The film adaptation of the novel was released in 2004, grossing more than $796 million and earning critical acclaim.
Video games loosely based on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were also released for several platforms, and most obtained favourable reviews.
Harry is back at the Dursleys for the summer holidays, where he sees on Muggle television that a convict named Sirius Black has
escaped, though with no mention of what facility he has broken out of. Harry involuntarily inflates Aunt Marge when she comes to visit after she insults Harry and his parents. This leads to his running away and
being picked up by the Knight Bus. He travels to the Leaky Cauldron where he meets Cornelius Fudge, the Minister
for Magic, who asks Harry to stay in Diagon Alley for the remaining three weeks before the start of the school year at Hogwarts.
The night before Harry is expected to leave for Hogwarts, he learns from Arthur Weasley that Sirius Black is a convicted murderer in the wizarding world, and he warns Harry that it is believed Black will
attempt to murder Harry next. On the way to Hogwarts a Dementor boards the train, causing Harry to faint. Following the incident, Harry is helped by the new Defence
Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin. Harry, Ron, and Hermione learn that the Dementors will be patrolling the school in an attempt to catch Black.
Later on, Lupin's Defence Against the Dark Arts sessions prove far better than those of Gilderoy Lockhart (Harry's uselessly vain ex-teacher). They have a fun lesson on Boggarts
and then learn about more Dark Creatures. When Lupin supposedly falls ill, the much hated Potions Master Professor Snape temporarily takes over teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts and torments the class,
much to their dismay.
At Hogwarts, Harry has several problems with the Dementors, including an episode at a Quidditch match during which he faints and falls off his broomstick from high in the air. His
broom is blown away and smashed by the Whomping Willow. Working with Harry outside class, Lupin teaches him the Patronus Charm to repel Dementors.
Ron and Hermione's friendship later suffers when Ron believes that Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, ate his rat, Scabbers. At Christmas Harry receives a
mysterious present, a late-model Firebolt broom. Fearing it might be cursed, Hermione reports the gift to Professor McGonagall, which leads to more bad feelings
between her and Ron and Harry.
Ron, Hermione, and Harry join the effort to save Hagrid's hippogriff, Buckbeak, from being executed for attacking Draco Malfoy, after Draco provoked him.
Their efforts are unsuccessful, but Scabbers reappears shortly after they hear Buckbeak being executed.
Ron chases Scabbers, only to be attacked by a big black dog, which Harry has seen several times before. The dog drags Ron through a tunnel under the Whomping Willow into the Shrieking Shack. Harry and
Hermione follow, and there is a brief standoff when they find Ron with Sirius Black, who has transformed from the dog. Lupin enters, and they explain the situation to Harry and his friends: Lupin is a werewolf,
which led to his friends James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew becoming animagi. Lupin explains that Scabbers is Pettigrew in
his animal form; he has been hiding from Black, whom he had framed for betraying Harry's parents and murdering the twelve Muggles.
Snape arrives to apprehend Black but Harry, Ron, and Hermione knock him unconscious. Lupin and Black transform Pettigrew back into human form and prepare to kill him, but they are stopped by Harry, as he feels his father would not have wanted
it. He convinces them to send Pettigrew to Azkaban instead.
As they move back toward Hogwarts, Lupin turns into a werewolf and becomes violent, having missed a dose of his Wolfsbane potion. Pettigrew escapes again, and Black prevents Lupin from attacking the
others in werewolf form. Some Dementors approach Harry, Ron and Hermione.
When they wake up in the hospital, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are told that Black has been sentenced to receive the Dementor's kiss, which removes the soul of the recipient. Dumbledore advises Hermione and Harry to use Hermione's time-turner,
a device she has been using to double-up on classes; this permits them to go back in time and save Buckbeak, who carries Black away to safety.
Sadly, Snape lets slip that Lupin is a werewolf, leading to his resignation. Harry visits Lupin before he leaves, and as they say goodbye, Lupin is certain that they will meet again.
Publication and reception
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. The first, Harry
Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US), was published by Bloomsbury on 26 June 1997 and the second, Harry Potter
and the Chamber of Secrets, was published on 2 July 1998. Rowling started to write the Prisoner of Azkaban the day after she finished The
Chamber of Secrets.
Rowling's favourite aspect of this book was introducing the character Remus Lupin, Rowling additionally said in 2004 that Prisoner
of Azkaban was "the best writing experience I ever had...I was in a very comfortable place writing (number) three. Immediate financial worries were over, and press attention wasn't yet by any means excessive".
Gregory Maguire wrote a review in The New York Times for Prisoner of Azkaban: in it he said, "So far, in terms of plot, the books do nothing new, but
they do it brilliantly...so far, so good." In a newspaper review in The New York Times, it was said that "'The Prisoner of Azkaban' may be the best
'Harry Potter' book yet". A reviewer for KidsReads said, "This crisply-paced fantasy will leave you hungry for the four additional
Harry books that J.K. Rowling is working on. Harry's third year is a charm. Don't miss it."Kirkus Reviews did not give a starred
review but said, "a properly pulse-pounding climax...The main characters and the continuing story both come along so smartly...that the book seems shorter than its page count: have readers clear their calendars if they are fans, or get out of
the way if they are not." Martha V. Parravano also gave a positive review for The Horn Book Magazine, calling it "quite a
good book." In addition, a Publishers Weekly review said, "Rowling's wit never flags, whether constructing the
workings of the wizard world...or tossing off quick jokes...The Potter spell is holding strong.
However, Anthony Holden, who was one of the judges against Prisoner of Azkaban for the Whitbread Award, was negative about the book, saying that the characters are "all black-and-white", and the
"story-lines are predictable, the suspense minimal, the sentimentality cloying every page".
Prisoner of Azkaban sold more than 68,000 copies in the UK within three days of publication, which made it the fastest selling British book of the time. The
sales total by 2012 is said by The Guardian to be 3,377,906.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in hardcover in the UK on 8 July 1999 and in the US on 8 September.
The British paperback edition was released on 1 April 2000, while the US paperback was released 2 October 2001.
Bloomsbury additionally released an adult edition with a different cover design to the original, in paperback on 10 July 2004 and in hardcover on October 2004. A hardcover special edition, featuring a green border and signature, was released on 8 July 1999. In May 2004, Bloomsbury
released a Celebratory Edition, with a blue and purple border. On 1 November 2010, they released the 10th anniversary Signature edition illustrated by Clare Mellinsky and in
July 2013 a new adult cover illustrated by Andrew Davidson, both these editions were designed by Webb & Webb Design Limited.
Beginning on 27 August 2013, Scholastic will release new covers for the paperback editions of Harry Potter in the United States to celebrate 15 years of the series.
The covers were designed by the author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi.
An illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on October 3, 2017, and was illustrated by Jim Kay who illustrates the previous two instalments. This includes over 115 new illustrations and will
be followed by Illustrated editions of the following 4 novels in the future.
The film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in 2004 and was directed by Alfonso Cuarón from a screenplay by Steve
Kloves. The film débuted at number one at the box office and held that position for two weeks.
It made a total of $796.7 million worldwide, which made it the second highest-grossing film of 2004 behind Shrek 2. However,
among all eight entries in the Harry Potter franchise, Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the lowest. The film ranks at number 471 in Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.