Chapter: Six -- Talons and Tea Leaves
Brief summary of scene: Ron and Hermione debate the merits of Divination.
Disclaimer: This excerpt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. This material is presented for the purposes of review and critique only.
"Harry," he said, in a low, serious voice, "you haven't seen a great black dog anywhere, have you?"
"Yeah, I have," said Harry. "I saw one the night I left the Durseleys'."
Ron let his fork fall with a clatter.
"Probably a stray," said Hermione calmly.
Ron looked at Hermione as though she had gone mad.
"Hermione, if Harry's seen a Grim, that's -- that's bad," he said. "My -- my uncle Bilius saw one and -- and he died twenty-four hours later!"
"Coincidence," said Hermione airily, pouring herself some pumpkin juice.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" said Ron, starting to get angry. "Grims scare the living daylights out of most wizards!"
"There you are, then," said Hermione in a superior tone. "They see the Grim and die of fright. The Grim's not an omen, it's the cause of death! And Harry's still with us because he's not stupid enough to see one and think, right, well, I'd better kick the bucket then!"
Ron mouthed wordlessly at Hermione, who opened her bag, took out her new Arithmancy book, and propped it open against the juice jug.
"I think Divination seems very woolly," she said, searching for her page. "A lot of guesswork, if you ask me."
"There was nothing woolly about the Grim in that cup!" said Ron hotly.
"You didn't seem quite so confident when you were telling Harry it was a sheep," said Hermione coolly.
"Professor Trelawney said you didn't have the right aura! You just don't like being bad at something for a change!"
He had touched a nerve. Hermione slammed her Arithmancy book down on the table so hard that bits of meat and carrot flew everywhere.
"If being good at Divination means I have to pretend to see death omens in a lump of tea leaves, I'm not sure I'll be studying it much longer! That lesson was absolute rubbish compared with my Arithmancy class!"
She snatched up her bag and stalked away.
Ron frowned after her.
"What's she talking about?" he said to Harry. "She hasn't been to an Arithmancy class yet."
I love Ron's vehemence in this passage, while conversely, Hermione's haughty skepticism keeps her (for one of the first times) from expressing any caution and concern over Harry.