Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #3
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Urban fantasy, Witches
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘The new password’s Fortuna Major!’
Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…
Growing up, The Prisoner of Azkaban was my least favourite Harry Potter book. It just seemed slightly slower and a little off-topic. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve finally gotten a good appreciation of how wonderful this story actually is. I love the character of Sirius and finally getting to meet him and watch the story of James Potter’s childhood unfold is really interesting. After reading the whole series numerous times, the set up in this story makes the rest of the series make so much more sense. The small pieces that seemed so insignificant when I was a child are actually what make the series so potent.
My two favourite things about the Prisoner of Azkaban are the introduction of dementors and the twisting of perceptions. It is well publicised that dementors are the manifestations of depression and a reminder of mental illness within people’s lives. I really love the fact that such a potent reminder of people’s inner scars is a large aspect of our current culture and such an astonishingly popular book series. I think that the introduction of dementors into the Harry Potter series was a huge step towards the understanding of mental health in the general population and a great way to raise awareness for such a serious issue.
Everyone has a different take on what is happening around them. Just ask my sister and I, we both have seriously different recalls of the same moments in time, and I’m fairly certain that neither of us is 100% correct in our recall. So, investigating this through the unfolding story of the Potters’ and Wormtail’s death throughout the story, and contrasting it against Sirius’ version toward the end was a great way to highlight how perceptions can so drastically be altered.
The combination of perceptions and depression are probably what has endeared this to me in my adulthood. And will for everyone else out there.
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