Saturday, July 14, 2007

Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…


I'm a Harry Potter fan. In anticipation of the final book, which will land in my hands in seven days, I've been re-reading Books 1 to 6. I still say The Prisoner Of Azkaban is the best book, and my favourite, of the series.

I think that JK Rowling’s writing and plotting in this book were superb. The writing was taut and fast-paced; no meandering like in some later books. The plotting was tight and even with so many things happening, she wrapped everything up neatly in 317 pages…which convinced me that she could have told the later stories (from Book 4 onwards) in many less pages.

There were many things I liked in this story. Firstly, it introduced two of my favorite characters, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. I thought these two best friends of James Potter were superbly characterized – one confident and slightly arrogant; the other compassionate and gentle.

Secondly, I liked the dark, tense and spooky atmosphere of the story. Although I wasn’t fond of them, I have to admit that the Dementors were some of Rowling’s most vivid and memorable creations.

Thirdly, I could feel Harry’s joy – the real, deep-seated happiness – at knowing that he had someone who loved him almost as much as his parents did…his godfather. He finally had a living, breathing link to his deceased parents, someone who was his family, someone who would be on his side always.

Fourthly, I absolutely loved the creation of the Marauder’s Map. I thought Rowling had done everything right with this – its name, its function, the spell that made it work “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”, the spell that wiped it blank “Mischief managed”.

Fifthly, she had the names Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs down pat. These names defined the characters they were named after. I thought they were just brilliant.

I cannot list everything that I liked, and I cannot leave this out. At the end of the story, when Harry had to return to the Dursleys for the summer, he told Uncle Vernon that he had a godfather.

“He was my mum and dad’s best friend. He’s a convicted murderer, but he’s broken out of wizard prison and he’s on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though…keep up with my news…check I’m happy…”

Brilliant story, brilliant ending.

5 out of 5. I love it. It's phenomenal - in a class by itself.

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