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Revisiting Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Over the past fortnight, I re-read the third book of the Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. For the first time, as I read these books, I pause to think. I've been reading with breaks in between and also writing up posts on my re-read experience, while also marking out my favorite quotes from the books. (Previously, I just raced through the pages. It's hard to slow down.) It's been a thrilling ride!

The third book has always seemed to me the "coming-of-age" book. The series is beginning to take shape slowly. Some of the principal characters of the rest of the series (Lupin, Sirius, Wormtail, Buckbeak, Trelawney, Dementors) make their first appearances here. The relationships between the characters are defined strongly. In addition, we are introduced to the Knight Bus, Divination class, Hogsmeade and the Marauder's Map.

Moreover, this book had some of the best magical vignettes ever. I enjoyed the DADA class the best of all. It is interesting that this would be the only enlightening DADA class that they would ever have, in the whole series, not considering the meetings of the Dumbledore's Army in the fifth book. Another interesting feature was Quidditch! I loved the extensive coverage that J.K. Rowling devoted to this fun sport. Three games! Harry's receiving the Firebolt only added to the excitement!

On the other side, I admired Hermione's role in this book. I feel she totally came into her own. Her desire to take every class offered by Hogwarts was endearing. But when she cracked due to the workload, I was relieved. It felt good to see that she had human limitations too. When I first read the Harry Potter books, I was studying. Hermione's total dedication would in turn inspire and intimidate me. Like Harry, I could never fail to marvel at the amount of effort she put into her homework.

The best part of this book, though, is the Patronus and Harry's attempt to conjure one. I truly enjoyed the idea of a bright glowing guardian that is unique to the wizard or witch that conjures it. The Patronus charm would be making many appearances in the remaining books of the series, and one of my best scenes is the patronus charm training that Harry gives in the fifth book. I would love my patronus to be a cute little elephant - not huge but small, cute and cuddly. I guess because they are my favorite animals. So what would your Patronus be like?

So here are my favorite quotes from this book:

They were watching a brand-new television, a welcome-home-for-the-summer present for Dudley, who had been complaining loudly about the long walk between the fridge and the television in the living room.

He raised his hand automatically and tried to make his hair lie flat.
"You're fighting a losing battle there, dear," said his mirror in a wheezy voice.

"Sirius Black escaped to come after you? Oh, Harry... you'll have to be really, really careful. Don't go looking for trouble, Harry --"
"I don't go looking for trouble," said Harry, nettled. "Trouble usually finds me."

"Farewell, my comrades-in-arms! If ever you have need of noble heart and steely sinew, call upon Sir Cadogan!"
"Yeah, we'll call you," muttered Ron as the knight disappeared, "if we ever need someone mental."

"Right, you've got a crooked sort of cross... " He consulted Unfogging the Future. "That means you're going to have 'trials and suffering' -- sorry about that -- but there's a thing that could be the sun... hang on... that means 'great happiness'... so you're going to suffer but be very happy...."
"You need your Inner Eye tested, if you ask me," said Ron.

"You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in."

"Well... when we were in our first year, Harry -- young, carefree, and innocent --"
Harry snorted. He doubted whether Fred and George had ever been innocent.
"Well, more innocent than we are now."

"Er -- shall I make a cup of tea?" said Ron.
Harry stared at him.
"It's what my mum does whenever someone's upset," Ron muttered, shrugging.

"You know what, Hermione?" said Ron, looking down at the enormous Arithmancy book Hermione had been using as a pillow. "I reckon you're cracking up. You're trying to do too much."

"Okay, but we'll go around by the greenhouses!" said Hermione breathlessly. "We need to keep out of sight of Hagrid's front door, or we'll see us! We must be nearly at Hagrid's by now!"



Related reading:
Revisiting Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Revisiting Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

What do you think of the third book? Is it anywhere among your top favorites?

If you haven't read this series yet, what keeps you away from it?

Comments

Lisa Gail Green said…
I love HP so much. I could read it in an endless loop. Sigh.
bermudaonion said…
It would be so much fun to take the time to read the series back to back. My patronus would be a cute little dog.
Great review! The third book is one of my favorites for many of the reasons you mention. I also really like that a lot of the adult characters are introduced and I felt like a lot of back story/character development took place. Have fun with number 4
Tales of Whimsy said…
Lovely review. You bring the book to life!
HP is the best! Great review! I actually like this book best - it just packs more of a punch. So glad you are writing about it! Cheers!
Priya Parmar said…
wonderful review! i have always wanted to read these books!
Athira said…
Lisa, my thoughts exactly. I am yet to come across a book that weaves that same amount of magic!

Kathy, I am enjoying reading these books so far! a cute little dog for a patronus would be my second choice, if the elephant doesn't work well. LOL!

Helen, I'm with you on that. It is the transitory book between the younger-crowd oriented books 1 and 2 and the more mature books that follow.

Juju, thank you! :)

Nadia, I'm so glad to be reading this series too! There's so much magic and excitement!

Priya, thank you! I hope you get to read them!
I've only read the series once and listened to them once. I never reread books but I am itching to read these again!
Introverted Jen said…
This one just might be my favorite of the series. You've chosen some great quotes! My patronus would be some sort of cat, probably a mostly happy but occasionally cranky housecat. ;-)
LOVE your question here and wondering why I have never thought about this.

I cant commit....LOL...
Athira said…
Natasha, the Harry Potter series and Tolkien's saga are the only books I re-read. I so love them!

Jen, cranky housecat sounds funny! I would love to see such a patronus!

Sheila, LOL, it is tough! :)

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