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on 24 June 2006
At the start of this book we're told that Dursley has become a boxer. Apparently this means he now goes around with a gang beating up boys five years younger than him. This aspect alone should show you how JKR has little integrity as a writer. First, if a boy learns boxing he will also learn self-respect and restraint. Being hit on regular basis is a great lesson in life. Rowling here shows that she simply hasn't bothered researching the subject. If she had, she'd have learned that taking up boxing would change Dursley as a character. Second, and a worse crime really since it's about being a better writer, she's missed the opportunity to turn Dursley into a more interesting character, someone who might even have become an ally for Harry.

Shame on anyone for continuing with this commercial cash cow after this element alone.
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on 21 November 2017
Book Review
Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: MG/Fantasy
Rating: ****
Review: This is obviously the fifth book in my all-time favorite book series and after the darker event of the Goblet of Fire, we re-join Harry after the Dark Lord’s return. While Goblet of Fire signaled the turn in the series for happy to sorrowful the Order of the Phoenix is the first book that really explores these new themes and atmospheres. The opening chapter of Order of the Phoenix truly sets the dark tone with Harry cut off from the wizarding world while stuck at Privet Drive and it all culminates in a dementor attack on the streets of Little Whingeing. This really sets the stage for later events in this book and the remaining too especially with the Ministry of Magic still ignorant to Voldemort’s return. One thing I liked about this book is we get more inside into Petunias history with the wizarding world and more information about Lily’s childhood. As Harry learns of the Order and its members he feels cheated and isolated which will become a major theme in this novel.
One thing I prefer in the book to the movie is the way Molly and Sirius constantly butt heads over the correct way to raise Harry, as Molly sees him as a soon while Sirius is his godfather. This wasn't played on in the movie apart from a very small scene and it does not do the power struggle justice here. We also begin to see Harry differently here, we no longer see him as a boy but rather a boy who has faced more than many adults but isn't acknowledged as an adult just yet because he is only 15. Harry's personality has also changed compared to previous books but avid Potter fans know this will be explained later in the novel. We also get more information on bloodlines in this book, it was interesting to learn that Tonks, the Weasleys, Sirius, the Malfoys and the LeStranges are all related either by blood or marriage explaining some of the strain between the characters.
As Harry prepares for his hearing at the Ministry for use of underage magic and being the Statute of Secrecy, we still haven't seen the appearance of a major character; Dumbledore. That is until Harry’s hearing where he makes a surprise appearance with Mrs. Figg to defend Harry’s actions. Despite this, he doesn’t speak or even look at Harry the entire time and leaves swiftly after the hearing is concluded. The conversation between Dumbledore and Fudge is also interesting as it hints heavily at the events of the previous book and the different stances the two wizards are taking on those events. We are also introduced to a new character we will come to know intimately throughout the novel; Dolores Umbridge.
I loved the differences between the books and the movies especially with Order of the Phoenix, there are three scenes that are far better in the books than the movie. The first isn't in the movie at all and it should have been; Molly Weasley’s boggart. As we know boggarts take the form of the person's greatest fear and seeing Molly's was sad but great. Molly's boggart is seeing her family dead and she can't get rid of it despite knowing the spell as the thing that kills of a boggart is laughter. The interesting thing about this scene is Harry is among the dead children meaning that Molly truly sees him as her son and worries for him. This scene also shows us how far she had come and how much she has developed between Order of the Phoenix and the Deathly Hallows. The second scene is the introduction of Luna Lovegood, in the movie she is presented as a dreamy soft-spoken girl which for the most part she is but the books show a different side to her, a forceful and prideful side. This is shown when Hermione insults the Quibbler which Luna’s father edits and she becomes quite snappy and very different to her usual persona. This Luna makes much more sense considering what happens in the rest of this novel and the role Luna plays. The final scene is the thestral scene, this is the first time Harry has ever seen the thestrals which Luna can also see although he doesn't know what they are yet. This scene is important for two reasons; first because it his home that darkness and war are upon the students as thestrals can only be seen by those who have seen death in Harry's case Cedric and second because it gives nods to earlier novels when Ron didn't believe what Harry was telling him i.e. the Mirror of Erised in Philosopher's stone and the voice in the Chamber of secrets. Ask these small details were left out of the movie but are key for character development especially in secondary characters and plot progression.
It doesn't take long for Umbridge to appear again but this time in the role of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor rather than Ministry official. Slowly but steadily more and more signs at the dark times to come are appearing and Harry is reminded of dark times past. We can see from Umbridge’s first lesson that she doesn’t plan to teach the students anything and does so in a way that makes you loathe her from the second she is introduced at Harry’s hearing. Umbridge certainly makes Harry’s blood boil especially when she hints at him being a liar and saying that the Dark Lord hasn’t returned, she is very much under Fudge’s thumb like most other Ministry officials but we get the feeling she has some ulterior motives as well. Seeing Umbridge’s detention with Harry really made my blood boil and I have always believed she is in fact worse that Voldemort on the evil scale – Voldemort has his reasons for being evil, Umbridge is just evil for the sake of being evil. Harry's relationship with Sirius is also portrayed very differently. In the books there is a lot more strain on them especially since Sirius can't go outside as he is still a wanted man and he does come across as rather petty when he compares Harry to James in a negative way. It is no wonder Harry has a saviour complex when loads of people put him down only increasing his need to please others. As the first month of school closes and the first Hogsmead weekend approaches Hermione comes up with the idea to get Harry to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts in secret away from Umbridge`s tyranny. While Harry doesn't like the idea at first, he is eventually persuaded by Hermione and Ron, but not just to teach them to each everyone that wants to learn. Much to Harry's surprise a lot of people turn up for the meeting but they may have been overheard by someone as Umbridge enforces educational decree 24 to disband all the school's clubs, organisations and teams.
The group find somewhere to practice; the room of requirement which will become a key location in the rest of the series. They also come up with a name of Dumbledore’s Army thought of by Cho and Ginny. As the year wears on the group learn from the basics up but are making progress. One thing we see between book and movie is in the later movies the focus is on the upcoming war while the books still focus on the everyday lives of the wizard's like lessons and Quidditch. As Umbridge gains more control over the school she gives Harry, Fred and George lifetime bans from school Quidditch thus practically destroying the team but this downer doesn't last long as finally Hagrid returns although not in the state he left in. Among all the other stuff going on the gang still has time to cope with homework and teenage relationships. This book also reveals the relationships between characters and their history. We are also greeted to one of my favourite quotes courtesy of Hermione: "just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon, doesn't mean we all have". I honestly must say that Stephen Fry’s narration was beautiful, his impressions of the characters are amazing, my personal favourites are Snape, Harry and surprisingly Umbridge. Things get serious when Harry witnessed a vision of Arthur Weasley getting attacked by a snake which turns out to be true. As Arthur recovers in the wizard's hospital St. Mungo’s the children learn using the twins’ extendable ears that the snake belongs to the Dark Lord and the Order believe that Harry was possessed by Voldemort in his sleep. Considering recent events the gang spend Christmas at Grimmauld Place with Sirius and two of the smaller story lines are heavily posted upon; the divide in the Weasley family and Harry's dream. Despite all the doom and gloom there are several humorous moments that really make the story enjoyable rather than depressing which it aims to be.
As the return to Hogwarts is approving Harry learns he is going to be given occlumency lessons by Snape. In hindsight probably not, Dumbledore’s best idea given the history between the pair. We also get some background into Sirius and Snape’s tense relationship that almost results in a fight between them, although we learn more about this later. It is around this point I start feeling sorry for Snape, as a true potter head I know what he went through with not only Sirius, but Lupin and James Potter also and given what is to come you can help but sympathise with him. As Harry starts his occlumency lessons he feels that maybe they are doing more harm than good but before the trio can dwell on it they learn of a mass breakout of death eaters from Azkaban prison including Bellatrix LeStrange further developing Neville as a character. Slowly Harry starts putting the pieces together about his dreams and visions but his occlumecy isn't as bad as the movie makes out. Harry and Snape’s relationship also depends when Harry gets to see some of his feared professor's memories although completely by accident.
I really like the fact that a lot of the secondary story lines that were under played or completely cut from the movie are well considered in the book. For example, Harry and Cho’s relationship is a little fling while Cho deals with her grief after Cedric’s death in the movie but in the book, it is a lot more than that. The Harry vs the Ministry story line also under played in the movie is stronger in the books with Harry fighting back against Fudge whenever he can like in his interview with Rita Skeeter that is published in the Quibbler. It is only a matter of time before Umbridge finds out about the DA and Dumbledore takes the blame leading him to leave Hogwarts temporarily allowing Umbridge to assume the role of Headmistress. Alongside all this Harry is getting closer and closer to finding out what is hidden in the department of mysteries, but he is still naive to the fact that Voldemort is getting closer too. While he has been attended occlumency with Snape for months he has made little progress into closing his mind and while he has witnessed some of Snape’s memories, Harry literally sticks his nose where it isn't wanted revealing Snape’s worst memory.
This memory Harry sees practically destroys the perfect image Harry has always had of his father and shatters the illusions other people had built around James. While Harry is slightly sympathetic towards Snape having dealt with a similar problem with Dudley, he is more anger that Snape has taken away the rose-tinted version of his father despite the fact it was of his own doing. After this Harry feels he needs to talk to Sirius about what he saw and confirm whether it as right, but I felt Harry was looking for any excuse not to believe Snape. Another secondary storyline that is superb is the constant conflict between Umbridge and McGonagall and how their conversations frequently end in shouting matches. Harry armed with this new information plans to break into Umbridge`s office to use her unmonitored floo to contact Sirius with a diversion from Fred and George. Both Sirius and Hermione are under the impression that Harry should continue his occlumency lessons with Snape if he is willing, but Harry makes no attempt to do so. As their O.W.L’s draw closer Harry is side-lined from his attempt to find out what is hidden in the Department of Mysteries with Umbridge and exams. Fred and George also make a spectacular departure from Hogwarts in true Weasley fashion to officially open their joke shop; Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.
As we draw closer towards the end of the novel we can literally feel the tension rising as both Harry and the Dark Lord get closer to getting their hands on whatever is hidden in the Ministry of Magic. As the students sit their exams things take a dramatic twist with Hagrid being forced from Hogwarts grounds and a new vision from the Dark Lord of Sirius being tortured to remove the object from the department of mysteries. Knowing what is going to happen next I was very apprehensive to actually finish Order of the Phoenix as the ending of this book truly signals the return of the Dark Lord that is accepted and the beginning of the second wizarding war. In a fit of rage and sadness Harry is attempting to go to Sirius’ aid but Hermione tries to convince Harry not to go to the department of mysteries. Although after trying to contact Sirius and only getting to speak to Kreature they get caught by Umbridge who attempts to force the answers she wants out of Harry.
After McGonagall is sent to the wizarding hospital Harry feels there is no one left he can't turn to with both Dumbledore and Hagrid gone, but he forgets there is one member of the Order remaining at the school; Snape. Harry pins all his hopes on Snape relaying his coded message to someone who can help Sirius as he is stuck with Umbridge. Some quick thinking from Hermione allows her and Harry to take Umbridge away from the Slytherins holding their friend’s captive under the guise of finding Dumbledore’s secret weapon. After far more trouble than they planned the group consisting of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville name it from Hogwarts to the Ministry only to face more challenges finding the correct room in the department of mysteries.
When the finally find the correct place, Harry has been seeing in his dreams for months there is no sign of the Dark Lord or Sirius, in fact it is completely deserted. After a short search for Sirius, Ron stumbled across an orb bearing both Harry's and Voldemort’s names. And before Harry can figure out what the orb is the death eaters appear wanting the orb from Harry saying it is a prophecy that holds the answers to ask the burning questions he has had since learning he was a wizard all those years previous. Harry quite sensibly plays for time and the group manage to temporarily escape the death eaters, but it is only a matter of time before they must fight. The group puts up a good fight but outnumbered and out skilled the group slowly decreases in number until only Harry and Neville remain. To save his friend Harry hands over the prophecy to Malfoy the very second that member of the Order begins to arrive including Sirius who they had been looking for this entire time.
As the Order and death eaters clash with Harry and Neville caught in the cross-fire things get out of control, the prophecy is smashed, and its message lost to Harry but the worst thing is Sirius falls through the veil from which he can never return. In his rage Harry chases Bellatrix intent on revenge for his last remaining family member. On the upside Dumbledore has joined the fight and the battle is more evenly matched now. As he taunts Bellatrix Harry ends up coming face to face with Voldemort once more only for Dumbledore to arrive and save the day. As the old foes face off once more Voldemort tries to possess Harry only to be thrown out by the force of Harry's emotion. The possession scene in the movie is far better than the book although Fudge’s realisation is better here than the movies. When out of all over Dumbledore realizes that he must tell Harry the truth once and for all although it seems that much of the pain and devastation Harry has suffered could have been prevented if Dumbledore had come clean earlier.
In the final chapters of Order of the Phoenix after the action has ceased and the students prepare to return home for the summer, it is clear to see that Harry isn’t coping well with Sirius’ death and even looks for ways to see his godfather again but nothing works. This doesn’t really upset Harry it just seems to make him angry and depressed. While this book heralds the beginning of the second wizarding war the ending isn’t all that sad it has a very hopeful tone. This is the longest in the series and is sadly my least favourite although my favourite book is the next in the series which is mine to spotlight.
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on 15 September 2016
This might lose me a few followers or anger a few Potter fans, but I'm going to say it anyway, this book is just too long.
There are moments of pure genius, the whole Ministry of Magic escapade towards the end is really good, and the way Professor Umbridge gets under your skin and frustrates the reader as much as she does the characters in the book, is great, but other bits are just too long winded.
Take Hagrid's brother Grawp as an example, I know he has to be there, so as to affect the ending, but it could have been done quicker and more effectively, as could the whole of the beginning.
The time it take for Harry to be attacked by dementors, summonsed to the Ministry of Magic for trial, found innocent, explore his Godfather's house and get to Hogwarts, is frustratingly slow.
Again, I realise that some of what happens, happens for a reason and adds to the overall story, but cleaning the curtains in one of Sirius Blacks reception rooms is totally unnecessary.
Unlike the film, Dobby turns up, Hermione goes on about SPEW again, which is also unnecessary, and we get an insight into how much Sirius and Snape hate each other; all the while, Voldemort is gets stronger, Harry is falling in love and The High Inquisitor of Hogwarts - the aforementioned Umbridge - is implementing evermore draconian punishments.
I like the conflicting emotions that Harry has over Cho and Ginny, the isolation when Dumbledore ignores him and he's banned from quidditch, and the solace he finds in Dumbledore's Army. I like Christmas at St Mungo's (wizard hospital) and the introduction of Luna Lovegood, but it takes over seven hundred pages before the world accepts that Voldemort is back, and it could have been done quicker.
In conclusion then, if you want to know the whole story, it's a book you have to read, but compared to The Goblet of Fire, and the two books that follow, this one is a bit of chore.

Four stars then, because in spite of the negatives, hidden within those many pages are moments of pure pleasure.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 September 2014
The fifth instalment in the Harry Potter series is the longest yet. They hype around the books was firmly established by the time this one was published and expectations were impossibly high. I ordered it from Amazon as well as queuing in the rain to buy it just in case my local store ran out of books - and I know plenty of others who went to similar lengths. Looking back now, objectively, it wouldn't be worth such extremes - but it does highlight just how much this series came to mean to readers, and not just because it was fashionable.

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.
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on 23 April 2016
Order of the Phoenix is the fifth Harry Potter novel, and it marks something of a turning point in the series – up until this point, the threat from He Who Must Not Be Named is almost indirect, like a memory or a hangover which just won’t go away. But here, the big man is back in the flesh and blood, with a crack squad of his loyal Death Eaters at his service – the threat from him is real, and he’s no longer just worried about taking down Harry Potter. Now, he’s getting ready to take over the world.

The Order of the Phoenix, which the book takes its title from, is a secret society of ‘good guys‘, from Dumbledore to Sirius Black and the school-age Harry, Ron and Hermione. They’re a pretty bad-ass organisation, but they are also up against the Dark Lord and all of his Death Eaters. Wait, isn’t it only Death Eaters and former Death Eaters that call him the Dark Lord? Uh oh, I’ve been rumbled.

This is also the first book in the series to feature the death of a prominent character – not necessarily a protagonist, but one who’s played a key role in multiple books. I’ll say no more on the matter – you either know who I’m talking about or you don’t!

In this book, our heroes are struggling to cope with their entrance into early adulthood whilst simultaneously fighting off the hordes of darkness. And not all of them are overt – he has to deal with Dolores Umbridge, for example, who Stephen King once described as “the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter.” Umbridge is a frightening figure, someone who’s truly evil and yet who’s managed to project a facade of innocence.

Whilst writing this review, I also learned that Order of the Phoenix is the longest of all of the Harry Potter novels, which also means that it has to be my longest Harry Potter review by word count. At 770 pages, it’s true that there’s plenty of the book to get through, but it never feels like a chore and you’ll be glad you stuck with it. For me, the story line was so gripping that I read it in a couple of days, and when the final book (Deathly Hallows) came out, I read it in a day. It also got delivered a day before shops were selling it, so I was very slightly ahead of the curve!

For me, most of the earlier books (and the first two in particular) had a focus on the minutiae of life at a school for aspiring wizards. Here, we get to see the wider world really opening up for the first time, and it’s fascinating to see how detailed Rowling’s imagination is. She’s easily one of the best living world-builders who’s still active today, and it’s a pleasure to read any of her work. But Order of the Phoenix will always be one of my favourites – it’s not just because of the vast amount of book that’s available to you, although that does help. For me, it also came about at just the right time – when it was released in 2003, I’d just turned fourteen, so it was perfect timing. In fact, this is the first of the Harry Potter books that I remember actually having to wait for.

I’m almost 600 words in and still have another 200 to go, so I guess I’ll talk about the audio books. I’ve listened to multiple different versions of them, and I was a big fan of both the Stephen Fry one and the Jim Dale one, although I’d probably go for Fry if I was going to listen to them again. With a book as long as this, sometimes an audio book can help – on the other hand, sometimes the audio books end up being twenty hours long, in which case you’ll probably find it faster to read the book.

But you should read the book, because it’s awesome, and one of the highlights of the series in my opinion. Of course, I also think that you should read the entire series in order, but that’s up to you – the good thing about the Harry Potter novels is that they’re such a part of mainstream culture now that you can almost dip in and out of them. After all, everybody already knows the basic story line that loops through the seven books.
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on 22 April 2016
IT IS APPARENT that this, the sixth book in the greatest series of YA books ever written, has a much darker tale to tell than the rest of the series combined. The book starts out angry and doesn’t - quite literally - let up - apart from an all too brief period of euphoria for Ron as he celebrates a personal milestone on the Quidditch field. But even that is well past the book’s seventy five percent mark. And even at book’s end, after the reader is granted access to what has to be the single greatest action sequence ever penned involving witches, and wizards, and good guys, and bad guys, and heroes, and martyrs, and sacrifices, and kids growing up before your very eyes to fight to the death for things they barely understand, there ain’t no sunshine to break through the metaphorical storm clouds that comprise the heart breaking tale that is HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX.

Harry is angry, because he feels that everyone he has grown to know, grown to love and grown to trust from the last four years have turned their communicative backs on him. All the way down from Professor Dumbledore, to Godfather Sirius, and even to Ron and Hermoine - all previously loved avenues of dialogue - both physical and metaphorical - have all dried up. But even despite promises of a big reveal to Harry from the fore mentioned characters, Harry (and of course, the reader) is made aware of very little even as the story progresses.

When Harry is finally rescued from the relentless boredom of life at Privett Drive after a near death experience with a couple of Dementors, he finds himself located at the heart of the gorgeous sounding ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. But even then, he is rewarded with more presumed lies and secret keeping from his loved ones. Dumbledore won't talk to him, he won't even look at Harry, even as the famous story delights the world by returning us to Hogwarts. And in year five at this extraordinary castle, when things are starting to get serious (no pun intended), Harry feels even more let down than ever by not having access to the world’s most loved Professor.

But looks can be deceiving. Life at Hogwarts is not just about learning magic and passing exams. Well, it is for most kids lucky enough to be invited to study there. But as the world knows after four incredible books, and four incredible years, Harry Potter is not your ordinary child. There are events transpiring, prophecies declaring, and events being put into motion that he knows nothing about. And that is a good thing. If our hero knew what was in store for him as time progressed, it is a fair chance he would run screaming in terror to the end of the world, never to be seen again.

This book is essentially about a prophecy. Learn the prophecy and everything changes. Even at book’s end, when it was finally safe for open communication to occur between two of the book’s great heroes, the explanation from Dumbledore to Harry brought the great old wizard to tears.

PHOENIX started off slowly. There was no obvious point to the story. A new character was introduced that was soon detested both within the HP universe and outside of it. The world took great umbrage at this brilliantly drawn extension of the legend but its definitely fair to say that she got her comeuppance at the end. This book may well shock its fans. Major events transpire. Much loved characters of the story are given the chop in more ways than one. But as i have already mentioned, book five is essentially about a prophecy.

Learn the prophecy, and everything changes.

An awesome, breath taking five stars for an awesome, breath taking book.

More please.
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on 27 June 2015
Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the series and is one of the darkest in the series and hardest to read as it is so depressing. We can start seeing more of the puzzle pieces coming together and hints to what is coming, such as Petunia talking about that awful boy and the locket at Grimmauld Place.

Harry is depressed in this novel which makes reading this one not as fun as the previous books, and I do have to agree with Hermione and Lucius Malfoy that Harry does love playing the hero and it does start to grate on me. While I think their relationship is sweet and awkward I am not a fan of Cho as I think she is dull. Rereading this I had forgotten about Firenze becoming divination teacher. I feel very sorry for Neville, because I would much rather my parents died quick and clean than what happened to Neville’s parents and I feel he should have had more sympathy.

However two people I really don’t like are James and Sirius as they were jerks and while I don’t know if Snape was just as bad, they were bullies and it does not matter about their age, if anything bullying affects people the most at that age. Also they remind me of the boys at school who behaved very badly at school but always got away with it. On the other hand, I really hated Umbridge as she was the most relatable baddie in the series, and turns what is Harry’s only home he has known into somewhere he does not enjoy being.

One thing I never got is why the order never used muggle technology, for example phones, as it is much quicker than owls and Voldemort and his Death Eaters would never expect it. Also how did Harry get the marauder’s map as last we knew fake Moody had it and we never heard about him getting it back. Similarly, Harry should have been able to see the Thestrals since he was one year old when the first person he saw die was Lily, not Cedric.

While Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix is probably one of my least favourite of the Harry Potter series I still love it and would recommend it to anyone who has read the first four books.
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on 28 March 2014
Harry is terribly upset with everyone – his godfather Sirius, Professor Dumbledore and especially his best friends Ron and Hermione. No one seems to be interested in getting in touch with him.

The fifth book is darker yet. It begins with Harry and his cousin Dudley coming across a couple of dementors very close to home. Harry just manages to save Dudley from having his soul sucked out. Harry’s uncle is terribly angry – not that he is able to do anything about it. That’s also when Harry finds out that Mundungus Fletcher has been keeping an eye on him on Dumbledore’s instructions.

Harry performs the patronus charm to drive away the dementors and the ministry of magic sends him a letter by owl post insisting that he would be expelled from Hogwarts for performing underage magic outside the school. After a while, he receives another owl post where Harry is ordered to present himself for a hearing at the ministry of magic.

A group of friendly wizards including Mad-eyed Moody, Lupin and Tonks come to Privet Drive and take Harry with them to No. 12 Grimmauld Place, which is the headquarters for the Order of Phoenix.

The Order of Phoenix is a group of wizards who have volunteered to work underground to overthrow Lord Voldemort.

Sirius Black is also a part of the order and so is Professor Snape, much to Harry’s shock. While he does not trust Snape, it looks like Dumbledore thinks differently.

There is the hearing at the ministry and then Harry receives instructions from Dumbledore to learn Occlumency from Professor Snape. All in all, Harry begins to hate life at school. Lord Voldemort seems to have a strong connection with Harry and the latter is able to read you-know-who’s thoughts and feel his emotions. While Dumbledore insists that this has to stop, Harry is not too keen.

The result of Harry’s refusal to learn Occlumency leads him into a load of trouble.

Professor Umbridge is assigned the post of defense against the dark arts teacher by the ministry of magic. It appears that she is actually there to spy on Dumbledore and his school. I do not want to say too much about this lady as you might rather want to read about her.

There’s mayhem as Umbridge refuses to let anyone learn defense against the dark arts practically. That’s when Hermione comes up with the idea of Harry teaching DADA to anyone who is interested. Dumbledore’s Army is formed.

Unable to learn Occlumency, Harry is lured into the department of mysteries at the ministry of magic and that’s where he comes face to face with the evil Voldemort’ followers, the death eaters.

While the earlier four Harry Potter Books were more fun, this one gets quite serious with unexpected turns that shake up the reader. While Voldemort has been planning a comeback since Book 1, this book makes it obvious that he is back and right there at the ministry.

The scene on the magical brethren at the ministry of magic; the many rooms and the mysteries they hide at the department of mysteries; Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and Luna travelling by thestrals (magical flying horses that can be seen only by those who have seen death); the room of requirement becoming the meeting place for Dumbledore’s Army are some of the amazing highlights of this book.

Do not miss this one. I would advise everyone to read the books in the order they were published. If you like magic, then the Harry Potter books are a must read.
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on 16 July 2009
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a dreadful book - there, I've said it, and mean it. This, the 5th instalment, did / has put a very considerable artistic dent in the Harry Potter series. For reasons known only to JK Rowling and her publishers, this book was released almost, it seems to me anyway, in draft form. The huge excess of inadequate sub plots and the reams and reams of trivia, make this seem as if there were deadline / time issues, and a draft which was due further culls, went out hurriedly, 'as is'. There are further problems which see Harry suffering from such extreme angst, that both his frequent spitefulness and the scenes where he walks off from his friends - even Hagrid, spoil the spirit. I think this aspect was problematic in its degree and frequency, much less in both would have been better, and thus, less detrimental.

Ok, that was the admittedly rather unconventional summing up first rather than last, but, I feel this was necessary to leave those who would / do read this review, in no uncertain terms of at least my opinion, but one I really do believe matches the opinions of most readers of this book. But, let us cover the basic story too.

Voldermort is back, and is using his time to reactivate his supporters to regain power, and to also forge alliances with the less desirable elements of the magic world found in its deeper darker denizens - Dementors, giants, werewolves etc. On the other side of the fence, Dumbledore has rallied his own troops, namely - The Order of the Phoenix, a stoic group of wizards, some familiar to regular readers already, to try and prevent the return to power of the dreaded Mr V and his followers.

As for Harry, his anger starts at home with the Dursleys, not only does his more than strained relationship with them continue and worsen, but he is also angry with his friends from Hogwarts for their less than informative letters - Harry wants to know up to the minute news on the fight against Voldemort, but is not getting it.

Harry also unwisely goads cousin Dudley over his penchant for hanging tough with his gang and picking on smaller kids, but, this is not Harry actually acting as an officer for the NSPCC on a voluntary basis, he is taking out his anger and frustration on Big Dud. This part of the story threatens to almost see Harry in big trouble from which he would perhaps not have had any reasonable excuse, but, other problems soon rear their ugly head, literally, and this sets off a chain of events which sees Harry having to appear in front of the Minister of Magic, to defend himself with regard to the situation where Harry, in the end, really was blameless.

Harry also spends time at the Order's secret location, in fact Sirius's old house, and here we find Harry just as angst and anger ridden, surly, and aloof, far too often. Also, it is here we are subjected to page after page of sleep inducing trivia and 5th rate dialogue - great swathes of this could have been - and should have been - consigned to file thirteen - the bin to you and me. But, it survived, unfortunately.

Once back at school, the misery continues on too regular a basis and the book is marred well and truly by now because of it. I particularly dislked the part where Harry slinks away from Hagrid. True, one teacher, new to the school, would cause anyone to be surly and angry, but, it goes beyond even the scenes were this is relevant. As for the more standard / expected Hogwarts' scenarios, it is the 5th form / OWL year, and work is piling up up and up, made worse by many detentions which of course also affect the Gryffindor Quidditch team in the worst possible fashion.

All in all, this is a prelude, and a tragically bad one at that, to the later and far more accomplished thus more interesting, gripping in fact, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows.
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on 25 March 2016
The time has come in my latest Harry Potter re-read to revisit my favourite of the series (and I know that's an unpopular opinion). I started this read through trying to be in sync with Pottermore releasing bonus material for each book, but since I read Goblet of Fire last the format of the website has completely changed and so I just took the opportunity to read the story again and prepare myself mentally for the appearance of a new story (in script and stage form) this summer.

Why do I like this book over the others? For many reasons. This is a tale of the Harry at a key age - he's still a child, but now he is becoming an adult. It's the point at which he turns from being a child drawn into unusual situations into a young man taking control of his life and the direction it takes. He becomes stronger and starts forming new relationships - and the secondary cast start to become more prominent. Yet it remains a story about school life, before the story is absorbed into the epic events of the last two books of Harry's story, and so still has that touch of the original structure.

One of the criticisms that this book often draws is about Harry's moodiness and how he's become a stroppy teen. I don't see this as anything as a mis-reading of the story, instead (and I'll avoid spoilers) stemming from an important plot point that is integral to not only the story of this novel but also the rest of the series.

On this reading, I really enjoyed a couple of moments which I hadn't noticed before, both early on, that seem like throwaway comments, but which with the knowledge I now have from later turn into interesting hints of foreshadowing. It's also the point in the series from which I feel slightly less familiar with the text (having naturally read the earlier books more frequently - at least once each time a new on was published) and so I enjoyed rediscovering some of the story.

Still my favourite of the books, and one that I am sure I will revisit again and again and again.
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