As I confessed in my Sorcerer’s Stone review I haven’t read the series past Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; it is my secret shame but I feel good confessing it and rectifying my mistakes. I have seen Prisoner of Azkaban the most out of all the Harry Potter adaptations because my husband prefers to skip the first two and we usually lose steam in our marathons before getting to Deathly Hallows.
Harry escapes from 4 Privet Drive, after exploding his Aunt, and expects to be reprimanded by the Ministry of Magic. Instead he is told he doesn’t have to return to the Dursley’s as long as he doesn’t leave Diagon Alley. Harry is so busy enjoying his freedom he doesn’t ask any questions but he eventually discovers the reason the Ministry was so lenient on him is because mass murderer, Sirius Black, has escaped Azkaban and appears to be after Harry. Dementors begin roaming the entrances to Hogwarts and Harry is forbidden to leave school grounds until Black, who is accused of sending Voldemort to the Potter’s hide out twelve years ago, is apprehended.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Harry takes this surprisingly well, although he is angry about all the secrets, and he does sneak out of school a few times with the help of the Marauder’s Map. Mostly though, Harry chooses to focus his energy on Quidditch. There is so much more Quidditch in the novels than in the movie! Maybe too much?
“I’m dying!” Malfoy yelled, as the class panicked. “I’m dying, look at me! It’s killed me!”
Malfoy is still a little shit. Although he’s a little less racist, I don’t think Mud-blood or Pure-blood is uttered once, but he does try to get Hagrid fired during Hagrid’s first Care of Magical Creatures class. Malfoy subsequently gets one of Hagrid’s beloved hippogriffs sentenced to death (whiny little shit) but this ongoing plot point becomes vital at the climax. In general I feel like the novel drags in the middle and then the final few chapters cram in so much information it’s hard to digest.
There is less focus on Voldemort in this novel than the previous two, although it is assumed Black is a Voldemort supporter. Overall Rowling manages to drop kernels of foreshadowing into the future plans of the Dark Lord while mostly focusing on a specific story of redemption. We also gain insight into James Potter’s schoolboy days, his role in the Maurader’s Map, his secret Animagus abilities and his relationship with Snape. Also, Snape can hold a grudge!
Lastly, we learn about the Patronus charm, which comes back in later novels, and can we please give Lupin a shout out for being the best Hogwarts DADA teacher? And maybe one of the most stable adults, werewolf status not withstanding, in the Potter universe? I forgot how much I loved him and I think the novel does such a good job fleshing out his character.
“Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.”