Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - the third book in the seven book series of the Boy Who Lived.  In Harry's third year at Hogwarts, he learns of an escaped convict named Sirius Black who is out to kill no one other than Harry himself.  But that is not what scares Harry the most this year.  Hogwarts is playing host to the dementors, guards of Azkaban prison.  Whenever they draw near to a person they cause the person to feel as if every happy memory has disappeared from their life and for Harry the affects are much worse since his childhood is not filled with many happy memories.  Through the midst of all the darkness, neither Harry nor any of his friends realize that among them lives a traitor in hiding who may be the key to discovering a puzzle piece in the murder of James and Lily Potter, Harry's parents.
As usual with these books I would like to start out with a bit of background I have with this book.  I read the book when I was 12 in sixth grade.  I really enjoyed the book at the time, particularly the chapter titled Hermione's Secret.  I still own the same copy I read from all those years ago.  It was a hardcover copy.  I loved the cover art as a kid, particularly the green lettering of the title.
Prisoner of Azkaban is yet again another fantastic sequel by J.K. Rowling.  The way she crafts the mystery in the novel while also creating Harry as a realistic teenage boy is nothing short of brilliant.  In my opinion, Prisoner of Azkaban is the most poetic of the books - the second being Deathly Hallows. This book begins the theme of Harry's search for a father.  We see many beautiful one on one conversation scenes between Harry and Professor Lupin.  Another beautiful set of scenes are the ones where Harry is either confronted with the dementors or when he is fighting them.  The writing was just so well done and moving.  Well done J.K.R.!  Another thing I love about this book is that it is the first time we get Ron and Hermione love tension.  I love the relationship Rowling creates between these two and I love that she had is all planned before we even knew it ourselves!

   “‘Why?  Why do they affect me like that?  Am I just – ?’‘It has nothing to do with weakness,’ said Professor Lupin sharply, as though he had read Harry’s mind.  ‘The dementors affect you worse than the others because there are horrors in your past that the others don’t have.’  A ray of wintery sunlight fell across the classroom, illuminating Lupin’s gray hairs and the lines on his young face.” 
As with all Harry Potter books, the ending contains a lot of dialogue where people explain themselves
which is extremely unrealistic but Rowling creates good reason for the dialogue.  These books are masterfully written and well thought out though I seriously wonder if Rowling could have somehow avoided these easy way out explanations at the end.  It is not just in this book they occur.  It is in all of the books.  I think these attribute to the fact that I had absolutely no clue what was going on by the end as a kid and it is also why these books need to be read more than once.
Okay, you know I want to give this 5 out of 5 stars but I am actually going to give it 4 out of 5 stars for the simple reason of what I stated above.  The first two books were Rowling's debut but this is her third book and while I get it is a children's book, that does not give anyone an excuse to cop out of writing a good ending.  I do not mean the ending of this book was not good but, as mostly all the Harry Potter books end, it had the lengthy explanation and then it was suddenly "okay, another year gone.  See ya next year guys!"  By the third book, Rowling's writing definitely improves but the endings always stay the same.  This will be the only time I count it against her.  As you know, I think the books only get better and better and I truly believe they deserve five star ratings. 

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