The novel, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is the third book in the Harry Potter series. The chief protagonist is Harry Potter. In the third book, Harry Potter is in his teenage years, both his parents James and Lilly Potter were murdered by the main antagonist Lord Voldemort. His parents, especially his father, were stubborn and adventurous. They joined the order of the Phoenix which was comprised of a group of wizards who intended to destroy Lord Voldemort and his death eaters. However, both Lilly and James ended up dead while a member of the order of the Phoenix, Sirius Black was arrested because of aiding Lilly and James death through liaising with Voldemort. Lord Voldemort is Harry’s most feared character and he is the main reason Harry Potter is considered a Hero. Harry is the only one who stopped Voldemort from pursuing his plans to rule the wizarding world. Voldemort has killed many characters who stood in his way, he is feared and hated by nearly everybody in the wizarding world including Potter. For this reason, Potter considers any ally of Lord Voldemort an enemy. Sirius Black is branded a merciless character, a servant of Lord Voldemort by the newspapers and journals such as the Daily Prophet and Quibbler. The Daily Prophet is a Newspaper controlled by the Ministry of magic. The novel starts with news that the brutal wizard Sirius Black has escaped. Harry is terrified by this information. It is clear knowledge to most of the characters in the novel, that Voldemort made Harry his biggest rival when Harry was born, and he was out there in the dark looking for a chance to kill Harry. Sirius Black was depicted as one of Voldemort’s pawns sent to complete his mission. The paper points out the false accusations and how they were portrayed on the media; it further looks at how these false accusations as reflected by the media manipulate the relationship between Harry and Sirius in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The paper also looks at how the media, as it has been depicted in the novel, affects society.
Harry Potter and Sirius Black.
Harry Potter is first introduced in the Prisoner of Azkaban as a young teenager living under the care of Uncle Vernon. He is enthusiastic about resuming his third year at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. He is however impatient with Uncle Vernon’s sister who is prone to insulting Potter, they have a confrontation and Harry leaves (Rowling 29). As he waits for the night bus, he spots the silhouette of the grim from a distance, then the creature emerges from the bush. Harry is terrified and ends up stumbling on the ground. Luckily the night bus for stranded witches arrives in the nick of time. Harry goes aboard, and they travel at an extraordinary speed through the narrow roads. While in the bus, Harry notices an article with Sirius Blacks image at the center of it. Filled with curiosity, Potter asks the conductor who the criminal being depicted in the picture is. The conductor is surprised that there’s someone who has not heard of Sirius Black. He tells him that Black is a murderer and was arrested in Azkaban for the committing murder (Rowling 37). Potter is terrified when he is informed of the association between Sirius and Lord Voldemort. This marked Harry’s first encounter with Sirius Black’s personality.
Sirius Black, on the other hand, is the last heir of the House of Black. He was in Hogwarts school of wizardry and chose to dwell in the house of Gryffindor and not Slytherin as was the custom in his family he, therefore, had a fall out with most of his family members (Berndt & Lena 25). In contrast, he established a cordial relationship with three other wizards in Hogwarts; James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin. The three friends came to be known as the marauders majorly because they cast upon themselves an Animagus spell (Overstreet 71). As the Prisoner of Azkaban commences, the gossip in town is that Sirius Black has managed to escape from the prison of Azkaban. He is the first wizard to achieve such a feat. Furthermore, an image of him growling fiercely taken during the period he was apprehended is on every street as the ministry of magic looks for him. Harry Potter first sees the image in the night bus which afterward deports him at the Leaky Cauldron where Potter meets the minister of magic who tells him that Sirius escaping puts him in danger (Rowling 31). Sirius black takes the form of a dog that resembles a grim when he shapeshifts to his Animagus form, his ability to shapeshift helped him escape the prison of Azkaban (Sumbayu, Saragih & Lubis 85).
Harry and Serious black knew about each other’s existence in different ways. Harry heard about Sirius from Hagrid, McGonagall, and other elderly people while Sirius knew more about Harry Potter’s history than Harry himself (Sumbayu et al. 91). However, fear gripped harry when he heard of Sirius black because of the word on the street and the media. He vowed to kill Sirius before Sirius got a chance to kill him. Harry Potter and Sirius Black met physically after Harry and her two friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger encountered a dog that resembled the grim when they were at the whomping willow. The dog pulled Weasley by the foot and dragged him into the whomping willow forcing Harry and Hermione to go after him. The chase led them to a neglected old house where they found Remus Lupin, a teacher at Hogwarts together with Sirius Black and Ron Weasley. The confrontation between Harry Potter, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black is fueled by what is known about Sirius Black. Also, in the room, is Peter Pettigrew who was thought to be dead and had a big part to play in the murder of Harry’s parents. Pettigrew was present in the form of a rat and he was first spotted walking on the corridors of Hogwarts when Harry Potter was using the Marauders map (Rowling 33).
False Accusations and its Reflection on the Media.
As the plot of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” develops, the escape of Sirius Black creates suspense among readers. Sirius Black is whispered in the tongues of many and labeled as the Media has presented him (Thompson 38). Ron’s father, Mr. Weasley, who is highly trusted by Potter warns him of the impending danger due to Sirius’ escape. Moreover, the walls and pillars surrounding the two characters have portraits of a fierce looking Sirius Blake. Mr. Weasley’s views regarding Sirius Black have been created by the accusations presented by the media through the Daily Prophet and other media outlets. It is also clear that Mr. Weasley’s advice is valued by Harry, the warning, therefore, sparked the contempt Harry had toward Sirius (Thompson 38). The media presents Sirius Black to the people as a murderer, the name appears at the back of a newspaper which the conductor is reading. The conductor’s perception of Sirius Black has been manipulated by the media which highlights the accusations made against him. The media branded Sirius Black as a murderer after Sirius was found guilty of murdering Peter Pettigrew and twelve muggles. He was also accused of being Lord Voldemort’s accomplice in the murder of Harry Potter’s parents (Nelson 116). The conductor and the minister of magic are the first people to warn Harry, they both believe in what they have had about Sirius (Rowling 26). Harry’s image of Sirius Black is altered by the conductor’s and the minister’s views before Harry Porter alights.
As Harry Potter and her friends converse on a train, Remus Lupin pretends to sleep beside them. Harry and her friends assume his presence after they realize he is deep asleep. After some time, a darkness fills the sky and heavy winds blow against the train, Ron is afraid something is after them. A dementor finds its way inside Potters cabin and tries to kill Potter, Potter is overwhelmed by the dementor’s power and becomes unconscious. Remus Lupin springs up from his seat and casts a spell on the dementor which overcomes the creature. Harry recovers after fainting for most of the Journey, Remus Lupin who sits beside him informs him that those were the dementor’s sent to look for Sirius Black who escaped from Azkaban (Rowling 96). Harry was now quite familiar with Sirius Black, he wasn’t surprised that the ministry had sent dementors to pursue him. The media had painted the image of a dangerous and witty wizard hence such extremes were seen rational in pursuit of Sirius (Costello 15).
When they arrived at Hogwarts school of sorcery and wizardry, Professor Albus Dumbledore warned them of the dementors who were sent by the ministry of magic. The dementors were stationed at all entrances within Hogwarts to ensure that Sirius Black does not enter the wizardry school. As revealed by Dumbledore the dementor’s were brutal creatures that didn’t differentiate between their targets and those who provoked them (Rowling 108). Dumbledore’s words sent a murmur across the hall as students shared horrifying details of who Sirius Black was from what they read from newspapers and other media outlets. The reaction of the students and Dumbledore’s words of caution further demonized the image of Sirius Black, Harry Potter was growing restless. Harry Potter was known to be adventurous and brave, traits he passed down from his father, James Potter. It was, therefore, most probable that Sirius Black would soon catch up with him (Rowling 110).
Professor Trelawny, a member of the Hogwarts staff, takes Harry and his classmates through a lecture on the art of divinity. Trelawny is an old woman who claims she can see other people’s fate, she has the tendency of commenting negatively. On one occasion, Trelawny illustrates how to know someone’s fate through looking at the bottom of his or her teacup. Trelawny asks Harry to hand him his cup, suddenly Trelawny springs back groaning as if she had seen something dangerous. She tells Potter that his fate was dark and associated it to the grim. Incidentally, Sirius Black had shapeshifted to a dog that had the image of a grim (Rowling 158). Professor Trelawny as a medium of information, gave Harry the belief the Sirius Black was coming for him because earlier on he had been warned and now the harm Sirius Black will cause has been predicted by Professor Trelawny.
During a normal day at Hogwarts, one of the students runs down the hall with a newspaper shouting he is coming. On the Newspaper, a motion picture of Sirius Black roaring when he was held captive occupies the central part. The bulletin indicates that Sirius Black has pitched camp in Dufftown, the town is very close to Hogwarts school of sorcery. Panic fills the room as the students doubt the ability of the dementors. Harry Potter takes a long gaze at the picture as great fear consumes him because of what Sirius Black can do (Rowling 167).
After the news that Sirius Black is close to town, an incident happens at Hogwarts. The Fortuna Major portrait of a plump woman has been stolen. Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster at Hogwarts finds the portrait sobbing, the portrait says that it was Sirius Black who moved her in a rather dramatic tone portraying how evil his eyes were. The message portrayed by the woman in the picture further manipulated Harry’s thoughts (Rowling 195).
As events in the novel surrounding the coming of Sirius Black heighten Minerva McGonagall engages in a conversation with Rosmerta behind closed doors. In the conversation, they talk of Sirius black as a danger and further reveal that Sirius Black is Harry’s Godfather. Harry Potter, who had put on the invisible cloak handed down to him from his lineage, managed to enter the room earlier. He finally knows that his Godfather was the one who caused the death of his parents. This information caused a shift in Potters mind, he now wanted to meet Sirius and avenge the death of his parents. He felt betrayed because a close friend of his parents caused their death (Onigu-Otite et al. 9). The conversation between Rosmerta and McGonagall was an important source of information accessed by Harry that further worsened the relationship between Sirius Black and him.
Although most people viewed Sirius as a criminal, including Potter as a result of manipulation by the media. You will note that Remus Lupin was reserved when other’s commented about Sirius Black in the novel (Rowling 198). The reason would later be unearthed when Harry and his friend Hermione pursue Ron who had been snatched by the grim. Ron has been dragged under the whimpering willow by supposedly the grim, after running for quite a distance they meet Sirius Black. Harry runs towards Sirius Black and has him down on the ground with his wand on Sirius’ head. Remus Lupin appears punctually enough to stop Harry. Harry is surprised that Lupin and Sirius are friends when Sirius tells Lupin “He’s here let’s kill him.” After Hermione raises her voice to rebuke both Sirius and Lupin, Sirius makes it clear to them that he wants to kill the rat. It then dawns on Ron that her rat was the Animagus form of Peter Pettigrew (Rowling 201). At that point, Harry learns that Peter Pettigrew, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and James Potter were great friends during their school days in Hogwarts. Remus Lupin asks Sirius to explain to Harry the truth to who was involved in the murder of Harry’s parents. Peter Pettigrew was the person who betrayed Potter’s parents and later successfully framed Sirius Black who wanted to kill Pettigrew for betraying his best friends. Peter, Remus, John, and Sirius were best friends and they joined the order of the Phoenix together to fight Lord Voldemort. Sirius knew both Lilly and James Potter and also was their closest ally to the point that Sirius was named Harry’s godfather. The truth dawned on Harry and their relationship takes a drastic turn, Sirius talks to Harry like a father figure and tells him how great his parents were and how they resemble in appearance. Moreover, Harry Potter later asks Sirius Black if they could go together (Rowling 204).
Apparently, Sirius Black is a nobleman who wants to prove his innocence. By staging his death and framing his friend, Peter Pettigrew affected the reputation of Sirius Black. The media took the information and presented it to the society as reported by Pettigrew. Pettigrew, in this case, was a false bearer of information but the media caused more damage to Sirius Black since it portrayed the bad image in newspapers and letters. Such vivid and redundant presentation of what transpired when Potter’s parents were murdered gives the characters assurance that they should be afraid of Sirius Black. Consequently, the information fell on the ears of many people who further acted as the media, they made sure the false information had reached every ear. The masses were all against Black because of false information and its rampant reproduction by the various media sources especially The Daily Prophet. The media, therefore, has the power to make the false information seem to be true and incriminate the otherwise innocent victim. The relationship between Harry and Sirius starts long before they met. But at the start, he has the false perception inflicted upon him by various media. Later on, after harboring fear and contempt, he realizes that Sirius is a friend and not the enemy as branded by the media. The false allegations claimed to be true by the media affected the relationship between Sirius and Potter but later, a change of outlook is enabled by media with the right information in the form of Remus and Sirius Black. The media has the potential to spread false information and create enmity between two people. If various forms of media are used to spread false information, the outcome will be destruction and rage.
The Role of the Media in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The role of the media in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is illustrated in a negative light. The most prevalent secondary source in the Prisoner of Azkaban is the daily prophet. Other secondary sources are rarely mentioned. In the Ideal world, a Journalist’s prime objective should be to give its citizens the right information (Sumbayu et al. 107). The Daily prophet is owned and controlled by the ministry of magic, information is therefore mostly tailored to suit the ministry. The Daily Prophet is the newspaper responsible for publishing and spreading false information about Sirius Black. The newspaper reflects the picture of Sirius to the society as a merciless killer and further warns everybody in the town of his presence. Despite the information being mere allegations, the Daily Prophet uses it to help capture Sirius and get him back to Azkaban. The only way to do this is by exaggerating the details and making the masses believe the message hence turning against the accused. In the form of news, Dumbledore read out a circular from the ministry of magic that said the dementors were looking for Sirius Blake. However, the dementor’s attack Harry Potter on several occasions within and outside Hogwarts vicinity (Rowling 235). The dementors, who were sent by the ministry seemed to have ulterior motives other than apprehending Sirius Black. The Daily Prophet is the chief bearer of false information and because of its trust and monopoly status. The effect trickles down to the people who are also forms of media as they spread information through writing or word of mouth. Most of the people who meet Harry before he meets Sirius is clouded by the negative image of Sirius Black. Everybody calls Sirius a criminal and sends a warning to their loved ones. The truth is known by few very close allies to Sirius Black, but a truth identified as false by the masses will be considered false (Hunt 279). The media plays the role of creating suspense among the characters in the novel and the readers by giving the public a defined image of what to expect when they encounter Sirius Black. The characters and the reader consequently have a pre-judgment and a pre-determined image of Sirius Black to the extent that he is thought to be the antagonist in most chapters of the novel. Associating news to falsehood reflects the low credibility of the media in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
How the Media as Portrayed in the Novel Affects the Society.
The media’s influence on the society and its beliefs have been brought out clearly in the novel. Mr. Weasley, for instance, views the information from the media as trustworthy despite the allegations of Sirius Black being labeled as false. Other characters such as Hermione, Ron, and Hagrid who are Potter’s friends also believe that Sirius Black is a criminal. The trust bestowed upon the media outlets give it the power to destroy or build the society. In the novel, the media is portrayed as a source of deception. The media is controlled by a governing authority, similar to contemporary media houses that take sides on political matters or other pertinent issues in the society, this results in misguided information (Costello 54). The interest of a media outlet that reports false information is usually focused on a particular body that has authority. The body uses the advantage of the media’s influence on its selfish benefits. During political campaigns, media houses tarnish the reputation of some of those vying while upholding the image of others. The media capitalizes on rumors and allegations to enhance the individual campaign strategies of some influential parties. It is also common practice in the society to see media houses criminalizing people as is the case with Sirius Black. Due to false reports, people have been apprehended and killed by the same authorities who are supposed to protect them. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban exposes the dubious corrupt acts done by media houses, the ministry uses the media house to manipulate the people (Rowling 301). The media should be for the people but in most cases, the media is institutionalized for the gains of a handful.
The Prisoner of Azkaban, as referred to by the Daily Prophet is Sirius Black. From the characterization given to Sirius in newspapers, the motive of the newspaper is set out clearly. The newspaper intends to brand Sirius a criminal and spread the negative image to the rest of the society. Through the power of the media, as portrayed in the essay, Sirius Black is successfully labeled an outcast by the community. Although most of the people believe in the doctored message, a few like Remus Lupin know the truth, however, they stay quiet. This shows the ability of the media to cover the truth by preaching a false statement. The media has managed to turn the masses against the truth. The power of the media and how it presents false allegations have been illustrated throughout the essay. The truth is revealed through an exhilarating adventure to save Ron. While in pursuit of Ron, the merciless wizard appears in front of Harry. Harry then learns the truth from the horse’s mouth and rubbishes claims by media. Sirius Black apparently is Harry’s godfather and was a good friend of Harry’s family. In fact, the main reason he escaped was to avenge the death of his friends by Killing Peter Pettigrew. Peter Pettigrew was one of the main perpetrators of the crime after informing Lord Voldemort of James and his family’s whereabouts. In contrast to the image presented by the media and Harry’s prior Judgement, Sirius loved Harry like a son. Although the truth has been uncovered, Sirius is still yet to prove his innocence. The media houses are reluctant to rectify news that reveals their incompetence because of its image in society. The media as depicted in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is more inclined to have a good reputation rather than revealing the truth. The Daily Prophet newspaper and other media houses have been depicted as corrupt and selfish entities.
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