Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third volume in the unfolding story of one Harry Potter is as engaging as the first two in the series, as one might expect in a story such as the overarching narrative that Rowling has created. We are treated to the ongoing development of the primary characters, a particularly interesting perspective when it involves a world that revolves around magic.

We are interested, in particular, in the ‘back story’ that goes with Harry’s life. We learn in this volume more about the circumstances that surround the death of Harry’s parents, and the extent to which those who were aligned with Lord Voldemort have acted as the servants of the Dark Lord. Harry meets his godfather, Sirius Black, who we learn has been wrongly imprisoned in the Wizarding world’s prison for all of Harry’s life, who everyone believes was directly responsible for the Potter’s death. Harry also meets other friends of his father from their days at Hogwart’s, as well as hearing some stories from those days.

At the heart of this third volume is the battle between truth and evil, truth represented by Harry’s parents and cohorts, along with the Hogwart’s headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and evil portrayed by Lord Voldemort and his cronies, those known and unknown. For those who have already read ahead, we have more of a sense of precisely who those cronies are. While one might argue about the simplicity of the binary juxtaposition of truth and evil, it is tough to ignore that both exist, that they conflict, and that there are times when it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. Like many themes to be found in Rowling’s series, this one can be interpreted at many different levels of complexity, and each time they are encountered can produce a different, perhaps more nuanced, understanding.

As I have previously mentioned in my reviews on this particular edition of the Harry Potter series, the narration of the story by Stephen Fry is particularly engaging. Perhaps it is solely the accent – which is quintessentially British, and therefore perfect for this particular story – or it could be the clean and crisp enunciation of what is a well crafted and constructed narrative. Either way, it has captured my attention to the point where I look forward to getting into my vehicle, ready to listen to the next little instalment in the unfolding story.

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