Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a fantasy novel written by British author J. K. Rowling and is the third in the Harry Potter series. The book follows Harry Potter, a young wizard, in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along with friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry investigates Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, the wizard prison, believed to be one of Lord Voldemort's old allies.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.jpg
Cover art of the first UK edition
AuthorJ. K. Rowling
IllustratorCliff Wright (first edition)
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
SeriesHarry Potter
Release number
3rd in series
GenreFantasy
PublisherBloomsbury (UK)
Publication date
8 July 1999
Pages317 (first edition)
ISBN0-7475-4215-5
Preceded byHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
Followed byHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

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.[1][2][3][4] Rowling found the book easy to write, finishing it just a year after she began 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.[5] The book won the 1999 Whitbread Children's Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and 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 earning 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.

PlotEdit

Thirteen-year-old Harry Potter spends another unhappy summer with the Dursleys. After Aunt Marge insults Harry and his deceased parents, an angry Harry accidentally inflates her. Fearing expulsion for using magic outside Hogwarts, Harry runs away; the Knight Bus, a vehicle that rescues stranded wizards, takes him to London. Harry encounters the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, where Fudge asks Harry to remain until school starts. Harry reunites with his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Ron's father warns Harry about Sirius Black, a convicted murderer who escaped from the wizards' prison, Azkaban, and is believed to be hunting down Harry.

Dementors, the guards of Azkaban, board the Hogwarts Express while hunting for Black. As one approaches, Harry faints after reliving his parents' deaths; the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin, repels the Dementor with a Patronus charm. During a Divination lesson, Professor Sybill Trelawney says the dog-shaped form in Harry's tea leaves is the Grim, a spectral death omen. During a Quidditch match, Harry spots a black dog, faints and falls off his broomstick as dementors approach. Harry is unhurt, but the Whomping Willow destroys his broom. Lupin begins to teach Harry the Patronus charm.

Fred and George Weasley give Harry the Marauder's Map, a magical document created by four people known as "Moony", "Padfoot", "Wormtail" and "Prongs". The map shows every person at Hogwarts and seven secret tunnels out of the school. Harry, who lacks guardian permission for school outings, uses it to sneak into Hogsmeade, where he discovers that Black, his godfather, betrayed his parents to Voldemort and killed their friend Peter Pettigrew. Black breaks into Hogwarts twice, though Harry is unharmed.

Ron accuses Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, of killing his missing pet rat, Scabbers, straining their friendship. When Harry receives a Firebolt broomstick as an anonymous gift, Hermione has it confiscated for testing, fearing Black sent it. Ron and Harry are furious at Hermione. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Magic sentences Hagrid's hippogriff Buckbeak to death for injuring Draco Malfoy, who deliberately provoked the creature during a lesson. Harry, Ron and Hermione visit Hagrid prior to Buckbeak's execution, and Hermione discovers the missing Scabbers. The trio leave before Buckbeak is executed; on their way back to the castle, Scabbers escapes and Ron pursues him.

The black dog appears and drags Ron into a tunnel under the Whomping Willow. Harry and Hermione pursue them and end up in the Shrieking Shack. The dog reveals himself to be Black, an unregistered animagus. Lupin arrives, having seen Pettigrew's name on the Marauder's Map and realised that Pettigrew, not Black, betrayed James and Lily Potter to Voldemort. Hermione declares that Lupin is a werewolf, which he admits. Lupin explains that, as students, he (Moony), Black (Padfoot), Pettigrew (Wormtail) and James (Prongs) created the Marauder's Map. The latter three secretly became animagi to help Lupin during his werewolf transformations. Scabbers is Pettigrew in his rat form, and he faked his death while framing Black. Black escaped Azkaban after discovering Pettigrew was alive.

Professor Severus Snape arrives to apprehend Black, but Harry, Ron and Hermione simultaneously knock him unconscious. Lupin and Black prepare to kill Pettigrew, but Harry says he should be sent to Azkaban. As the full moon rises, Lupin transforms into a werewolf, having forgotten to take his Wolfsbane potion, which allows him to remain sane while transformed. Black fights Lupin off, but Pettigrew escapes amid the chaos. As dementors descend on Harry, Hermione and Black, a distant figure casts a powerful Patronus, scattering the dementors.

Black is captured by Snape and handed over to the Ministry. Professor Albus Dumbledore instructs Harry and Hermione to save Black and Buckbeak by going back in time with Hermione's Time-Turner, a Ministry device she has been using to attend her many classes simultaneously. They free Buckbeak, and Harry saves their earlier selves by casting the Patronus. Harry and Hermione release Black, who escapes on Buckbeak. Snape, enraged over Black's escape, intentionally lets slip that Lupin is a werewolf, forcing his resignation. Black writes Harry saying he sent the Firebolt and, as his legal guardian, gives Harry permission for school excursions.

Publication and receptionEdit

Pre-release historyEdit

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.[6] Rowling started to write the Prisoner of Azkaban the day after she finished The Chamber of Secrets.[7] Rowling said in 2004 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".[8]

Critical receptionEdit

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."[9] 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".[10] A reviewer for KidsReads 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."[11] 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."[12] Martha V. Parravano also gave a positive review for The Horn Book Magazine, calling it "quite a good book."[13] 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".[14]

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".[15]

In 2012 it was ranked number 12 on a list of the top 100 children's novels published by School Library Journal.[16]

AwardsEdit

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won several awards, including the 1999 Booklist Editors' Choice Award,[17] the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers,[18] the 1999 FCBG Children's Book Award,[19] the 1999 Whitbread Book of the Year for children's books,[20] and the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.[21] It was also nominated for the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the first in the series nominated, but lost to A Deepness in the Sky.[22] Prisoner of Azkaban additionally won the 2004 Indian Paintbrush Book Award[23] and the 2004 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award.[24] Additionally, it was named an American Library Association Notable Children's Book in 2000[25] as well as one of their Best Books for Young Adults.[26] 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.[27] In both cases, it was the last in the series to do so.[28] 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.[29] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 24 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.[30]

SalesEdit

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.[5] The sales total by 2012 is said by The Guardian to be 3,377,906.[3]

EditionsEdit

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in hardcover in the UK on 8 July 1999[31] and in the US on 8 September.[31] The British paperback edition was released on 1 April 2000,[32] while the US paperback was released 1 October 2001.[33]

Bloomsbury additionally released an adult edition with a different cover design to the original, in paperback on 10 July 2004[34] and in hardcover in October 2004.[35] A hardcover special edition, featuring a green border and signature, was released on 8 July 1999.[31] In May 2004, Bloomsbury released a Celebratory Edition, with a blue and purple border.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38] The covers were designed by the author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi.[39]

An illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on 3 October 2017, and was illustrated by Jim Kay who illustrates the previous two instalments. This includes over 115 new illustrations and will be followed by Illustrated editions of the following 4 novels in the future.[citation needed]

AdaptationsEdit

FilmEdit

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.[40] The film débuted at number one at the box office and held that position for two weeks.[41] It made a total of $796.7 million worldwide,[42] 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; yet among critics and fans, the film is often cited as the best in the franchise – in large part due to Cuarón's stylistic influence.[43][44] The film ranks at number 471 in Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.[45]

Video gamesEdit

Three unique video games by different developers were released in 2004 by Electronic Arts, loosely based on the book:

Developer Release date Platform Genre GameRankings Metacritic
KnowWonder 25 May 2004 Microsoft Windows Adventure/puzzle 68.52%[46] 67/100[47]
Griptonite Game Boy Advance Role-playing game 69.58%[48] 69/100[49]
EA UK 29 May 2004 GameCube Action-adventure 69.74%[50] 67/100[51]
PlayStation 2 72.59%[52] 70/100[53]
Xbox 68.39%[54] 67/100[55]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit