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)
|Publishers||Bloomsbury (UK) (Canada 2010-present)
Arthur A. Levine/
Raincoast (Canada 1998-2010)
|Released||8 July 1999 (UK)
8 September 1999 (US)
|Story timeline||31 July 1993 – 12 June 1994|
|Word count||107253 (US)|
|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 follows Harry Potter, a young wizard, in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along with friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry investigates Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban whom they believe is one of Lord Voldemort's old allies.
The book was published in the United Kingdom on 8 July 1999 by Bloomsbury and in the United States on 8 September 1999 by Scholastic Inc. Rowling found the book easy to write, finishing it just a year after she had begun writing it. The book sold 68,000 copies in just three days after its release in the United Kingdom, and since has sold over three million in the country. The book 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.
The film adaptation of the novel was released in 2004, grossing more than $796 million and earned notable critical acclaim. Video games loosely based on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were also released for several platforms, and most obtained favourable reviews.
The novel begins with Harry back at the Dursleys, where he sees on Muggle television that a prisoner named 'Sirius Black' has escaped. Harry involuntarily inflates Aunt Marge when she comes to visit after she insults Harry and his parents. This leads to his running away and getting picked up by the Knight Bus. He travels to Diagon Alley, where he meets Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, who asks Harry to stay in Diagon Alley for the remaining three weeks before the start of the school year at Hogwarts.
The night before he is expected to leave for Hogwarts, Harry learns that the escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, is a convicted murderer, and it is believed that he wants to murder Harry. On the way to Hogwarts, a Dementor boards the train, causing Harry to faint, but he is helped by the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin. Harry, Ron, and Hermione learn that the Dementors will be patrolling the school in an attempt to protect Harry from Black. At Hogwarts, Harry has several problems with the Dementors, including an episode at a Quidditch match, during which he faints and falls off his broomstick from around 50 feet in the air. His broom is smashed by the Whomping Willow. Working with Harry outside class, Lupin teaches him the Patronus Charm to repel Dementors.
On an illegal visit to the village of Hogsmeade (thanks to the Invisibility Cloak and the The Marauder's Map, given to him by George Weasley and Fred Weasley), Harry overhears some of his teachers talking with Fudge about Black, saying that Black was a friend of Harry's parents, but he betrayed them and gave Voldemort access to their house, and that he also killed thirteen Muggles and his former friend Peter Pettigrew. Ron and Hermione's friendship later suffers when Ron believes that Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, ate his rat, Scabbers. At Christmas, Harry receives a mysterious present, a late-model Firebolt broom. Fearing it might be cursed, Hermione reports the gift to Professor McGonagall, which leads to bad feelings between her and Ron and Harry.
Ron, Hermione, and Harry join the effort to save Hagrid's hippogriff, Buckbeak, from being executed for attacking Draco Malfoy, after Draco provoked him. Their efforts are unsuccessful, but Scabbers reappears shortly after they hear Buckbeak being executed. Ron chases Scabbers, only to be attacked by a big black dog, which Harry has seen three times before. The dog drags Ron through a tunnel under the Whomping Willow into the Shrieking Shack. Harry and Hermione follow, and there is a brief standoff when they find Ron and Sirius, who has transformed from the dog. Lupin enters, and they explain the situation to Harry and his friends: Lupin is a werewolf, which led to his friends James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew becoming animagi. Lupin explains that Scabbers is actually Pettigrew in his animal form; he has been hiding from Black, whom he had framed for the murders of Harry's parents and the thirteen Muggles. Snape arrives to apprehend Black but Harry knocks him unconscious. Lupin and Black transform Pettigrew back into human form and prepare to kill him, but they are stopped by Harry, as he feels his father wouldn't have wanted it. As they move back toward Hogwarts, Lupin turns into a werewolf and becomes violent, having missed a dose of potion he had been taking that would allow him to keep his human mind when in animal form. Pettigrew escapes again, but Black prevents Lupin, in his werewolf form, from attacking the others. Some Dementors approach, and the three lose consciousness.
When they wake up in the hospital, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are told that Black has been sentenced to receive the Dementor's kiss, which removes the soul of the recipient. Dumbledore advises Hermione and Harry to use Hermione's time-turner, a device she has been using to double-up on classes, which permits them to go back in time and save Buckbeak, who carries Black away to safety. Harry then returns to the Dursleys'.
Publication and reception
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 (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US), was published by Bloomsbury on 26 June 1997 and the second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published on 2 July 1998. Rowling started to write the Prisoner of Azkaban the day after she finished The Chamber of Secrets.
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 additionally 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".
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." In a newspaper review in The New York Times, it was said that "'The Prisoner of Azkaban' may be the best 'Harry Potter' book yet". 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." Martha V. Parravano also gave a positive review for The Horn Book Magazine, calling it "quite a good book." In addition, a Publishers Weekly review said, "Rowling's wit never flags, whether constructing the workings of the wizard world...or tossing off quick jokes...The Potter spell is holding strong.
However, Anthony Holden, who was one of the judges against Prisoner of Azkaban for the Whitbread Award, was negative about the book, saying that the characters are "all black-and-white", and the "story-lines are predictable, the suspense minimal, the sentimentality cloying every page".
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won several awards, including the 1999 Booklist Editors' Choice Award, the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers, the 1999 FCGB Children's Book Award, the 1999 Whitbread Book of the Year for children's books., and the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel,. 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 the 2004 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award. Additionally, it 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 and made the top of the New York Times Best Seller list. In both cases, it was the last in the series to do so. However, in the latter case, a Children's Best Sellers list was created just before the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in July 2000 in order to free up more room on the original list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 24 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
Prisoner of Azkaban sold more than 68,000 copies in the UK within three days of publication, which made it the fastest selling British book of the time. The sales total by 2012 is said by The Guardian to be 3,377,906.
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 different cover design to the original, 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, with a blue and purple border. On 1 November 2010, they released the 10th anniversary Signature edition illustrated by Clare Mellinsky and in July 2013 a new adult cover illustrated by Andrew Davidson, both these editions were designed by Webb & Webb Design Limited.
Beginning on 27 August 2013, Scholastic will release new covers for the paperback editions of Harry Potter in the United States to celebrate 15 years of the series. The covers were designed by the author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi.
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 $796.7 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.
A video game was also released in concurrence with the film, the various versions were released in May and June 2004. The game was for various platforms: PC, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, Playstation 2, and GameCube. The game was generally well received, with the lowest rating being from IGN, 6/10, for the PC. The highest rating was for the Game Boy Advance version, from GameSpot, a 7.5/10/
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