A dangerous wizard named Sirius Black, who betrayed Harry’s parents, managed to escape from Azkaban and is on the loose, trying to find Harry Potter. Harry will have yet another year filled with adventures and danger, because the poor bloke can never catch a break.
I just realized how different this book is, and it is such a turning point. Up to now, the Trio’s attitude to everything that came their way was a sort of indifference, and Harry always managed to face things on his own, more or less. The air is a lot heavier here, on account of Dementors, but also because there are a lot more adult figures in this book, who take much bigger roles than Harry can imagine. Professor Lupin plays a big part in Harry’s life, and it’s the first time we see adults from Hogwarts actively failing Harry. He actually says that he was devastated when he realized Dumbledore could not fix everything.
There’s a moment you can pinpoint here, where the books take a much more mature turn, and everything just gets so much darker. The moment where everyone is in the Shrieking Shack and everything just comes together. Harry, Ron and Hermione are caught in the middle of something that is much more complex than they think, and Harry needs to grow up and be the bigger man in a matter of seconds.
Plot twists aside, and those really surprised me when I read this for the first time, the Hogwarts atmosphere is amazing here. Hogsmeade, Quidditch matches, real Defense Against the Dark Arts Classes, and new teachers! I absolutely love Lupin, and Trelawney is crazy in a nice way, and then there’s the Marauders, and oh! I just love the Marauders, it’s amazing what J.K. created here. My heart is full of love for this book, it really is.
There’s also Draco Malfoy, who I love, but is such an annoying little twerp here. He manages to almost get Hagrid fired, it’s so petty of him. I always had a soft spot for Draco since Half-Blood Prince, but in this book, I feel like going all Hermione on him and punching him the face. Same goes for Snape, who can’t put a stupid prank behind him, and yes, I know there’s the Lily thing, but come on. Seriously, you’re like 40, get over it.
This book is a favourite for many, and I can definitely see why. It’s a turning point, both for the seriousness of the plot, and it matures characters greatly. (I’m a sucker for the Marauders, have I mentioned that?)