“‘You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us?'”
Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: JK Rowling
Genre: children/YA fiction (fantasy)
Length: 435 pages
Source: personal collection
Resolutions/Challenges: Harry Potter Read-a-Long
Reason for Reading: Not only is this my favorite book/movie of the Harry Potter series, but I am also participating in a HP read-a-long, reading a HP book a month until the end of the year (2011). Also, I hadn’t read this book since 2007 when the last HP book was released.
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
My Thoughts: This has always been my favorite of the Harry Potter series. And I think it always will be. I have known since the series was being originally released that one reason I liked this book so much was that it doesn’t directly involve Voldemort. In a long series, I like a little variation. It’s nice not to know that Harry would fight Voledmort, win, and then another book would come out (since we knew there’d be seven books, that sort of gave away some endings in the middle books)–that this story is completely different from the regular flow of the other books in the series.
But I think I also realized another reason why I liked this one so much. Harry meets Lupin and Sirius, two of his father’s best friends. I think that this book holds the happiest moment for Harry in the series–finding out about Sirius and the (original) idea that he could leave the Dursleys and live as an actual wizard and be happy. I think it beats winning at Quidditch and destroying horcruxes in levels of happiness.
Oh, but I really do have to say something about what Snape says about James. Snape repeatedly mentions to Harry that he, too, is arrogant, just like James, “strutting around the castle” and whatnot. And then Harry blows up and gets upset that Snape would besmirch James’ name/memory. But I think this arrogance strikes true, to be honest. I love Harry, don’t get me wrong. But I think he can be arrogant. (I remember my initial reading of the series. I think I got to Goblet of Fire and starting thinking, “Gosh, I wish the books would focus more on Ron and/or Hermione for once” despite it being Harry Potter and the… series.) Especially the fact that Harry doesn’t know anything about how his father acted, it makes him seem a little arrogant to believe James wasn’t arrogant. Make sense? Oh, and I think Harry realizes this later in Order of the Phoenix, when he and Snape are working on Occlumency. When Harry accidentally sees some of James in Snape’s memories, he realizes some of what James was like from the view outside of his gang (forgive me if this is something that is emphasized more in the movie than the book, but I forget sometimes which has what). ANYWAYS, Harry can be arrogant and cavalier. But there obviously wouldn’t be a story without him.