I was introduced to this marvelously fantastic series through a random happenstance. I was waiting for my father to pick me up from school and I was bored so I borrowed a book from a friend. It was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and it was a book so delicious that I devoured every last bit of it. Thus began a love affair with an incredibly enchanting series that played an essential role in my adolescence.
Out of all the books in the series, it was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that really resonated with me. The story revolves around the escape of a convicted mass murderer named Sirius Black and the dark mystery that surrounds it. The escape and the vicious presence of dementors, who have been sent out to guard the school grounds and seize Black, have magnified the fear and panic among the residents. This sets the deliciously sinister tone for the whole novel, which, I may add, Alfonso Cuaron has perfectly encapsulated in his film adaptation.
The silver lining comes in the form of a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor named R.J. Lupin. He teaches his students to feel empowered and face their fears by introducing a boggart, a creature that lurks in dark places and shapeshifts into the greatest fear of the person who encounters it, and instructing them on how to fight it with only a wand and a happy thought. As Harry struggles with his inner demons, Lupin helps him take control of his emotions and fight the one thing that he fears the most – fear itself.
While it is primarily about finding your inner strength, conquering your fears, and controlling your emotions, the theme that resounds throughout Prisoner of Azkaban is that of hope amidst the omnipresence of misery and pain. It is hope that gives Harry his strength and will to live despite constantly being thrown into the pit of despair.
J.K. Rowling also touches on issues of morality without saturating the reader with lessons on what is right and wrong. She never takes the focus away from the story and allows it to unfold on its own, which shows incredible restraint on the author’s part. Rowling never forgets that Harry is just a kid with plenty of flaws and obvious faults. She allows him to make mistakes and act on his emotions but at the same time, she lets him pick himself up and try, try, try to not let his fear and anger consume him but use them instead as instruments to help him combat his inner demons.
The book also explores the invaluable quality of time and features my personal favorite scene towards the end with a Time-Turner. Also, it introduces us to the supremely awesome Marauder’s Map.
It is honest, masterfully created, and endlessly fascinating with well-developed characters and delightfully dark and sinister undertones. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban exemplifies an incendiary literary piece that rightfully puts Rowling among the creative masters of literature.
This was a post by Hanna, who needs free time and cake. Mischief managed.