Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by

J. K. Rowling

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Witch Hunts Symbol Analysis

Witch Hunts Symbol Icon

Though Harry offers little insight into his third-year History of Magic curriculum, it presumably deals with historical witch hunts: Harry spends much of his time in Diagon Alley writing his summer homework essays on witch hunts, and his final exams also ask about the subject. When the novel introduces the reader to Harry doing his summer homework on witch hunts, it sets the stage for the novel's deeper exploration of the wizarding justice system. In this way, the historical witch hunts that Harry learns about in school--which were, per his textbook, ineffective, silly, and misguided--set up the precedent that so-called justice isn't always just. However, it's also telling that the historical witch hunts were conducted by muggles using their own justice system. In this way, the novel also illustrates how much perspective matters: while the muggles thought their hunts were good, just, and effective, the wizards knew that the hunts were none of those things.

Witch Hunts Quotes in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban quotes below all refer to the symbol of Witch Hunts. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban published in 2001.
Chapter One Quotes

Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognizing it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever.

Related Characters: Harry Potter, Sirius Black
Related Symbols: Witch Hunts
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
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Witch Hunts Symbol Timeline in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The timeline below shows where the symbol Witch Hunts appears in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
Justice Theme Icon
...reads through his textbook and tries to write his essay on the pointlessness of fourteenth-century witch hunts . As he works, he listens carefully for the Dursleys. Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and... (full context)
Chapter Four
Justice Theme Icon
Storytelling and Perspective Theme Icon
Teaching Theme Icon
...at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, and Fortescue himself helps Harry with his essay on witch hunts . He has to exercise control to not purchase the newest racing broom, the Firebolt,... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
Teaching Theme Icon
...a zero on his notes. For History of Magic, Harry writes everything he remembers about witch hunts . (full context)