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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Paperback – September 11, 2001
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For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who's forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard "accidentally" causes the Dursleys' dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.
As it turns out, Harry isn't punished at all for his errant wizardry. Instead he is mysteriously rescued from his Muggle neighborhood and whisked off in a triple-decker, violently purple bus to spend the remaining weeks of summer in a friendly inn called the Leaky Cauldron. What Harry has to face as he begins his third year at Hogwarts explains why the officials let him off easily. It seems that Sirius Black--an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban--is on the loose. Not only that, but he's after Harry Potter. But why? And why do the Dementors, the guards hired to protect him, chill Harry's very heart when others are unaffected? Once again, Rowling has created a mystery that will have children and adults cheering, not to mention standing in line for her next book. Fortunately, there are four more in the works. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this third installment in the projected seven-volume series, Sirius Black, imprisoned for killing 13 people with one curse, escapes from Azkaban. As he heads for Hogwarts, the chilling Dementors who trail him quickly descend upon the school. "Each successive volume expands upon its predecessor with dizzyingly well-planned plots and inventive surprises," said PW in a Best Books of 2001 citation. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
After encountering Dolores Umbridge, I was left pondering the question "What is evil?" Voldemort is obviously the Villian of the series, however I feel Umbridge is a much more sinister and evil Villian than even Voldemort. Voldemort's actions and evil deeds are really very simple to understand. What motivates him is power and greed and he is willing to go to any lengths to achieve those goals. While evil in itself, his motives and actions are very straight forward and easy to understand. It is easy to see Voldemort for the evil that he is, which therefore keeps him in hiding only surrounded by his Death Eaters. Dolores Umbridge is a very different type of evil. Dolores Umbridge is the type of evil that we, the muggles that we are, encounter on a daily basis. They are the people who enjoy the hurt, pain, chaos and distrust they cause through their manipulations and lies. The enjoy the devastation they cause in their wake. The fact that she can create the heartache she relishes so much with a false smile, sweet sanguine falsetto, and splashes of whimsy to give the impression of naïveté and an innocent childlike behavior which puts one off initially of comprehending the true evil she inflicts to hide the monster she is, and the fact that through these false tactics she has risen to a position of power to inflict heartache unto others, shows she is a master at hiding her true psychopathic personality. This sick personality trait is shown most clearly when she makes Harry write lines in detention. She knows Harry is telling the truth, yet she lies and manipulates him until she is in a position of power directly over him in detention at which point she not only continues her lies causing mental anguish to Harry, she continues her evil machinations by causing him physical pain by forcing him to use her quill which scratches and ultimately scars Harry for the rest of his life. Umbridge enjoys Harry's suffering. She even inspects his hand at the end of each detention to make sure he is being cut and that his hand is bleeding and then in a well satisfied way compliments Harry on completing his detention. Her only praise is when Harry does something to cause hurt and pain and twists what he knows is the truth into something false. This is standard textbook psychopathic behavior in domestic abusers.
The fact that Doloros Umbridge can navigate society in such a way as to gain a position if importance in the Minisrptry of Magic and flourish in normal wizarding society while hiding her insidious psychopathic tendencies leaves her in an excellent position of power to inflict hurt to others. Her brand if evil is subtle and is not so obvious at a first glance which gives her the ability to "blend in" with others and yet she victimizes many in her wake, as she navigates through life. In Voldemort's case, his brand of evil is so obvious to everyone that he is an outcast of the wizarding community, which ultimately lessens the number of his potential victims to those simply standing in his way of power, while in Umbridge's case her victim pool is limitless die to her access to the community and all those she comes across.
So here is the moral question I have pondered for many years since reading this book for the first time. "Which Behavior Is More Evil?" Personally, I feel Dolores Umbridge is the much more evil of the two characters based upon the reasons given in the prior paragraph. Whether you agree or disagree with me is not the point. The point is to make you think and ponder for yourself. The fact that this book makes you think long after you've turned the last page, is a mark of literacy success. Whiter you've read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix once, or a hundred times, it is always a great novel to read again and again, and question what constitutes as evil.
Though she's said she worked out the whole seven-book series on a fateful train ride she took in the late '90s, she couldn't possibly have imagined that the series would turn into this: midnight bookstore parties, record print runs, and a generation of children (and adults) hanging on to her every written word.
"This" has now reached a new apogee with its fifth entry, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the longest (870 pages) and most dense (more characters, more complexity) book of the series.
And Rowling once again pulls it off.
Harry's adolescent funk
"Phoenix" begins in the usual place, the Dursleys' house at number four, Privet Drive, in Little Whinging, England. The Dursleys, Harry's guardians, have become more frightened of Harry's magical abilities -- and the now 15-year-old Harry, having sunk into an adolescent funk of bitterness, anger and self-pity, is more than happy to keep them guessing.
But Harry soon has bigger problems. Once he's back at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he's treated as a pariah by most students for his insistence that the evil Lord Voldemort is back -- and, indeed, played a role in the death of a student at the end of "Goblet of Fire."
Only a handful of professors and Harry's close friends -- among them Hermione and Ron -- support him.
Harry also struggles with the series' latest villain, Dolores Umbridge, a condescending representative from the Ministry of Magic who assumes a leadership role at Hogwarts. The students' psychological battles with the odious Umbridge are the best parts of "Phoenix," and Rowling writes them with a wicked zest.
"Phoenix" does have its problems. The book starts running out of steam before the climactic battle, and that battle itself -- full of noise, flashing spells and wand-handling straight out of a grade-B Western as produced by Jerry Bruckheimer -- is the most poorly constructed scene in the book.
Rowling also engages in a stylistic tic, the paragraph-ending ellipsis, that seems to have become more popular with thriller writers. (It's all over Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," too.) Is something wrong with the humble period?
But those are minor issues in the face of Rowling's rich imagination and robust writing. The scope of Potter's world seems boundless; Rowling has added new characters and new locations, and added layers to those already existing. Potter's world, though fantastic, seems utterly believable.
That's doubly true of Harry himself. Rowling doesn't make Potter into an unblemished hero. Instead, he's a classic conflicted boy-man, struggling with issues both large (the death of both parents, fighting an evil power) and small (love, relationships and his own wildly changing hormones). He may not be as much fun as he was in Book One, but he's become more realistic and sympathetic.
Well, when he wants to be. After all, he's a teenager.
Recently, a friend asked me if Potter was worth the hype. I'm not sure if anything is worth the hype that the modern entertainment industry produces: overblown publicity machines for works that will vanish in a weekend.
But if anything is worth the hype, it's Harry Potter. The books enrapture children, entangle adults, and are full of wit, wisdom and wonder. Who could ask for a more magical experience?
Eager to begin, the opening offers a concise summary of the series so far, along with vague allusions to the overarching conflict, the search for Sirius Black. Black is painted as the threat, but he’s soon overshadowed by the dementors who pursue him, and anyone else who attracts their attention.
The main plot quickly becomes subsumed by subplots. Audiences explore the daily life of Hogwarts in a flurry of scenes that focus on class and Quidditch, as Black and the dementors loom in the background, occasionally as a threat, but mostly a source of inconvenience for Harry, who endures increasing impositions in the name of safety. Harry struggles against these restrictions, earning him the ire of both teachers and friends.
Relationships dominate the story, as characters struggle to overcome their own intense emotions. The story culminates in a tragic revelation, casting new light on many of the year’s events, and reiterating the underlying ambiguity that runs throughout the story.