Hi, Muggles! Welcome back to Muggles and Mocha and the beginning of BOOK THREE, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Last week, we had our first official Harry Potter book ranking. I say “first” because we’ll be doing one at the end of the series, too, to consider how our opinions might have changed throughout this read. If you haven’t read the books in a while, this is the perfect time to revisit them with us and see if your favorite is still your favorite!
By the way, you guys left some awesome comments, and I had a blast reading through your lists. In case you missed it, you can find my discussion about my picks through this link. Here is my OFFICIAL ranking:
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- TIE: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- TIE: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
There you have it! Again, please check out the video to hear the reasoning behind my picks.
Today, we’re covering chapters one and two of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Tune in to the video below to see our full discussion of these chapters. We set the stage for the third book and talk about subjects like Sirius Black, letters, and the awful Aunt Marge. As always, there are *SPOILERS* starting now!
For our article, we’re going to delve into how Harry is forced to live between two worlds, with his connection to the Wizarding World fighting to overcome the despair he experiences at the Dursleys when he’s away from Hogwarts. In my opinion, this is the summer that really solidifies the contrast between the Muggle and Wizarding worlds.
As we know, Harry’s entire world was flipped upside down when Hagrid arrived on his eleventh birthday, brandishing a Hogwarts letter and Harry’s first ever birthday cake. However, I would argue that this book is the one where the separation between the two worlds Harry finds himself in is the most stark.
Let’s get to it!
After Harry returns from his first year at Hogwarts, he’s full of life that’s fueled by friends, magic, and a new purpose… And yet, he immediately finds himself isolated from his friends and the entire Wizarding World because of a well-intentioned house-elf—Dobby.
In the third book, however, this isn’t the case! Harry has the opportunity to receive letters from his friends, which is the first time we see this happen. And they send him BIRTHDAY CARDS.
On a side note, in the video, I talk about how letter writing is a LOST ART, and having the opportunity to read Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid’s letters to Harry makes this scene so special. But I won’t rant about that here.
While this communication is, of course, wonderful and gives Harry a connection to the magical world he so desperately wants to be in, it’s also a moment when we clearly see the chasm lying between Hogwarts and the most non-magical family in the world—the Dursleys.
Even though Harry’s true home is worlds away from Privet Drive, he’s forced into limbo in between these two places every summer. Since we’ve read the books, we know why this had to be the case. But for Harry, he’s counting down the days until he can return to Hogwarts.
When Harry is at the Dursleys’, his only sanctuary, the only place he can take advantage of his connection to the magical world, is his bedroom. It’s gazing out the window, waiting for letters from Ron and Hermione. It’s the dusty gap underneath the floorboard where Harry carefully stores the treasured letters from his friends, along with his school things. It’s the owl hooting softly from her cage, his only magical companion during the long summer days. In this bedroom, although he is miles and miles away from the place he misses, he’s able to savor a piece of home, if only for a brief moment.
With this being said, I do think it’s interesting that the book where he runs away is the first one where he receives letters from his friends during the summer holidays. Wouldn’t that build his endurance rather than weaken it?
Of course, I know Aunt Marge is the worst, and if she hadn’t come, he probably wouldn’t have run away. But I think having a small taste of the Wizarding World made that chasm even wider for Harry, making him even more desperate to return as well.
When Aunt Marge arrives at the Dursleys, this separation from the magical community only becomes harder to bear. Additionally, due to the nature of the deal Harry strikes with Uncle Vernon, Harry isn’t only forced to live in the Muggle world for the summer—now, he has to model and comply with the Dursleys’ story about how he’s a dangerous, mentally unstable kid. It doesn’t help that this is how they truly view him. He’s forced to join this pretend world and follow their charade.
The later books explore this separation further, and the chasm between the two worlds grows wider and wider until… there’s no going back. Harry’s hatred of his home life is something that drives him as the story moves forward as well. Hating his summer home is what initially drew him to empathize with Tom Riddle in the previous book, after all—it’s something he and Voldemort have in common.
Thankfully, Harry only has to spend the summers there… And little does he know, he’ll only have to do that for a couple more years.
I hope you enjoyed these brief thoughts about Harry’s summer away from Hogwarts. That’s all for the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! Next week, we’ll only cover one chapter—Chapter 3, “The Knight Bus.”
I’ll see you next time! Don’t forget about our video, and please comment below if you have any more thoughts to add—I love reading them.
Disclaimer: I do not own any element of the Harry Potter series.
3 Replies to “Within Two Worlds – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch. 1 & 2”
You piqued my interest when you put forward your argument for this book being the one to most clearly illustrate the divide between Harry’s two worlds – initially I wasn’t sure why that would be the case. I think you have me convinced now though! I do think that Harry’s correspondence kept the magic alive, whereas the year before Dobby ensured that the magic (kind of) died during his time away. Those letters and cards had to have been the most bitter-sweet thing for Harry to receive – absence makes the heart grow fonder, especially when you live in a house of horrors.
…and speaking of horrors, I’m 100% on board with your ranking of “worst characters ever” – Aunt Marge EARNS that number two spot for me as well. To Rowling’s credit, she 100% gives both Marge and Umbridge very satisfying ends. I look forward to discussing both of those events haha
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“A house of horrors”–I think that’s the best way to describe the Dursleys’! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I was actually surprised at myself when I started writing it, but I believe a lot of Harry’s anger (while obviously being spurred on by the horrible Aunt Marge) is intensified by his tiny connection to the Wizarding World. Without it, I think he almost becomes numb to what’s going on around him. Their letters give him that spark of hope and excitement, which sometimes makes terrible situations even worse because you become very aware of what you don’t have.
I’m glad to hear she’s your second place character, too! And oh man… Slamming Umbridge is going to be SWEET.
I love seeing how Harry is becoming more confident. He is not the subservient boy we see in earlier books to the Dursley’s. He’s had enough! I think he is enjoying telling Aunt Marge the story about going to the crazy boy’s school and adding his own embellishments. Aunt Marge’s insults of his mother was just too much to take. I think he enjoyed the results of his anger on her as we all did while reading this chapter.