I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for.

The book navigates with Harry, who embarks on the journey of his third year at Hogwarts, with his friends, and his godfather, who had betrayed his parents. J.K. Rowling’s words have a curious habit of coming to life, and her characters are both funny and realistic. One of the greatest things about the characters in the Harry Potter series is that they improve with each book, and you can clearly see the clever, intricate plot Rowling has interwoven, with cleverly-placed foreshadowing and seemingly innocent hints.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is undoubtedly darker than the previous two books, as Harry learns more and more about the sinister forces that threaten the wizard world. The characters begin to get more developed and more complex, and an awful lot more interesting.

J.K. Rowling has sidestepped the usual series-writer trap of sticking so closely to a successful formula that each book ends up being more of the same. With Harry about to enter adolescence, the series, too, seems to be changing; this entry is darker, and morally more ambiguous than the first two.

As Harry grows up, he finds himself standing face-to-face with real deceit and terror. He also begins to develop into a young man, who finds his feet socially and even starts to find girls attractive. As ever, there are some excellent comedy moments between Ron and Hermione, who can’t seem to stand one another.

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

The Prisoner of Azkaban is dark and upsetting in more ways than one; it looks into the horrible aspects of revenge and spite through Sirius Black, who, despite staying relatively sane over his years in Azkaban, has been twisted by hate and blood lust. The unbridled fear that the Dementors evoke in Harry is also almost disturbing, yet his experience with them results in a heart-breaking dilemma. It also addresses several interesting concepts about responsibility and growing up, such as during the instances wherein Harry and his peers are faced with some seemingly small but potentially life-defining moments.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

If any, the book’s biggest flaw is it’s ending, which, although gripping and apt, feels rushed in a lot of ways. Harry is briefly reunited with his godfather and can feel a genuine family connection for the very first time, yet this emotional connection isn’t backed up in any significant manner. After no time at all, Harry and Sirius are behaving as if they have known each other for their whole lives. This just seems a bit too insipid and unbelievable, particularly when you compare it to some of the other relationships presented in the series.

Ameya Rating:
4.2/5

All in all, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban comes across as a huge disappointment for all those who expected it to botch up the breathtaking story laid out by its predecessors. It warrants an emphatic rating of 4.2 out of 5, and is suitable for all age groups.

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