Publisher’s Summary: When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves…. But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss….
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The third book in the Harry Potter series opens on the night of July 30th with Harry receiving birthday gifts from all of his friends and learning that there is a criminal on the loose from Azkaban. The following morning Harry learns that his aunt will be staying with the family and she makes him angry enough to accidentally inflate her like a balloon leading to him running away from home and taking a magical bus to Diagon Alley.
Harry sees a large black dog and decides to rent a room in pub until school starts rather than going back to his family. He manages to finish all of his holiday homework and strolls the alleys of the shopping district longing for a new brook and running into Ron and Hermione. Hermione makes a choice for her familiar and Ron objects because it doesn’t get along with his familiar.
Harry overhears the Weasleys talking about how the escaped prisoner may be coming after him and realizes that his life may be in danger. He also finds that the man betrayed his parents and led to their death.
Angered by this news Harry boards the train and meets a new professor who saves them from a happiness sucking monster. These creatures have been put on the train to keep the escaped prison from coming after Harry but also have a chilling effect on anyone that they come near.
Upon arriving at school Harry finds that classes are much harder, and that Malfoy wants to get Hagrid fired from the school. Harry spends his village weekends with the professors as he isn’t allowed to attend without permission. Finally he breaks his beloved broomstick making this year seem like the worst yet.
Just when Harry thinks all is lost a new broomstick arrives in secret and Harry is given a way to attend Hogsmeade visits by the elder Weasley children. He overhears more about the death of his parents and their friend and begins to feel even more afraid. Harry then learns a very powerful charm to protect himself from the monsters that were on the train and Hermione begins to unravel the secret behind Professor Lupin’s behavior.
At one point Ron loses his rat and is led on a chase by the rat to a hole in the ground. At this hole he is dragged away by a large black dog and the other members of the trio follow. They are also followed by two professors and find that the dog is actually Sirius Black the escaped convict. It is revealed that Ron’s rat is that actual betrayer and that Mr. Black escaped to help and save Harry.
Finally the group must escape from a werewolf and find themselves racing backwards in time to save two lives. Harry has finally discovered a family that is willing to fight for him and the school year ends on a positive note. Harry returns to the home of his relatives in high spirits feeling ready to take on the next year.