Books

Book 128: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

How many times can I say ‘WOW’ to open a book response? Especially if I’ve read the book already? Apparently, every time because these books just make me so happy. Definitely considering abandoning all challenges next year and just reading whatever strikes my fancy, but I doubt I will.

When I first read this book, I wasn’t that impressed. For some reason it just didn’t mesh well with me, but unlike Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this book has definitely grown on me. Whereas Book 1 introduces us to the world of Harry Potter, Book 3 introduces us to some of the vitally important characters to the world and the series. How can you not be intrigued by Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew and want to find out even more about Severus Snape? You can’t! Rowling gives you just enough information to make you question what you know about all of the characters, but not enough to reveal who or what they really are or where they’re going or who they’ll be at the end of the series.

If there is one scene which stands out for me in this novel having reread it after a good break and after the entire series (both film and book) ended, it is the scene where Snape confronts everyone in the Shrieking Shack. Knowing what we know after Book 7 and Snape and Lilly’s past added a whole new ‘HOLY COW’ aspect to that scene and his resulting actions. I mean I hated Snape, I still do honestly, and that’s a tribute to Rowling’s writing his character as one you have to hate regardless of what you know at the end of the series.

Now looking at the films is a different matter. When Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came out on film I was not impressed. I honestly blocked it out of my memory. I did this because I was still hoping they would stick truer to the books and I was still upset that the original Dumbledore, Richard Harris, died after filming Book 2. It took until after the 5th film came out, I realized they were actually good adaptations of the book and started to view them as a separate entity, before I went back and watched the film again. At that point I realized how great a job Alfonso Cuarón did directing the movie. It’s definitely in the top of my favorite movie adaptations of the Harry Potter Books

Recommendation: READ IT! (Like I’d say otherwise.) This is one of my favorites. Make sure you pay particular attention to the scene I mention above if you haven’t read the books before and then come back to it after Book 7 and tell me what you think. WHOA, right?!

Opening Line: “Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”

Closing Line: “Harry set off toward the station exit, Hedwig rattling along in front of him, for what looked like a much better summer than the last.” (Whited out.)

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5 thoughts on “Book 128: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling”

  1. This is my favourite Harry Potter book. The first two books were quite simple and young – but book 3 twists everything into something a lot more darker and I think it shows you that actually – the Harry Potter series isn’t just a book about wizard school.

    Every time I read this book, I find reasons to love it more. It’s always the one I look forward to most. Those Dementors give me the shivers every time. I love Lupin and I love Sirius… although on my last re-read I found I didn’t like Sirius as much as I did before. I think by the end, Harry realises that his Dad and Sirius were humans and not the perfect sort of idols he looked up to.

    I always liked Snape – he is just so funny, in an entirely horrid way. But I always felt a little sorry for him in a way I probably wouldn’t if I had to deal with a Snape in real life. I liked him before Alan Rickman made him kind of sexy, not so much as a person just as a character. I always knew he’d turn out good, in a twisted kind of way.

    The 3rd movie is my favourite too and I think that the director really captured the Harry Potter world and all the magic. That film to me felt how the books felt. I felt that they really should have taken the time to explain the Sirius/James/Snape. Snape just came off as a paper-thin villain in the film.

    I find it very difficult to actually watch the films on their own – my knowledge of the books has become so intertwined that sometimes I forget they left a scene out of the film because I’ve imagined it so vividly in my head. I kind of see the films as an add-on. If they leave something out it doesn’t matter to me because I know the story behind it. I wonder how people who don’t read the books can enjoy the films and wonder if they feel confusing? I feel I can enjoy them because I’ve read the books.

    You’re really making me want to re-read this series now it’s going to be hard to stop myself from running to my bookshelf and grabbing them all. I love my Harry Potter books! I’ve read them so many times my DNA is practically ingrained in those pages, along with whatever I was eating at the time. Mostly rice crispies as whenever I got a new HP book I never bothered eating anything other then cereal as that was the easiest!

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    1. I can definitely see your point about watching the films on their own. They’re a million times better when you add in what happens ‘off screen’/in the novels!

      I also agree that this book opened up the wider magical world to the rest of us, but for me the big change in maturity was Book 4. I mean hello murder in the first 25 pages! I’ll definitely cover my opinions on this in Book 4’s post early next week.

      (And that’s hilarious about the rice krispies – mine mostly have fingerprints in them from the popcorn I ate when I was first reading them!)

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  2. I watched the films before reading the novels, and I really didn’t like watching this one. It was so poorly explained for someone who hadn’t read the books first that it came off as just silly.

    However, I really enjoyed this when I finally read it. This is the book in the series that really turned me around on it.

    Reading these reviews is really making me want to finish the series. I sadly never got to the last two.

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    1. I know what you mean. And I think that’s why I really did not like this movie at all and actually blocked it out. It took accepting they were nothing like the books and seeing them as a separate entity (even thought you do need the books to understand). I guess I liked this one because it set up a lot for the rest of the series where Book 2 seemed really random until the end of the series.

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