Saturday, April 21, 2012

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling is the third installment of the widely popular Harry Potter series.  Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione are in their third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and as per usual, their year does not exactly go smoothly.  Harry is not doing so well to begin with, though; his Uncle Vernon's sister comes to visit toward the end of the summer vacation, and things get a little out of hand.  Harry storms out of the Dursleys' house, set to run away and resigned to being expelled from school and living as a fugitive.  While wondering what to do first, though, he gets picked up by The Knight Bus, which gives rides to stranded witches and wizards, and he goes to London, thinking he may as well start off at The Leaky Cauldron pub.  He's met at the pub by none other but the Minister of Magic himself,  however, and thinks he's in for it.  Rather than be arrested, though, he's set up with a room and told to stick to Diagon Alley, and not to go wandering about in Muggle London.  He doesn't have too much time to ponder the strangeness of the leniency, though, as he's quickly caught up with being back in the wizard world, and soon enough he is joined by his friends, since everyone goes to Diagon Alley to get their back-to-school shopping done.

Just before getting back on the train to Hogwarts, Harry learns some startling news about a mass murderer - Sirius Black - who  has broken out of Azkaban, the wizard prison; the man is considered to be such a danger that even the Muggle law enforcement has been notified to be on the lookout for him and to exercise caution.  Extra security measures have been placed at school, and everyone is worried for Harry's safety especially.  This is probably for the best, since he and his friends seem to have a real knack for getting into life-threatening situations.  Despite all these precautions, however, events continue to unfold which lead Harry, Ron, and Hermione right into Black's path.

Obviously, you know Harry doesn't get killed by the man, since even if you haven't read the rest of the books before or seen the movies, you know there are four more after this one.  Still, there are quite a lot of surprises!  Harry, Ron, and Hermione are now thirteen years old, and they're definitely growing up.  Things have always been a little dark for them with all the shit that goes down at Hogwarts, but I wonder whether this kind of thing is really all that out of the ordinary since none of the parents seem to have a problem with continuing to send their children to this school.  Anyway, this is one of my favorite books in the series (and one of my favorite  from the movies also).  I think if I went to Hogwarts this year, I would probably have a huge teacher-crush on Professor Lupin.  I can't say whether I'd stop crushing or not once his secret gets out, either.  I wonder if his parents ever recognized the irony of their son's name.

Anyway.  Malfoy is even more of a douche in Prisoner of Azkaban than he has been in either of the two preceding books, which probably shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone.  I wish Ginny were in the story a bit more, but I suppose if I'd gone through what she did in the previous year, I'd be trying to lay low and not get involved with anything, so maybe that was her game-plan for the year.  I still love Oliver Wood, the quidditch captain for the Gryffindor house team, even though I feel like he would be the worst boyfriend ever since he's so obsessed with the game and doesn't seem to have room in his head for much of anything else.  Most of the other familiar characters show up again as well, and we meet a few new ones like Sibyll Trelawney, the divination professor, and of course Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

We also get a new part of the wizard world outside of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley to marvel at and get sucked into, as the third-years are allowed to go into Hogsmeade, a nearby village, on select weekends.  I think it is safe to say I am not the only person who has read this book and wanted to jump through the pages and spend every penny I have on candy in Honeyduke's and some butterbeer at the pub.  Actually, Hogsmeade is one thing I'm impatient to experience through Pottermore, but I'll have to suck it up and wait it out until I can get to that point.  

It's probably a safe bet that most people out there have already read this book, or at the very least have seen the movie, but if you haven't, you probably should.  Right now.  Because you are missing out.  There was some sitting around and things in the last couple of books, even though there was an awful lot going on, but they don't really have so much time this year for that kind of thing, since Wood has turned into a slave-driver in his determination to win the Quidditch Cup before he leaves Hogwarts, and Hermione has packed her class schedule so full that if this were not a middle grade/young adult novel, and she were not magical, I'd be suspicious that maybe she's become a speed freak just to get everything done.  She breaks the rules with a little less resistance in this book, but she still wouldn't be that type of girl.

Even though I've read this book a fair few times, and seen the movie about as much, I always enjoy re-reading it; sometimes I almost forget some of the things that get altered or left out completely in the book-to-movie translation, and it's nice to rediscover those moments.  This series has easily become comfort reading, much like the older classics are to a lot of people.  The first time I read this book (and the others, actually), I remember taking my time as much as I could, savoring them and really getting into the world Rowling has gifted us with.  But now I kind of devour them, eager to experience the next one, and the next, and so on.  I will be a little sad once I've finished re-reading them all, and once I've finally read Deathly Hallows.




Series Info:  What came before this book?  What's next?
Harry Potter
* Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)

Film Adaptations:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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1 comment:

  1. Comfort reading, I like that! I would classify it as such too. :)