Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
review with spoilers)
*If you have
not read the book you may not want to read this review as I will cover
75% of the book in a synopsis of it.
I have read all of the Harry Potter
books within the last 6 months and I have been thoroughly impressed.
All of the books are written very well and are very addictive. Once I
start reading a book I can’t put it down. I am so enthralled with what
is going to happen next. These books keep me sitting on the edge of my
Book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) is no
different. It has the best “pre school” events of any of the previous
books. We start, of course, with a delightful romp with life at the
Dursley’s. The family is quickly involved in Harry’s world as he saves
Dudley from an early demise from 2 Dementors. I was tickled to learn a
few things about Petunia’s past dealings with the magical world and her
As a result of Harry saving Dudley’s
life by the use of under-aged magic outside of Hogwarts, he must stand
before a court to decide his fate. Harry begins to really come out of
his shell and stand up for himself by this point. He deals with the
trials given him so far very well and we gain a sense of his bravery.
During his fate with the law he is
taken to a safe haven which turns out to be the headquarters for The
Order of the Phoenix which is the secret anti-Voldemort organization
headed by Albus Dumbeldore and is owned by none other than Sirius Black,
Harry’s Godfather. The short stay here is filled frustration as Harry
is kept in the dark about many things that everyone else seems to know
about. Even Ron and Hermione are sworn to secrecy about certain issues.
We finally get to school where life
is rough for Harry as the Daily Prophet has been running articles about
his “opinion” that The Dark Lord is back and in full swing. He is seen
as an attention getter and that he only tells these stories to be seen
as a hero. This is not the case as we all know from book 4 “The Goblet
of Fire”. Another disappointment to Harry is the absence of Hagrid.
Some time goes by and we meet a new
threat in Hogwarts history, Professor Umbridge who works for the
Ministry of Magic. Life quickly turns for the worse as Umbridge
increases in power and authority as a teacher and eventual new
headmaster of Hogwarts.
As Hagrid returns to the scene
half-way through the book, we learn a great deal about giants, their
behavior and his family.
As High Inquisitor Umbridge gains
full control of the school we also gain a great admiration for the
Weasly twins, Fred and George. Without the presence of Dumbledore they
are free to run amuck as the staff members still loyal to the
ex-headmaster seems to give extreme leniency to the trouble makers in
subtle protest to the current reign of Umbridge who also has given
Harry, Fred and George a lifetime ban from Quidich, ousted one teacher
and hassles the rest.
Throughout the whole book Harry has
been having very odd dreams of a dark hallway with a door at the end.
This is one area that I have an issue with. These dreams are an actual
connection with the Dark Lord and Harry sees and feels what Voldemort
sees and feels. Harry soon learns that he can in fact read Voldemort’s
mind in a sort of way. This however was not played up as much of an
importance as we only read about the dreams periodically and at odd
times. I didn’t get a real sense that these dreams really meant
anything significant to the whole plot of the book until the last 4
chapters where they seem to be the only key to the story.
We find, fight and send running the
Dark Lord himself near the conclusion of this book but lose a dear
friend along the way. This is no surprise to any loyal Harry Potter fan
who keeps up with the latest gossip. But the loss is hard for all
involved. I agree with what is said by the author JK Rowling in that
someone had to die. The realm of Potter would have been all too
blissful and much too boring had something tragic not happened. It
would have been too reminiscent of the first book i.e. Beat the bad guy
and go home unscathed to a happy ending where life is surreal and
eternally without care.
I hit the highlight of the entire
series far in the depths of chapter 37. Here we learn from Albus a
great many things about Harry and his entire life. We learn of his
mother, his scar and its relationship with Voldemort, the importance of
the Dursleys and much more. It was worth every bit of reading to get to
this chapter. I personally gained a higher appreciation for JK
Rowling’s imagination here. Great story with a much more complex plot
than I had thought there would be.
Harry leaves with the Dursleys a
better man with a clear perspective of his role in the magical world but
is faced with new realities that he does not want to face but does so
I was left let down with the outcome
of the relationship between Ron and Hermione as the previous books
hinted of their possible love for each other. We can clearly see Ron
feels a little something for Hermione as he gets extremely upset with
the guys she sees. We also see a very small hint of Hermione’s feelings
for Ron when she gives him a peck on the cheek before a Quidich game in
which Ron is the new Keeper after Oliver Wood’s graduation from school.
Ron is clearly lost for thought after receiving this small affectionate
kiss giving insight into his feelings.
Over all I give this book high
marks. It was a great continuation of Harry’s life at Hogwarts. He has
gained new friends, strengthened the ones already in existence, and
grows tremendously during his 5th year. Although I am
starting to wonder whether or not Lord Voldemort has his plans of world
conquest scheduled only during school terms as everything seems to
happen during that time with the final battles at the end of the school
year. Odd don’t you think?