On this day in 2004 the world was gifted with the best Harry Potter movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban. I felt I would be doing a disservice to the book community (and more importantly the Harry Potter community) if I didn’t dedicate an article to it.
To celebrate 18 years of this movie existing we’re taking a trip down memory lane and looking at eight aspects of Prisoner of Azkaban which make it stand out from the rest of the Harry Potter franchise.
1. The Aesthetics
Prisoner of Azkaban was made for Halloween lovers. It fully embraced the creepiness that comes with dementors, werewolves, and omens of death. The cinematography is beautiful and the film’s colder color palette of blues and greys work perfectly with the grim story. Alfonso Cuarón’s artistic direction with this film is beautiful and I don’t think he gets enough credit for it.
2. Sirius Black
If Sirius Black has 10,000 fans, I am one of them. If Sirius Black has one fan, it is me. And if Sirius Black has zero fans, I have been killed. You’ll have to pry the character of Sirius Black from my cold dead hands.
Sirius Black is the epitome of a loyal friend, and he puts any doubts about that to rest in the Shrieking Shack scene of Prisoner. When Peter Pettigrew tells Sirius and Remus about how he would have been killed if he didn’t betray Lily and James Potter, Sirius claps back with no hesitation, saying he would have died for them rather than betray his friends.
Not only that, Sirius kept his promise to the Potters and did the most as Harry’s godfather, staying in touch with him however possible (despite being on the run in the wizarding world) and telling Harry as much as he could about Lily and James. WE STAN.
3. The Knight Bus
The Knight Bus scene is just so. fun. That’s all there is to it. In a world where there are wizards, you would think they have all kinds of efficient, orderly modes of transportation… and then there’s the Knight Bus. It’s chaotic, but if you’ve got a place you need to go (like Harry) that bus will get you there, even if an old lady is taking her time crossing the street.
I’m not ashamed to say I can quote the entire rant the conductor goes on when Harry asks who Sirius Black is. I also feel obligated to recite it every time that scene comes on. My mom calls it annoying but I call it being a dedicated fan.
Take her away, Ern!
4. Double Trouble
You can’t deny this song is a certified BANGER. Professor Flitwick and his students went hard on this song and it completes the entire Halloween aesthetic that we love so much.
Shout out to those choir frogs, they killed it.
5. The Marauder’s Map
We can’t talk about Prisoner without talking about the introduction of the infamous Marauder’s Map. It’s one of the most iconic items from the Harry Potter franchise, and arguably one of the coolest items in the wizarding world. Who wouldn’t want to know where everyone is by just taking a glance at the map? Not to mention it comes in handy many a times later in the movie (and subsequent movies).
Without it, we’d never have the phrase, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Of all the magical creatures in the wizarding world, Buckbeak is my favorite. He’s so lovable, and I wish we would have gotten more of him in the series. But alas, sometimes the characters we love most are only with us for a short amount of time, so we must treasure those precious moments.
Also, that particular scene Prisoner when Harry rides Buckbeak for the first time and we see all the beautiful scenery surrounding Hogwarts will always be one of my favorite scenes from the franchise. Specifically, the swell of the music in that scene is beautiful. I could listen to it on repeat.
7. “I did my waiting! Twelve years of it! In Azkaban!”
One could make a compelling argument that this quote is the Harry Potter version of Titanic‘s meme-inspiring line, “It’s been 84 years.” The line is perfectly delivered by Gary Oldman. His delivery makes me feel compelled to shout this line out during the Shrieking Shack scene every time I watch Prisoner.
Finally, who doesn’t love the boggart scene? It delivers some welcomed comedic relief while also giving the audience an important clue about Remus Lupin and forcing Harry to face the dementors again. It gives everyone a look at some characters’ deepest fears, which range from spiders and snakes to Professor Snape and full moons.
Want more Prisoner of Azkaban content? Check out some behind-the-scenes facts you may not have known about the movie!