Kat Howard: I would just like to state for the record that I had made this choice before I saw this picture. I love Neville Longbottom. His character arc is wonderful, and I love that being a hero does not come easily for him, but it does come naturally. My favorite moment is in The Sorcerer's Stone, when Neville tries to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from leaving the Gryffindor common room, and is so fierce and determined about it, he winds up in a full body-bind, courtesy of Hermione. As Dumbledore says, "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."
Megan Kurashige: My mom bought my sister a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when it first came out in the States, before it had become the madness that it is now. I was in high school and my sister was younger, so she was reading it first since it was a "kids' book." Whenever she was sleeping, or taking a shower, or otherwise occupied, I would steal the book away and read as fast as I could, making sure to replace her bookmark at the right page.
Phil Ilten: There are quite a few moments in Harry Potter that give me the chills, but the moment that Harry wakes up on Hut-on-the-Rock is still the most vivid after all these years. Some remember where they were for the moon landing (and if I had been alive, I would as well), but I remember exactly where I was when I read those introductory sentences in Book One.
Andrew Hulke: The conversation that Harry has with Dumbledore at the end of book five is one of my favorite emotionally charged moments in Harry's years at Hogwarts. He is completed devastated by the loss of his godfather and is trying to come to grips with the loss of the closest thing he has ever known as a parental figure. As a reader, your heart bleeds for Harry, wanting him to find happiness in what is a constant lack of a family structure.
Ed Upton: It was with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that I realized that J.K. Rowling’s series was aiming at quite a bit more than just entertainment. The darkness of the book was startling, even given the shady hues of the previous books. Here was a book whose plot, in part, revolved around barbaric practices of punishment, practiced by the “good guys”: “kissing” the souls out of prisoners, executing animals on dubious pretenses. And it was a book that implied that human beings do not always have control of their own bodies and minds: Sirius Black, as an animagus, cannot control when he transforms into a werewolf, and this has very real, potentially tragic consequences. And beyond all of this, the book presents the specter of friends who betray friends to death, and the persistence of that legacy from one generation to the next. Put all of this in the context of the turbulent coming-of-age of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and the book became irresistible.
But ultimately what kept me up late into the night reading was the miraculously plotted ending, filled with turn after turn. From the Shrieking Shack, to the execution of Buckbeak, to the awesome power of the Patronus charm, I couldn’t put the book down. I’ve loved the entire series, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite book of the lot. For me, it was the most engrossing and effective of the Potter books, and the one that made me suddenly impatient for the next one.
Madeline Barnicle: I'm guessing many others feel this way, too, but book 3 was definitely my favorite. The use of time travel was great, and I'm a sucker for sports stories, so having the Lions finally pull out that Quidditch title was sweet!
Jen Miller: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is definitely my favorite book and movie. There is so much great about this installment--it's where we first start to see the range of Rowling's ability to piece together a complicated puzzle over multiple books (with the Scabbers/Peter Pettigrew plot line); it's where the series shifts from being just for kids to having darker elements (which the movie deals with wonderfully); and it's where Harry learns to do the Patronus charm. But of all the great moments in this book, the one that gives me chills every time is when Dumbledore tells Harry about his father's Animagus shape: "Prongs rode again last night."