Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. Rowling

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: September 8, 1999 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 8, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously?

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HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN is really the first in the series where I feel like the books and the movies really start to differ. Obviously the movie still stays pretty true to the book, but I was surprised quite often how many little things were changed for the film adaptation, especially the big reveal at the end. As a re-read now and having watched the movies so many times, it’s definitely a bit anti-climactic BUT I’ve seen the movies so many times that obviously that version is engrained in my mind. I haven’t done a re-read of Harry Potter since… well, probably since right after high school so that’s about ten years that have gone by without actually reading the books. I forgot how many details just aren’t able to fit into the movies for time reasons alone but re-reading made me so incredibly happy because I got to geek out over this whole magical universe all over again and refresh my memory on the things that the movies just can’t fit.

This book actually used to be my least favorite of the series, which also makes it entirely plausible that that’s the reason why I don’t seem to remember as much of it as I thought I had. Looking back, I have no idea why it was my least favorite because it has so many elements I love! Time travel. Professor Lupin. Big reveals. Mistaken identities. I can remember what it was that just didn’t click with me the first couple times I read it but I can definitely say that it’s back up there for me, although it still won’t be my favorite.

I always feel like I have so much and yet so little to say with my re-reads of Harry Potter because it doesn’t really need a formal review since most people have already read the books and those who haven’t, well, I don’t want to spoil it because I still have hope you will read them! So I’ll just go over a few differences I remember from the book and the movie — Actually, if you haven’t read the books or seen the movies yet, LOOK AWAY because some of these might be mild spoilers.

  • The importance of Crookshanks. Yes, Hermione’s bandy-legged ginger cat with a bottlebrush tail and smooshed face (seriously — described that way so many times that I can repeat it!) did appear in the movies BUT the movies glossed over the fact that he’s part kneazle AND that Crookshanks was sort of working with Sirius when he was in dog form and that’s part of the reason the kids knew they could trust him. Not to mention the fact that Crookshanks has many more humanlike characteristics in the book, intelligence-wise, and that he was the one who immobilized the Whomping Willow so Harry and Hermione could get in.
  • The prominence of the animals in the series. Crookshanks was so important to this book but… He also never goes away though out the series. Hedwig is really the only pet that gets featured in the movies because she’s so important to Harry, but Hermione always has her cat and I totally forgot about Pigwidgeon’s appearance once Ron loses “Scabbers”.
  • All of the details in the Shrieking Shack. When it comes down to it, the movie just wasn’t able to include all of the details. Harry, Sirius, and Lupin have a long, long, long talk about Peter Pettigrew. I can totally understand why the movie kept it short and sweet — it felt like this talk was really long as I was listening to the audio and knowing what happens, I was anxiously awaiting for the scene to continue on BUT there’s a lot of important info that gets shared here, especially regarding Harry’s parents and their relationship with Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew.
  • The Marauder’s Map. I. LOVE. THE MARAUDER’S MAP. I don’t know why but I just do. The map in the book is MUCH more insulting to Professor Snape (a funny but tense moment!) and I feel like we get much more information regarding the creators of the map and the reasons why they created it. In fact… Do we even get an explanation in the movies? Is there a brief glossing over from Lupin? I honestly can’t remember.
  • The Firebolt. In the movie version, Harry doesn’t get to use his Firebolt until the very end of the book, after the entire plot, basically. In the book, his broom is confiscated to be tested for jinxes and hexes but he does get it back to use in Quidditch matches! I forgot ALL about that! He totally uses the Firebolt’s speed to flatten the other teams.

Those are the highlights that I can remember! I’m really glad I enjoyed this one so much this time around and honestly, I can’t even pinpoint why it used to be my least favorite.

So what was your favorite thing about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Are you a time travel fan? Were you rooting for Sirius Black?

4 thoughts on “Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. Rowling

  1. Stormy

    I love Prisoner of Azkaban! It’s been my favorite book of the series for a long time(though I can never decide if Deathly Hallows or Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite, but they’re the top two for sure!). I think I LOVE POA because it’s the first time we learn about the Marauder’s, the time travel(yay!), Lupin is introduced, I love Patronuses, etc. I just *really* love this one. Like, I love all the Harry Potter books, of course(though. . . I love Order of the Phoenix the least), but I *really, really* love this one.

  2. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    That’s funny that this was your least favorite HP book, because it’s always been my favorite. I read it in high school, I think I was about 16, and at the time, there were only T HREE HP books out. I know, I’m old 🙂

    But anyway, why I love this one so much. I read the first two back to back. I loved the first one (which is saying something because at that time, 16 year olds DID NOT read children’s books, and YA lit wasn’t nearly what it is today). So once I finished HP1, I immediately got the second book and read it. But I felt like it was really similar in structure to HP 1, so I didn’t love it as much. I liked it a lot, but at the time, I thought that maybe all the books would have that similar structure, and that JK Rowling didn’t have this MAJOR PLAN. This was also before they became quite so big. But about a week later I decided to read HP3, and after finishing it, I realized JK Rowling has serious plans, starting with book 1. And I loved it. I loved knowing JK Rowling had a bigger picture in mind for Harry, and his friends.

    Also, I do love this because I was genuinely surprised by the big reveal. I’m not usually so surprised, but I didn’t see that coming – at the time anyway. Plus, I like this book so much before it’s before the books get darker.

  3. Nicole

    I love that you are rereading Harry Potter. This series will always hold a special place in my heart. I am totally going to follow your lead and listen to these audiobooks for my reread. Maybe I will watch the movies too so I can pick out the differences better! Your highlights make me miss all the little details that the movie overlooks. I too love the Marauders Map and remembering how it insulted Snape brought a smile to my face 🙂

  4. Pamela D

    I think that this book was my least favorite too. I am doing a reread over at Tor.com, so I am curious to see if this book will continue to be my least favorite.

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