Sunday, January 3, 2010

Prisoner of Azkaban Chapters 3 - 4

She Knows, She Always Knows!

In Chapter 3, in the article in the Daily Prophet about Sirius Black, Harry reads that Fudge informed the muggle prime minister of Black's breakout from Azkaban. In the 6th book, we can actually get a first hand account of Fudge meeting with the prime minister. It amazes me how well Rowling integrates the books. In an interview with Rowling, she revealed that she wrote the chapter about Fudge's interaction with the muggle prime minister long before the 6th book was written. She had a hard time deciding where she would place it in the series. At one time, she considered placing it in Chamber of Secrets. One more example of excellent integrating that we see in these chapters is that it's mentioned that the Irish quidditch team put in an order for seven new Firebolt racing brooms and that they were favorites in the world cup that year. We find out in the 4th book, that they indeed made it to the quidditch world cup finals against Bulgaria.

The One Good Thing...

about living with the Dursleys is that Harry has remained humble and grounded. Dumbledore points this out to the Dursleys in the 6th book, but we can see evidence of that right now. One thing that is so endearing about Harry is that he constantly underestimates how special he is. It's not that he has any special magical abilities or powers others don't, but it's that he posesses the character and moral fiber that allows him to use his magical abilities to better others; and yet, he remains innocently oblivious of the impact he has on others. He's the very opposite of Gilderoy Lockhart.

Because we get the story from Harry's point of view, we rarely get to see what others think of Harry, but we can get an idea from how they treat him. Although Harry would never admit it, he must be endearing to others. He's won many people over just like Voldemort did, but unlike Voldemort, who manipulated people into liking him, Harry is naturally endearing. Here are a few examples: Fortescue must have taken a liking to Harry because he gave him free sundaes at his ice cream shop every half hour while Harry was doing homework; Hagrid, Dobby, and Colin Creevey are probably Harry's biggest fans; and we even see that McGonagall has taken a liking to Harry, though she rarely openly shows it.

A Little Rusty on the Detective Work

Over the summer, Harry must of gotten a little rusty on this detective abilities. I'm speaking here of his interaction with Fudge. Harry thought it was a little suspicious that he got off so easily after blowing up his aunt. Harry did figure out that Fudge let him off easy because Black is after Harry, but what Harry failed to do was think about Fudge's motivations. We know from the last book what kind of man Fudge is. He's mainly concerned about saving face. This case is no different. Fudge's intentions in meeting Harry at the Leaky Cauldron were less than noble. He knew that if anything happened to the "Boy who lived," then that would be a political disaster. The public would think that if Black killed Harry, he could kill any one of them. Fudge would be ruined. Harry should have picked up on this.


Harry behaves in Diagon Alley like I imagine a lot of 13-year-olds would. He finds it mildly tempting to blow a bunch of money on something he would use for school, but finds it almost impossible not to blow his whole fortune on the best racing broom in the world despite already owning the 3rd best racing broom in the world. I know some people who would have bought the broom anyway... and they're not even 13.