Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Dumbledore did something! It took three books but he finally did something other than sending children into danger! Of course he does that too, but he took an active role himself!

So Dumbledore stopped the soul-sucking monsters from getting into the school, that’s something! He doesn’t protect the students from the killer snake in the basement, but at least he protects them from outside threats, so there’s some progress!

This novel proved three things to me: 1. All these books are going to end with a deus ex machina, 2. Snape is the most responsible, level-headed, adult in this universe. 3. Everyone who is supposed to care about Harry keeps screwing up his life!

Once again we end with a deus ex machina,  the time turner. Yes, it’s existence is hinted at earlier in the story, but think about this for two seconds: wizards can time travel and they use this power, not to save Harry’s parents or undo the deaths Peter Pettegue caused or -you know- Every decent person’s first impulse at the power of time travel: Kill baby Hilter!

Nope! They use this power to let honors students take extra classes. These are the good guys? Using incredible power for selfish reasons rather than helping people?!

The story blitzkriegs through the time travel plot so that the reader doesn’t even have a chance to wrap there brain around the time travel rules or causality loops. It’s clunky and poorly written.

side question: considering magic spells are in Latin, how does everyone NOT know Lupin’s secret?!

Snape is quickly becoming my favorite character in these books. When Harry insists that Lupin  is the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Snape rightly points out that Harry’s previous Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers have been 1) a dark wizard and 2) an idiot, so while Lupin may be the best Harry’s ever had, that doesn’t mean much.

Thank you, Snape! I’m starting to really worry about Dumbledoor’s hiring practices! Hagrid maybe nice and all, but he didn’t even graduate wizard high school! He was expelled in his third year! Why is he allowed to teach third-year students?! 

Seriously, how would you feel if your local school hired a guy who deals in illegal animal breeding and was expelled when he was 13? At the very least you would have some questions for the superintendent. This is not a solid academic plan Dumbledoor! You want your teachers to at least have a GED!

Snape also treats the kids with both respect for their past actions and like the kids they are. When Harry and the gang defend Black. Snape immediately assumes that the kids tried to find Black themselves, that Black caught them, and has now put a spell on them. A completely logical assumption based on what Snape knows! Sure he turns out to be wrong, but it never once enters Snape’s mind that the kids would willingly help a servant of Voldemort. He knows they are good kids, just headstrong and kind of stupid, and he is trying to protect them. Like a responsible adult.

So it turns out Hagrid screwed up both Harry and Black’s lives. The novel never addresses this, but if Hagrid had given baby Harry to Black after the Potters’ murder, Black would have been taking care of baby Harry, and wouldn’t have gone after Peter Pettegue.

Meaning Black would never have been framed for murder and spent 13 years in Azkaban!

Harry could have grown up with a godfather who loved and cared about him. Instead, Hagrid ignored the Potters’ own wishes. Instead following Dumbledore’s orders, he and gave Harry to an uncle and aunt who treated him like dirt.

Thank you so much, Hagrid. . . Why does everyone love him so much?

The emotional piece of the story: Ron and Herminie fighting, was well done. That part was good.

I still wouldn’t send my kid to Hogwarts, if the teachers aren’t evil or unqualified, there are still killer monsters wandering around this school!

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