Potterview #3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is where these books start to get really good. It’s darker, it’s more interesting, and we’re starting to leave behind the simple mystery plots and enter into the more complicated ones.

One reason I really like this book is the introduction of Sirius.  I really love Sirius as a character.  To Harry, he is both a good friend and a role model.  Like Harry, Sirius is a rebellious Gryffindor with a love for danger and adventure.  I love how Harry can relate to Sirius because he sees himself in Sirius.

I also really like Lupin as a character.  I like his calm intelligence and his willingness to take Harry under his wing.  He is, of course, discriminated against for being a werewolf, which is a great, subtle way for Rowling to introduce the concept of discrimination in the wizard world.  Wizards, as we see time and again in the books, are very discriminatory and quick to condemn.  Even though it may be detrimental to their children’s educations, the wizard world will not allow a werewolf to teach at Hogwarts.

On the subject of Sirius, this book is where we really see the emphasis Harry puts on his father figures. While sweet, this trope is a bit misogynistic. Throughout the course of the book, Harry strongly prioritizes his male role models. He has several father figures, while the only mother figure I can think of is Molly Weasley. This is probably subconscious on Rowling’s part, since it’s common in our society to prioritize male role models.

Some very dark concepts are played with in this book. The idea of Azkaban is, obviously, terrifying. The dementors, who can suck out all happy feelings and memories, are fantastic antagonists. The fact that Sirius is innocent makes the time he spent there seem even worse. I felt terrible for Sirius for the entire book.

As I reread the series, I am finding that I like Ron a lot less. In this book, especially, he’s horrible to Hermione. Hermione, being very bookish, has probably not had very many friends besides Ron and Harry. Added to that, she’s under a lot of stress from her extra classes. Ron really had no right to turn on her.

Overall, the book was great. On to Goblet of Fire!

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8 thoughts on “Potterview #3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  1. Alexandria Adair Vasquez says:

    Oh man, I have such a problem with Ron’s character! I feel like he’s always the one turning on his own friends (like when Harry was chosen for the Tri-Wizard tournament, or when he left their search for the horcruxes).

  2. Charleen says:

    This book is my favorite of the series for many of the reasons you mentioned. I also find it interesting that it’s the only book that doesn’t really involve Voldemort.

  3. Jeyna Grace says:

    I like Lupin too, not Sirius though.

  4. b.h.quinn says:

    (Sorry about the lateness; I’m catching up on interesting posts.)

    PoA is my favorite book for a lot of those reasons. I find the Marauders generation so interesting and this is where we first get to meet them.

    My take on Harry’s focus on a father figure is a bit different. JKR has always seemed to be very away of the power of the mother in a child’s life, and I had the impression that Lily was always extremely present in Harry’s life. At first he had her through (the lack of) Petunia’s maternal instinct towards him. Then her protection of him and her sacrifice for him emphasized her influence. It’s not James’s sacrifice, but Lily’s that brings him safety.

    Molly Weasley’s also a much more present force in Harry’s life than Arthur Weasley. From the time we first meet her in the first book to when Harry sees more of her in the second book and so on, she’s very maternal and a mothering figure to him. There’s no question that he has that type of presence there, even if he lacks Lily.

    However, James has always been a distant figure. Even after he meets Remus and SIrius, Harry doesn’t seem to learn much about him. All he has about James was that they look alike and they both fly. Neither Arthur nor Dumbledore seem to be involved enough to be a proper paternal figure to him.

    I completely agree with you on everything else, though! I was never a huge fan of Ron, but he definitely grows through the books as he becomes less judgmental and selfish (although no where near perfect).

    I hope we get to keep reading about your Potter-y perspectives. 🙂

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