Name: Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
In this review I will be checking out the third novel in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
A prisoner by the name of Sirius Black has escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban. He was accused of killing 12 Muggles in the street and has a close personal connection to Harry.
Harry is at home with the Dursleys for summer when his Uncle Vernon’s sister, Aunt Marge comes to visit. However she infuriates Harry and when she makes a comment about his mother he loses control and blows her up like a balloon and runs away from home. Whilst out on the streets he sees what looks like a pair of eyes and a large black dog watching him when he is picked up by the Knight Bus and taken to the Leaky Cauldron.
Harry believes he will be kicked out of Hogwarts for using magic outside of school so is surprised when Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic appears and says it is fine and he can return to Hogwarts.
Harry catches up with Ron and Hermione and the three set off for Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express. On the way however, Harry encounters the sinister Dementors on the train, who are the guards of Azkaban and have been sent to Hogwarts to defend it from Sirius Black. However whilst in the presence of them the Dementors suck out any hope or cheerfulness a person can have and Harry hears his mothers screams when she died.
As Harry learns more about Black however and his connection to him and his parents death, Harry starts to long for revenge. However what dark path will this take and is there more to this story than what meets the eye?
Overall this book is much darker than the first two stories in the series. Though the most noticeable difference is it’s the only novel in the series which doesn’t feature Voldemort at all, however Sirius Black for most of the story is a very dark presence. As most fans of the series will know the big twist in this story but whilst reading it you genuinely feel he is out to get Harry and this makes the book drip with tension as he gets closer to him.
Then there is also the Dementors who suck out all hope and happiness from the characters. J.K. Rowling has spoken in the past about her battles with depression and the Dementors were inspired by this journey. It is also even alluded to that the Dementors cause depression as it says even Muggles can feel their presence. They are very scary and terrifying monsters under the bed type characters.
The book does however have some lighter touches, such as Hermione’s sudden explosion of feistiness towards the ending of the novel which is unexpected but also brilliant characterisation from J. K. Rowling to show Hermione becoming braver and stronger. There is also the mousy Divination teacher Professor Trelawney but even she has a dark moment towards the end of the novel.
I would possibly say the book maybe more scarier for younger children than the first two books. Also it is the first book which doesn’t necessarily end on a complete happy note and has a sense of foreboding which leaves you looking forward to the later entries of the series.
I would also say there is a very large plot hole in this story which is detailed in the next paragraph but does contain spoilers.
The plot hole does actually have many debates amongst fans. In the book Harry is giving the Marauders Map by Fred and George Weasley which shows everyone in the castle or meant to. However at the end of the novel and the big Peter Pettigrew is still alive and framed Sirius Black twist, Lupin arrives and says he saw Pettigrew on the map. This does therefore imply that Fred and George should have seen him for the entire of the first two books but didn’t which seems like a very large plot hole when you think about it.
Whilst it is entertaining for the reader, it is something which isn’t fully explained in the novel (though there is a possible interpretation that as Lupin wrote the map with Sirius, James and Peter that perhaps only they could see each other on it but it’s not a definite conclusion).
Overall it is an entertaining read and one I would highly recommend.