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5 Moments That We Wish Were Explained in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Updated on October 17, 2014

Much to my dismay, I must get over the fact that they could not include every single solitary thing from the Harry Potter books in the movie adaptations. While avid readers and fans like me may not mind a 5-7 hour Harry Potter movie, apparently there are some out there that would not enjoy that (I cannot be friends with this type of people). With that being said, there are some things that they did include in the movies, but they left out the backstory, or the explanation. Those that read the books may not be bothered by this, but it leaves a lot of those non-readers with a lot of questions unanswered. So, I have made this list of just a few of the many unexplained moments in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban.

1. How did Sirius Black know where Peter Pettigrew (Scabbers) was in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban?

In the movie, we get a lot of information about how James and Lilly are betrayed to Lord Voldemort. We learn that it was Peter Pettigrew that sold them out, and Sirius was then framed so it looked as if he did it. He was also accused of killing Pettigrew. What we do not know, however, is how in the world does Sirius Black know that the Weasley family rat, Scabbers, is in fact Peter Pettigrew. How do Sirius even know that there is a Scabbers, or that Ron Weasley attends Hogwarts?

The book gives us the explanation that is missing from the movie. Sirius reveals that he saw a copy of the Daily Prophet in which Ron and his family won a contest with the prize of seven hundred galleons, which he used to take his family on a trip to Egypt. Black immediately noticed that Scabbers, in the picture, was missing a toe, and he knew that Peter Pettigrew was an animagus, could change into a rat, and that he framed Sirius by cutting off his own finger. We also find out that it was Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat, that helped Sirius get into the castle (another thing that was never explained). Black gained the cat’s trust, and Crookshanks stole Neville’s list of passwords in order to get into the Gryffindor room.

2. Why was the Whomping Willow built on a grounds that has children all over, and why is it connected to the shrieking shack?

It would have taken little to no effort for the producers of the movie to add this little tidbit into the movie so that non-book-readers would know why both structures are present and why they were connected. In chapter 18, we learn that Remus Lupin is in fact a werewolf, which the movie also shows. What the movie does NOT explain, though, is that the Shrieking Shack was built specifically for Lupin when he attended the school as a student. This is where he would go during full moons. The Whomping Willow was placed on grounds to cover the passage to the Shrieking Shack so no one would ever be tempted to check it out. The producer’s could have added a line to the movie such as, “You really are the brightest witch of your age [Lupin to Hermione], you are right and this was my old home during full moons so I wouldn’t hurt anyone.” There, a 1 second explanation is all that was needed.

3. Okay, so this moment was not exactly not explained in the movies…in fact, IT WAS NEVER MENTIONED! It is understandable that the Harry Potter books all had so much great material that could have been added and that some cuts needed to be made, and it may have been because the producers knew that there would be no Quidditch in the next movie, but how is it that it was never shown or mentioned about Harry getting his Firebolt broom for Christmas? They made sure to include his Nimbus Two-Thousand getting shredded by the Whomping Willow, but they neglected to add this part, and it would have added to this whole Sirius Black may be lurking plot.

In chapter 11, perfectly titled, “The Firebolt”, Harry receives a brand new broomstick, and it is timely considering his just got destroyed. The problem is that there is no name of who it is from. Hermione, being the cautious caring friend that she is, reports this anonymous gift to Professor McGonagall, who confiscates it so it can be examined and tested. Harry eventually gets it back, but he is not too happy with Hermione for a little while.

4. Oh, the lovely Marauder’s Map and its creators, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. We know that Harry is given this gift of secrets by Fred and George Weasley. We also know that “The map never lies” as stated by Sirius Black. What we do not know, though, is who the creators actually are, and how does Sirius even know about the map?

The answer is that Sirius, along with Peter Pettigrew, Remus Lupin, and James Potter, is the creator of the Marauder’s Map. The creator names on the map are the 4 old school friends’ nicknames: Moony was Lupin, obviously, Wormtail was Pettigrew, Padfoot being Sirius, and Prongs was James Potter. In the book, we find out that Harry had told Lupin that he saw Pettigrew’s name on the map, which could not be true (this was shown in the movie), but, in the book, Lupin states he was watching the map that evening and saw Pettigew’s name, as well as Harry Ron and Hermione going through the passage to the Shrieking Shack, and this is how he knew where to find them.

5. Why is Harry Potter’s Patronus Charm a buck?

In the movie, Harry thinks the one who casts the patronus is his father at first, but then goes on to realize, during his journey in time, that it is his future self that conjures the patronus. Harry’s patronus charm is a buck, which is the same as his father’s. Harry’s father’s nickname in his group of friends was Prongs (get it?) This is something that he and his father share.

Your thoughts...

Which moment do you think needed the most explanation in the movie?

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    • Samantha Sinclair profile image

      Samantha Sinclair 

      4 years ago from North Carolina

      The funny thing is that I have reached the point that the books and movies have blurred in my head. I actually think some things that only happened in the books WERE in the movies (one of the things mentioned above included!)

    • JessieLong8208 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Thank you! I fixed it.

    • Samantha Sinclair profile image

      Samantha Sinclair 

      4 years ago from North Carolina

      My husband always complains that the movies don't include that Voldemort and Harry are related to each other.

      (PS- in #4, you typed "Mupin" instead of "Lupin.")


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