Review: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling

For the love of books

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has more emotion up to this point in the series than any of the previous volumes.  The character of Sirius Black was an excellent addition to the Harry Potter series; he completes Harry’s life and is engaged in the amazing twist at the end of the third volume.  Harry’s existence was been devoid of any caring blood relative or guardian in the first two volumes; aside from his friends, the Weasley family, and personae in Hogwarts, Harry is still longing for the parents he never knew.

It’s hard to describe, but Rowling captured instants of pure, genuine feeling when Harry discovers and defends his connection to Sirius Black at the end.  As usual, Rowling invites scores of new characters and creatures into the folds of her magical story, like the hippogriff Buckbeak and kindly Professor Lupin.  However, Voldemort does not encounter Harry personally in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; the mistakes and errors of the “good” wizarding kind are responsible this time for the adventure that Harry undertakes.  To recompense for no personal duel with Voldemort (but only with his servants instead), the author has pulled the topic of time travel into the plot, which Hermione Granger and Harry have the opportunity to experience fully towards the end of the novel.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban seems to be the apex of childhood for Harry and his friends; from this moment on in the series, the world of Harry Potter plunges into seriousness with occasional sparks of humor.  Harry and his classmates are set in their journey towards adulthood; Harry, on the other hand, has additional burdens and the pressure of his unique destiny.  While Hogwarts and the parallel worlds themselves are still as enchanting as ever, the author sobers the atmosphere of both with the inclusion of the dementors and the discussion of the immortality of the soul.  Nevertheless, amid the gloom and despair of Voldemort and his affect on the story,  Rowling’s themes of love versus death and fear appear more strongly than before, like when Harry risks his life for his godfather and the truth.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the most profound part of Rowling’s series so far and it is also the most breathtaking, either racing against time with Harry and Hermione to save innocent lives or discovering the truth behind the betrayal of Harry’s parents.  It’s a deeply moving and expressive novel—an indelible and significant part of fantasy fiction and Rowling’s own series.

Original review: When does the third volume in a series be one of the author’s best novels?, Examiner.com

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