During the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black escapes once again from Flitwick's office, while being guarded.

It is well known and established that you cannot Apparate within Hogwarts and moreover Sirius didn't have any wand with him to "magic" his way out. There needed to be outside help.

At the same time (well, around three hours before), Cornelius Fudge attended the supposed-to-be execution of Buckbeak. He saw the Hippogriff chained outside of Hagrid's hut and moments later, he (along with Dumbledore, Hagrid and the Committee members) saw that the Hippogriff had somehow fled.

How he didn't put two and two together and realize that Buckbeak was probably "used" to help Sirius escape from the seventh floor? He witnessed two nearly impossible escapes in three hours! I can't think that he was just unperceptive to realize this.

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    Fudge knows that Black escaped from Azkaban. In his eyes, Black is perfectly capable of jailbreak without the use of a Hippogriff. The fool!
    – Aww_Geez
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 18:53
  • 2
    Another potential escape route would have been if there had been any House Elfs loyal to him, who could have apparated him out of Hogwarts Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 21:00
  • 1
    @SpacePhoenix don’t mention House Elfs. That would raise a bunch of follow-up questions, like, how could so many wizards repeat the mantra of “no one can apparate within Howarts”, including those who should have known better. I mean, Dumbledore seemed to be convinced, and even Harry accepted the claim despite having seen Dobby apparating in and out the previous year…
    – Holger
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 13:02
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    @TylerH Consistent rules.
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 16:54
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    Because Cornelius Fudge is a clueless stuffed shirt who couldn't connect two dots if someone else held the ruler and handed him a pencil. Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 14:21

3 Answers 3


Who's to say that he didn't? There's no evidence either way because we are not privy to his thoughts. But if he did, either it had no effect -- how could it? It wouldn't have affected his ability to recapture them -- or he considered it and dismissed it, perhaps because of the gap.

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    Yes, exactly. We only see a few moments of Fudge's reaction to the events. It's actually pretty likely he concluded that someone used Buckbeak to rescue Sirius. In fact, it's better that he conclude that, since otherwise he has to conclude that Sirius was helped by people inside the castle.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 13:04
  • And maybe Fudge was savvy enough to know that this isn't an unjust outcome.... Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 23:20

“Someone untied him!” the executioner was snarling. “We should search the grounds, the forest —”

“Macnair, if Buckbeak has indeed been stolen, do you really think the thief will have led him away on foot?” said Dumbledore, still sounding amused. “Search the skies, if you will. . . .

-- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)

Dumbledore plants two ideas in the minds of those present at Buckbeak's escape: that someone had not just freed but stolen Buckbeak, and that as a thief they had likely flown to escape at speed.

Fudge still trusted Dumbledore's judgment at this time (this is a year before The Parting of the Ways), so it's likely he took this as a sound assessment. Furthermore, given that there was no mention of Buckbeak in either Snape's or the trio's accounts regarding their encounter with Sirius a few hours after Buckbeak's escape, no one would have a reason to connect the night's events or the two escapees.

As far as anyone knew, Buckbeak had fled hours earlier; neither the "thief" nor the hippogriff would have any reason to risk returning for a criminal only captured and locked in a tower long after they had fled. The reverse causality (from Fudge's point of view) would make these escapes appear quite unrelated if it even crossed his mind.

Sirius and Buckbeak only converge at the final moments of the Time Turner's loop, making it a solid alibi for everyone involved.


I think he didn't think about the fact that these two escapes were related because of the 3-hour gap between them. He may have expected that Buckbeak wouldn't stay in the forest, but instead that Buckbeak would fly away instantly. And he probably thought that whoever saved Harry and Sirius from the Dementors helped Sirius to escape.

  • 1
    "whoever saved Harry and Sirius from the Dementors helped Sirius to escape"... which is true, ironically. Of course, he may not be likely to guess that the person that saved Harry... was also Harry. (Especially as he probably would not have expected Harry to be able to cast such a strong Patronus.)
    – Matthew
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 17:21

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