Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book written by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series. The first time I read it, it became my favorite of the series, even after reading the remaining books. However, after re-reading it, I've found that there are severe plot holes.

Reviews

Good

  • Professor Lupin is a fun caring teacher, and Sirius Black is a great villain.
  • Hogwarts is still very exciting and wonderful.
  • The Marauder's Map is a really cool item, but it has serious story problems implications.

Bad

  • Snape has entered into the realm of cartoonish villain. While I understand that teachers are often unfair, Snape's favoritism to his own house and obvious hatred of all Gryffindors is never challenged by Dumbledore. He even gleefully tries to kill two people. While a young reader may see this as a great reason to dislike Snape, it makes me feel that Hogwarts is poorly managed by Dumbledore.
  • Draco is able to pretend that his arm is sore for weeks despite having no discernible symptoms, and all the staff go along with it, even to the point of rescheduling events around it. Again, poorly managed.
  • I can understand how bogarts can take the shape of dementors, but how do they gain their powers?
  • Fred and George say they've memorized the Marauder's Map, which is why they gift it to Harry, but, while they can memorize the layout of Hogwarts, the real-time updates of where everyone is located would still be a benefit too priceless to give up.
  • For as important as Quidditch is to the wizarding world, they don't play it very often. Each house only faces each other house once for the entire school year, resulting in a maximum of six games, or only three games each. Worse yet, two consecutive losses, automatically forfeits the third game.
  • Quidditch is even less realistic in this book. The Firebolt makes it even less about ability and more about who can afford the most expensive broom, and the blatant cheating done by Slytherin isn't properly punished. Grabbing the broom of a seeker results in a penalty shot for an attempt at ten points, but it prevents the team from getting 150 points, so it doesn't make sense not to do it! Same with the hitting chasers with bats.
  • While drawing out the final encounter with Sirius Black is made more dramatic by neither Black or Lupin being forthright, it doesn't make sense. They both risk the kids killing them by not explaining themselves sooner.
  • The final confrontation takes forever!
  • Black's escape doesn't fit with the story. If animagius are able to slip past the dementors, why aren't all prisoners screened before entering? And if animagius are so rare, (only 7 in the past century), how could three fifth-year students, one particularly weak, pull off the spell without any help from professionals?

Ugly

  • The Marauder's Map pretty much ruins the entire Harry Potter world. Four students could create a powerful magical device that allows them to track the location of every single person in the school in real time? If this is the case, why doesn't the Ministry of Magic simply create a similar map to catch Black and every other criminal in existence? Why didn't the twins see Sirius Black on the map? Why didn't they see their sister in the Chamber of Secrets? Why didn't they see Ron with another man in his bed? Why didn't they see Voldemort on top of Professor Quirrel?
  • The Time Turner also pretty much ruins the entire world. The wizards have the ability to rewind time at will? Why didn't they rewind to before Black escaped? Or before Harry Potter's parents were killed? Or before Tom Riddle turned evil?
  • Keeping a charlatan like Sybill Trelawney on staff where she can lie to children unimpeded just because she makes an accurate prediction every few years is a horrible practice for Dumbledore.
  • It seems the only prison in the wizarding world is Azkaban, a place where the prisoners are constantly tortured.

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