Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban Summary

J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

  • Plot overview and analysis written by an experienced literary critic.
  • Full study guide for this title currently under development.
  • To be notified when we launch a full study guide, please contact us.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling.

The third entry in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter opus is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(1999). In this installment, fledgling wizard Harry is in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The story finds Harry and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley dealing with their concerns over Sirius Black, a potential ally of Lord Voldemort who is in pursuit of Harry.

On the eve of Harry’s thirteenth birthday, he receives gifts from friends by Owl Post. The following morning, he learns from a television report that Black has escaped from prison. Aunt Marge, who is staying with the Dursley family, insults Harry’s parents repeatedly before Harry, losing control, blows her up like a baloon and storms  out of the house with his school trunk. He is picked up by the Knight Bus and taken to Diagon Alley, where he meets the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. Harry does some homework and looks at a Firebolt broomstick while window shopping,waiting for Ron and Hermione to arrive. Before they leave for Hogwarts, Harry hears Ron’s parents mention that Sirius Black is chasing Harry. The trio soon take the Hogwarts Express train and are at one point stopped by a Dementor, the horrible creatures that guard the wizard prison. This causes Harry to faint and he is assisted by a new teacher, Professor Lupin, whose subject is defense against dark arts.

Not long after beginning classes for the year,there is an omen involving Harry. During a divination class, Professor Trelawney, while reading tea leaves, foresees Harry’s death because of the representation of a Grim. A Grim is a large black dog that symbolizes death. Meanwhile in his class about the care of magical creatures, Hagrid shows the students Hippogriffs, which are large crosses between horses and eagles. Malfoy is attacked by one of the creatures (Buckbeak) when he insults it. Malfoy tries to use the incident to have Hagrid fired and the beast killed. In another class, Lupin leads the students against a Boggart. The trait of a Boggart is that it changes itself to represent the greatest fear of those who view it. Harry is not given the opportunity to interact with it.

Harry is unable to join the Hogwarts students on a trip to Hogsmeade, because he lacks a permission slip. In their absence, he spends time with Professor Lupin. Lupin explains to Harry that he was not allowed to fight the Boggart because he (Lupin) feared that it would take the shape of Voldemort. At that point, Harry had been more filled with fear of the Dementors than Voldemort. Snape gives Lupin a potion to drink, which surprises Harry. That night, Sirius Black sneaks into Hogwarts and destroys a portrait that guards the Gryffindor Tower. While the teachers search the castle,the students must spend the night sleeping in the Great Hall.

As the Quidditch season opens, Gryffindor House plays Hufflepuff. During the game,Harry sees the large black dog he was foretold of and right after it, a group of Dementors. This distracts him, causing him to fall from his broomstick and lose consciousness. Upon awakening, he finds that a crash into the Whomping Willow has smashed his broomstick and that his team lost the match. Lupin explains to Harry that the Dementors have a great effect on Harry because of Harry’s troubled past. Harry is not permitted to attend the next Hogsmeade visit but is given a map by Ron’s twin brothers, Fred and George, which leads him there via a secret passage, and he finds Ron and Hermione. At a tavern in Hogsmeade, Harry hears Cornelius Fudge say that Sirius Black was responsible for the deaths of Harry’s parents and of a Hogwarts student named Peter Pettigrew. Once back at Hogwarts, Harry finds that Hagrid is despondent because Buckbeak is being put on trial for attacking Malfoy. At the end of the term and start of the Christmas holidays, Harry receives as a gift the Firebold broomstick he had admired. Hermione fears that it may have been sent as a curse by Sirius Black, and Professor McGonagall takes it.

When classes resume, Harry works with Lupin to learn the Patronus charm to fight the Dementors but is not sure of his ability to be successful against them. As a game against Ravenclaw approaches, Harry’s broomstick is given back to him;Harry uses the Firebolt in the match, and Gryffindor wins. That night when the students retire for the evening, Sirius Black breaks into the dorm and cuts the curtain surrounding Ron’s bed. A few days later, Hagrid expresses his displeasure with Ron and Harry for still being angry with Hermione over the Firebolt. Ultimately the three band together, especially due to their desire to help Hagrid. As events continue to unfold, it is learned that Black was framed for the murder of Harry’s parents, Lupin is a werewolf, and Black is sentenced to receive a Dementor’s kiss, which will remove his soul. Dumbledore has Harry and Hermione use a device of Hermione’s to go back in time tosave Black and Buckbeak, who has been sentenced to execution.

Of the twists and turns in the third Harry Potter adventure, Publishers Weekly said, “The beauty here lies in the genius of Rowling’s plotting. Seemingly minor details established in books one and two unfold to take on unforeseen significance, and the finale, while not airtight in its internal logic, is utterly thrilling. Rowling’s wit never flags, whether constructing the workings of the wizard world (Just how would a magician be made to stay behind bars?) or tossing off quick jokes (a grandmother wears a hat decorated with a stuffed vulture; the divination classroom looks like a tawdry tea shop). The Potter spell is holding strong.”