Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Author: J. K. Rowling.
Genre: Literature, Bildungsroman, fiction, adventure, fantasy.
Publication Date: June 21st, 2003.
Summary: Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is feeling particularly angry and neglected by his friends over the summer but, as he soon finds out when he is forced to fend off Dementors in Little Whinging, things are growing very dark in the Wizarding World. The Minister for Magic, however, refuses to recognize Voldemort's return to power, and the Daily Prophet paints Harry as a mentally disturbed, self-involved and delusional liar - a story some of his classmates and their families choose to believe. Soon enough Hogwarts is taken over by the Ministry, with Professor Umbridge making life hell for Harry and his friends. And while outside the Hogwarts walls the Order of the Phoenix reunites to once again prepare for a war, inside it it's up to Harry to teach his fellow students how to defend themselves in secret, and try to learn how to control the connection that allows him and Voldemort's to invade each other's minds.
My rating: 8/10
My review: I have always found this book to be the most frustrating of the series, although it's gotten a lot easier to get through the older I've gotten, and the more objectively I could look at Harry's hormonal overload (and, if we're honest with ourselves, by extension, my own.)
♥ Very conscious of everybody still staring at him, Harry descended the stairs, stowing his wand in the back pocket of his jeans as he came.
"Don't put your wand there, boy!" roared Moody. "What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!"
♥ "Prefect, eh?" growled Moody, his normal eye on Ron and his magical eye swivelling around to gaze into the side of his head. Harry had the very uncomfortable feeling it was looking at him and moved away towards Sirius and Lupin.
"Well, congratulations," said Moody, still glaring at Ron with his normal eye, "authority figures always attract trouble, but I suppose Dumbledore thinks you can withstand most major jinxes or he wouldn't have appointed you..."
Ron looked rather startled at this view of the matter...
♥ "What about you, Sirius?" Ginny asked, thumping Hermione on the back.
Sirius, who was right beside Harry, let out his usual bark-like laugh.
"No one would have made me a prefect, I spent too much time in detention with James. Lupin was the good boy, he got the badge."
"I think Dumbledore might have hoped I would be able to exercise some control over my best friends," said Lupin. "I need scarcely say that I failed dismally."
♥ He could still see his parents beaming up at him from the tattered old photograph, unaware that their lives, like so many of those around them, were drawing to a close. The image of the Boggart posing as the corpse of each member of Mrs Weasley's family in turn kept flashing before his eyes.
Without warning, the scar on his forehead seared with pain again and his stomach churned horribly.
"Cut it out," he said firmly, rubbing the scar as the pain receded.
"First sign of madness, talking to your own head," said a sly voice from the empty picture on the wall.
Harry ignored it. He felt older than he had ever felt in his life, and it seemed extraordinary to him that barely an hour ago he had been worried about a joke shop and who had got a prefect's badge.
♥ "I'll make Goyle do lines, it'll kill him, he hates writing," said Ron happily. He lowered his voice to Goyle's low grunt and, screwing up his face in a look of pained concentration, mimed writing in midair. "I... must... not... look... like... a... baboon's... backside."
♥ "You're not going mad or anything. I can see them, too."
"Can you?" said Harry desperately, turning to Luna. He could see bat-winged horses reflected in her wide silvery eyes.
"Oh, yes," said Luna, "I've been able to see them ever since my first day here. They've always pulled the carriages. Don't worry. You're just as sane as I am."
♥ In times of old when I was new
And Hogwarts barely started
The founders of our noble school
Thought never to be parted:
United by a common goal,
They had the selfsame yearning,
To make the world's best magic school
And pass along their learning.
"Together we will build and teach!"
The four good friends decided
And never did they dream that they
Might some day be divided,
For were there such friends anywhere
As Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Unless it was the second pair
Of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?
So how could such friendships fail?
Why, I was there and so can tell
The whole sad, sorry tale.
Said Slytherin, "We'll teach just those
Whose ancestry is surest."
Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose
Intelligence is surest."
Said Gryffindor, "We'll teach all those
With brave deeds to their name."
Said Hufflepuff, "I'll teach the lot,
And treat them just the same."
These differences caused little strife
When first they came to light,
For each of the four founders had
A house in which they might
Take only those they wanted, so,
For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him,
And only those of sharpest mind
Were taught by Ravenclaw
While the bravest and the boldest
Went to daring Gryffindor.
Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest,
And taught them all she knew,
Thus the houses and their founders
Retained friendships firm and true.
So Hogwarts worked in harmony
For several happy years,
But the discord crept among us
Feeding on our faults and fears.
The houses that, like pillars four,
Had once help up our school,
Now turned upon each other and,
Divided, sought to rule.
And for a while it seemed the school
Must meet an early end,
What with duelling and with fighting
And the clash of friend on friend
And at last there came a morning
When old Slytherin departed
And though the fighting then died out
He left us quite downhearted.
And never since the founder four
Were whittled down to three
Have the houses been united
As they once were meant to be.
And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into houses
Because that is what I'm for,
But this year I'll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfil my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether Sorting
May not bring the end I fear.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we'll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you...
Let the Sorting now begin.
♥ "Harry, don't go picking a row with Malfoy, don't forget, he's a prefect now, he could make life difficult for you..."
"Wow, I wonder what it'd be like to have a difficult life?" said Harry sarcastically.
♥ "I know her by reputation and I'm sure she's no Dearth Eater--"
"She's foul enough to be one," said Harry darkly, and Ron and Hermione nodded vigorously in agreement.
"Yes, but the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters," said Sirius with a wry smile.
♥ "So top grade's 'O' for 'Outstanding'," she was saying, "and then there's 'A'--"
"No, 'E'," George corrected her, "'E' for 'Exceeds Expectations'. And I've always thought Fred and I should've got 'E' in everything, because we exceeded expectations just by turning up for the exams."
They all laughed except Hermione, who ploughed on, "So, after 'E' it's 'A' for 'Acceptable', and that's the last pass grade, isn't it?"
"Yep," said Fred, dunking an entire roll in his soup, transferring it to his mouth and swallowing it whole.
"Then you get 'P' for 'Poor' -" Ron raised both his arms in mock celebration - "and 'D' for 'Dreadful'."
"And then 'T'," George reminded him.
"'T'?" asked Hermione, looking appalled. "Even lower than a 'D'? What on earth does 'T' stand for?"
"'Troll'," said George promptly.
♥ "You don't know what it's like! You - neither of you - you've never had to face him, have you? You think it's just memorising a bunch of spells and throwing them at him, like you're in class or something? The whole time you know there's nothing between you and dying except you own - your own brain or guts or whatever - like you can think straight when you know you're about a nanosecond from being murdered, or tortured, or watching your friends die - they've never taught us that in these classes, what it's like to deal with things like that - and you two sit there acting like I'm a clever little boy to be standing here, alive, like Diggory was stupid, like he messed up - you just don't get it, that could just as easily have been me, it would have been if Voldemort hadn't needed me -"
..."Harry," she said timidly, "don't you see? This... this is exactly why we need you... we need to know what it's r-really like... facing him... facing V-Voldemort."
It was the first time she had ever said Vomdeort's name and it was this, more than anything else, that calmed Harry.
♥ "Well, we've all turned up to learn from him and now he's telling us he can't really do any of it," he said.
"That's not what he said," snarled Fred.
"Would you like us to clean our your ears for you?" enquired George, puling a long and lethal-looking metal instrument from inside one of the Zonko's bags.
"Or any part of your body, really, we're not fussy where we stick this," said Fred.
♥ "I think it's an excellent idea!"
"You do?" said Harry, his head lifting.
"Of course I do!" said Sirius. "D'you think your father and I would've lain down and taken orders from an old hag like Umbridge?"
"But - last term all you did was tell me to be careful and not take risks -"
"Last year, all the evidence was that someone inside Hogwarts was trying to kill you, Harry!" said Sirius impatiently. "This year, we know there's someone outside Hogwarts who'd like to kill us all, so I think learning to defend yourselves properly is a very good idea."
♥ She, too, was gazing at the window, but not as though she really saw it. Her eyes were unfocused and there was a frown on her face.
"Just thinking..." she said, still frowning at the rain-washed window.
"About Siri-- Snuffles?" said Harry.
"No... not exactly..." said Hermione slowly. "More... wondering... I suppose we're doing the right thing... I think... aren't we?"
Harry and Ron looked at each other.
"Well, that clears that up," said Ron. "It would've been really annoying if you hadn't explained yourself properly.
♥ ...it was a few moments before Hermione spoke again and it sounded as though she was choosing her words very carefully.
"You don't think he has become... sort of... reckless... since he's been cooped up in Grimmauld Place? You don't think he's... kind of... living through us?"
♥ "But you get these massive pus-filled boils, too," said George, "and we haven't worked out how to get rid of them yet."
"I can't see any boils," said Ron, staring at the twins.
"No, well, you wouldn't," said Fred darkly, "they're not in a place we generally display to the public."
"But they make sitting on a broom a right pain in the--"
♥ Even Fred had said that Ron might yet make him and George proud, and that they were seriously considering admitting he was related to them, something they assured him they had been trying to deny for four years.
♥ "Weasley cannot save a thing,
He cannot block a single ring,
That's why Slytherins all sing:
Weasley is our King.
"Weasley was born in a bin
He always lets the Quaffle in
Weasley will make sure we win
Weasley is our King."
♥ "You try putting up tinsel when Peeves has got the other end and is trying to strangle you with it," said Ron.
♥ A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode!"
"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have," said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again.
♥ "I told you to empty yourself of emotion!"
"Yeah? Well, I'm finding that hard at the moment," Harry snarled.
"Then you will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord!" said Snape savagely. "Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked so easily - weak people, in other words - they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter!"
"I am not weak," said Harry in a low voice, fury now pumping through him so that he thought he might attack Snape in a moment.
"Then prove it! Master yourself!" spat Snape. "Control your anger, discipline your mind!"
♥ "How many times have you suspected Snape, and when have you ever been right? Dumbledore trusts him, he works for the Order, that ought to be enough."
"He used to be a Death Eater," said Ron stubbornly. "And we've never seen proof that he really swapped sides."
"Dumbledore trusts him," Hermione repeated. "And if we can't trust Dumbledore, we can't trust anyone."
♥ "Women!" he muttered angrily, sloshing down the rain-washed street with his hands in his pockets. "What did she want to talk about Cedric for, anyway? Why does she always want to drag up a subject that makes her act like a human hosepipe?"
♥ As it swung closed behind them, Harry heard Phineas Nigellus's voice.
"You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts... but you cannot deny he's got style..."
♥ What was making Harry feel so horrified and unhappy was not being shouted ar or having jars thrown at him; it was that he knew how it felt to be humiliated in the middle of a circle of onlookers, knew exactly how Snape had felt as his father had taunted him, and that judging from what he had just seen, his father had been every bit as arrogant as Snape had always told him.
♥ "The thing about growing up with Fred and George," said Ginny thoughtfully, "is that you sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve."
♥ "Well, then, I am confused... I'm afraid I don't quite understand how you can give Mr Potter false hope that - "
"False hope?" repeated Professor McGonagall, still refusing to look round at Professor Umbridge. "He has achieved high marks in all his Defence Against the Dark Arts tests - "
"I'm terribly sorry to have to contradict you, Minerva, but as you will see from my note, Harry has been achieving high very poor results in his classes with me -"
"I should have made my meaning plainer," said Professor McGonagall, turning at last to look Umbridge directly in the eyes. "He has achieved high marks in all Defence Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher."
♥ "George," said Fred, "I think we've outgrown full-time education."
"Yeah, I've been feeling that way myself," said George lightly.
"Time to test our talents in the real world, d'you reckon?" asked Fred.
"Definitely," said George.
And before Umbridge could say a word, they raised their wands and said together:
Harry heard a loud crash somewhere in the distance. Looking to his left, he ducked just in tine. Fred and George's broomsticks, one still trailing the heavy chain and iron peg with which Umbridge had fastened them to the wall, were hurtling along the corridor towards their owners; they turned left, streaked down the stairs and stopped sharply in front of the twins, the chain clattering loudly on the flagged stone floor.
"We won't be seeing you," Fred told Professor Umbridge, swinging his leg over his broomstick.
"Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch," said George, mounting his own.
Fred looked around at the assembled students, at the silent, watchful crowd.
"If anyone fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three, Diagon Ally - Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes," he said in a loud voice. "Our new premises!"
"Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear to use our products to get rid of this old bat," added George, pointing at Professor Umbridge.
"STOP THEM!" shrieked Umbridge, but it was too late. As the Inquisitorial Squad closed in, Fred and George kicked off from the floor, shooting fifteen feet into the air, the iron peg swinging dangerously below. Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd.
"Give her hell from us, Peeves."
And Peeves, who Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.
♥ At least he managed to Vanish the whole of his iguana, whereas poor Hannah Abbott lost her head completely at the next table and somehow managed to multiply her ferret into a flock of flamingos, causing the examination to be halted for ten minutes while the birds were captured and carried out of the Hall.
♥ "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."
♥ "You... this isn't a criticism, Harry! But you do... sort of... I mean - don't you think you've got a bit of a - a- saving-people thing?" she said.
♥ Harry, still staring at the archway, was angry at Sirius now for keeping him waiting -
But some part of him realised, even as he fought to break free from Lupin, that Sirius had never kept him waiting before... Sirius had risked everything, always, to see Harry, to help him... if Sirius was not reappearing out of that archway when Harry was yelling for him as though his life depended on it, the only possible explanation was that he could not come back... that he really was -
♥ "You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?" called Voldemort, his scarlet eye narrowed over the top of the shield. "Above such brutality, are you?"
"We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom," Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk towards Voldemort as though he had not a fear in the world, as though nothing had happened to interrupt his stroll up the hall. "Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit - "
"There is nothing worth than death, Dumbledore!" snarled Voldemort.
"You are quite wrong," said Dumbledore, still closing in upon Voldemort and speaking as lightly as though they were discussing the matter over drinks. Harry felt scared to see him walking along, undefended, shieldless; he wanted to cry out a warning, but his headless guard kept shunting him backwards towards the wall, blocking his every attempt to get out from behind it. "Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness - "
♥ It was unbearable, he would not think about it, he could not stand it... there was a terrible hollow inside him he did not want to feel or examine, a dark hole where Sirius had been, where Sirius had vanished; he did not want to have to be alone with that great, silent space, he could not stand it -
♥ "There is no shame in what you are feeling, Harry," said Dumbledore's voice. "On the contrary... the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength. ... Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human - "
♥ "If you don't - if you keep me in here - if you don't let me - "
"By all means continue destroying my possessions," said Dumbledore serenely. "I daresay I have too many."
♥ "Sirius did not hate Kreacher," said Dumbledore. "He regarded him as a servant unworthy of much interest or notice. Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike... the fountain we destroyed tonight told a lie. We wizards have mistreated and abused our fellows for too long, and we are now reaping our reward."
♥ "Do you see, Harry? Do you see the flaw in my brilliant plan now? I had fallen into the trap I had foreseen, that I had told myself I could avoid, that I must avoid."
"I don't - "
"I cared about you too much," said Dumbledore simply. "I cared more for your happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed. In other words, I acted exactly as Voldemort expects we fools who love to act.
"Is there a defence? I defy anyone who has watched you as I have - and I have watched you more closely than you can have imagined - not to want to save you more pain than you had already suffered. What did I care if numbers of nameless and faceless people and creatures were slaughtered in the vague future, if in the here and now you were alive, and well, and happy? I never dreamed that I would have such a person on my hands."
♥ "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."
♥ "There is a room in the Department of Mysteries," interrupted Dumbledore, "that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you."
♥ There were still deep welts on his forearms where the brain's tentacles had wrapped around him. According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else...
♥ Harry nodded. He somehow could not find the words to tell them what it meant to him, to see them all ranged there, on his side.