Friday, June 25, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban AND Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Second double feature (well, I guess technically third, since I reviewed the first two HP books together).  Also, my second review for GalleySmith's Harry Potter Reading Challenge, and joint review with the hubby, though as you'll see, he didn't have a lot to say. :)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: September 1999
ISBN: 9780439136365

Source: Library (audio)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: July 2000
ISBN: 9780439139601

Source: Library (audio)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)   Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)

The Plot:
I'm sure you are all pretty familiar with the general basic plot of these books.  So, we'll skip right to:


I think most of the HP books have a similar plot arc - they all start about the same time, a bit before school starts and they end at the end of the term at school.  Harry deals with difficulties, of course, and fights evil.  You know, all the fun magical jazz that happens and he and his friends probably fight at least once.  And, of course, there is always a big surprise revealed - something you didn't expect to happen.  Or someone you didn't expect it to be.


One thing I remember loving about POA is that Voldemort makes no appearance.  The bad guy is not the Dark Lord, but Sirius Black, who we know *spoiler* turns out to be a good guy *end spoiler*.  It stands out as a book that is different from the others that way.  (Ah, except after further thought, he doesn't exactly "fight" him in Half-Blood Prince either, but we do get to see and hear lots about him in that one, so I'm sticking with what I said.)  It is refreshing in ways to deal with a lesser villain.  Plus, we get lots of info about Harry's parents and what happened to them on that night. I think we also get our first shining display of Harry's fiery temper.  I'd say this one is more heart whereas GOF is more action.

In GOF, there is something totally different going on at school.  It deviates from the normal routine with the quidditch world cup and the triwizard tournament.  The regular learning appears almost entirely on hold, with the possible exception of defense against the dark arts classes.  Good old Moody turns out to be *spoiler* bad old Barty Crouch, Jr. *end spoiler*.  I admit to being most annoyed with this plot twist, since there was honestly no way on earth for us to figure it out before hand, especially with no suspicious circumstances surrounding Crouch Jr.'s death.  The two plots are actually quite different in these ones, despite the familiar wrappings.

The Characters:

Main characters are obviously the same, but we get new ones introduced in each.  POA has Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and Professor Trelawney.  I think that nearly everyone I know adores Sirius and Lupin.  They are both favorites of mine and both obviously play important roles later on.  This is proof to me of Rowling's foresight - introduce them early if they are important later.

In GOF, we most notably meet Mad Eye Moody.  I think I would have liked to see him before he came to this book, but I like him just the same.  What really throws me is that the person we think he is throughout the book, he really isn't.  That shows up more in the next book when Harry runs into him again and isn't sure what to think of him.  Rita Skeeter is also introduced, a person that my husband says he loathes.  We also meet the Crouches and of course Lord Voldemort himself.  And we meet students from other schools (none of whom play much of a part in the rest of the series).

Things I Liked:
Again, I really liked the audio versions with Jim Dale.  Though, I did notice that all of his older women sort of sound alike.  And Hermione is exceptionally annoying in nearly all instances.  Still, the characters were unique and the story is engaging.  I would love to forget the plot twists and be surprised again for the first time.  Perhaps on my next read, I'll have to see if the clues are enough to lead a smart person to figure the endings out.  I'm still enthralled with her variety of unique and well-defined characters and her ability to surprise us with those endings.

My husband couldn't think of anything he really wanted to add (he really just adores all things HP), though he does like the narrator as well - probably more than I do.  We listened to them while driving on some of our road trips.  But, here are two of his favorite quotes: 

"I must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you.  Books can take you only so far in this field..."
AT these words, both Harry and Ron glanced, grinning, at Hermione, who looked startled at the news that books wouldn't be much help in this subject. p 103
"Hermione, Neville's right - you are a girl..."
"Oh well spotted," she said acidly. p 400
Things I Didn't Like:
After I read someone's comments somewhere (I couldn't find where or who), I noticed that a lot of Rowling's descriptions, while funny and clever, are repeated too often.  Particularly Crookshanks' ginger bottle-brush tail.  After POA, I wanted to erase those words from my existence.  There has to be a synonym for ginger.  It also seemed a bit odd that Sirius would attack with a knife if he only wanted to see Harry.  Why carry a big knife and use it like a maniac if you're really a nice godfather? 

As far as GOF, I found myself wondering why on earth Moody/Crouch didn't just grab Harry earlier - why did we have to wait and wait and wait for the very end of the tournament?  No one knew who Moody really was.  Crouch could have gotten away with it.  It bothered me. 
Eh.  I know these things really didn't occur to me on first read.  I just devoured them and loved it. The hazards of a reread, I guess.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

s-factor: !
a few here and there

mrg-factor: none
not even the snogging yet

v-factor: ->->->

POA is less so, but GOF is quite violent

Overall rating: **** (me)  ***** (hubby)

I managed to get this up during Devourer of Books' Audiobook week!  What do you think of these audiobooks?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I've heard such good things about the audio versions of these. I'm actually refreshed to hear that you weren't 110% thrilled with every aspect of the narration :-).

    Too bad they aren't available for library download. I'm too frightened of losing them or otherwise failing to get them back on time to check them out physically.

  2. I really enjoy the Harry Potter audios but, you're right, Hermione is insanely annoying.

  3. Laura, I know! I wanted to download them too. And there are a few drawbacks to the narrator.

    Jen, no doubt Jim Dale is very talented!

  4. I think Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my favorite of all the Harry Potter's. And like your husband, I loathe and despise Rita Skeeter.


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