The Injustice of Legal Systems
This book makes several moral attacks on a legal system that is controlled by men like Lucius Malfoy who bully people until he gets his way. Due to liability and general xenophobia, Buckbeak is sentenced to execution for harming Malfoy, when every reader saw that Malfoy deserved to be scratched. Furthermore, once Black is caught, only Dumbledore believes that he is innocent, since nobody else cares to listen to a story supported by no evidence other than the words of Hermione and Harry. Cornelius Fudge even says at one point how bad losing track of Black will look for the Ministry of Magic. None of these are fair choices; they are just easy ones. A third choice involving this injustice is the assumption that Crookshanks killed Scabbers. This assumption was supported by evidence. In the cases of this story, the big people are framed, and yet the system won't bother to notice.
The Duality of Life
As shown by Lupin, who spends much of his time as a respectable professor, and then another part as a man-eating werewolf, we understand that everything is capable of having two sides. We see this again when Black is innocent, Hermione begins breaking rules, and Buckbeak's execution is reversed through a simple intrusion through time. Nothing in these stories is ever what it seems; everything stands in a position to surprise. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, every story has two sides, and in a world where time may change, we have to believe that both of them can be true.
The Importance of Loyalty
The reason Harry feels such personal hatred toward Black is the thought that he betrayed his best friend, James Potter. When it turns out that Pettigrew had done it instead, Lupin and Black turn snarling on him. "YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!" Black yells at him, "DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!" Harry finds himself facing Black in the first place because he went down the Whomping Willow to rescue Ron. One of the greatest and most repeated messages in this series is summed up by Hagrid's sobering advice to Harry and Ron in chapter fourteen: "I thought you two'd value yer friend more'n broomsticks or rats." Human relationships are the core of this book.
More main ideas from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third instalment in the Harry Potter series, and is by the incomparable JK Rowling. The Harry Potter series are described as 'children books', however, in my opinion, whether you're twelve or twenty two, I highly recommend them!!
Now after a long summer (and some aunt abusing antics), Harry is back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with his trusty best friends: Ron and Hermione. Yet, secret and mysterious things are happening in the wizarding world, and Harry is not safe from the dark and dangerous people at large. Who is the infamous Sirius Black, who escaped from the notorious wizard prison: Azkaban? And what could the fugitive Black possibly want with Harry? Harry, Ron and Hermione, spend another magical year at Hogwarts, where Harry learns far more about his past then he could have expected.
As always with Rowling's books, I loved Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! JK Rowling's words have a curious habit of coming to life, and her characters are funny, and realistic. One of the greatest things about Harry Potter, is that they improve with each book, and you can clearly glimpse the clever, intricate plot Rowling has wove, with cleverly placed foreshadowing and seemingly innocent hints.
This book is undoubtedly darker than the previous ones, as Harry learns more and more about the sinister forces that threaten the wizarding world. The characters begin to get more developed and more complex, and an awful lot more interesting. I must warn you though, that once you begin, you'll find it almost impossible to stop! Once you finish, you'll be skimming through it again, finding seemingly obvious clues, thinking 'How did I miss that?!'. If that wasn't enough to get you interested, the Harry Potter covers have recently been redesigned, and they are even more stunning than ever! The Prisoner of Azkaban cover is by far my favourite: Harry heroically brandishing a wand, from which a silver stag has erupted! To no one's surprise, I give Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 5/5 stars!
• Buy this book at the Guardian Bookshop.
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