Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Year Five at Hogwart's
Book Review by Diana DeRiggs and Csillag
Illustrator: Mary GrandPré
Publisher: Scholastic Books
First of all, let me say that the parallels to Star Wars continue to mount in the Harry Potter universe. I guess all hero mythology arcs tend to, where the hero needs to go through several rites of passage in order to develop into the type of person that can save the universe. One rite of passage is to be a teenaged jerk.
Yeah, Harry isn't exactly likable in this book can you imagine 800+ pages of an unpleasant, petty, self-absorbed, teenaged Harry? At 15 years old, he is forced to learn some thing about his parents and himself that aren't exactly pretty, and being that he's deep in teen mode, he takes all of it irritatingly badly. Gone is the innocent youth who stuck with his friends and gamboled lightly under the protection of formidable men and women. His sufferings have gotten darker, as more things happen to him. He wants answers, but is he able to handle the truth? As J.K. Rowling points out, at least he isn't beset with acne the boy has enough on his plate without that!
His friends are more insufferable, too. Even Ron's mother Molly is a pain to be around. Everyone crying, telling you you're not old enough, teen misunderstandings, being too insensitive to figure out the opposite sex ... we all remember those and it was a painful read! In addition, I have the feeling the author knows some of the villainous people personally. I have been on the teaching and student sides of boarding schools, and it's true that the two sides often do not have any of the same experiences. Many of the things that happen were painfully familiar these problems must be common, eh?
And J.K. Rowling did a great job of weaving that all together, including many "seeds" for the next two books, and "red herrings" the clues that don't lead to anything. Yeah, she took too long with some parts of the book could have saved a few hundred pages easily and not enough with others. I found some treatments kind of anticlimatic (not the WHO died, but HOW), and the big cop-out monologue at the end to be rather annoying. But at least many questions were answered, and it was hard to put the book down. She's an addictive writer, even if I felt that she was too much in love with the world she created. So even if it's bad for you (it's 5:57 a.m. right now been up all night reading!), it was good. She pulled some punches, but it was fun.
No spoilers? No ... I'm sure plenty will come out in the coming days. I'm just telling you I liked it, and it's worth it's discounted cover price of about $17 (if you buy it at full price, you're a fool). Some I've heard about and spoken to have told me that they drove at midnight to 24-hour stores to get a copy of the book; others waited in line for hours. My local big bookstore ran out of copies at about noon, an hour after they opened. It's worth all that, if for no other reason than you get to find out stuff for yourself, rather than hearing it from someone who doesn't do as good a job telling a story as J.K. Rowling does.
Don't be lazy. Go get a copy and read it yourself.
Oh, by the way, the title doesn't have anything to do with Fawkes. There's your spoiler. ;)
Oh, and another parallel to the Star Wars universe we'll have to wait till J.K. Rowling is good and ready to submit her manuscript for publication. She's not writing on a schedule, and she's not writing more than seven books. Get over it. George did it to us before, and we lived. We'll wait patiently again. Damn her ...
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