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Cannonball Read #21: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

01/31/2010

Oldest daughter and I just finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and what a ride! The third installment in the Harry Potter series checks in with a more complicated plot and an increased level of intrigue. I found myself racing through the scenes where secrets are revealed, even though I had already read this and knew what was going on.

To recap, Harry Potter is in his third year at the wizarding school, Hogwarts. As the book opens, Harry winds up illegally using magic after being taunted by his uncle’s sister. He runs away from the Dursley’s home and assumes he’ll get in trouble for using Magic outside of the school. Not so. He’s rescued by a weird bus and is taken to Diagon Alley to spend the rest of his summer in an inn there. Why no punishment for using magic? Well, it turns out that Sirius Black, an escaped convict, is after Harry, and the powers that be want to keep him safe. What follows is a twisting tale that introduces a new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher (naturally), a magical creature convicted of the death penalty and the return of people from Harry’s parents’ past.

My daughter predicted that Harry and Sirius would fight, but Harry would convince Sirius to turn good. She was quite surprised that Scabbers turned out to be the traitor, Peter Pettigrew. The twists in plot are done nicely, and the story is very taut at that point. Rowling is gearing up for future intrigue quite well.

My co-reader also stated that she knew Buckbeak would live – he was on the cover. Cedric Diggory can attest to that being a poor rule of thumb. Also she admitted that she had thought that Hermione was able to attend so many classes due to some type of duplication potion. Hogsmeade was very enjoyable, and she was glad that Harry was able to finally get his permission slip signed at the end.

All in all, we both agree that this is the best book so far with its detail, its surprises, and it’s “mix-ups” in her words.

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