Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I know, I know, the movie is already out, but I still have three books to discuss! Not to mention my thoughts on the movie itself. Harry Potter week (or two) continues! :P

My previous Harry Potter posts:

And now, my thoughts after my reread of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

- I am in love with chapter 2 of this book, ‘A Peck of Owls.’ I just love everything about it. I love how the owls just keep coming, how much it aggravates Uncle Vernon, how Harry tells them he’s leaving and then all of a sudden changes his mind and plops down in a chair and they just stare at him, I love how they’re sitting there having a discussion about the wizarding world and that Petunia knows who Voldemort is, I love how exasperated Harry gets with them (“You can’t give a dementor ‘the old one-two’”). I especially love that when Vernon asks what dementors are, Petunia automatically says “They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban,” and Harry is like, WHAT? And speaking of dementors, Vernon calls them dementoids, demenders, dementy-whatsits, demembers, and dismembers, but never actually dementors. Haha, he’s great. I wish they had included this scene in the movie, I think it makes the Dursleys much more sympathetic characters.
A few other great things from this chapter: Petunia shaking Dudley “as though testing to see whether she could hear his soul rattling around inside him,” the Howler Petunia receives and Harry’s confusion over it, and just the general insanity of the entire situation. There’s also one instance where Petunia is explaining how she knows about the dementors and she says she heard “that awful boy” telling Lily about them years ago. We’re clearly meant to think that this is James, but from the chapter ‘The Prince’s Tale’ in Deathly Hallows, we know that it’s actually Snape. Not only does it make sense, but one of Snape’s memories in that chapter is of a conversation he has with Lily before they go to Hogwarts about Azkaban and the dementors. This kind of thing is why I’m loving doing this reread.

- Moody is hilarious in the books. When he and the others come to rescue Harry from Privet Drive he is absolutely insane and thinks they’re all likely to be killed and has every single detail covered. It’s hysterical to read. Especially because every time he says something Tonks yells at him that he’s being crazy (“Are you mad, Mad-Eye??”). I love reading the two of them together.

- Harry’s hearing at the Ministry is another great example of how much I love Dumbledore and what a great character he is. He somehow manages to agree with everything that Fudge says and yet also make him look like a fool if he doesn’t let Harry off. He’s just so smooth.

- Fred and George are so great (I know I’ve said this a bajillion times before, and I’ll say it again, I promise). When the prefect badges arrive and everyone is fawning all over Ron for having gotten one the twins are so funny making fun of him. I’m really tempted to quote the whole section, but I’m going to resist. But it’s page 163 of the hardcover edition, if you want a refresher. :)

- I can’t resist giving you this little snippet of the twins, though:

‘”So top grade’s O for ‘Outstanding,’” she was saying, “and then there’s A – “
“No, E,” George corrected her, “E for ‘Exceeds Expectations.’ And I’ve always thought Fred and I should’ve got E in everything, because we exceeded expectations just by turning up for the exams.”’

I would just so love to have Fred and George in my life.

- One thing we get to see in this book which I really like is the communication and information network that the Hogwarts headmaster has access to via the portraits in his office. This is the first time we really get to see it in action. I especially love Phineas Nigellus when Dumbledore sends him to tell Harry to stay at Grimmauld Place after he’s tempted to leave after seeing the attack on Mr. Weasley. Phineas is awesome all the time, actually.

- I mentioned it once before on the blog (I think in a post about which characters I’d want to switch places with or something), but Ginny Weasley is really one of my favorite characters, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she ends up with Harry Potter. She has an awesome family, for one, and she just grows into such a cool person. She doesn’t let the fact that her crush on Harry is unrequited (at the beginning, at least) make her depressed and mopey, but she goes out and dates other boys and becomes really confident and witty and popular, and then through that she ends up catching his attention. There were several times throughout Order of the Phoenix where I was like “Gosh, I love Ginny, she’s just so kickass,” so I’ve compiled some of them here for you. :)

                - At Grimmauld Place, after Harry has been sulking around and avoiding everyone because he’s afraid he’ll be possessed by Voldemort:
‘”We wanted to talk to you, Harry,” said Ginny, “but as you’ve been hiding ever since we got back – “
“I didn’t want anyone to talk to me,” said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.
“Well, that was a bit stupid of you,” said Ginny angrily, “seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.”
Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he wheeled around.
“I forgot,” he said.
“Lucky you,” said Ginny coolly.’

                - After Harry and the twins have been banned from playing Quidditch, they discuss the team’s chance at winning the match:
‘”Ron and Ginny not here?” asked Fred, looking around as he pulled up a chair and, when Harry shook his head, he said, “Good. We were watching their practice. They’re going to be slaughtered. They’re complete rubbish without us.”
“Come on, Ginny’s not bad,” said George fairly, sitting down next to Fred. “Actually, I dunno how she got so good, seeing how we never let her play with us…”
“She’s been breaking into your broom shed in the garden since the age of six and taking each of your brooms out in turn when you weren’t looking,” said Hermione from behind her tottering pile of Ancient Rune books.
“Oh,” said George, looking mildly impressed. “Well – that’d explain it.”

                - When Harry sees “Snape’s Worst Memory” and is feeling awful about what kind of a person his dad was and all he wants to do is talk to Sirius about it, it’s Ginny who comes up with the idea to use Umbridge’s fire.
‘”The thing about growing up with Fred and George,” said Ginny thoughtfully, “is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possibly if you’ve got enough nerve.”

Seriously, how awesome is she? Can I please just be a member of the Weasley family? (And speaking of the Weasley family, how great is it that the trio are all family now? EVERYONE’S part of the Weasley clan!!)

- At one point Lupin says that Snape is a “superb Occlumens” and I don’t know why, but it makes me really happy. I think it’s because Snape is so underrated and unappreciated (as Dumbledore says, nobody knows the best of him), so anytime anyone says anything nice about him it makes me all melty and happy.

- When introducing Harry to Occlumency, Snape says “The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so utter falsehoods in his presence without detection.” He is, essentially, describing himself. I love how many little clues we’re given about Snape throughout the series. JK Rowling really is brilliant.

- I’m going to continue with the Snape-love for at least one more bullet point, because I just can’t help it. :P In one of Harry and Snape’s Occlumency lessons, Snape is burrowing through Harry’s memories yet again, and he sees something he wasn’t expecting…

‘Harry tried to empty his mind, tried not to think, or remember, or feel…
“Let’s go again… on the count of three… one – two – three – Legilimens!”
A great black dragon was rearing in front of him… His father and mother were waving at him out of an enchanted mirror… Cedric Diggory was lying on the ground with blank eyes staring at him…
He was on his knees again, his face buried in his hands, his brain aching as though someone had been trying to pull it from his skull.
“Get up!” said Snape sharply. “Get up! You are not trying, you are making no effort, you are allowing me access to memories you fear, handing me weapons!”
Harry stood up again, his heart thumping wildly as though he had really just seen Cedric dead in the graveyard. Snape looked paler than usual, and angrier, though not nearly as angry as Harry was.’

Clearly his reaction is from seeing Lily in Harry’s memories. Am I right? Doesn’t it make your heart hurt just a bit? I know, I know, this is such a tiny thing, but I’m obsessed, people. I adore Snape so so much, so it’s this kind of thing that really gets to me.

- And one more small point following that, the chapter ‘Snape’s Worst Memory’ is one of my favorites in this book (I’m sure nobody could have guessed that, right? :P), and I think the title of the chapter (and therefore its significance) is worth noting. This is Snape’s WORST memory, and it doesn’t make sense that James and Sirius taunting him would deserve that distinction. They mess with him all the time, what makes this time any different? And that would be the fact that Lily is there, that she steps in to defend him, and that in response he calls her a Mudblood, which was one of the major factors in the disintegration of their friendship. That’s what makes it his worst memory, and the fact that James and Sirius are there humiliating him is just incidental. (I love analyzing these books, can you tell?)

- I absolutely loathe Umbridge, but the one thing I love about her presence is how much it unites the entire school against her. This is especially obviously (and hilarious) when Fred and George set off their crazy fireworks and corridor swamp and teachers absolutely refuse to help, but I also love their reaction to Harry giving the interview in the Quibbler:

‘The teachers were, of course, forbidden from mentioning the interview by Educational Decree Number Twenty-six, but they found ways to express their feelings about it all the same. Professor Sprout awarded Gryffindor twenty points when Harry passed her a watering can; a beaming Professor Flitwick pressed a box of squeaking sugar mice on him at the end of Charms, said ‘Shh!’ and hurried away; and Professor Trelawney broke into hysterical sobs during Divination and announced to the startled class, and a very disapproving Umbridge, that Harry was not going to suffer an early death after all, but would live to a ripe old age, become Minister of Magic, and have twelve children.’

HA Trelawney is my fave.

- Every single time I read this book it drives me crazy that Harry is so stupid and really thinks that Snape doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says “He’s got Padfoot at the place where it’s hidden!” I mean COME ON HARRY, do you really think Snape is going to go, “Oh, okay, let me go check on Sirius Black” in front of Umbridge?? UGH Harry makes me nuts sometimes.

- The archway/veil in the Department of Mysteries and the voices that Harry and Luna hear from it are never explained, and this still bugs me. I want to know what it means! Where did Sirius’ body go when he fell through the veil? What are those voices?? Hopefully this is something JK Rowling will tell us about through Pottermore. Maybe? Wishful thinking?

- I love the detail of the Department of Mysteries battle and all the extra rooms and things that happen. The brains attacking Ron, the room full of Time-Turners and the Death Eater whose head falls into one of them and keeps aging and regressing, the room full of planets… I mean, I understand why they couldn’t include all of that in the movie, but I really love reading it all in the book.

- And finally, the appearance of the Order members at the Department of Mysteries is so badass, it gets me every time. Fortunately this is one thing that I also love in the movie, and I can’t help but grin every time they show up to save the day. SO GOOD.

Alright, that's it, and I SUCK at writing short Harry Potter posts. To anyone who actually made it through all of that, THANK YOU! And sorry it was so long. :)

Half-Blood Prince post should be up in a couple of days. Until then, enjoy the Order of the Phoenix artwork! 


  1. A Peck Of Owls was such a great chapter!! I love how that fragile barrier between muggle and magic in that house is completely shattered.

    I love your Snape points!!! Man, I never really thought about the title of "Snape's Worst Memory" but that makes so much sense with Lily. And Snape talking about occlumency.... clever Andie!

    Oh I wish those rooms were included in the movie during the battle. Really, I'd totally be down with sitting through a 4 hour movie for every book :D

    I adore your posts, but please stop making me want to drop what I'm reading and retreat from the world back into the HP universe :P

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