Draco Malfoy, in an arrogant attempt to show up his school nemesis, endeavours to approach Buckbeak as well. It becomes obvious that the Slytherin neither listened to nor cared about Hagrid's warnings about the hippogriffs' touchiness, as he makes contemptuous remarks about Buckbeak. Quickly angered, Buckbeak slashes Draco's arm with his claws. Pretending to be injured much more severely than he truly is, Draco persuades his father, Lucius Malfoy, to use his political power to sentence Buckbeak to death. Hagrid's numerous appeals fail, and Walden Macnair of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures comes to Hogwarts to execute Buckbeak. With the use of a time-turner, Hermione and Harry free Buckbeak and rescue Sirius Black from the tower in which he was being held before being handed over to the Dementors. Sirius escapes with Buckbeak and flies to safety. During most of Harry's fourth year, Sirius and Buckbeak hide in a cave in the mountains above Hogsmeade. After this, they move to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, whereupon Buckbeak stays in Sirius' mother's former room.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry inherits Buckbeak, and allows Hagrid to look after him again. To avoid suspicion from the Ministry of Magic, he is given the alias "Witherwings" (Hagrid also calls Buckbeak by the nickname "Beaky"). A fiercely loyal creature, Buckbeak chased away Professor Snape from Harry by slashing his claws at the end of Half-Blood Prince. Buckbeak also features in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leading the Hogwarts' Thestrals against Voldemort's giants.