When I first read Prisoner of Azkaban, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first two books. I saw it as just another adventure of Harry Potter. Even after reading the complete series, I always thought of it as the “odd man” in the series, bearing no direct link to it, except for the introduction of a few characters that we meet again. However, this second reading made me realize how blind I’ve been. I can’t totally blame myself, for I didn’t know what was yet to come when I first read it, but now, I can see how well Rowling has kept the connectivity and the order of the series.
In any case, I see this particular installment as a turning point in the series, where Harry learns all truth regarding his past, accepts it, and prepares for the darker battle that he’s about to encounter. And more importantly, he learns that he will have to fight some battles though they seem futile and won’t produce the desired end. It is with a shock that Harry realizes that even the great wizard, Professor Dumbledore, cannot “fix matters and make everything alright.” This realization sheds his childlike innocence and transforms him into a responsible teen who will fight battles far more advanced for him.
As a book of its own, this is by far the best written by Rowling. It has a meritable adventure, full of suspense. I read most of the part with bated breath. Here again, Harry and his two friends face yet another challenge where their courage and loyalty are sorely tested. And the threesome shines yet again in their goodness, having saved two innocent lives. Also, with each installment, I’m enjoying the close and tight bond between these three. That’s a friendship of “blood and iron”! I didn’t like the two new characters the book introduces in my first reading, but this time, both Lupin and Sirius Black gained my sympathy. The only character I truly couldn’t stand here was Professor Snape, and that I believe is a common Potter problem that all Potter fans will understand. 🙂
I truly enjoyed the book this time around. I’ve under-appreciated it all this time. Now, with an easy heart, I can move on to the next Potter adventure, having enjoyed all three preceding books.