Recently, I was privileged to record a podcast with Shain and Sean for @filmclasspod. When I agreed to doing this, I had assumed that we would be talking about children’s writing, my work or my recent books. Wrong! Guess who hadn’t done her research well enough? Shain and Sean were in the middle of recording a series of interviews with people known in the world of literacy – specifically, at this time, focussing on JK Rowling and the Harry Potter Series.

“Of course, that’s fine.” I confirmed with a gulp – not daring to point out that I had never finished reading the series. “I’d especially love to discuss the very first book…”

“Oh no, sorry, we are on to book 3 now, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Is that OK for you?”

“Of course it is, I would love to review that with you,” I croaked… and I went off to weep on the loo.

Book 3 of the Harry Potter series was the book that turned me off the series! I didn’t finish reading it when it first came out in 1999 and I never read another of the series after that. It had a lot to answer for! I had loved books 1 and 2 – and like so many fans – I had waited eagerly for book 3. What a disappointment it was to me when it came out. It seemed complicated and confused, as though JK Rowling thought that to write as a boy now in his teens, you needed to write a complex and tortuous text. I barely read four chapters before abandoning Harry to his wizarding ways and finding myself a new hero.

So, I got on Amazon and bought the book… I watched the movie with my grandchildren… I re-launched myself into the book… AND I ENJOYED IT!

Perhaps because I had such dreadful memories of it, The Prisoner of Azkaban turned out to only have miniscule glitches and – for much of it – held me in its thrall. Perhaps watching the movie first clarified some of the confusion I had felt first time? Certainly, the book clarified some plot mysteries in the movie the second time. All in all, it transpired to be an enjoyable interlude in a working week.

I also learnt a lot from Shain, who is extremely knowledgeable on the entire Harry Potter series. She explained so clearly how the 3rd movie was the first that really strayed away from the text at certain points, and we agreed that perhaps the director had felt a similar disquiet to my own at times, leading to this change in interpretation. The first two movies had followed the plot of the appropriate books so closely.

In retrospect, I enjoyed the whole experience very much and was only left with one small area of irritation: poor proof reading in the early and late sections of the book – despite reprints.

Enjoy this podcast and other great discussions on their website or on Twitter – @filmclasspod.


A few proofing errors (in the form of contradictions) from The Prisoner of Azkaban:

Page 50:

Harry follows Tom up ‘a handsome wooden staircase’ in The Leaky Cauldron.

Page 74:

The boys heave their trunks down ‘The Leaky Cauldron’s narrow staircase.’




Page 76:

‘Harry and Mr. Weasley led the way to the end of the train, past packed compartments, to a carriage that looked quite empty. They loaded the trunks onto it, stowed Hedwig and Crookshanks in the luggage rack, then went back outside…’

Page 78:

Harry, Ron and Hermione set off down the corridor looking for an empty compartment, but all were full except for the one at the very end of the train. This only had one occupant, a man sitting fast asleep next to the window.’

Page 83:

‘People were chasing backwards and forwards past the door of their compartment.’




Page: 363:

‘Ron crawled to the four-poster bed and collapsed onto it…’

Page 363:

Lupin enters the room, ‘His eyes flickered over Ron, lying on the floor…’

Page 368:

Black and Crookshanks climbed onto the bed and ‘…Ron edged away from them.’

Page 372:

‘Harry caught him (Ron) and pushed him………… back on the bed!’


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