Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is an angry book, a lamentation and a thanatopsis. It contains the usual chorus of Doxies, Puffskeins, Bowtruckles, Spattergroit and Thestrals, not to mention a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. The first few pages include a lonely Harry, an attack by the Death Eaters, and his possible expulsion from Hogwarts, among other seemingly tiny incidents, which eventually become fundamentally important to the storyline as a whole.
This is the longest book in the series. However, with so much going on, this makes for a cracking read. The book really delves into Harry’s potential and his past, which opens up more surprises for the readers. Though more protracted and perhaps less charming than the previous books, it is nevertheless well-written and engaging. Less blatantly “spiritual” and more character-driven than the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire, the Order of the Phoenix is still dark from the outset. Families must still navigate all the spells, sorcery and intense conflict inherent in the series.
Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.
The Order of the Phoenix is where the Harry Potter series begins to get complicated. This ranges from simple character developments, to personal flashbacks and important discoveries, which will eventually help win the war against Voldemort. In many ways, this book is a very emotional journey for Harry.
Rowling portrays his teenage mood swings and attitude brilliantly, disguising them as reactions to specific incidents, just as Harry himself believes them to be. The general disbelief of the magical community that Voldemort has returned, along with Harry’s stubborn reaction to his isolated summer, perfectly compliment the age development of most of the characters. Meanwhile, thanks to Harry’s temper tantrums, Ron and Hermione are able to develop their friendship even further. Their bond beautifully encapsulates the awkward teenage friendships between boys and girls. Some witty moments also serve to highlight the stark differences in teenage maturities.
The battle scenes are very complex and readers may find themselves having to re-read them in order to get their head ’round what is happening. This might be a harder read for younger children than the previous books.
That said, it is no less enjoyable and continues to build the suspense. There are some wonderful touches: Sirius Black’s family home – where Harry, Hermione and Ron hide out when being pursued by the Ministry of Magic – being one.
We once again see much-loved characters such as Remus Lupin. This book is very dark in places and we see that our hero isn’t infallible. This gives him yet another dimension and allows us to identify with his struggles. There is plenty of humor as well, so it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. For example, the twins’ appetite for practical jokes has neither diminished nor become tiresome.
There were many insightful ideas littered throughout this fifth book. But the one deserving a mention finds its place toward the end of the book. It was when Harry and Dumbledore have their heavy, emotional confrontation after Sirius’ death.
“Sirius did not hate Kreacher,” said Dumbledore. “He regarded him as a servant unworthy of much interest of notice. Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike…”
Overall, the Order of the Phoenix is an excellent book and a wonderfully engrossing read. It deserves 4 stars out of 5, for it takes the readers back into the wonderful yet rapidly-changing magical world of wizardry.
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