Be still my tiny-child heart. The memories. For a long time, as with most Harry Potter fans, The Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite. It’s one of the more standalone-ish of the series, and it’s early enough in the series that, while it deals with difficult things, it is still quite lighthearted – the darkness of the later books seeps in over the edges of the pages, but not so much so that your hands come away blackened and your heart hurts.
For now, everything is going down the ‘happily-ever-after’ route. Everything has ended well so far. (Besides things which happened before the books started and Wormtail making his escape, of course, but even Wormtail escaping doesn’t seem too dire a thing at this point because he’s so pathetic and weedy. Feeble.) Things are looking up. Harry has friends, and family, and friends who are family. He has Hogwarts, which is potentially the best place anyone could ever be.
Of course, knowing, as I know, what happens in later books this makes me want to tell him to turn back and quit while he’s ahead; but I remember little-Emma being filled with a sense of wonder and possibility, I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Even the bad guys on the Wanted posters are turning out to be good after all!
Oh, little-Emma. How naive you were. Now you’re a seasoned Elou (of a ripe quarter of a century), you know that very little stays wondrous and new and happy and always ends well. That fact and lack of naivety makes me love this book more. This book is the last time we see Harry as a child, truly a child. Sure, he had to time travel, met a werewolf and was attacked by dementors but he’s only just touching on the horrors that await. He’s only just being pulled into the story-proper.
I can’t lie to you, reader, the nostalgia is strong with this one.
I re-read this book so many times. More than any of the other books in the series. I read it over, and over, and over, and was still thrilled when it ended well as if it was still my first read. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, it still felt exactly like the first time I was reading.
Our old copy is damaged, very damaged, from my and my brother’s constant re-reads. (It makes me cringe, I try to keep my books as nice and neat as possible now-a-days.)
I am pretty sure that there is no spot of that old copy which is not covered in my fingerprints.