Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
It’s time again to review another Harry Potter novel in my read-through of the series and earlier this week I finished ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ and as I predicted while reading through the previous installments, I have enjoyed the later installments as the characters have matured and the plot is more complex which helps hold my attention and interest.
I loved immediately how much the darker the plot was. As we learned in the last book, Voldemort has returned to full power so there is a lot more on the line for Harry. Rowling’s writing is very strong and with her in-depth knowledge of the world, the characters, the plot and the progression of the story has been gradual and I really appreciate it as sometimes progressions can feel rushed which can throw a wrench into the entire story and the reading experience.
When looking at Harry’s character arc so far in the story, it is apparent that with him being a teenager, his emotions have intensified which has added a new element to his character that was not there in the early installments. Also, having him be exposed to things he did not know before also made it interesting to watch his character arc, especially with Sirius Black. We learn more about Harry’s father, Sirius, and even Snape and why it seems Snape has it out for Harry. Rowling knows how to write a truly hateable character and I absolutely hate Dolores Umbridge! She does not seem threatening or mean at first, but she is truly awful and reading what happens to her as a result of her poor character is very satisfying!
One of things that has differed in this installment than previous installments is how political it is. A lot of the plot revolves around the Ministry of Magic. I rather enjoyed learning more about the Ministry and its inner workings. Also many of the things that bring Harry joy at Hogwarts are missing and reading on how he deals with those changes was interesting because I predicted some of his reactions while others I was completely off. I like being able to figure some things out, but I also really like being surprised too.
I thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the Harry Potter series. The plot development progressed nicely and the intricacies of Harry’s character development as well as the history that was revealed adds so much to the series. Harry and his friends are starting to become full-fledged witches and wizards and the responsibility and risk that comes along with that is extremely profound, especially since the dark lord has returned. I am excited to continue the series and see where it takes Harry and the rest of his crew.
Giant battle? Soooo much more detailed in the books than the movies! Whoa.
Hmm. Order of preference so far now (from least to most favorite): 2, 1, 5, 3, 4
Six and seven to come!
Full review posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 10/19/14: I think the most interesting thing about my Harry Potter re-reads so far has been how my rankings for the book has changed based on how I’ve developed as a person. There are just certain things I’ve connected with in some books, certain things that turn me off in others (though I still love them. I mean, I love ALL of them no matter what minor things I find) and all of the things I didn’t pick up on during my first thousand re-reads (yes, there’s always something new).
I was majorly excited to re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. From the time I did my last re-reads say… maybe ten years ago? This book was my second favorite (or third — it was kind of a toss-up with Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince was still tops) so I was curious to see how this re-read would go. I totally changed my opinion of Prisoner of Azkaban, flipping it around from one of my least favorites to most of my most favorites so I was excited to see how one of my earlier favorites fared later on in my life.
I was a bit hesitant with all of the “angsty” comments I had seen about OotP — this is probably Harry’s moodiest book (well, he IS fifteen…) and yes, it was definitely more noticeable in the very beginning of this book. Sometimes it was annoying, sometimes it made me laugh, but most of the time it really didn’t bother me. In fact, if I hadn’t see all the angst memes on Pinterest and Tumblr and other forms of social media, I may not even have noticed… Who can say! But aside from Harry and Ron’s adventures with the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire, I think OotP is the first book that really starts to deal with relationship issues, crushes, and serious jealousy so there’s quite a bit of teenage melodrama and it DID wear on me JUST a bit.
I feel like the story is much more government-related with Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic getting super involved so that’s not AS appealing to me as the hunt for and battles with Voldemort. It’s a different kind of action and one that generally feels more frustrating (as in, I feel frustrated for the characters) than a sort of exciting nervous-feeling to see what will happen next. [SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE SERIES COMING UP (yes, there are still some and I don't want to spoil things for them!)] OotP was also the first book that dealt with a death that hit Harry really hard. He’s always dealt with his parents’ deaths, yes, but OotP not only shows Harry dealing with the aftermath of witnessing Cedric’s murder but also the first-hand account of Sirius’s untimely death during the epic battle in the Department of Mysteries. Things get HEAVY and there’s definitely a somber weight to the book because of those. Regarding Sirius’s death… It still didn’t hit me hard. I know it absolutely kills some people but I still didn’t find myself getting terribly choked up. It has nothing to do with how I feel about Sirius. SHEESH, I love the guy, but I feel like it’s almost an off-screen death. Everything just happens so fast and Harry is in disbelief/denial that it made me feel like it wasn’t real. I think even now I’m still in denial about it so for some reason it’s STILL just not hitting me that hard. [END SPOILERS]
So what’s the verdict? I still enjoyed OotP, of course, but I also don’t think it’s one of my favorites of the series anymore. I just feel like there isn’t as much mystery and sleuthing regarding Voldemort and his involvement in everything and the Ministry-centric plot doesn’t grab me as much as “evil villain” (although I DO hate Umbridge more than I do Voldemort. Fact).
Ranking after re-read of book #1:  // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]
Reread Times I remember:
Arrgh, the feels. Sadly, it's not good feels. I wanted to ignore the very flat, one dimensional Umbridge, the angst-ridden Harry, the sudden, unexplained situation with Percy, blah blah blah.
But, I have not, in recent memory, found myself hating a protagonist as much as I've hated Harry during this book. He supposedly suffers with guilt after Diggory's unintentional death, but he foolishly (and without much concern) leads 5 students to what is most likely certain death in effecting a rescue of Sirius, because (naturally) at 15 he knows enough/more than Voldemort - one of the most dangerous Dark wizards...who, let's not forget, was killing more accomplished wizards while Harry was soiling himself in a crib under his mother's corpse.
And since, obviously, it's easier to fly to the ministry than to take a minute to go see Snape first...to perhaps have a member of the order with him in case he's being a complete and utter git...of course not. I got so tired of him and his all knowing attitude, his constant irritation, his angst, his pompous big-headedness -"it's something to do with me, isn't it?" - that by the time the end came I was so happy to see him deflated. Arrogant does not even begin to describe him in this one and I felt he got off a little easy actually.
However, as usual, the ultimate price for Harry's stupidity is always paid by someone else...This book is a bit weak for me, possibly not the weakest of the series so far, that felt like Book 2, but definitely not as good as the rest so far.