Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J. K. Rowling
Published 2003 by Bloomsbury.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased.

Genre: children's/YA fantasy.

My rating:

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…

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I’m continuing my re-read of the Harry Potter books (you can see the previous reviews here: StoneChamberPrisonerGoblet) with my least favourite of the series, The Order of the Phoenix. I skipped this part on my previous re-reads so this is the first time in years that I’ve read it. And I’m glad I did! Mostly because I forgot half of what happened – I did remember the important parts, of course, but some of the details were starting to get a bit hazy.

Look, I know, fans really love Order because of the way it’s emotional and powerful and stuff happens and Umbridge is the type of a teacher that many unfortunate pupils have had the displeasure to meet in real life. And I get that. And I did give the book a solid rating.

It’s just that it takes SO LONG for things to get moving, I bet there are 200 pages before we even get to Hogwarts and Harry is so tense and grumpy for that entire long beginning and honestly, he’s being a bit of a brat (I knooow, he’s a teenager but still). And then there’s Dumbledore, keeping Harry in the dark for god knows what reason, effectively fucking up everything good that’s happened to Harry since book 3.

And maybe it’s just my preference for action but compared to Goblet of Fire, reading Order of the Phoenix felt like dragging my feet through honey, slow and sticky.

Now I’ll just go hide under my table with a protective helmet, waiting for the hail of your scorn to pass, shall I?

Ahh, no, we can agree to disagree, can’t we, lovely readers? I have to give Rowling points for some things, though, and those were the ones that I’d forgotten and was pleasantly surprised to read this time around. I really liked how Fred and George finished their time at Hogwarts, I appreciated the extremely twisted Dolores Umbridge, I liked how clueless Harry was about Cho and I loved how Luna and Neville got their share of friendship and action.

But I was also rather glad the book was over and I could go on to read The Half-Blood Prince, which is my favourite of the series. I’ll be reviewing that one soon as I’ve already finished it.

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So, what’s your take on Order of the Phoenix

Do you prefer action-packed books or do you like to take things at a slower pace?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • I have to admit The Order of the Phoenix is my favourite book in the series, but I can totally understand why it isn’t for everyone. :) I really need to reread the series soon – it’s been so long since my last trip to Hogwarts!

    • Ha, I knew some Order lovers would pop up among the commenters! I remember reading your review/discussion about this book back when we participated in Harry Potter Month. I didn’t do a full re-read for years now so I’m going through all the books this time, so I’ll have a full set of reviews for the blog! :)

  • This is my least favorite in the series, too. You are not alone. It’s definitely too long, in my opinion. And so angsty. And I understand that Harry is feeling lots of angst, but it’s hard to read about it for 900 pages!

    That said, I do love this book. It’s just my least fav in the series.

    • Yeah, I know – it’s a great book but compared to the others in the series, it’s just not brilliant. And YES – it’s seriously long and angsty, I get why it’s important that these things happened but I wished for some levity, too.

  • Maraia

    Four stars, my heart is breaking! Haha. I think you’re actually in the majority, though. This is one of most people’s least favorites in the series. (Let’s see what your commenters say.) I know we talked already about how humorous I find this book – did you find it any more so this time around? I don’t always like slower-paced books, but I sure do love angry Harry. :P

    • I don’t know – from the 7 commenters on this post so far, only 3 said they didn’t like it! I know my blog comments are hardly representative of the majority of HP fans, but still.
      I did appreciate the snark in this book (and that swamp that F&G created to annoy Umbridge was BRILLIANT, for example), but my favourite line is still from the Half Blood Prince: “There’s no need to call me Sir, professor.” PURE GOLD.
      Yeah, angry Harry … I see the appeal but this whole business with visions of Voldemort and Dumbledore staying away … I’d be feeling more anxious and uncomfortable in his place, actually. There’s this oppressive feel to the book that I disliked.
      Eh, it’s still good, don’t get me wrong! :) But I happily went on to listen to HBP – and I’m now working my way through DH, yay!

      • Maraia

        But only 3 said it was their favorite! Maybe you have a lot of gloomy blog readers. ;)
        I LOVE the swamp. I love McGonagall telling Peeves the chandelier unscrews the other way. I love the quill Ron uses that writes inappropriate words. Really, I love every scene where McGonagall faces down Umbridge. (I don’t love the scenes with Cho, they are rather painful.)

        That is such a good line! It’s one of my favorites as well. Oh, Harry. He’s so dumb and bold sometimes. I can’t believe he made it out of that alive.
        What do you think of DH? I know some people think the first half is a complete waste of time, as they’re just wandering around. (I am not one of those people. I wouldn’t take a single word out of the series.) I’m looking forward to your review of that one.

  • The Order of the Phoenix is my least favorite book in the series too, but, like you, I still loved it. Thanks for sharing this – you reminded me that I’m due for a reread! ;)

    • A reread of HP is always a good thing. It’s such a pick-me-up, don’t you think? I was glad to read this one after all these years but even happier to move on to HBP and DH. :)

  • Ooooooh we can agree to disagree. Order of the Phoenix is my favorite! Although, it wasn’t always. Even when I try to put it in to perspective– having witness Cedric be on the receiving end of Avada Kedavera and Voldemort becomine corporeal, Harry was overwhelmingly angsty in book five. But, what I appreciated most about Order of the Phoenix was it gave readers more insight into the politics (for lack of better words) of the wizarding world. Plus, we were first introduced to a fledgling rebel group, which I loved. Plus, that ending! It devastated me! Perhaps even more so than the one in Half Blood Prince. But, I’ll admit, I’ve only ever read Half Blood Prince ONCE! I should change that soon…

    • Well, I’ll always advocate more HP re-reading :)
      Yeah, I know what you mean – I liked OotP better this time around, I think perhaps I’ve matured as a reader since I last read it (hopefully? It’s been YEARS) and I did get all choked up at the end, too. But I was happy to read HBP next, it’s my fave.

  • This was my least favorite book first time around as well for all the things you mention which are still very very true! However, for some reason upon re-reading, I had an epiphany and I’ve converted to a devoted acolyte of the book. I’m not sure what changed exactly but I felt sympathetic this time around instead of annoyed with Harry – It actually occurred to me that while his self-pity and brattiness are understandable I was wondering if also his feelings were being influenced through his connection with Big V? And Dumbledore’s withholding of information is a bad call on his part, but at the end he admits as much and reveals that he avoided confiding in Harry because he didn’t want V to know how much he cared for Harry and he didn’t want to burden Harry more than he already had *sniff*. Seriously, I don’t know what got into me to change my mind so thoroughly! Maybe I was prepared for the heavier, grimmer tone of the book this time around so it wasn’t so jolting. *shrugs*

  • LOL! I can somewhat relate to your feelings about this one. When I first read the series, this was one of my least favorite installments too, albeit for different reasons than you. I’m a MASSIVE Harry fangirl and seeing him so broken and moody made me depressed while I was reading it. And then I hated that he almost got expelled. I couldn’t really appreciate the evilness of Umbridge at the time and she infuriated me to NO END. And then that death in the end?! Well it was too much to bear because I LOVE HIM!! D: *ahem* Anyway, upon rereads, I’ve found that I’ve grown to love OotP much more and now it’s probably my fourth favorite book out of the series XD It’s like you said: I like the darkness, the emo and moody Harry and the whole Order/DA bits of it! I am glad that you gave this one a chance again AND that you (mostly) enjoyed it this time around! Lovely review^^ xx

  • I completely agree that Order of the Pheonix isn’t the best Harry Potter novel (I vote for Prisoner of Azkaban…. conversely, they swap over if we’re talking about the films, though!). It’s not BAD, but for me it’s just… too serious maybe? And I agree that nothing happens for the first few hundred pages, which isn’t great. But I DO love the way that JK Rowling can fit so many storylines into her books – some of which aren’t as important as others (Harry’s first kiss, for instance!).
    (Also, thank you for reminding me that I need to re-read and the review all of the Harry Potter books. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT!!!)
    Beth x
    http://www.thequietpeople.com

  • Jen!

    I think The order of the Pheonix was my favourite, but the last time I read them was when they first came out, so, who knows? I think a re-read is in order.

    • YES, rereading HP is always a good idea. :) I always return to it when I feel like I’ve hit a reading slump or I need a pick-me-up. I wonder what you’ll think upon rereading this one!