So today we’re talking Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is 100% the most underrated book in the entire series. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
A lot of people write this book off because it’s a little… cerebral… compared to the others in the story. There doesn’t always seem to be action or adventure, despite containing one of the biggest “fight scenes” in the entire series. The cause for this is that too many people write off what they deem Harry’s “grumpiness” in the book and get mad it’s so central to the story. His grumpiness, which is probably more accurately described as depression or PTSD, is SO unbelievably important. This teenager has just gone through an incredible trauma, and yet he still tries to figure out a way to help his cause throughout the story. Despite never getting answers, he wants to help. He also continuously hides his feelings, or at least tries to. A lot of people can relate to Harry’s struggle in this book. His sadness and anger shouldn’t be pushed aside and labeled as grumpy or emotional. It’s meant to make us think about how we all react to trauma, and it SHOULD make us consider how we all react to others who have experienced trauma.
Order is more cerebral; so much of it takes place within the mind – Harry’s mind, Voldemort’s mind, even the Longbottoms’ minds. Being in the mind doesn’t mean there’s no action, there certainly is. And we shouldn’t hate on a book simply because it’s not a 500 pages battle sequence. The time for that comes, but I think we need to celebrate cerebral when we’ve got it.
And so, onto the review.
REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling
Plot: Voldemort is back, but Harry has been shunted to Privet Drive all summer with no information. What is Dumbledore’s plan? Will the Ministry of Magic ever acknowledge what’s happening? Harry has a lot of questions in this book, but also provides a lot of answers to those who need it most – his fellow students – when it becomes clear the Ministry is interfering with their education at Hogwarts. Is it possible for a teenager to worry about impending war while also going on dates? Harry’s bound to find out this year.
Most Memorable Line(s): “The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure.”
-Said by Snape, I just think this is such a great and interesting way to think about the mind.
What I liked: As I said above, I think this novel is the most underrated of the series. Up there I talked about why people write it off, but here I’m going to talk about why I didn’t. For one, I’m all about being in the heads of characters. And I think this book provides that in so many different ways. Obviously, we’re in Harry’s head all the time. And I think, as I said earlier, that it’s important that we see him struggle in the wake of Cedric’s death and Voldy’s return. How could he NOT struggle? I love, as well, that we get to see more of his classmates’ family lives. Seamus’ mother doesn’t approve of Harry, while Neville’s grandmother does. SPEAKING of the Longbottoms, that scene, where Harry, Ron and Hermione see Neville at St. Mugno’s, is such a poignant and important scene. It truly highlights that Harry’s not the only one that lost a family the last time Voldy was around. I think it’s great that Rowling goes further into relationships in this one. They’re 15 now, and they’re curious. Harry has liked Cho for 2 years. I also love that he bombs their first real date. So adorable and funny. I also love that we get to see some of Harry’s true, innate abilities in this book as well. With everything he went through in Goblet, where he really wasn’t prepared at all, it’s nice to see him excel. Hermione is the best, sure, but Harry being a teacher was such a brilliant idea. I so enjoyed seeing all of those different characters come together to learn Defense against the Dark Arts stuff. With that in mind, I love Rowling’s decision to make Fudge paranoid and have him insert Umbridge. She’s honestly one of the top 2 most vile people in this entire series. And that’s why I love the decision. Her evilness is what truly makes Harry the leader he’s meant to be; he earns it from his skills, rather than his circumstances. And that it so, so important. Then there’s the battle. What a brilliant battle, in my opinion. Highlighting that Harry is an incredible teacher, along with the courage of those students, just brings a smile to my face. Then adding the Order members who mean so much to them all, just wonderful. I love the way that we see the evil surrounding them and the (devastating) cost of going to war. Dumbledore vs. Voldy is PERFECT. I love the way the brains capture Ron and the comment that sometimes, thoughts are more dangerous that physical wounds. I just thought it was a brilliant bit of writing for Rowling. I thought she did so right by her characters. Finally, I love that we finally get explanations for why things have happened the way they have. Dumbledore’s answers are finally sufficient. (And Harry gets to blow of some steam, deservedly).
What I didn’t like: I’m sorry, but everyone is really shitty to Harry in this book. How is it that no one, except for Hermione one time (kinda rudely I might add) asks Harry how he feels, and how he’s doing, and how he’s coping? It’s completely ridiculous. This kid WITNESSED A MURDER and then is treated as fragile. Guess what, he is fragile, and he should’ve been given help, not silence. The whole book people are angry for Harry snapping at them. But only twice does Harry rear his head and say what’s on his mind. I found it really unbelievable that that would be the course of action for all of the Order and his friends. And I can’t grapple with the fact that Dumbledore is not aware enough to realize that having Snape do Occlumency is a TERRIBLE idea. While Dumbledore may have “forgotten how youth feels,” I really do find it inexcusable. It makes no sense. Every decision Rowling makes usually I can find understanding in it. I cannot find understanding in the Occlumency decision. I’ve read the book a dozen times, and I can’t. I understand that Snape is an accomplished Occlumens, and that he’s an Order member at the school, I get all of that. But I’m sorry, Dumbledore is the most brilliant wizard ever, and even if he was trying to stay away from Harry, he should’ve been smarter than that. Also, obviously, I hate the Sirius decision, but I understand it – it still just makes me sad and I hate that Harry is sad.
Grade: 9/10 … for some unacceptable decision making skills. This book, however, is still one of my favorites in the whole series. There’s just something about it, I really love it.