The third installment of Harry Potter finds the young wizard and his pals back at Hogwarts for another magical year. New teachers like Professor Lupin and Trelawney provide Harry with insight to his past (and future). A shadowy character from James and Lily’s past escapes from Azkaban prison, and rumor is he is looking for Harry.
This book is longer and darker than the previous two books. It is on the cusp of no longer being a children’s book. Voldemort is notably absent. In fact, there is no real antagonist in this story. We are lead to believe that Sirius Black is the villain, but he turns out to be anything but. Another thing that sticks out is the use of time turners. Twist it a few times, and you go back in time a few hours. Hermione uses one throughout the year in order to go to all her classes, some of which overlap. Hermione and Harry use it at the end to rescue Buckbeak and save Sirius.
It is worth nothing that Sirius Black is the Prisoner of Azkaban, so the book is essentially called Harry Potter and Sirius Black. Harry finds a father figure in him, and Lupin to a lesser degree as well. Lupin is a great teacher. He brings out the best in Harry and teaches him advanced magic. Harry is starting to become powerful. In the first two books, he relied on luck and help from his friends. Now he is capable of producing a patronus charm to take on dozens of dementors at once.
James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were best friends when they were students at Hogwarts. They invented the Marauder’s Map, and Harry uses it throughout the book and through the rest of the series. Sirius Black seems to be a threat at first, and than you find out he is a good guy. Lupin was a good guy the whole time, but at the end he transforms into a werewolf, and he becomes a threat. It’s a cool role reversal. Trelawney seems to be a fraud, but then she makes an actual prediction and in later books we find out more about her past prophecies.
The names of the characters usually are clues to their true nature. Remus and Romulus were the two wolf cub brothers who founded Rome. Sirius is the dog star. Black is a reference to Rebecca Black and her dark magic corrupting the innocent.
This is a fun read, and it sets up even more story arcs that get resolved in later books. You start to see that J.K. Rowling had Potter all mapped out, and this book is when shit starts to get crazy.
Critically Rated at 15/17