Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

June 27, 2013 Review 0 ★★★★★

Book Review:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK RowlingHarry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #3
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 2004 May 1
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 435
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously?

We are now on the 3rd HP book. Before I go into the nerdy stuff of book reviewing, I would just like to share that this book is my all-time favorite HP sequel.

Gist

After the events of the Chamber of Secrets, Harry was once again back at 4 Privet Drive enduring the company of the Dursleys. What’s worst was that, Aunt Marge—Vernon’s younger sister—will be visiting the whole family. Harry had hated Aunt Marge ever since he had known her. She liked to pick on Harry, insulting him and his parents.

Then, the inevitable happened. Aunt Marge came and the thing that Harry dreaded transpired. She insulted him to the point that Harry was burning with so much anger. Harry retaliated by inflating her like a balloon. Because of this, Harry left the Dursley’s house and was picked up by the Knight Bus, but only after alarmingly seeing a large black dog.

Harry instructed the driver and the conductor to drop him off at the Diagon Alley where he was happily greeted—as though expecting him—by Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic himself. This actually came as a surprise to Harry because he had been expecting that the Minister will arrest him for doing magic outside of school. The Minister instructed him to stay at Diagon Alley until the 11th of September.

A day before the school starts, Harry accidentally heard that the Ministry of Magic had been working hard to ensure his safety because a man named Sirius Black, one of Lord Voldemort’s most loyal servant and fugitive wizard from Azkaban—the wizard prison—was on the loose and was looking for him.

The school started and Harry had been infuriated that almost everyone was treating him like a fragile baby, making excuses to accompany him in going to and from his classes. Aside from this, the new security at Hogwarts—Dementors—weren’t any good for his morale as these creatures were scary and feeds on the happiness of the people. They affect Harry worse than everyone since he had experienced more terrifying things than most people around him. His new Divination teacher—a fraud most probably—wasn’t helping either because she had been predicting that Harry had the Grim—a large black dog—which is an omen for death. This scared Harry because he actually saw a black dog and had seen it again at Hogwarts. There were only a few things that made him happy and one of those was that they finally had a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Remus J. Lupin. And for Harry, he is the best DADA teacher they ever had.

On a more personal concern, Harry’s bestfriends—Ron and Hermione—were always fighting because the latter’s new cat—Crookshanks—was intent on killing Ron’s pet rat named Scabbers. There were times that the two treated each other like the other one was non-existent. Harry joined Ron’s side when he mysteriously received a Firebolt—the most high end broomstick there is—for his birthday from an unknown person. That was a short-lived happiness however since Minerva Mc Gonagall immediately confiscated it after a tip from Hermione that it must have come from Sirius Black.

After a few weeks, they came to their senses and made up with Hermione. Their newly mended friendship was tested once more when Crookshanks finally managed to eat Scabbers. Ron was livid and he swore that he’d never talk to Hermione again. This was mended when Hagrid made Ron and Harry see sense, that friends should always come first before rats or broomsticks. The trio made up and get on with their normal lives. The search for Sirius Black was still commencing and it was on a fateful day at Hogsmeade that Harry—who had sneak out from the castle—found out that Sirius Black was his father’s bestfriend, bestman and as if these facts were not utterly shocking, he was his godfather and the secret-keeper of the Fidelius Charm.

Harry was outraged with these facts and wanted to seek revenge for the man who had betrayed him and his parents. But Harry’s wish came true when the large black dog showed up again and kidnapped Ron, who was shocked to find out that the supposedly dead Scabbers was alive.

The trio was dragged under the Whomping Willow which was revealed to be the entrance of the Shrieking Shack, a known haunted cottage in the village of Hogsmeade. There, they found out that the large black dog whom Harry kept seeing was Sirius Black. He was an Animagus, a wizard who can transform into an animal. The trio would have attacked Black when Remus Lupin arrived. And he greeted Black like a long lost brother. This scene caused outrage from the trio and hurled insults at the two men with Hermione finally revealing that Lupin was a werewolf.

But despite all these revelations, there was nothing more shocking when Scabbers was actually Peter Pettigrew, an old friend of James, Sirius, and Remus. Together, Sirius and Lupin explained that eighteen years ago, four Gryffindors—Sirius, James (Harry’s father), Remus and Peter—became the best of friends. And they became Animagi because they wanted to support Lupin during the times when he is transforming into a werewolf. Every time the friends transformed, they would take a stroll on the grounds and explore the Hogwarts Castle that they finally ended up creating the Marauder’s map. This map completely shows the Hogwarts castle and all the people inside it. It does not lie even if people were in Animagus form or using Polyjuice potion. In addition to that, it was revealed that Sirius, who had been the original secret keeper, appointed Peter to take his place at the last minute without informing Albus Dumbledore. Sirius did this to mislead Lord Voldemort in the hunt only to know that Peter was the spy after all.

After this disclosure, Sirius and Remus proceeded to kill Peter but Harry stopped them and decided that it would be better if they will leave the matter with the authorities. Upon being convinced that Sirius has been innocent all along, Harry became so happy, to finally find someone who is closer to a father figure.

My review…

Plot

OMG! I SOOOO LUURVE THIS BOOK that I actually thought, I’d die with suspense, drama and all the revelations that came with it. For the third time, Rowling brings us once again into the world of Harry where everything gets better and better. I was fascinated with the new creatures, the Dementors, the new things that made it a perfect paradise for our thoughts.

I was hanging on the edge of my seat and finally falling after the amazing turn of events. Forgive me but during the last chapters of the book, I’ve been crying like mad that I temporarily stopped reading. The events were unbearably painful and yet, it was so heartwarming to finally know that despite the difficulty of picking up the pieces, everything seemed to connect perfectly.

Having read the first three books, there is not a doubt that Rowling is a ruthless story teller. With a brush of her quill, she can make us happy or cry or angry or mad or make us explode from feeling all of these emotions at once.

Characters

I HEART SIRIUS BLACK! There, I’ve finally announced it. He had been an enigma in the book teasing our minds but in the end, he finally emerged as one of the underdogs between the battle of good and evil. I ache for him, for his losses, of the wasted life that he had lived, of his absence in Harry’s life, for his unwavering bravery and his boundless loyalty. And yes, it wouldn’t hurt that he was intelligent, cool, and very good looking. I salute JK for giving us this man who was a perfect example that no one should stop hoping to see the light. Sirius Black is like the Dark Knight who rose from the prisons of hell with dignity and resolute focus.

It was unfair that he wasn’t acquitted at the end of the book. But at least, he was able to clean his name infront of Harry and the gang. That was good enough for me.

Apart from Sirius, I also liked the newly introduced characters, Trelawney and Lupin. Well, Trelawney is someone really funny with her utterly unbelievable predictions. And Lupin strikes me as someone who is a down-to-earth person but certainly cool.

In this book too, we also saw how the trio was slowly ascending the point of maturity, of course, with Ron being the slowest in getting there. But it was fun and lovely seeing them growing up and tackling personal issues like any normal person would do.

Interactions and Dialogues

What’s good with JK is that she had always been consistent with the elements of her writing style. Dialogues and interactions in Harry Potter had always been a mixture of fun, wit, grit, thrill and suspense that it was impossible to get bored. How good is that?

Another thing would be, interactions and dialogues were straightforward and never lingered. You will never get an idea that Book 3 is just a filler to compensate the waiting for Book 7.

Lessons Learned

  • True friendships always endures- The friendship shared by the Marauder’s except for that scumbag Pettigrew and the trio is an outstanding example of this. True friendship is not just about having fun but it’s also about standing up against the lures of evil even if the price is one’s own life.
  • Never eat more than you can chew- As perfectly demonstrated by Hermione Granger.
  • Learn to trust someone with your crucial decisions- As what have happened when the Potters and Sirius decided not to inform Dumbledore of the secret-keeper swap. Thirteen years of punishing the wrong man would have been avoided if this had been the case.

What about you? What’s your all-time-favorite book? And why?

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