I never liked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as much as some of the other books. I was never really sure why, either. After doing this month's reread, however, I found I no longer disliked the book. I wonder if it's because I know the whole story now. All the little hints and information sprinkled throughout this book make sense now because I know how it all ends. Whatever the reason, I definitely enjoyed my reread of J.K. Rowling's fifth Harry Potter book more than the first time I read it.
For more info about this challenge and the idea behind it, visit Just a Lil' Lost's sign up post. Check out Twitter or Instagram with #HPreread if you want to follow along with us. A reminder: if you haven't read this book, or even finished the whole series, please beware of spoilers. If you don't want parts of the story or series ruined for you, stay away until you finish the books!
I believe I've mentioned before that a lot of people are frequently annoyed by Harry. I could really see where they were coming from when I was reading Order of the Phoenix. Harry had been pretty much totally ignored all summer by everyone he considered a friend and his response to that, when he finally gets to see everyone, was to lash out. Repeatedly. The attitude continues throughout the entire book and, while it did get a tad frustrating, I just reminded myself that he's fifteen. And, really, this attitude never bothered me before. Sure, the kid is rash and should listen for all the facts before rushing off to save the world, but he's just that – a kid. Harry's only fifteen in this book, remember.
I had somehow forgotten how long and big this book was. 766 pages! And it doesn't really seem like there's a whole lot going on in this book (which may be another reason why a lot of people aren't a huge fan of OotP) but there are a lot of building blocks laid in this story. Particularly, I think, with Dumbledore's Army. Apart from the core three, we're finally getting to see some students who are committed to protecting their school, their headmaster, and their families, by coming together to learn Defense Against the Dark Arts skills from Harry. The group of students we learn more about here, most notably Ginny, Neville, and Luna, all play an important role in this book as well as the next two.
There were a couple of family moments in this book that made me tear up a bit. The first was one I had forgotten about. It happens very early on in the book (page 39), when Harry is explaining why the Dementors attacked him and what it meant. Aunt Petunia understood the severity and, as Rowling writes, "...for the first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother's sister. ... All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean." It's easy to forget, reading the books through Harry's eyes, that his aunt lost a sister. She may complain about James and how magic is a disgrace, but Lily was still her sister. The other, much more potent, family moment came at the end of the book. I hate that Sirius dies. Probably because I can't see the point of it (though, really, what is the point of any of the upcoming deaths?). I also hate it because it takes away Harry's last hope of being with family. Sure, he has an amazing surrogate family in the Weasleys' and other members of the Order, but he won't realize that for awhile. For now, we just feel Harry's pain at losing his godfather.
Amidst all the heavy stuff, there are, as usual, some light hearted moments. Fred and George provide many of those, of course. One of my favourite lines from the entire series is in this book. Ron has been made Prefect and Mrs. Weasley has just found out: "'Oh, Ron, how wonderful! A prefect! That's everyone in the family!' 'What are Fred and I, next-door neighbours?' said George indignantly." (page 149) I also enjoyed all of the variations of "Dementor" Uncle Vernon creates (Dementoids, Demenders). And this is the book where we learn that Ron has the emotional range of a teaspoon! (page 406)
Other random notes: I was happy that Tonks ("Don't call me Nymphadora!") finally shows up as I named my rabbit after her. I also liked that Luna is now part of the series (though I'm looking forward to the next books when she's a bit less Looney and more Luna). Rowling is setting up Hermione/Ron and Harry/Ginny even more though it's still all very subtle.
I'm still really enjoying the Harry Potter reread, which isn't a surprise. Though I'm finding now that, as much as I want to read the next book, I know I'm getting that much closer to the end (again). I know I know how it all ends but it's been so great to relive the series again. Next month's book, Half-Blood Prince, is another heavy one and I need to start preparing myself now for what happens!