Perhaps the best book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is where the series turns serious. This book covers some events which affect the events over the series. This is where he comes into his power (or basically, shows how powerful he is) and knows a lot about his father.
Having inflated the sister of his uncle (when she calls his dead parents names), Harry is on the run, expecting Ministry wizards to turn up and capture him anytime. He runs into Minister of Magic himself, but the Minister is surprisingly more relieved than angry. After living some peaceful days in Diagon alley, he learns the reason: A powerful dark wizard (supposedly Lord Voldemort’s right hand) and a mass murderer, Sirius Black has escaped from wizard prison (the first one to do that), and is out to get Harry.
Azkaban guards, dementors are out to capture him again, but when Harry faces them in the train, he almost passes out, and is saved by new DADA teacher, Prof. Remus Lupin. In school, he finds his freedom slowly getting restricted in school, as a murderer on loose and dementors means that students are not allowed out after dark. Of course, it does not help his cause when Sirius Black attempts to enter Gryffindor common room, and later even comes up to their room in night. Harry’s encounter with dementors during a quiddich match also proves almost fatal.
Harry learns that Sirius Black was his father’s best friend, and he betrayed their secret, so that Voldemore knew where to find them. Later Sirius killed another of Harry’s father’s friends (along with 13 muggles) before being captured.
The fourth member of the gang, Prof. Lupin teaches him to counter the effect of dementors have on him, with the help of Patronus Charm, a very advanced magic, which he masters after some attempts. At the same time, Fred and George provide him with a map called Marauder’s Map, which shows all the secrets of Hogwarts (secret passageways in and out, and around), which improves his freedom of movement as bit.
So, it is upto the trio now to face Sirius Black in the “most haunted place” in England, and later save a innocent soul from the punishment worse than death, and another from death. Turns out Ron’s pet rat Scabbers was hiding a secret, too, though a lot deadlier than the one Remus Lupin is hiding.
Hagrid, after being expelled from school and cleared by the trio in Chamber of Secrets, starts his career as a Hogwarts teacher. The trio helps him in the trial of his hippogriff, Buckbeak, and later try to help him when Buckbeak is sentenced to death. This places them right in the path for the climax.
The trio breaks for some time when Hermione forces Harry to give his Firebolt (the best broom ever) for testing by teachers and just as the emotions are cooling, Ron believes that Hermione’s cat ate his rat, which makes the break even worse. But they come back together in face of Hagrid’s tragedy.
We also meet Prof. Trelawney, the divination teacher. Though she is a bit of fraud (ok, a lot of a fraud), whose idea of a good class is predicting somebody’s death (and she gets The Boy Who Lived as a readymade target), she does predict one of the most important events in the story, which turns out crucial for the later part of the series.
Harry also learns a lot about his father, and his father’s time in school. Also, the dementors’ power is such that the people around them re-live their worst memories, and for Harry it means hearing and re-living the night his parents were killed. Prof. Lupin is very helpful, and as his father’s friend, becomes a father figure for Harry, which may be important now.
Marauder’s map, firebolt, dementors and patronus, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Wormtail and Prof. Trelawney’s prophesies… The book introduces us to more important clues and persons than any other. But what makes it my favourite is that even though it firmly turns the series more serious, it has more than enough points to make you smile.
Quote of The Day:
Out of the five books I’ve published, writing Azkaban was the easiest, and in some ways I think that shows.
– J. K. Rowling