Thursday, January 22, 2009

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I finished the third book in the Harry Potter series again last week.

As we get further into the series, we find how meager Harry's upbringing with his unsupportive aunt and uncle has been. We already know Harry has lost his own parents tragically when he was just an infant. Harry asks for support from his friends at Hogwarts, the Weasley children and their wonderful parents, his friend Hermione, and a few generous teachers at the school. And as it turns out, the titled Prisoner is Harry's godfather, Sirius, and he becomes a support person for Harry as well.

There are only a few people Harry can ask who know what happened to his parents on the fateful day they were killed by Voldemort after being given up by their Secret Keeper, and we all, including Harry, find out the real story in this book. And, as usual, the real story is suppressed, the bad guy gets away again, and Harry and Voldemort both survive to fight another battle in the next installment.

Apart from this truth about his parents, Harry does not ask for much more. He is a fearless Quidditch player, taking great risk to win a match to catch the Snitch as the Gryffindor team's Seeker. He will go to great lengths to help his friends, risking his life and his own freedom for his friends and the other students at Hogwarts, always sneaking out of the dormitory after lights out, magicking a perfect silver Stag to fight off the dementors, and even fighting Voldemort or his supporters, all expert Dark Wizards, himself.

In my re-reading of The Prisoner of Azkaban I was struck by the amount of courage Harry shows throughout the series, how quickly he learns difficult magic, and his unquestioning ability to simply do the right thing even when it is really difficult. In this book, he and Hermione come up with a brilliant plan to save two lives with the help of Hermione's time turner.

We should all have that kind of courage, that kind of desire to do something to make life easier for another living being, and that satisfaction Harry gets from surviving another day to fight another fight in the neverending struggle between good and evil.*

*Incidentally, Harry also gets a lot of satisfaction from eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavor jelly beans. I would like to try them too, but I would stay away from the ones that taste like ear wax.


Amanda said...

First, I must say this is one of my two favorite HP books! I love this one!

Second, the Jelly Belly corporation actually makes Bertie Botts beans now, and they come in all sorts of weird flavors, like sausage, dill pickle, etc. And yes, there are ones that taste like earwax and all the other nasty things mentioned. Thankfully, the boxes come with a key on the back so you never have to be fooled. (And the dill pickle jelly beans are just plain weird.)

L said...

I like this one too. It's shorter yet full of a lot of great, very clever ideas. I'm looking forward to reading it again. You made me want to start tomorrow!

My son has dared me to eat the vomit flavored beans more than once. I have yet to give in.

Trixie said...

I had always said that the 4th book in the series is my favorite, but I gained a greater appreciation for the 3rd one this time through. It really does have a lot of interesting story bits that make it one of my favorites.
I will have to look out for the Jelly Belly's. I knew they had a lot of flavors, but it's been years since I've tried them. I think I have seen the boxes at the CVS by me though, so I will have to check it out for sure.

Amanda said...

The fourth book is my least favorite. It wasn't, the first couple times I read through the series, but after reading it so many times, there are too many inconsistancies and repetitions that annoy me, and I find that it takes me forever to read that book, even though it isnt' the longest. I can probably read 5-7 all in the same time it takes me to read 4. But, like I said in my review on my personal blog of 4 (last year, before starting 5-squared), it WAS the one book that really made me cry at the end.

Trixie said...

It will be interesting to see how I like 4 this time through. I've started it. I'm looking forward to writing my review of it. I think I will have a lot to say about the end.

The Great Catsby said...

Love the review!! Love harry ahh now I just want to go and re read them alll