Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Disussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! So, as you can see, I'm reading my June series, Harry Potter! Since Harry Potter is my favorite book series and June is my favorite month (because my birthday was on the 10th!), I couldn't think of a better challenge to set myself in the month of June!

As I said in the last posts, these Harry Potter posts will be formatted differently from the May discussion posts. I won't be writing non-spoiler sections for any of the Harry Potter books, simply because it's Harry Potter. If you haven't read the books already, go read them. At this point, there's almost no excuse for not having read the books except a lack of interest... in which case you probably wouldn't be here reading my discussion! I also will not be writing a summary of each book because, again, it's Harry Potter. If you don't know what Harry Potter is about, I'd really like to know what rock you've been hiding under because it sounds like an amazing place to get away and completely shut out all knowledge of the outside world.

Anyway, on to the discussion!

So, a little background. I first read Prisoner of Azkaban in 5th grade. I can't fully remember when I first picked the series up, but I know it was during the first half of 5th grade, because I have distinct memories of my first reads of books 3 & 4 being during Christmas break. Random story- my family was travelling to my grandparents' house for Christmas and the roads were terrible, and I remember just chilling in the backseat of the car in the middle of the night, trying to read the last 100ish pages of Prisoner of Azkaban, while my dad was trying to actually be able to drive on the road. I think I actually did finish it that night. Anyway, I've read it several times since then, but the only one I distinctly remember was July of 2012. And I'm not sure I even finished it.

Honestly, for quite a while, I did not like Prisoner of Azkaban. From around the time that I first read the book, I didn't like it as much as the previous two, and I can't remember how long that lasted, but I remember not being a huge fan of it for quite a while. I also know that it's been one of my favorites for quite a while as well, so I have no idea when that shift happened. I think it was probably when I re-read POA for the first time, but like I said, I have no idea when that might have been. I think my initial disappointment was largely due to the ending (which is rather ironic now... but I'll talk about that in a bit). The last two books, Harry had faced Voldemort at the end and had managed to escape and be a hero. But in this one, Harry didn't face Voldemort. He didn't even really face a villain. I think that the 10 year old me was not only disappointed by the lack of an epic Voldemort fight, but also by the fact that the real exciting action is over with approximately 70 pages left. The rest of the book is Harry and Hermione with the time-turner, which (to a 10 year old) seems just a little anti-climactic after the last two books. 

That being said, let's talk about my favorite part of the book- the end. See the irony now? About half-way through this re-read, I found myself wondering why exactly it was one of my absolute favorites. It wasn't bad or disappointing in any way, but nothing particularly exciting or wonderful had really happened. But, I'd forgotten that everything in the Shrieking Shack onward is not only the highlight of the book, but also one of my favorite parts of the series. We learn the truth about Sirius Black and see him reunited with his only true friend that he has left. Harry finally gets a chance to have the father figure that he has wanted and needed his whole life. Harry finally performs an amazing patronus. And we get a really cool time-travel scene, which is pretty controversial because of what else could've been fixed using the time-turner, but is cool nonetheless. Although, I will admit that I honestly enjoy watching the time-travel scene in the movie more than reading it in the book. Yes, blasphemy. I know. 

One bit of the book that I had totally forgotten about was the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin quidditch match. And I'm not sure how I forgot about that, because it's literally the coolest quidditch match in all of the books. Penalties left and right, dirty playing from both sides, Lee Jordan giving some of his best commentary to date, Wood sobbing uncontrollably, Fred Weasley smacking a Slytherin in the head with his bat... the list goes on and on. My point is, it's the most exciting, hilarious, and rewarding quidditch match throughout all the books and somehow, I totally forgot it even existed. Shame on me!

Another really cool bit of the book has to do with Hogwarts itself. We learn so many Hogwarts secrets (not included in the movie- ugh!), which are just fascinating. To me, Hogwarts is one of the coolest, most interesting parts of the Wizarding World as well as the books. The Marauder's Map not only gives us really cool secrets about the school, but also about James and Sirius and Lupin. And Wormtail, but he doesn't matter. Speaking of Sirius and Lupin, this book also introduces us to both of them, and they happen to be a couple of my favorite characters in the series. Lupin is certainly my favorite Hogwarts professor- tied with McGonagall.

I usually like to talk about some things that I didn't like in a book... but I honestly can't think of any. Except maybe that Ron and Hermione were constantly mad at each other and that they were both being stupid, but that was a somewhat important plot point. I guess I could complain about the same thing as everyone else- that the time turner was used to save Buckbeak and Sirius, but not for James and Lily or any other important deaths, but that would be like beating a dead hippogriff at this point. And since Buckbeak was saved, I can't really do that. 

So, let's talk rating. Easily a 5/5. It's one of the best books in the series for sure. My lack of legitimate problems with the book shows how good I think it is.

Favorite Quotes

I'll be adding commentary on these since this post is really short so far...

Ron was yelling so loudly that Uncle Vernon jumped and held the receiver a foot away from his ear, staring at it with an expression of mingled fury and alarm.
This scene always cracks me up. I wish this was how the movie had started rather than Harry doing homework.

Page 62: "Harry!" said Fred, elbowing Percy out of the way and bowing deeply. "Simply splendid to see you, old boy-"
"Marvelous," said George, pushing Fred aside and seizing Harry's hand in turn. "Absolutely spiffing."
Percy scowled.
"That's enough, now," said Mrs. Weasley.
"Mum!" said Red as though he'd only just spotted her and seizing her hand too. "How really corking to see you-"
I LOVE THE TWINS. I've probably said it about 1,000,000 times, but it bears repeating as many times as I get the chance. They're just too great.

Page 63: "We tried to shut him [Percy] in a pyramid," he [George] told Harry, "But Mum spotted us."
Have I mentioned my love for the Weasley twins?

Page 63: "It's because of you, Perce," said George seriously. "And there'll be little flags on the hoods, with HB on them-"
"- for Humongous Bighead," said Fred."
I love them.

Page 109: "You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in."
Sassy McGonagall is sassy.

Page 192: "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Never truer than when uttered by a Weasley twin.

The dynamic between McGonagall and Lee Jordan is always lovely.

Page 287: "Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business."...
"Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git."...
"Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor."...
"Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball."
The Marauders though...

Page 293: Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first- SMACK!
She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again. 
"Don't you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul- you evil-"
Yet another reason why Hermione is awesome.

Page 307: A moment later, Fred Weasley chucked his Beater's club at the back of Flint's head. Flint's nose smashed into the handle of his broom and began to bleed.
You hit a Gryffindor teammate, you mess with Fred Weasley.

Page 309: Bole hit Alicia with his club and tried to say he'd thought she was a Bludger. George Weasley elbowed Bole in the face in retaliation. 

Page 310: "YOU CHEATING SCUM!" Lee Jordan was howling into the megaphone, dancing out of Professor McGonagall's reach. "YOU FILTHY, CHEATING B-"
Professor McGonagall didn't even bother to tell him off. She was actually shaking her finger in Malfoy's direction, her hat had fallen off, and she too was shouting furiously.
Like I said, their dynamic is just great.

Page 312: Then Wood was speeding toward him, half-blinded by tears; he seized Harry around the neck and sobbed unrestrainedly into his shoulder. Harry flet two large thumps as Fred and Georrge hit them; then Angelina's, Alicia's, and Katie's voices, "We've won the Cup! We've won the Cup!" Tangled together in a many-armed hug, the Gryffindor team sank, yelling hoarsely, back to earth.
I actually teared up at that point. It's just such a beautiful moment.

Spoken like a true Gryffindor.

Page 379: "What-live with you?" he said, accidentally cracking his head on a bit of rock protruding from the ceiling. "Leave the Dursleys?"
"Of course, I thought you wouldn't want to," said Sirius quickly. "I understand, I just thought I'd-"
"Are you insane?" said Harry, his voice easily as croaky as Sirius's. "Of course I want to leave the Dursleys! Have you got a house? When can I move in?"
Sirius turned right around to look at him; Snape's head was scraping the ceiling but Sirius didn't seem to care.
"You want to?" he said. "You mean it?"
"Yeah, I mean it!" said Harry.
Sirius's gaunt face broke into the first true smile Harry had seen upon it.
Such a great moment. Made better by the fact that Snape's head was scraping the ceiling.

Page 374: "Godfather?" spluttered Uncle Vernon. "You haven't got a godfather!"
"Yes, I have," said Harry brightly. "He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of Wizard prison and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me though... keep up with my news... check if I'm happy..."
Genius move, Harry. One of your better moments.

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! I hope you enjoyed it, because I definitely enjoyed making it. I could talk about Harry Potter ceaselessly for the rest of my life and never get bored. If you have questions, ask in the comments!

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, don't forget to subscribe/follow, since it lets me know that you're enjoying what I'm doing. See y'all in a few days!

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