The Reread Challenge: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is the third book I’ve read as part of the Re-Read Challenge.

WHEN I First Read

When I was around seven or eight years old, my dad and I were going to India to visit the family. The first thing I packed in my suitcase was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and a few other books to keep me company on the journey. I finished the third book while staying at my grandmothers house and remember waking up every morning to find my cousin reading it, utterly engrossed. She would read it when I was sleeping because I was very protective of it. However, on finishing  the book, I deemed it the least interesting of the three and gave my cousin my copy.
WHAT I Remember
I didn’t like the the third book as much probably because I LOVED the second one so much that it significantly raised my expectations and the Prisoner of Azkaban failed in this regard. Hermione was hardly there in the book apart from arguments with Ron and being hidden behind a stack of books throughout the year which I found disappointing. I remember feeling distressed whenever Ron and Hermione argued as if I were in the middle of it all. Suffice to say, I hate it when any of them fight. On the humorous side, I’ll never forget how hard I chortled when Ron made a ‘fellytone’ call to the Dursleys.

“HELLO? HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I- WANT- TO-TALK-TO- HARRY – POTTER!”Ron was yelling so loudly that Uncle Vernon jumped and held the receiver a foot away from his ear…

It’s hilarious 🙂
WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
In all honesty, the only reason I picked up the book in the library was because I wanted to read the whole series all over again. It wasn’t at the top of my TBR pile or even in it, for that matter.
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
Unlike the second book, I didn’t recall all that much while reading the third owing to my initial disinterest. That was why surprisingly, this was the most enjoyable re read so far! In fact it didn’t even feel like a re read and I could enjoy the book with a different mindset. Yes, I still agree with younger me that the plot is weaker comparatively especially with the excessive focus on Quidditch, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d made myself think. I think the problem was that the third book deals with a lot of teenage angst and worries that I was too young to understand.
Harry’s rule breaking and  rebelliousness in visiting Hogsmeade without permission,  Hermione’s anxiety about her excessive course work and Ron’s inability to cope with inevitable loss (i.e the death of Scabbers) are all things that I can relate to and understand now. An important lesson for me was found in Hermione’s story line in how you ought not to bite off more than you can chew. When Hermione is told that she doesn’t possess a gift for Divination she comes to accept that there’s no shame in not being good at everything. It’s something I came to accept in school as well. Like Hermione, my source of pressure was more often than not from myself which is why I could really identify with her in this book.
Perhaps that is why I still feel uneasy reading about Ron and Hermione’s arguments.The best thing about all their fighting is that the little things between them really shone like when Hermione worried about Ron’s safety after he was nearly attacked by Sirius and when Snape called her an insufferable know it all, Ron came to her defense saying, ” You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don’t want to be told?”. Snape, displeased, gave him detention.
But then contrasting Snape’s menacing teaching is the admirable Professor Lupin.We all have that incredible, kind and understanding teacher who makes everything seem okay and that is exactly what Lupin is. He is that teacher who would rather teach you something useful than something in a book for the sake of an exam. We need more teachers like Lupin, teachers who we can trust and turn to for help…especially at that age. I would be just as sad as Harry to see him leave especially because of the great student-teacher bond they’d developed.
Also, I would have liked to have been able to read more about Sirius especially because as readers we need more time to come to terms with the fact that he is not the monster he was made out to be throughout the whole book. Unfortunately, this need is left unsatisfied towards the end.
WOULD I Re-Read Again
If I decide to read the series all over again, I would have to read this one too. But would I read the The Prisoner of Azkaban on its own and not in order? I was surprised to find that the answer is yes considering how terrible my first impression was. This is the first time the re read challenge made me look at a book differently and that’s why it’s wonderful.

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