Series Week V: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It was published in 2003 by Scholastic. For all your Harry Potter facts, check out the Lexicon. Also, check out the #1 Harry Potter fansite, mugglenet.com.

Will contain spoilers for the series.

Genre: Fantasy, Children’s, Realistic

Summary/Blurb:

“There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it’s haunting Harry Potter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?

Harry has a lot on his mind for this, his fifth year at Hogwarts: a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey; a big surprise on the Gryffindor Quidditch team; and the looming terror of the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams. But all these things pale next to the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named—a threat that neither the magical government nor the authorities at Hogwarts can stop.

As the grasp of darkness tightens, Harry must discover the true depth and strength of his friends, the importance of boundless loyalty, and the shocking price of unbearable sacrifice.

His fate depends on them all.”

~Back Cover

Passages/Quotes:

“Now…how long have you been teaching at Hogwarts?” she asked, her quill posed over her clipboard.

“Fourteen years,” Snape replied. His expression was unfathomable. His eyes on Snape, Harry added a few drops to his potion; it hissed menacingly and turned from turquoise to orange.

“You applied first for the Defense against the Dark Arts post, I believe?” Professor Umbridge asked Snape.

“Yes,” said Snape quietly.

“But you were unsuccessful?”

Snape’s lip curled.

“Obviously.”

~Rowling 363

“Do you mean to tell me,” said Mrs. Weasley, her voice growing louder with every word and apparently unaware that her fellow visitors were scurrying for cover, “that you have been messing about with Muggle remedies?”

“Not messing about, Molly, dear,” said Mr. Weasley imploringly. “It was just—just something Pye and I thought we’d try—only, most unfortunately—well, with these particular kinds of wounds—it doesn’t seem to work as well as we’d hoped—”

“Meaning?”

“Well…well, I don’t know whether you know what—what stitches are?”

“It sounds as though you’ve been trying to sew your skin back together,” said Mrs. Weasley with a snort of mirthless laughter, “but even you, Arthur, wouldn’t be that stupid—”

“I fancy a cup of tea too,” said Harry, jumping to his feet.

~Rowling 507

“Well—it’s just that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going to—what is the phrase? ‘Come quietly.’ I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course—but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing….but if you attempt to—er—‘bring me in’ by force, I will have to hurt you.”

“So,” sneered Fudge, recovering himself, “you intend to take on Dawlish, Shacklebolt, Dolores, and myself single-handed, do you, Dumbledore?”

“Merlin’s beard, no,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “Not unless you are foolish enough to force me to.”

~Rowling 620

Warnings: Violence, death

Recommended Age Range: 10+

Rating: 4/5

What I Liked:

I actually enjoyed Order of the Phoenix a lot more than I expected. Rowling’s writing has definitely improved over the course of these books, and, writing-wise, OotP ranks above Chamber of Secrets.

One thing I noticed almost immediately was how much darker this book is compared to the previous ones. It’s noticeable in Goblet of Fire, especially at the end, but it really stands out here. Just take a look at the cover. It’s all dark tones and shadows. OotP takes the series into a darker place, but it also serves as a transition between the return of Voldemort in GoF and the inevitable final battle that will come. It’s a very transitional book, both plot-wise and character-wise. Harry realizes and learns various things in this book that catapult him out of childhood and innocence faster than he would have liked. He realizes that he’s starting to get a little reckless (after several hundred pages of his appalling attitude and stubbornness). He’s not quite there, yet, but this book puts him most of the way. Neville, too, is in transition—in previous books, he was forgetful and not very remarkable or particularly talented. In this book, however, he starts to learn and improve and is the only friend of Harry’s that is still conscious/not terribly wounded throughout the entire battle at the Department of Mysteries. It’s a wonderful sign of things to come. Ginny, too, finally starts speaking more than one sentence per book, and she is in a transition for something that will start in the next book. Like I said—OotP is a very transitional book.

One thing that I’ve brought up before that is really brought to the forefront of this book is Harry’s selflessness and desire to sacrifice himself for his friends. He immediately decides to run away from Grimmauld Place the moment he thinks that he might be a danger to his friends. He resists his friends accompanying him to the Ministry because he doesn’t want to put them in danger. He puts all guilt on himself, rather than others, when things go wrong, and he once again breaks rules only because he’s thinking of other people. As Hermione says, Harry’s got a “saving-people-thing.”

We learn more about Snape’s background, and start to understand why he despises Harry so much. Snape is gaining a little more dimension to his character, but he gains even more over the last two books, and I still want to hold off on talking about him until the end.

The battle at the Department of Mysteries, by the way, is the best action scene that Rowling has written yet. It almost completely makes up for the slow pace of the book as a whole.

What I Didn’t Like:

This book is huge and as a result it sometimes feels like you’re trudging through it rather than devouring (or even savoring) it. It’s slow at the beginning and in the middle, and it doesn’t really start picking up until the last quarter or so.

Harry’s attitude is appalling in the first quarter of the book. His inability to listen to those around him and to hold his temper is quite annoying (how many times does McGonagall have to tell you to keep quiet around Umbridge, and how many times do you have to cut open your hand, before you understand to shut your mouth, Harry?). Also, his stubbornness at refusing to practice Occlumency makes Snape’s treatment of Harry during the lessons almost understandable (I said almost. Nobody deserves jars thrown at them).

Hints/Foreshadowing/Ruminations (Spoilers!):

–Keep in mind Kreacher the house-elf

–Keep in mind Regulus Black

–Keep in mind the heavy locket they find while cleaning

–Keep in mind Snape’s memory

–Keep in mind the Hog’s Head bartender

–Keep in mind Dumbledore’s question to one of his silver instruments: “But in essence divided?” (I don’t know if this is correct, but I think it’s a reference to the fact that Dumbledore is starting to realize something about both Nagini and Harry)

–Keep in mind spattergroit!

–Keep in mind the Vanishing Cabinet

–Keep in mind the two-way mirror

Overall Review:

The Order of the Phoenix is a mammoth of a book, and as a result its pace is rather slow. Rowling is mostly using this book as a transition and set-up for the last two, making the atmosphere darker and getting her characters ready for their last stages of development. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but it was too slow and trudging to be one of my favorites.

You can buy the book here: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

And the movie here: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Widescreen Edition)

Coming Up Next: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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One thought on “Series Week V: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  1. Pingback: Why You Should Read Harry Potter: Depth, Complexity, And Sacrificial Love | Leaf's Reviews

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