Sunday, September 1, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [10]

RECAP: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapters 7 through 12

The students get to experience their first Defense Against the Dark Arts class with Professor Lupin! Though they are skeptical at first, everyone soon grows to love classes with Lupin and tall the hands-on learning! Kudos to Neville for making Snape wear his grandma's clothes, haha! Harry's other classes aren't going as well though, with Snape getting nastier and nastier, and Trelawney predicting Harry's death again and again. To top it all off, Harry's friends get to go to Hogsmeade on Halloween and he has to stay in the castle because McGonagall wont sign his permission slip. After the other students return and the Halloween feast is over though, the Gryffindor students head back to their dormitory to find the Fat Lady's painting slashed by an intruder... none other than SIRIUS BLACK!

Black obviously doesnt hang around when he doesnt find Harry in the dorm, and Harry is basically forbidden from doing anything at all. McGonagall almost bans him from quidditch too, but she thinks better of it! The Gryffindor's first match arrives against Hufflepuff and their new seeker/captain Cedric Diggory. Playing in the freezing cold pouring rain, Harry spots a Grim up in the stands and thinks thinks he's seeing things and right before he's about to race Diggory for the snitch, the dementors come waltzing onto the field and Harry passes out again. He's unharmed thankfully, but they lose the match and Harry's broom has been broken to bits by the Whomping Willow. :(

Harry asks Professor Lupin to teach him how to chase away dementors and Lupin agrees to start after the holiday. Thinking he is going to miss out on another Hogsmeade trip, Harry is saying bye to his friends when Fred and George give him a special map with secret passageways and a real-time picture of who is walking around the castle and where. Harry uses the map to sneak into Hogsmeade and after enjoying everything it has to offer, finds out that Sirius Black was once his father's best friend and betrayed him which got his parents killed. Harry is furious and wants to go after Black but the possibility of Hagrid's hippogriff getting executed by the Ministry calms Harry down and focuses his energy on something else.

Come Christmas, Harry gets a Firebolt broomstick as a gift but there's no card and he doesnt know who it's from. Harry and Ron dont think it's a big deal but Hermione does and she tattles to McGonagall who confiscates it to check it for jinxes in case Sirius Blacks sent it to him. The boys refuse to talk to Hermione who thinks she did the right thing. Harry starts his lessons with Lupin and after passing out several times, Harry is able to produce a weak, shapeless Patronus that at least keeps him from passing out some more, which Lupin points out is a huge accomplishment. Thankfully McGonagall gives Harry his broom back when they find no jinxes and the boys think its about time they make up with Hermione... until Scabbers goes missing and Ron finds some of Crookshanks' hair near the scene of a crime: ripped sheets with blood on them!


I've come to realize that this book has a lot of foreshadowing for later in the book, and is a major set-up book for the rest in the series. We've been introduced to the Marauder's Map which plays a big part later in the book and series and we are introduced to many extremely important characters (Lupin, Sirius, Pettigrew, etc.). Its also the only book where we dont get a glimpse of Voldemort. How do you feel about that? I, for one, kind of like it. It gets kind of old having the same antagonist in every book, though it works in these. It's nice to have a break though. I enjoy the excitement this book brings especially to someone who knows what is coming and what its all setting up for.

We spend a lot of time reading about the little things going on, like Crookshanks trying to eat Scabbers and Oliver going crazy trying to win the Quidditch cup, again, all important things but definitely not too many revelations in these chapters. Harry does find out, though, that Lupin and his dad were friends as kids and that Lupin knew Sirius Black also. I find it kind of strange that Harry doesnt ask more questions of Lupin at this point, but I guess after fighting off fake dementors, his mind was probably a little fuzzy. It was kind of like a classic middle-grade novel move, where the character is super shady and you're screaming at the book wondering why the main character isnt catching on. Not that there's much to catch on to, but I for one would have asked more questions, even if I wasnt suspicious of Lupin himself, wouldnt you?

Oh, and our beloved Fred and George. We've gotten our map (and the name for my blog, thank you very much boys)! I honestly love that this map even exists. The secret tunnels on the map are awesome, though some useless for several different reasons. I wouldn't know what to do with a map that told me where people are at any given time either - it just blows my mind, lol. But my favorite part of the map is the enchantments the creators used in making it "talk" and respond to the person trying to use it. My favorite scene by far is one that we havent gotten to yet when Snape tries using it and the map insults so many times. Cracks me up every time! Which is your favorite aspect of the map? Are you an explorer or would you use it for convenience, to find someone you're looking for... or hide from someone you dont want to find you?

Enjoying this read a ton and cant wait until my favorite scene comes around, but also cant wait until we finally meet Sirius and find out some major things! Are you as excited as I am for the rest of this book? Love hearing from you guys! :)


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