Review: “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling

For the love of books

After the decline that was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, who knew what to predict for the fifth volume in the Harry Potter series?  However, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest volume in J.K. Rowling’s series.  It also is the unofficial rebound of Rowling’s magnetic grasp of describing human emotion realistically as in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Complex and deftly constructed, this novel is compelling and more politically inclined, as Harry Potter is faced by the entire Wizarding world’s disbelief in Voldemort’s return to power.

Harry is called a liar by the Ministry of Magic and the Daily Prophet; he is even mistrusted by people he knows, and he is having doubts about himself and even his parents.  Moreover, Dumbledore is avoiding contact with him, and his situation at Hogwarts is getting progressively worse on all accounts.  Rowling really knows how to describe feelings; for Harry, it starts out with what it is like to be alone and without credibility.  On an equally important note, Dolores Umbridge may be the worst villain the author has introduced since Voldemort himself, an evil woman masquerading under a cover of legal authority and polite, albeit ostentatious, hatred.  In fact, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix presents a new scope on evil: it is harder to choose between the Death Eaters and Dolores Umbridge as the more deceptive antagonists, both utilizing cruelty and avarice to achieve what they want without any scruples.

Some of the most exciting scenes in the story are when Harry and his friends at Hogwarts form the D.A. in retaliation against Umbridge and her regime.  Suddenly, characters are joining sides and proving where their loyalties lie, each working for one cause.  On the other hand, the level of maturity in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix reflects on all characters in different ways, mostly romantic.  Ron and Hermione are maturing as well as Harry, however humorous or tragic their mishaps as teenagers are; their relationships to each other are visibly changing, as the tides are crucially turning for good and evil sides alike.  Fulfilling all expectations for action and nobility of spirit with scenes like the showdown in the Ministry of Magic (ironically appropriate for a battle), the most touching moment is when Harry is distraught with grief and anger over the death of his guardian.

Even though the novel has so much more information on characters like Sirius Black, on the Order of the Phoenix itself, or on past events in the series, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Harry Potter and his being a target for Voldemort all his life is the most anticipated and brilliant, the final threshold where Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix completely gains preeminence over its prequel.

Original review: The fifth volume competes with the third as Rowling’s finest contribution yet, Examiner.com

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