Plot Hole in Prisoner of Azkaban? (Open spoilers.)

I’m rereading the Harry Potter books in preparation for the #6’s release and I am confused by a plot hole I just noticed in Prisoner of Azkaban. (I know, it’s like the fifth time I’ve read it, too.) Harry-from-the-future is able to affect the past, with his Patronus, so why does Buckbeak get killed the first time round? To be internally consistant, shouldn’t Buckbeak have mysteriously disappeared, since Harry and Hermione rescue him when they use the Time Turner? In other words, why do Harry and Hermione’s actions affect the “present” in one instance, but not another?

What am I missing here?

Buckbeak did disappear. You only think he gets killed; the kids hear a sound like an ax going THUNK, and Buckbeak’s death is inferred, but not seen.

I have no idea, save for the fact that it looks like we are wrong about the “Grandfather paradox”. Or maybe this has nothing to do with it. I can not recall.

Oh darn. Now I look foolish. I just found the relevant quote about hearing the axe fall the second time round - but it’s the executioner swinging his axe in frustration. I missed that today during my reread, but I must have gotten it the first couple times I read the book, which is why it never bothered me til now (it’s been a few years).

Okay, never mind.

I think, either in the book or the movie, that the executioner buries the axe into a tree stump, hence the thud.

(woohoo, number 800…I’ve had the same 0.42 posts per day rate for like 4 years now)

I was impressed by how careful Rowling was about the time-traveling detail like this in Azkaban. The one that I didn’t catch immediately, even on the first re-read, was the one that signalled that Harry and Hermione had arrived back in time, just before the three originally snuck down to see Hagrid:

I hadn’t noticed that. What I’m trying to figure out is how Harry can send not only Hedwig, but school owls to find Sirius, yet the Ministry of Magic can’t find this escaped criminal. They know within minutes that Magic has been performed at Privet Dr. Hagrid is able to find Harry out on that island in the midst of a storm in book 1. There are a million instances of their kinda omniscient-like-ness, but yet Sirius Black eludes them. I mean, if I was the Ministry, I’d just send him an owl and follow it!

I can’t even believe the whole thing about Shaklebolt being in charge so he throws them off track, because they are so good at everything else, I’d be firing him for not finding Sirius! LOL

Rowling did address the owl thing on her website, although as I recall it amounted to little more than hand-waving and saying that it wasn’t that easy.

LOL Don’t worry about it. I’ve been re-reading “Chamber of Secrets” over and over, trying to figure out which small detail is supposed to be a major plot point in the new book. I think I found 4 or 5, but it will probably be something else altogether.

But didn’t she say she took out whatever thing that really pertained to HBP?

Well, I figure Sirius made some sort of spell to keep them from finding him. Or hhe turns into a dog if they get too close - remember, the Ministry doesn’t know he’s an Animagus. No one did any sort of enchantment to keep Hagrid from finding Harry on the House on the Rock.

Here is what she says on her website:

There are plenty of mistakes in the series, and Rowling admits that they’re there. Most of them involve math, which she claims to be very bad at, although there are a couple of non-math errors (the most glaring being in the first-printed version of the Goblet of Fire, in the graveyard scene – Harry’s parents come out of the wand in the wrong order – she corrected that in later versions).

I noticed another one yesterday, re-reading Philosopher’s Stone: Harry knows where the kitchens are, while he doesn’t in the 4th book, making me wonder if she had the Hogwarts House Elves planned at all in the early versions.

If you want to talk major plot holes, it never really is explained why, in Goblet of Fire, pseudo-Moody doesn’t just turn a chocolate bar into a portkey to get rid of Harry. There are lots of explanations – the best being that probably that he wanted to make it look like an accident so that Voldemort could return quietly – but none has ever been given by Rowling herself.

As for time-travel, Rowling’s approach is that all changes that will be made have been made, so, obviously, no one will save Harry’s parents. Some of the most bizarre theories I’ve read involve Harry being at Godric’s Hollow the night his parents died – that is, time-turnered Harry, as an adult. The most warped theories involve him kiling his parents as part of some accident or to fulfil some cosmic necessity. :eek:

Rowling can be pretty sadistic to her main character, but I don’t think even she’d go that far.

Here’s my theory, and I stress it’s only theory:[ul][li]Rowling has said that the Half-Blood Prince storyline isn’t a complete plot that was cut out of one place and installed in the other. Rather, it’s “a strand of the overall plot,” a sort of river that can be jumped in in different places, with no two of those places looking the same.[/li][li]My theory is the Half-Blood Prince – the real Prince – never appears in the book. Rather, there is a prophecy about a Half-Blood Prince, related possibly to Godric Gryffindor, that’s recited.[/li][li]Enter Lockhart, playing the role of Prince on a white horse. Lockhart may have been claiming to the Half-Blood Prince in the prophecy. After awhile, Harry begins to suspect he’s a fake.[/li][li]Enter Voldemort. Or Tom Riddle, rather, in the diary. Odd that Riddle can edit out all the incriminating bits of the diary, and yet he shows Harry he’s half-blooded. Strange, considering that that kind of information could turn his followers against him. It was a gamble – what were the stakes? If there was such a thing as a Half-Blood Prince, some hero of prophecy, Harry might be more inclined to believe Riddle.[/li][li]At the end, Riddle is exposed as a fake, and no Half-blood Prince is forecoming.[/ul][/li]
This theory makes more sense if you buy my other theory, that Remus Lupin is the Half-lood Prince, introduced next chapter under innocuous guise. He’s a Half-Blood, and the fact that nobody suspects him (everyone’s shouting “new character,” “Godric Gryffindor,” and “Snape”) actually recommends him. Like Rita Skeeter’s beetle form, he blends suspiciously well into the background…

Of course, my predictions are to be taken with a grain of salt, given my track record :smiley:

I’ve always figured he was taking orders from Voldemort, and Voldemort is a total nut job who favors the Big Dramatic Plan over common sense. (Peter seems to be making a concerted effort to talk common sense into him at the beginning of GoF, but he isn’t having any of it.)

Also, it might just be the timing. Voldemort clearly isn’t up to a lot of fighting at the beginning of GoF (which I’m about halfway through rereading at the moment), maybe he only was up to revealing himself in public toward the end up the book, when the Tri Wizard Tournament just happened to be going on. Also, it was much more dramatic this way, and yeah, Voldemort does seem to favor Draaaaama over subtlety.

From JKR’s site:

<In ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, why couldn’t the Ministry of Magic have sent Sirius an owl, and then followed it, to find him?

Just as wizards can make buildings unplottable, they can also make themselves untraceable. Voldemort would have been found long ago if it had been as simple as sending him an owl!>

It’s a fairly useful site.

Was it ever explained how Sirius Black escaped in the first place?

Sirius explains it at the end of POA. He is able to keep his sanity because he knows he is innocent. That is not a happy thought, so the dementors aren’t able to take it away. He also finds that when he transforms into a dog, they can’t sense him as well. Eventually, he transforms when they come to bring food, and he swims to the mainland as a dog.