Hello lovelies! I’m still having a fabulous time with my Great Harry Potter Re-Read! This week I got to read one of my favorite books of the series (does it seem like I say that in every recap post?), Order of the Phoenix! Things get seriously dark in this installment, and I love it. It’s just so delightfully angsty.
As a reminder, the plot of the book goes something like this (spoiler spoiler spoiler):
Shortly after seeing Voldemort regain his body, Harry is back at Privet Drive, frustrated beyond all get-out that no one will tell him what’s going on. One night, he’s out wandering the neighborhood when he runs into Dudley… and a couple of dementors. Being the talented young wizard that he is, Harry wips out his wand and repels the dementors with the Patronus charm — and promptly receives an owl notifying him of his expulsion from Hogwarts for performing magic outside of school. Cue more rage. However, Dumbledore’s on top of things and gets the Ministry to merely suspend Harry until he can attend a hearing.
Not long after, Harry is brought to Number 4 Grimauld Place, which is headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society headed by Dumbledore and dedicated to fighting Voldemort. It also happens to be the house Sirius was left by his pure-blood, muggle-hating parents. Harry learns a bit more about what’s going on.
Back at school, the usual hijinks ensue. The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is a Ministry witch, and she’s the most horrible person ever. She and Voldemort would probably get along great. Speaking of Voldemort, no one believes Harry and Dumbledore that the dark wizard has returned. And on top of increasingly difficult classes, students whispering behind his back, and an evil, interfering teacher, Harry’s been dreaming about the hallway leading to the Department of Mysteries for months; he keeps getting glimpses into Voldemort’s mind.
At the end of the year (because Voldemort always conveniently waits until June to make his moves), Harry has a vision of Voldemort torturing Sirius in the Department of Mysteries. He and the gang rush off to the Ministry to rescue Sirius, but OH NO IT’S A TRAP and there are Death Eaters waiting for them instead. There’s a grand battle after Harry takes a prophecy concerning him and Voldemort down from its shelf — only he can do it, you see — as the Death Eaters try to take the prophecy from him. It’s super important that Voldemort hear it because he thinks it will tell him how to defeat Harry. But then the Order shows up and joins the fray, Sirius gets killed (sad face), the prophecy gets smashed, and Dumbledore gets Harry safely back to the castle.
When he returns, Dumbledore explains to Harry that the prophecy predicts who will be able to defeat Voldemort. It could have meant either Harry or Neville Longbottom, but by choosing Harry, Voldemort marked him as his equal and gave him the power to vanquish the Dark Lord. And there’s more rage. The end (pretty much).
Whew, that was a long one. But it’s not an 800-something page book for nothing! It’s chock full of angst, action, ranting, confusion, awkward romantic moments, and frustration.
Okay, things I love about this book:
- Did I mention the angst? I mean, being 15 sucks enough for normal people (I probably STILL know all the words to every Dashboard Confessional song, I listened to them so many times), but imagine being 15 and ALSO having just watched a classmate die, seen an evil murderer rise to power, and recurringly get glimpses into said murderer’s head! It must be the worst. But it’s also super entertaining.
- Cho. Aw, first love. (Or should I say first romantic fumblings?) It’s adorable, and I LOVE how confusing it is to Harry.
- The part where Fred and George bid Hogwarts good-bye. It is so so so much fun to read, and”Give her hell for us, Peeves,” might just be my favorite line in the series.
- Umbridge. I mean, I really hate Umbridge, but she’s totally one of those characters I love to hate. Good job, JKR. She’s especially fantastic in the movie. I feel toward movie-Umbridge like I do toward HBO-Joffrey, she’s THAT GOOD — er, bad.
I should probably stop my ramblings here, for my word count is growing perilously high. One last thought before I go: re-reading this series was the BEST decision. Going back to reading my regular books is going to be bittersweet. I just want to keep hanging out with Harry and everyone else at Hogwarts. Good thing I have two more books left!