Rereading HP: Order of the Phoenix

Order of the PhoenixWell, 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!

7 thoughts on “Rereading HP: Order of the Phoenix

  1. I’m doing a Harry Potter reread right now, too! And I’m actually on The Order of the Phoenix right now too.😮It’s always been my favorite one in the series, but like you, I’m kind of realizing that it’s…not anymore. I think my favorite is now The Goblet of Fire, it’s honestly such a good book and I loved every page of it.

    I understand all your points for sure! (I was also wondering just how many people are in Harry’s ‘grade.’) I think for the magic part, she kind of touches on how you have to truly concentrate for it to work, and then there’s one part where Hermione is talking to Ron about how he’s doing the wand motion slightly wrong and that’s why it’s not working? She could have done a way better job explaining how exactly someone can be “bad” at wand magic, but there is a little bit of an explanation.

    YES. Harry is being a *tad* annoying. I get his teenage angst, but does he really have to keep losing his temper with Umbridge? Doesn’t he know what it’s going to cost him? I kind of wanted to scream at him.

    I don’t think I’ll ever have many complaints about Harry Potter, but I can see why this book is problematic in quite a few spots…I still love it, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone! I was having a bit of an existential crisis rereading Order of the Phoenix because I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t enjoying it and started questioning my obsession with the series, but I think it’s just that book.

      And you’re so right! I couldn’t stand how Harry kept losing his temper when that’s obviously exactly what Umbridge wanted him to do.

      I hope the rest of your HP reread goes better than Order of the Phoenix!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J.K. Rowling created a rich world, but left a lot of holes in it at the same time. I will forever appreciate the playground, but one of the things I like about fanfiction is that there are many stories out there, where people take the base world and really fill in some of those gaps. Although, my favorites are always the ones where Dumbledore gets his due for his incessant need to act like he knows all and should be in charge of the whole world. My re-read of the first book earlier this year left me even more disenchanted with Dumbledore than I was before… Anyway, I enjoyed your thoughts, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s shocking to me that I never noticed those holes before, but you’re exactly right. “Rich” is the perfect way to describe the world of Harry Potter, and JK Rowling really did create a playground in a way that very few other authors have.

      I actually still really liked Dumbledore, though I can definitely understand why you’d be disenchanted with him. Although I will forever be mad at JK Rowling for not making Dumbledore gay in the actual books—announcing it after the fact on Twitter does not make it canon! Which sucks because something like that really should be canon.

      Like

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