- Author J. K. Rowling
The third book in the Harry Potter series does not follow the same pattern as the ones that go before it, and it’s a very timely departure, avoiding the series becoming formulaic. It’s not so drastically different - there is still a year’s worth of lessons and exams to deal with, alongside Quidditch, and unravelling a mystery that leads to an end of year showdown, but this time it’s not about Voldemort.
Instead, we’re introducing new characters, and (with the benefit of hindsight) putting into place some set pieces, and a backstory, that will be crucial when the books start to get longer and more involved. Other important things occur, such as Harry realising Dumbledore is not completely perfect and may not always have the answer to everything. Snape’s role is also magnified in the latter half of the book - seemingly a very bitter and unhappy man.
To be honest, although I enjoyed reading it, I was starting to think this was one of the weaker books in the series, until JK Rowling quite sensibly threw in some spoiler alert time travel. If that doesn’t sell it to me, then very little else can.