This re-read, like each one before it, is about what I noticed more this time than I did the other times I’ve read the books. The older I get the more my perspective changes and the more I’m like oh yeah that makes sense from an adult perspective but then I’m also like OMG WHY IS NO ONE PROTECTING THESE CHILDREN? That and of course how young Harry, Ron, and Hermione (who are 13ish in this book, and all the other teenagers that end up fighting Voldemort)! It’s crazy.
Even more than those two things above, the thing that got me reading this book was how lackadaisical the wizarding parents seemed in this book. Sure it gets worse in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
I totally understand that this is all about rumors at this point, but come on a professor dies, the Dumbledore is removed, and how many kids are petrified for a good portion of the school year? Where are the questions and why do they just say okay and send their kids back to Hogwarts? The only time this really comes out to me in this book is that very few people stay at Hogwarts over Christmas when there seems to be a lot more in previous years. I’ve got a good long rant planned about the press of the Wizarding World in my response to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but come on people at least pretend not to be living in the dark ages and take an interest in your child’s safety!
The other thing that surprised me in re-reading this was how spot on Rowling writes teenagers. Most don’t really care about things like safety or the future, they live in the moment. I touched on this a little in my response about Rowling writing Harry in a way that he didn’t offer his money to the Weasleys at every opportunity, but it was further proved in this book. Harry and Ron (not so much Hermione) have little regard for their own personal safety or future. They’re just living in the moment and experiencing the Wizarding World as it comes.
“No, all in all, the thing that bothered Harry most was the fact that his chances of visiting Hogsmeade now looked like zero. Nobody would want Harry to leave the safety of the castle until Black was caught; in fact, Harry suspected his every move would be carefully watched until the danger had passed.” (72)
I did forget just how dark this book got. I always assumed that the darkness was only in the later books of the series, but this is the turning point from what little innocence there was in the first two into this book with the broader darkness of the Wizarding World returning to the darkness of the First Wizarding War.
I also can’t forget to mention the continuity error I found in this re-read. Every time I re-read them I find either a new detail I missed or an error that I’m like OMG YES because it just highlights something that I missed on the re-read reminding me there’s something new each time 😀
“Ron crawled to the four-poster and collapsed onto it, panting, his white face now tinged with green, both hands clutching his broken leg.” (363)
“His eyes flickered over Ron, lying on the floor, over Hermione, cowering next to the door, to Harry, standing there with his wand covering Black, and then to Black himself, crumpled and bleeding at Harry’s feet.” (365)
It’s a minor error, but I was just like WAIT A SECOND what’s going on. I could of course be imagining it, but I feel like it was there and there’s no mention of Ron moving.
Recommendation: Read it. It’s as simple as that. Remus Lupin is probably one of my favorite characters for how he treats his students like adults, but at the same times remembers that they’re not adults. It could also come from his being ostracized and how that parallels the LGBT community, but who knows. I would also be remiss not to mention that this film adaptation was the one that forced me to see those as separate entities and to appreciate them each for what they are.
Opening Line: “Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”
Closing Line: “And, grinning broadly at the look of horror on Uncle Vernon’s face, 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 to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)
Additional Quotes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
“Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognizing it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame-Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying a gentle, tickling sensation. Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty-seven times in various disguises.” (2)
“While Muggles have been told that Black is carrying a gun (a kind of metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other), the magical community lives in fear of a massacre like that of twelve years ago, when Black murdered thirteen people with a single curse.” (40)
“I thought we’d seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of the Invisible Book of Invisibility — cost a fortune, and we never found them. . . .” (56)
“‘Well, well . . . I’m impressed.’ He smiled slightly at the look of surprise on Harry’s face. ‘That suggests that what you fear most of all is — fear. Very wise, Harry.’ (163)
“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself . . . soulless and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life. And the worst that happened to you, Harry, is enough to make anyone fall off their broom. You have nothing to feel ashamed of.” (197)
“Potter trusted Black beyond all his other friends. Nothing changed when they left school. Black was best man when James married Lily. Then they named him godfather to Harry. Harry has no idea, of course. You can imagine how the idea would torment him.” (216)
“He was thinking about his father and about his three oldest friends . . . Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. . . . Had all four of them been out on the grounds tonight? Wormtail had reappeared this evening when everyone had thought he was dead. . . . Was it so impossible his father had done the same? Had he been seeing things across the lake? The figure had been too far away to see distinctly . . . yet he had felt sure, for a moment, before he’d lost consciousness. . . .” (433)
“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them . . . and I’m much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.” (453)
“You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.” (454)