Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

by J. K. Rowling

Other authorsMary GrandPre (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1999

Call number

J FIC ROW

Collection

Genres

Publication

Scholastic (1999), Edition: 1st, 435 pages

Description

During his third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter must confront the devious and dangerous wizard responsible for his parents' deaths.

Media reviews

All current reviews of Harry Potter books should probably be addressed to some future audience for whom Harry is book rather than phenomenon; at the moment, reviews seem superfluous. For the record, then, O future reader, this latest installment in Harry’s saga is quite a good book.
2 more
So far, in terms of plot, the books do nothing very new, but they do it brilliantly
Lecturalia
Igual que en las dos primeras partes de la serie –La piedra filosofal y La cámara secreta– Harry aguarda con impaciencia el inicio del tercer curso en el Colegio Hogwarts de Magia y Hechicería. Tras haber cumplido los trece años, solo y lejos de sus amigos de Hogwarts, Harry se pelea con su bigotuda tía Marge, a la que convierte en globo, y debe huir en un autobús mágico. Mientras tanto, de la prisión de Azkaban se ha escapado un terrible villano, Sirius Black, un asesino en serie con poderes mágicos que fue cómplice de lord Voldemort y que parece dispuesto a eliminar a Harry del mapa. Y por si esto fuera poco, Harry deberá enfrentarse también a unos terribles monstruos, los dementores, seres abominables capaces de robarles la felicidad a los magos y de borrar todo recuerdo hermoso de aquellos que osan mirarlos. Lo que ninguno de estos malvados personajes sabe es que Harry, con la ayuda de sus fieles amigos Ron y Hermione, es capaz de todo y mucho más.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ncgraham
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling does exactly what I wanted her to do in The Chamber of Secrets: she both ups the stakes for the series as a whole, and takes Harry as a person in unexpected directions.

Despite the fact that Rowling still feels the need to review everything that happened in the previous books during Azkaban’s opening chapters, she’s a bit cleverer about it here than she was in Chamber of Secrets. I just love the opening paragraph:

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of year. For another, he really wanted to do his homework, but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of the night. And he also happened to be a wizard.

There’s an abrupt break with the Dursleys not long into the book, however, and it soon becomes apparent that things are going to go in quite a different direction from the previous two books. Harry is suddenly out on his own, alone, possibly sought after by the Ministry of Magic (due to illegal use of magic against the domineering Aunt Marge), and with a crazed murderer on the loose, who turns out to be his godfather, the man who is known to have betrayed his parents. Of course, Harry does not remain alone for long, as the school year begins and he returns to Hogwarts. But is an air of danger pervades the book even after he joins his old classmates and teachers. Is even Hogwarts safe anymore?

What makes this installment a winner is the characterization. The layers are slowly beginning to peeled back. Harry is more than just a boy hero and fish out of water here: he is a young man with the chance for vengeance placed before him, and he must decide whether to take it or not. Hermione is finally given the chance to do something again, having been petrified for a large part of the previous book. And I feel that we see more of the real Snape here than we ever have before … although I am still unsure who the “real Snape” is. As for the new characters, I love love love Professor Lupin (imagine saying that about a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher!), and Sirius Black is fascinating. I’ll say no more.

There are some great individual episodes as well. It’s nice to have Quidditch restored to some prominence; I missed it in the previous book. And the Christmas feast, with McGonagall egging Professor Trelawney on, is hilarious. The climax and denouement take up a much larger page count than in either SS or CoS, and during that section I was alternately excited, terrified for the protagonists, saddened, and moved.

When Dumbledore takes up his role as General Purveyor of Platitudes (as he inevitably must near the end of every book), he comments on how an act of mercy binds the forgiven to the forgiver in a unique way, and how such an act may have important consequences in the days to come. This is well-handled by Rowling and reminded me of the Bilbo/Gollum situation in Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But then he comes out with some hogwash about Harry finding his father “inside himself.” What the heck? You have to keep your eye on Rowling. Sometimes she has something important to say, and sometimes it’s just nonsense.

This is easily my favorite of the HP books so far, and I look forward to continuing with the series!
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LibraryThing member xicanti
This was my favourite Harry Potter book for a long time, and it still ranks right up there. The first two books were fun, but this is the point where I became emotionally involved with the series.

There's a lot of tense stuff in here amidst the usual humour of this enchanting world. Harry has to deal with his parents' deaths in a more active way as he comes face-to-face with the man who's responsible. He struggles with fear, made tangible in the form of the Dementors. His friendships are also tested somewhat as Ron and Hermione quarrel, dividing the trio. And finally, at the end, he has to deal with a truly heartwrenching disappointment.

Aside from that, the book is nicely plotted. It kept me guessing the first time through, but in retrospect it's easy to see the clues J.K. Rowling planted along the way.

And while Voldemort doesn't appear in person, he's always present in spirit. The book grows darker and darker as his shadow looms over the action, threatening to spill over in the next book.

Overall, an excellent read. Definitely recommended, but read the first two books beforehand so everything makes sense.
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LibraryThing member magemanda
I have to say upfront that this is easily my favourite of the Harry Potter books, so this review is likely to be extremely biased but I shall try to remain objective! Harry is in his third year at Hogwarts, and the big news is the escape of Sirius Black from Azkaban prison, a dangerous and deadly wizard. Harry learns that, for some reason, Sirius is after him. Due to the increased security at Hogwarts, Dumbledore has reluctantly allowed the Dementors - ghostly cloaked beings that suck the happiness from a person's soul and eventually drive them mad - to guard the castle. The book uncovers the mystery of who Black is and why he is so keen to find Harry at Hogwarts, while also dealing with the regular shenanigans of a Hogwarts school year.

This book is where Rowling tightens up her act, in my opinion. The plot is excellently written with not too many of the loopholes that characterised the earlier two books. The use of the Time Turner was not too much of a McGuffin, especially since Hermione had been using it already during the school year. It was sleek and not too long, a fault of her later books. I enjoy reading Harry Potter books, but the later books definitely suffer from being longer than a few hundred pages. Here Rowling is forced to be efficient with her story, and it is all the more effective for it.

By now the wizarding world is firmly established, but Rowling still manages to spice up the book with many lovely little details. We hear more about the lessons taken by the children, and some new classes are introduced, such as Care of Magical Creatures and Divination. Some of the little details are my very favourite moments in the book, such as when Hermione achieves over three hundred percent in her Muggle Studies class. I also love the throwaway line from during Ron and Harry's Charms exam: "Hermione had been right; Professor Flitwick did indeed test them on Cheering Charms. Harry slightly overdid his out of nerves and Ron, who was partnering him, ended up in fits of hysterical laughter and had to be led away to a quiet room for an hour before he was ready to perfom the Charm himself." This always makes me giggle.

The village of Hogsmeade is another charming addition to Hogwarts, what with the sweet shop and the pub serving Butterbeer (which sounds delicious!). I do wonder at the fact that Hogsmeade has never been mentioned in two previous books though! Sometimes Rowling decides to add in features that have never cropped up previously and it can be a little jarring.

And she does love the big reveal! Here we have Sirius and Lupin going over the events of twelve years ago AND covering some of their school days, including why Snape hates them so, in a long dialogue-heavy section. I feel that this could have been spread out across the book in a better way, so that it didn't come across as much as an explanation to bring us (the reader) up to speed.

There were some wonderful new characters, such as Professor Lupin - I have always wished that he could have continued as the Defence of the Dark Arts teacher. However, I did not like Professor Trelawny much at all - the scenes in her classroom were dull and dragged for me.

Finally, I would comment on the fact that Rowling cannot seem to write an exciting Quidditch match - they all seem to be Lee Jordan commenting on players throwing the ball to each other, and then Harry catches the Snitch in some weird and wonderful way. Mind, I don't think it would be easy to write an interesting football or rugby match into a novel either - they are just too dynamic for the written word.

These are very minor niggles. In my view this is a richly entertaining and imaginative story, in which the main characters really develop. I appreciated the strong plotline. I cannot wait to read the next one!
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
Another summer has past and Harry has suffered through weeks or torment from his relatives, the Dursleys. News reaches him that a vicious murderer, Sirius Black, has escaped from prison. Soon he realizes that Black is more than just you’re average criminal and his escape means danger for Harry.

***SPOILERS***

This is the first book that abandoned the formulaic big battle with Voldemort at the end of the story. Instead it delves into the deeper mythology of the story. We learn a bit about Harry’s Dad’s past and how it relates to Snape’s grudge against Harry.

Crookshanks, a cat the Hermione buys, is a huge character in this book. Rowling’s description of him is perfect… “Its face looked grumpy and oddly squashed, as though it had run headlong into a brick wall.” We find out that Crookshanks has been helping Sirius all along, which makes me wish Rowling had given a little more explanation about who the cat really is. How can he know so much if he’s just a regular feline? Also, it’s interesting the Rowling decided to let all of the students have pets if they want them. What if other students have pet allergies?

There were some things, as always, that were lost when this one was turned into a film. In the book Harry volunteers to approach Buckbeak in Hagrid’s first class. In the movie he’s chosen against his will. That’s a huge difference, because the book demonstrates Harry’s kindness and value of Hagrid’s friendship.

There are a few big series points that are foreshadowed in this book. Professor Trelawney’s prediction in Book 5 is referenced and Dumbledore comments on Pettigrew’s debt to Harry, which is huge in the final book. We also meet both Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang for the first time. They are both Quidditch seekers for other teams. Cedric is friendly to Harry and treats him kindly even though he’s the competition. I love that Rowling introduced these characters, so important in the upcoming books, before their story was crucial. She does a great job incorporating new characters into the fabric of the story early on.

In this novel Neville is compared to Peter Pettigrew (before you know Peter is bad), which is interesting. It once again highlights Neville’s honor. He chooses to stand up for what’s right throughout the series, even though people often perceive him as a weaker character.

The major thing I came away with from this re-read is Snape’s story. Once you finish the series and learn his entire back story, this book becomes heartbreaking. You can see how painful it would be for him to have to work side-by-side with Lupin and see Sirius escape from Azkaban. Obviously he’s not great at moving on and letting things go, but he also can’t seem to catch a break. Even though his bitterness and sour disposition makes him hard to love, he still chooses the right side, even when it’s incredibly difficult.

A few things I'd forgotten about the third book:

1) The two weeks Harry spends by himself in Diagon Alley. He’s only 13 and this is the first time in his life that he’s really on his own.

2) Sir Cadogan, the humorous knight in a painting that takes over for the Fat Lady at the Griffidor common room entrance.

3) Hagrid tells Harry and Ron that their friendship with Hermione is more important than the things they’re fighting with her about. This is a testament to Hagrid’s character and his love for all of them. The movies tend to trivialize him and make him more of a quick joke, but he’s such a great character.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
Really, how does she do it? How are these books so (relatively) content-free, yet so candy? I don't super-go in for detective stories or sci-fi or whatever other formula, but Potter is unbeatable. This one especially - good length, really holds together as a novel, as opposed to some of the later ones that are a bit "plot advancement amidst wunderkammer of Rowling's world, leavened for the fanfic set with the 11,000th Quidditch game." And I can see how I would have enjoyed it even more if I didn't already know the truth about Sirius Black and whatnot. Best Harry Potter book I've read. Which ones still need to go? Maybe only "Goblet of Fire?"… (more)
LibraryThing member RebeccaAnn
Notorious mass murderer Sirius Black has escaped from the most heavily guarded wizarding prison, Azkaban. Known to be a strong supporter of You-Know-Who, he's on his way to Hogwarts to get rid of the Boy-Who-Lived once and for all. But never mind Black, Harry's got his own problems just dealing with the dementors who are the appointed school "guardians" until Black has been caught. And why does Malfoy keep showing up, taunting Harry about Black and revenge?

This is, hands down, my favorite book of the entire series. I think this is really when the series starts to take a turn for the more mature audience. I think we start to see a much darker side to many characters, Harry included - from his childish, petty desire to leaving Neville waiting for him in the library while he snuck out of the castle to the deep, burning desire to kill he begins to feel when he learns the lesser known story of Sirius Black's betrayal.

Now that I'm reading this as an adult, I begin to see some of the moral themes Rowling has skillfully put into these books. Prominent in PoA is the theme of hate. She uses Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape to get her point across. Malfoy has a hatred of Harry, driven primarily by his upbringing and jealousy, and he hurts Harry in the worst way possible, through his friends. After an "attack" by Hagrid's hippogriff, Malfoy has his father declare the animal put down. Having my own pet, this would be a devastating announcement. Malfoy knows that the hippogriff didn't do anything dangerous, but he knows taking the life of this animal who means so much to Hagrid will hurt Harry.

Spoilers:

Severus Snape, an old school mate of Sirius Black, hates Black. He wants him to receive the worse punishment possible, regardless of the fact there is strong evidence Sirius is innocent. He refuses to even consider the possibility of there being another side to the story.

End Spoilers:

I think both Malfoy and Snape's hatred make them the most despicable characters in the entire book. Rowling makes both of them look utterly foolish in the moments they are consumed by their hatred, and she shows how much you can hurt someone and how lives can be ruined through hatred.

The ending, of course, is a tragedy. Everyone wants Harry to get away from the Dursleys and he comes so close in this book that you can see the hope in his eyes. About ten years later, I still get slightly teary-eyed at the end of this book.

I strongly encourage anyone who has not read these books and has any sort of fondness towards youth fiction to read this series. The story telling is delightful and the adventure will leave you breathless.
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LibraryThing member Wanderlust_Lost
It isn't until this third book in Rowling's Harry Potter series that we get a true idea of just how talented Rowling is. The first two books are definitely geared primarily towards children but The Prisoner of Azkaban makes the leap into harder children's literature with zest and aplomb. The themes in Prisoner of Azkaban have taken a turn towards the slightly darker side and we see Harry and his friends dealing with very traumatic and frightening prospects and experiences not with the lighthearted easy touch of the last two books but with a more realistic slightly more cynical edge. Although the cynicsm displayed by the characters is nowhere near the heights it will reach in the later installments Rowling has shown with this novel that she is capable of more than just "feet the size of baby dolphins".… (more)
LibraryThing member 391
The Prisoner of Azkaban is the first book that really begins to set up the rest of the series - the first two are more lighthearted, with plots that finish when the book ends. Azkaban extends beyond the borders of the page, entwining with the rest of the series. Here is where we first meet Harry's long lost godfather, where we're finally introduced to werewolves, and where we see Rowling begin to tackle "real world" issues more directly.… (more)
LibraryThing member anterastilis
Marvelous! I whipped through this book in just under two days. It was a welcome break from Dune, which I am currently slogging through.

JK Rowling is just as good as she was in the first two books. We are introduced to Professors Lupin and Trelawney, two key characters in the series, as well as Sirius Black. We also get a bit more information on some old characters: Dumbledore continues to increase in coolness, Quidditch takes center stage again, the Malfoy family gets even eviller.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the further development of the backstory - the history of Lupin, Black, Peter Pettigrew, James Potter, and Professor Snape when THEY were at Hogwarts. This becomes HUGE in the series and I'm glad that I'm re-reading these books with that in mind. There are a lot of things that I missed because I was thinking "forget about what these old folks were doing way back when...what about Hermione? Or Ron? Or Neville?"

I'm very much looking forward to the next three books - even though they're incredibly long and I will not be updating as much. If I'm silent for a while, it's because I'm lost in Hogwarts.
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LibraryThing member mrtall
I read the first two Harry Potter books with some interest (who can enjoy books and writing and not want to experience the Rowling phenomenon?) but only mild amusement. Both were solid, but not compelling.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is better. You can sense Rowling hitting her stride here, at higher levels of characterization and complexity.

I won’t bother trying to sum up the plot developments here; if you have any interest whatsoever in Harry Potter, you’ve likely at least seen the movie. But if, like me, you’d not read the books, assuming you’d got enough, I recommend reconsidering. Azkaban is good enough to merit reading even after the cinematic fact.
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LibraryThing member ctmsdeoc
I loved the first two Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. After reading her third book in the series, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” my love continued. I thought that book three was a great addition to the amazing series. The dialogue was clear and well written. The characters continued to remain the same and the new characters introduced were fully and completely described. The events were described in great detail and continued to amaze me.

The dialogue was very well written and overall easy to read. The dialogue had a lot of fun made up words from the last two books that were very understandable. Some times though when Hagrid spoke it was hard to get used to and to understand because of his accent. Also in the beginning when Harry is on the bus it is hard to tell what the bus driver was saying because of his accent. Other than that, the dialogue was very well written, easy to read, and fun to read.

The characters were also great. The characters from the past two books still remained the same. That means that they still did things that were related to their personalities that they would have done in past books if they could or had known about them. Also, a few new characters were added to the series. These characters were well described and their personalities and goals were put into the text so you could know even more about them and get connected to them.

The events were also described in great detail and continued to amaze me. Every event was stated well and the climax was easy to find. The setting was also very well described so it put me right into the events. Every thing I read was so prefect that it was like entering another world. The things the characters did were stunning and I loved every moment I was reading what was happening in their magical life

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars because of its dialogue, characters, events, and how it pulled the reader in so that you did not want to stop reading until you finished the book.
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LibraryThing member TheLostEntwife
In my review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets I talked about about how I really didn't enjoy the book, but enjoyed the movie. Well, it's the exact opposite for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Azkaban definitely starts to delve into the darker aspects of the Harry Potter stories with the arrival of the Dementors, the escape of a convicted murderer and the emergence of a key player in the murders of Lily and James Potter. But, before the darkness takes its place, this book begins with my absolute favorite of the Dursley scenes: the inflation of Aunt Marge. Seriously, both the book was spot on with this scene and I really was disappointed in how glossed over it was in the movie.

I think my dislike of the movie stems from the over-saturated advertising that was done before the movie was released. I could not see a movie, watch TV, turn on my computer without seeing Sirius Black's face crying out in agony on the newspaper. I was tired of the movie before I even saw it (and that's saying something). So while I love the addition of Emma Thompson as Prof. Trelawney, love seeing Hermione deck Malfoy and thoroughly enjoy seeing the book of monsters come to life, anything having to do with Sirius Black was a major turn-off for me.

Before I finish this review, I want to talk a little bit about the imaginative brilliance that is the Maurader's Map. Just when I'm finally recovering from how amazing the game of Quidditch is, Rowling introduces a piece of paper that any kid would love to get their hands on. I mean.. it's an interactive treasure map, for all intents and purposes! So brilliant.

I enjoyed re-reading Azkaban and found myself rolling my eyes a bit at re-watching it. I prefer the ending to the book, prefer the timeline of the gifted Firebolt, prefer many things in the book over the movie's version of the events... but when it comes down to it, they are both still quintessential Harry Potter and it's impossible to forget them.
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LibraryThing member bardsfingertips
I swear that these books get better. I am truly enjoying Rowling's writing and detailed observations of imaginary/magical items. The characters are getting more developed, too, which, of course, adds more dimension to who they are and their role within the story.

I had one issue with one of the chapters. I felt it was rushed. I feel as though Rowling, though very good at telling a story and explaining things as they happen, is still wet behind the ears when it comes to suspense. So, during a scene (chapter) in which there is a chase, I found myself shaking my head at the near stupidity of the clauses. But, hey, other than that, a smashing read.… (more)
LibraryThing member pluckybamboo
Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban Prison and the word is that he is after Harry. Dementors, the life-sucking guards of Azkaban, are posted at the gates to Hogwarts to look for him. The teachers are trying to protect Harry, especially after Sirius breaks into Gryffindor Hall. Harry is prevented from road trips to Hogsmeade with the other Third Years (although he does make it there with the help of the Maurader Map the Weasley brothers give him). Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher plays a key role, as does Scabbers, Ron’s rat. Are they really who they seem to be? Hagrid becomes a teacher in Care of Magical Creatures but gets in trouble when one of his hippogriffs attacks Malfoy. Intricate plotting sets the stage for events in the later books.

The only book that doesn't feature You-Know-Who, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban delves into the past and also unfogs the future. Harry learns more about his parents, himself, and that adults don't always hold the easy answer to fix everything. Sometimes you have to take time, and fate, into your own hands.
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LibraryThing member jbushnell
The best of the first three. At this point in the series, Rowling's confidence appears to surge dramatically, resulting in the book being more inventive than its predecessors, most notably through Rowling's decision to introduce creatures that are brand-new to the series universe (Dementors, boggarts) instead of simply choosing to revamp of already-existing fantasy creatures (as she does with the pixies, goblins, dragons, centaurs, etc. of the earlier books). In addition, the mystery is more complex and satisfying (although the Big Reveal accordingly requires deployment of huge chunks of dialogue in the center of what's ostensibly a moment characterized by murderous desire). Finally, the book has a thrilling post-Reveal final act -- something absent from the earlier two books -- and a satisfying profusion of loose ends, which begin to give some sense to the shape of the larger seven-book arc. Recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member readafew
This is the third of seven books about a boy called Harry Potter, living with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin Dudley who make life rather awful. On his 11th birthday he learned a wonderful secret, he's a wizard, and started school at Hogwarts. We follow Harry as he makes friends and enemies and learns a little bit more about magic.

After a little trouble at home, Harry runs away and gets a ride on the night bus, which takes him to the Leaky Cauldron, where much to his confusion and relief, he meets Cornelius Fudge the Minister of Magic who greets Harry warmly and doesn't expel him from school.

Harry slowly learns more things about what is going on in the world and how an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, a Sirius Black, is tied into his fate.

Harry continues to grow up and learn the world is not just black and white, there are some grays around the edges, and appearances aren't always what they seem.

Another great story for kids and adults alike, Rowling once again keeps one guessing what will happen next.
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LibraryThing member Figgles
A re-read reminds me how good JK Rowling is as a story-teller. This is a bridging book between the shorter, lighter first two in the series and the darker later books. With the introduction of Sirius Black the backstory of Harry's family's destruction and the politics of the Wizarding world start to come to the fore. The inventive genius of Rowlings remains - the best cure for the depression caused by the presence of the joy sucking Dementors is chocolate! Wonderful stuff!… (more)
LibraryThing member pauliharman
You know, these Potter books are growing on me. Remarkably more show than tell as I get further in, and they are becoming more interesting. Maybe I didn't give JK enough credit - maybe it's intentional that the writing style becomes progressively more grown-up through the series....?
LibraryThing member jshillingford
I have read and enjoyed the entire Harry Potter series, but this remains my favorite book (even more than the finale). Azkaban is the first in the series to move away from being just for children and more for everyone. The story is faster paced than the previous two, and really expands on the mythology of Rowling's world. What makes Harry a great narrator is that the wizarding world is new to him as well as to readers - he didn't grow up in it, so he still feels wonder at magic. As he learns about Azkaban, and Sirius Black, Harry also learns more about his family and destiny. When the two come face-to-face, it's one of the most exciting scenes in any of the books. Plus, Harry and Hermione show real examples of their magical potential - especially Harry learning the patronus spell. I feel this is the first true look at the boy who will be a match for Voldemort. Plus, we get a great new character in Remus Lupin.

But, I think the most important reason I loved this book is that it gave Harry someone to call family. Someone loves him; he is no longer just the shunned boy the Dursley's have taken in. The first two books were good, this one made the series a must-read for each and every subsequent book.
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LibraryThing member LibrarysCat
I absolutely loved Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Had there been any hesitancy in reading the rest of the seven book series, this book swept that away with ease. Harry's summer vacations from Hogwarts are never fun, but this summer had been particularly miserable until finally Harry snapped. Thinking he would be in big trouble, Harry is delighted when he finds himself in a small inn free from his Aunt and Uncle. But things are not what they seem and Harry learns that a dangerous prisoner has escaped from Azkaban and seems to be after Harry. In finding Sirius Black and solving the mystery from years before, Harry learns about his parents when they were his age and understands what it means to have family. A wonderful book.… (more)
LibraryThing member darlatreat
Chocolate as a curative for the effects of the Dark Arts? No connoisseur of this worthy confection could possibly doubt it.

Quidditch? Learning to love the sport of wizards--a polo-like game played on broomsticks.

People who can transform at will into animals? What to do when your father could turn into a stag and his best friend into a huge dog. . . .

Traveling back in time? Yes--but something to be risked only for the best of causes.

These are but a few of the plot lines that pervade Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, third in the series of J. K. Rowling's "children's" books on the world of Harry Potter, boy wizard. The real theme of the book, however, has to do with the nature of love--which, of course, includes friendship.

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling explores friendship over two generations--through Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermione, as well as through the lingering influences of Harry's father James and his three closest childhood friends.

In this book, Harry (whose parents were murdered by the evil wizard Voldemort) finally learns about and meets his godfather, the infamous Sirius Black, recent escapee from the wizard's prison at Azkaban. The circumstances surrounding this meeting provide the background for a new series of magical adventures and for connecting Harry more firmly to his past.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are goodhearted 13-year-olds. They are sometimes inclined toward mischief and always positioned squarely on the path to adventure. The three friends support--and sometimes irritate--one another. They fight, and they make up. In their adherence to the established rules of the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, Harry and company frequently bend or break the letter of the law, but they adhere scrupulously to its spirit.

During their own schooldays, James Potter and his friends Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin had provided Hogwarts with many of the same challenges presented by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. To cope with the special (and very secret) handicap of one of their number--Remus Lupin had been bitten by a werewolf as a very small child--James, Peter, and Sirius became self-taught animagi and were able to transform into animals. As such, they kept their friend Remus company each month when the full month appeared.

By the time Harry is ready for his third year at Hogwarts, his father has been dead for 12 years. Peter Pettigrew, also believed dead, has been in hiding as a rat--literally. Remus Lupin, who is managing his monthly transformations through the use of a special potion, has been accepted as a teacher at Hogwarts. And Sirius Black, a convicted murderer, has just escaped from Azkaban.

With the stage thus set, Harry and his friends are in position to learn some important lessons. Far and away the most important of these is that love and friendship are not timebound. Despite the deaths of his parents, Harry's life is still touched by their love and sacrifice. In times of great need, that love reaches out and provides him with unexpected reserves--whether through the fortune they left him in the Gringotts Bank, through his inherited talent as a champion quidditch player, through the special consideration he often receives from the adults surrounding him, or through sudden insights during moments of crisis.

As Professor Dumbledore explained to Harry:

You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think 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.

Given the rumblings of disapproval in some quarters over the unhealthy influence that Harry Potter and his world of magic might exert over the minds of the young, it is well to remember that Harry's world is really just an exaggeration of our own. Magic--whether for good or evil--surrounds and infuses our everyday existence. In Harry Potter's world, even the most evil of wizards was brought down by the power of love.

Without wands or spells or potions, our everyday muggle world is filled with enough magic to identify with Harry. To deny that magic, to exile it from our world, would deprive us of the powers we all need to defeat the ordinary, mundane, everyday evils we encounter. Magic in our world, as in Harry's, is most effective when wielded with love.
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LibraryThing member theboylatham
Seven out of ten.
The third book in the Harry Potter series. A mass-murdering prisoner has escaped from Azakaban and the Dementors, the prison guards, have arrived in Hogwarts to protect the students and hunt the prisoner. It is understood that the prisoner is seeking Harry but he must be safe in Hogwarts surrounded by friends - unless there is a traitor... One of the best books in the series saw the whole story take a darker tone that adds much more suspense.… (more)
LibraryThing member PuffyBear
In this book there is a mass murder that is called Sirius Black who escaped from Azkaban recently. When Harry finds out that Sirius Black is his Godfather things get into a situation.
LibraryThing member fufuakaspeechless
My second favorite of all the HP books. I love the storyline about Sirius and Peter, and Remus is one of my favorite characters (up until the last book, but that's another story). Plus, time travel is always a fun subject. Great book.
LibraryThing member Carmenere
It's all been said before and I can not add anything new for review. But I will say that personally I feel that Ms. Rowling's imagination is in peak form for this novel, #3 in the series. The dementors are such frightful creatures. Imagine, they have the ability to suck out a persons very soul with The Kiss.....eeek. Little ones need not be all that frightend for brave Harry Potter, with the help of friends in high places, fend off these prison guards with a little...what else.....magic.

Would I recommend it: Of course I would. Harry Potter takes the reader to a world full of fantastical events and unique characters while bringing back old friends and foes to round out a thrilling plot.
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Pages

435

ISBN

0439136350 / 9780439136358

UPC

038332164718
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