When Harry, Ron and Hermione were first trying to complete their task "strange" things kept happening, such as being hit with rocks, saving Buckbeak (whether he was actually killed the first time, or it was just implied, however the wincing look on the trios face upon witnessing the execution would suggest that he was) howling to distract the transformed Prof. Lupin and casting a physical stag Patronus.

It was later revealed that these were in fact caused by their future selves via use of the Time Turner to try and change how events went down.

After using the time turner, the "present" Harry and Hermione (as opposed to their future selves) were now the ones committing these acts. The same disruptions seemingly took place, yet the timeline somehow changed.

How is this possible?

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    Can you clarify what exactly you mean by "How is this possible?" It makes sense to me as you describe it.
    – Luke
    Mar 31, 2015 at 17:16
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    I assume you're talking about the movie? It's been a while since I've seen it, but I seem to remember the camera being on Macnair when he swung his axe, but no Buckbeak in sight Mar 31, 2015 at 17:23
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    Can you elaborate on why you say "yet the timeline somehow changed?" What events do you think changed? You seem to acknowledge that there is no clear evidence (in the book or the movie) that buckbeak was actually killed the first time we saw Harry & co. react to his apparent execution (which they didn't actually witness, just heard apparent evidence of).
    – Hypnosifl
    Mar 31, 2015 at 17:56
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    While there is no clear evidence that Buckbeak was killed, it seems like there was a clear view of the execution seeing as Draco & Co were at that vantage point to watch. As well, while our POV doesn't actually view the execution, if Harry, Ron and Hermione were watching, they'd clearly see that Macnair chopped the pumpkin as opposed to a giant hipogryph, and their facial expressions and moment of crying/sadness afterwards would suggest that either Buckbeak was killed, or they REALLY loved that pumpkin.
    – Ryan Perry
    Mar 31, 2015 at 19:00
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    In the book, there is no doubt about it - they were not able to see the execution. Their reaction was to the noise of an axe cutting something, which at the time they believed to be Buckbeak. I believe this was at least intended to be the same in the movie. Apr 1, 2015 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


Nothing changes. You seem to be focussed on the execution of Buckbeak specifically, which I guess the movies portrayed badly? Here's the passage from the book. As you can see, they aren't actually around to see the execution.

Slowly, in a kind of horrified trance, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off silently around Hagrid's house. As they reached the other side, the front door closed with a sharp snap.

"Please, let's hurry," Hermione whispered. "I can't stand it, I can't bear it...."

They started up the sloping lawn toward the castle. The sun was sinking fast now; the sky had turned to a clear, purple-tinged grey, but to the west there was a ruby-red glow.

... (some dialogue about Scabbers removed for length purposes)

They heard a door open behind them and men's voices.

"Oh, Ron, please let's move, they're going to do it!" Hermione breathed.

"Okay -- Scabbers, stay put --"

They walked forward; Harry, like Hermione, was trying not to listen to the rumble of voices behind them. Ron stopped again.

"I can't hold him -- Scabbers, shut up, everyone'll hear us --"

The rat was squealing wildly, but not loudly enough to cover up the sounds drifting from Hagrid's garden. There was a jumble of indistinct male voices, a silence, and then, without warning, the unmistakable swish and thud of an axe.

Hermione swayed on the spot.

"They did it!" she whispered to Harry. "I d -- don't believe it -- they did it!"

Later we see this scene from the other side, including the swish and thud of the axe. The very fact that the action is described using the exact same words is a clear indication that this is the same event we heard first time round.

"Where is it?" said the reedy voice of the Committee member. "Where is the beast?"

"It was tied here!" said the executioner furiously. I saw it! just here!"

"How extraordinary," said Dumbledore. There was a note of amusement in his voice.

"Beaky!" said Hagrid huskily.

There was a swishing noise, and the thud of an axe. The executioner seemed to have swung it into the fence in anger. And then came the howling, and this time they could hear Hagrid's words through his sobs.

  • I think the movie portrayed it as a pumpkin split in two, the view of which was obscured the first time through.
    – Neil
    Apr 1, 2015 at 13:46

It didn't. The same events happens both times, but since the characters did not have first hand impressions of them all the first time, the reader is let to believe that the most obvious outcome happens, i.e. Buckbeak is executed instead of Harry and Hermione travelling back in time to be two places at the same time.

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    While its never actually shown that Buckbeak was in fact executed, the fact that after everything went down and Dumbledore informed them that "more than one innocent life" could be saved, it would imply that Buckbeak was in fact already dead and he was informing them that not only could Sirius be saved by the dementors kiss, but the hipogryph could also be spared his execution.
    – Ryan Perry
    Mar 31, 2015 at 19:08
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    I think Dumbledore new that Buckbeak was safe because Harry and Hermoione saved him in their past , but they dont know it at present.
    – Rajan
    Mar 31, 2015 at 20:24
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    @RyanPerry - you can save a life before it is lost - all that Dumbledore is saying is that if Harry and Hermione don't use the time-turner, they wouldn't be able to save Buckbeak. Dumbledore gives the impression that he knew exactly what had already happened.
    – HorusKol
    Apr 1, 2015 at 2:01
  • We all know that dumbledore is quite wise and not prone to making dumb decisions. The time turner is quite a POWERFUL item if you think about it. Thus if he gives such a thing out to a mere student (and things indicate that harry still is his most favourite student and not hermoine!) then he surely has ways of either tracking things that are done with it or that he can find out what happens with it / or even disable it if needs be.
    – Thomas
    Apr 1, 2015 at 11:58

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