Development and publication
Rowling found writing the book better fun and far easier than any other book in the series, which she thinks shows. At that point in her life, she was happy and comfortable, no longer in financial worry and yet to face the immense tension and need of writing the later books that came with the popularity of the series.
The book was immediately acclaimed, for being "brilliant", the "best book yet" and "a charm". Others claimed that the "Potter spell" was working well. It won many awards, including the Whitbread Book of the Year, American Library Association Notable Children's Book and the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal for children aged 9–11.
In the summer of 1993, Sirius Black escapes Azkaban and goes into hiding. The wizarding world think he was to blame for betraying James and Lily Potter, and being a loyal servant of Voldemort, they think he wants to kill Harry.
Harry begins the third year of education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he meets Remus Lupin who agrees to teach him the way to defeat the Dementors placed at Hogwarts (who keep targeting Harry by accident), to keep it safe from Sirius.
Hagrid became the new Care of Magical Creatures Professor, but he's upset when Buckbeak was provoked by Draco into attacking him, and Buckbeak was sentenced to death. Harry was given the Marauder's Map which enables him to sneak around because it shows where people are. Hermione appears to be taking far too many subjects with limited time, and keeps showing up out of nowhere.
Unfortunately, it appears Sirius truly wants to kill Harry when he breaks into the school. Then Harry notices a name on the Marauder's Map which shouldn't be there - Peter Pettigrew. Peter had apparently died at the hands of Sirius many years before. Eventually, the truth of Peter's guilt and faked death and Sirius's innocence was found out, but when Lupin admits never took a potion that kept him from becoming a werewolf, a series of events spiral out of control, and only time-travel will save people from their fate. Will they manage to make it in time?
- Chapter 1: Owl Post
- Chapter 2: Aunt Marge's Big Mistake
- Chapter 3: The Knight Bus
- Chapter 4: The Leaky Cauldron
- Chapter 5: The Dementor
- Chapter 6: Talons and Tea Leaves
- Chapter 7: The Boggart in the Wardrobe
- Chapter 8: Flight of the Fat Lady
- Chapter 9: Grim Defeat
- Chapter 10: The Marauder's Map
- Chapter 11: The Firebolt
- Chapter 12: The Patronus
- Chapter 13: Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw
- Chapter 14: Snape's Grudge
- Chapter 15: The Quidditch Final
- Chapter 16: Professor Trelawney's Prediction
- Chapter 17: Cat, Rat and Dog
- Chapter 18: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs
- Chapter 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort
- Chapter 20: The Dementor's Kiss
- Chapter 21: Hermione's Secret
- Chapter 22: Owl Post Again
- "To Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely, the Godmothers of Swing."
- — J.K. Rowling
Jill and Aine were two friends that Rowling lived with when she was teaching in Portugal. Jill's surname Prewett was later the maiden name given to Molly Weasley, and the surname of Molly's brothers, Fabian and Gideon Prewett.