Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—First Read
For the first time since starting the Harry Potter series, it happened—I couldn’t put the book down. Because I had to know what would happen next.
I’m not saying I’ve been converted to a full-on Harry Potter fanatic. But, yeah, The Prisoner of Azkaban was good.
In fact, it made me regret not reading the books as they came out.
(Too bad I can’t pull a Hermione and go back in time.)
Some of my thoughts:
CHAPTER ONE: OWL POST
Whoa. Harry successfully received mail. That’s a first.
CHAPTER TWO: AUNT MARGE’S BIG MISTAKE
I had this crazy thought that maybe Aunt Marge would be cool. Or at least not as despicable as the other Dursleys.
In fact, she’s worse. Good on you for blowing her up, Harry.
CHAPTER THREE: THE KNIGHT BUS
Hmm…this Sirius Black guy is pretty fascinating. Am I the only one who pictured a wizard version of Charles Manson while reading the description of his photo in the newspaper?
Also, I’d like to summon the Knight Bus whenever I need a ride. It’s like Uber, but without the risk of potentially hitching a ride with a serial killer. (Though, um, I hope Uber drivers are a little better at abiding by the rules of the road.)
CHAPTER FOUR: THE LEAKY CAULDRON
The Monster Book of Monsters is hilarious.
Percy is also hilarious. And absurd. Of course he’s Head Boy. Of course he’s taking it way too seriously.
CHAPTER FIVE: THE DEMENTOR
I already adore Professor Lupin.
The Dementors are pretty freaky. Can someone send me a picture of them? Because I’m imagining Ringwraiths.
Hagrid is a teacher! <3
Ron on Hagrid’s new teaching gig: “We should’ve known! Who else would have assigned up a biting book?”
Yes, Ron. It makes so much sense now.
CHAPTER SIX: TALONS AND TEA LEAVES
Looks like I won’t have to mourn the loss of Gilderoy Lockhart because I’ll have Professor Trelawney around to give me my fill of ridiculousness. She’s hilarious and wonderful.
Even better than Professor Trelawney is Professor McGonagall’s exasperation with her. (Prof. McGonagall after the students come back from their first Divination class: “Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?”)
Oh Malfoy, shut up. We all know the hippogriff didn’t hurt you that badly, you big baby.
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE BOGGART IN THE WARDROBE
Confirmed: Professor Lupin is amazing. I love him. I love the first Defense Against the Dark Arts class with him.
And Neville saying the thing that scares him most is Snape: adorable and perfect.
CHAPTER EIGHT: FLIGHT OF THE FAT LADY
Crookshanks versus Scabbers is getting intense.
Hermione doesn’t have any time for Professor Trelawney’s bullshit.
Hogsmeade sounds awesome and I’m sad Harry’s missing out on it.
Lupin isn’t afraid to say Voldemort’s name!
And I love when Lupin tells Harry the reason he wouldn’t let him have a go at the boggart was out of fear he’d summon a Voldemort apparition. It really drove home how different Harry is from his peers.
CHAPTER NINE: GRIM DEFEAT
So, Snape gives out this werewolf assignment. And I’m sitting there thinking, okay, we’ve heard a lot of mention of werewolves by now. Is one ever going to appear in the book?! I want werewolves! (More on this later…obviously.)
Oh, a Quidditch match! This means Harry is about to nearly die.
Yep. Yep, that did indeed happen.
CHAPTER TEN: THE MARAUDER’S MAP
Oh man, the Marauder’s Map is awesome.
Hogsmeade at Christmas time sounds amazing.
I want to try butterbeer.
At this point the whole Sirius Black story feels a little off to me. I suspect his showdown with Peter Pettigrew was not what it seemed. (More on this later…obviously.)
CHAPTER ELEVEN: THE FIREBOLT
Omg. Christmas dinner with Profs. McGonagall and Trelawney. Amazing. I love the two of them together. I could read an entire book about Trelawney making predictions and McGonagall deadpan shooting them down.
CHAPTER TWELVE: THE PATRONUS
Friend fights are sad. :(
But it’s okay, because training scenes with Professor Lupin are wonderful. I LOVE LUPIN.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: GRYFFINDOR VERSUS RAVENCLAW
Yay! A successful Quidditch match, finally!
Though, Ron waking up that night with Sirius Black looming over him with a knife kind of kills the buzz.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: SNAPE’S GRUDGE
Dear Harry and Ron, please make up with Hermione already.
Hogsmeade was already cool. Now I find out that there’s a creepy, abandoned, haunted house there. Yep. I would definitely like to visit. I need a Shrieking Shack in my life.
Snape is seeming rather… unbalanced. More so than usual, I mean.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: THE QUIDDITCH FINAL
Hermione stomping out of Divination: perfect. When I read the first book, Hermione was a bit much for me. Oh, how things have changed.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: PROFESSOR TRELAWNEY’S PREDICTION
Lol. Of course Hermione’s boggart-fear would be failing.
Wait, did Professor Trelawney just have a genuine vision? (Also, I’m pretty sure if I saw one of my teachers going all Exorcist, I’d be dropping that class.)
And this was the point in the book when I COULDN’T STOP READING.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: CAT, RAT, AND DOG
So far the Harry Potter books have had Shelob (Aragog) and Ringwraiths (Dementors). Now Old Man Willow (the Whomping Willow) is trying to devour Merry and Pippin (Ron).
Of course this new passage leads to the Shrieking Shack! Every haunted house needs a secret tunnel under it.
My prediction that Sirius Black wasn’t evil was correct! But before I could pat myself on the back for being so clever:
Am I an idiot? The signs were all there. His name is Lupin, for God’s sake. And it’s not like I wasn’t thinking about werewolves because I was lamenting the fact that they hadn’t appeared yet.
At any rate, my love for Lupin has only grown stronger. (And the Shrieking Shack is a werewolf hideout! Yes!)
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: MOONY, WORMTAIL, PADFOOT, AND PRONGS
So, Ron has been carrying an evil wizard in his pocket for years. That’s disturbing.
CHAPTER NINETEEN: THE SERVANT OF LORD VOLDEMORT
Snape has completely lost his mind. I almost feel bad for the guy
Everything about this chapter is wonderful.
CHAPTER TWENTY: THE DEMENTOR’S KISS
I got a little misty when Sirius invited Harry to live with him. And then I waited with dread for something to go horribly wrong.
And it did.
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: HERMIONE’S SECRET
So that’s how you’ve been taking roughly a million classes, Hermione.
Buckbeak is saved!
Sirius is saved!
But it’s hardly a happy ending. Because:
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: OWL POST AGAIN
Pettigrew is still out there.
Snape is probably more bitter and pissed off than ever.
Sirius is going to be in hiding for who knows how long.
No no no no—Lupin, don’t leave. You were the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher ever! And you’re a werewolf! And I love you! You’ll be back, right? RIGHT? I wanted him to be around for the entire rest of the series. :(
But I guess Harry can go to Hogsmeade legally now. So. That’s something.
Some Things I Love About the Series as a Whole (So Far)
As I said, the characters are amazing. I adore so many of them, and feel like I’m getting to know them better and better with each book (without it feeling stale or boring.)
The books are quite a bit funnier than I expected. I’ve actually laughed many times while reading.
I love that each of the books takes place over the course of a school year. It really makes me anticipate events. What will Christmas at Hogwarts be like this year? And so on.
And I love how often little details that seem insignificant in the beginning end up having a major impact on later events. It makes me pay attention to everything that happens in the early chapters.
A friend told me that if I was on the fence by the end of the third book, the series probably wasn’t for me. As I said earlier, I’m not ready to gush about how it’s the greatest series ever written. But will I read the next book?
Yes, yes I will.
I definitely couldn’t stop now.