Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J. K. Rowling
Review: The opening to this book was amazing as we rejoin Harry at the Dursley’s waiting patiently to return to Hogwarts once more. I love Harry as a character and re-reading his adventures as an adult give me so much more joy than as a child as we can understand the more subtle messages interwoven throughout the novel. I have to say even though I was less than 10% into the re-read one of my favorite scenes in this book that makes me laugh out loud was when Harry blows up Marge – this happens to be my favorite scene in the movie as well. I also liked the awkward scenes between Harry and Fudge as this is the first book that will highlight Fudge’s decline and steep descent into denial later on in the series.
As we approach the 1/4 mark in the novel Harry begins to learn more about Sirius Black through the Weasley’s which makes sense as Arthur works in the Ministry but we also see some other interesting things for example we are introduced to Crookshanks (Hermione’s cat) surrounding the cat are some very interesting theories including he belonged to the Potters’ or he is Regulas Black in animagus form. We also meet Percy who is very snobbish and different from the rest of the family, the attitude he displays here will explain his actions in later books.
As we cross the 1/4 mark in the novel we are introduced to one of my favorite character Remus Lupin who is very quirky which I loved (he is also my favorite marauder) as well as the Dementors. Despite being extremely scary the Dementors allow this book to transition the series for a children’s series to something more adult in nature. I also liked seeing Harry’s relationship with Hagrid develop I believe Harry sees Hagrid as sort of a father figure especially in this book and they are very close in a way that goes beyond a teacher/student relationship. I also liked the way Rowling introduced BuckBeak as he will play a huge role later on in the novel and we can all agree BuckBeak should have smashed Malfoys’ head in rather than scratching him.
As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see Lupin’s and Harry’s relationship develop some more but we also see hints at the relationship Snape and Lupin share and it isn’t a good one. Sirus Black the supposed antagonist of this novel also makes his first appearance inside Hogwarts. I also really loved Peeves as a character as he is mischievous but also provides useful information at critical times when he appears. This book in the series seems to be a lot darker than the previous two with more serious danger befalling Harry and we see his past continuing to haunt him which will play a key role in Harry’s mental state in some of the later books. When Harry learns the truth about Sirius Black I felt this scene in the book held a lot more weight that its movie counterpart purely because Harry’s reactions.
As we cross the half way mark in the novel I loved the subtle hints Rowling slips us like in the behavior between Scabbers and Crookshanks. We can feel the pace ramp up especially when Professor Sybill Trelawney makes the statement that the first to rise from a table of 13 at Christmas will be the first to die and this particular warning will come into effect in more than one of the later books. I loved seeing the relationships change throughout this novel for example, Harry’s relationship with Lupin develops especially when Harry talks about his parents which sets the stage for Lupin’s role as Harry’s surrogate parent later on and also Harry and Ron’s relationship with Hermione dissolves a little which is understandable as she only become part of the trio by accident and she spends a lot of the second book petrified so this is the first book in the series where we the reader really get to know and connect with Hermione.
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel we see some really interesting things and I feel it is near impossible to not compare the books and the movies especially around this point in the book. We see Hermione struggling under the pressures of school with her huge timetable, exams and the social pressures she is feeling with her friends which we don’t see in the book. In the movies we see Hermione as just a know it all who comes in handy when Ron and Harry can’t figure something out but in the books she is so much more fleshed out and more human than I have ever seen her. Another big difference between the book and the movie is the role Buckbeak plays, in the movie Buckbeaks’ execution is used many as filler in order to progress the plot towards the showdown at the Shrieking Shack whereas in the books Buckbeak represents hope, hope that bad things can be changed or used for good and it should have played such a bigger role in the movie.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see Buckbeak executed and the trio are as devastated as Hagrid who seems to get really emotionally attached to all his creatures, case point Nobert. The whopping willow scene in the book makes Crookshanks a much bigger influence than he was in the movie where he was just an distraction from the larger story. Crookshanks is also one of my favorite creatures in the entire book because he is smart and is always hinting at Scabbers’ true nature. When we see the story begins to come together and completely make sense we see some major distinctions between the book and the movie. The one things that I feel should have really been in the movie is Lupin’s story about how Snape owed James a life debt after he saved Snape from a transformed Remus, and its also the point where we learn who the marauders are and how they were named. As we see Harry learn the truth about his parent’s death I was literally in tears because he was so determined to bring Black to justice only to realize the person responsible for the death of his loved ones has been right under is nose for years, it was truly heart-breaking but it also sets up a great relationship between Harry and Sirius later on.
The final pages of the novel were brilliant, seeing the beginning of Harry and Sirius’ relationship develop and seeing Harry stand up to the Dursley’s was just superb. I still can’t believe how much J K Rowling fits into less than 500 pages. The characters development, the unique and diverse range of characters and creatures are just mind blowing. If anyone hasn’t read the Harry Potter series yet I strongly urge you to go do so now and if you have read them read them again like me.
We are also spotlighting our new member Jordan for this book.
Stephanie: If you were an Animagi what animal would you want to turn into?
If I could be an Animagi I think I would want to be a falcon but according to Pottermore your Animagi usually is closely related or the same thing as your Patronus and if thats the case then mine would be a Wolf.
Tiff: If you could visit any Hogsmeade shop which would it be?
The shop I’d visit in Hogsmeade is a classic, The Three Broomsticks.
Jodie: Who is favorite Marauder and why ?
My favorite Marauder is absolutely Remus Lupin. When I first read the books I would have said Sirius, but not so much anymore. Lupin is genuinely a good person and he is so kind, he knows what it’s like to struggle, and he’ll do anything to protect those he loves.
Hermit Librarian: If you had a time-turner, would you use it for school like Hermione?
If I had a time turner I wouldn’t use to for school. I don’t think I would use it at all unless it was an emergency. I wouldn’t want to risk messing up any timelines.
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