Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
|Harry Potter books
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
|Author||J. K. Rowling|
|Illustrators||Cliff Wright (UK)
Mary GrandPré (US)
Arthur A. Levine/
|Released||8 July 1999 (UK)
8 September 1999 (US)
|Story timeline||31 July 1993 – 12 June 1994|
|Preceded by||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets|
|Followed by||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire|
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling. The book was published on 8 July 1999. The novel won the 1999 Whitbread Children's Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was short-listed for other awards, including the Hugo. A film based on the novel was released on 31 May 2004, in the United Kingdom and 4 June 2004 in the U.S. and many other countries.
The book opens on the night before Harry's thirteenth birthday, when he receives gifts by owl post from his friends at school. The next morning at breakfast, Harry sees on television that a man named Black is on the loose from prison. At this time, Aunt Marge comes to stay with the Dursleys, and she insults Harry's parents numerous times. Harry accidentally causes her to inflate, leaves the Dursleys' house and is picked up by the Knight Bus, but only after an alarming sighting of a large, black dog. The Knight Bus drops Harry off at Diagon Alley, where he is greeted by Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. Harry rents a room and awaits the start of school. In Diagon Alley, Harry finishes his schoolwork, admires a Firebolt broomstick in the window of a shop, and after some time, finds his friends Ron and Hermione. At a pet shop, Hermione buys a cat named Crookshanks, who chases Scabbers, Ron's aging pet rat. Ron is most displeased. The night before they all head off to Hogwarts, Harry overhears Ron's parents discussing the fact that Sirius Black is after Harry.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the other students board the Hogwarts Express train and are stopped once by an entity called a Dementor. Harry faints and is revived by Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Soon afterward, the students arrive at Hogwarts and classes begin. In Divination class, Professor Trelawney foresees Harry's death by reading tea leaves and finding the representation of a Grim, a large black dog symbolising death. In the Care of Magical Creatures class, Hagrid introduces the students to Hippogriffs, large, deeply dignified crosses between a horse and a griffin. Draco Malfoy insults one of these beasts, Buckbeak, and is attacked. Malfoy drags out the injury in an attempt to have Hagrid fired and Buckbeak put to death. In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Lupin leads the class in a defeat of a Boggart, which changes shape to appear as the viewer's greatest fear (for Ron, a spider, for Neville, Professor Snape, for Harry it turns into a Dementor).
During a Hogwarts visit to Hogsmeade, a wizard village which Harry is unable to visit because he has no permission slip, Harry has tea with Professor Lupin. Harry discovers that Lupin had worried about whether the boggart would take the shape of Voldemort. Snape brings Lupin a steaming potion, which Lupin drinks, much to Harry's alarm. Later that night, Sirius Black breaks into Hogwarts and destroys the Fat Lady portrait that guards Gryffindor Tower. The students spend the night sleeping in the Great Hall while the teachers search the castle. Soon afterwards, Quidditch moves into full swing and Gryffindor plays against Hufflepuff. During the game, Harry spies the large black dog, and seconds later he sees a horde of Dementors. He loses consciousness and falls off his broomstick. Harry wakes to find that his trusty broomstick had flown into the Whomping Willow and been smashed in his fall. Later, Harry learns from Lupin that the Dementors affect Harry so much because Harry's past is so horrible.
During the next Hogsmeade visit, Fred and George Weasley give Harry the Marauder's Map, written by the mysterious quartet of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. This map leads Harry through a secret passageway into Hogsmeade, where he rejoins Ron and Hermione. Inside the Hogsmeade tavern, Harry overhears Professor McGonagall and some other Hogwarts teachers discussing Sirius Black's responsibility for Harry's parents' deaths, because he betrayed them, as well as for the death of another Hogwarts student, Peter Pettigrew, who was blown to bits, leaving only a finger. Back at Hogwarts, Harry learns that Hagrid received a notice saying that Buckbeak, the hippogriff who attacked Malfoy, is going to be put on trial, and Hagrid is inconsolable. The winter holidays roll around. For Christmas, Harry receives a Firebolt, the most impressive racing broomstick in the world. Much to his and Ron's dismay, Hermione reports the broomstick to Professor McGonagall, who takes it away, fearing that it may have been sent (and cursed) by Sirius Black.
After the holidays, Harry begins working with Professor Lupin to fight Dementors with the Patronus Charm. He is moderately successful but still not entirely confident in his ability to ward them off. Soon before the game against Ravenclaw, Harry's broomstick is returned to him, and as Ron takes it up to the dormitory, he discovers evidence that Scabbers has been eaten by Crookshanks. Ron is furious at Hermione. Soon afterwards, Gryffindor plays Ravenclaw at Quidditch. Harry, on his Firebolt, triumphs, winning the game. Once all the students have gone to bed, Sirius Black breaks into Harry's dormitory and slashes the curtain around Ron's bed. Several days later, Hagrid invites Harry and Ron over for tea and scolds them for shunning Hermione on account of Scabbers and the Firebolt. They feel slightly guilty, but not terrible. Soon Harry, under his Invisibility Cloak, meets Ron during a Hogsmeade trip. While flinging mud at Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, Harry's cloak slips, accidentally exposing his head. Harry quickly returns to Hogwarts, but Snape catches him and confiscates his Marauder's Map. Lupin saves Harry from Snape's rage, but afterwards he reprimands him severely for risking his safety for "a bag of magic tricks". As Harry leaves Lupin's office, he runs into Hermione, who informs him that Buckbeak's execution date has been set. Ron, Hermione, and Harry are reconciled in their efforts to help Hagrid. Around this time, Hermione is exceptionally stressed by all of her work, and in a day she slaps Malfoy for picking on Hagrid and she quits Divination, concluding that Professor Trelawney is a great fraud. Days later, Gryffindor beats Slytherin in a dirty game of Quidditch, winning the Quidditch Cup.
Exams roll around, and during Harry's Divination exam, Professor Trelawney predicts the return of Voldemort's servant before midnight. Ron, Hermione, and Harry shield themselves in Harry's Invisibility Cloak and head off to comfort Hagrid before the execution. While at his cabin, Hermione discovers Scabbers in Hagrid's milk jug. They leave as Buckbeak seems to be executed. As Ron, Harry, and Hermione are leaving Hagrid's house and reeling from the sound of the axe, the large black dog approaches them, pounces on Ron, and drags him under the Whomping Willow. Harry and Hermione and Crookshanks dash down after them; oddly, Crookshanks knows the secret knob to press to still the flailing tree. They move through an underground tunnel and arrive at the Shrieking Shack. They find that the black dog has turned into Sirius Black and is in a room with Ron. Harry, Ron, and Hermione manage to disarm Black, and before Harry can kill Black, Professor Lupin enters the room and disarms him. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are aghast as Lupin and Black exchange a series of nods and embrace.
Once the three students calm down enough to listen, Lupin and Black explain everything. Lupin is a werewolf who remains tame through a special steaming potion made for him by Snape. While Lupin was a student at Hogwarts, his best friends, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew, became Animagi (humans able to take on animal forms) so that they could romp in the grounds with Lupin at the full moon. They explain how Snape once followed Lupin toward his transformation site in a practical joke set up by Sirius and was rescued narrowly by James. At this moment, Snape reveals himself from underneath Harry's dropped Invisibility Cloak, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione disarm him, rendering him unconscious. Lupin and Black then explain that the real murderer of Harry's parents is not Black, but Peter Pettigrew, who has been presumed dead but really hidden all these years disguised as Scabbers. To Ron's dismay, Lupin transforms Scabbers into Pettigrew, who squeals and hedges but ultimately confesses, revealing himself to be Voldemort's servant, and Black to be innocent. They all travel back to Hogwarts, but at the sight of the full moon, Lupin, who has forgotten to take his potion, turns into a werewolf. Sirius Black responds by turning into the large black dog in order to protect Harry, Ron, and Hermione from Lupin. As Black returns from driving the werewolf into the woods, a swarm of Dementors approaches, and Black is paralyzed with fear. One of the Dementors prepares to suck the soul out of Harry, whose Patronus charm is simply not strong enough. Out of somewhere comes a Patronus that drives the Dementors away. Harry faints.
Harry awakens in the hospital wing to hear Snape and Cornelius Fudge discussing the fact that Sirius Black is about to be given the fatal Dementor's Kiss. Harry and Hermione protest, claiming Black's innocence, but to no avail. Dumbledore enters the room, shoos out the others, and mysteriously suggests that Harry and Hermione travel back through Hermione's time-turning device, which she has been using from the start of the school term for her studies, and save both Black and Buckbeak. Hermione turns her hour-glass necklace back three turns, and Harry and Hermione are thrust into the past, where they rescue Buckbeak shortly before his execution. From a hiding place in the forest, Harry watches the Dementor sequence and discovers that he had been the one who conjured the Patronus, and he is touched and confused to note that his Patronus had taken the shape of a stag that he recognizes instantly as Prongs, his father's Animagi form. After saving his past self from the Dementors, Harry and Hermione fly to the tower where Black is imprisoned, and they rescue Black, sending him away to freedom on Buckbeak's back. The next day, Harry is saddened to learn that Professor Lupin is leaving Hogwarts because of the previous night's scare. Dumbledore meets with Harry and gives him wise fatherly advice on the events that have happened. On the train ride home, Harry receives an owl-post letter from Sirius that contains a Hogsmeade permission letter, words of confirmation that he is safe in hiding with Buckbeak, and that he was, in fact, the sender of the Firebolt. Since Ron didn't have a pet anymore, Sirius gives Ron a small pet owl. Harry feels slightly uplifted as he returns to spend his summer with the Dursleys.
Pre-release history 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. The first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published by Bloomsbury on 26 June 1997 and the second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published on 2 July 1998.
Of the first three books in the series, Prisoner of Azkaban took the shortest amount of time to write – Philosopher's Stone took five years to complete and Chamber of Secrets required two years, while Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was written in one year. Rowling's favourite aspect of this book was introducing the character Remus Lupin. Rowling said that Prisoner of Azkaban was "the best writing experience I ever had...I was in a very comfortable place writing (number) three. Immediate financial worries were over, and press attention wasn't yet by any means excessive."
Publication and reception 
Critical reception 
Gregory Maguire wrote a review in The New York Times for Prisoner of Azkaban. In it he said, "So far, in terms of plot, the books do nothing new, but they do it brilliantly...so far, so good." A reviewer for Kidsreads.com said, "This crisply-paced fantasy will leave you hungry for the four additional Harry books that J.K. Rowling is working on. Harry's third year is a charm. Don't miss it." Kirkus Reviews did not give a starred review but said, "a properly pulse-pounding climax...The main characters and the continuing story both come along so smartly...that the book seems shorter than its page count: have readers clear their calendars if they are fans, or get out of the way if they are not."
However, Anthony Holden, who was one of the judges against Prisoner of Azkaban for the Whitbread Award, was very negative about the book, calling it tedious and clunkily written, the characters black-and-white and the storylines predictable.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won several awards, including the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for best work for young readers, the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the 1999 Whitbread Book of the Year for children's books. It was also nominated for the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Novel, but lost to A Deepness in the Sky. Prisoner of Azkaban additionally won the 2004 Indian Paintbrush Book Award and was named an American Library Association Notable Children's Book in 2000 as well as one of their Best Books for Young Adults. As with the previous two books in the series, Prisoner of Azkaban won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal for children aged 9–11. It was the last in the series to do so.
Prisoner of Azkaban sold more than 68,000 copies in the UK within two days of publication.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in hardcover in the UK on 8 July 1999 and in the U.S. on 8 September. The British paperback edition was released on 1 April 2000, while the U.S. paperback was released 2 October 2001.
Bloomsbury additionally released an adult edition with a new cover design in paperback on 10 July 2004 and in hardcover on October 2004. A hardcover special edition, featuring a green border and signature, was released on 8 July 1999. In May 2004, Bloomsbury released a Celebratory Edition, and on 1 November 2010, they released a Signature edition.
Film adaptation 
The film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in 2004 and was directed by Alfonso Cuarón from a screenplay by Steve Kloves. The film débuted at number one at the box office and held that position for two weeks. It made a total of $795.6 million worldwide, which made it the second highest-grossing film of 2004 behind Shrek 2. However, among all eight entries in the Harry Potter franchise, Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the lowest. The film ranks at number 471 in Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.
- For an explanation of time-travel in the book, see Richard Jones, Time Travel and Harry Potter. Outskirts Press, 2009.
- "A Potter timeline for muggles". Toronto Star. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- 1999: "Barnes & Noble chat transcript". Accio Quote!. 8 September 1999. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- Puig, Claudia (27 April 2004). "New 'Potter' movie sneaks in spoilers from upcoming books". USA Today. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- Maguire, Gregory (5 September 1999). "Lord of the Golden Snitch". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
- Maughan, Shannon. "Kidsreads.com — Harry Potter — The Prisoner of Azkaban". Kidsreads.com. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban review". Kirkus Reviews. 15 September 1999. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- Holden, Anthony (25 June 2000). "Why Harry Potter doesn't cast a spell over me". The Observer (UK). Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- "Bram Stoker Awards 1999". Horror Writers Association. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "2000 Locus Awards". Locus (magazine). 2 July 2000. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Whitbread Prize 1999". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "2000 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Indian Paintbrush Book Awards By Year 1986–2011". Indian Paintbrush Awards. 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "ALA Notable Children's Books All Ages". Scholastic. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Best Books for Young Adults". American Library Association. 2000. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Awards for the Harry Potter Books". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) (Hardcover)". Amazon.co.uk. ASIN 0747542155.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) (Hardcover)". Amazon.com. ASIN 0439136350.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) paperback". Amazon.co.uk. ASIN 0747546290.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) Paperback". BargainBookStores.com. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3): Adult Edition (Paperback)". Amazon.co.uk. ASIN 0747574499.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Adult Edition". Bloomsbury.com. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3): Special Edition". Amazon.co.uk. ASIN 0747545111.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Celebratory edition". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Signature edition". Amazon.co.uk. ASIN 1408810565.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)". IGN Entertainment, Inc. 1998-2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". IGN Entertainment, Inc. 1998-2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
- "2004 WORLDWIDE GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
- "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time". Empire. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
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