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

This book begins to explore the “dark magic” element people told me would emerge in the series. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, me being one who is more pulled to historical and literary works than fantasy fiction. (While confessing above that I might have spent history class thinking of Harry Potter, if I’d grown up with these books). I am definitely not put off by the way Rowling presents the magic element so far. Indeed, I feel it could be real, because she so clearly delineates between the “Muggle” and “Wizard” worlds at the start and finish of each book that it’s hard to argue the logic of it all, being myself a clueless Muggle. She steeps the story in emotion and personal investment for Harry. The magic is important because the loss of his parents is a searing wound never healed, and magic is who he is. Discovering it and mastering it is who he is, as much as it was ever who they were. I can believe that he must master it and choose to use it well, as much as I believe that about a Muggle’s intelligence, money or luck. Magic is Harry’s world, but what he does with it is the story. I like that he is so noble and innocent throughout the book, and yet so flawed. He ignores the rules he doesn’t like (even Dumbledore’s) and gets in trouble all the time. For me, this shows that humanness is not a flaw. To bumble through with every good intention as well as every self-focused grievance is better than doing nothing at all. Rule-followers like Hermione are not necessarily better at achieving results, though they might stay safe and achieve good grades. “Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?” said Malfoy. “And he’s supposed to be our teacher!” 

Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first, smack! She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again. “Don’t you dare call Hagrid pathetic you foul, you evil”. “Hermione!” said Ron weakly and he tried to grab her hand as she swung it back. “Get off Ron!” Hermione pulled out her wand. Malfoy stepped backward. Crabbe and Goyle looked at him for instructions, thoroughly bewildered. “C’mon,” Malfoy muttered, and in a moment, all three of them had disappeared into the passageway to the dungeons. “Hermione!” Ron said again, sounding both stunned and impressed. What can I say? I truly adore this series and love immersing myself in it. I cannot wait to read the next book. And I love the way this one ends! There’s a Harry Potter table set up where I work (a bookstore), upon which there are Potter books, magic wands, stuffed owls, and bright red and yellow Griffindor scarves. I walk by it often and smile because it feels so real, and because it is awesome that people still go mad over these books. I almost want to buy one of the scarves! But I might go for an owl and put it next to my snow globe of Atlanta, Georgia. Would I ever re-read this book? Definitely. Opening lines: Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of the year. For another, he really wanted to do his homework but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also happened to be a wizard... Favorite Passage: “You are truly your father’s son, Harry...”. Favorite Character: Still Dumbledore: “You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?” And also the surpising character whom I choose not to spoil. Those who’ve read it can likely guess!