Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #3)
Published July 1st, 2008 by Bloomsbury

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well; and the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts . . . he's at Hogwarts." Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban has always been, in my opinion, one of the best books of the series. Even as far as the movies go, I feel that PoA is by far the best book to film adaptation out of all 8 movies. Yes, Harry Potter and Ron and Hermione are still fairly young in the third book, but I find they have matured quite a bit this time around. They're officially in their teens, and they've already had their fair share of adventures. This time around however, Harry has more to worry about than just Voldemort (as if that in itself weren't enough). Harry's Summer vacation at the Dursley's take a turn for the worse when Uncle Vernon's vile sister Marge comes to visit. She is completely horrible to Harry, and by comparison makes his Aunt & Uncle look almost human. After a disastrous visit ends abruptly (lol) Harry finds himself spending his last two weeks of Summer vacation in Diagon Alley. I always feel so happy about Harry being able to soak in his magical surroundings and do as he pleases...I mean how fun would it be to hang out in Diagon Alley?!

The writing here is above reproach. I read somewhere that JK Rowling said that when she had finished writing 'Half Blood Prince' she said she hadn't been that satisfied with a book since Prisoner of Azkaban, and to me, it shows: this is JKR at her best. There are so many new magical elements added in the mix this time : The Maurauder's Map, the discovery of the identity of the Maurauders themselves, the Dementors are absolute nightmares I've always found it so telling of Harry that his Boggart is NOT Voldemort, but a Dementor. Like Lupin says, Harry's worst fear, is fear itself. And Lupin is right; it is really brave ♥ , the Patronus charms are really cool, and always have me imagining what I think my own Patronus would be. I also really enjoy the visits the the wizarding village of Hogsmeade, the only all wizard settlement in London.

Now as for a few of the best elements of Prisoner of Azkaban; Remus Lupin & Sirius Black. Lupin is the first competent Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we've ever been introduced to. But as a character, he's a little tragic. He also shares my birthday and that's pretty cool :) And after reading the book thinking one thing about Sirius Black, finding out the truth is staggering, and wonderful all at once. The 30 minutes Harry believes he'll be able to move in with Sirius...*sigh* and have something close to a home...and a family. Again it's tragic but beautiful.

As usual, PoA has the requisite Dumbledore & Harry heart to heart ending. And Dumbledore always contributes a hint at a key plot element that will come to play again later on in the story. There will come a time when Harry is grateful he saved Pettigrew's life... Re-reading is fun just because of those little hints. My first time through, I pretty much inhaled the series whole, so some of the little hints I had forgotten about. It's brilliant to see how it all fits together in the end...every little detail is woven into the plot for a reason. Not many authors accomplish such a feat, but J.K. Rowling does it seamlessly.

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