Book Title: Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
Author: JK Rowling
Category: fiction: fantasy
I didn’t plan on going to a midnight release party for Order of The Phoenix. I didn’t pre-buy my book. But come the night before the Saturday release I was sad that I wasn’t at a party. So mum and I got in the car and drove 30 minutes to Sidney to the amazing bookstore there that was having a party. We wandered around, saw some magic tricks being done and yelled TEN NINE EIGHT SEVEN SIX FIVE FOUR THREE TWO ONE! Then we drove home without buying it. Because I’m loyal to my bookstore, and wanted to purchase it in the same place I’d bought the last four novels.
The next morning I was waiting outside Bolens at 8:00 am for their opening. Went in and bought my copy. Then I saw the adult cover art. Mum and the man working the counter flipped to random pages to make sure they were exactly the same. While they compared, I stood metres away with my hands over my ears. I ended up buying the volume with the ‘adult’ cover art. As I was leaving I spotted a pile of boxes that scores of copies of Order of the Phoenix were being pulled from. The bottom of the box had designs of flame, and a sticker placed atop the seal of the box said not to open it before the right day, or Fluffy would be very angry. I asked if I could take one home – I still have it.
I read Order of the Phoenix while I was supposed to be packing for camp. I remember frantically asking my mum to be quiet and stop asking me questions. She was about to get mad at me for that, but noticed the tears in my eyes…it was at the part when i thought Mr Weasley was going to die.
I went to camp in Vancouver the next day. On the ferry I saw the National Post. They’d printed an Obituary for Sirius Black. I almost ripped the paper into little tiny pieces. I wrote them a snarky letter informing them that only Potter people like me have read the book by THE NEXT DAY. and that they should respect people who don’t want to be spoiled. The next week I was at camp again, a different camp. My friend Jennifer and I would read it over the shoulder of our Leader, who I’m sure was super annoyed at us for doing so – but never told us to stop.
When I first read Order of the Phoenix I didn’t like Harry at all. He was whiny. He was short tempered. He talked in all capital letters! But every time I read this book I find more things I love about it. The way that JKR starts to write Ginny in this book (and the angry cat noises that JKR has her make – page 69), the moments between Ron and Hermione. The new characters we meet and learn to love – Nymphadora Tonks and Luna Lovegood. The fact that Umbridge is so incredibly evil without being a Death Eater. The way Lupin and Sirius interact, the way Harry fights back and does a lot of growing up. The moments we see of Snape. What we learn about the Marauders. How we see Neville in a new light. Everything Fred and George do an say. The first time Hermione says the name Voldemort. The way Hogwarts becomes like Stalin’s Russia. And Harry starts the revolution in Dumbledore’s Army. A group that will change the fate of the wizarding world. The Order itself. The Ministry. It’s simply incredible.
And then there are the things that you only notice after reading Half Blood Prince, the mention of the “heavy locket that none of them could open” (108) that we then start to realize is a Horcrux, the hidden mentions of Regulus. Seeds of plot points later to be discovered.
But as much as I’ve learned to love parts of Order of the Phoenix, and appreciate the work as it is, the end always gets me, re-read after re-read. Sirius Black, a character we’ve only known for 3 books at this point, is cruelly taken from Harry, taken from us. If there’s one thing I can’t forgive Harry for in this book, its that he doesn’t ever try to use the mirror, the mirror that could have cleared everything up, and perhaps spared him with someone to lean on.
I see why it had to happen, but its just another event in the litany of tragedy that is Harry’s life. We can take comfort in the words of Luna though, when she tells Harry the truth as she knows it;
“Oh, come on. You heard them, just behind he veil, didn’t you?”
“In that room with the archway. They were just lurking out of sight, that’s all. You heard them.” (761)
The dead never truly leave us. We’ll see proof enough of that in the space of two more books.
Other great lines:
“Don’t put your wand there, boy!” roared Moody. “What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks you know.”
“Who do you know who’s lost a buttock?” (48)
“Oh Ron, how wonderful! A prefect! That’s everyone in the family!”
“What are Fred and I, next-door neighbours?” (149)
“Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people an Death Eaters…” – Sirius (271)
“Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” (406)
“And from now on, I don’t care if my tea-leaves spell die, Ron, die – I’m just chucking them in the bin where they belong.” (633)