Monday, December 10, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

This Harry Potter stuff is subtly addicting. I was mildly entertained by book 1, but now, with book 5, I find myself reading when I really should be doing other things. And now that I'm finished, it takes some effort to restrain myself from going to the library and chasing down book 6. ("No! You must finish the other books you have started first!," scolds the conscience.) So, Book 5. If "Order of the Phoenix" wasn't a much cooler (or should I wiggle my fingers and say "mysteeeerious"?) title, Ms. Rowling could have easily called it Harry Potter and the Adolescent Angst. Ol' Harry spends a lot of the book in a sour mood. He's got plenty of cause, mind you, but the hormones and immaturity amplify the outside stress and put Harry on the rampage. Sometimes I just wanted to give the kid a shake and tell him to grow up. Of course, it was about that time when I remembered what it was like to be 15. We were kind of stupid then, weren't we? ... Well, I was anyway. But back to the book. Order of the Phoenix flows straight out of the previous volume, Goblet of Fire. The things put in motion after Goblet's climax are proceeding apace, but Harry is stuck in the safety of his aunt and uncle's home. He returns to the Hogwart's crowd rather miffed at being left out of the action. (Even though the only "action" his peers have been seeing is magical house cleaning.) Returning to Hogwart's itself proves to be no solace for Harry. It seems that most of the student body thinks he's some sort of nut job, his friend Hagrid is nowhere to be seen, and the previously benign Ministry of Magic has seen fit to try and shape up the school by installing one of it's own as a teacher and political busybody. As the book goes on, it just get worse--though there are a number of minor victories to keep the reader's hope alive. And the ending? Well, you really should read it for yourself. It's not a perfect book--a few elements seem to be stuck in the first novel--but it's a very satisfying read, both as an individual novel and as part of the overall story arc.

Check it out already!
LibraryThing link

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