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

July 3, 2013 Review 0 ★★★★★

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #5
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 2004 August 10
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 870
Format: Hardbound
Source: Purchased
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Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

I can still remember how I got this book. I just turned 18 and my mother was telling me that she will buy another pair of jeans as a gift for my birthday. But I strongly refused as I have already made up my mind to get my hands on the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And my mother and I had to travel 3 hours from where I’m staying to buy it. That was one of the most memorable birthday that I ever had.

Between the release of GoF and OotP, it was such a long wait that it was almost an agony. *Sighs* Those were the days. Anyway, before I make a novel out of this reminiscing, let’s bring on the book review.

Gist

After the events in GoF, Harry Potter finds himself facing another—aside from his archenemy Lord Voldemort—foe, the Ministry of Magic itself. After Harry and Dumbledore’s declaration of Voldemort’s return to the Wizarding world, the Ministry was not keen to accept the truth and instead created ways to cover up any evidences that would lead to clues of the Dark Lord’s return. Worse than that was the Ministry is making its best efforts to slander both Harry and Dumbledore making them look like a big joke to the whole magical community. What with all these, Harry’s scar was hurting more than ever and his slumber is constantly disturbed with a single dream, he was walking down a dark corridor reaching for something.

Even at Hogwarts, Harry’s comfort zone, things are not happening the way he expected them to be. For one, they had a new DADA professor, a Ministry Official by the name of Dolores Umbridge. She was foul, a spawn of hell and ensured that whoever speaks the truth will be duly punished. This means that Harry, who had never backed down from telling everyone of the truth, was always in detention. It was also not helping that Dumbledore who had been Harry’s pillar of strength seemed to avoid him, even refusing to talk or meet his eye. In this rough times, Harry’s only consolation was that he together with Ron and Hermione were able to form a secret organization that serves as a symbol of rebellion against Umbridge and the Ministry.

As Harry continues to dream of the dark corridor, he also experienced flashes of Voldemort’s thoughts and emotions. This greatly troubled him. However, this ability to look into Voldemort’s mind became very useful when Harry—seeing through Voldemort’s mind—saw a vision of Ron’s dad being attacked by a large snake. Mr. Weasley would have died if Harry did not immediately inform the Order of the Phoenix of what happened. Though a useful ability, Dumbledore through Snape encouraged Harry to close his mind from Voldemort’s thoughts.

Harry ignored this until such time that Voldemort used this connection to lure him to the place he’d always been dreaming, the dark corridor which was actually the corridor leading to the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort planted a vision to Harry’s mind that Sirius was there, being severely tortured by Deatheaters.

With his impulsiveness, Harry and a gang of his friends immediately set out for the Department of Mysteries inside the Ministry of Magic. Inside the Department, he saw a prophecy with his and the Dark Lord’s name on it. Curiosity made him pick it up and that’s when the real trouble began. Death Eaters appeared from everywhere demanding for Harry to hand over the prophecy. And Harry realized that the vision he had seen of his tortured godfather was false. That Voldemort did it to lure him and get the prophecy.

A fight ensued which broke the prophecy. Harry and his friends were almost outnumbered by the more powerful Deatheaters if not for the timely arrival of the members of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore himself. More fighting followed that resulted to Sirius’ death. Harry’s shock and grief were indescribable.

Then Voldemort showed up. He and Dumbledore dueled. Alas, when it looked like Dumbledore was going to win, Voldemort immediately possessed Harry only to suffer unbearable pain. The Dark Lord immediately left Harry’s body and vanished from sight but not before the Ministry officials who were already arriving for work saw him including the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge.

The truth was finally out. Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts to almost everyone’s happiness. Meanwhile, Harry who was not only grief-stricken with Sirius’ untimely death was also shaken upon knowing the contents of the prophecy Voldemort had wanted so badly. It was revealed that the prophecy spoke of a boy who will defeat the Dark Lord and the previous and present circumstances indicated that the boy in question was Harry Potter after all.

Plot

I guess, for the life of me, there’s no HP sequel that I did not love. They were all amazing. Fast paced with strong and interesting plots. Who wouldn’t want that? The plot of the Order of the Phoenix heavily revolves around the important role of the government and how it can break and make the order of the society it governs. Harry’s world is magical and yet the issues that it tackles are totally real and relatable.

In OotP, we delve deeper into Harry’s world providing us a lesson or more in governance. This book has a very profound effect on me for it touches the very core of human principles in relation to upholding what is lawfully right and wrong. This is a literary masterpiece depicting a corrupt government at work.

And how Ms Rowling managed to relay a very touchy subject with the usual funny and heartwarming elements in this book is beyond my imagination. An excellent read as usual!

Characters

What took me so long to write this review was that until now, like Harry’s first reaction, I haven’t yet moved on from Sirius’ tragic death. I mean, how come he wasn’t spared from Death’s list? It’s so unfair he didn’t his name finally acquitted from the crime he didn’t do. I must admit that my heart still bleeds for him as I’m writing this review.

On the other hand, if you happen to be head-over-heels in love with all the Harry Potter characters, then this book does not fail. In OotP, we will see our heroes becoming more mature as they’re not only confronted with dangerous tasks but also with issues on teenage love, rivalry, and the need to keep resisting a crooked government.

As consistent with the other books, OotP’s characters are very authentic and well developed that I think everyone might be able to connect to. For example, I can see a little bit of me in Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius and even Dumbledore. It’s a very good feeling that you are able to laugh, cry and get angry together with these characters.

Interactions and Dialogues

To those HP fanatics out there, I would like to ask you a simple question. What does Harry Potter have that makes us read it for countless of times? Of course, the humorous and nerve hitting dialogues of the characters. Whenever I feel blue and bored, I just pick up any of the sequel out my HP stack and read randomly. My favorite dialogues would always that be of Ron and Hermione bickering or that of Fred and George’s antics. Trust me, just reading even a single sentence of any of the HP dialogues is enough to brighten my day.

The dialogues and interactions were straightforward, not overdone and very imaginative. Even with the pressure from Voldemort’s presence and the Ministry’s unreasonable intervention, OotP does not fail to make us laugh over and over again.

OotP is one good read even if we are just evaluating it by its interactions and dialogues.

Lessons Learned

  • If you want to make a significant difference for the general public, make the first step- What OotP teaches us is that you cannot always rely for the government to do everything. As a member of the masses, you have the power to start taking steps differently. You can always do better. This is best exemplified by Harry and Dumbledore who stuck with the truth even if the whole world is mocking them. If you want to see positive changes in the government, then endure the process until you emerge victorious.
  • A single act of cruelty can become your ticket to death- As what had happened to Sirius Black. We remember in GoF, he talked about something like “if you want to know what a man is, you should look at how he treats his inferiors.” And yet, he was almost as cruel as Barty Crouch Sr. in the way he treated Kreacher, the house-elf. Had he been kinder to Kreacher, then there might have been hope that he survived the Department of Mysteries Battle.
  • Pay heed to your Elders- Aside from Kreacher’s lying, Harry’s hard-headedness and impulsiveness also played a big part in Sirius’ death. Had he listened to Dumbledore, then Sirius might have still been alive, finally a free man.

Are you an HP fan too? What sequel did you love and hate in the HP installment? And why?

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