Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Revisiting Potter, Part 5: The Order of the Phoenix


In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry has been spending another long summer with the Dursleys at Privet Drive with no contact from the wizarding world. And that’s distressing, considering his experiences the past spring and the return of Voldemort. A lot happens in Harry’s world in this, the longest book in the series. And when I say long, I mean it. LONG. Too long. Way, way too long! [Seriously, it legit took three entire chapters for Harry to even leave Privet Drive.]

But though it could’ve desperately used a good edit, this installment is just as fun as the rest. I continue to be just as entertained as the first time I read the series! The plot is now getting highly complicated, featuring a more complex array of grown up experiences and feelings—anger, jealousy, confusion, inferiority, uncertainty. And I think that’s the most notable new level reached in The Order of the Phoenix; Harry (and his friends) are seeing things for themselves rather than what they’re told to see. They are forced to make their own opinions about rules; they make decisions based on what they see and feel rather than do as they’re told; and they begin to understand the importance of perspective and gray areas. The Hogwarts student body starts their own secret Defense of the Dark Arts club because they don’t agree with a theoretical rather than practical education. They question the official word coming from the Ministry of Magic, about the “non-return” of Voldemort, and understand that denial is the reason behind this disbelief. And, most notably for our hero, Harry sees a new side of his father in his relationship with Snape, one that has him considering other sides to the story he’s always believed. For this introduction into the complexities of life, I think this book took an awesome step forward.

Since my last installment of “Revisiting Potter,” I’ve moved back home to Nashville, which means I’m now about a block and a half away from my three school-aged nephews. And after years of urging, the eldest, an 11-year-old, has finally decided he’s not too cool for fantasy and is reading the whole Harry Potter series for the very first time! Coincidentally enough, we just happened to be on the same book at the same time, so I thought it’d be fun to get him involved in these posts. It’s fun to hear a younger reader’s first experience with these stories since they’ve held a place in my cultural consciousness for so long!

Meet my nephew Jack, who’s not only reading the series for the first time but is also watching their movie companions for the first time as well!

What were your initial thoughts on this book? How did it compare to the others?

Some parts got too complicated. It switched from one thing to another real quick, and I was thinking his words were thoughts. It was still as good as the others, but it was way too long. They’re all good, though.

What was your favorite part of Book 5?

Probably where he tries to use the mirror and totally shatters it. No no, when Harry tries to use the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, because it’s when Harry tries to take revenge. 

And your least favorite part?

Probably when they’re sitting in Grimmauld Place just waiting. Because it’s boring.

Harry showed a lot more emotion in this book than the previous ones. Do you think he’s justified in his behavior? Would you have acted the same way as Harry?

No, I wouldn’t be so moody or at least I would try not to be. I wouldn’t take everything out on my friends. He’s too whiny. “Poor me, if my parents wouldn’t have died, I’d be fine right now.”

What do you think is going to happen in the next book? What do you hope will happen?

Since there’s a 7th book, he can’t die. I’m guessing that Ron or Hermione gets murdered and Snape kills Dumbledore. I hope Harry kills Snape, Voldemort, and Bellatrix. And Malfoy. 

Who is your favorite character and why?

Ron. He’s always “Cheer up, mate!” with his English accent.

And what do you think of the movies so far?

I like them. They’re not as good as the books but still good.

Making his librarian aunt proud.

We’re going to have to do some covert operation to get Jack the next in the series, The Half-Blood Prince, because, as an elementary student, he’s apparently not allowed to check it out from his school’s library; it’s “too violent.” [Censorship!] So join us for the next installment once we’ve defied the system and gotten our hands on it!

1 comment:

Tasha B. (heidenkind) said…

I agree that this book is very long, but I still love it! My favorite part is when the Weasley twins interrupt the OWLs.