Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Book Review

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.

-Albus Dumbledore

Another great quote by the magnificent Albus Dumbledore. That’s another thing I loved about the Harry Potter series. When Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban begins, we find Harry back inside the Durseley house. Harry is lying beneath his bed covers, trying to do his summer homework. He wasn’t allowed to do anything related to magic at the Durseley house, especially after receiving a catastrophic phone call from Ron early in the summer. When Harry retired for the night, he realized that he had already been 13 for an hour- only to be immediately greeted by 3 owls- one from Ron, his own Hedwig, and one he didn’t recognize.

Ron’s owl held a letter explaining that the Weasley family was spending the month in Egypt after Arthur Weasley won 700 galleons from the Daily Prophet. With Hedwig, Harry was sent a letter and a Broom Repair Kit from Hermione. The third parcel was from Hagrid, and it contained the Monster Book of Monsters, which he would need when he started his third year at Hogwarts. It also contained his Hogwarts letter, which mentioned that Harry could visit Hogsmeade, the wizard village, with parents permission.

That morning, he joined the Durseley’s for breakfast, who were watching the news. Harry overheard the reports saying that a mad convict named Sirius Black had escaped from prison- but there was no report as to exactly where he had escaped from. Then, Vernon announced that Aunt Marge would be visiting that evening. Harry had many horrible memories with her- and Vernon wanted to make sure that Harry behaved alright. So, Harry makes a deal with Vernon that if he behaved well, Vernon would sign Harry’s Hogsmeade permission form.

Later that evening, Aunt Marge arrived and, after being welcomed by Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley, started speaking to Harry. She criticized every move Harry made and praised the Durseleys for taking him in. He then insulted Harry and compared him to Dudley. But, with a signature on the line, Harry was able to stand Aunt Marge’s behavior towards him. At least until Marge started insulting James and Lilly Potter, when Harry made Marge’s wine glass explode.

Finally, the evening of Aunt Marge’s departure arrived. At the end of dinner, Marge went back to the topic of blood, noting how Lilly was a ‘bad egg’, and, based off of her going to Hogwarts, had resulted in Harry. That was when Harry lost it. He responded with a sharp attitude, and continued to be provoked by Marge. Suddenly, Marge’s body began inflating, and she floated towards the ceiling. Immediately, Harry grabbed his trunk and ran outside and eventually found himself collapsed onto a wall in Magnolia Crescent.

Lost and alone, Harry figured that he was already expelled from Hogwarts for using magic. He began looking for his wand, but was startled by the shadow of a dog standing before him. Then, he sensed something coming towards him from behind. The purple Knight bus suddenly appeared before Harry- a bus that transported lost wizards in no time at all. He was greeted by Stan Shunpike and boarded the bus. He noticed that the newspaper Stan was reading featured Sirius Black, and learned that Black had been held in the wizard prison, Azkaban. Even worse, Black had murdered 13 people with one curse- and was a follower of Lord Voldemort.

He was dropped off at the Leaky Cauldron and immediately greeted by Cornelius Fudge- the Minister of Magic. Instead of being mad at Harry, Fudge expressed that he was only happy that Harry was safe. Soon after, the Weasley family arrives at Diagon Alley and the trio prepares to depart to Hogwarts- but not until after Arthur warns Harry that he was the reason Sirius escaped- Sirius wanted to hunt for Harry.

Before I spoil any more of this intense, plot-twisting story- I must encourage you to pause reading this book review here if you have not finished reading Prisoner of Azkaban yet so that I don’t spoil any information you might not want to know yet. Thanks!

On the train, Harry, Ron, and Hermione find themselves seated next to a man with ragged clothing and a suitcase that read Remus Lupin. Then, all of a sudden, the train is stopped. Everything goes cold, and it feels like all of the happiness was being drained from Harry. That, of course, is what the Dementors, the guardians of Azkaban, are trained to do. The Dementors are mysterious, robes creatures that have no face- only a dark hole where a mouth should be. Based on the horrors of Harry’s past, the Dementors had a great impact on him- but he was the only person on the train to pass out, just as Lupin got up and cast a spell at the Dementors.

Harry is woken up under the watchful eye of Lupin, who was trying to feed him chocolate. Harry learns that he is to be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher this year.

Later that day, in the Great Hall, Dumbledore makes the announcement that the Dementors would be posted at the entrance to the school- and that everyone was warned to be careful around them.

Harry begins taking lessons with Lupin. In one particular lesson, Lupin introduces boggarts, creatures that take the form of your greatest fear. While he let the others have a chance at defeating the boggart, he prevented Harry from trying, out of fear that Lord Voldemort would appear. Most interesting, though, was how the boggart appeared as the moon in front of Lupin.

Then a most peculiar thing happened: One day, Lupin fell sick and was not able to teach class. He was replaced by Snape- who taught them about a completely different topic- werewolves.

Harry’s schedule was full of other lessons as well, including one from Hagrid that involved riding a hippogriff. While Harry was able to gain the beasts trust, Malfoy insulted Buckbeak (the hippogriff), causing him to attack Malfoy. As a result, Buckbeak was subject to a hearing and execution. The trio would later help Hagrid with the hearing, but to no use. An execution date was set.

Unfortunately, as Uncle Vernon never signed Harry’s permission slip, Hermione and Ron went to Hogwarts without Harry. But much to his delight, Fred and George presented Harry with the Marauders Map- a map that could lead him through one of the secret passages at Hogwarts and land him in Hogsmeade. Harry soon joined Ron and Hermione across from the Shrieking Shack- a haunted building that no one had been in for years.

Soon came Harry’s first Quidditch match of the season. He had not lost a game yet, but, there is a first time for everything. While flying, Harry caught sight of the same black dog he had seen previously, just as Dementors swarmed onto the field. This caused Harry to topple off of his broom and fall towards the ground, snapping his broom in half. But to his great surprise, he later received a wrapped broomstick with no name on it.

After his fall, Lupin taught Harry how to conjure a patron us charm that would help keep away Dementors. Harry was beginning to understand the spell, but he still didn’t feel that sure about protecting himself.

Harry would continue to see the shadow of the dog out his window, and he could tell that Sirius Black was out to get him- and came extremely close to doing so. He broke into Hogwarts, sliced the curtain on Ron’s bed, and immediately left after realizing he had the wrong boy.

One day, while Harry was secretly in Hogsmeade, he heard Mcgonagall speaking about not just Sirius Black- but him too. He quickly learned that it was Sirius who sold his parents location to Voldemort. But not only that- Sirius Black was Harry’s godfather.

Buckbeak’s execution date arrived soon enough.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione visited Hagrid just before the execution. Hagrid was a mess- he obviously cared very deeply for Buckbeak. The executioner, Cornelius Fudge, and Dumbledore soon arrived, and, hidden under his invisibility cloak, the trio left through the back door of the hut and back up to the castle just as the executioner swung his axe. But on the way, Ron lost control of his rat and chased him towards the Whomping Willow. He was suddenly bitten and dragged into a hole at the base of the willow. He was quickly followed by Harry and Hermione, only to come face to face with the one person Harry  didn’t want to see- Sirius Black. Quite strangely, though, Sirius didn’t attack Harry- although he began to talk like it was Harry he was going to kill tonight. But, in fact, it was something else.

After being joined in the Shrieking Shack by Remus Lupin, Harry, Ron, and Hermione learn that Lupin and Black were hunting for Peter Pettigrew. Peter was a friend of theirs back when Black and Lupin were in school.

Ah, I love another good plot twist in the Harry Potter series. Most every book has them- all by the great works of J.K. Rowling. As Sirius explained to Harry, it was really Pettigrew, who had been following Voldemort, who told the Potter’s location to him. Sirius really was innocent.  While Harry had every good reason to kill Pettigrew, he decided to bring him back up to the castle first- but not before being greeted by an unwanted visitor- Professor Snape.

Breaking several school rules, Harry and Hermione attacked Snape, and soon the entire group was walking towards the castle, Snape floating above their heads.

By this point, Hermione had already figured out why Lupin was afraid of the moon- he was a werewolf. He had used the Shrieking Shack as a place of safe refuge. But now, in the light of a full moon, Lupin began to transform. Black, back in his dog form, attacked Lupin and allowed for the trio to run away. But, a distraction caused the werewolf to run towards the woods. A seriously injured Sirius came towards them, but was quickly surrounded by swarms of Dementors, who ushered him and Harry to the lake. Just before passing out, he saw his dad casting a patronus charm from across the lake.

Harry now found himself in the Hospital wing, next to Ron and Hermione. Dumbledore later came in and explained to both that Sirius was locked in Professor Flitwick’s office. The dementor’s kiss would be performed any moment. He told Hermione that three turns would be enough to save more than one innocent life.

Dumbledore had been talking about Hermione’s time-turner- a device she had used to take extra classes this year. She used this to travel back 3 hours in time, where all three were just leaving Hagrid’s. The first life to be saved that night was Buckbeak’s. After Dumbledore, Fudge, and the executioner had seen Buckbeak tied up, Harry and Hermione struggled to set him free. When he was successfully freed, they dragged him into the forest, where they witnessed Lupin transforming. Soon enough, Lupin was running into the forest- right at them.

After losing track of Lupin, Harry and Hermione traveled on Buckbeak up to Professor Flitwick’s tower. They were able to free Sirius from his cage. Despite the fact that Harry and Sirius would not be able to live together (as opposed to the Durseley’s), Sirius was sent flying off towards the mountains on Buckbeak.

They quickly made their way back to the hospital wing, just as Dumbledore was closing the door. After congratulating them on their success, he locked them in. An enraged Snape came in soon after, but was not proven right in assuming that it was Potter’s fault that Black escaped (even though technically, it was).

Unsurprisingly, only Dumbledore believed their story that Sirius was innocent. But, to Harry’s delight, he received a letter from Sirius just before going home, telling Harry that he was safe in hiding with Buckbeak. And while Harry may not have been looking forward to a summer  with the Durseley’s, he at least had an escaped convict godfather who he was in touch with to threaten with.

Thank you so much, again, for reading. It means a lot that you support the hard work I have put into my blog. I will be releasing my book review for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Saturday. Have a great day!

Gabe

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