Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Review of 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' by J.K. Rowling (Audiobook)

"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...

Suspense, secrets, and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down."

Things are getting very real in the Wizarding World.

I think this is a slightly underrated part of the series.  If Goblet of Fire was the point of no return in the series, then this is the part of the series where Harry is shouldering more of the responsibility.  But not everyone is ready to hand over that responsibility to him.

This book was hard to listen to.  I've read it before and have watched the film version of it tons of times, so I knew exactly what was coming as I was listening to the audiobook version of this.  But the Umbridge in the movie is nothing like the Umbridge in the book.  I was legitimately getting angry while I was listening to the book to the point where I needed to shut the book off and walk away.  Her cruelty is unlike any other character in this series.  In a lot of ways she's worse than Voldemort because she has the backing of Fudge's ministry, so everything she's doing is, for better or for worse, legal and she's also the person doing the dirty work.  Voldemort has supporters and often has his people take care of things for him.  So coming face to face with Umbridge in her true form was an absolute nightmare.  Things in Goblet of Fire scared me and got my heart pumping, but not the way this book does.

One big complaint that I have is that things go quite slowly in this book.  Part of it is the length.  Longer works just tend to go a little more slowly.  There were things like Apparition lessons and things like that that I felt could have been spoken about, but not have entire scenes devoted to.  The wait time is a killer.

The scene at the Ministry and later in Dumbledore's office is even more devastating than I remember.  I knew that Harry loses pretty much the only parental figure he's ever known during this scene, but it wasn't really until rereading this scene that it really drove home exactly what that means.  These two scenes are also where I wish that the written and film versions were able to combine.  What I appreciated about the book version were seeing Harry realize that what a mistake he made and hearing others acknowledge that Harry's weakness is wanting to be the hero and go and save people.  I loved that in the movie, Harry realizes that, even while he was being possessed, what makes him different from Voldemort is that he has the power to love.  And he sees the people he loves.  I appreciated and was terribly pained by the scene in Dumbledore's office where Harry is sort of hit with this sense of loss-- of important people in his life, of control in his life-- and he starts destroying things.  I preferred this show of feelings rather than the quiet, still Harry portrayed in the movie.

I think this book and Goblet of Fire are the points of transition in this series.  So much change happens over these two volumes and this is when the series really grows up and takes on that much darker tone than has previously existed.

After this second reading, I realized that I really do like this book and it doesn't deserve all the hate it tends to get from people.  It's not a perfect read, but there is so much going for it all at the same time.

I give 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix':
Thanks for Reading!


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