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Reviews of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)

Review by ladylaw (2009-10-08)
The 5th book in the Harry Potter series continues down the dark road which was already set in the previous books, but now that Lord Voldemort has returned things really do get very serious for Harry and his friends. Furthermore, there is the constant struggle against the Ministry of Magic (represented by the horrible Dolores Umbridge) which is another great thing about this book. And we are introduced to one of the funniest characters there are, Luna Lovegood.
I enjoyed this book very much, it remains one of my favorite Harry Potter books, despite the fact we have to say goodbye to a rather important person at the end...

Review by siriusspells (2006-03-20)
This was the best Harry Potter book of the series. Yes even better than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

It really surprised me in the end. It is the longest book of the series but, also the most interesting. It just really excited me.

I read the second half of the book in a whole day without stopping except to eat.

Review by goldenphoenix (2005-01-01)
One of the few books that has ever made me cry, and truely Rowling's greatest triumph to date. After being happily content with 4, but not finding it any more special than 3, I was delighted with this book. Rowling manages to combine all of the best elements of the previous books: the detail and charm of 1; the wit of 2 (with even a brief appearance of my favourite character, Gilderoy Lockhart); the excitment of 3; the maturity of 4. Plus, she splashes in a bit more darkness, and she has the best book of the series so far.

For me, the books have been getting more and more mature as I have done the same, which is probably why I love them so much. However, I think that the original target audience of the first book still enjoy this book because it does work on many different levels.

Review by atiqah (2004-10-13) Contains spoilers. View anyway.

The best book out of the Harry Potter series as well as the first book that ever make me cry. I hate it when Sirius died but the way Harry take the huge slap was very brave (actually I thougth he would kill Dumbledore after the talk.)

I just hope Rowling won't kill any loveable character in the 6th book.

Review by darkkilala (2004-08-31) Contains spoilers. View anyway.

I thought this book was very good. It is by far my favorite book out of all of them. I think the fight scene between Voldemort and Dubbledore was awesome, the way that they both disappeared and reappeared in another place, it was just awesome. Shame that Harrys godfather Sirus died. I thought he and Harry would live together at the end of the series. Well that is what i think about this book. Later.

Review by nzilla (2004-08-26)
Very nicely dark and mature. Other reviewers have pointed out everything else that makes this one so great. My personal favorite so far. 9/10

Review by radish_ears (2004-07-02)
I love this book, for it introduces my favorite character, or one of them, in the series. Luna Lovegood (with her radish earrings) is so funny and out there. She's just a great character.

Anyway, I love this book, because JK has obviously gotten much better at writing. Just fantastic. She seems to be growing as the characters do. I have one complaint with this book, and that is that I believe the books are getting too mature for the original target readers. There are things that some children just won't be able to understand (growing teenagers and whatnot) and also, as her writing increases, so does her vocabulary. I think that kids find it too hard to read.

Review by alanhunt (2003-07-22)
I think that Rowling is back on the right track with the latest installment in the Harry Potter series. I enjoyed the first four books, but I thought that the fourth book suffered from an over infusion of philosophy.

The core of the Potter series is the sense of adventure that it recalls to us, the sense that everything is possible, that magic is out there, and while (potentially) dangerous, it is worth the danger because it makes life so much more interesting. The long and poorly concealed "house elf" subplot to the fourth book was annoying and strayed from the spirit of the books that was the most enjoyable.

Thankfully, in the Order of the Phoenix, the action picks back up, Hermione whines a little bit less, and the characters pick up more depth as we gain new insights into Snape, Sirius, Dumbledore, and Harry. I was happy with the new directions that we see Harry go in, with him gaining an angry edge; if it is a bit sulky at times, it at least hints at interesting developments to come.

It was also nice to have some more of the history revealed with the original prophecy, and with Dumbledore spelling out some of the facts in the denoument.

For anyone who was disappointed in the fourth book, give this one a try. It was relatively long, but worth the read.

Review by tastebud (2003-07-15)
Anyone who has read Books I-IV in the Harry Potter series is looking for primarily one thing in the pages of "The Order of the Phoenix": answers (oh, and some good action, yes). Why did Lord Voldemort, the most evil wizard ever to have risen to power, try to kill Harry as a baby—leaving him orphaned and sporting a prominent scar on his forehead? How did his parents come to have so much gold stashed away, essentially securing his financial future? What is greasy, wicked Professor Snape really up to—and what are the real reasons behind his contempt for Harry's father and the ongoing animosity between him and Harry's godfather, Sirius Black? And why, suddenly, is Albus Dumbeldore, powerful wizard and trusted Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, keeping such a distance from Harry, to the point that he won't even look him in the eye? By the end of the novel, Harry finally gets a few answers. But they come at a terrible cost.

In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" author J.K. Rowling once again proves herself a gifted storyteller. She presents a thrilling tale that's more mature and psychologically-driven than any of the previous ones in the series (and one that is probably not suitable for readers under 12). Her extraordinary eye for detail brings the wizarding world to life with descriptions of magical creatures, settings and people that are so painstakingly crafted it's almost understandable why the book took three years to produce. But her fondness for minute detail has its drawbacks. While some parts, like the obligatory Sorting Ceremony and Quidditch matches, are notably shorter this time around, many other passages are overwrought...too long and almost...boring. She introduces a number of new characters, many of whom take up a good deal of real estate in the book but ultimately seem of little significance. Of course, any experienced Rowling reader knows by now that the most seemingly trivial detail or name buried within the often cluttered prose may very well turn out to be a major clue to sorting out the story--so skimming is really not an option if you're trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together yourself. But before hardly making a dent in this nearly 800 page-long volume, it becomes clear that the book could have benefitted from a competent editor unafraid of paring down the text while keeping the overall story intact. To her credit, Rowling does at least resist the temptation to neatly recap the events of the previous four books at the beginning of this one. Instead, she makes well placed references to them throughout "The Order of the Phoenix", which works nicely. However, this definitely makes the earlier instalments required reading before tackling this book; Rowling has developed the story line so intricately at this point, that it's inadvisable for any newcomer to start anywhere other than at the beginning of the series.

"The Goblet of Fire" (Book IV) left readers incredibly eager for answers and next actions but Rowling's decision to go about things the long way in "The Order of the Phoenix", often leaves the reader as frustrated with the pace of action as Harry is. This time around, however, Harry isn't keeping his emotions to himself and for the first time Rowling reveals a dark side to the beloved protagonist. Harry is clearly full of anger and resentment. He knows that things are very likely going to get much worse since the events that took place a month earlier (read "The Goblet of Fire" if you want the specifics) and the cryptic messages he receives from his closest friends and his godfather, coupled with Albus Dumbeldore's silence infuriate him. Hasn't he successfully stood up against Voldemort enough times by now to have earned the trust and respect of his elders, he wonders. He's angered that they still regard him as a child, incapable of handling the truth. As a result, Harry lashes out at those close to him and in his effort to vent his frustration he even resorts to provoking some who have mistreated him in the past. In fact, Harry demonstrates such startlingly little control over his anger at times that the reader worries it may eventually consume him. But despite the copious amount of shouting and the occasional wallowing in self pity, Harry's behaviour actually lends the character new depth. The kid is only 15 and has been through a lot, after all. It would seem incredible if he never let off some steam. Given his feelings of resentment, it's also no wonder that he stubbornly refuses to turn to Dumbeldore when his scar begins throbbing painfully again and his nights are haunted by ominous dreams of long, dark corridors and mysterious rooms.

Throughout the book, Harry's struggles are not limited to fighting against adult authority (including, of course, Snape and a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher) and coping with the powerlessness he feels about Voldemort's renewed activity. He's also facing the daunting growing pains of adolescence. Rowling gives Harry his first girlfriend—and it is with graceful sensitivity and humour that she reminds even her most mature readers of how it feels to reach that awkward coming-of-age milestone. Harry also takes on a position of leadership among his peers and is eventually forced to confront revelations about his own family and what he has come to perceive as the truth.

Much like the mythological Phoenix, who burns and is reborn from its own ashes, Harry undergoes a powerful metamorphosis in this book. He must relinquish a good amount of his innocence in exchange for a deep, personal loss and the disturbing knowledge of what his future holds. Leaden with grief and stunned by a new awareness of his place in the world, Harry feels like "a marked man" isolated from those around him. His resilience remains intact, however, and he comes to realise that no matter what the future may hold for him, he is far from alone.

Almost impossible to put down, the long-awaited "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" may not live up to all the hype but it will undoubtedly leave readers hungry for more. Accio Book VI!

c.2003 N. Bator

Review by jesco (2003-06-27)
The fourth book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" ended with the return of Lord Voldemort. Contrary to popular belief, this new book does not deal with Voldemort in particular, but with the political struggle between Prof. Dumbledore and the Ministry for Magic, which does not believe Harry that Voldemort has returned.

The Order of the Phoenix is an associaton created by Dumbledore to fight Voldemort, very much like a private agency. The members like the Weasley parents, Prof. Snape, Mad-Eye Moody, Sirius and a couple of other (new) characters try to find out as much as possible about Voldemort's plans, to protect Harry and to find prove of Voldemort's return.

The Order operates in secret, as Dumbledore is constantly battled and discredited by the Ministry. Over the course of the book, the Ministry gains more and more control over Hogwarts which ultimately results in Dumbledores removal from office.

Harry himself is right in his puberty, which means quick tempered, stubborn and kind of interested in the other sex. He is often kind of frustrated that the elder treat him like a child, he has some sort of relationship (a short one, albeit) and is also trying to get his OWLs this year.

The book ends with the death of one of the Order who tries to rescue Harry from the grips of Lord Voldemort, who has very subtlely tried to control Harry over the year and bring him a very special 'prophecy', which only Harry can do.

In the end, after Harry is rescued spectacularly, even the Ministry has to accept that Voldemort has returned and the second war begins openly with the revolting of the Dementors.

If I have to give this book a rating, I'd say it ranges somewhere in between of the third and the fourth book, with the latter being the best. What is great about this book, is that JK Rowling further elaborates her already fascinating wizarding world. She introduces quite a few very interesting new characters like the Auror Nymphodora Tonks (short: Tonks) and the a little bit lunatic Hogwarts student Luna Lovegood. It has been a very enjoyable reading and definetely makes me long for the next book of the series.

Review by Mariko (2003-06-24)
Yes, I'm one of those crazy people who bought it shortly after midnight, but I think I'm partially excused by the fact that I was also selling it to people shortly after midnight. But I've already read it, two days later, so I suppose I'm thoroughly crazy after all.

I'll try to be appropriately vague, so that those of you who haven't finished reading it yet and intend to don't search me out and stone me.

It seems from the votes on this page that a lot of people were disappointed with the book; I wasn't. After hearing it was 800-odd pages long, I was afraid that much of it would be fluff -- not because Rowling has tended in that direction in the past, but because it's so common in later books in a series, and it seemed unlikely that there could really be almost 900 pages of action.

Well, there were. Not 900 pages of violent conflict, but something was always happening; there were no 10-page long descriptions of the weather, or of someone's nose, and I didn't find my mind wandering.

Okay, the excessive use of ellipses was a bit much at times. But that's forgiveable.

It is, as many have said, darker than the others; Harry spends much of the book in a (perfectly understandable) adolescent funk, and I was left left torn between sympathizing completely and wishing he weren't so thick about it -- and a major character does die. I won't give away any more about it than that. You also find out quite a bit of information that neither we nor Harry had had before, and you meet some interesting parents of Harry's allies.

If you haven't read the series, I think you ought to -- it's worth it -- and if you have read the series, I think you'll like this one.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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