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Order of the Phoenix.....
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Book 5 - J.K. Rowling
Member Name: dawnymarie
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Book 5 - J.K. Rowling
Date: 24/11/12, updated on 24/11/12 (144 review reads)
Advantages: Creative plot and mind games
Why read this one?...
The fifth book in J K Rowling's masterpiece, that is Harry Potter, is a must for fans that have already enjoyed the first four instalments. At over 700 pages this is an epic part of the tale but fear not as every page is worth your time. The image of the phoenix rising on the cover gained my interest further and the blurb on the back cover confirmed to me that Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts is not to be missed.
Harry Potter has been aware of his background since the age of eleven. It was a shock to hear that he was a wizard but it made sense out of the bizarre experiences that he had had throughout his childhood. His early years were spent miserably in the home of his relatives, the Dursley's, who thoroughly and completely hate his presence and even more so now that he has been attending Hogwarts school for wizardry and witchcraft. Harry and the Dursley's will experience suffering before Harry is whisked off to a safe house before being brought before a wizard tribunal to see if his recent illegal use of magic is reason to expel him. All is changing at the Ministry of Magic. Cornelius Fudge (Minister of Magic) is not willing to believe that the Dark Lord has risen and is prepared to make the lives of those who spread these lies intolerable. A new teacher of defence against the dark arts (Dolores Umbridge) will be a most unwelcome addition to the staff at Hogwarts this term. Between Fudge, Umbridge, Malfroy and he who must not be named...you know who... Harry's life will be made the most miserable it has ever been whilst in attendance at Hogwarts, so bad that he would even find life at the Dursley's appealing! Yes, that bad! This is a chapter in Harry's life that will build character in the most unpleasant and challenging ways....someone is messing with his mind and his heart and it will hurt.
Welcome to Number 12 Grimmauld Place....
As usual the prose begins with the delightful, colourful characters that are 'the Dursley's'. Still as large as life and still as damned nasty to poor Harry but essential characters in this tale. This family is grounding for both Harry and the reader. They are down to earth, judgemental folk who like to keep up appearances and be thought well of in their little spot on this planet. Dudley is still struggling with his weight though it doesn't prevent him from bullying - a little pastime that he and his cronies are enjoying after school. Dudley is easy to dislike but an experience with Harry on the walk home one evening will reveal his insecure and vulnerable side - I actually sympathised with him and cared about him for a brief page or two - till he returned to his usual traits.
As the tale has developed and the protagonists have aged and matured so the enchanting nature of the prose has given itself over, in part, to a dark side. This has been developing and is no surprise, it is welcome and flowing with impressive ease through the pages. It is still in the appropriate age group that it was intended for as it never gets graphic in nature but I feel that with every book I read it appeals to me, as an adult, more and more. Most likely because the characters are getting older and the mystery, suspense and dark plot line is seeping into the tale - making it entirely satisfying.
I found the angst and anticipation within Harry as he awaited transfer from his relatives to his godfathers house - Grimmauld Place - engaging. Wholly believable that Harry, who has been the only one left in the dark by Dumbledore as to what the Dark Lord is up to, would blow up in the faces of his two close friends when he arrived. It would not seem fair that he would have to be hated and miserable every day of the summer at the Dursley's whilst Ron and Hermione lived it up with those in the know - most likely laughing as they went through each day. I understood his anger.
Number 12 Grimmauld Place held many fascinating subjects that had my attention. Rowling has been inspired with the concepts - magical, familial and emotional. Of course the fact that Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, was there and playing a larger role throughout this novel, pleased me very much. I find his character getting more solid and he is one of those that get under your skin. He is mysterious, fiery, dangerous, and innocent and at the same time very likeable...so likeable that he is one of the characters that I now care about and want safe. He is selfless in his role as protector for Harry Potter - that is appealing. He has great courage - I like that. I could happily have spent more time with the newly reformed Order of the Phoenix at Grimmauld Place but it was soon time to return to Hogwarts.
One character who keeps nudging my attention and my feelings is Professor Snape. A reformed character he is now serving in the Order of the Phoenix (a small party devoted to fighting the comeback of Voldemort). Outwardly Snape is an image of evil and spitefulness but I have a feeling that what we are seeing is far from what there is to this odd man. He has been hurt in the past and he has a grudge against Harry Potter that he cannot and will not let go off - even so Rowling has hidden something within him that is worth keeping your eye on. I don't know what it is ... yet, but it is one of those concepts that keep me turning those pages. Well done Rowling.
I am not wrong in my instincts when the new teacher of defence against the dark arts is introduced. The sickly sweet and artificial nature of Dolores Umbridge makes me cringe. I tense up when she is gracing the pages as she is despicable. She has no morals and even less compassion. Cruel and calculating she is the perfect bad guy or in this case woman. She has been put in high command by Fudge - he is another that I really cannot bear to be on the pages. Both of these characters are totally beyond my capacity to like them, I tolerate them at best. It would appear that the role of Umbridge is to disarm Potter and rid the school of anyone who is in the Order - it has me wondering if she is in league with the Dark Lord - but somehow I think not. She is just doing the bidding of the very dim and insecure Fudge - he really is pathetic. Rowling did an incredible job of creating and rounding the character of Umbridge - she soon became imposing and gets everywhere that you don't want her to be. I knew her horrible traits well and had a good idea of what she looked like - a toad!! Big toady eyes and a great big toad mouth, no neck like Harry's uncle Vernon and a personality that was more artificial than saccharin. I could hear her sickly sweet voice in my mind when I read her words - I wanted her out of Hogwarts ASAP but unfortunately she was there to stay....that is unless there is a way to rid the school of her?
The concept that really interested me in this prose was ... not the OWL examinations and not even the Quidditch matches, though there was some mischief to be witnessed in those. It was the connection of minds between the Dark Lord and Potter! They shared emotions, dreams and visualisations. This is something that intrigued Harry and even though he was being taught how to block access to his mind he regularly found himself in the Ministry of Magic (with the Dark Lord) seeking out something of importance. I too was intrigued but at the same time I wanted him to pay attention to Snape and learn the Occlumency (blocking skills). Harry can sometimes be a rebel - this is a part of who he is and if he changed then he wouldn't be Harry Potter. Harry has compassion, he cares and if someone he loves is in need of help he will risk his life to save them. That is why the sorting hat placed him in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin - the latter will always put themselves first and foremost.
Hagrid is missing from this novel for a significant portion of the prose. As he is one of my favourites I missed him but when he returned he showed a different side to him, a less patient and cuddly side. He was suffering and he had something to hide so it was realistic for him to behave in that way - I admire Rowling for showing the less attractive nature of this character and I think it paid off because now he is even more well-rounded and of course I still care about him.
Harry is maturing into a likeable though impulsive young man - his nature is consistent with how he has always been and I thought that Rowling's insight into the nature of a woman's mind was class which provided some welcome humour. Ron and Hermione are both developing as I would have expected them to - I feel that I know them too by now and as with Harry their personalities and traits are consistent. I like the developing love interest thing that is subtly developing between Ron and Hermione. I will be watching this space even though it is not the most significant plot line - it is always nice.
The pace is decent throughout the book and considering it's page count that is an achievement. It does speed up appropriately and timely and as you would expect the end stages of the book are hot! I didn't want to stop reading when the time came for Harry to be drawn into battle. Ruled by his heart he makes the best choices that he can. One thing after another surprised me during the satisfying scenario that this tale produces. I was on the edge of my seat and breathed a sigh of relief a few times as my favourites were placed in peril. This is dark and it is captivating ... and it is also emotive. Harry may survive but at what cost and where does he go from here? I felt for him after his experience and afterwards he is finally given information that will change his life as he knows it. It is a lot to take in and Rowling provides a great big reason for me to grab the next novel and continue reading. This was an outstanding read but I feel the next two books will be even better.
Another well-crafted book by Rowling.
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If you have read the first four books by Rowling then you don't need me to tell you to carry on with this one. As I have come to expect, the prose flows seamlessly and the plot is impressive. My attention was held throughout and even though Rowling will include some descriptive elements - which she does very well - she does what I like in an author and 'sticks to the story'. She resists the temptation to over describe locations, appearance etc and gives you just enough so that your imagination does the rest. As this is a book aimed at a younger reader I think that the partnership between author and reader is beneficial in developing imagination. I am far beyond the target audience for this series but am thoroughly enjoying it. This one sees Harry tested in different ways now that his mind is involved. He will get little peace now that the Dark Lord can touch minds - it is interesting to see how this affects Harry. The host of new characters to the prose makes the read rich and colourful. The cringe worthy Dolores Umbridge is the perfect bad guy in my opinion - there is nothing at all to like about her and she even makes Draco Malfoy seem less spiteful - that is saying something. The tale still has some element of enchantment but is more dark now. How could it not be with He who must not be named appearing more regularly on the pages. Still a comfort read but now providing more suspense and intrigue, emotion and edge of seat pace. A superb ending that was highly satisfying though left a hole in my heart. Carrot has been placed in front of me for the next novel and I shall be reading that one as soon as I can. Highly recommended.
Published on Ciao
Summary: Welcome to Number 12 Grimmauld Place........
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