Monday, June 30, 2014

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! So, as you can see, I'm reading my June series, Harry Potter! Since Harry Potter is my favorite book series and June is my favorite month (because my birthday was on the 10th!), I couldn't think of a better challenge to set myself in the month of June!

As I said in the last posts, these Harry Potter posts will be formatted differently from the May discussion posts. I won't be writing non-spoiler sections for any of the Harry Potter books, simply because it's Harry Potter. If you haven't read the books already, go read them. At this point, there's almost no excuse for not having read the books except a lack of interest... in which case you probably wouldn't be here reading my discussion! I also will not be writing a summary of each book because, again, it's Harry Potter. If you don't know what Harry Potter is about, I'd really like to know what rock you've been hiding under because it sounds like an amazing place to get away and completely shut out all knowledge of the outside world.

Anyway, on to the discussion!

So, a little background. I first read Order of the Phoenix in 5th grade. I know that I finished Goblet of Fire sometime in January or February of 2005. I'm sure I picked up Order of the Phoenix right after, but I'm not sure how long it took me to read it. I remember it taking a while to get through it for some reason, although I've always been a very fast reader. But, I know that I finished it long before the 6th book came out in July, so I'd assume I finished OOTP by March or April. I'm not sure how many times I've re-read this book, but I know that Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix are the two books I've read the least of the series.

I think I've mentioned that Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix have always been pretty equal for me as far as my rankings of the books, but after this read-through, I'm not so sure. I've never been of the mindset that Order of the Phoenix dragged on and on and on or that it was too long, but I've definitely realized that the middle is rather slow. The first 3 books didn't really have the ability to be slow because they were significantly shorter. Goblet of Fire is almost as long as Order of the Phoenix, but the Triwizard Tournament is going on throughout the book, so we get constant excitement. In OOTP though, it's not quite so exciting. A lot of things happen, but they're more subtle and overall they're certainly not very action-packed. 

This book introduces us to the character that every Harry Potter fan wanted dead... more than even Voldemort. UMBRIDGE. That woman... I don't even know how to put my rage into words. JK Rowling is a genius for crafting her as a character, because really, no one could be that vile right? NOPE. She does, however, allow us to see the most incredibly passive-aggressive sides of the Hogwarts professors that we've ever seen before.

Just like with Prisoner of Azkaban, OOTP doesn't get really good until the end. The twins have their infamous exit from Hogwarts, Harry and Hermione get Umbridge attacked by the centaurs, and most importantly we get the battle at the Ministry. All of these things happen within the last 200 pages of the book. That's not to say that the first 600 pages aren't important or interesting... they just aren't quite exciting or page-turning. Here's how I breakdown the book: We start with Harry getting attacked. Then we get to read way too many pages of Harry screaming about being misunderstood. Then we get hundreds upon hundreds of pages of Umbridge basically destroying Hogwarts, with an intermission of Mr. Weasley's attack.  Then, we get the action. Finally, the truth.

The DA is the source for some of the excitement in the midst of Umbridge destroying Hogwarts. It's one of the few interesting things going on in the middle of the book. Since Harry isn't allowed to play quidditch, we don't really get much of that either, so we don't even get that added excitement. Mr. Weasley's attack is also one of the more exciting moments for me, and for some reason, that chapter/ section of the book is my favorite. Maybe because I think it's more interesting than some of the later scenes?

The battle at the Ministry is pretty exciting... but when it comes to exciting Harry Potter battles, it's not one of my favorites. Maybe that's because Sirius dies? I'm not sure. The whole bit near the end of it all with Voldemort controlling Harry and the battle with Dumbledore confused me the first time I read it, and I guess since then it's just never been my favorite. 

The scene in Dumbledore's office after everything is said and done is really great though. Its just too funny to watch Harry destroying things while Dumbledore just lets him. What adult just lets a teenager destroy their belongings? Although I guess at this point, Dumbledore is feeling at least just the slightest bit guilty for not telling Harry about the prophecy before then, so he thinks that Harry's anger is totally warranted, even though I'm not really sure it is. Harry's just very angry in this book. Some of it is because of the connection to Voldemort, but a lot of it is just Harry being an annoying 15 year old. 

Overall, just so many mixed feelings about this book.

So, let's talk rating. Just as with the previous books, I'll give it 5/5 stars. I'm not sure it'll receive the full 10/10 in the series discussion, but for now, it gets the 5/5.

Favorite Quotes

Page 38: "Hang on. This Lord Voldything's back, you say."
"The one who murdered your parents."
"And now he's sending dismembers after you?"
"Looks like it," said Harry.
I just love the complete lack of correction on Harry's part. Obviously, corrections would be wasted on Uncle Vernon, but it's still funny.

Page 163: "I don't believe it! I don't believe it! Oh, Ron, how wonderful! A prefect! That's everyone in the family!"
"What are Fred and I, next-door neighbors?" said George indignantly, as his mother pushed him aside and flung her arms around her youngest son. 
The poor twins. They're brilliant, but they're constantly overlooked because they aren't the "typical" successful sons. It's OK, they'll get their moment soon...

Page 247: "Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?"
"Yes," said Harry.
"You called her a liar?"
"You told her He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back?"
Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, frowning at Harry. Then she said, "Have a biscuit, Potter."
McGonagall is just such a great character.

Page 320: "I was just wondering, Professor, whether you received my note telling you of the date and time of your inspec-"
"Obviously, I received it, or I would have asked you what you are doing in my classroom," said Professor McGonagall, turning her back firmly on Professor Umbridge. 
Sassy McGonagall is sassy.

Page 363: "You applied first for the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, I believe?" Professor Umbridge asked Snape.
"Yes," said Snape quietly.
"But you were unsuccessful?"
Snape's lip curled.
I can't read this without hearing it played out in my head as it was in the movie. Love Alan Rickman.

Page 459: A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode."
"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have," said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again.
This was a bit funnier in the movie, but still a great scene.

Page 507: "It sounds as though you've been trying to sew your skin back together," said Mrs. Weasley with a snort of mirthless laughter, "but even you, Arthur, wouldn't be that stupid-"
"I fancy a cup of tea too," said Harry, jumping to his feet.
Hermione, Ron, and Ginny almost sprinted to the door with him. As it swung closed behind them, they heard Mrs. Weasley shriek, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THAT'S THE GENERAL IDEA?"
Good thing they ran for it. Mrs. Weasley sounded absolutely murderous.

Page 551: Lee Jordan had pointed out to Umbridge that by the terms of the new rule she was not allowed to tell Fred and George off for playing Exploding Snap in the back of the class.
"Exploding Snap's got nothing to do with Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor! That's not information relating to your subject!"
I really want to know what he did after leaving Hogwarts. Did he work at the joke shop? I don't remember him being mentioned. I guess I'll see soon enough, right?

Page 616: "...- why are you shaking your head, girl?"
"Well, usually when a person shakes their head," said Professor McGonagall coldly, "they mean 'no.' So unless Miss Edgecombe is using a form of sign language as yet unknown to humans-"
As I said, McGonagall is just the best.

Page 643: "Did you like question ten, Moony?" asked Sirius as the emerged into the entrance all.
"Loved it," said Lupin briskly. "Give five signs that identify the werewolf.' Excellent question."
"D'you think you managaed to get all the signs?" said James in tones of mock concern.
"Think I did," said Lupin seriously, as they joined the crowd thronging around the front doors eager to get out into the sunlit grounds. "One: He's sitting on my chain. Two:He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...'"
Ah, Lupin. My favorite of the marauders. Everyone loves Sirius- and I do too, don't get me wrong!- but Lupin is my favorite.

Page 665: "-which means that this boy has as much chance of becoming an Auror as Dumbledore has of ever returning to this school."
"A very good chance, then," said Professor McGonagall.
"Potter has no chance whatsoever of becoming an Auror!" 
Professor McGonagall got to her feet too, and in her case this was a much more impressive move. She towered over Professor Umbridge.
"Potter," she said in ringing tones, "I will assist you to become an Auror if it is the last thing I do! If I have to coach you nightly I will make sure you achieve the required results!"
Seriously, McGonagall is simply the best.

Page 674: "You two," she went on, gazing down at Fred and George, "are about to learn what happens to wrongdoers in my school."
"You know what?" said Fred. "I don't think we are."
He turned to his twin.
"George," said Fred, "I think we've outgrown full-time education."
"We won't be seeing you," Fred told Professor Umbridge, swinging his leg over his broomstick.
"Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch," said George, mounting his own.
Fred looked around at the assembled students, and at the silent watchful crowd.
"If anyone fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three, Diagon Alley- Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes," he said in a loud voice. "Our new premises!"
"Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they're going to use our products to get rid of this old bat," added George, pointing at Professor Umbridge.
Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd.
"Give her hell from us, Peeves."
And Peeves, whom Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.
Longest quote ever, but the twins' most glorious moment. Too beautiful. Too perfect. I love them.

Page 678: Indeed, a week after Fred and George's departure Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, "It unscrews the other way."
This post has turned into McGonagall praise hour, but this book is when we really get to see the McGonagall sass because of how openly she despises and contradicts Umbridge.

Page 701: Weasley is our King, Weasley is our King, He didn't let the Quaffle in, Weasley is our King.
Weasley can save anything, He never leaves a single ring, That's why Gryffindors all sing: Weasley is our King.
Ron finally got his heart's deepest desire. Such a great moment.

Page 848: "Well, Flitwick's got rid of Fred and George's swamp," said Ginny. "He did it in about three seconds. But he left a tiny patch under the window and he's roped it off-"
"Why?" said Hermione, looking startled.
"Oh, he just says it was a really good bit of magic," said Ginny, shrugging.
"I think he left it as a monument to Fred and George," said Ron through a mouthful of chocolate.
I just love that the professors continue to honor the twins' glorious last hurrah.

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! I hope you enjoyed it, because I definitely enjoyed making it. I could talk about Harry Potter ceaselessly for the rest of my life and never get bored. If you have questions, ask in the comments! As you can tell, I'm a bit behind again (what a big surprise) but I'll be getting the rest of the posts out ASAP!

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