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Commentary: Foreshadowings in Azkaban movie

by Dave Haber, Wizard News Wizard

In an interview released around the time of the theatrical premiere of Prisoner of Azkaban, an interview which is also on the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD, J.K. Rowling said:

"Alfonso [Cuaron] had very good intuition about what would and wouldn't work. He's put things in the film that, without knowing it, foreshadow things that are going to happen in the final two books. So, I really got goosebumps when I saw a couple of those things and I thought people are going to look back on the film and think those were put in deliberately as clues."

For fans of J.K.'s Harry Potter mystery, divining what these foreshadowings are could very well lend an important insight into what will be happening in Harry's future.

It's not easy taking notes in a dark theatre, but now that we have Prisoner of Azkaban on DVD, it's easier to delve deeper into the movie to try and find out exactly which parts of the movie that J.K. was referring to.

By referring closely to the DVD, I've found four moments in the movie that, while still keeping within the spirit of the story, do not appear in J.K.'s Prisoner of Azkaban book. That means that while OK'ed by J.K., these things were added to the story by the director Alfonso Cuaron and the screenwriter Steve Kloves, and so they could be the foreshadowing things that J.K. mentioned in the interview.

Snape, Sirius and Lupin in the Shrieking Shack

In the scene in the Shrieking Shack, Sirius is just on the verge of revealing that Scabbers is Peter Pettigrew, when they're interrupted by the arrival of Snape. While trying to tell Snape he's making a mistake, Sirius and Lupin tell each other to be quiet, at which point Snape comments:

"Oh, listen to you two, quarelling like an old married couple."

This is an odd thing for Snape to say. Is he only trying to disparage his old friends with an insulting comment? Or is he referring to a secet he knows about them, that possibly Sirius and Lupin's relationship goes deeper than best friends? After all, we know about James and his girlfriend Lily, but J.K. has never mentioned girlfriends of Sirius or Lupin. This perhaps takes on more meaning as we later find out in Order of the Phoenix that Lupin is living with Sirius in his house.

Of all the possibilities to be the foreshadowings that J.K. alluded to, I think this one is the least likely.

Draco Malfoy running back into the castle

In the movie, we see a part of Draco's personality we've never seen before. When Hermione threatens Draco with her wand, rather than standing up to her or trying to duel, Draco wimps out and is scared. And, when she punches him, Draco cries and runs away.

When we see the punching scene for the second time during the time-turned-back part of the movie, we see more of Draco running away after Hermione punches him, and can hear him saying:

"Not a word to anyone, understood? I'm gonna get that jumped up mudblood, mark my words."

So, we have all kinds of new things here that aren't in the book. We have Draco's more realistic bully behavior of wimping out when really confronted with a fight. What will he do when confronted with the ultimate decision, follow his father and become a death eater, or wimp out and turn against his father?

Afterwards, we hear Draco make his cohorts promise they won't tell anyone what happened, so if they were so inclined, they now have info they can use against him.

Most of all, we hear Draco voice a threat to get back at one of our heroes, and that's something ominous we've never directly heard Draco do before.

Professor Lupin and Harry on the covered bridge

After the Defense Against the Dark Arts class in which Lupin stops Harry from confronting the boggart, Harry and Lupin meet on the covered bridge. In this scene, Lupin says:

"The very first time I saw you Harry, I recognized you immediately. Not by your scar, but by your eyes. They're your mother, Lily's. Yes. Oh, yes. I knew her. Your mother was there at a time for me when no one else was. Not only was she a singularly gifted witch, she was also an uncommonly kind woman. She had a way of seeing the beauty in others, even and, perhaps, most especially, when that person could not see it in themselves."

The whole time Lupin is talking about Lily, he's facing away from Harry, and almost giving the feeling of reminiscing to himself. Was Lily just nice to Lupin, or did Lily and Remus actually have a relationship before Lily and James got together?

If Lily was just nice to Remus, that could go a long way to explain why Lily at first didn't like James, but they somehow ended up together, we don't yet know why. She saw something in James the way she saw something in Lupin when no one else did.

If Lily and Remus really did have a relationship, then there could be some emotional events related to this in the period we know so little about leading up to Voldemort killing James and Lily that night in Godrics Hollow.

In this scene, Lupin also says:

"You're more like them than you know, Harry. In time you'll come to see just how much."

Could this be a glimpse into the very end of the book 7? I believe this scene is very likely one of the foreshadowings that J.K. was talking about.

Sirius, Ron and Harry in the tunnel to the Shrieking Shack

Finally, after the scene in the Shrieking Shack, Harry and Sirius are helping Ron back down the passageway, as Ron is complaining about his injured leg, and Sirius says:

"Normally, I have a very sweet disposition as a dog. In fact, more than once, James suggested that I make the change permanent. The tail I could live with. But the fleas, they're murder."

Since Order of the Phoenix was published, a great debate has risen among fans as to whether Sirius is really dead or not. In the battle at the Department of Mysteries, after Sirius falls through the veil, Lupin tells Harry, "There's nothing you can do. He cannot come back." So, J.K. is strongly implying that it's a rule, once someone crosses over, they never can come back.

But what if there's a loop-hole? Sirius crossed over to the other side of the veil as Sirius. What if he could come back as a dog? He wouldn't be crossing back over, because the dog had never crossed over in the first place. Unfortunately, if he did this, he'd be stuck being a dog, because since he crossed over, Sirius is not allowed on this side of the veil.

This could be the most important foreshadowing in the movie. It mentions a way that Sirius might be able to use to come back, and in the end Harry and his Godfather Sirius could be reunited once more.

Related articles:
• Commentary: More foreshadowings in Azkaban movie (12/12/04)

Published November 25, 2004

This article is Copyright © 2004, David Haber, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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