Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J. K. Rowling
Published 1999 by Bloomsbury.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased.

Genre: children's fantasy.

My rating:

Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney’s ghoulish predictions seriously?


Hello and welcome to Hogwarts! Again! I’m participating in Harry Potter Month and you should go and check out everyone’s posts because HP fans are amazing. (You can read my reviews for Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, too.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban introduces one of my favourite characters, Sirius Black – though I admit I like him more as Harry’s concerned godfather in Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix than a deraneged – albeit innocent – escaped prisoner. And MAN wouldn’t it be awesome if you could turn into a giant black dog? Padfoot is my favourite Marauder.

I’m not usually into time travel (and I saw that meme about saving Buckbeak) but I thought that the use of the time-turner was pretty clever in this story. There’s something neat about how Harry saves himself, Hermione and Sirius from dementors – the fact that he doesn’t need saving, really, has always appealed to me.

As with the previous two reviews, I have to add a complaint: it’s something that has always bothered me about Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry and Ron behave atrociously towards Hermione for the better part of the story – first because she tells the teachers about Harry’s mysterious gift, the Firebolt racing broom, and then because Ron thinks that Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat, ate his rat Scabbers. Look, I get it, Firebolt’s one hell of a broom and Scabbers was your (useless) pet for a couple of years but Hermione is a person and Crookshanks is a cat and could you please stop being nasty? Ugh.

Despite this bump in the H+R+H friendship, Prisoner of Azkaban features what is possibly the best story arc of the series. I always look forward to re-reading it because it’s the last of the “short” parts and also the last where Harry’s world isn’t consumed with the threat of Voldemort’s imminent return.


What would your boggart look like? I think mine would be a huge leech…

And while we’re at it – what animal would you transform into if you were an animagus (fox for me)?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • This or Goblet of Fire might be my favorite one of the series, I always have trouble deciding :)


    • Yeah, these two are great – they’re much more mature than 1+2 but still light enough (though things really go south at the end of Goblet of Fire).

  • Alex @ The Book Banner

    This is my favorite story arc of the entire series. I absolutely love backstory and this book obviously has quite a bit of Harry’s parents backstory. It’s always fun to go back and reread it because every time I get that excited chill of ‘we’re going to find out about Harry’s father’s past.’ It’s great. Plus, you know Sirius is introduced. :D As for my animagus, I’ve thought about this quite a lot. I’d either be an owl or a wolf. Both have traits that I myself have and they both have valid strengths. Either one of these would work well for me. Great review!

    • You’re right, backstory can be great if done properly and JKR excells at it. :)
      Oh, an owl is a great pick! I’d love to be able to fly. And a wolf, too – they’re gorgeous animals. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do it? :) *sighs wistfully*

  • This is my favorite Harry Potter book. There is just something so wonderful about this one that gets me every time I read it. I do know what you mean about how Ron and Harry are pretty awful to Hermione. As much as it bothers me, I do think it’s very realistic.

    • Yep, kids fighting is definitely realistic – and over such banal things, too! Well, adults fight over silly things all the time, too, so I guess it’s pretty universal! :)

  • Maraia

    Yay, Sirius! I also prefer Sirius in his godfather role, but the nice thing about book 3 is that the end is so hopeful. We actually think Harry might get a chance at a happy home life. (Only to have our hopes cruelly crushed, but that’s another story.)

    The boys really do treat Hermione poorly in this book. I never understood why they didn’t see that Hermione was trying to keep Harry safe by telling McGonagall about the Firebolt. I think I had pretty mixed feelings about Crookshanks the first time I read it, though. It’s hard to remember that far back!

    I think we talked about patronuses already, but my animagus might also be a hedgehog. I don’t know, though. It wouldn’t be very useful. I guess maybe a bird? I would love to fly. I think my boggart would turn into me. (The whole “you’re your own worst enemy” thing.) As a middle/high schooler, though, it probably would have been similar to Hermione’s boggart. ;)

    • A hedgehog animagus… Huh, why not? My only complaint about it would be that they’re pretty slow :D

      Well Rowling has hope-crushing down to an art ;) But yeah, that part where Harry thinks he’ll be able to leave the Dursleys… *heartbreak*

      Well kids (and adults!) fight over really unimportant stuff sometimes so I guess this fight between HRH is pretty realistic.

      • Maraia

        They are slow, and they definitely can’t fly, haha.

        Yep, pretty much. People all over the world start bawling when they hear the name “Fred.” ;)

        Harry + Ron + Hermione = Her Royal Highness. I love it. :D

  • Ah, I love PoA so much, and the introduction of Sirius has a lot to do with that, lol. I also love Lupin! For me this book always feels like a turning point in the series, with the trio maturing quite a bit from CoS and the books taking on increasingly darker themes.

    • Yes, that’s it exactly! This book’s storyline is feels like an introduction to the rest of the series. It has a good storyline arc on its own but also begins the major story that continues until the end of the series.

  • The time travel thing wasn’t something that I was expecting in this series. I admit, I knew it was about magic, but that kind of thing never crossed my mind for what could be included in Harry’s world. I loved seeing it simply for the fact that I wasn’t expecting it. LOVE Sirius :D I like him better as the lovable Godfather too though. My boggart would definitely be a huge spider’s like Ron’s and my animagus would be an owl because I would want to fly and also blend in with the surroundings so as not to stand out.

    • Yeah, I was pretty surprised, too! I always thought time travelling was a more sci-fi than fantasy thing but it worked really well here.
      Ooh, an owl animagus would work perfectly! They are somehow dignified, owls. And silent :)

  • PoA will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.. I mean, we get to meet SIRIUS ♥ I love that the kids are older and more mature and I love the time-travel aspect, especially because it leads to Harry saving himself as you said and that he didn’t really need saving at all :*)

    My animagus would be some sort of cat, likely a black one and my boggart would be a Dementor…or a weeping angel *shudder*

    Lovely review Kaja^^ xx

    • You’re right, the kids have a much more mature attitude in this book. I never thought of it like that – but they start taking responsibilities and all.

      A black cat would work wonderfully as an animagus! I thought Crookshanks would turn out to be human, too, but it’s better that he didnt, I think. Eek, a weeping angel?! Why? (Well you don’t have to tell me but as much as they can be creepy, they sometimes look beautiful in graveyards…)

  • For the longest time, Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite Harry Potter book. I loved getting to see more of the wizarding world, like Hogsmeade, and it introduced bother Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, who are amongst my favorite characters! In fact, I read that book so many times in my youth, that the pages started separating from the binding.

    Also, my boggart would be an enveloping pitch blackness, and my animagus would probably be a cat.

    • Fear of the dark, fear of the dark… Now I have Iron Maiden stuck in my head! :)

      I have two sets of the series, one in English and one in Slovenian (though I don’t have books 6 and 7 in Slovenian, I was reading in English by that point) and they’re all pretty battered. I like pretty new books but sometimes it’s good to have one of these well-loved books, it’s a testimony to how much you love them.

  • Yes, upon re-reading this book I think I jumped into the camp of people who don’t like the pairing of Ron and Hermione. He is SUCH a jerk to her and Harry just follows along. I’d forgotten what little twerps they were here. The only good thing to say is that it emphasizes what a truly amazing and awesome person Hermione is because she sticks to her guns, keeps her life in order and in the end plays a, if not THE, major role in saving the day. Also it is pretty realistic to how 13 years olds act sadly.

    I was also really fascinated by Snape in this one especially knowing what we know about him. He is really nasty (cruel) to HRH gang + Neville and downright deranged and petty about Sirius and Lupin. Is it all an act or is he really that unpleasant a person who just happens to have his conscience screwed on all right?

    I like Sirius but my favorite new character from this book is Remus Lupin, I think.

    The boggart would undoubtedly turn into a crocodile for me and if I was an animagus I’d want to be a dog. Or a Llama.