Sunday, November 06, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: June, 2003
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 10/10

Description: 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?

Here are just a few of the things on Harry's mind:

• A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
• A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
• Ron as Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
• The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams

. . . and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.

Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice.

Though thick runs the plot (as well as the spine), readers will race through these pages and leave Hogwarts, like Harry, wishing only for the next train back.

My Thoughts: At 15 years of age, Harry Potter has seen more and experienced more than anyone around him and more than anyone should or could expect. He’s nearly a man and yet everyone continues to treat him like the eleven year old little boy he was when he discovered he was a wizard. The gloves are completely off with book #5. Harry is very angry in this book and with good reason. He is attacked and is forced to use magic which results in a hearing to determine if he will be expelled from Hogwarts. Everyone seems to know more than he does about why he is experiencing strange dreams about “you know who” but nobody will tell him anything. Professor Dumbledore goes out of his way to avoid looking at him or even speaking to him. Everyone is tip-toeing around Harry as if he were made of glass.

After the hearing is over and he returns to Hogwarts, things don’t get better at all. The new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher is a despicable and twisted witch who quite quickly uses her influence and connections at the Ministry to take over the school and not teach any actual defense tactics. People are convinced that Harry is an attention seeking lunatic who has made up the entire story of Voldemort’s return.

The first time I read this book, I immediately despised Dolores Umbridge, the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher. She’s a very sadistic individual who takes great pleasure in punishing people. Though the readers can certainly empathize with Harry’s hatred of Professor Snape, I can state that Umbridge beats Snape hands down in characters you would most like to see receive the Dementor’s kiss. That feeling has not changed one bit between then and now.

Unfortunately for Harry, he doesn’t seem to have an ally at the school. Professor Dumbledore is conspicuously absent and when he does make an appearance, he avoids looking at or speaking to Harry. I felt frustrated for Harry. Hagrid has been gone and when he finally returns, Harry still feels isolated. The only thing he truly looks forward to is playing Quidditch, especially now that Ron is on the team. Unfortunately, Professor Umbridge is determined ruin that for Harry too.

As a result of Umbridge’s refusal to teach true Defense Against the Dark Arts, Hermione insists the only way the students will learn is to do it themselves. After some persuading, Harry agrees to start secretly coaching other students on performing defense spells. They even call themselves “Dumbledore’s Army.”

Ultimately, Harry has to rely on those around him as Voldemort and his Death Eaters make their move. Just like Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix does not have a happy ending for Harry. The wizarding world is officially at war and the stakes are higher than ever.

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)