Binaries in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A binary that plays an important role in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is friends vs. enemies. Harry Potter values his friends very much. They are held to the highest esteem and are typically very good (in terms of character). Hermione, for example, is exceptionally brilliant; she is also very trustworthy and a good student. At one point in the novel, she uses magic just so that she can take more classes. Ron, although he is from a lower class, he does not resent Hermione’s and Harry’s wealth. He is content with his family, and a loyal friend to Harry.

His enemies, on the other hand, are always seen as evil and hostile. Sirius Black, who is Harry’s enemy for the first part of the book, is immediately depicted as being a hostile criminal through the media. His disheveled appearance causes people to stereotype him further proves the fact that he should be locked up. Even the Dursley’s, who are not magical, are seen as horrendous. They constantly mistreat Harry for no good reason and thus are his enemies. Eventually Harry gets sick of the mistreatment and punishes Aunt Marge using his magic to turn her into a gigantic balloon. He resents her so much that he doesn’t even feel remorseful. After the incident “He sat quite still, anger still surging through him, listening to the frantic thumping of his heart. But after ten minutes alone in the dark street, a new emotion overtook him: panic” (Rowling, 31). He becomes panicked about going back to Hogwarts because he broke wizard law; he doesn’t think twice about what will happen to Aunt Marge. Immediately after he thinks about Hogwarts, his friends, Hermione and Ron, and how they would help him even though he is now, technically, a criminal.

The types of people that Harry decides are friends and enemies help bring to light the importance that integrity plays in choosing friends. His enemies are always evil beings who care only for themselves. While, his friends are completely selfless. Sirius Black crosses over from enemy to friend only after Harry discovers that Black was innocent and willing to die to protect his friends, James and Lily (page 374). Thinking about what qualities are most desirable in friend can help readers (children) discover the “right” qualities to have within themselves.



Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 1999. Print.


*extra credit post*