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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

J. K. Rowling

Analysis of Major Characters

Characters

Themes, Motifs, Symbols

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is the thirteen-year-old protagonist and hero. He is famous within the wizard community for having warded off a curse from Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard. Although this event occurred when Harry was only an infant, Harry managed to reverse the curse and take away Voldemort's power. Hary was left with a small lightening-shaped scar as a remnant of the encounter. Because Harry lived through a curse that no other wizard could survive, he is celebrated internationally. Harry does not remember these events, and because was orphaned by Voldemort's attack, he lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. These relatives do not tolerate any mention of magic in the house.

Because Harry was famous before he even knew he was a wizard, much of his personality is shaped by his desire to live up to his fame. He steers clear of special treatment, flattery, and praise. He strives to live a normal wizard's life, and to a great extent he does. He has close friendships, enemies, dilemmas, and triumphs just like any other twelve-year-old boy. But Harry is distinct because of his courage and loyalty. Although Harry risks his life to fight the forces endangering Hogwarts, he always succeeds through a mix of skill and help from his friends. Harry comes face to face with Sirius Black because he entered the Whomping Willow in attempt to rescue his best friend Ron. His intentions are noble, and although he is not the most powerful or skilled wizard, Harry finds himself surpassing more experienced wizards simply because he is brave, quick, and resourceful. Harry is not a typical or mythological hero, but he lives up to his fame by bravely entering situations with the inborn faith that someone-either himself or someone he has befriended-will get him through the situation alive.

Ron Weasley

Ron possesses the confidence of being a child deeply loved. Unlike Harry, he has no financial means. His father is a highly ranked member of the Ministry of Magic and his family is backed by generations of pure wizard blood, but Ron is often picked on by Malfoy for wearing tattered robes, for living in an old house, and for not having a rich father. Ron is deeply loyal to the people he loves—his family, Harry, his pet rat Scabbers, and Hermione—and he defends their rights with a fiery desperation, as we see in this book when he refuses to speak to Hermione for allowing her cat to attack his rat, or for turning Harry's new broomstick into Professor McGonagall. He and Harry are inseparable, and he is often perceived to be a sidekick to the famous Harry Potter. Ron feels valued by Harry and doesn't seem to mind this on a regular basis, although in spurts he seems to feel deflated and glossed over. He is adventurous, like Harry, and somewhat mischievous but always with good intentions, also like Harry. Ron has a wry, skeptical sense of humor; if Harry is the bold leader of their trio and Hermione the textbook brain, Ron often acts as the defender and jester. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are Harry's best friends, although in this book, they often are in disagreement.

Hermione Granger

Hermione Granger is a quintessential brain, in the same way that while Harry represents courage and Ron represents loyalty. Hermione was born to a Muggle family, but she is the top student in her class. These traits make one of Malfoy's favorite targets. Hermione is petrified during the novel, but not before she has had the chance to add her vast knowledge to a series of detective efforts with Harry and Ron. She pleases her teachers and follows rules. She values grades and genuinely loves to learn. Although she disapproves of Ron and Harry's sometimes questionable behavior, she stands by them. Hermione is good- natured and adventurous, and always helpful and brilliant. When in doubt, she turns to books, and usually she knows how to find an answer. Hermione is perhaps the most compulsive and reasonable character in the book. She prioritizes academic details, is very self-confident, and gets along well with other confident people. She knows intuitively when to walk away from a conflict and when to dig more deeply. In this book, she is especially stressed by work and by constant conflict with Ron, so in several instances she snaps, once slapping Malfoy, another time walking out on Divination class when the teacher insults her. It is her magic hourglass, used to turn back time so she can take an extra load of classes, that enables Harry and her to save Sirius Black and Buckbeak from death.

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