Nov 30

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling)

For me, Harry Potter is what I like to call “literary crack.” Never before picking up the first book have I felt a compulsion to read and read again. During the long wait between the “Goblet of Fire” and “The Order of the Phoenix” I had what can only be described as “withdrawal pangs.” So, when I got my first copy of the latest installment, I was pretty thrilled to get my fix. (Yes, there was a dance of joy.) Two days later, here I sit, finished with it, with little left to say (except: well done).

So in this installment, Harry Potter comes back to us living with the Dursely’s again. They are as they have always been but Harry is a little different. Having watched a friend die and seeing his mortal enemy come back to life, he cares more for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, no one tells him anything and this leads him to frustration. After an attack by rogue dementors he is plunged back in that world, and he finds that the depths are icy cold. Ridiculed, called insane and bereft of his protector, Dumbledore, he secretly works for the new Order of the Phoenix, whose aim is to thwart Voldemort and show the world the truth. However, a Ministry that refuses to believe, a new bureaucracy that uses sadism as its tool and the secret Death Eaters who are free to plot beset them on all sides.

As if that weren’t enough, Harry and all his friends are about fifteen and in the middle of some serious teenage angst what with bickering, being angry for no reason and well, just being teenagers. With all the cards stacked against them, it is no wonder that mistakes are made and a dear friend dies. But now we are at the truth, the motivation for everything and the path that Harry must take is clearer than ever before.

I have noticed from the first book in the series that every installment gets a little darker each time. Lines that were once solid are even more ambiguous. So, of all the books, this one is very dark and delineated. If I were a mother reading her two-year-old a bedtime story, I would almost be upset. Since I am not, I will venture to say that this is the best book yet in a wonderful series. Everything was well written. The kids really acted like fifteen year olds even when caught in extraordinary circumstances. The creepiness that infiltrated this book while even “normal” things went on, all the emotional impact made it a thoroughly enjoyable read. Even now, because I have had everything laid out for me, I see the path and I feel as if I am standing on the brink of something. The action is only beginning and it’s already the fifth book. It is the mark of a good storyteller if I can find my perceptions blown and in this respect they all were. I am totally salivating at the thought of what will happen next.

And through it all: the darkness, the fighting, and death, there was humor and drama of a different sort. I fully enjoyed the interactions between Harry and Cho and then Ron and Hermione. It was great and I want to see the outcome of what’s stirring. There was also the in joking and the crazy wizard-talk, which added refreshing lightness. The book may have been too dark without that. So, I give my cheers to JK Rowling for this feat and hopefully, she knows what we are already anxious for the next time. aware of the fullness of the human experience.

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