NUMBER 5 –ALMOST IN THE MIDDLE! – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Stop screaming, stupid portrait. Also, stop screaming, Harry. Oh, god, please no, not a prophecy!
+ Dumbledore vs Voldemort!!
+ Rita Skeeter has to shut up! (Though actually, she was kinda funny)
+ New more grown-up tone works well.
+ Fred and George break free.
+ Harry discovers he’s badass, but a badass with luck
+ Ron as a prefect
+ St. Mungo’s
+ Bellatrix Lestrange
+ Epic duelling
– Umbridge, Umbridge, UMBRIDGE!!
– Stupid Fudge, why you so stupid?
– Percy sucks
– WTF kind of a romance was that between Harry and Cho? There wasn’t anything there?!
– Any time spent in Grimmauld Place, even for a reader, is tedious. Poor Sirius!
– Too many door dreams
– the Chosen One
– Occlumency and Legilimency weren’t explained very well and never really play a role later, which is a shame, because the concept had potential
Order is the book that takes a deep breath after Goblet’s haunting and consequential finale. Impatient as Harry, the reader wants to know what is being done against the bad guys, unfortunately, though, everything is secrecy, which is as annoying as annoyed Harry is to everyone. Yes, HP 5 is also the book in which PUBERTY sets in. It’s a definite change in tone from the previous books, which is fine. Obviously, they have to grow up, and Rowling manages the transition into the teenager years pretty well, I think.
Now to what I really hate about book 5 and what, for me, remains a flaw of the story until the very end.
There is a prophecy. A freaking prophecy. There is almost nothing more boring and plot-killing than a prophecy. A prophecy brings the invisible hand of fate into play, and from there on anything goes. It’s deus ex machina. We don’t need it. There didn’t need to be a reason why Voldemort went after Harry’s parents other than that they were powerful wizards who opposed him.
Now, with a prophecy involved, everything gets messy. We constantly have to ask for the higher reason behind things and it just doesn’t work out at all.
Here’s an example of what I mean: Why all the effort to lure Harry into the ministry to get the prophecy to find out how to kill him if Voldemort is prepared to kill Harry on the spot anyway, risking his freshly achieved revival? It makes the whole plot line kind of irrelevant. Has Voldemort really spent a year brooding just on this?
This weakness of plot is, I think, a symptom of a general problem JKR had with Voldemort. What do you do with an antagonist that is just so much more powerful than anyone else except one? As I see it, Voldemort could have killed Harry anytime. Ordinary wizards weren’t a hindrance. Why, for example, did he not just show up poly-juiced on platform 9 3\4, Avada Kedavra Harry and quickly Disparate, as you apparently can there? Or why not just blow up Hogwarts’s express? There would have been many, many ways! But there is a prophecy, so he has to wait. Sounds kind of lame, and as mentioned, V himself renders the point moot by attempting to kill Harry without information after all.
The prophecy also isn’t necessary to explain Voldemort’s obsession with Harry. He defied him, hurt him, defeated him and is a symbol of resistance. An arrogant guy like Voldmort, why wouldn’t he attempt to kill Harry. No need for a prophecy AT All.
(If you can’t tell, I really hated the prophecy.)
Another reason I rated this book lower on my personal scale is also one that makes it a worthy read for young people. In the person of Umbridge, fascism enters Hogwarts and alters the way of life there. While this isn’t very pleasant if you just want your average Hogwarts year for escapism into its fantastic cosmos, this realistic element serves as a great example to young people how evil can be found in the mundane, the bureaucratic, the accepted convention. Umbridge stands for government officials that follow the direction from which the wind blows and simply execute power. If the source of this power is evil, well, then too bad.
There are many more reasons this book is more mature and more tedious than its predecessors, but this entry is already too long, so let me just give a shout out to poor Sirius, ah, we hardly knew ye and Hagrid’s latest achievement in monstrous creatures, which is funny at first, but we, the readers, realize our own narrow-mindedness after Grawp turns out to be a decent guy.
Harry Potter 5 – 5th worst of the saga yet still an awesome HARRY POTTER book!