Monday, July 02, 2007

Book 34: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

NUMBER: 34
TITLE: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
AUTHOR: J.K. Rowling
STARTED: June 19, 2007
FINISHED: July 1, 2007
PAGES: 870
GENRE: Fantasy / Juvenile

FIRST SENTENCE: The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.

SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] The fifth hefty installment in J. K. Rowling's renowned Harry Potter series takes a uniquely psychological dark turn, putting the boy wizard at odds with his own identity and friendships as he continues to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Now 15 years old, with four Voldemort battles under his belt, Harry is frustrated with the growing public skepticism regarding the Dark Lord's return. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Magic is also voicing its doubts, and all of Hogwarts comes under the watchful eye of an oppressive Ministry representative. Despite the additional problems of looming O.W.L. exams and Hagrid's inexplicable absence, Harry's main preoccupation is his vivid dreams, which take him to places -- and make him witness events -- that horrify and intrigue him. These dreams provide a shocking clue to his very existence, and when eventually they lead Harry to confrontation, the young wizard must cope with a tragic death and a telling prophecy about his future.

REASON FOR READING: This one gets a double reason... I'm re-reading all the books before the last one comes out and I wanted to read this one before the movie... which may end poorly for everyone else in the audience with me.

THOUGHTS: The main complaint I hear about this book is that Harry is whiny. Well, he is, but it's not without reason. I think the main thing I noticed in this book was how well Rowling writes teenage angst. She gets the mixed misunderstood, brooding but intelligent teen bordering on earlier maturity just right. Harry may be whiny but it's because no one seems to listen to him. Harry is isolated, emotionally and intellectually, more in this book than any of the others. Instead of wallowing in solitary confinement, he actually tries to find help and consolation but seems to be stonewalled at every turn. I know many people dislike Harry in this book, but I think Rowling is spot-on. I found myself identifying with Harry and his friends.

Ah, High School, how I don't miss you.

And Rowling, damn you. I hate Umbridge with the fire of a thousand suns. It takes a rare bit of writing to get a reaction like that out of me.

MISCELLANEOUS: Movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie movie

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

5 comments:

Wendy said...

Umbridge is such an evil b----! That said, Fred and George pretty much make this book for me. Oh who am I kidding - they pretty much make all the books for me :D

Zeek said...

EWWW I loath Umbridge too! When those scars showed up on his hand Zeek the Avenger was dying to get in that book and tear her limb from limb!!

I thought Harry was whiney too but you're right it fits perfectly for the teenager he is!

PS I love the Weasleys! Except for that weasel Percy. he can die at the end for sure!

Meghan said...

I've been telling everyone that if they cut out of the swamp scene from the movie I will throw a fit. The Weasley twins are awesome, I want a pair of my own.

I really do feel sorry for the actress selected to play Umbridge. For her to pull off her role, she has to make people hate her.

Zeek said...

i jsut watched Freedom Writers and the lady who plays the teacher with a stick up her butt is the same one who plays Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). Excellent choice, imo.

Meghan said...

From the previews I've seen she looks good. Not toad like in appearance, but the right attitude and smarminess is there.