Harry spent the vast majority of his third year terrified to his core that a convict from the terrible wizard prison Azkaban was going to come and do him in. As it turned out, that convict in question was not only quite lovely, he was also Harry’s godfather.
Sirius Black, definitely not the murderer of Harry’s parents, was cool from the moment we met him. His Animagus form was that of a shaggy black dog, he sent Harry an actual Firebolt broomstick despite being on the run, and helped make that insanely good Marauder’s Map. We wish 1) he was real and 2) he was our godfather too.
Public transport has never been as rock ‘n’ roll as the Knight Bus, always there for the stranded witch or wizard. Big, purple and triple-decker, the bus pretty much had everything, including eccentric bus conductor Stan Shunpike, hot chocolate, and most importantly, beds. It wasn’t exactly a smooth ride, but it got Harry out of a pretty tight spot – no questions asked.
After quite an appalling first couple of Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers, Professor Lupin turned that all around quicker than you can say ‘Riddikulus!’ As shabby as he was level-headed, wise and kind, Harry quickly made a firm friend in Remus Lupin, who turned out to play a pivotal role in Harry’s past and future. Also, who cares about the werewolf thing? Lupin always had chocolate.
Despite having faced Lord Voldemort himself, Harry was really spooked when he encountered the Dementors; the soulless, floating terrors that guarded Azkaban. Due to the Dementors’ way of sucking the joy out of the air, Harry’s many dark memories meant they affected him worse than others.
With Harry having Hedwig and Ron having Scabbers (although not for long…) Hermione thought it was time to get a pet too. And by Jove, did she get the best one. Part-Kneazle, part squishy faced, adorable orange puss, Crookshanks solved the mystery of Peter Pettigrew before anyone else. Trust Hermione to have a cat as smart as her.
When his Nimbus Two Thousand was shattered beyond repair during a Dementor invasion on the Quidditch pitch, a devastated Harry discovered that someone had sent him a Firebolt. To give you some scope of how awesome that is: if broomsticks were race cars, this would be the Ferrari. Darn, that boy gets all the best stuff (see below for more).
If the Firebolt wasn’t ridiculously cool enough, Fred and George also gifted Harry with something, arguably, even better: the Marauder’s Map, capable of pinpointing the location of everyone at Hogwarts. Little did Harry know that it also happened to be co-created by his very own father, which made the map’s intent on always achieving mischief make a lot of sense.
If every cloud must have a silver lining, then Harry discovered the ultimate one when Lupin taught him the Patronus Charm – a tough spell to perform, but also truly wonderful. Harry learned that casting Expecto Patronum when thinking a happy thought would emit a silver, animal guardian to protect him from the Dementors. Even more wonderfully, Harry’s own Patronus mirrored his father’s: a stag.
Hermione’s determination to drink in as much education as possible took an odd turn during Prisoner of Azkaban. A Time-Turner, in fact. After somehow managing to pack in dozens more classes than anyone else all year, Harry finally discovered that Hermione had a little magical help via the impossibly rare Time-Turner – an enchanted hourglass with the ability to transport the user through time.
As you can imagine, it’s not exactly easy to get your hands on one of these, as you’d have people using Time-Turners to go and pick up the milk they’d forgotten from the shop and all sorts. But rescuing Sirius Black from a Dementor’s Kiss seemed fair enough. And not forgetting…
In Harry’s first year it was Norbert; in his second it was Aragog; and in his third year, Hagrid introduced Harry to another fantastic beast: everyone’s favourite Hippogriff, Buckbeak! Part eagle, part horse, Hagrid’s majestic friend seemed much friendlier than a giant spider or tiny dragon, although Buckbeak wasn’t averse to giving Draco Malfoy a much-deserved swipe. Long live Buckbeak and all who sail on him.