BOOK REVIEW : Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling has yet again maintained the appeal of the Harry Potter Series in this installment. I would call this a beast book for sure. It kept me up at nights because there was so much happening. The intense darkness in this book led me to keep reading, wondering when things will get back to normal. The plot twists in Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix are extremely thrilling.
The mythical adventures are the back bone of this book. And whenever you feel sorry for Harry, you want to close the book and throw it away. But at the same time, you want to see how this misery ends for him. J.K. Rowling has webbed an incredible plot which keeps you hanging on in the middle, thinking how the story will end. It is a perfect combination of sadness, excitement, hatred and thrill. You cannot decide which emotion to hold on and which to leave behind in this installment.
Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix is an art in itself. With so much darkness enclosed in one book, it is an art to keep the readers going and J.K. Rowling just did it. She maintained the appeal and magic in the book wonderfully. The characters are playing their role quite well; for instance, Umbridge’s character was perfect to be hated and J.K. Rowling molded it really well too.
BOOK SUMMARY: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
This series of Harry Potter starts with Harry being stuck for vacations with the Dursleys yet again. They are up with their usual, irritating nonsense, believing that wizards are freaks. However Harry is ignorant towards them and is more worried about his friends not writing to him about the war with Lord Voldemort. As he is resentful, he starts having fights with Dudley (his cousin). But during one of his fights with Dudley, a shocking thing happens; two dementors show up! They are guards of the Prison of Azkaban and have the power of sucking soul right out of anybody’s body. Harry is fifteen and his age limit is a hurdle for him. He cannot use magic outside the Wizarding School. But at the same time, he cannot allow the dementors to suck Dudley’s soul out. Confused, he repels the dementors but as soon as this happens, Harry receives a letter for his hearing. He is charged guilty of using a spell outside Hogwarts and he might get expelled too.
The Order of the phoenix arrives then to take Harry to the headquarters, for his hearing. Order of phoenix is an amazing group of wizards who saved Harry from the attack of Voldemort, fifteen years ago. Harry is bought to a townhouse in London, where he is astounded to find Sirius Black, Ron and Hermione, waiting for him. The house is possessed by Sirius Black. In fact the house has belonged to Black family since ages. Sirius cannot leave the palace as he is a convicted murderer. Even though he can transform in to a dog, he is unable to do so as Voldemort knows of this too. Thus, he is stuck in this palace of his.
Sirius is unhappy and so is Harry. Sirius is stuck inside and can never face the outer world, which makes him gloomy. At the same time, Harry feels lonely as he is left out from the war planning with Voldemort. He had faced Voldemort 4 times and had survived. The loneliness and the resentful feeling is what makes this series darker than the previous one. Anyhow, Harry reaches his hearing, where he is able to tell the entire happening back at Dursleys place and that whatever he did was an act of self-defense. Arabella Figg was told to keep an eye on Harry (upon Prof Dumbledore’s order) was able to explain it all to them. However, Dumbledore does not speak to Harry or even look at him. Even though he proves him innocent, his ignorance hurt Harry as he was unable to decipher why Dumbledore had turned his back on him. So harry does the same and both of them don’t really get back, until the end of the book.
This hearing plays a much darker role than just Dumbledore being ignorant towards Harry. Cornelius Fudge, the Ministry of Magic, uses this hearing as a weapon to get Harry kicked out of school. He refuses to acknowledge the return of Voldemort so he is up to different things which can help him get rid of Harry. He also tells the Daily Prophet to publish against him, telling that Harry is not stable mentally. Dolores Umbridge is sent to Hogwarts as the new teacher for Defense against the Dark Arts. However, she is a spy for Cornelius as she has to keep a close eye on Harry. Fudge is doing all this as he suspects that Harry is trying to take his position as the Ministry of Magic.
Dolores Umbridge is worse than a nightmare for the students of Hogwarts, especially for Harry. She gives detentions to him which had more than just tough tasks to attend to. Her growing power was impossible to control as Ministry of Magic was backing her up. She announces that students are not allowed to meet in more than group of two or three people without permission. She was growing to be the evilest at Hogwarts. It gets unbearable for Harry to deal with the new teacher. The Daily Prophet had already made his life hell and she adds up to it by telling it to him on his face that he is lying about Voldemort. So he decides to join Hermione’s group, the Dumbledore Army and starts to meet them in secret.
Umbridge does not allow them to use spells during the class, so the students decided to do so on their own. They made their own army, with the weird name though, with Harry leading them. They all knew that Ministry of Magic was scared that Dumbledore will build a strong group of wizards in Hogwarts who will be extremely loyal to him. They did not take authority from Dumbledore and kept it secretive. Harry is delighted with the progress they all are making and at least he has this army to look forward to as he has been banned to play Quid ditch too. Things has gone a lot of worse for Harry as he had started having nightmares where he is seeing through the eyes of Lord Voldemort.
Things get a little better from Chapter 21, as Voldemort’s snake attacks Mr. Weasley. Harry runs to McGonagall and Dumbledore to tell them about the attack. This is when Harry also tells Dumbledore about his dreams. Professor tells Harry to start studying Occulumency. This is a type of magic in which the mind of a wizard is protected from magical scanning. Apart from Dumbledore, only one person was good at Occulumency and that was Prof Snape. What could be worse for Harry? He was one of the most hated teachers of Harry. Anyways the lessons began in complete secrecy upon Dumbledore’s orders. But the lessons are leaving Harry’s mind even more open and his dreams are getting too constant. The glimpses of his bad dreams are also being watches by Snape which annoys Harry even more. He is the last person who would want to share his embarrassing moments with.
The worst happens when Harry is sitting in Professor Snape’s office one day and he thinks of getting revenge. He opens a box of memories and finds a picture of Snape in which he is being bullied harshly by Sirius, Remus, Worm tail and his very own father James. This leaves Harry even more depressed as he starts doubting his idols too. Dumbledore was already being ignorant and Harry had to face all of this too. What could be worse right? But the next thing was even worst; Dumbledore’s army got caught and the Ministry of Magic used it as a proof to arrest Dumbledore. However, he left Hogwarts on his own, leaving Harry without any mentor at all.
With Sirius being isolated, he jumps on to anything that he imagines can get him out of that palace. Harry’s anger keeps pilling up and he thinks that Dumbledore had been hiding something from him. Therefore, he tries to look into the matters through his ever-growing nightmares. And one night, Harry sees the worst of all nightmares; Voldemort torturing Sirius. Harry decides to rescue his godfather. But Dumbledore and McGonagall are both gone from Hogwarts. Harry, being left with no other option, relies on Prof Snape. However he is doubtful that Snape will be of any help to him.
Thus, Harry decides to go to the Ministry of Magic, along with his best friends and students from the Dumbledore Army. But once they reach the basement of the Ministry, Harry realizes that he has been seeing the same place in his dreams too. Sirius is nowhere to be found. The truth is that Voldemort had been sending those nightmares to Harry to trap him. Harry’s friends are captured by a circle of death eaters. The fight gets worse and Hermione gets several internal injuries and Ron grapples with a giant brain. The rest of them are also facing the worse of all and it is all because of Harry’s nightmares. But worse of that could happen is that Sirius Black comes up to rescue Harry and is brutally killed.
Professor Dumbledore comes into the department at the same as Voldemort enters. The show down goes on when at last Harry is possessed by Voldemort so that he can force Dumbledore to kill him. However, Harry being so full of emotions does not let the possession over take him. As he could not control Harry, Voldemort is all set to run off. However, before he could go Cornelius Fudge sees him with his own eye and now he has no reason to deny the return of Lord Voldemort. Umbridge is removed and Dumbledore returns to his place in Hogwarts.
Once everyone is back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore explains is attitude to Harry. He says that h was doing it all to keep Harry safe as he was trying to save Sirius Black too. However, he realizes that letting a man rot in a closed palace for the rest of his life was not the best idea that he had acted upon. Harry rages at Dumbledore because he was filled with guilt. He didn’t believe he had feel for Voldemort’s trap and had dragged his friends in it too. Once all is cleared. Dumbledore explains the prophecy to Harry. He told Harry that the prophecy was created in the year Harry was born. The prophecy stated that the boy who takes birth at the end of the July to the parents who have challenged Voldemort three times, will have powers that Voldemort does not possess. There were two candidates of the Prophecy; Harry Potter and Neville Long bottom. However, Voldemort had chosen Harry on his own as the owner of the prophecy and he had left him with a scar. Now, Harry has to kill Voldemort or he will get killed by him.
Eventually Harry knows why Voldemort is after him. Voldemort his scared of Harry because he owns powers, which are a threat to the future of his dark powers. And Harry has to keep facing him until either of them is dead; it is his fate. When he has finally understood everything, and with his sorrow for the death of Sirius Black, Harry’s anger swipes away gradually. They all know now that a war is on the way and Harry has to face his challenges like an adult now.
MOVIE VS BOOK
The darkness that this 5th installment beholds in it, is impossible to fit into a movie. If you ask me whether the movie was a disappointment in comparison to the book, then I would say a million times YES. The book holds darkness, thrill and immense excitement in it. There were a lot of adventures and you could feel Harry’s depression over taking you too. However, the movie was a totally opposite of it all.
Being realistic, the movies are only 2.5 hours and a book that is so lengthy (you need to days to complete it), cannot be fixed into a book. Yes, if the movie was a 5 hour one, the details could have been fit in somehow. A lot of good stuff is cut down and this does not let the film do justice to the book.
A lot of people preferred the movie because they feel that the book was too bloated and should have been around 300 pages less. But that does not justify the fact that the book had all the adventures and thrill summed up in it. Even if it takes you a week or two to complete it, you get a lot more information from the book rather than the movie.
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Lexile Measure: 950L (What’s this?)
Series: Harry Potter (Book 5)
Paperback: 896 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 1, 2004)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother Kathleen Ada Bulgen Rowling. She calls herself Jo and has said, “No one ever called me ‘Joanne’ when I was young, unless they were angry.” Following her marriage, she has sometimes used the name Joanne Murray when conducting personal business. During the Leveson Inquiry she gave evidence under the name of Joanne Kathleen Rowling. In a 2012 interview, Rowling noted that she no longer cared that people pronounced her name incorrectly.
Rowling was born to Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Rowling (née Volant), on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol. Her mother Anne was half-French and half-Scottish. Her parents first met on a train departing from King’s Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. Her mother’s maternal grandfather, Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Her mother’s paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.
Rowling’s sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four. She attended St Michael’s Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael’s, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. She recalls that: “I can still remember me telling her a story in which she fell down a rabbit hole and was fed strawberries by the rabbit family inside it. Certainly the first story I ever wrote down (when I was five or six) was about a rabbit called Rabbit. He got the measles and was visited by his friends, including a giant bee called Miss Bee.” At the age of nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales. When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said “taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind,” gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford’s autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling’s heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.
Rowling has said of her teenage years, in an interview with The New Yorker, “I wasn’t particularly happy. I think it’s a dreadful time of life.” She had a difficult homelife; her mother was ill and she had a difficult relationship with her father (she is no longer on speaking terms with him). She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother had worked as a technician in the science department. Rowling said of her adolescence, “Hermione [a bookish, know-it-all Harry Pottercharacter] is loosely based on me. She’s a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I’m not particularly proud of.” Steve Eddy, who taught Rowling English when she first arrived, remembers her as “not exceptional” but “one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English.” Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth owned a turquoise Ford Anglia, which she says inspired the one in her books.