- Release Date:1999-07-08
- In-universe Date:1993
- Series:Harry Potter
For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts . . . he’s at Hogwarts.” Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.
Once again J. K. Rowling enfolds us in her wonderful world of wizardry. The Prisoner of Azkaban is decidedly more personal than the previous books. The only complaint I have is that there was not enough of Voldemort. Even though the Dark Lord is not the focus of this book it might have been nice to have a brief appearance reminding us that he is still out there.
Harry Potter returns again for his third year at Hogwarts. On his return he learns of a murderer and mad-man named Sirius Black who has escaped from the wizard prison of Azkaban. Harry is told that Black was one of Voldemort’s most loyal followers and that the crowning expression of loyalty to the fallen Dark Lord would be to kill Harry Potter. Thus Harry is surrounded by protections at Hogwarts, including the wise council of the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin. The school is also guarded by creatures called Dementors, creatures that suck all of the happiness out of the air.
But Harry soon finds out that all is not as it seems. He learns of his parents and their past and soon learns that his father’s best friend was Sirius Black the now escaped convict, and that the man his father called a friend betrayed him to the Dark Lord. Harry’s own drive to take revenge may be enough for him to discard all cares for his own personal protection.
J. K. Rowling is a master of giving her readers just enough information to keep the story going while reserving what she needs to keep them asking for more. In Prisoner of Azkaban we are told much that we didn’t know about Harry’s past and that of his father. We are introduced to characters who had a more personal connection with Harry’s parents. This is probably why the book is more personal than the previous books. Once again the characters are distinctive, identifiable, and realistic. Also, the ending is again twisted in a way no body reading the book for the first time would suspect.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. So far the books have been filled with seemingly episodic stories, but as of the Prisoner of Azkaban the story begins to take on a continuity. All I have to say is that while the story has been interesting up till now, it’s nothing compared to what’s to come.