Operation Return to Hogwarts: Year Three

Here we are, book three. Prisoner of Azkaban. If you’re new to the blog, hi! About a month ago I decided to reread Harry Potter, something I haven’t done since 2007, only this time, I decided to share my experiences in a mini-series I’m calling Operation Return to Hogwarts. Before I started I knew there were some details I had forgotten over the years, but from the very first page of Sorcerer’s Stone I realized just how much I had forgotten. It’s actually a little embarrassing! So these posts were created to pretty much provide a rundown of my thoughts and feelings while revisiting this world I love so much.

I very rarely read series back-to-back but the first three books were pretty much all read over the course of a week. I just couldn’t help it ♥! Prisoner of Azkaban tends to be the fan favorite and for YEARS I never really understood why. It wasn’t until my reread that I saw just how awesome this book is – and I totally get why people love it so much.

LUPIN + SIRIUS. Well that’s a given, right? These two were always characters I enjoyed, but man oh man, this time around I fell hard for both of them. Maybe because I know what comes next? The fate that lies ahead for each man? Maybe I’m simply seeing them in a new light, an adult perspective rather than that of a tween. Regardless, my feelings for these two changed and I adored them immensely.

A DARKER TONE. Whereas the first two novels had a distinct Middle Grade feel, Prisoner of Azkaban is starting to hint at what’s to come and that includes not only darker imagery and characters like the Dementors, but a darker, more mature voice to the story itself. While rereading Sorcerer’s Stone I was caught off guard by how young the book felt – short sentences and simple sentence structure were things I had forgotten about. Harry was very much a 10-almost-11 year old boy at the start of the series and the book reflected that. Now, at 13, he’s older and beginning the grasp the weight of his status as Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, and it’s coming through in PoA’s pages.

THE TIME-TURNER STILL BLOWS MY MIND. I have a very vivid memory of reading PoA for the first time and not understanding the Time-Turner at all. My mom was reading the series as well and I remember asking her to explain how Harry could have conjured his Patronus right in front of his past-self. How could they have saved Buckbeak (♥ SO glad to be reunited with my Beaky ♥) How did Dumbledore know Harry and Hermione would be right there behind him once he locked them inside the hospital wing? While I understand the paradox now, I still can’t give it too much thought or my brain turns to mush :)

A lot went down in this book – Hogsmeade! the Marauder’s Map! Pettigrew! – and with PoA it feels like JKR finally hit her groove and has really started the chain of events for the next four books. The sunshiney optimism and excitement that comes with finding out you’re a wizard is no more and some pretty heavy (and scary and painful) things are in store for Harry. I never fully appreciated PoA until this reread. It’s an incredible addition to the series (and just a fantastic book on its own) and easily takes top spot for my favorite out of the first three.

Operation Return to Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer’s Stone
Chamber of Secrets
you are here! → Prisoner of Azkaban
Goblet of Fire
Order of the Phoenix
Half Blood Prince
Deathly Hallows

7 thoughts on “Operation Return to Hogwarts: Year Three

  1. I am totally in agreement with you about the Time Turner. I had to read that passage many, many times in order to understand that part…and I still don’t think I completely get it. haha. I’d like to say the movie helped, but it’s not the same there either. Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite of the first 3 books…I loved the way they pulled off the ending but was so frustrated at the same time!! Plus, I think it’s (kind of?) the only book without Voldemort in it!! I am enjoying following along with your thoughts on these :)

  2. This book used to be my absolute favorite Harry Potter series. Even when I was younger, I appreciated that it was a little more “mature” and dark compared to the previous Harry Potter books. And I loved that I got to see more of the wizarding world beyond Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. Hogsmeade! The Knight Bus! Eventually the Order of the Phoenix became my favorite because I remember that was another one where the tone/mood of the series shifted to become even darker and it opened up the wizarding world even more!

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