I’ve finished the third Harry Potter book, and oh my gosh – interesting new characters, a convict on the loose, time travel… This was the best entry in the series yet! Starting to think I may have been wrong about Salazar Slytherin being a major villain though…
The Prisoner of Alcatraz- I mean, Azkaban, introduced some amazing new concepts – The boggart was fantastic, turning into people’s worst fears. I wonder what shape one would take in front of me? Probably a massive pigeon.
reapers Dementors were bloody terrifying and I’m stopping myself from Googling what they looked like in the film, to preserve my terrifying mental image of them. Awesome new creatures. On the subject of the Dementors, I’m sorry, but I have to point out the most innuendo-filled section of the books so far:
“He didn’t stop to think. Plunging a hand down the neck of his robes, he whipped out his wand and roared, ‘Expecto patronum!’ Something silver white, something enormous, erupted from the end of his wand. He knew it had shot directly at the Dementors but didn’t pause to watch.”
You can’t tell me Rowling didn’t have a smirk on her face when she wrote that little number. Oh, Harry, you dirty so-and-so.
The Marauders Map was also such a neat idea, and when the names of its creators were revealed at the end of the book… Oh, yes mate! Excellent twist! I love that Harry’s dad was a bit of a troublemaker. It gives him much more of a personality, as until this point I thought Harry’s parents would have been very serious-types. Don’t tell me this whole saga started because James Potter pranked Voldemort with a whoopee cushion?
As soon as Lupin was introduced on the train I had a good feeling about him. He seemed young, and handsome (Total P.I.L.F), and basically like a hipster professor. I thought, ‘fantastic, this one can’t be evil’ – then Harry’s bad guy detector (Sneakoscope) started going off about one page later. God damn it!! But ultimately Lupin wasn’t a bad guy; he was one of my favourite things about this book, and I really hope he sticks around. It frustrates me that so many professors come in for just one book and leave. Lupin is too interesting to be a one-book-character! PLEASE tell me he comes back!
Sirius Black was another one of my instantly liked characters. I imagined him as Johnny Depp, as a grubbier and evil-looking Jack Sparrow (Pirates and wizards are interchangeable, right?) Sirius sounded powerful – killing 13 people with a single curse? Oh yeah, that’s the kind of man for me! Admittedly, he didn’t turn out to be quite so evil, but he still seems strong and like you don’t want to mess with him. That being said, I found myself picturing his dog form as a massive black labradoodle, which wasn’t quite as intimidating as it was supposed to be, I’m sure.
The entire eavesdropped conversation in Hogsmeade about Sirius and the Potters was amazing – hearing more details about Harry’s parents is always interesting. Maybe that’s why I took such a liking to Sirius. I’ve said this before: I’m far more interested in the history of You-Know-Who than I am in the present-day adventures. Why was Voldemort actually after Harry’s parents?! I want to find out!
Prisoner of Azkaban had some great twists too. I liked the pets being revealed as Animagus, and clearly had no idea it was coming as I’ve written in my notes halfway through the book – ‘Lots of animal talk. Did Rowling really want a dog when she wrote this?’
I actually thought the pet stuff was just serving to ‘break up’ Ron and Hermione, which disappointed me. One of the things I loved the most about the Chamber of Secrets was their growing bond, and how loyal Ron was to her. Both Harry and Ron treated Hermione like dirt in this book, which I really didn’t like. I know flaws make characters real, but I think I should at least like the protagonists of the book I’m reading.
Actually, while we’re on Harry – it was mentioned at the start of the book that he’s 13. …WHAT?! I’m always picturing him as 16/17 years old, at least. He’s doing some mighty fine work for a 13 year old. I almost wish Hogwarts had been set up as a University instead of a school – it could have delved in to even darker storylines that way. But then I guess it wouldn’t be Harry Potter, would it?
While the boys were busy being dicks, I knew Hermione was up to something sneaky in this book and I loved it (and was so relieved her time travelling was kept relatively simple). Her adventures always feel like I am reading glimpses of another book, one I am dying to read. I would love to hear some of this story from Hermione’s perspective. She’s got a backbone, and she stands up to students and teachers alike when she knows she’s right. I also have one thing to say regarding her slapping Malfoy:
I still missed Neville Longbottom in this book. I must admit to internally screaming ‘Nooooo!’ when he accidentally let Sirius Black in the Gryffindor Common Room – Neville’s an idiot but I can’t help but love him. He was my star of The Philosopher’s Stone but in the last two books he feels more and more like a background character. Maybe I was hoping for too much from him. I also feel like Professor McGonagall took a bit of a backseat this time around, but maybe she was just overshadowed.
Certain characters didn’t quite hit the mark that Lupin and Sirius did. Professor Trelawney held no appeal to me whatsoever and I’m not bothered if her and her tea leaves vanish. Timid Ginny can bore off and is clearly the worst of the Weasleys. Despite not liking Colin Creevey, I admit his little appearances in this book were quite nice as a callback to the Chamber of Secrets. I also completely wouldn’t have been surprised if Creevey was the one who bought Harry the Firebolt, as he’s a top-class creeper.
When I found out Hagrid was going to be a teacher, I thought, shit, he’s going to get even more of the spotlight now. To be fair, this wasn’t as bad as I thought… Maybe I’m getting used to reading his accent. As an aside: I know owls are magical and quirky, but if Hagrid wants to meet up with Harry for dinner, surely it’s easier to send a text with a cute little emoji rather than writing a letter and selotaping it to an owl? I could still take-or-leave Hagrid, but this was his least unpleasant book so far. (That’s as good a compliment he’s going to get from me!)
Snape was particularly unlikable in this book. Was he seriously a popular character at this point in the series? I thought readers loved Snape, but when he was a substitute teacher for the Dark Arts class he was being an absolute dick. His performance reviews must be hella awkward – stop bullying the students, Severus!
The end of Prisoner of Azkaban was great, I couldn’t have read it quicker – Peter Pettigrew was irritating and pathetic, and I’m surprised he got away. I enjoyed hating him though. I feel like his escape has set up something rather disastrous to happen in the next book. Is Voldemort finally going to return in person?
The idea of Harry living with Sirius Black was fantastic. I’m sad that was teased and then taken away so quickly. Harry’s clearly grown throughout the books so far – he’s got more confidence now, and stands up to Uncle Vernon when he has to. Which means that I now find the Dursleys boring as they pose no threat, and I want a change of scenery in that department. Hopefully Harry gets taken in by Ron or something, I can’t put up with Aunt Petunia much longer.
Overall, I loved the Prisoner of Azkaban. At this point I’m finding myself expecting a book to be a bit dull, as they’ve all built on each other so far. Hopefully the Goblet of Fire has more details about the past, less bitchy Ron, and a hefty dose of Voldemort causing chaos himself rather than being a behind-the-scenes man.
For now, I’m liking Lupin, Hermione, and Sirius. I’m not liking Snape, Hagrid or Ron – but Ron’s a tricky one to get a grasp on. I am dying to know:
- Why was Voldemort after Harry’s parents?
- Is Lupin going to come back?
- What quirky little character is going to come in and guest star as the next Dark Arts teacher?
And for readers…
- Did you like the animals-being-wizards twist?
- I’ve heard this book is a pretty popular one in the series – what didn’t you like about it?
- What were your thoughts on Snape at this point?
On to the Goblet of Fire next! Judging by the size of it (bloody hell!), I may do a post when I’m halfway through this one… I’ll see how much I have to write about it. Until next time!