Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Posted June 11, 2012 by Tara in Review /// 9 Comments

The first Harry Potter book I got super-excited about.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by JK Rowling
Scholastic/Scholastic Audio
Own/checked out from library
[#43  in my 75 book challenge]

Here we go, here we go again…after finishing Goblet of Fire and not liking it as much as the previous two times I read it,  I found that I liked Order of the Phoenix FAR more on the third read. It may have taken me six whole weeks to get through all 23 discs of the audio book in my car (well, actually, I gave up around disc 20 and just read the ending in the print version), but I finished it and LOVED it.

I think I appreciate it more in the context of the story as a whole, rather than as an independent book. When I first read it, it had been two years since I had read the first four novels, and I read those basically in one weekend. It was my first experience with being desperate for the next installment of the story, while also knowing I was painfully in the middle of an epic tale. I like endings, I like resolutions, I like satisfaction! Now that I have read the series multiple times, though, and I am satisfied, I found the developments in this book to be far more interesting. There is a lot going on here, and all of it becomes quite important in the final two novels.

Things that struck me on this read:

  1. I really hate Dolores Umbridge. Now that I am also a teacher, I recognize that she is completely unqualified to be running a school. I also paid more attention to how the other teachers at Hogwarts obviously felt the same way.
  2. I like that Harry had a lot of angst. It was tedious the first time I read it (“get over yourself, Harry!”), but now I understand. Plus I think it’s realistic. Let’s be honest, I’d probably behave the same way.
  3. I wish the DA played a bigger role in the book and the series. I loved them in this book, and my memories had them playing a bigger role than they actually do. I remember thinking the DA was going to be huge in the final battle against Voldemort, but they ended up being mostly background players (important in the battle, but not Harry’s specific story).
  4. I don’t like Cho Chang. I don’t hate her, but now that I know who Harry ends up with I just wanted him to move along. However, I’m glad that Harry doesn’t marry the first girl he likes/dates/kisses.
  5. I paid more attention to the prophecy. Voldemort really is a whole special brand of crazy with the way he handled that prophecy business. Did he learn nothing from Greek mythology?
  6. Fred and George…tsk tsk. I wish they had just finished that last school year. C’mon! They were so close.
  7. And, once again, Voldemort waits until AFTER exams to hunt down Harry. I like to think it’s because Voldy values education.

So, there you have it. I’ve finished the book I thought would be the most tedious, and I’m ready to start my favorite book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I’m quite looking forward to it, but I’ll probably take a break from Harry Potter for several months before considering it. There are just too many books out there to read for the first time!

FINAL GRADE:   A   This is where Harry Potter really starts to get good. No more games — people are really dying, and Voldemort is back. Must I say more?


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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9 responses to “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  1. This is my favorite Harry Potter book (Deathly Hallows may be tied for 1st though). I liked how strong the real world connections were in this one and how evil Umbridge is (in ways that are both subtle and extreme). And as much as I’m in favor of school sports, I was happy to have a break from the Quidditch!

  2. This was the movie that actually got me into reading the books… I felt so lost seeing the movie that I decided I needed to read them. Looking back I remember hating Harry’s angst so much and how mean and angry he always seemed to be… but yeah, looking back, I don’t think he could have been any other way!

  3. I read this one WAY to close to when my younger brother was going thru the same angsty teenage phase. I recognized that it was an extremely accurate portrayal of a teen boy, but I found it frustrating to read at the time. I probably should give it a reread now that my brother is a very non-angsty, accomplished adult.

  4. This is probably my least favorite of the HP books, but I agree, taken in context with the whole series, and with a better understanding of teens now than I had when initially reading it, I feel I can better appreciate it. I still think the story’s a bit weak though. I just don’t get all of the fuss over a prophecy. I really don’t. But then maybe, I DID learn something from the Greeks. 😛

    P.S. I hate Umbridge SO much. I don’t really even hate Voldemort in comparison.

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