I have,” said Harry. “I saw one the night I left the Dursleys'. “

Ron let his fork fall with a clatter.

“Probably a stray,” said Hermione calmly.

Ron looked at Hermione as though she had gone mad.

“Hermione, if Harry's seen a Grim, that's—that's bad,” he said. “My—my uncle Bilius saw one and—and he died twenty-four hours later!”

“Coincidence,” said Hermione airily, pouring herself some pumpkin juice.

“You don't know what you're talking about!” said Ron, starting to get angry. “Grims scare the living daylights out of most wizards!”

“There you are, then,” said Hermione in a superior tone. “They see the Grim and die of fright. The Grim's not an omen, it's the cause of death! And Harry's still with us because he's not stupid enough to see one and think, right, well, I'd better kick the bucket then!”

Ron mouthed wordlessly at Hermione, who opened her bag, took out her new Arithmancy book, and propped it open against the juice jug.

“I think Divination seems very woolly,” she said, searching for her page. “A lot of guesswork, if you ask me.”

“There was nothing woolly about the Grim in that cup!” said Ron hotly.

“You didn't seem quite so confident when you were telling Harry it was a sheep,” said Hermione coolly.

“Professor Trelawney said you didn't have the right aura! You just don't like being bad at something for a change!”

He had touched a nerve. Hermione slammed her Arithmancy book down on the table so hard that bits of meat and carrot flew everywhere.

“If being good at Divination means I have to pretend to see death omens in a lump of tea leaves, I'm not sure I'll be studying it much longer! That lesson was absolute rubbish compared with my Arithmancy class!”

She snatched up her bag and stalked away.

Ron frowned after her.

“What's she talking about?” he said to Harry. “She hasn't been to an Arithmancy class yet.”

Harry was pleased to get out of the castle after lunch. Yesterday's rain had cleared; the sky was a clear, pale gray, and the grass was springy and damp underfoot as they set off for their first ever Care of Magical Creatures class.

Ron and Hermione weren't speaking to each other. Harry walked beside them in silence as they went down the sloping lawns to Hagrid's hut on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It was only when he spotted three only-toofamiliar backs ahead of them that he realized they must be having these lessons with the Slytherins. Malfoy was talking animatedly to Crabbe and Goyle, who were chortling. Harry was quite sure he knew what they were talking about.

Hagrid was waiting for his class at the door of his hut. He stood in his moleskin overcoat, with Fang the boarhound at his heels, looking impatient to start.

“C'mon, now, get a move on!” he called as the class approached. “Got a real treat for yeh today! Great lesson comin' up! Everyone here? Right, follow me!”

For one nasty moment, Harry thought that Hagrid was going to lead them into the forest; Harry had had enough unpleasant experiences in there to last him a lifetime. However, Hagrid strolled off around the edge of the trees, and five minutes later, they found themselves outside a kind of paddock. There was nothing in there.

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K.Rîwling
Viewed 110219 times

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