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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.jpg
Cover art of the first UK edition
Author J. K. Rowling
Illustrator Cliff Wright (UK Edition)
Mary GrandPré (US Edition)
Jim Kay (Illustrated Edition)
Series Harry Potter
Release number
3rd in series
Genre Fantasy
Publication date
8 July 1999 (UK)
8 September 1999 (US)
Pages 317 (UK Edition)
462 (2014 UK Edition)
435 (US Edition)
464 (2013 US Edition)
ISBN 0-7475-4215-5
Preceded by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a fantasy novel written by British author J. K. Rowling and the third in the Harry Potter series. The book follows Harry Potter, a young wizard, in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along with friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry investigates Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban who they believe is one of Lord Voldemort's old allies.

The book was published in the United Kingdom on 8 July 1999 by Bloomsbury and in the United States on 8 September 1999 by Scholastic Inc.[1][2][3][4] Rowling found the book easy to write, finishing it just a year after she had begun writing it, the book sold 68,000 copies in just three days after its release in the United Kingdom and since has sold over three million in the country.[5] The book won the 1999 Whitbread Children's Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was short-listed for other awards, including the Hugo.

The film adaptation of the novel was released in 2004, grossing more than $796 million and earning critical acclaim. Video games loosely based on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were also released for several platforms, and most obtained favourable reviews.


Harry is back at the Dursleys, where he sees on Muggle television that a prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped. Harry involuntarily inflates Aunt Marge when she comes to visit after she insults Harry and his parents, this leads to his running away and being picked up by the Knight Bus. He travels to the Leaky Cauldron where he meets Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, who asks Harry to stay in Diagon Alley for the remaining three weeks before the start of the school year at Hogwarts.

The night before he is expected to leave for Hogwarts, Harry learns from Arthur Weasley that Sirius Black is a convicted murderer in the wizarding world, and he warns Harry that it is believed Black will attempt to murder Harry next, on the way to Hogwarts a Dementor boards the train, causing Harry to faint. Following the incident, Harry is helped by the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin. Harry, Ron, and Hermione learn that the Dementors will be patrolling the school in an attempt to catch Black.

Later on, Lupin's Defence Against the Dark Arts sessions prove far better than those of Gilderoy Lockhart's (Harry's uselessly vain ex-teacher), they have a fun lesson on Boggarts and then learn about more Dark Creatures. When Lupin supposedly falls ill, the much hated Potions Master Professor Snape temporarily takes over teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts and torments the class, much to their dismay.

At Hogwarts, Harry has several problems with the Dementors, including an episode at a Quidditch match during which he faints and falls off his broomstick from high in the air, his broom is blown away and smashed by the Whomping Willow. Working with Harry outside class, Lupin teaches him the Patronus Charm to repel Dementors.

On an unauthorised visit to the village of Hogsmeade (thanks to The Marauder's Map, given to him by George Weasley and Fred Weasley), Harry overhears some of his teachers talking with Fudge about Black. They reveal that Black was a friend of Harry's parents but he betrayed them and gave Voldemort access to their house, they also mention that Black killed twelve Muggles and his former friend Peter Pettigrew.

Ron and Hermione's friendship later suffers when Ron believes that Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, ate his rat, Scabbers, at Christmas Harry receives a mysterious present, a late-model Firebolt broom. Fearing it might be cursed, Hermione reports the gift to Professor McGonagall, which leads to more bad feelings between her and Ron and Harry.

Ron, Hermione, and Harry join the effort to save Hagrid's hippogriff, Buckbeak, from being executed for attacking Draco Malfoy, after Draco provoked him. Their efforts are unsuccessful, but Scabbers reappears shortly after they hear Buckbeak being executed.

Ron chases Scabbers, only to be attacked by a big black dog, which Harry has seen several times before, the dog drags Ron through a tunnel under the Whomping Willow into the Shrieking Shack. Harry and Hermione follow, and there is a brief standoff when they find Ron with Sirius Black, who has transformed from the dog. Lupin enters, and they explain the situation to Harry and his friends: Lupin is a werewolf, which led to his friends James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew becoming animagi. Lupin explains that Scabbers is Pettigrew in his animal form; he has been hiding from Black, whom he had framed for betraying Harry's parents and murdering the thirteen Muggles.

Snape arrives to apprehend Black but Harry, Ron, and Hermione knock him unconscious. Lupin and Black transform Pettigrew back into human form and prepare to kill him, but they are stopped by Harry, as he feels his father would not have wanted it, he convinces them to give Pettigrew to the Dementors instead.

As they move back toward Hogwarts, Lupin turns into a werewolf and becomes violent, having missed a dose of his Wolfsbane potion. Pettigrew escapes again, and Black prevents Lupin from attacking the others in werewolf form, some Dementors approach Harry, Ron and Hermione.

When they wake up in the hospital, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are told that Black has been sentenced to receive the Dementor's kiss, which removes the soul of the recipient. Dumbledore advises Hermione and Harry to use Hermione's time-turner, a device she has been using to double-up on classes; this permits them to go back in time and save Buckbeak, who carries Black away to safety.

Sadly, Snape lets slip that Lupin is a werewolf, leading to his resignation. Harry visits Lupin before he leaves, and as they say goodbye, Lupin is certain that they will meet again.

Publication and reception[edit]

Pre-release history[edit]

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. The first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US), was published by Bloomsbury on 26 June 1997 and the second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published on 2 July 1998.[6] Rowling started to write the Prisoner of Azkaban the day after she finished The Chamber of Secrets.[7]

Rowling's favourite aspect of this book was introducing the character Remus Lupin,[8] Rowling additionally said in 2004 that Prisoner of Azkaban was "the best writing experience I ever had...I was in a very comfortable place writing (number) three. Immediate financial worries were over, and press attention wasn't yet by any means excessive".[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Gregory Maguire wrote a review in The New York Times for Prisoner of Azkaban: in it he said, "So far, in terms of plot, the books do nothing new, but they do it far, so good."[10] In a newspaper review in The New York Times, it was said that "'The Prisoner of Azkaban' may be the best 'Harry Potter' book yet".[11] A reviewer for KidsReads said, "This crisply-paced fantasy will leave you hungry for the four additional Harry books that J.K. Rowling is working on. Harry's third year is a charm. Don't miss it."[12] Kirkus Reviews did not give a starred review but said, "a properly pulse-pounding climax...The main characters and the continuing story both come along so smartly...that the book seems shorter than its page count: have readers clear their calendars if they are fans, or get out of the way if they are not."[13] Martha V. Parravano also gave a positive review for The Horn Book Magazine, calling it "quite a good book."[14] In addition, a Publishers Weekly review said, "Rowling's wit never flags, whether constructing the workings of the wizard world...or tossing off quick jokes...The Potter spell is holding strong.[15]

However, Anthony Holden, who was one of the judges against Prisoner of Azkaban for the Whitbread Award, was negative about the book, saying that the characters are "all black-and-white", and the "story-lines are predictable, the suspense minimal, the sentimentality cloying every page".[16]


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won several awards, including the 1999 Booklist Editors' Choice Award,[17] the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers,[18] the 1999 FCGB Children's Book Award,[19] the 1999 Whitbread Book of the Year for children's books.,[20] and the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel,.[21] It was also nominated for the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the first in the series nominated, but lost to A Deepness in the Sky.[22] Prisoner of Azkaban additionally won the 2004 Indian Paintbrush Book Award[23] and the 2004 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award.[24] Additionally, it was named an American Library Association Notable Children's Book in 2000[25] as well as one of their Best Books for Young Adults.[26] As with the previous two books in the series, Prisoner of Azkaban won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal for children aged 9–11 and made the top of the New York Times Best Seller list.[27] In both cases, it was the last in the series to do so.[28] However, in the latter case, a Children's Best Sellers list was created just before the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in July 2000 in order to free up more room on the original list.[29] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 24 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.[30]


Prisoner of Azkaban sold more than 68,000 copies in the UK within three days of publication, which made it the fastest selling British book of the time.[5] The sales total by 2012 is said by The Guardian to be 3,377,906.[3]


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in hardcover in the UK on 8 July 1999[31] and in the US on 8 September.[31] The British paperback edition was released on 1 April 2000,[32] while the US paperback was released 2 October 2001.[33]

Bloomsbury additionally released an adult edition with a different cover design to the original, in paperback on 10 July 2004[34] and in hardcover on October 2004.[35] A hardcover special edition, featuring a green border and signature, was released on 8 July 1999;[36] in May 2004, Bloomsbury released a Celebratory Edition, with a blue and purple border.[37] On 1 November 2010, they released the 10th anniversary Signature edition illustrated by Clare Mellinsky and in July 2013 a new adult cover illustrated by Andrew Davidson, both these editions were designed by Webb & Webb Design Limited.[38]

Beginning on 27 August 2013, Scholastic will release new covers for the paperback editions of Harry Potter in the United States to celebrate 15 years of the series,[39] the covers were designed by the author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi.[40]

An illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on October 3, 2017, and was illustrated by Jim Kay who illustrates the previous two instalments. This includes over 115 new illustrations and will be followed by Illustrated editions of the following 4 novels in the future.



The film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in 2004 and was directed by Alfonso Cuarón from a screenplay by Steve Kloves.[41] The film débuted at number one at the box office and held that position for two weeks,[42] it made a total of $796.7 million worldwide,[43] which made it the second highest-grossing film of 2004 behind Shrek 2. However, among all eight entries in the Harry Potter franchise, Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the lowest,[44] the film ranks at number 471 in Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.[45]

Video games[edit]

Three unique video games by different developers were released in 2004 by Electronic Arts, loosely based on the book:

Developer Release date Platform Genre GameRankings Metacritic
KnowWonder 25 May 2004 Microsoft Windows Adventure/puzzle 68.52%[46] 67/100[47]
Griptonite Game Boy Advance Role-playing game 69.58%[48] 69/100[49]
EA UK 29 May 2004 GameCube Action-adventure 69.74%[50] 67/100[51]
PlayStation 2 72.59%[52] 70/100[53]
Xbox 68.39%[54] 67/100[55]


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  38. ^ "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Signature edition". ISBN 1408810565. 
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External links[edit]