The Characters in Chapter One "Owl Post" of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J. K. Rowling In class, we listened to the first chapter of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." This is indeed an extremely interesting chapter since it contains all the basic information you have to get to understand the "Potter Universe." It gives quite detailed information about most of the important characters. The chapter starts with very important information about Harry. It says:" Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.

[... ] And he also happened to be a wizard." As the story unfolds, you get to know Harry as a boy of thirteen years with untidy jet black hair who is quite small and skinny for his age. His eyes are bright green and he wears round glasses. The most important feature, though, in the description of his appearance is the scar on his forehead, shaped like a bolt of lightning. The book explains that Harry got the scar when his parents, James and Lily Potter, wizard and witch themselves, were murdered by the dark wizard Voldemort, the most vicious of his kind for a hundred years. This explains why Harry has to live with his only living relatives, whom he obviously dislikes.

It is also made clear that Harry only spends the summer with his relatives to go back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the rest of the year, which he has attended for the last two years. His relatives are his uncle Vernon Dursley, aunt Petunia Dursley and his cousin Dudley Dursley. They are non-magic folk, so-called Muggles, and they are extremely scared of anything that has to do with magic. This shows when Harry's uncle roars at one of his wizard friends on the phone:" DON'T YOU COME NEAR MY FAMILY!" . To the Dursley it is very important to make a good impression on their neighbours and so they are terrified of anyone finding out that Harry is a wizard and goes to Hogwarts. They think that magic people belong to some kind of a lower class, which shows clearly when Uncle Vernon screams at Harry:" HOW DARE YOU GIVE THIS NUMBER TO PEOPLE LIKE- PEOPLE LIKE YOU!" Magic people seem to be dirty and worthless and even dangerous in his eyes.

Three of the magicians closest to Harry are characterized in chapter one in detail. First, there is Ron Weasley, one of Harry's best friends at Hogwarts. He descends of a whole family of wizards and so he knows a lot more about the magic world than Harry does. On the other hand he is quite helpless when he comes across 'muggle' things, like a telephone or anything that needs electricity to run. He is the second youngest of seven children (he has five older brothers and a younger sister) and his family is "very nice and extremely poor." This is represented by the family owl Errol, who is old and worn, just like everything the Weasley's own. The second magician is the witch Hermione Granger, Harry's other best friend from Hogwarts.

She is the cleverest witch in Harry's year, a little over-ambitious and also described to be a real know-it-all sometimes. This is made clear when Harry gets a present from Hermione and the book says:" Knowing Hermione, he was sure it would be a large book full of very difficult spells." This is what Hermione would consider interesting and useful. But instead, Harry discovers a broom servicing kit, something that he is incredibly happy about. This shows that Hermione is not only the nosy know-it-all but also a true friend. Hermione has Muggle parents and therefore feels at home in both worlds, the magic and the Muggle one. And then, there is Rube us Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper.

He is characterized by his handwriting, which is said to be an "untidy scrawl." Although this chapter says nothing about his looks, the word untidy describes him very well. He is a little messy, and likes to concern himself with other things than his appearance. Another sentence that perfectly describes him is:" [... ] Hagrid would never send him anything dangerous on purpose, but then, Hagrid didn't have a normal person's view of what was dangerous." Hagrid is a strange character who doesn't really understand that things that might not be dangerous for him can be dangerous for others. All in all, I have to say that I was surprised that, looking at the chapter closely, there was relatively little information about the characters, especially about Ron and Hermione. By this introduction it seems as if their role in the book was a lot smaller than it really is.

Nevertheless, it is sufficient to make readers understand the basic role of each character in the book.' Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban', JK Rowling, Bloomsbury 1999, London.