Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter 5): 5/7 Paperback – 10 Jul 2004
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As his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry approaches in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 15-year-old Harry Potter is in full-blown adolescence, complete with regular outbursts of rage, a nearly debilitating crush, and the blooming of a powerful sense of rebellion. It's been yet another infuriating and boring summer with the despicable Dursleys, this time with minimal contact from our hero's non-Muggle friends from school. Harry is feeling especially edgy at the lack of news from the magic world, wondering when the freshly revived evil Lord Voldemort will strike. Returning to Hogwarts will be a relief or will it?
Book five in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series follows the darkest year yet for our young wizard, who finds himself knocked down a peg or three after the events of last year. Over the summer, gossip (usually traced back to the magic world's newspaper, the Daily Prophet) has turned Harry's tragic and heroic encounter with Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament into an excuse to ridicule and discount the teenager. Even Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the school, has come under scrutiny from the Ministry of Magic, which refuses to officially acknowledge the terrifying truth: that Voldemort is back. Enter a particularly loathsome new character: the toad-like and simpering ("hem, hem") Dolores Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the minister of Magic, who takes over the vacant position of defence against dark arts teacher--and in no time manages to become the high inquisitor of Hogwarts. Life isn't getting any easier for Harry Potter. With an overwhelming course load as the fifth years prepare for their examinations, devastating changes in the Gryffindor Quidditch team line-up, vivid dreams about long hallways and closed doors, and increasing pain in his lightning-shaped scar, Harry's resilience is sorely tested.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, more than any of the four previous novels in the series, is a coming-of-age story. Harry faces the thorny transition into adulthood, when adult heroes are revealed to be fallible, and matters that seemed black and white suddenly come out in shades of gray. Gone is the wide-eyed innocent, the whiz kid of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Here we have an adolescent who's sometimes sullen, often confused (especially about girls), and always self-questioning. Confronting death again, as well as a startling prophecy, Harry ends his year at Hogwarts exhausted and pensive. Readers, on the other hand, will be energised as they enter yet again the long waiting period for the next title in the marvellous magical series. --Emilie Coulter
'I can honestly say I can't remember the last time I encountered an author who has had this effect on me. For the first time in years the book lives up to the hype perfection' Daily Express 'The most remarkable publishing sensation for a generation the story is told with such momentum, imagination and irrepressible humour that it can captivate both adults and children' Sunday Express 'Rowling deserves all the plaudits that are being heaped upon her. For once, the word phenomenon is an understatement' Scotland on Sunday 'Extraordinarily vivid and exceptionally well-imagined' Independent on SundaySee all Product description
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There are major changes at Hogwarts with Professor Umbridge seeming to make up the rules as she goes along and she is constantly on watch for Harry and his friends doing anything wrong. Harry, Hermione and Ron along with several other decide to set up their own class to learn practical defence against the dark arts when their lessons are changed to theory only.
I found the book quite upsetting at times as Harry struggles with many aspects of life which adults find difficult to deal with including unfairness exhibited by people he trusts. The book conveys very well indeed the feeling most people have when they are fifteen that they know the truth and everyone else is missing the obvious. The book really absorbed me and I found I was practically holding my breath at the end as the tension mounts and you just know it is going to take everyone's best efforts to extricate them all safely from a very dangerous situation.
JK Rowling must go down as one of our best story writers for children. The books are a large chunk of a young boys life, peppered with witchcraft, and the skills necessary to fight the dark side. Hermione and Ron, Harry's friends are an essential part of the stories. The relationship between the 3 is absorbing and intriguing. Its as much about relationships as it is about witchcraft!
This was the first novel in the series that I feel suffered from lack of an editor. It is overlong and I know of younger readers (the 8-10 age group mainly) who had enjoyed the earlier books but struggled to keep the thread through this one. It is less cohesive and tightly plotted than the preceding stories, and introduces a whole host of new characters. Some become firm favourites and pivotal to the final part of the series. I particularly like Luna Lovegood, who first appears in this book, and also Kinglsey Shacklebolt. It sees the return also of Remus Lupin, a fan favourite from the third book who did not appear in book four. Many of characters introduced are adults and it expands the number of adult characters in the series considerably.
The themes are 'darker' (every successive Harry Potter instalment is described as 'darker' generally). Abuse of power is an important theme. There's also a lot about the politics of the magical world underlying this story, and for some young readers this may be their introduction to some concepts about the world of politics in general. We see corruption, institutional prejudice, manipulation of the media, politicians lying, and politicians doing the wrong thing in order to protect their own jobs. Injustice is another key topic.
Harry Potter himself shows more 'teenage' tendencies in this book - he gets a bit shouty a few times and spends rather a lot of time thinking things are SO unfair. Of course, it's slightly undermined by the fact that things genuinely are. He gets his first girlfriend, and he sits his exams. There is a sinister element in the nightmares and visions which he suffers throughout the book, implying that he may be at risk of possession. In fact, he is viewed as mad and unstable by most of his fellow students throughout the novel. There is a character death at the end and several other characters are injured or in peril at various times.
The story has less of the innocent joyfulness and sparkle of some of the earlier stories, but it does tackle some more meaty themes and is still a great fun read. I would recommend it more for readers of age 10 and upwards, because I think younger children will find the length and structure more daunting, but of course it depends on the child. Adults will also enjoy the book. There are a few plot holes and a few inconsistencies introduced here that create problems later in the series - but overall, the Potter stories are always fun to read and virtually a required rite of passage for children in the 2000s. So sit back, enjoy, and don't think too hard about the details.
For the price, you'd be crazy not to get this book right away!
I know the Order of the Phoenix gets a lot of flack for being the longest book in the series, and reportedly not having a lot happening but it's the quieter moments in Hogwarts amongst the staff and students that make this an excellent read. The worldbuilding in this one adds even more to the grand spectacle that is the Wizarding World.
Not only my daughter, my son is also a harry potter fan and now this book is in his bookshelf. He also, read this so many times and love it. Without a doubt, this is one of the best books. These are the books which help kids to fell in love with reading. So, I can highly recommend this book!!!
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