500WoL: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Are you tired of these Harry Potter reviews yet? Are you as fed up as the poor Sirius relegated to spending his days in a dilapidated old house that he loathes? Are you as fed up as Harry was for pretty much this whole book? Well, humor me for three more journey’s into the magical world of Hogwarts, will you? I’ll be upfront with you about something. While I thoroughly enjoyed most of The Order of the Phoenix, I do consider it the least among the five Harry Potter books I have now read. And I think it is a lesser work for three reasons.

First, it’s too long. In my review for The Goblet of Fire, I said that while I think smaller literary works are usually better because the author has honed it and taken out all or most of the fat, I do concede that long works can be great and also well-honed. The long Goblet of Fire is an example of this. With very few rough spots and fatty tissue, Rowling honed it to a sharp edge from beginning to end. The Order of the Phoenix, not so much. It was too long and too full of fat and fluff. Thus, it was a bit duller of edge. I think Order of the Phoenix would have been just fine and dandy with 100 to 150 less pages.

There are a couple of other lesser reasons I place this in a decided last place of these first five. Second, there is much less imaginative detail than in the preceding books. There is some, I know, but less. Loved the imaginative description of their cleaning the worn down 12 Grimmauld Place, the inherited home of Sirius Black. But there weren’t as many imaginative details after this. Way too little of the ghosts, too little candy and Quidditch and magic and wonder and the fat lady. The third reason was Harry’s almost continual bad attitude throughout the book. It is totally realistic for a boy of his age and in his very problematic situation in life to experience such angst, I suppose. But it doesn’t add to the enjoyment when a book’s main protagonist is so unlikable most of the time.

Despite these bad things and despite my putting it at the bottom of the list, I absolutely do not consider this a bad work or that I have wasted my time. Thoroughly enjoyed it and you will too. Saying it is the worst doesn’t seem right. Instead, lets say it is the least of the best. Plus, it contains several very key elements of the overall story and centaurs, giants, lots of intriguing side plots, and the sadistic Professor Umbridge. Not to mention the string of very authentically moving moments after about page 500. I consider these most touching moments in the series so far. But be warned: Here you’re going to face dangers more ominous than O.W.L exams. So gird your minds, boys and girls, gird your minds. That is all.

Ben Plunkett

Greetings from the booming metropolis that is Pleasant View, Tennessee. I am a man of constant spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I pray that I serve God at my highest even when I am lowest.

6 thoughts on “500WoL: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • May 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm
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    I don’t think the book is too long. I am okay with Harry being a bit of a jerk in this one because it feels real. I don’t miss the ghosts and stuff like that because the story is growing up and doesn’t need that kind of stuff to still be really interesting and entertaining. I love all the Order stuff. I love Dumbledore’s army.

    I HATE UMBRIDGE.

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    • May 22, 2017 at 2:32 pm
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      What do you mean by hating Umbridge? Do you mean you think she wasn’t developed as a character well or you hate her as an individual like you hate Lord Voldemort and satan?

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      • May 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm
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        She was an incredibly well written character, evil in the most Pharisaical ways. The reader is supposed to hate her.

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  • May 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm
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    I wonder if many of Ben’s critiques are common after the first reading. They are in my experience, though as always that is a limited piece of evidence. I felt very similar the first time and have talked to first time or one time readers who felt the same. The length, the angst, etc are so new I just wonder if it’s just harder to swallow for some people the first time. I liked it more than Ben did but I did put it near the bottom my first time through. After many readings I love it a lot more and I would guess for me it’s because I know what to expect and so the tension and length are secondary to the story. I have at times thought it was too long (and 6, too short) but I have no idea what I would cut. Every bit of this saga is precious to me at this point. Just my thoughts.

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  • May 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm
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    Like everyone else I appreciate the writing behind Umbridge and hate her as well. I have a feeling if Aunt Marge would have gotten more than a few pages she’d be on par with her.

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  • May 23, 2017 at 8:47 am
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    I’ll take the silence of our readers to mean that they are in complete agreement with me about everything I just said.

    Reply

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