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Feature: The Prisoner of Azkaban

All Change…

New look…

It was the book that turned the wizarding world on its head – and now, the screen version is set to do the same. We take a look at the movie’s 10 most important additions to the Harry Potter mythos…
Be warned – if the film’s your first encounter with the Prisoner, beware spoilers!

1: Sirius Black

The Prisoner of Azkaban himself. His dramatic escape from the wizards’ jail even makes the Muggle headlines, albeit with a few tactful omissions. Black is said to have been Lord Voldemort’s most loyal servant, and to have once killed 13 people with a single curse. Now, he’s coming to Hogwarts… And just what is his connection to Harry’s dead father, anyway?

2: Professor Lupin

What would a Harry Potter book be without a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher? And, like his predecessors, this one harbors a dark secret… Professor Remus J Lupin is described as looking “ill and exhausted”, dressed in shabby robes – but he soon proves his mettle when Harry encounters a fearsome creature aboard the Hogwarts Express. Lupin helps Harry to conquer his greatest fear, but he shares a mysterious past with both James Potter and Sirius Black. Whose side will he take when the chips are down? Will he be the one to break the curse and last more than a year in the Dark Arts post? Or will he just end up howling at the Moon?

3: Hippogriffs

Another ‘new’ teacher at Hogwarts is Hagrid, now running classes in the Care of Magical Creatures – perhaps a mistake, giving his fondness for dangerous beasts. And, indeed, Draco Malfoy gets on the wrong side of Buckbeak, a half-horse, half-eagle Hippogriff, in his very first lesson. Deadly but proud, Hippogriffs must be approached with the utmost respect. If they return your bow, it’s safe to approach them; if not, best run. When Malfoy’s father brings in the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, it looks like Buckbeak will have to be put down. How far will Hagrid go to defend his pet?

4: The Knight Bus

A purple triple-decker bus, which provides transport for the stranded witch or wizard. All you have to do is stick out your wand hand to flag it down. The Knight Bus seems immune to the laws of geography, leaving Wales one second to arrive in the suburban streets of Little Whinging the next. Just don’t ask it to drive underwater. Overnight travel has never been more comfortable, with beds provided and hot chocolate and a toothbrush available for a few extra Sickles.

5: Hogsmeade

If you thought Diagon Alley was impressive, wait till you see an entire wizarding village… Although mentioned in earlier books, it’s not until Azkaban that we get to see Hogsmeade in its full glory. Highlights include Zonko’s Joke Shop, The Shrieking Shack (purported to be haunted), Dervish and Banges, and the Three Broomsticks pub, run by Madam Rosmerta, where hot Butterbeer is sold in foaming mugs.

by Steve Lyons

Find out the remaining 5 points, a surprise extra, and don't forget the second part of our interview with director Alfonso Cuaron, all in
Xposé #86

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Xposé #86, see below for ordering options
Xposé #86
June 2004
ships from May 20 2004
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