5-Star · Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | Book Review/Gush [Spoilers]

77522._SX318_.jpgTitle: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J. K. Rowling
Publication Date: July 21, 2003
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Audible (Jim Dale editions)
Pages: 870
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Synopsis

It’s official: the evil Lord Voldemort has returned. His influence is suddenly everywhere in the Wizarding world, and his former allies, the Death Eaters, are returning to his side in droves. In response, the Order of the Phoenix, which worked to stop him during his last rise to power, has reconvened. This time, all of the adults Harry trusts have joined in. And even though Harry is at the center of many of their plans—Voldemort is intent on killing him, after all—they want so badly to protect him that they are keeping him completely out of the loop.

Problems are cropping up at Hogwarts, too, where government officials are meddling in just about everything. And just because Voldemort and the Death Eaters are threatening open warfare does not mean that fifth-year students get out of their exams. Meanwhile, Harry’s powerful connection to Voldemort seems to be growing even stronger, as he realizes that he has direct access to the Dark Lord’s mind. It’s time for Harry and his friends to take drastic action, but the course they choose will have terrible unforeseen consequences.

Truly dangerous times have arrived in the fifth Harry Potter novel, but it never loses the trademark fun, excitement, and wonder at the possibilities of magic.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review:

When reading Goblet of Fire, I was prepared to cry and was surprised when I didn’t. When reading Order of the Phoenix, I was prepared to cry and was surprised I couldn’t stop crying. I thought I had prepared myself for the last few chapters but after Beyond the Veil, I was tearing up for most of the remainder of the book. By now, I’m sure you all know the drill, but as a reminder, this review will have spoilers and be stream of consciousness.

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”

This book had so much in it, from complex government relations (surreal to read about as an American during these tough times), to exquisite foreshadowing (specifically when Petunia talks about “that boy” when she and Lily were kids), to a valuable lesson about character growth. Of the books we’ve had in the series so far, this is when the maturity of the characters really starts to show.

Angsty Harry gets a lot of hate in this book, but I think Rowling did a good job showing Harry’s frustration of being kept in the dark plus his fear of Voldemort’s return. I liked that Dumbledore was able to admit to his wrongdoing for keeping Harry in the dark and take responsibility for both his actions and the consequences they led to. Not many books for kids show adults admitting their faults, and this was the first glimpse we had at Dumbledore not being this perfect, omnipotent creature, but a man who can make errors. I remember how jarred I was when reading this one for the first time, wishing Harry would just be able to talk to Dumbledore and as an adult, I still feel the same way.

Rowling also has a talent for writing characters you just hate, and WOW do I hate Umbridge. Like, hats off to Imelda Staunton for bringing this despicable woman to life. Umbridge is as racist as the Malfoys, as hateful and vindictive as Snape, and as clueless as Fudge and all of that combined into someone who is easily one of the worse characters in this entire series. Between actively trying to put Harry down to literally torturing students, this woman is honestly the worst.

As for the other teacher we’ve all come to hate, this book is definitely the first glimpse of Snape’s redemption arc in the making. The mention that James saved Snape’s life was mentioned and easily ignored, but seeing how hellish James made Snape’s life was honestly heartbreaking. I love how you can feel Harry’s confusion at feeling sympathy for Snape because he knew that feeling all too well growing up with the Durselys and was unable to picture his father, the person he’s been positively compared to his whole life, as a bully. The choice to make Snape sympathetic is a debate the HP community will always have, and after rereading Deathly Hallows, I’ll add my own two cents to the conversation, but I can say for certain, Harry sympathizing with Snape is a scene that always tugs at my heart.

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

I also love how this book really shows Hagrid’s love to all creatures. By now, readers have learned that Hagrid loves all the beasts and monsters he cares for, but taking the time to teach his brother just hits different. It really makes Umbridge and the Slytherins giving him crap for his lessons that much more heartbreaking, as Hagrid clearly cares about the creatures, but lacks the confidence to be a good teacher, and the constant hate he gets for being half-giant doesn’t help.

I totally forgot that Harry and Hermione miss Ron’s Quiddich game when he finally helps Gryffindor win, resulting in them getting the Quiddich Cup. I liked that he was understanding, but Ron not having his friends there for his achievement free of Harry is just sad. I’m so excited to reread Half-Blood Prince due to getting more Harry/Ron Quiddich scenes.

The DA was also done so well in this book. I love how Neville really takes this opportunity to improve himself in Defense Against the Dark Arts with Harry’s help. Multiple times, there were mentions of Neville’s effort and concentration. Readers can assume this is due to Neville wanting to make his parents proud and Harry being able to help Harry with this warms my heart so much. The scene at St. Mongos is so sad though. Neville keeping the wrappers from his mom makes me tear up. You can tell how much Neville loves his parents and wants to make them proud. And him almost hitting Malfoy for making fun of people in St. Mongos towards the beginning of the book was one of the first moments you saw the bravery in Neville.

Harry getting a few swings at Malfoy was also pretty satisfying. I’m not one for violence at all, but after five books of Malfoy being a little git and constantly going after the Weasleys, I’m not surprised George and Harry finally cracked. Not worth a life-long ban from Quiddich, but definitely worth putting Malfoy in his place. Half-Blood Prince is where the threads for a redemption arc really come in for Malfoy and I’m excited to see how I feel about his character after this reread.

There’s a part of me that wishes I reread this book in college because hearing them freak over exams is so freaking relatable. If I get accepted to the grad program I’m applying to in September, I may have to break this book out again during exam season.

Final Thoughts:

This book was just so good. Each time I reread one of these books, I’m reminded as to how much I love this series. Order of the Phoenix was actually the first book I went to get at a midnight release at Borders and this one just means so much to me. As this is where the series really cemented the dark tone, it was nice to see how well everything has matured. Kids reading this series today can still feel the complex emotions introduced by Rowling and can have great discussions about maturing, grief, bullying, and prejudice. There’s a reason these books are so beloved and I think Order of the Phoenix exemplifies why. The light-hearted moments are great, the heavy moments are heartbreaking, and the issues discussed in this book are still prevalent today.

Rating:

5 stars

5 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | Book Review/Gush [Spoilers]

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