Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

ISBN: 043935806X

It took awhile to get through this book — not because it wasn’t good or because it was over 800 pages — but because L read the whole thing to me, out loud. We both wanted to read it at the same time (we bought it the day it came out) and didn’t want to purchase two copies. It worked so well, we are planning on reading books six and seven the same way.

So yes, I liked this book. Not quite as well as the fourth book, which is my favorite of the series so far, but I did think it was good. If you aren’t already a Harry Potter fan, I probably can’t much about the fifth book to persuade you. If you are a fan and you have read the book already, or you don’t care about spoilers, please continue.

To get it out of the way, I’ll talk first about what bugged me. What bugged me most was Harry — J.K. Rowling really captured what it is to be fifteen years old, that is, Harry really is an ass for most of this book. Annoying, but it rang true. There were other things I noticed: Rowling put more references to the other books in this one, and I was sometimes annoyed by the “remember in book two when…” tone. And there are elements that seem too formulaic — the routine of summer at Privet Drive, the train to school, break, and you know the book will end at end of term. Then I remember that this series was (at least originally) geared toward readers less than half my age, and let it go.

I think this book started off with a bang, which I enjoyed because some of the others seemed to ramp up slowly, with Harry stuck at the Dursley’s for the summer. Yes, it was over 800 pages, but unlike other door-stop-sized writers (Steven King comes to mind) I think this is more about big story than it is needing an editor.

I loved that Mrs. Figg turned out to be a squib, and that Harry’s Aunt was sent a howler. Ron being a prefect was another good choice. Lupin being around again also made me happy. Two iffy characters that turned out to rock in this book were Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom. A new and interesting face turned up — Luna Lovegood. I like toads, so I was sorry to see Umbrage continually compared to one, but I did enjoy hating her. I’m beginning, dare I say it, to like Snape. Rowling has a knack for interjecting humor when it is needed — how wrong is the baby-headed death eater, and how funny? I love that Lucius Malfoy winds up in prison, and I hope Percy comes crawling home on bloody knees in the next book, begging forgiveness from his family. And it is good that at least Dumbledore can recognize that wizard have treated everyone else like shit, and now they are going to be paying for it. (I think the mistreatment of house elves and giants is based on human fear of being less than; wizards are helpless without their wands, but other creatures have magical powers without them.)

I think the major lesson Harry learns in this book is that the wizard world is not a black and white world; it isn’t as simple as all good or all evil. People are more complicated than that. So it is confusing for Harry to see his revered father and godfather torturing the shit out of Snape when they were all in school; Harry and Hermione are afraid and disappointed that Hagrid has kidnapped a giant; and Dumbledore finally becomes something other than an all-powerful wizard, he becomes human.

There is more heartbreak in this book, too. Not just because Sirius Black dies, either. (Though that was hard, and the fact that Harry didn’t seek out Snape first, or, as we learn afterwards, use what turned out to be a mirror that Sirius gave him to contact him with before heading off to the Ministry made me wince.) Adolescence is a nightmare — the cruelty, the not being able to reign in emotions, the lack of control, the unfairness — and Rowling knows it.

What I like best about these books is the way people can’t help but talk about them. People speculate on what will happen in the next chapter, then next book, and why… There is rehashing why something should or shouldn’t have happened, the bolstering of opinions with textual citations. This series is that absorbing, because it is a complete world Rowling has created. I think people love the Harry Potter books for the reasonss they love the orginal Star Wars movies — because they give us a picture of a world we want to believe in, with identifiable good and evil, and there are lots of cool things (invisibility cloaks, the light saber noises) there that aren’t anywhere else. In the end, you want it to be true at the same time you know it never could work that way. At least that is how I feel.

Damn, it is going to be a long wait for the next book.

23 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  1. I totally think harry was being an major ass.(but then again he is saposto be a teenager) I can’t belive harry said all that shit to ron and hermione (in the begning of the book) who just sat there and took it. I also liked the fact that Ginny seemed to be the olny one who coulld slap harry back into his scents when he was acting stupid. That was so sad that rowling killed black. On the other hand i did read in an interveiw somewhere that rowling said that she was going to kill more people because kids kept asking her when harry’s parents were going to come back to life. So what i really want to know is did she just kill black to get the point across that voldermort is bad or was this all part of her master plan? Anyways all together i think i like this book almost as much as i liked the 3rd book, which is my favorite.

  2. i think harry and luna will become a solid couple over the next coule of books. they make a very good and interesting pair. dont you love the way she puts that wand behind her ear like some vast overgrown pencil? still the death of black removes the person harry was closest to. this clears the way now for him to become closest now to luna. just as an after thought. what do you think mad eye moody would have to say to luna about basic wand safty? putting it behind her ear and all?

  3. What you said about all the reference to Book #2: I think there was more to Book #3. Sirius leaves the story as opposed to entering, we see Lupin once more, we learn more about Harry’s parents — we thought they were perfect around Book #3, and now we know that their relationship was different in the beginning. But I do agree that there was plenty to Book #2: Lockhart, Ginny being important… I actually can’t remember a lot of either book, but there’s kind of a parallel, isn’t there? Seven books. If you think that Book 5 mirrors 3, it’d be interesting to think about Book 6 being parallel to 2, and it’d make an awful lot of sense to have 7 mirror 1. Just something to think about. =D

  4. i relly liked this book but harry was a bit of an ass in some parts of the book but other than that it was ok

  5. I thought this book was the most thoughtful installment by Rowling. She keeps moving further and further from a “childrens” book, yet keeps enough childrens themes to keep them interested. I agree with the earlier comments about Harry being an ass… but I think that is exactly how a 15 year old would act. I also think his temper which is always waiting to explode just under the surface, has something to do with his connection with The Dark Lord.

    I think Harry is wise to ditch Cho Chung (why anybody would want to date a Ravenclaw is foriegn to me!). She was too emotional, but forward enough to give the clueless Harry his first kiss.

    I’m sad about the death of Sirrius. I think it would have been better to have Lupin or Tonks die, but Sirrius had so much potential to be a great character. She had him set up perfect to be a traitor (the way that Harry thinks Snape is). This would have devistated Harry which could have been a good plot line.

    I liked the references to the prior books, just because it has been so long since I read them, that I couldn’t remember half of the stuff.

    I’m off to re-start the series again. I can’t wait for #6!!

  6. I think the 5th book was great but my favorites were 3&4. Harry was an ass but that is just character development. I loved the part were he stands up to Umbridge and talks about Cedrics death (R.I.P in magical Heaven). I think it was great for Harry to do date Cho but he should have talked to her and stopped talking about Hermoine(leave her to Ron,he is pimpin her). I think Snapes character really came out in this book.Professor McGonall was great in this book the way she talked about Umbridge. I love the way Rowling makes u love and hate her characters. In conclusion Sirus shouldnt have died why oh why couldnt percy go. Fred and Goerge keep those WEASELYS WHEEZES COMING. PLEASE HURRY UP WITH BOOK VI


  7. does any one have pages 208 through 216 i can read. please in the next hour or so I need it for my school. Please im desparate

  8. HP5 rocks i know it’s a bit long but was still vg. Loads of clue and hints. for e.g tonks dad is the weather man in STONE. first chapter, read it carefully he smiles in a knowing way when announcing shooting stars.

    Also barman of hogshead could be DDs Brother because Harry a strange feeling of seeing the man before ( in the picture Moody shows him of the original order of the phoenix). Also the hogehead smelled of goats and DDs brother was charged for practicing charms on a goat (bk4)
    Sirius is deffinetley dead (j.k said soherself) but he will come back (don’t know how) because in the chapter “beyond the veil” Bella says “He is here, he is below. (speaking about Sirius) and also because of what Luna says at the end of the book.
    Neville will be important in next 2 books, (but will not be one to defeat VDMT)because the wand Neville was using was his dads and in STONE Mr Olivander said you will never get such good results with another wizards wand. So now that Neville will get hi own wand (because his dads snapped in DEPT of nysteries) we can expect better things from him than we saw in DA.


  9. in reply to “routines are to formulaic, in bk 5 we found out why he has to stay at privet drive at least for a while so it make sense the story starts there(and therefore the story ends with him going back there) as for the train that is just the way they travel (as J.K. thought of HP on a train) and it is one book for each year she cant start his sixth year in bk 5 i’m 17 soon . bk 3 onwards is getting more adult like

  10. hello just acme to correct myself Ted Tonks is the newsman not the weather man (maybe is hould read more carefully.)

  11. Jane, I don’t get the weatherman and shooting star referance you say is a clue. Can you explain that? I just re-read books 3 & 4, and realized how many clues Rowling gives about upcoming events… Voldemort even says in 4 that he is unable to touch Harry at his Aunt & Uncles house, and I never picked up on that before. Maybe in 6 and 7 Rowling will put the climax somewhere else in the book, and the rest of the book will be them putting together what happened. I also heard an unconfirmed rumor that Cho and Harry get back together in future books. I think Harry is better off with Ginny myself. That way when Ron & Hermione get married, and Harry and Ginny get married, Ron, Hermione, and Harry will all be brother and sister in laws!! Does anybody have any ideas on why Dumbledore trusts Snape? I don’t think we have been told yet, but speculation is fun. They say in Bk 4 that Snape was a spy. Why wouldn’t Malfoy and the other death eaters be trying to kill him then?

  12. jane…when bella said that he’s down bellow i thought she was refering to dumbledore…but i could be wrong…

  13. The 5th book to me was the best. I read it in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down. Rowlings imagination is unbelieveable. I’m in love w/the books. If I had to choose the book I like the least it would be book 2 it wasn’t as good as the first and it was worst then the third. I’ve read all the books at least five times except the fith one I’ve only read it twice. I think that Herminone was going out with Ron in the book. They maybe were to scared to tell harry seeing as he was constantly mad. Maybe it will come out in the open in the next book.

  14. i definetly DONT think that hermione will date ron, wut about krum??!? in the sixth book if sirius came bak that would be more than awesome, i admit-i wuz in tears when he died. i dont think harry will die in sixth cuz w/o him there IS no story-think aobut it.i also dont think dumbeldore will die, he is too important. percy needs to be slapped and he needs to beg his parents to forgive him.book 3 and 5 r my faves, i really hated umbridge-it takes a good author to make a reader hate a character so much, and that is just wut rowling is.

  15. i think the whole newsman/tonks thing may be a clue because he may be able to say something on the news that may be relevant to harry, but just be something stupid to muggles. anyway i think that harry and hermione should go out. she’s always looking after him anyway.

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