16 December 2010

Book Review: HP and the Order of the Phoenix

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher/Year: Scholastic/
Date Finished: 9 December 2010
Source/Format: Bought/Print

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading, Hogwarts Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions, 101 Fantasy Reading, Young Adult Reading, Read the Book, See the Movie,

The Short and Sweet of It
After a brutal summer with no news, Harry arrives at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a small organization dedicated to preventing Voldemort from rising to power. The rest of the wizarding world refuses to believe Harry and Dumbledore, trusting in the slander slung by the Ministry of Magic, so once again Harry is the oddball out, the freak. The intrusion upon Hogwarts by the ministry and Voldemort's own nefarious plans for Harry, means that our poor hero finds himself fighting on two fronts.

A Bit of a Ramble
My first time reading this, I wasn't too thrilled. Harry's snottier-than-thou attitude coupled with the not-very-heartwarming relationship hullaballoo with Cho annoyed me. I have to admit though that this time, I loved the book. While I still wished for a bit less lovey-dovey, on the whole, I sped through this chunkster and even felt a sort of loss when I finished. I am not sure what has changed that allowed me to enjoy the story on  a new level this time through. Who knows? Maybe the negative feelings have to do with the loss of a certain someone which definitely affected me on first reading.

The little tidbits of character development sprinkled throughout the story really stood out to me this time through. The scene with Mrs. Weasley crying over the images of her family, the argument between Snape and Black, Hagrid and Grawp, Minerva's loyalty, fallibility of Dumbledore, all of these situations and more further the relationship the reader has with the world as a whole. Rowling's ability to humanize the many characters in the novel adds to the depth of emotion the reader feels.

The plot is fantastic in this book as well.  So much is happening but at no point in the story do I feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Instead, I feel completely immersed in a wonderfully complex tale. Once the holidays are over, I plan on delving into books 6 and 7.

The Filmic Connection
I thought I would include a paragraph from Ebert here as what he says mirrors my own thoughts: As for the cast, the "Potter" series has turned into a work-release program for great British actors mired in respectable roles. Staunton is perfect here as the Teacher From Hell. Helena Bonham Carter looks like the double for all three of Macbeth's witches. And then take a roll call: Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes (in the wings as Voldemort), Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Warwick Davis, Julie Walters and the incomparable Maggie Smith.

I know, I know, it's not exactly a critique of the film, but really how can you not mention all of those awesome actors!

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  1. This may have been my least favorite of the books overall, but when I re-read, I remember the delicious evil of Umbridge. She makes that book all worthwhile. Well, except for losing Sirius. I'll probably never forgive Rowling for that one.

  2. I didn't enjoy this one the first time around either, but it grew into one of my favorites of the series. It really has some wonderfully poignant scenes. The part where Mrs. Weasley cries over the boggart and Neville takes the wrapper from his mother? Oh man. I cry every single time I read them!

  3. HATED Umbridge but LOVED Bellatrix...am I weird or what??

  4. First of all, I wanna know what speed-reading class you took...

  5. Definitely not my favorite book the first time around. There's only been one time around, though, so who knows what rereading will bring?

  6. Sandy - Try re-reading it; for some reason, it gets better with time.

    Amanda - Exactly! It really grows on you for some reason.

    Peppermint - Same here! We'll be weird together.

    Vicky - LOL! I go in spurts where I read like four books in a weekend and then I'll go a week without opening a single one.

    Erin - I would try re-reading it. I didn't like it the first time around and now I think it may be one of my favorites.

  7. I remember thinking in the fourth book that I would never dislike a character more than Rita Skeeter, and then the fifth book showed up and Umbridge completely reset the scale. Damn her. :p

    I am sooooo sad that I'm far from my Harry Potter books. I fancy rereading them, particularly the late ones.


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