208 of 216 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the most complex, and in some ways most satisfying, of all the Potter novels
ORDER OF THE PHOENIX could well be my favorite book of them all, if Azkaban and Deathly Hallows weren't as good as they were. For all the talk about GOBLET being the one where Rowling really hikes up the intensity and the complexity in the series, it is here, in PHOENIX, she gives us Potter's darkest, and most complex, adventure of all.
The second most complex...
Published on October 17, 2007 by Mike London
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun at times, but overall disappointing
Based on the high ratings for this book, it's obvious JK Rowling can do no wrong. I suspect she could have published the phone book and she'd still get 4.5 stars! Perhaps she deserves this given the success of the previous 4 issues, but there is no way this book is perfect (i.e. 5 stars).
In comparison to the previous 4 issues, this book is disappointing...
Published on July 19, 2003 by EBHP
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208 of 216 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the most complex, and in some ways most satisfying, of all the Potter novels,
This review is from: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Paperback)ORDER OF THE PHOENIX could well be my favorite book of them all, if Azkaban and Deathly Hallows weren't as good as they were. For all the talk about GOBLET being the one where Rowling really hikes up the intensity and the complexity in the series, it is here, in PHOENIX, she gives us Potter's darkest, and most complex, adventure of all.
The second most complex novel in the entire Potter sequence (the first being Book 7), this book is probably the second best one, though I still like Azkaban better. This novel introduces the Order of the Phoenix, a whole litany of new characters and a more indepth look at the Ministry For Magic.
Potter has been having bad dreams about a locked door. So he must find out what to do about that. While at home with the Dursleys, he and Dudley are attacked by dementors, and so he stands trial before the Ministry for the inappropriate use of underage magic. He ultimately must appear before the Ministry, and it is only by Dumbledore's appearance he is saved.
But the Ministry is not finished yet. Still under staunch denial that Voldemort is back, Cornelius Fudge sends a new teacher, Dolores Umbridge, to bring Hogwarts under the Ministry's control. Much of the storyline revolves around Umbridge as she takes over Hogwarts, eventually ousting Dumbledore, who goes on the run. Her end is very well justified.
I remember when I read the book back in 2003 when it initially came out being rather disappointed. I wasn't a big fan of GOBLET, and I couldn't way to spend more time in Harry's universe, being back at Hogwarts with characters I know and love. But when I read PHOENIX, though, I felt even more lost and rather alienated. Hogwarts was being taken over. Hagrid was missing for half the book. Dumbledore is extremely distant (for reasons explained at the end of the novel). The Ministry is taken over, and it's run by a man who doesn't know what the hell is going on. There was a lot going on in this novel, and it was all rather depressing. Harry became angry and had severe mood swings, and was always snapping at the people around him. On the positive note he did get some romance,but ultimately even that frizzled out. Harry even had to take "Defense Against the Dark Arts" underground, as Umbridge refuses to even acknowledge Voldemort at all, as per Ministry order.
When I reread it in 2007 in prepration for DEATHLY HALLOWS, my stocks in this book absolutely soared. This is a dark, dark book, and while I still felt rather alienated and cut off from Rowling's magical world and the Ministry Interference, this time around I realised how masterfully crafted this novel truly is.
ORDER, as far as I'm concerned, is where Rowling truly stopped writing children's fiction, but crafting a dark, bitter book about dark, bitter times in her character's lives. Reading ORDER, and especially about Umbridge, keeps reminding one of Orwell and his horrific visions in 1984 and ANIMAL FARM.
Umbridge is easily one of her best characters she ever wrote, and one of the most despicable characters in all of fiction. It is people like Umbridge that brought Hitler to power in the early 1930s, and who would enable him to commit the many atrocities that he did during WWII (and I thought that for a long time before HALLOWS came out, in which Umbridge has turned into a type of Nazi who fully subscribes to Voldemort's racial genocide).
It is here, with ORDER, in which Rowling shows us the evil of bureaucracy, of how Voldemort isn't the only person in which massive evil lurks.
I also love how Rowling greatly expands her environment from the previous novels. We see for the first time St. Mungo's (and have a rather morose encounter with Gilderoy Lockheart from Book 2). We get to go inside the Ministry For Magic, and a very impressive place it is. Grimmauld Place, along with Sirius, is also very entertaining.
And we get some great new characters. Thestrals. The beautifully bizaare Luna Lovegood. Gwarp. Kingsley Shacklebolt. And a personal favorite, Nymphadora Tonks.
The series also has one of my favorite scenes in all of literature: when Dumbledore brings Firenze on during the rainstorm as the new divination teacher (a scene I was so disappointed they cut on the movie. The seeds were they but they cut it damn it.).
The climax of the book is great, with Dumbledore's Army truly coming into their own as they fight against the Death Eaters, who are trying to take the Prophecy from the Hall of Prophecy in the Ministry For Magic. I love that whole end sequence. And the death Rowling includes is just brutal, not really how she kills off the character but the fact she killed him off at all. Interestingly enough, Arthur Weasly, who survives an attack in this novel, was originally slated to die, but Rowling could not bear to kill him off. He was also supposed to die in Book 7, but she couldn't kill him then either, and he was the only real normal fatherfigure in the series, and a good father at that.
And naturally, we get to learn some vastly important information about Neville Longbottom. Following the trend of other installments in the series in regards to introducing apparently non-essential characters and information,, he turns out to much more important than you would suppose. We also begin to learn Dumbledore isn't as flawless as you would like to think.
Another thing I really like about the book is you really do feel like the stakes are really high, which you should as we're only two books away from the end. In fact, HALF-BLOOD PRINCE seemed almost a step back in terms of complexity and highs takes atmosphere from this one.
One thing that should be noted is this is a real doorstop of a book. At a quarter of a million worlds (half as long as Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS), this is easily one of the longest children's books ever published. Rowling has even said she wish she could go back and edit this book down, as she feels it is too long. But what would she cut? Great stuff, but very long for kids. Speaks to the amazing appeal these books have that children have read something as long as this.
Overall, one of my favorite Potter books. I think it's even better than AZKABAN on a literary level, but I still prefer Azkaban to this as a personal preference. Still, this is one of Potter's best. Don't go in thinking you'll have as much fun at Hogwarts. These are dark times, and the war really is beginning.
We can only hope Potter and his friends will pull through.
273 of 300 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still has the Potter magic,
Though she's said she worked out the whole seven-book series on a fateful train ride she took in the late '90s, she couldn't possibly have imagined that the series would turn into this: midnight bookstore parties, record print runs, and a generation of children (and adults) hanging on to her every written word.
"This" has now reached a new apogee with its fifth entry, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the longest (870 pages) and most dense (more characters, more complexity) book of the series.
And Rowling once again pulls it off.
Harry's adolescent funk
But Harry soon has bigger problems. Once he's back at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he's treated as a pariah by most students for his insistence that the evil Lord Voldemort is back -- and, indeed, played a role in the death of a student at the end of "Goblet of Fire."
Only a handful of professors and Harry's close friends -- among them Hermione and Ron -- support him.
Harry also struggles with the series' latest villain, Dolores Umbridge, a condescending representative from the Ministry of Magic who assumes a leadership role at Hogwarts. The students' psychological battles with the odious Umbridge are the best parts of "Phoenix," and Rowling writes them with a wicked zest.
Rowling also engages in a stylistic tic, the paragraph-ending ellipsis, that seems to have become more popular with thriller writers. (It's all over Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," too.) Is something wrong with the humble period?
But those are minor issues in the face of Rowling's rich imagination and robust writing. The scope of Potter's world seems boundless; Rowling has added new characters and new locations, and added layers to those already existing. Potter's world, though fantastic, seems utterly believable.
That's doubly true of Harry himself. Rowling doesn't make Potter into an unblemished hero. Instead, he's a classic conflicted boy-man, struggling with issues both large (the death of both parents, fighting an evil power) and small (love, relationships and his own wildly changing hormones). He may not be as much fun as he was in Book One, but he's become more realistic and sympathetic.
Well, when he wants to be. After all, he's a teenager.
Recently, a friend asked me if Potter was worth the hype. I'm not sure if anything is worth the hype that the modern entertainment industry produces: overblown publicity machines for works that will vanish in a weekend.
But if anything is worth the hype, it's Harry Potter. The books enrapture children, entangle adults, and are full of wit, wisdom and wonder. Who could ask for a more magical experience?
453 of 531 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third Time's the Charm,
82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another dose of magic from the world of Harry Potter,
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Well Written,
I have read comments by other reviewers to the effect that the Harry Potter books are not terribly original in their plots, characters, settings, etc., and I have to agree - that is true. However, the books are EXTREMELY well written. If you want to become a novelist, you should study these books just for the writing techniques they use. Almost nothing happens that is not foreshadowed in some small way hundreds of pages earlier in the book, and the foreshadowing is subtle and seamless. The overall effect is that, even though there ARE surprises, everything makes sense. (Many things are even foreshadowed in the previous books.) It gives all of the fantastic events a feel of "reasonableness". There is nothing in the book that does not have a reason for being there. All of the events fit together perfectly, like the pieces of a puzzle.
The use of language is superb. The descriptions of people, things, situations, etc. are very engaging. It is hard to use the word REALISTIC about a fantasy setting, but the descriptions really draw you into the story. You feel that you are THERE - almost as if you were living the story. You can truly feel the emotions of the characters within your own heart. You can feel Harry's powerful, heart-rending sorrow and remorse at the end of the book as if it were your own. At other points in the book, you can feel the fear, suspense, anger, joy, laughter, etc. that you would feel if the events of the story were truly happening to you.
However, it is the characters, in my opinion that are the most engaging aspect of the book. They are so, so well done that you can immediately relate to them. The setting may be fantastic, but the characters are very, very real. More than that, you come to truly care about the characters. What happens to them matters to you. I don't want to give away the ending for the five or six people in the English-speaking world who haven't read it yet, but when someone dies in the book, you feel the loss personally. It is as if someone you knew and liked - someone close to you - had died.
This was the first book in the Harry Potter series I had ever read. I hadn't even seen any of the movies. After I finished this one, I just had to have more. So, I bought the other four books and read them through (in reverse order, actually). In my opinion, the fifth book is the best of the series so far, and I can't wait for number six to come out. I liked all of the other books, but I thought one and two were a bit childish and the boy-hero (at age 11 and 12) just a bit too unlikely for me, but perhaps that is what appeals so strongly to children. If, however, you haven't read any of the other books in the series, don't feel that you have to slog through the other four before diving into this one. The writer (or more likely, her editors) gives you just enough information about prior events to be getting on with the current story without bogging down the narrative. (It also doesn't give away so much that the other books are spoiled for you. I found the other books, particularly number four, quite engaging, even though I read them in the wrong order.)
I feel that some of the other reviewers are overly fussy in their criticisms of the main character and the feelings he displays in this book. (Perhaps they are mothers with young children.) Two of the main themes of this book - death and the turbulent emotions of adolescent men - are more mature than those of the previous books. Book four did deal with death, but it was a "clean" death in that the main character could not reasonably feel any responsibility for it. Death, in this book, is "messy" in that there is plenty of guilt to stir in with the sorrow and remorse. As for those turbulent emotions, I certainly remember what it was like to be 15. Don't you? (For those readers younger than 15, don't worry. You'll understand what I mean when you get there.)
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Angry Kid,
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While I admit that it depresses me to see Harry so depressed, and in fact I was downright angry that Harry seems to have morphed into an even more selfish brat, it is only after I finished that I realized that he is modern youth. Harry is growing up and this is his transcription of growth. Ms. Rowling has captured male adolescence with such an accurate view that it pains me to read this brooding self-loathing fifth installment of our young hero.
Harry starts out as he does at the beginning of every year, at the Dursley's house of torment, only this year, Harry is changing. Gone are the days of easy simple luck and easy heroics, Harry is starting to pout because it isn't going his way. What he learns through the course of this book is the life lesson we all learn at one point or another, sometimes it isn't always about you.
In the course of this weighty novel, we watch as Harry goes from hero to zero, from having a hold on things to breaking apart inside and out. Will Harry be able to pull through this one? Can he survive the biggest loss of all? More importantly, is he ever going to learn to control that temper of his?
I must confess, Harry's new attitude has taken a sour note with me. I find myself bothered by people who think that it is okay to treat others with contempt and let their tempers get the best of them. I find that Harry rarely receives the appropriate discipline and that even in the end of this well-crafted and riveting story, he still finds himself being rewarded for the wrong things and commended for the attitude he should not be holding on to. How can a boy retain his friends when he shows no appreciation for them? Don't get me wrong, I can completely understand his feelings and see his point of view, but I have to agree with Phineas' last chapter statement regarding Harry (SPOILER) when he says "Never try to understand the students. They hate it. They would much rather be tragically misunderstood, wallow in self-pity, stew in their own -"
Granted Harry is growing up, but where is his conviction? Where is his heart? How can a young man so full of rage really win over the "Dark Lord?" I thought the game was love > evil? Not anger = passion > evil. I suppose I'm confused.
Despite its dark and brooding overtones, it is still a fabulously well written book, and I did not put it down until I had completed it. While I feel that Harry is really a short-tempered spoiled (and undeniably lucky) brat, Ms. Rowling has done little to endear him to me in this novel, if anything, I was left with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth towards him by the time the last page closed. This book has its moments and I'll continue to read the rest of them, I just feel that we aren't reading the same things we started with.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,
With that said, this book was not as well written as it could have been, given the time it took to write, and especially when it is compared to the other books in the series. There were also a couple of plot elements which went unexplored, though I'm sure that Ms. Rowling has plans for them in the future. The climax, too, left me a bit unsatisfied; I wanted more to happen, and a better explaination of the events which occurred than what was offered.
Now for the good parts. It is true that the narrative is a bit slow in the beginning, but I think it sets the right tone for Harry's mood to begin the book. Most of the criticisms that I have read have also mentioned how whiny and unpredictable Harry is, but I remember when I was 15, and Harry's behavior is very familiar. Ms. Rowling keeps the story about Harry and the growing pains which come with adolescence. Finally, the whole of the story, the back plots and what not, are truly gripping; for example the confusion that Harry feels when he finds out what his father had been like at his age was wonderfully done.
All in all, Order of the Phoenix is a great read, and the critiques I listed above did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book. I recommend this book, but I do suggest reading the rest in the series first. It adds more to the readers' understanding of the back story and references made throughout the book. Otherwise you may be lost and miss out on a great read.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same - much, much more,
I went out and bought it and, on account of being bedridden, read it from start to finish in the one day - so for me at least, it was certainly no less unputdownable than its predecessors. The plot is as exciting and dramatic as ever, and Rowling's remarkable gift for keeping readers guessing until the end remains strong, even though the eventual reveal of the novel's secret felt like familiar territory. In fact, the novel's climactic pages contain so much protracted drama that they left me positively exhausted.
Every novel so far has been darker than the one before as Voldemort becomes ever stronger. This book is so bleak that our now very adolescent Harry spends the entire length of the book in a state bordering on fury, and throws several hissy fits that were disturbingly reminiscent of Anakin Skywalker in 'Star Wars Episode II'.
Whereas previous novels have seen Harry isolated for a period, this time the sense of isolation is his major emotion throughout the book. And Rowling is so eager to crack on with her weighty plot that the novel is only occasionally lightened by moments of humour or romance.
Rowling is no longer really writing books for young children, so it's probably fortunate that her original audience will have aged with Harry. Pre-high school children may find the book's more intense and adults emotional world hard going - so perhaps it's lucky that its length makes it that much more difficult for younger readers to get through! Even the saccharine touch of Chris Columbus couldn't make this novel into a feelgood kiddy flick like the two we've seen so far.
The earlier delight as Rowling articulates new parts of her wizarding world is far more muted, with the wizard hospital probably the only addition that gives the reader any of the feeling of wondert that made the earlier books such a success. She's a long way from the Roald Dahl-esque creative whimsy of the first few novels now - no longer the feats of sheer imagination we saw even in Book 4's Quiddich World Cup. By the end of almost 800 pages, Potter's world is not greatly enlarged - this book is about seeing old relationships in new ways.
While it was still an exhilarating ride, it was a pretty gruelling one. No fan will be disappointed by this meaty addition to Harry's world - you can see why it took Rowling so long to write, and why she was apparently in tears at one point. But it would be great to see Rowling balancing up her surfeit of shade with more light the next time around - particularly if she's going to keep making each book longer than the last.
I suspect that within the series as a whole, the Order of the Phoenix will come to be seen as its Empire Strikes Back or The Two Towers - a dark, rich exploration of character, but without either the sense of wonderment at being introduced to the world or the triumph we will doubtlessly feel at the story's ultimate conclusion.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grown Up Story,
My overall point is that what makes the Order of the Phoenix so good is that the story has really grown. It's not a child's story. It's a new awakening of life. For that reason, I encourage people to read it.
Another thing that fascinates me with this book is how the characters shine. Hermione is so Hermione. The Slytherins are all brats again. Umbridge has no soft side to her. She rudely interupts, she dresses and talks girlishly, she's racist, she loves seeing pain. Then again, it goes to show how even people who aren't Death Eaters can be just as evil. Harry has really grown in the end.
I am a college student and I've seen the problem where other girls my age say that they don't want to read the book because it's so long. Anyone in that age group should be aware that legnth doesn't matter; this is a very easy read. I read this book in only two weeks and if it weren't for my college classes I would have read it even faster. The main reason why I got into my college budget to buy it is that I was jealous of those who had finished reading within two days. Besides, once you've read the first three shorter books, you'll be left in suspense for what comes next. You're missing out on a lot if you don't read these five wonderful books.
I look forward to what happens next in the battle against Voldemort.
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun at times, but overall disappointing,
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In comparison to the previous 4 issues, this book is disappointing. The formula is getting tired. Here it is:
a) Harry is trapped with the Dursley's
b) He finally gets out and returns to school
c) There's the dark cloud of Voldemort lingering on the horizons (only this time no one believes Harry or Dumbledore which is very simplistic since the audience - you and me - knows the truth so the suspense isn't there)
d) Harry has a splendid battle in the end and proves he's a fearless hero
e) Dumbledore explains in painstaking detail all of the mysteries that have so far been unclear, and then Harry returns home for the summer, leaving us all hanging until the next book. Been there, done that!
One further comment about issue "E" above. A truly gifted writer leads the audience through the exploration as we discover new events or secrets. Sitting back in the penultimate chapter and explaining everything that was unclear during the previous 800 pages is simplistic at best, and if an undiscovered writer were to try that approach, they'd get laughed out of every publisher's office on the planet. The old axiom stands: Show us, don't tell us.
My specific complaints about this story(SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS):
1) The new creatures in this story were boring, except the Thestrals which are only in the story for a brief time. Okay, Grawp was somewhat cool, but he's barely in it.
2) Harry was given a secret "tool" to use by Sirius, only he forgets about it until the very end. Is Harry that stupid? When trouble begins and Harry needs to get in touch with Sirius, don't you think he would have remembered what he was given?
3) Dumbledore laying low while all around him crumbles and Harry lives in misery. Given their past history, the explanation that Dumbledore gives in the end is pathetic ("I'm an old man and was afraid of how Voldemort might use you to get to me"). Don't you think Dumbledore could have told another member of the Order to pass along the message to Harry as to why Dumbledore can't even look at him for 800 pages?
4) The failure to resolve the conflict between Harry and Snape, or at least to have some dialogue between them about Snape's anger towards Harry's deceased father. I realize there are more books to follow, but there should have been some attempt to hash this out.
5) The length of this story is ridiculous. It could have easily been told in 200-300 less pages. A very slow beginning and plodding detail about things that had no influence on the outcome made this a long-winded marathon, rather than an exhilirating sprint to the finish.
Having said all of this, I look forward to the next issue! EBHP
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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (Paperback - September 1, 2004)