vrijdag 27 augustus 2010

J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third book in the Harry Potter series, and again I enjoyed myself reading it.

The Chamber of Secrets

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."

Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

It is summer vacation, and Harry Potter is staying again with his muggle relatives, the Dursleys. Secretly studying under the blankets to keep up with his schoolwork, but at least Hedwig is allowed to fly at night. For the rest, he is still neglected as much as possible, and when Uncle Herman’s sister comes to stay for a week, Harry finally cannot take it any longer. When she keeps making disparaging remarks about his parents, he blows her up. Before his uncle can punish him, he gathers his possessions and runs away, getting picked up by the Knight Bus, and taken to London.

To his surprise he is being awaited by the Minister of Magic himself, who is not even angry about the use of witchcraft. Harry is allowed to stay in the Leaky Cauldron, and visit Diagon Alley daily. Visiting all the shops, doing his homework on a sunny terrace, till finally his friends arrive too. Together they spend the last night in the Leaky Cauldron and when he overhears mr. and mrs. Weasley, Harry finally knows why he is being protected.

A prisoner escaped from Azkaban, Sirius Black, and he is after Harry! Security is very strict, there are Dementors at the gates of Hogwarts, and Harry is forbidden to join his classmates when they visit the little town next to the school. But Fred and George Weasly take pity on him, and give him a secret map of all the secret passages to and from the school. One of them ends right in the midst of Hogsmeade, so he can join Ron and Hermione when they visit the place.

There is a new teacher for Defense of the Black Arts, and he is the best they ever had. All the students like Professor Lupos, only Professor Snape seems to hate him. And when he one time has to take over the class, he tries to teach them about werewolves, a subject they aren’t ready for yet.

And Hermione, how is she taking all those extra classes? She is drowning in homework and books, but still never misses a class.

Hagrid is also been made a teacher, for the care of magical animals. But in the very first lesson Draco Malfoy gets himself bitten by a hippogriff, and he milks it for all he is worth. Making sure his father uses his power to get Hagrid’s favourite hippogriff killed. The three do all they can to aid Hagrid during the trial, but to no use.
In the end, the truth comes out. Ron Weasly’s rat is not just a rat, he is an animagi, a wizard who can change in an animal. Just like Sirius Black, and his best friend and Harry’s father, James Potter. And it was not Sirius who betrayed Harry’s parents to Voldemort, but Peter Pettigrew, whom everyone thought was dead. The very reason Sirius was send to Azkaban. Unfortunately, Peter escapes and Sirius is caught, and is about the receive the final punishment, the Dementor’s Kiss, which will cost him his soul.

Hermione and Harry however safe them all. The hippogriff and Sirius escape but Sirius is still a murderer on the loose, as they cannot prove his innocence. No one will believe two 13 year old wizards and a werewolf. Professor Lupos is forced to leave Hogwarts now Snape has spilled his secret. And Harry has to go back to his aunt and uncle again. But he has the secret knowledge of his godfather in his heart.

Yes, a good story again. A pity pieces of the text are missing in my ebook, but as I have read the Dutch paperback countless times, I know what has been told there.

One with the next one!

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