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Thoughts on The Prisoner of Azkaban

Cover of The Prisoner of Azkaban

We are almost officially halfway through Shelia’s Harry Potter Readalong. I finished up The Prisoner of Azkaban just before the holidays. I loved it. Thanks again so much for prompting me to read this series, Shelia!

From here one out this post will be full of spoilers. In case I’m not the last person on earth to read The Prisoner of Azkaban, beware!

Prior to reading The Prisoner of Azkaban, I hoped I would be able to say the word Azkaban out loud from that point forward without mistake. Two or three weeks after finishing it, I still have problems. My lips still prefer Azbakan, but I loved the novel! What a great story! Here are my observations:

  • Harry spent much of the book headed toward major depression. I thought he was worried enough during The Chamber of Secrets, but that was nothing. The combination of being denied access to Hogsmeade and hormones that must be flying around his system like pop rocks made for an unpleasant third year for him. While he may have been Harry Humorless for much of the book, it only served to make the revelations about Sirius Black that much more powerful. For that one hour, I was on Cloud 9 with you, Harry.
  • Hermione. I’ve had a bone to pick with her from the first book. In this book, she didn’t rankle my nerves nearly as much. Despite Ron’s protests, I thought that it made perfect sense for Hermione to select Crookshanks to be pet. I can very much see her growing up to be a cat lady and I actually mean that in the best possible way. When everyone was led to believe that Crookshanks ate Scabbers, I even thought it was Ron who overreacted. Hermione was genuinely sorry and Ron was just being petulant. I’m sure hormones were at play there. Finally, when Hermione turned Harry’s broom into Professor McGonagall, I applauded her. Given their track record, she did the right thing. Oh, and she starts to realize her limits. Bravo!
  • The Dementors. Ack! That first scene on the train it was as if they were sucking my breath out, too. Those things are what nightmares are made of. I compliment Rowling for creating them. I never would have gone into this series thinking anything would scare the crap out of me. First there was Snape and now these creatures. Still, I should thank them for helping the Hufflepuffs beat Griffyndor in Quidditch. Go Hufflepuffs!
  • Speaking of Snape, I’m not sure how I feel about him. He is much more complex than I would ever have given him credit. I also think it was brilliant that Harry’s father isn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination. He was very much like Ron’s twin brothers and he even was involved in bullying at Hogwarts. There has to be more to this story for him to be Harry’s father and the target of Lord Voldemort. I’m looking forward to finding out.
  • The whole end of the book was just a delightful journey. I had no idea what to expect and all the twists and turns were fantastic. I won’t say much more, but that experience is what reading is all about. It was magical and perfect. Finishing that book will be a treasured memory for a long time. I dearly hope I’ll be able to read this book to my grandchildren someday. I want to experience it again through their eyes.

I am really looking forward to diving deeply into The Goblet of Fire. Just the first three chapters are making me happy. It’s hard to think of reading anything else.

15 Comments

  • At 2015.01.07 08:09, Kay said:

    How delightful to read your review of this 3rd Harry Potter book! It is really nice seeing it all over again through the eyes of another adult and also a newbie to reading the series. I have read this series several times and listened to it and it is very much a mega-favorite of mine. It will be nice to see what you think about the GOBLET OF FIRE. Good luck and oohh you have lots of fun to come!!

    • At 2015.01.08 22:41, Jennifer said:

      I’m just now to the Quidditch World Cup part of Goblet of Fire. What a scene that campground is!

      I am having a great time reading this. What’s better is all of the support from those who have read the series several times. I love hearing about what they see differently with each read. Thanks for being here to cheer me on!

    • At 2015.01.07 08:22, Sheila (Book Journey) said:

      Popping in. I am in Australia vut checked emails and seen you posted your review 🙂 Had to see it! So glad you are loving it!

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      • At 2015.01.08 22:41, Jennifer said:

        I hope you’re enjoying Australia!!!!!

      • At 2015.01.07 12:11, Alyce said:

        I’ve really been enjoying reading your reviews of the series and seeing what you think of the books as a first-time reader. I remember when my husband and I decided to read them we raced through the books that were out at the time (the first four or five). Those were a couple of quiet weeks in our house, while we had our noses buried in the books. I still avoid posting spoilers on Facebook when I get to my favorite parts (or the saddest parts of some later books). If you ever get a chance to listen to the audiobooks I highly recommend them.

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        • At 2015.01.08 22:45, Jennifer said:

          I don’t know how I could talk about the books without spoilers, so I but my notice up in bold each time. It’s easier on Twitter because of the character limits. Even still, I’ve inadvertently found out the fate of two characters since I’ve started reading. That’s okay, though. I won’t let that ruin my experience. 🙂

          I’m so jealous that you had someone with you when you read through it the first time. I’d give my broomstick to have a fellow reader in the house. Thank God for the online reading community!

          • At 2015.01.08 22:46, Jennifer said:

            Oh, and if the audiobooks were available to me online (Audible or Overdrive), I would have gone audio. My library has CD copies, but they are not in good shape. Hopefully someday they’ll be available on Audible. Hopefully!

          • At 2015.01.08 22:31, Bob said:

            While it’s a unpopular opinion, Azkaban was my least favorite of the series (although I loved the movie version, which many fans hated, go figure.)

            **Kinda Spoilery**

            I understand why so many people loved it, but I had large issues with it, particularly due to the use of time travel. First off, I found it ridiculous that it’s OK to use time travel to fit in extra classes, but not to prevent a murder. Plus, eventually time travel is used in a major way which just bothered me. Overall, it’s a great book, it just annoyed. Interestingly, Goblet was probably my favorite, and the one she moved the book into more adult/YA territory.

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            • At 2015.01.08 22:53, Jennifer said:

              I love how Goblet started, so I can see what you’re saying. The series is growing up.

              Your point about the time travel is interesting. I have no basis for this opinion other than what I’ve read of the books so far, but I have a feeling that Harry is similar to a Jesus type of character in that his experiences are being built and framed to lead up to a big SOMETHING that must happen. So, if that murder must have happened to lead up to the SOMETHING, you can’t use one of the available magical doohickies to prevent it. We shall see.

              I did enjoy this book, but it’s hard to say where it will land in order of my favorites until I’ve read them all. The only thing certain is that it will go down as the book in which I stopped wanting horrible things to happen to Hermione.

            • At 2015.01.09 16:50, Dogearedcopy said:

              It’s somewhat ironic (and I hope this doesn’t ruin our friendship); but this was the book from which I went from relative ambivalence about Hermione to really hating her. In the first two books, she annoyed me for being a little Miss Know-It-All, but in this one, her tattling put me firmly on Ron’s side. The condescension with which she treats her friends is awful! I watched the movie on my own, and noticed that the screenwriters completely downplayed this aspect of her by removing her tattling, and even making her amenable in their adventures than she was in the book (cf snowball assault on Malfoy in Hogsmeade.)

              Interestingly though, as I think about Hermione more, I can’t help but wonder *why she is in these books.* From the book’s universe, it’s kind of weird that, even in a co-ed boarding school, that Harry and Ron wouldn’t be closer to Neville or the other boy in their dorm room; or putting it in another way, that Hermione wouldn’t have girl friends. I’ve been thinking a lot about the strange dynamic at play in this series: from the unstable troika of “HHR,” to the marginalized role of Neville and how some scenes seem perfectly designed for him and yet he’s not present! Well, we’ll see how it all plays out! 🙂

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              • At 2015.01.09 20:04, Literate Housewife said:

                After giving it a good deal of thought, I’ve decided it’s best not to let Hermione come between us. LOL! You’ve got me wondering if I was in too good of a mood while I was reading that book. Still, I think she did the right thing about the broomstick. They have gotten in to so much trouble in the past. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

                I hadn’t given it as much thought as you, but it is curious how Hermione doesn’t have any other friends, male or female. They also exclude Neville for no really good reason.

                I got all of the Harry Potter movies for Christmas. I need to catch up. Maybe we can meet again for Goblet of Fire.

              • At 2015.01.10 00:59, Florinda said:

                I’m not doing the HP readalong, but I’m glad you’re finally reading these! Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my second favorite in the series (after Order of the Phoenix)–I felt like it was where things really began to come together. That said, Goblet of Fire is a big leap forward, but Prisoner is the bridge from the kid-lit of the first two books to the bigger things in books 4 through 7. I’ll be following along with your experiences reading about it all!

                • At 2015.01.10 20:27, Michelle said:

                  How did I not know you had never read the series? I love your comments. It is so much fun seeing someone reading it the first time. You have to promise me that you will go back and read these posts after you finish the series. Your reactions to your comments would make for a great post in and of itself!

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                  • At 2015.01.10 23:21, Leah @ Books Speak Volumes said:

                    I’m so happy you’re loving these books! If you think Harry is depressed now, just wait until book 5. It is ANGST CITY. And I’m glad you’re warming up to Hermione; I love her and get much more annoyed at Ron for his constant jealousy and tendency to overreact.

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                    • At 2015.02.01 21:49, :Donna said:

                      Oh, Jennifer, you became truly smitten with the series at this point. How WONderful! And there’s SO much more to come. “Azbakan” is still near the beginning!…

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