NUMBER 2 – ALMOST THERE! – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Quick, eat some chocolate! Why are faster brooms allowed in Quidditch?? Mischief managed!

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The Plus

+ Hagrid becomes a teacher!

+ Hermione gets Crookshanks, resulting in hilarious bickering between her and Ron.

+ The ghost of the past breaths loudly in this one.

+ The magical world expands as we get to know Hogsmeade. Oh, the deliciousness of Honeydukes!

+ Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum!

+ Pepper Imps!

+ Ice Mice!

+ Very fateful events take place, which ultimately lead to Voldemort’s return in the next book and great pain and death.

+ Gryffindor wins the Quidditch Cup.

+ In the dementors, JKR introduces the theme of depression into a Young Adult novel admirably. Azkaban is one of the saddest HP books, and one with the most valuable lessons for readers.

+ No Voldemort.

+ Ron and Harry making up things for Divination.

+ Harry gets an awesome broom.

+ The trio fighting.

+ Time travel.

+ Sirius Black, what a cool guy!

+ Who could have seen the end coming??

The Minus

– No Voldemort.

– Percy becomes Head Boy, oh no!

– I never really liked the Knight Bus. Felt sick just reading about it. Why would wizards need it anyway?

– Scabbers the Rat turns into a creepy ratty dude!

– Malfoy such a Malfoy!

– Time travel.

Explain Yourself!

And thus it is revealed: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best of the HP saga on my list! But we’re not talking about it yet. Right now, we’re focusing on the second-best book, Azkaban.

Many people have a weak spot for Azkaban, and I see several possible reasons for this. First, Voldemort is not really involved in this one. Instead of another story about Harry spoiling the dark wizard’s evil plans, we get a sort of whodunit involving an old acquaintance of his father’s. Yes, in its core, this book revolves around the past of Harry’s father and its connection to Harry’s fate. It’s a story full of sadness and betrayal, of loyalty, friendship and revenge. It’s in a way the most unique book of the series. It definitely stands out.

The second reason I come up with is that the film was pretty great.

Thirdly, the dementors and the theme of sadness, fear and loneliness they embody ring true for many readers. I feel some Frozen in this book. That movie was, I think, beloved for the same reason people enjoyed HP3.

Lastly, besides Philosopher’s Stone, Azkaban is one of the few HP books in which the school life continues pretty much uninterrupted by irregular events and without being overshadowed by the outside world. Yes, there’s the fear of Sirius Black, but that just results in a huge pajama party. No, if you’re into the pure Hogwarts life, Azkaban really delivers for you.

But even though not much on the Voldemort front is going in in this volume, the events of Azkaban are fateful, because they lead directly into the soul-crushing finale of HP 4. And Trelawney predicts it! Ah, isn’t it awesome how everything in these books is connected?!

The third HP novel is the second-best. This leaves us with the one and only, the legendary Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at first place! More about it next time.