Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Order of the Phoenix

Featuring Bit (Age 8)

Bit and I are continuing our slow reading of the Harry Potter books. (This journey will be coming to an end this summer as I have promised to read books 6 & 7 back to back. I'm really kind of sad about this.) I was nervous about The Order of the Phoenix because aside from the first book and last book it is my favorite. I didn't have as many issues reading this one aloud as I did with The Goblet of Fire (our thoughts).

The Story
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Bit's Thoughts
 I really liked The Order of the Phoenix, but I think Harry is getting too obnoxious. He's whiny and spends too much time feeling sorry for himself. Now I wish it didn't have to be told from only Harry's point of view. My favorite character is Ginny and I loved that she was in this book more. I think Luna is an interesting new character. One of my favorite parts is when they meet Luna because it is interesting to see what she is like. The scariest part is when they go into the Ministry of Magic at the end. I liked learning why Voldemort wanted to kill Harry.

Disclaimer: I am careful about not sharing my thoughts on books in the series with Bit before reading them to her. She was not influenced by my feelings about Harry in this one because I never shared them prior to reading. Her reaction to this was genuinely hers.

My Thoughts
Why is this one my favorite of the middle books? I just love the themes. Rowling did a surprising thing in this book following the return of Voldemort at the end of book 4 when she pushed him to the background and brought in an entirely new and different style of villain. Choosing to spend an entire book focusing mainly on the corruption in the Ministry of Magic, the politics of governing a school, and the power of propaganda was an odd thing to do from a fantasy series stand point. Yet this plot line and its themes work beautifully and are a true strength of this volume. And I adore how she portrayed the students resistance, their quiet when it needed to be and loud when the time came for it rebellion against the authoritarian rule that had overtaken them. It is an important year for growth in all the characters, main and secondary. It doesn't mean I think it a perfect book by any means. It is, again, too long. There is a lot that could have been cut. (I did notice that while the over description of places and routes taken to get to them was a bit better than in book 4 it was still a problem.) I have a difficult time not rolling my eyes at Harry through a great deal of this book, but he was never my main motivation for reading these nor was he ever my favorite character.

What Bit and I are reading now: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare


  1. I liked this one when reading it, but it's where I stopped reading the books out loud to my son. Harry was just so obnoxious when I read him out loud. So X read them to himself and we talked about them, and we both were happy. I think X skimmed a lot of the whiny parts; he's good about getting what he wants from a book.

    1. Kids are so good about just tossing the parts of books that don't work for them and still getting enjoyment from them.

      Harry's obnoxiousness always annoyed me but I never cared because he was nowhere close to being my favorite part of the books.