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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 the Audio CD edition.
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.
The Prisoner of Azkaban continues a fascinating and engaging series. Book one of the series was very lighthearted as the world and characters were introduced. There was indeed a conflict and a villain, but the focus was on the world itself and the magic we could find in it. Book two continued in that world but had a noticeably darker tone (as did many of the later books). However, Book three returned us to a lighter tone while creating a self-encased conflict and villain with some really neat time-travelling plot twists (think of Bill and Ted or Back to the Future). The last four books tell more of a continuous narrative while I feel that each of the first three is more standalone. Yes, they end with an explanation of how the self-contained events fit into the overarching conflict of the series. But the individual plot elements of the books seem to lend themselves to the story at hand rather than the overall conflict. It seems that this changes with Book four when many parts of the book focus more on the overall plot rather than the individual book plot.
Even if you've seen the movies, the books are deserving of a read. The cliche that the books are always better than the movies holds very true here. We hope that JK Rowling continues to write for many years and that she can create other worlds that are equally as imaginative and engaging as this one. Thanks for a great ride!
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.