Friday, February 8, 2013

HP Readalong ~ Prisoner of Azkaban Part 1

Ladies, I have a confession to make on this, the 6th weekly Harry Potter Day.  I finished Prisoner of Azkaban a week ago.  I know, I'm such a rebel.  But I drive so much and the third book is so good and audiobooks just don't respect readalong schedules.  Such unruly little rule-breakers (Huh. Does the word unruly come from the word rule?  Weird...).  And not only did I read the book ahead of time, but I had a really tough time identifying parts to mock mercilessly because this book is SO MUCH BETTER than the first two that all I did was swoon and not take mental notes of ridiculousness.  Of course, there is a bit of ridiculousness, which I was reminded of going through the table of contents in my hard copy.  But, to start off on the right foot...

Here's part of why I think that Prisoner of Azkaban is superior to Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets: Harry gets to be a kid.  At Privet Drive, he gets angry and loses control instead of being an angel in the face of horrific abuse.
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At school, he gets to go to class and hang out with his friends and play sports without needing to be a detective and save the wizarding world from itself.  He gets to behave like a kid and do kid stuff and generally just grow up.  Yes, there are whispers of darkness from his past, an issue he will have to resolve but to be honest, we all have that (just hopefully not as dark and awful as it is for Harry).  And while that lurks around and certainly affects him, his responses are reasonable and he puts his trust in the grown-ups who are there to protect him instead of acting the hero in an unbelievable way.  And he doesn't seek out danger, like we've come to expect.  He's just a kid and so much more relatable for it.

To the important stuff, like Aunt Marge!  Oh my god, what an awful woman and so fantastic.  I love her character development - it's shallow but sufficient, and so Dursley-ish, with her yappy little dogs who bite Harry and her uncanny resemblance to Uncle Vernon.  And then Harry blows her up and she floats away and has to be punctured.  LOL.  I really wanted a gif of that scene in the movie where Harry's walking down the street afterwards and she's floating away in the distance because it's little things like that that make the 3rd movie one of the best.  But we'll have to accept this in its place:
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So Harry blows up his Aunt and goes to the Leaky Cauldron because obviously the gate to wizardom is the best place to hide from wizards and suddenly Tom the innkeeper is his temporary foster parent, proving yet again that the wizarding world is in need of social worker.  A bar is not the best home for a child, even if it is only for a few weeks.  And here is where I would put a gif of the self-sweeping broom sweeping dust under the rug if I could find ANYTHING EVER.  I should really just learn to make my own gifs (not gonna happen).

So Harry gets back to school and has his best Defense Against the Dark Arts class ever, in which he finds out that EVERY SINGLE ONE of his classmates have ridiculous fear.  How is he the only person who is mortally afraid of dementors?  And why are the others ALL afraid of silly things like spiders and disembodied hands?
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Okay, yeah, that's pretty creepy.
And then Harry loses his first Quidditch game, which I think is excellent for him and also contributes to the whole "real kid" theme running through this book, because sometimes you lose and it's good for him to know that.  Of course, later that's just going to be fodder for his true awesomeness but shh.  It's good that it happened.  He even loses one of his most prized posessions, because sometimes the wizarding world just sucks and really cool trees are not your friend.  Of course, somebody promptly sends him the best broom of all time, because it's Harry Potter and he gets the best of everything ever in an ongoing effort to inappropriately compensate for his shitty upbringing (seriously, where are the social workers?!), BUT Hermione and McGonagall are all we don't think so and Harry doesn't get what he wants for five minutes.  Question: why didn't McGonagall just write to Quality Quidditch Supplies and be all like hey did you send my student this broom and also did you let any dark wizards tamper with it first?  Because I feel like that would really have saved her and Flitwick some effort.

But it's not all fun and games.  Sirius Black is on the loose, damaging ancient paintings (lol, clearly evidence that he is a soulless murderer) because he's BAD, okay?  And also there are dementors around, just waiting to suck your soul out of your mouth because EUGH.  But I think these topics are better saved for next week, as well as the illustrious Professor Trelawney, who at this point is still just an amusing annoyance who sees dogs in teacups.

To sum up, this book is great and I love it and if you say anything mean about it, it must be beacuse
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Just kidding, I love you all for letting me indulge my HP mania.
Until next week, when all of you slackers catch up and I can start reading Harry Potter again. :]

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  1. Not respecting readalong rules. Tsk tsk madame.

    Aunt Marge is also the Trunchbull?? This makes a lot of sense...

    "Tom the innkeeper is his temporary foster parent, proving yet again that the wizarding world is in need of social worker. A bar is not the best home for a child, even if it is only for a few weeks." Ahahaha excellent, excellent point.

    I do wish Harry's Quidditch loss was because his team just...lost. The other team played better or had more lucky breaks or whatever. He still gets the excuse that they WOULD have won except for those damn Dementors.

    1. Good point about the loss. It's good Harry experienced losing at all, but a legitimate loss would be better. Gryffindor does not actually equal awesomesauce.

  2. Ugh, Harry really irritated me when he lost though. Like, was he expecting to win every Quidditch game ever because... He's Harry Potter? THAT IS NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS, KID!

    Now that you mention it, disembodied hands ARE creepy... *shudders*

    1. Yeah, he was annoying, but I think his reaction was understandable. I for one beat myself up over the littlest failures, so I get it.

  3. What is the trunchbull? I don't think I get it.

    I love your point about the wizarading world being in need of a social worker. truer words were never written aboutu this series.

    Agreed--this is the best book in the series! Unfortunately i could barely keep up with the readalong reading this week becase of stupid things like life. Maybe next week will be better!

    1. Miss Trunchbull is the horrible headmistress from Matilda, pictured in my last gif. If you have not read Matilda, you must immediately drop everything (even Harry Potter) and read it now.


    I made a Trunchbull/Marge connection in a comment but totally didn't realise the movie characters are played by the same woman! MIND=KABLAMMY!

    I found it really odd how the team reacted to the loss. It happens, you can't win them all, and falling off your broom because creepy monsters cause you to hear your mum's last minute alive is a completely valid reason. Which makes Wood's reaction obnoxious - how about you see Harry as a person instead of a component of a team Wood, and maybe get your ass out of the shower and show some support for the 13 year old who played through a rain storm and then dropped 50 feet. /rant

    1. Meh. Wood was an ass but I totally believe it. Let's just say that my interactions with members of highly valued school sports teams have been less than stellar. Of course, I may be biased since my university values football over heating classrooms, but still.

  5. THEMES OF LOSS! Nice one. It's like we're doing real Literary Analysis here. (I'm not being facetious, I'm actually really into this shit. Good work, you.)

    1. Lol, thanks! I'd say it's more of a bildungsroman kind of thing, but loss is totally necessary to that. And I'd like to do more legit analysis but I get all OMG IT'S HARRY and...yeah.

  6. YESSSSS Aunt Marge was played by the Trunchbull! How did I forget that??? Okay actually it might be because I HATED the 3rd movie, so maybe I just blocked out as much as possible.

    I do like that Harry kind of gets to be a normal kid in this book. Sure some drama is going on around him like always, but he starts developing a bit more of a real personality and I like that.

    Okay I should go read the second half and catch up to a certain someone now... *ahem*