Reading Backwards

Book reviews by your favorite Git.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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By J. K. Rowling
Like the woman needs more money. The books are undeinably good, though. Amazon.com
Rating: Cantputitdowner
Read: First read a month or so after it came out, reread April 2005.

Agh- definately the most driving book so far. If you haven’t given it a good reread yet, do so before July when the 6th arrives. (*squeal* Pre-order!!)

My head is buzzing with ideas for the rest of the series. I spent yesterday theorizing with a friend and more today. OotP forces us to start asking the hard questions- and we know the answers are coming. I almost don’t want to read number 6 so I can wait until the 7th comes and read them both together in a whirlwind of discovery.

Anyway, about this particlar book.

On my first read, I had forgotten a lot of what came before, including the ending with Diggory and You Know Who. Now, there are lot of reasons why Harry gets very frustrated and snappish (read: teenagerly and bitchy)I lost sympathy for him quickly. On this second read, with GoF fresh in mind, the events seemed more spaced out and I kept MY patience better. Harry’s still a whingy little SOB, but I suppose he deserves a bit of temper. And trust me, he yells at almost everyone by the end of the book. Stupid Harry.

Harry also gets to take some action in his crush on Cho, and I was neutral on her before, but now I think she’s a high-maintenance cow with crap for standards. You can find out for yourself how it goes down.

In the greater scheme of the plot, Harry is sent back to Privet Drive at the start of the summer, where he is unexpectedly attacked by his least favorite of all magical creatures. The magic he uses to defend himself lands him an expulsion notice from the Ministry of Magic and it seems like everyone AROUND Harry is takin care of things without letting him in on the secret. All summer they’ve told him to lay low, just be calm, they’ll tell him eventually…

Naturally, he’s a bit upset about that.

Skip to their arrival at Hogwarts, where the Ministry has chosen to interfere, hardcore. Cornelius Fudge insists that Voldemort is NOT back and considers Dumbledore a threat to his position in the Ministry. Hence, he has instituted new legislation that puts Hogwarts under MM control. The Ministry now has the ability to appoint teachers if the Headmaster cannot find anyone suitable- and Fudge sends in Dolores Umbridge, the most vile, toadlike character you will ever meet. Hem, hem.

To the students’ horror, she refuses to allow them to practice spells in Defense Against the Dark Arts (Fudge thinks Dumbledore is trying to build an army to attack him), and spies on the students and teachers. Slowly she gains more and more control, and Hogwarts becomes unsafe for secrets both inside and out.

Worst of all, Harry and Snape are on the same side, and neither likes that one bit.

Of course, the story wouldn’t be complete without weird things happening to Harry personally: He’s been getting much more frequent dreams through the eyes of Voldemort. Dumbledore sets Snape to teach Harry how to shield his mind, with the result that both of them gain unwanted access to the others’ darkest memories. Harry discovers some truth to Snape’s insults regarding his father’s character, and doubts his parents’ relationship. Because he doesn’t want the dreams to stop- he shares Voldemort’s desire to know what lies behind a certain door- he lets Snape call off their lessons in a fit of rage. This will be the downfall of all concerned. And that’s all I’m saying.

To summarize, OotP is about the Ministry attempted to clamp down on Hogwarts, and partially succeeding. Harry and Voldemort’s connection strengthens, and Ron blusters loudly and uselessly every time Hermione lets on that she’s still friends with Viktor Krum.

Oh yes- and Luna Lovegood is the world’s coolest character. May she, Neville and Ginny become our Fave Three’s official backup team.

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Written by Shen

April 24, 2005 at 2:14 pm

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