Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Harry Potter #re3 2015 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Hello again! And look, this is my third post for the Harry Potter #re3 2015 Challenge! Yes, my lovelies, we are onto to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! This is a mixed book for fans. Some fans LOVE this book and others aren't that thrilled over it.

Now, this reread was interesting for me as, while I am a huge fan of this book - I class this as my fave within the series, I did look at this with new eyes as I spotted things that I have noticed before, but it was only now that I stopped and went "Hang on a moment..."

I would like to thank some podcasts that helped. The main two were/are Alohomora! and Witch, Please. But I remembered a few titbits from Pottercast (I can't download the episodes in question, but  I do remember tiny bits of information).

Anyway, let's get started on my reactions to this reread!

Now, I love this book. I have said it before, but what was interesting reading it this time round was that, while a lot of things happen within these covers, not much happens at the same time.

We are told that Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban and he is this dark presence throughout the book. It is hinted throughout with the Grim and then we have moments when he, somehow, got into Hogwarts. It's not until the near end when we finally meet him. But the sense of dark foreboding is throughout the book, only ever hinted at. It's not like Philosopher's Stone or Chamber of Secret where dark things happened. In Prisoner, darkness is hinted at...

And this dark sense of foreboding comes from the Dementors. To me, they are one of the most terrifying creatures ever written in children's literature. But their dark presence and their dark effect on Harry puts all readers on edge.

Which makes Lupin such an interesting character. He is a flawed character, a well loved character and such an opposite compared to the Dementors. And we see this when Lupin talks to Harry at the end of Chapter 14: Snape's Grudge. He talks to Harry and tell him that people are risking their lives to protect him and Harry is dangerously wasting their risk. Lupin points out what harry's parents did - dying to save his life. Earlier in the chapter, Snape told Harry the same thing - but in a crueler way. In a nastier way. We don't like what Snape said but we believe Lupin.

Speaking of Snape, we see in this book that Snape is a nasty person. A liar, a bully, a hypocrite and a dangerous and bitter man. He treats Neville with cruelty, bullies students that aren't within his house, shouts and screams at Hermione, treats Harry with disgust, undermines Dumbledore and Lupin on several occasions. We see that, when he covers Lupin's class, he openly tells students he would give them a lower mark than what Professor Lupin has give, tried to expose Lupin's secret to the students. And, after the events of the final few chapters, Snape "accidentally" let Lupin's secret slip, holding on to a childhood grudge.

We also hear from Snape undermine Dumbledore when talking to Fudge. Snape says "And yet - is ti good for him [Harry] to be given so much so special treatment? Personally I tried to treat him like any other student." which is a lie. We see over and over Snape treats students outside of the Slytherin house with contempt. He bullies Neville to the point where Neville is terrified of him. He shouts and screams at Hermione and as for Harry, he lets his hatred of Harry's father blind him.

And yet, fans see Snape as a flawed hero. He isn't. He is a bitter man. A man who has made his own decisions and they are very questionable!

But the main thing I spotted in this reread that I never really saw till now was how Hermione was treated in this book but both Ron and Harry. Ron treated Hermione badly throughout the course of this book, first because of Crookshank, then Harry's Fireboat before going back to Crookshank. Harry   did the same, first when Hermione reports that Black sent Harry the Firebolt and then after that, when Crookshank is framed for eating Scabbers. When he tries to talk to her about it, Hermione snaps "OK, side with Ron, I knew you would!" and it's not until Buckbeak lost his appeal when they start speaking to each other.

This is hugely different to when Harry and Ron fall out in Goblet of Fire. Hermione is stuck in the middle and, unlike Harry, she tries to stay neutral until she can't take it anymore and then she removes herself from the situation. She doesn't pick a side.

It's Hagrid who tells Harry and Ron off for being bad friends to her. And what happens when they meet after this? Ron treats Hermione badly and they are back at square one.

If the trilogy hadn't become friends in book 1, this is what Hermione's life at Hogwarts would be like? She would be busy doing work, but she would be very alone. And, also, Harry and Ron fail Hermione when they see her struggling. They fail to see that something is terribly wrong. That Hermione is acting so out of character - she slaps Malfoy and storms out of Trelawney's class. They don't notice or pay attention to her. and her problems.

And we see her finally react breaking point in chapter 17, Cat, Dog and Rat, when Lupin and Black embrace like brothers and Hermione screams, "I DON'T BELIEVE IT!". Here is where she finally creaks. After spending the whole school year using the Time Turner to make it to classes (to my math, doing the day twice with only a few hours sleep a night), struggling with Buckbeak's trial and the boys treating her badly, seeing a teacher she respects hug a murderer, shatters her resolve and makes her finally lose it.

In fact, this is the book when Harry stops paying attention. All the clues are there, but Harry misses them. Again and again. There is one moment in Cat, Dog and Rat, when Black tells Ron (who at this point has broken his leg), "Lie down... You will damage your leg even more.". When Ron states that if Black wants to kill Harry, he will have to kill Ron and Hermione too, Black replies, "Only one will die tonight." If Black was seriously going to kill the three of them - or even just Harry - why then would he care about Ron's leg? Plus, when Black broke into the Gryffindor Tower, why was he standing over Ron's bed and when he realised his mistake, why did he run away?

There are clues that Harry, and we the reader, fail to see.

Ok, am going to stop this post now. But rereading this series was a smart move, I feel, as I am discovering things I have always missed. And this shows that JK Rowling is a much smarter writer than we thought...

So... 3 books down, 4 more to go! NEARLY HALF WAY THROUGH, PEOPLE!!!!

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