Friday, April 19, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 20-22

This week, I read Chapter 20 ("The Dementor's Kiss"), Chapter 21 ("Hermione's Secret"), and Chapter 22 ("Owl Post Again"), and I have now finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! (Spoilers for this book, and for the series, beyond this point.)

This has been the most satisfying re-read of the series so far. I don't think this book was as magical to me the second time because there were no surprises, but I really love the way the relationship between past and present starts to emerge as Harry gets to know Black and Lupin and to understand how his parents were betrayed. 

In these final chapters, what I enjoyed most was the use of the time turner. I love books that play with time, and the scenes where Harry and Hermione go back and watch themselves living out earlier events held up well for me. While it's a bit easy for Rowling to magically produce this previously unknown object at the end of the story just when the major problems of the book need to be resolved, it's mostly easy to forgive because of all the references throughout the book to Hermione's strange behavior and her impossible class schedule. It's a little unfair that the reader can't figure out the mystery because we don't know there's such a thing as a time turner,  but it's still a pretty neat twist to the story. 

The other thing that stood out to me is Dumbledore's behavior. Dumbledore is one of my favorite characters, but his judgment is often dubious, and it does require some suspension of disbelief. It's just not logical that a grown man - and powerful wizard - would entrust the task of rescuing Buckbeak and Sirius to two students. It's also ridiculous that he puts them up to it, but then doesn't really explain what he wants them to do. Granted, Hermione is smart enough to figure it out within a few seconds of arriving in the past, but still. It's amusing to me how Dumbledore is always either overprotecting Harry or sending him off into dangerous situations on the spur of the moment with virtually no protection. 

In any case, I'm really excited for book four. I only ever read it once, and I think I've only seen the movie once or twice, and it's a really long book, so I know I've forgotten a lot of what happens. I'm especially looking forward to the Quidditch World Cup and the Yule Ball.

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