Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #3
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?
I last read this book when I was 14 years old, given that I’m almost 32 now, I have a whole new perspective on it. Despite the fact that I gave this book 5 stars previously, I have to admit that it didn’t grow on me until this, my second read.
Confession time: I didn’t like Remus or Sirius.
*Khanh ducks as rotten fruit and eggs are thrown her way*
OK, OK, I’M SORRY! I’ve since changed my mind! Notice that I used the past tense.
Obviously, there will be spoilers for the book below, for the 1.5 of you who haven’t read this yet.
I can’t even recall why this book wasn’t memorable to me. All I remembered was that Sirius – and what happened to him – was terrible, but he’s like meh to me; I just never connected with him as a character. Remus was a werewolf and I’ve never liked werewolves. The Marauders in general were just a bunch of rowdy teenaged boys, and having been the target for teasing from rowdy, rude teenaged boys in my youth, I just didn’t care for the way they were portrayed. And I was right, somewhat, James, et al weren’t perfect. They bullied Snape, they were little shitheads.
Yes, eventually they became productive, admirable members of society, but I just didn’t like them at first.
I guess this is one of those books that just takes time to grow on you.
This is the last Harry Potter book in which Harry is a child. Before his life – and this series – was visited by the spectre of death. I’m not talking about the long-ago deaths of James and Lily, of course Harry has experienced deaths before, but it was distant. I’m talking about the future deaths where Harry lost people he actually remembered, and respected, and loved. That’s what I mean when I say that this is the last book in which Harry is a child, because as hard as his life was until now, he still had his innocence.
Children believe that their heroes are unerring. One of the rites of passage to adulthood is the realization that heroes fall, like everyone else.
Harry stared up into the grave face and felt as though the ground beneath him was falling sharply away. He had grown used to the idea that Dumbledore could solve anything. He had expected Dumbledore to pull some amazing solution out of the air. But no … their last hope was gone.
I know that everyone loves Sirius, but for some reason, he didn’t click for me when I was 14. This time around, I could understand his character more. I could relate to his desperation, his frustration, and the hope that kept him alive all those excruciating years in Azkaban.
‘I don’t know how I did it,’ he said slowly. ‘I think the only reason I never lost my mind is that I knew I was innocent. That wasn’t a happy thought, so the Dementors couldn’t suck it out of me … but it kept me sane.
I think for me, it took maturity and the experience of loss and frustration, well, life itself, in order to appreciate the hardship that Harry and Sirius and Remus went through.
Previously, this was a magical Cinderella-like tale about a boy in a room under the stairs. With this book, the story became twisted, and it became something more.