Rating: 5 Water Towers
I am getting ready for July 13 (or is it July 11th?), 2007 (the 5th Harry Potter movie) and July 21, 2007 the 7th, and last, Harry Potter book by re-reading Book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) and Book 6 (Half-Blood Prince). Both are outstanding earning 5 water towers each (in fact, give 5 water towers to every Harry Potter book).
Spoiler warning: If you have note yet read Books 1 through 4 do not read further
In the “Order of the Phoenix” we meet new characters and are re-introduced to some old friends (Lupin, Mad Eye Moody, Sirius, and others).
The new characters include:
Auror Nymphadora Tonks who can change her hair color and style, and looks, depending on her mood or need.
The slightly off key Luna Lovegood (a Ravenclaw) who’s Dad is the editor of “The Quibbler” (the equivalent to our Muggle publication “The Enquirer”).
Kreacher the Black Family’s house elf living in Sirius’s mother’s house which is now the Order of the Phoenix headquarters. Kreacher is not loveable like Dobby.
Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange who is Sirius’s evil, recently escaped from Azkaban, cousin.
Dolores Jane Umbridge the evil Ministry of Magic representative who is Hogwarts new Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) teacher then becomes the “High Inquisitor” then, ultimately, Headmistress.
And last but certainly not least, Grawp, Hagrid’s “little” brother.
The book opens with Harry again spending most of the summer at 4 Privet Drive. This year, however, Harry is the subject of ridicule by the Ministry of Magic and in the Wizarding press. Since the death of Cedric and the return (that only Harry is witness to) of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named the Ministry does not believe Harry, nor Dumbledore, and has set out to discredit Harry as a publicity seeking liar.
One summer night Harry goes out for a walk and meets up with his Muggle cousin Dudley and his gang of thugs. Harry and Dudley join up to argue on the way home when they are attacked by dementors. As he has done in the past, Harry manages to conjure up his patronus (a silver Stag) saving both he and Dudley from sure death.
Unfortunately, it is against the rules for a minor to practice magic when not in school, and especially bad when this is the second time it has happened and a Muggle is involved. Shortly after Harry and Dudders arrive home, an owl swoops in with a note expelling Harry from Hogwarts. But that is not the end. A flurry of owl activity ensues with the final outcome being that, with Dumbledore’s assistance, Harry will not be expelled immediately, but, will have to stand before a Ministry of Magic tribunal that will decide his fate.
Realizing that Harry is in mortal peril at the Dursley’s, a group of Aurors are sent to Privet Drive to escort Harry back to the headquarters of the “Order of the Phoenix” at 12 Grimmauld Place, London. There Harry, Ron, and Hermione are reunited along with Sirius, Buckbeak, and others. Eventually, the day of the hearing arrives and Harry is taken to the Ministry of Magic by Mr. Weasley. In the hearing, Dumbledore acts as Harry’s attorney and with additional help from an eyewitness who is a Squib (Squibs can see dementors) Harry narrowly wins his case and is allowed to return to Hogwarts.
On the Hogwarts Express, new “Prefects” Hermione and Ron must ride separately from Harry. On this train ride Harry, Neville, and Ginny meet Luna Lovegood, who becomes a valuable friend.
As the story unfolds, Professor Umbridge shows her evil streak in many ways, Fred and George perfect and market new products for their joke shop (nose bleed & vomit pills, invisible hats, magical fireworks, etc), and Hermione suggests to Harry that he teach a practical class on Defense Against the Dark Art which is held, secretly, in the “Room of Requirement”. The students call themselves “Dumbledore’s Army”.
Snape has also been tagged by Dumbledore to teach Harry “occlumency” so Harry can learn how to block access to his mind by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The fact that the lessons in occlumency do not work leads to the climactic battle.
In that battle, several of Dumbledore’s Army (Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna) fight it out with Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has made it his goal to break into the Ministry of Magic to hear the complete prophecy (given by Sibyll Trelawney to Dumbledore before Harry was born) that links Harry with him. Unfortunately during the battle someone we all love dies and the prophecy is never heard. But Harry and friends come out stronger than ever (although quite beat up), and Dumbledore decides to tell Harry the entire prophecy after realizing that he should have done so years ago.
At 870 pages there is much-to-much to summarize properly. You will have to read it to enjoy the full depth and breadth of the story (the movie will leave a lot out). But, mark my words, the most fun comes when Professor Umbridge finally gets what is due to her (thanks to our intrepid hero Hermione…you go girl! ).
At the end of the book, the Ministry of Magic finally acknowledges the return of Lord VOLDEMORT and that Harry and Dumbledore were right all along.
J.K Rowling is amazing. It will be a sad day when Book 7 has been read and this magical series is behind us.
Some web sites for more great Harry Potter information: