Chapters 1-4

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Chapters 1-4

Post by Samantha on Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:21 pm

Section 1: Chapters 1-4

Ch.1: Owl Post
Ch. 2: Aunt Marge's Big Mistake
Ch. 3: The Knight Bus
Ch. 4: The Leaky Cauldron

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by Samantha on Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:39 pm

To start off with, is this a re-read for everyone? Have any of you never read it before? How long has it been since you've read it?

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by mylifeisasimplething on Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:50 am

It's been a long time, 5, 6 years at least, since I read Prisoner of Azkaban. (The movie is one of my husband's favorites.) Usually if I feel like re-reading, it's the Deathly Hallows or the Philospher's Stone I've gone back to the most. I'm literally digging the PoA out of the recesses of my bookshelf for this. (Currently reading Zelda by Nancy Milford. I am on a HUGE - and rare - biography kick this year.)
I am very excited for this, though!

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by BaronCognito on Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:27 pm

It has been at least eight years since I've read Prisoner of Azkaban, possibly twelve.

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by Samantha on Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:45 pm

I last read it 5 years ago. I'm excited to re-read moments I've forgotten, and to see what stands out to me this time. I've just finished chapter one and there's already something about the Dursleys I'm looking forward to talking about.

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by peripeticallys on Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:50 am

This is a re-read for me. I generally read the HP books at least once through per year.

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by Samantha on Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:55 am

Our discussion of Prisoner of Azkaban starts today and I'm so excited!

This thread is for talking about chapters 1-4. Our next segment will be chapters 5-8, which we will start discussing on Monday. (I'll make the thread for it on Sunday.)

The beauty of the message board format for our discussions is that multiple people can pop in and out of the discussion whenever they have time and not miss any of the conversation. If you're not free on our "discussion days," check out the thread the next day. And let's make this as interactive as possible. When someone brings up an interesting point, notices something you hadn't before, or asks a question, let us know what you think about it!

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by Samantha on Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:35 am

Here are my thoughts on Chapters 1-4

Chapter 1:
One of the things that stands out to me in general as I reread the Harry Potter books as an adult is the abuse that Harry faces from the Dursleys. Here's one part that I don't think I really picked up on before:
For years, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had hoped that if they kept Harry as downtrodden as possible, they would be able to squash the magic out of him.
All the horrible things they do to him are on purpose! It's not just that they're horrible people- in fact, we see in the way they treat Dudley (as problematic as it is) that they do know how to show a child affection- but they are basically attempting to traumatize Harry,hoping that it will affect him so deeply that his magic won't be able to develop properly.

Chapter 2:
[Aunt Petunia] was the nosiest woman in the world and spent most of her life spying on the boring, law-abiding neighbors.
Here we have Aunt Petunia being described as someone who always has an eye on her neighbors and therefore also probably assumes that the neighbors have their eyes on her and her family. We know that the Dursleys pride their "normal" appearance and probably take a lot of time to consider how what they do will be seen by others. And yet, on the next page, we get this memory from Harry about Aunt Marge's dog from a visit 3 years previous.
Ripper had chased Harry out into the garden and up a tree, and Aunt Marge had refused to call him off until past midnight.
Don't you think the neighbors would have noticed a dark barking at a 10 year old boy stuck in a tree in the middle of the night? Don't you think that would have drawn exactly the kind of attention the Dursleys otherwise try desperately to avoid? Yet they value his discomfort so much, that they would risk a neighbor coming over or phoning about the noise, asking why they didn't do anything about that poor little boy in the tree way past his bedtime.

The other thing that really stood out to me in chapter two is that I'm amazed Harry is able to stand up to Vernon, who has his fist raised and is threatening to knock the stuffing out of him, and advocate for himself to get his permission slip signed. And not just ask for it, but passively threaten his uncle with letting his secret out if he doesn't. That felt like the Slytherin side of Harry, to me. It's practically blackmail.

Chapter 3:
Does anyone else get the feeling that during the end of chapter two and into the beginning of chapter three that Harry has a small panic attack? He's described as breathing heavy and he identifies his feelings as panicked, but it's not more explicit than that. Is that the way you read it?

Chapter 4:
For 13 years old, Harry does remarkably well on his own for two weeks in Diagon Alley. He seems comfortable in a way that I don't think I would have been in that situation at 13. He takes care of himself, has meals, gets his homework done, explores the shops. And we only see glimpses of this time, but it seems like he was perfectly fine on his own. I think that part of that might be, for younger readers, enjoyment in seeing Harry away from domineering authority figures and having fun on his own, but reading it as a adult makes me a bit sad that Harry is so used to looking out for himself without any helpful, loving guidance from an adult, that when he's thrown into this situation, which otherwise might be intimidating or discomforting for a 13 year old, it doesn't really phase him. He's fine.

And my question from chapter 4 for you guys is, Would you have told Harry about Sirius Black being a danger to him? If you were in Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's position, what would you have done?

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by BaronCognito on Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:00 pm

I don't think that's the actual reason they treated him poorly. That seems like a post-hoc rationalization. I mean, I don't see the logic behind it. "Well, my sister was loved an treated well and she had magic, maybe if we treat her son awfully, he won't?" I mean, yes, they have been treating him poorly on purpose, but I can't believe it's an attempt to suppress his magic.

At the end of Chapter 2 and the beginning of Chapter 3, he's just done wandless magic without any of the "magic words." He seems as startled by what's going on as everyone else. When his uncle comes out and demands that he return aunt Magda to normal, he's "wrestling for breath" before he can say "She deserved it" and I don't know if he's saying that because he's trying to justify what just happened or if he's just trying to hide the fact that he doesn't know how to fix what he's just done. He doesn't even know how he did it.

He just did all that stuff without even thinking about it and he's just so worried about getting kicked out of the only place he considers home because he got mad at a woman who was insulting both this parents to his face. That his entire life will be ruined because of an incident he didn't even have conscious control over.

They talk about it like Harry's getting special treatment because he's not getting kicked out of school or sent to prison, but it seems like it would be a bad idea to kick someone out of school when they can clearly do magic but have no control of it.

But yes, a panic attack seems reasonable.

I'm sure that, after being told that "No, we're not going to kick you out of school or send you to prison" Harry is just so relieved that, whatever he might find inconvenient about the next couple weeks, it's not going to seem like as big a deal to him.

In Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's position, where they're already kind of struggling financially and Mr. Fudge is Mr. Weasley's boss? If I thought Harry would be safe at Hogwarts, then I'd probably do what my boss suggested.

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by Samantha on Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:19 am

BaronCognito wrote:I'm sure that, after being told that "No, we're not going to kick you out of school or send you to prison" Harry is just so relieved that, whatever he might find inconvenient about the next couple weeks, it's not going to seem like as big a deal to him.
That's a good point, though I'm still really impressed with how well he did.

BaronCognito wrote:In Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's position, where they're already kind of struggling financially and Mr. Fudge is Mr. Weasley's boss? If I thought Harry would be safe at Hogwarts, then I'd probably do what my boss suggested.
Hmm, I hadn't considered that. It makes me wonder how Mr. Weasley feels about his job security. He's on theside of advocating for telling Harry what's going on, even though Fudge seems to side with not telling him the full truth, since he had the opportunity to tell Harry when he arrived at the Leaky Cauldron and chose not to. I wonder if Fuge expressly told Mr. Weasley not to say anything. I can see that happening, but I don't think it's mentioned.

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by BaronCognito on Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:37 am

Samantha wrote:I wonder if Fudge expressly told Mr. Weasley not to say anything. I can see that happening, but I don't think it's mentioned.

He says "I've tried to talk to Fudge about this, but he handles Harry with Kid's gloves." The fact that he think this is something he needs to talk to his boss about means that his boss has made a decision on the subject that Mr. Weasley doesn't agree with. At least, that's how I read it.

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Re: Chapters 1-4

Post by mylifeisasimplething on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:20 am

As far as treating Harry poorly, here's a little thought: they've disliked him from the beginning, from resentment about being given no choice to taking him in, and also from disliking his parents and where they come from. Petunia has just so much going on when it comes to Harry and Lily and I don't think she ever really lets any of it go. And Vernon.. he is so afraid of that other world, the world he doesn't and never will understand that his only reaction to it can possibly be is anger. Harry is the living embodiment of Vernon's fear. We see this in real life all the time.

Marge is just a terrible human being, even worse than Vernon because she absolutely no reason to treat Harry the way she does. She believes whatever lies Vernon has fed her and is just awful to him, simply because she can be.

I love that Harry gets those two weeks on his own! I was reading it and felt glad for him. He wasn't being bullied or controlled. He's free to basically exist and you can tell he enjoys it. I also think Florian Fortescue giving him sundaes every little while is great.

As far as letting Harry know about Sirius, I'd be where Sirius and Molly get to in later books. I'd want the best for him and want to him not have to worry and be able to just go to school and be a normal kid. But I'd also know he's NOT a normal kid and want him be aware that there's more than Voldemort to worry about and that yeah, sending him to Hogwarts is the best choice to protect him.
Kids want to know what's going on and they want to be involved, especially in decisions about their own lives. Harry is no different. He's 13, clearly he's going to find out somehow. I think Arthur does the right thing in this case, which is not lying to Harry when confronted and asking only that he be smart with the information he's got.

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