Sunday, October 16, 2005

39. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J.K. Rowling

[Necessary Disclaimer: I am not the biggest fan of Harry Potter. I do, however, agree that they’re entertaining and, as such, I’ll read them from time to time as my list of to-be-reads allows. But I’m not crazy about them and I don’t think they’re all that well-written, nor do I think anyone is missing anything if they don’t read them. They’re an easy escape. That is my opinion and you do not have to agree with me.]

I recently saw a preview of the fourth Harry Potter movie when I went to see Corpse Bride and I was surprised that it actually looked quite good. So much so, that I think I want to see it. I haven’t seen the three previous movies (I’ve seen bits of the first two on TBS or something) and I guess I’ll make myself see them before heading out to see the fourth, but what I really want to do is get cracking on the books because, as we know, I like to be the one screeching, “Hey! That’s not how it happened!”

I read the first Harry Potter about a year ago when I was poor and needed something to read and, remembering that my roommate owned it, I put aside my prejudices and cracked it open. I was what I expected. An entertaining story, but nothing that I was over the roof about. I read the second one shortly thereafter and have been sitting on the third since. In effort to get through the fourth before the movie comes out, I spent this week on The Prisoner of Azkaban, wanting so much to quickly get through it that I read it on the El and in a coffee shop and everything. Yeah, I’m one of those people who doesn’t want the Harry Potter stink about her because I know how it strips a person of their cred. I know how us people judge. It’s not like, when people see you reading the HP, you can hold up a sign that says, “I’ve read Salman Rushdie, too.” But lest you think I’m becoming someone who reads Harry Potter, I’ll be the first to admit that I really enjoy children’s literature and though I’ve certainly read better, I have to admit that this stuff is fairly decent.

(Now, when the Narnia movies come out and everyone suddenly realizes that there are books – Narnia books! – and everyone and their dog is trying to convince me to read them, you absolutely will not see me walking toward the Belmont station with one in my hand. I’ve read C.S. Lewis and I hate him and no amount of popularity is going to change the opinion I’ve had since 5th grade. Same goes for Tolkein. Don’t even get me started on that.)

So here’s a brief rundown of what happens in HP3, in case, like me, you’ve practically been living under rock in these regards. Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is thought to be hunting Harry at Hogwart’s. Black has been convicted of murdering thirteen humans at one blow as well as being Voldemort’s right-hand man. With the hooded dementors guarding the school, Harry must sneak about in order to learn more about Black. Back in action are our regular professors, plus the new Defense Against Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin. In this time, Ron’s rat mysteriously goes missing, Hermione loads up her schedule with an impossible number of courses, and the Quidditch cup is in Gryffindor’s hands if only Harry can prevail over Draco Malfoy’s ploys against him.

No, it’s not terribly different from the first two books. Someone evil is after Harry. Ron sticks by his best friend. Hermione is a big geek and freaks out whenever anyone suggest bending the rules. The day is saved at the last minute and people are revealed to be different from who they were originally thought to be. It’s formulaic to be sure, but it’s still a decent read. I hear the fourth book is where things really pick up, so I’m looking forward to that.

Oh, don't judge. I've read Henry James, too.


Blogger Jim said...

Not only is C.S. Lewis not that good, he gets downright creepy in the later books.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Exxie said...

I just think he's incredibly boring.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Janice said...

I like C.S Lewis (Narnia) and Harry Potter. Both have movies based on their books coming out in November and December yay :-)

5:05 AM  
Blogger piksea said...

I like the Harry Potter books. I loved the magical books I read as a kid and the Potter books are a combination of those and tried and true modern mystery fiction. They aren't the only thing I read, by far, but they are a nice little diversion when Joyce, Pynchon and Dostoevsky start to fray the brain cells a little.

3:34 PM  

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