Well, it has been a very long time since I continued with my Harry Potter reread, but I finally made it through the beast that is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! And to be honest, I’m not sure how much I actually liked it.
Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful to return to the world of Harry Potter and realize how much of what is now canon was introduced in Order of the Phoenix, like Umbridge and the DA and Luna Lovegood and Grimmauld Place. And the Weasley twins were just as amazing as ever. Seriously, they’re my favorite!
But there were a lot of things I didn’t particularly like about this book, and I found myself picking up other things instead of continuing with Order of the Phoenix. For one, it was waaaaaay too long. Granted, I’m not sure where exactly I’d start cutting, but I really think more than 800 pages was unnecessary.
Also, Harry was so annoying! It’s funny, because I remember going through a phase of reading Harry Potter fanfiction after Order of the Phoenix came out, and Harry was super annoying and angsty in all of it. But when I went back and reread the book, I thought he was acting totally reasonable (unclear how old I was during that reread, btw). And now I just want to smack him! He really needed to dial back the teenage angst and how no one understands him.
I was also rather irritated with Dumbledore for cutting Harry off and not explaining anything when Harry so clearly needed explanations. I understood Dumbledore’s reasoning by the end, but it just seemed like such a clearly wrong decision that I couldn’t help but be frustrated.
Another thing that I struggled with in this book was the Daily Prophet. It’s been several years since I was a reporter, but I still can’t help but scream “That’s not how it works!!” every time Rowling mentions the wizarding paper. Like, a reporter’s job is to report the facts, not say whatever the government wants it to. And the editorial comments about Harry and Dumbledore being crazy are so inappropriate. The Daily Prophet is such an embarrassment of a publication I can’t take it. And I’m very skeptical that the wizarding world would have put up with this without creating a rival paper.
Also, as the series continues, it becomes more and more apparent that Rowling has absolutely no idea how the magic system in her world works. She did an amazing job building the wizarding world and Hogwarts, but she totally dropped the ball on the magic system. How are there no rules? Like, is there a cost for the magic? Does it just solve all problems? Why do you have to buy things when you can just conjure them? What exactly is there to learn? You can’t just say a spell and have it work? I have so many questions, and Rowling never really gives a straight answer. That was fine in the Sorcerer’s Stone when you’re more focused on being introduced to the world and the characters, but I expect more by Order of the Phoenix, especially when the students are studying for their OWLs and it’s so freaking long.
Side note: does anyone know how many students are in each class at Hogwarts? I think there are only five boys in Harry’s dormitory and I never hear references of other Gryffindor boys in the same class as him, which suggests there are only about 40 students per class. But that seems kind of small for the entire wizarding population, doesn’t it? Or at least, I assume the wizarding population is rather large, but I’m not sure how that’s possible when there are so few students. Anyways, nevermind me, that’s just something that occurred to me a few times while reading.
Oh, and another tiny thing I had to point out as a Hufflepuff: why on earth does Rowling find it necessary to degrade the Hufflepuffs? She seems so confused as to why no one likes Hufflepuff and trots around this story about her daughter saying we should all want to be Hufflepuffs because they’re so good, but then in the Sorting Hat song in Order of the Phoenix, she writes “Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, / And taught them all she knew.” I mean, who wants to be a leftover? Why are you undesirable if you’re not cunning, smart, or brave? She really couldn’t think of a better way to characterize this house? She did Hufflepuff such an injustice in this series, and while she’s now trying to fix it with Newt Scamander and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I’m not impressed.
So yeah, this was probably my least enjoyable reread of the entire series so far, which is interesting because I remember enjoying Order of the Phoenix. And unfortunately, it’s definitely impacted my view of the series. Harry Potter has long been one of my all-time favorite series to the point where I’ve collected multiple editions, and while I’m still a huge fan of these books, this reread has definitely quashed some of the obsession for me.
That said, I immediately picked up Half-Blood Prince, so despite all of the things I disliked about Order of the Phoenix, it still got me invested enough in this story that I immediately moved on to the next book.
Anyways, let me know your thoughts on Order of the Phoenix in the comments and where it stacks up in your list of favorite Harry Potter books!