Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have read this series so many times, I've stopped putting in the dates. Usually I listen to the audio tapes when I have some work to do that doesn't use all my senses, but keeps my attention only partially. While the story is one I know by heart, I am always amazed as another of the numerous incidence of the series plot is laid down to be harvested in a later book.
In this book we see our three heros as teenagers, and they really are! I think they are bickering and quarreling through the whole book! I found it annoying, but so totally accurate for their age that it made me smile. They are constantly at cross purposes and cross with each other. In this book, the writing takes a much darker turn and younger kids who enjoyed the first four books may find this one a little too dark and dangerous.
The story starts with Ron and Hermoine knowing about the Order of the Phoenix and Harry being kept in the dark. The problem is that Voldemort is back and he wants to kill Harry. The Order members know how much danger Harry is in and they want to protect him. The Ministry of Magic is no help because they are determined to believe that Voldemort is not back despite all the evidence.
Voldemort also wants the prophecy concerning Harry Potter which is held at the Ministry of Magic down a dark corridor. Harry is getting glimpses of what Voldemort sees as he works his evil. This is helpful when the snake, Nagini, bites Mr. Weasley and leaves him is dying. Harry is able to alert Professor Dumbledore and someone is at the Ministery of Magic immediately. Since Harry is being kept out of a lot of the business of the Order, he is determined to find the prophecy himself.
The best part of this book is Delores Umbridge. The Ministry of Magic is trying to squelch all rumors that Voldemort has returned and so they install Umbridge as the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher. The Ministry doesn't believe the children should actually practice defensive spells because there is no need. They believe that the students should read carefully edited text books about dark arts in the past. Delores, however, in her fluffy pink everything, is just pure evil. She's a villan you love to hate. Every time Harry and crew do something, she has poor old Filch hammer up another decree on the wall. Eventually, just about everything is banned, but the kids, of course, have found a way around the rules.
(Just a little note, the casting in the movie for the part of Delores Umbridge, I think, was wrong. It would have been better to cast someone whose character was evil posing as someone who is good rather than the other way around. Delores doesn't ring true until you have seen the movie a couple of times and have already identified with her as an evil person.)
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