Hermione was sitting at a table, fast asleep, her head resting on an open
Arithmancy book. They went to sit down on either side of her. Harry prodded
“Wh—what?” said Hermione, waking with a start and staring wildly around.
“Is it time to go? W—which lesson have we got now?”
“Divination, but it's not for another twenty minutes,” said Harry. “Hermione,
why didn't you come to Charms?”
“What? Oh no!” Hermione squeaked. “I forgot to go to Charms!”
“But how could you forget?” said Harry. “You were with us till we were right
outside the classroom!”
“I don't believe it!” Hermione wailed. “Was Professor Flitwick angry? Oh,
it was Malfoy, I was thinking about him and I lost track of things!”
“You know what, Hermione?” said Ron, looking down at the enormous Arithmancy
book Hermione had been using as a pillow. “I reckon you're cracking up. You're
trying to do too much.”
“No, I'm not!” said Hermione, brushing her hair out of her eyes and staring
hopelessly around for her bag. “I just made a mistake, that's all! I'd better
go and see Professor Flitwick and say sorry... I'll see you in Divination!”
Hermione joined them at the foot of the ladder to Professor Trelawneys classroom
twenty minutes later, looking extremely harrassed.
“I can't believe I missed Cheering Charms! And I bet they come up in our
exams; Professor Flitwick hinted they might!”
Together they climbed the ladder into the dim, stifling tower room. Glowing
on every little table was a crystal ball full of pearly white mist. Harry, Ron,
and Hermione sat down together at the same rickety table.
“I thought we weren't starting crystal balls until next term,” Ron muttered,
casting a wary eye around for Professor Trelawney, in case she was lurking nearby.
“Don't complain, this means we've finished palmistry,” Harry muttered back.
“I was getting sick of her flinching every time she looked at my hands.”
“Good day to you!” said the familiar, misty voice, and Professor Trelawney
made her usual dramatic entrance out of the shadows. Parvati and Lavender quivered
with excitement, their faces lit by the milky glow of their crystal ball.
“I have decided to introduce the crystal ball a little earlier than I had
planned,” said Professor Trelawney, sitting with her back to the fire and gazing
around. “The fates have informed me that your examination in June will concern
the Orb, and I am anxious to give you sufficient practice.”
“Well, honestly... 'the fates have informed her' who sets the exam? She does!
What an amazing prediction!” she said, not troubling to keep her voice low.
Harry and Ron choked back laughs.
It was hard to tell whether Professor Trelawney had heard them as her face
was hidden in shadow. She continued, however, as though she had not.
“Crystal gazing is a particularly refined art,” she said dreamily. “I do
not expect any of you to See when first you peer into the Orb's infinite depths.
We shall start by practicing relaxing the conscious mind and external eyes”—Ron
began to snigger uncontrollably and had to stuff his fist in his mouth to stifle
the noise—”so as to clear the Inner Eye and the superconscious. Perhaps, if
we are lucky, some of you will see before the end of the class.”
And so they began. Harry, at least, felt extremely foolish, staring blankly
at the crystal ball, trying to keep his mind empty when thoughts such as “this
is stupid” kept drifting across it. It didn't help that Ron kept breaking into
silent giggles and Hermione kept tutting.
“Seen anything yet?” Harry asked them after a quarter of an hour's quiet
“Yeah, there's a burn on this table,” said Ron, pointing. “Someone's spilled
“This is such a waste of time,” Hermione hissed. “I could be practicing something
useful. I could be catching up on Cheering Charms —”
Professor Trelawney rustled past.
“Would anyone like me to help them interpret the shadowy portents within
their Orb?” she murmured over the clinking of her bangles.
I don't need help,” Ron whispered. “It's obvious what this means. There's
going to be loads of fog tonight.”
Both Harry and Hermione burst out laughing.
“Now, really!” said Professor Trelawney as everyone's heads turned in their
direction. Parvati and Lavender were looking scandalized. “You are disturbing
the clairvoyant vibrations!” She approached their table and peered into their
crystal ball. Harry felt his heart sinking. He was sure he knew what was coming
“There is something here!” Professor Trelawney whispered, lowerng her face
to the ball, so that it was reflected twice in her huge glasses. “Something
moving... but what is it?”
Harry was prepared to bet everything he owned, Including his Firebolt, that
it wasn't good news, whatever it was. And sure enough —
“My dear Professor Trelawney breathed, gazing up at Harry. “It is here, plainer
than ever before... my dear, stalking toward you, growing ever closer... the
“Oh, for goodness' sake!” said Hermione loudly. “Not that ridiculous Grim
Professor Trelawney raised her enormous eyes to Hermione's face. Parvati
whispered something to Lavender, and they both glared at Hermione too. Professor
Trelawney stood up, surveying Hermione with unmistakable anger.
“I am sorry to say that from the moment you have arrived in this class my
dear, it has been apparent that you do not have what the noble art of Divination
requires. Indeed, I don't remember ever meeting a student whose mind was so
There was a moment's silence. Then —
“Fine!” said Hermione suddenly, getting up and cramming Unfogging the Future
back into her bag. “Fine!” she repeated, swinging the bag over her shoulder
and almost knocking Ron off his chair. “I give up! I'm leaving!”
And to the whole class's amazement, Hermione strode over to the trapdoor,
kicked it open, and climbed down the ladder out of sight.
It took a few minutes for the class to settle down again. Professor Trelawney
seemed to have forgotten all about the Grim. She turned abruptly from Harry
and Ron's table, breathing rather heavily as she tugged her gauzy shawl more
closely to her.
“Ooooo!” said Lavender suddenly, making everyone start. “Ooooo, Professor
Trelawney, I've just remembered! You saw her leaving, didn't you? Didn't you,
Professor? 'Around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever!' You said
it ages ago, Professor!”
Professor Trelawney gave her a dewy smile.
“Yes, my dear, I did indeed know that Miss Granger would be leaving us. One
hopes, however, that one might have mistaken the Signs... The Inner Eye can
be a burden, you know...”
Lavender and Parvati looked deeply impressed, and moved over so that Professor
Trelawney could join their table instead.
“Some day Hermione's having, eh?” Ron muttered to Harry, looking awed.
Harry glanced into the crystal ball but saw nothing but swirling white mist.
Had Professor Trelawney really seen the Grim again? Would he? The last thing
he needed was another near-fatal accident, with the Quidditch final drawing
The Easter holidays were not exactly relaxing. The third years had never
had so much homework. Neville Longbottom seemed close to a nervous collapse,
and he wasn't the only one.
“Call this a holiday!” Seamus Finnigan roared at the common room one afternoon.
“The exams are ages away, what're they playing at?”
But nobody had as much to do as Hermione. Even without Divination, she was
taking more subjects than anybody else. She was usually last to leave the common
room at night, first to arrive at the library the next morning; she had shadows
like Lupin's under her eyes, and seemed constantly close to tears.
Ron had taken over responsibility for Buckbeak's appeal. When he wasn't doing
his own work, he was poring over enormously thick volumes with names like The
Handbook of Hippogriff Psychology and Fowl or Foul? A Study of Hippogriff Brutality.
He was so absorbed, he even forgot to be horrible to Crookshanks.
Harry, meanwhile, had to fit in his homework around Quidditch practice every
day, not to mention endless discussions of tactics with Wood. The Gryffindor-Slytherin
match would take place on the first Saturday after the Easter holidays. Slytherin
was leading the tournament by exactly two hundred points. This meant (as Wood
constantly reminded his team) that they needed to win the match by more than
that amount to win the Cup. It also meant that the burden of winning fell largely
on Harry, because capturing the Snitch was worth one hundred and fifty points.
“So you must catch it only if we're more than fifty points up,” Wood told
Harry constantly. “Only if we're more than fifty points up, Harry, or we win
the match but lose the Cup. You've got that, Haven't you? You must catch the
Snitch only if we're —”
“I KNOW, OLIVER!” Harry yelled.
The whole of Gryffindor House was obsessed with the coming match. Gryffindor
hadn't won the Quidditch Cup since the legendary Charlie Weasley (Ron's second
oldest brother) had been seeker. But Harry doubted whether any of them, even
Wood, wanted to win as much as he did. The enmity between Harry and Malfoy was
at its highest point ever. Malfoy was still smarting,bout the mud-throwing incident
in Hogsmeade and was even more furious that Harry had somehow wormed his way
out of punishment. Harry hadn't forgotten Malfoy's attempt to sabotage him in
the match against Ravenclaw, but it was the matter of Buckbeak that made him
most determined to beat Malfoy in front of the entire school.
Never, in anyone's memory, had a match approached in such a highly charged
atmosphere. By the time the holidays were over, tension between the two teams
and their Houses was at the breaking point. A number of small scuffles broke
out in the corridors, culminating in a nasty incident in which a Gryffindor
fourth year and a Slytherin sixth year ended up in the hospital wing with leeks
sprouting out of their ears.
Harry was having a particularly bad time of it. He couldn't walk to class
without Slytherins sticking out their legs and trying to trip him up; Crabbe
and Goyle kept popping up wherever he went, and slouching away looking disappointed
when they saw him surrounded by people. Wood had given instructions that Harry
should be accompanied everywhere he went, in case the Slytherins tried to put
him out of action. The whole of Gryffindor House took up the challenge enthusiastically,
so that it was impossible for Harry to get to classes on time because he was
surrounded by a vast, chattering crowd. Harry was more concerned for his Firebolt's
safety than his own. When he wasn't flying it, he locked it securely in his
trunk and frequently dashed back up to Gryffindor Tower at break times to check
that it was still there.
All usual pursuits were abandoned in the Gryffindor common room the night
before the match. Even Hermione had Put down her books.
“I can't work, I can't concentrate,” she said nervously.
There was a great deal of noise. Fred and George Weasley were dealing with
the pressure by being louder and more exuberant than ever. Oliver Wood was crouched
over a model of a Quidditch field in the corner, prodding little figures across
it with his wand and muttering to himself Angelina, Alicia, and Katie were laughing
at Fred's and George's jokes. Harry was sitting with Ron and Hermione, removed
from the center of things, trying not to think about the next day, because every
time he did, he had the horrible sensation that something very large was fighting
to get out of his stomach.
“You're going to be fine,” Hermione told him, though she looked positively
“You've got a Firebolt!” said Ron.
“Yeah...” said Harry, his stomach writhing.
It came as a relief when Wood suddenly stood up and yelled, “Team! Bed!”
Harry slept badly. First he dreamed that he had overslept, and that Wood
was yelling, “Where were you? We had to use Neville instead!” Then he dreamed
that Malfoy and the rest of the Slytherin team arrived for the match riding
dragons. He was flying at breakneck speed, trying to avoid a spurt of flames
from Malfoy's steed's mouth, when he realized he had forgotten his Firebolt.
He fell through the air and woke with a start.
It was a few seconds before Harry remembered that the match hadn't taken
place yet, that he was safe in bed, and that the Slytherin team definitely wouldn't
be allowed to play on dragons. He was feeling very thirsty. Quietly as he could,
he got out of his four-poster and went to pour himself some water from the silver
jug beneath the window.
The grounds were still and quiet. No breath of wind disturbed the treetops
in the Forbidden Forest; the Whomping Willow was motionless and innocent-looking.
It looked as though the conditions for the match would be perfect.
Harry set down his goblet and was about to turn back to his bed when something
caught his eye. An animal of some kind was prowling across the silvery lawn.
Harry dashed to his bedside table, snatched up his glasses, and put them
on, then hurried back to the window. It couldn't be the Grim—not now—not right
before the match —
He peered out at the grounds again and, after a minute's frantic searching,
spotted it. It was skirting the edge of the forest now... It wasn't the Grim
at all ...it was a cat... Harry clutched the window ledge in relief as he recognized
the bottlebrush tail. It was only Crookshanks...
Or was it only Crookshanks? Harry squinted, pressing his nose flat against
the glass. Crookshanks seemed to have come to a halt. Harry was sure he could
see something else moving in the shadow of the trees too.
And just then, it emerged—a gigantic, shaggy black dog, moving stealthily
across the lawn, Crookshanks trotting at its side. Harry stared. What did this
mean? If Crookshanks could see the dog as well, how could it be an omen of Harry's