I was very giddy as we approached month three of the Harry Potter Reread Challenge. Why? Because I absolutely adore the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I won't say (yet) that it's my favourite of the seven novels because I want to wait until I've reread all of them but it'll for sure be one or two. For more information about this challenge and the idea behind it, visit Just a Lil' Lost's sign up post. Check out Twitter or Instagram with #HPreread if you want to follow along with us. A reminder: if you haven't read this book, or even finished the whole series, please beware of spoilers. If you don't want parts of the story or series ruined for you, stay away until you finish the books!
I'm not totally sure what it is that makes me love this book so much. I could say that it's because we learn so much more about the wizarding world when Harry gets to ride the Knight Bus (which I love...it's "violently purple"...my favourite!) and ends up spending a great deal of time at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. But, technically, we learn more about the world in every book so that's not much of a reason. Though I do love Diagon Alley and liked being able to spend a bit more time there in this book.
Azkaban is also the last "light" Harry Potter book. I'm not saying the serious issues that come up in the next books aren't important or good (they're great, really), it's just that this is the last book where Harry is really able to keep his innocence. I know he's already faced Voldemort twice but the danger hasn't really been there yet because Voldemort isn't totally back. It's not as dangerous or real like it will be in the next books. And, for us, the reader, this is the last book without major deaths. And anyone who tells you "they're just fictional characters" should be cut out of your life immediately. Or at least ignored until they see sense. We grow to love these characters (even some of the evil ones) and reading about their deaths is like a knife to the heart.
Other little things I enjoy in this book: Hagrid being a teacher, Hogsmeade (Butterbeer! Honeydukes!), Crookshanks (damn clever feline, that one), Ron's new owl, Hermione slapping Malfoy, Gryffindor winning the Quidditch Cup (couldn't stop smiling), the Marauder's Map, the Time-Turner, and expecto patronum (side note: if I ever get a HP tattoo, that might be it). To really get a feel about what stuck out for me while I reread this, check out my Storify story with all my #HPreread tweets.
But the most likely reason I love this book is because we meet two characters who are extremely important to Harry: Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. The love I have for these characters is even more intense since I know what happens to them in the end. Of course, my heart broke a little during each scene with them, but that's the price you pay for knowing the end of the series, I suppose. Meeting these men, men who were Harry's father's best friends, give Harry more of an insight into his parents' lives. He is so desperate for details of them. It hurts my heart a little that he just doesn't know enough about James and Lily, the people who died in order to protect him. And knowing what I know now, reading this is just...it's hard:
"We'll be at Hogwarts in ten minutes," said Profession Lupin. "Are you all right, Harry?"And if the words don't do enough to your poor heart, check out this pin I found not too long ago. I'll give you a moment to collect yourself. Oh, and just to make it even more clear how close these friends are:
Harry didn't ask how Professor Lupin knew his name.
- page 68
Lupin was lowering his wand. Next moment, he had walked to Black's side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a brother.All the feels.
- page 252
Once again, I was completely uplifted by spending a Saturday reading a Harry Potter novel. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is probably the last book of the series that I will read in one sitting (though I did read Deathly Hallows in about seven hours total when it was first released), which is sort of sad. I like being able to commit an entire day to read the book from start to finish and I just don't think it'll be possible to do that with the next books. Ah well. I'm looking forward to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire even though things take a dark turn. Until then, happy reading!