Harry spends the rest of the summer staying at the Leaky Cauldron, having agreed not to stray from Diagon Alley. He doesn't mind this too much. While shopping for school items, he sees the Firebolt, a newly-released and powerful racing broomstick. At the bookshop, Harry noticed a book about death omens that has a picture of a dog on the front cover, which reminds him of the dog he saw moments before catching the Knight Bus.

On the last day of the holidays, Harry meets up with Ron and Hermione, who are shopping in Diagon Alley. They visit the pet shop, where Ron's pet rat Scabbers is attacked by a cat called Crookshanks. To Ron's annoyance, Hermione decides to buy the cat. They meet with the rest of the family, who are also staying at the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny is even more embarassed to see Harry than usual, given that he lately saved her life. Percy is more pompous than usual, having just been made Head Boy.

That night, Ron and his brothers are packing. Harry goes down to fetch some of Ron's belongings and overhears a conversation between his parents. Mr Weasley says that Fudge visited Azkaban on the night that Black escaped. The guards reported that Black had been lately saying "He's at Hogwarts" in his sleep. They believe Black might be after Harry. Mr Weasley argues they should tell Harry about the danger he is in, while Mrs Weasley argues it is wrong to frighten Harry unnecessarily.