Book Reviews

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling (2003).

Harry Potter, who once thought he was an ordinary muggle, is again stepping forth into danger and deception in the fifth novel of the series – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort’s return in the last novel created a rift between wizarding kind, resulting in two obvious groups. Those who believe Harry’s story, and therefore support Dumbledore, and those that believe the Dark Lord has not returned in any way shape or form and therefore support Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of magic. This all causes a great deal of fuss, and gives Voldemort the perfect opportunity to reek havoc and put his evil plans into action. At least that’s what Harry, Ron and Hermoine assume at first.

In this book Harry really matures and shows the kind of man he wants to be, choosing his own path and not necessarily the same path his father led, which he first thought was a perfect role model. Readers watch harry go from something of a frustrated brat in the way he behaves at the beginning of the book, to a slightly more mature and humble boy towards the end. But in saying that, Harry endures things that no child should suffer and it is this which gives the reader a reason to remain sympathetic. Harry’s connection to the Dark Lord is making him vulnerable and therefore dangerous to everyone else. So much so that Dumbledore believes it best to distance himself from Harry and dissuade members of the Order from giving him all of the knowledge of what has or will happen in accordance to their plans. Unfortunately this doesn’t work as he had hoped. Instead this lack of communication is the reason why Harry decides to act rashly and events, in turn, cause the untimely murder of his beloved godfather Sirius Black.

Ron and Hermione also experience an assortment of changes, each growing into young adults and allowing the reader glimpses of the people they will grow into. Ron finds much more confidence in himself. This is especially noticeable when Ron, along with the rest of the Griffindor Quidditch team win their first game. Hermoine begins to realise that not all rules are good, showing a more rebellious side to help fight on the side of good. She also shows her own sorts of courage when she plays devils advocate when Harry tries to rush to Sirius’ aid before trying to contact him in some way. As even Dumbledore himself has said before, it takes more for someone to stand up to ones friends than to ones enemies.
One of my most favourite detestable villain in all of the Harry Potter series is Professor Delores Umbridge. I find she depicts the perfect picture of a nasty evil person abusing her position of power. She is my favourite love to hate character. The scenes where she makes Harry write “I must not tell lies” in his own blood, causing bloody wounds to appear and the heal slowly on the back of his hand. The act is so evil it makes one’s blood boil. Thankfully Hermoine, is able to think quickly enough and manages to escape what could have been a nasty scenario that eventuates in Umbridge enduring her just deserves.
The inclusion of Neville and Luna in the final rescue mission really gives the feeling of love and loyalty amongst the characters, as well as showing readers that events that will follow really will need the work of all of them not just our favourite trio, but everyone. All of them fighting for what is right, for the greater good, showing loyalty to family friends and especially Dumbledore. Neville really shows a different side of himself during their adventure inside the ministry of magic. Still as clumsy as ever, Neville shows courage and bravery in the face of danger. He fought, (may be not real well but still!), against witches and wizards much more powerful, and although injured himself never stopped trying.
Its not until the end that we really find out what has happened to Albus Dumbledore and why he has been acting the way he has. He also explains to Harry the whole story behind his scar, and why the prophecy Voldemort had sought (not a weapon) had been connected. None of which is by any means good news. Harry realises that Dumbledore honestly wanted to protect him out of love, and it is the same love that made him blind and therefore underestimated him and his friends. 
One of the sadder though more intriguing moments of this book would have to be where Harry sees a past memory of Snape being tormented by his father, during an Occlemency lesson in which Professor Snape places memories he doesn’t want him to see in a pensive . All in the name of so called fun, because Sirius had said he was bored. I feel its this scene that gives Snape more heart to his character, showing readers a more vulnerable side to the sinister being he has become as an adult. It even makes Harry wonder if he really wants to be “just like his father”, like everyone’s always told him. Perhaps it also made him wonder that if it wasn’t for the cruel treatment caused by James Potter in their youth, then maybe Severus Snape wouldn’t have turned out to be the horrible individual he is now. 
Overall, without a doubt, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling is an unquestionable classic that has entertained and amazed billions of readers just like its predecessors. Watching Harry and his friends grow-up and endure numerous dangerous and extremely traumatic trials has been a complete pleasure. I recommend this book to anyone of any age. I feel given the chance everyone could enjoy this series. To Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix I give 10/10 stars.

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