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?
Review: 4.25/5 stars
This – is my review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban…. It’s a great book – but not without its…problems…. (D’you get it? It’s because every goddamn sentence of this book contains either a dash or an ellipsis. That’s one of the…problems….)
I need to let you guys know that I have hated Severus Snape with a burning passion that has lasted ten years. It’s a righteous passion with quotes and a burgeoning Google Docs behind it. Your pal Snape was so horrendous in this book that I’m deeply tempted to type that shit up now.
But we haven’t unlocked his dumb backstory yet – the glorious factor that is supposed to redeem him and wipe away all his misdoings. But I remember it, or at least parts of it, and it’s clear to me that that only makes everything he’s done worse. So maybe the entirety of my review of the seventh book will be an anti-Snape rant. Y’ALL NEED TO LEARN HOW YOU’RE BEING PROBLEMATIC. (Also, never ever bring up “Always” to me. Bleh.)
Okay. Excluding Snape-related issues, my main prob with this book is the sheer unwieldiness of the universe. Rowling can be sort of…sloppy when fitting the parameters of the Wizarding World. Totally understandable, as it’s immense and wildly impressive, but the minor common sense things get under my skin. (If I hated this book, I would have a dramatic introduction of this section as “general stupidity.” But obviously, I totally didn’t hate it.) Instead of having a great time while reading this, I was getting caught up in little mistakes.
For one thing, I can’t get over the fact that I’m supposed to believe that McGonagall would just…give Hermione a Time Turner. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the significance to the plot, and it adds a really fascinating element to the story, but…it don’t make no goddamn sense. Hermione never even gives any reason for why she needs it, beyond “I would like to take more classes than is necessary/good/safe for my own mental health.” McGonagall cares FAR too much about the well being of her students to just do that for no reason. I mean, my girl takes points away from her own Hogwarts House and takes Harry’s broom away at the risk of losing the Quidditch game; she shuts students down, holds her own with Snape and is an absolute savage to Trelawney. In short, she’s a card-carrying badass and does it all for the students’ safety. But I’m supposed to believe she petitioned the government, convinced her fellow faculty, acquired a Time Turner and taught a thirteen year old how to use it just so said teen could take a bunch of classes? Nah. Minerva would have shut that shit down in a hot Texas minute.
I don’t really buy, either, how much effort they go through to ensure that Lupin could attend Hogwarts. Especially since the adaptations they made are still in place decades later. Especially ESPECIALLY because said modifications are dangerous to students. A magic violent tree on campus (within hitting distance of children) and a miles long tunnel that could allow the wizard trainees to leave? All so he can stay in a weak, shut up shack and put the inhabitants of Hogsmeade at risk instead? Biiiizarre. More problems (at least 3) than solutions (1), my friend.
But the most wild, hilarious one for me is about Sirius Black. At the end, Sirius Black, fugitive extraordinaire, reveals that it was him – HIM! – who bought Harry Potter the Firebolt, because f*ck money. Earlier in the book, Ron was all, it’s impossible for Sirius to have bought that, so J.K. ever so kindly provides an explanation later on. Black claims he sent Crookshanks (a goddamn motherf*cking cat) to the Owl Post, had him order the broomstick under Harry’s name, and had it charged to his own Gringotts bank account. LMAO, WHAAAAT? You’re telling me a literal cat walked into a post office, conveyed the information that celebrity Harry Potter was ordering the most expensive broom an orphan’s inheritance could buy, and charged it to the account of the most wanted man in Britain without consequence? Like, everyone was just like, yeah okay, we didn’t really want to find him anyway? We aren’t monitoring his accounts or anything, and we definitely won’t tell the Ministry? F*ck offffffff. Also, how did my guy have that much money anyway? How is his account even open? Dude gets sentenced to life in Azkaban and the goblins are like, let’s just keep the lock oiled and all.
The sheer confusion of the story relayed in the Shrieking Shack was also overwhelming. Like, I get why there had to be a dozen f*cking pages of Black/Lupin begging for their story to be heard and Hermione/Ron/Harry essentially covering their ears and singing “Walking on Sunshine,” but they couldn’t at least have told the story with some semblance of organization once they finally got there? I mean, Jesus.
So, characters. Hermione is absolutely killing it – Time Turner, baby! And she SLAYED those exams! But she had way less time with the squad (they fight, like, all the time) and a lot of scenes that just went, “Oh. Yeah. Hermione. She’s, um…uh, she’s…doing homework over there.” But Lupin was introduced, and he’s a total fave! But Snape was hella present and he is a fun-sucking tumor of a sh*t character. But no Colin Creevey or Lockhart or Dobby! But Trelawney and Malfoy and Pansy. But Sirius! …Who was mainly just villain-ing it up, fugitive style. And no Neville. Oh well. Guess it’s about a 50/50.
Still, it was definitely enjoyable. Like, I read it pretty much in one sitting, which I hadn’t done in a WHILE. And that’s something I love doing. Plus this was way better than the second book. Rating this is hard as hell.
Plus, my absolute favorite aspect of these books – which was missing in the second volume – was one hundred percent present and accounted for. I’m talking a look into the world, doll! We get Hogsmeade, we get an entire fortnight of Diagon Alley, we get a bunch of discussion of the school and the classes. Even the bad parts, like Azkaban. Ugh! I could read a series’ worth of books just on the world, I swear. Give me the Hogwarts textbooks.
So, bottom line: In some ways I liked this as much as the first, but it definitely had more problems. I am looking forward to continuing my reread, and hopin’ I find just as much of the world and even more of the good characters. Goblet of Fire, I expect to see you soon!