Friday, September 16, 2005

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J K Rowling

Author: J K Rowling
ISBN # 0 7475 4629 0
317 pages

Harry is about to return for his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, but tensions are high as Sirius Black, convicted mass-murderer, is on the loose after escaping from Azkaban, the horrifying prison of the Wizarding world. The Dementors – guards from Azkaban – are stationed all around the school in the belief that Black will come for Harry…

The third book in the Harry Potter series, this one starts, as do the previous two, at home with the Dursleys, giving the reader of how Harry’s confidence is growing as he grows up & becomes more at ease with his wizarding abilities, despite the fact that his family are quite atrocious. Rowling, as ever, writes these hideous characters with such love that it’s hard to hate them too much & you kind of feel a little pity for their misguided ways (it’s well-seen why she’s the highest-earning woman in Britain!).

Once again, we see the introduction of a new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher – Professor R J Lupin – &, for once, the school seems to have chosen a teacher who is effective (rather than a blathering idiot like Guilderoy Lockheart) & on the surface appears to be one of the “good guys”, but is all as it appears?

Another newly-introduced character is Madame Trelawney who teaches Divination, who, I’ll admit, was not one of my favourites. I found her rather wishy-washy & 2-dimensional; put there only to throw a few wobbly predictions into the mix & give the pupils of Hogwarts a bit of a gliff in the proceeds. I think I would have taken the same stance as Hermione & thought her a fraud & a crackpot!

In Sirius Black, Rowling as given us the ultimate mystery-man. She writes her shadowy, darker characters with such daring & flourish that they are a joy to read & Black is the shining example here. He is multi-faceted in the same way that only her regular, more important characters (such as Harry himself) are, & I got the feeling that not only will he be a recurring character, but that he is a personal favourite of the author herself. The way she has written him, I think she got more out of writing Sirius than she did from any of her other secondary characters (with the exception, perhaps, of Professor Snape, who is as unpleasant as ever).

All in all, Rowling has progressed the story of Harry as he grows up coming to terms with a life that is far different to the one he expected. His friends, Hermione & Ron, have also grown, & I get an inkling that maybe Ron & Hermione may be getting a bit of a “thing” for each other from the way they are with each other (which would create an interesting “will they, won’t they” in future books, which I’ll be dying to read!).

The world of Hogwarts is well-rounded & is expanded upon with the inclusion of Hogsmeade, an entirely muggle-free village nearby – a lovely touch, I thought! Glittering with magic on every page, I think that Rowling surpassed her 1st two novels & has really developed a good flow – she’s really got into her stride. I can hardly wait to read the fourth one!

Rating: 8/10


Post a Comment

<< Home