Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Family

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If Harry Potter is searching for one thing in his life, it's probably family. And in a lot of ways he's found family – through his friends, through the Weasleys, and now through his father's old buds. Family is about much more than just blood ties here – it's about qualities like loyalty and love. Sirius sums up this theme best when he's interrogating Peter Pettigrew: family are people that you sacrifice and even die for, with the knowledge that they would do the same for you. With this, family ultimately boils down to trust. For example, trust supersedes things like the sibling rivalries and funny interactions we see between the Weasleys, who are probably the best representative of the theme of family in the Prisoner of Azkaban. And finally, above all else, family is about choice. Characters here choose to be or not to be families regardless of whether actual blood ties exist.

Questions About Family

  1. How does Harry's family history affect his daily life in the story?
  2. In what ways do the Weasleys epitomize the theme of family?
  3. Do we see any other families that contrast to the Weasleys? If so, which? If not, how is that omission significant?
  4. Harry gains a new family member in Sirius at the novel's end. How do Harry's interactions with Sirius contrast to the scenes with the Dursleys at the start of the novel? How does this contrast shed some light on the larger themes of family at work in the story?
  5. What do the Dursleys seem to think of family, and how are these views reflected in the way they treat Harry?

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