Things That Confuse and Anger Me About The Harry Potter Series: Prisoner of Azkaban
1. This is the book that made me start disliking Ron. The relationships between all three of our main characters are pulled through the wringer in this book (which I’ll talk about more later) but Ron just drives me absolutely crazy with how he treats Hermione after she buys Crookshanks. From the very start he’s all over her about it, acting like his rat is more important than any pet she might want. This is a rat that Ron has never really shown any affection toward previously, a rat that doesn’t really do anything. Hermione is usually the bossy one but when it comes to Crookshanks, Ron is just plain mean, telling her when she will and won’t let the cat out. I mean, I get that he’s concerned for the well-being of his rat but stop being such a douche about it, bro.
2. The whole “wahhh, I can’t go to Hogsmeade” thing really grates on me. Maybe it’s because I’m older now and it’s not as easy to me to see it from the view of a 13-year-old but come on. So you don’t get to go to the village with your friends, big deal; you still live in a goddamn castle and get to learn magic and play Quidditch.
3. Hermione seems to be the only one out of the three of them who gives a shit that Sirius Black is seemingly out to kill Harry. Ron and Harry are constantly all “WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY FOR YOU TO SNEAK AROUND HOGSMEADE!” It doesn’t matter that all of the authority figures around them have said, hey, Harry, maybe you should chill on the wandering around shit. Harry seems to think he’s invincible; as he thought after first finding out about Black being after him: “I’ve escaped Voldemort three times, I’m not completely useless.” Let’s think about those three times, shall we? First time, he was a baby and doesn’t even remember it; it was his mother’s sacrifice that saved him, not anything special that he did. Same with the second time: if it weren’t for the fact that his mother had sacrificed her life for him, he wouldn’t have been able to burn Quirrell by touching him. He didn’t do any kind of advanced or special magic—he got lucky. Third time, in the Chamber of Secrets, bish woulda been dead as shit if it weren’t for Fawkes and the Sorting Hat. AGAIN, no special or advanced magic on his part. So, let’s pretend for a second that Harry is face to face with Sirius Black and Black actually DOES want to kill him: he’s a 13-year-old wizard-in-training who is, overall, an average student. You really think you could take a deranged wizard who escaped Azkaban and is hell-bent on killing you? Yeah, okay.
4. It’s time for another round of “What’s Going to Try to Knock Harry off His Broom during the First Quidditch Match of the Season”! This one’s a doozy, folks. Harry’s got so much shit working against him. Let me list them: raging thunderstorm obscuring his vision and howling winds threatening to blow him off his broom! The Grim silhouetted in the dark, stormy sky in a row of empty seats! And then, to top it all off, a hundred creepy Dementors below him, forcing him to relive the last moments of his mother’s life before he passes out and finally falls off the damn broom. Well, J.K., after three books of trying to knock this kid off his broom during the first match of the season, you’ve finally succeeded. Well done!
5. So much of the Harry Potter narrative is built on highly unlikely coincidences; there are a few very important plot developments that really only come about because Harry happened to be at the right place at the right time. For example, if he hadn’t decided to sneak into Hogsmeade on this particular day and he, Ron and Hermione had decided to go into the Three Broomsticks at that particular time, Harry wouldn’t have found out about Sirius Black being his father’s best friend, the supposed betrayal of his parents, and Black being his godfather. A further coincidence: it sure is lucky Fudge visited Black on the very day that the Weasley’s family picture in Egypt was being run in the Daily Prophet. Any other day and Sirius would have never seen that picture, wouldn’t have seen Scabbers, and wouldn’t have realized that Peter Pettigrew was at Hogwarts. And then we’d have no third book!
6. “Everyone from the Minster of Magic downward has been trying to keep famous Harry Potter safe from Sirius Black. But famous Harry Potter is a law unto himself. Let the ordinary people worry about his safety! Famous Harry Potter goes where he wants to, with not thought for the consequences.” BOOM. You know, for all his ridiculous hatred and unwarranted cruel behavior towards Harry, Snape is often the one who hits the nail right on the head about this kid.
7. I have so many issues with how Harry and Ron act in this book towards Hermione. When Harry gets the Firebolt and Hermione suspiciously questions where it came from, Ron doesn’t give a shit; he really doesn’t seem to care that the broom could possibly be from someone who wants to kill Harry. And Harry doesn’t either! Hermione is the only one who takes the severity of the situation seriously; when she tells McGonagall about the broom and she confiscates it, Harry stops speaking to Hermione. Harry and Ron are more than willing to completely end their friendship with Hermione over a fucking broom and a rat. Harry doesn’t start speaking to Hermione again until he gets the damn broom back; only then does he feel bad about how lonely and stressed Hermione is. What if he’d never gotten the broom back? Would he have never talked to her again and then, like, died in the next two books because she wasn’t there to save his ass? And then he stops talking to her again because Ron is all fucking butt-hurt over his fucking rat! He’s not even mad at her anymore, feels sorry for her sometimes, but still won’t speak to her because Ron’s not. What the fuck? He never apologizes and neither does Ron; Hermione is the one who breaks down and apologizes for Crookshanks. And after that there’s no mention of it again, Hermione never brings up how they treated her. Even after Peter Pettigrew is exposed, we never see Ron apologize for how he treated her. Shitty. Fucking. Friends.
8. And you know, if Scabbers had actually been eaten by Crookshanks, so many of Ron’s relatives wouldn’t have ended up dying. Just sayin’.
9. How come Harry never once saw Peter Pettigrew or Sirius Black on the Marauder’s Map? Black is on the grounds as a dog quite a bit during the school year and the Map can see through disguises and transformations. And Peter Pettigrew is sleeping in the same dormitory as Harry. Never once saw that name on the map, Harry?
10. If it was 5 minutes to midnight when Dumbledore tells them to go three hours back in time, how did they end up in the hall when they’re past selves are going to Hagrid’s? Buckbeak’s execution was set for sunset. It would be nearly 9 o’clock when they arrived in the past; is the sun really just now setting? I mean, I know it’s June but don’t the days usually only get that long in the middle of summer?
11. This is just a general note: time travel really, really confuses me. I’m sure if I understood time-travel in fiction more I’d have more criticisms about this but as I don’t know a whole lot about it, I guess I’ll just leave it. But I am quite fond of this hand wave: “I knew I could [conjure a Patronus] this time” said Harry, “because I’d already done it…does that make sense?” To which Hermione replies, “I don’t know.”
As always, please feel free to leave any comments!