Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prisoner of Azkaban Chapters 16-17

Oh Man, I Hate it When My Tortoise Still has a Spout for a Tail!

Reading about Harry and his exams makes me get test anxiety all over again. I love how Rowling uses real human emotions to make something imaginary like magic education seem believable. Anyone can relate to having pre-test anxiety or seeming overwhelmed by course workload. The details about magic that Rowling includes seem like they came from some encyclopedia. The subjects themselves seem like logical things one would need to learn to become a witch or wizard. I just think it's fantastic.

On a personal note, I just got done taking a 6 hour National Board Dental Examination on Thursday and that was brutal. Even with that, I've got nothing on what our trio had to do. They had to stay up until midnight to take their Astronomy exam on Tuesday night and then take History of Magic the next morning.


J.K. Rowling has come right out and said that death is a big theme that she deals with in the books. Death gets addressed in many different ways: ghosts, memories, where we go when we die, dealing with loss, ways to conquer death, and the worth of the soul. There are many deaths in the series and I really respect Rowling for not shying away from death, but embracing that it happens and that the good guys sometimes don't escape it. I also appreciate the mature approach she uses to deal with death, despite her young audience. In my opinion, they way Rowling deals with real human emotions is one of her greatest strengths as a writer, especially given that this is a fantasy novel.

Up to this point in the series, Harry has not encountered someone he knows dying while he's been at Hogwarts. Even though Harry's parents obviously snuffed it, we weren't "there" to experience it. Buckbeak's execution is really our trio's first exposure to death. Rowling spends a lot of time building up to this event and I think this is to set the stage for deaths that will occur later in the series. This is by no means the most significant death of the series, nor is it the one that impacted me the most (I'll let you know when we get to the death that impacted me the most.)

Sirius Black

So we finally get to our "showdown" with Sirius Black. When I first read this book, I was saying to myself, "The climax of this book isn't like the first two books at all." There's no Voldemort, there's no Horcrux-destroying fang! It's wonderful to see the series keep the reader on their toes.

When Harry has his want pointed at Sirius, Crookshanks interferes by sitting on Black's chest. Again, this is a point when Hermione should have done her research on Kneazles. She should have known that they are excellent judges of character. On a seperate note, doesn't it seem odd that Harry is about to kill Sirius, yet he doesn't even know the killing curse yet? We don't learn that one until the next book. I'm not sure what Harry was planning on doing to Black, but it couldn't have been that bad. Harry thinks he's so bad.


Joseph said...

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

I went to sleep last night wondering if Tyler was going to be posting anything soon. I woke up this morning pleasantly surprised.

I hope your Boards went well. Does that mean you are almost a dentist?

Mischief managed.

Tianna said...

I know! That's my biggest annoyance of this book. What in the world is Harry planning on doing? It's all well and good when reading for the first time, you don't know any better. But then you learn in later books that a) he doesn't know the killing curse and b) even when he learns it, he doesn't have the heart to use it.

Tyler the Gryffindork said...

Joseph, no, I am not almost a dentist, but it's gotten me one step closer.

Tianna, I know what you mean. It's like finding out after the fact that he was using a gun without any bullets.

DiaNe said...

Agreed! I think that is one of the ways she kept her readers so invested...she related it to human experiences. They are wizards, yet they are like us in so many ways.

My guess is Harry would have yelled (while his voice cracked) "Stupefy".