by J. K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 870 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 9.34 x 6.28 x 2.15
Publisher: Scholastic; (June 21, 2003)
As his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry approaches, 15-year-old Harry Potter is in full-blown adolescence, complete with regular outbursts of rage, a nearly debilitating crush, and the blooming of a powerful sense of rebellion. It's been yet another infuriating and boring summer with the despicable Dursleys, this time with minimal contact from our hero's non-Muggle friends from school. Harry is feeling especially edgy at the lack of news from the magic world, wondering when the freshly revived evil Lord Voldemort will strike. Returning to Hogwarts will be a relief... or will it?
The fifth book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series follows the darkest year yet for our young wizard, who finds himself knocked down a peg or three after the events of last year. Somehow, over the summer, gossip (usually traced back to the magic world's newspaper, the Daily Prophet) has turned Harry's tragic and heroic encounter with Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament into an excuse to ridicule and discount the teen. Even Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the school, has come under scrutiny by the Ministry of Magic, which refuses to officially acknowledge the terrifying truth that Voldemort is back. Enter a particularly loathsome new character: the toadlike and simpering ("hem, hem") Dolores Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, who takes over the vacant position of Defense Against Dark Arts teacher--and in no time manages to become the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, as well. Life isn't getting any easier for Harry Potter. With an overwhelming course load as the fifth years prepare for their Ordinary Wizarding Levels examinations (O.W.Ls), devastating changes in the Gryffindor Quidditch team lineup, vivid dreams about long hallways and closed doors, and increasing pain in his lightning-shaped scar, Harry's resilience is sorely tested.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, more than any of the four previous novels in the series, is a coming-of-age story. Harry faces the thorny transition into adulthood, when adult heroes are revealed to be fallible, and matters that seemed black-and-white suddenly come out in shades of gray. Gone is the wide-eyed innocent, the whiz kid of Sorcerer's Stone. Here we have an adolescent who's sometimes sullen, often confused (especially about girls), and always self-questioning. Confronting death again, as well as a startling prophecy, Harry ends his year at Hogwarts exhausted and pensive. Readers, on the other hand, will be energized as they enter yet again the long waiting period for the next title in the marvelous, magical series. (Ages 9 and older) - Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up-Harry has just returned to Hogwarts after a lonely summer. Dumbledore is uncommunicative and most of the students seem to think Harry is either conceited or crazy for insisting that Voldemort is back and as evil as ever. Angry, scared, and unable to confide in his godfather, Sirius, the teen wizard lashes out at his friends and enemies alike. The head of the Ministry of Magic is determined to discredit Dumbledore and undermine his leadership of Hogwarts, and he appoints nasty, pink-cardigan-clad Professor Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and High Inquisitor of the school, bringing misery upon staff and students alike. This bureaucratic nightmare, added to Harry's certain knowledge that Voldemort is becoming more powerful, creates a desperate, Kafkaesque feeling during Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. The adults all seem evil, misguided, or simply powerless, so the students must take matters into their own hands. Harry's confusion about his godfather and father, and his apparent rejection by Dumbledore make him question his own motives and the condition of his soul. Also, Harry is now 15, and the hormones are beginning to kick in. There are a lot of secret doings, a little romance, and very little Quidditch or Hagrid (more reasons for Harry's gloom), but the power of this book comes from the young magician's struggles with his emotions and identity. Particularly moving is the unveiling, after a final devastating tragedy, of Dumbledore's very strong feelings of attachment and responsibility toward Harry. Children will enjoy the magic and the Hogwarts mystique, and young adult readers will find a rich and compelling coming-of-age story as well.
Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* No, you can't put it down, but believe me, you'll wish you could. This is not an easy book to lug around. Its worldwide hype aside, the fifth installment in Harry Potter's saga should be judged on the usual factors: plot, characters, and the quality of the writing. So how does it fare? One thing emerges quickly: Rowling has not lost her flair as a storyteller or her ability to keep coming up with new gimcracks to astound her readers. But her true skills lie in the way she ages Harry, successfully evolving him from the once downtrodden yet hopeful young boy to this new, gangly teenager showing all the symptoms of adolescence--he is sullen, rude, and contemptuous of adult behavior, especially hypocrisy. This last symptom of the maturing Harry fits especially well into the plot, which finds almost all of the grown-ups in the young wizard's life saying one thing and doing another, especially those at the Ministry of Magic, who discredit Harry in the media to convince the citizenry that Voldemort is not alive. Rowling effectively uses this plot strand as a way of introducing a kind of subtext in which she takes on such issues as governmental lying and the politics of personal destruction, but she makes her points in ways that will be clearly understood by young readers. To fight for truth and justice--and to protect Harry--the Order of the Phoenix has been reconstituted, but young Potter finds squabbling and hypocrisy among even this august group. And in a stunning and bold move, Rowling also allows Harry (and readers) to view an incident from the life of a teenage James Potter that shows him to be an insensitive bully, smashing the iconic view Harry has always had of his father. Are there problems with the book? Sure. Even though children, especially, won't protest, it could be shorter, particularly since Rowling is repetitious with descriptions (Harry is always "angry"; ultimate bureaucrat Doris Umbridge always looks like a toad). But these are quibbles about a rich, worthy effort that meets the very high expectations of a world of readers. Ilene Cooper
Copyright©: American Library Association. All rights reserved
I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust.
So spoke Albus Dumbledore at the end of Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts. But as Harry enters his fifth year at wizard school, it seems those bonds have never been more sorely tested. Lord Voldemort’s rise has opened a rift in the wizarding world between those who believe the truth about his return, and those who prefer to believe it’s all madness and lies--just more trouble from Harry Potter.
Add to this a host of other worries for Harry…
• A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
• A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
• Ron as keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
• And of course, what every student dreads: end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams
…and you’d know what Harry faces during the day. But at night it’s even worse, because then he dreams of a single door in a silent corridor. And this door is somehow more terrifying than every other nightmare combined.
In the richest installment yet of J. K. Rowling’s seven-part story, Harry Potter confronts the unreliability of the very government of the magical world, and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.
Despite this (or perhaps because of it) Harry finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty and unbearable sacrifice.
Though thick runs the plot (as well as the spine), readers will race through these pages, and leave Hogwarts, like Harry, wishing only for the next train back.
From the Publisher
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling, the fifth in the bestselling series has been scheduled for release on Saturday, June 21, 2003.
We are thrilled to announce the publication date. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is absolutely superb and will delight all J.K. Rowling's fans. She has written a brilliant and utterly compelling new adventure, which begins with the words:
The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.... The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four.
Later in the novel, J.K. Rowling writes:
"Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything."
- Barbara Marcus, President of Scholastic Children's Books in the United States, and Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury Publishing in Britain.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is over 255,000 words compared with over 191,000 words in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The new book is 38 chapters long, one more than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
About the Author
J. K. ROWLING has written fiction since she was a child. Jo enjoyed telling her made-up stories to her younger sister and wrote her first "book" at the age of six--a story about a rabbit called Rabbit! She started writing the Harry Potter series after the idea occurred to her on a train journey where she admits Harry "just strolled into my head fully formed."
JIM DALE is the voice of all the characters in the Harry Potter audiobook series. This work has won him the Grammy Award (2000), two Grammy nominations, and two AudioFile Earphone Awards.
Not my Favorite, but Still Great, August 5, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from Cottage Grove, Minnesota
I thought this book was a great read. Yes it was very long and detailed, but I found myself actually becoming involoved in the book. This book is definitely darker than the other four books and has a more adult feel, but it makes you feel as though you are growing up with Harry. Like I said before though, this is not my favorite book in the series, but it is definitely one of the top three!!
"Harry Potter continues", August 5, 2003
Reviewer: Ronald Roberts
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix brings you through to another year of Harry Potter's life and brings forward new characters which add more mystery to the novel and sometimes give fuel to Harry's temper. Harry as he is now 15 has outbursts of temper and literally gets mad at almost everyone who does anything to offend him. This temper of his makes him end up getting banned from Quidditch which leaves the Gryffindor team in misery but who still end up winning as Ron finally comes through for them. He is not your teenage role model but does show the same signs of bravery, courage and his way of never giving up. Added to his new rage he is very clueless with girls and this shows out as he loses out and ends up saying all the wrong things with the girl he likes - Cho Chang. If he would just listen to Hermione on this matter.
The new characters of the novel are great and fit in well with the whole ensemble of characters which Ms Rowling is always able to put together for a perfect mix. The Defense against The Dark Arts teacher - Dolores Umbridge is just out right cruel ( I thought Snape was bad ) but fits in well with the unravelling plot of the book.
When I finished reading the book I felt really sorry for Harry as he is faced with the knowledge of why he was attacked as a baby and what his destiny holds for him, this is on top of losing the person who he looks up to as a father figure. At the end of the book there are so many questions that are left unanswered even though so much was reavealed to Harry. This however gives some extra suspense for the sixth book. The book over all was a good read , it might not be the best installment of the series but it lives up to the excitement and buzz. It carries on the lead of its predecessors and I will look forward for the arrival of the sixth book.
Great realistic view of how Harry feels, August 5, 2003
Reviewer: Olivia Young from Columbus, oh United States
In the last four books Harry was saving people, risking his neck etc. Now in this book everything isn't so peachy for him, people think it is a bit odd that one boy could be involved in so many feats. I think J.K. Rowling did a very good job of portraying the type of feelings that Harry should be feeling after losing a classmate from the previous year. I really liked that we got to know the other characters that weren't in Harry's gang. This book is the best in the series when it comes to illicting feelings like rage, hate, sympathy, pain, etc. I'm sure most students can relate to Harry and the way Mrs. Umbridge treats him and the other students. As students they felt powerless to stop Mrs. Umbridge. I really felt the dislike that was simmering in all the characters regarding Mrs. Umbridge. All in all after the third book in the series this one is my second favorite.
Not Up to Standard, August 5, 2003
Reviewer: Markley S. Roderick from Moorestown, NJ USA
After finishing this fifth book in the series, I went back and re-read a couple chapters from the first two. The contrast was striking.
The earlier books were deftly written, witty and entertaining, bouncing easily from sentence to paragraph to chapter. If you've forgotten the feel, go back and read the first descriptions of Duddly and his parents.
In contrast, this book is labored and long. It has the feel of a book that was far too long in the making, and where the fame of the author has inhibited the work of her editors. It plods along. There is still the hint of the earlier playfulness - as with the figures in portraits moving from frame to frame and commenting on the proceedings - but the playfulness is outweighed by the author's heavy hand moving characters from place to place and scene to scene. She might as well be stage-directing them.
It was a long read and not a very entertaining or exciting one. And perhaps most telling, when you reach the last page you do not know the characters better than you did in the beginning. Harry, especially, is almost wholly lifeless in this rendition, despite having been described ad nauseum for nearly 900 pages.
great book, not too many horrible things happen., August 4, 2003
Reviewer: carla from northeast USA
Well, i agree w/ jonathan perez from WA. This was a great book, with harry as a more rebellious kid. he seems more realistic, not so happy-go -lucky. besides his new attitude, this book is not like the others in a good way. the second and fourth book had too many bad things happening in them, like the flying car and the triwizard tournament. but this one wasnt like the 1st or 3rd book either, when things are pretty much great all year. (not that i mind that, either)
on this one, its pretty much just small things, like his rebellious attitude and horrible Umbridge. i loved it when the twins do their sign-off, but hate Umbridge for kicking harry off the team for life. (i hope he can overcome that in the next book)
His friends were really supportive of him in this book, which is better than before, when Ron was really jealous. However, Harry wasnt really open w/ them, and readers can tell that he still has some problems. Percy, a past friend, was the opposite. before supportive and kind to Harry, he reminds me of Fudge w/ his pompous ways and unending feeling that the Ministry is always right. i hope he apologizes in the next book and surrenders his pride.
The occlumency lessons are also a mix of bad/ good. i do feel bad for proffessor snape, no matter what others think. it seems like he had a horrible childhood, and harry's father didnt make things any better for him. Harry also didnt learn too much from snape anyway, since his hate for snape sidetracked him. Dumbledore was right when he decided in the end that the lessons w/ snape were a bad idea. i feel that Sirius should've learned not to hate snape either, but he always had a quick temper.
Luckily, the end was okay, although the death of ______ was heartrendering, and harry has to return to his aunts' every year. the prophecy was a nice touch. confusing at first, but then engaging. i knew Neville had something to do w/everything! (whoops, dont want to give too much away!)
I also love Dumbledore's parts in this book. I understand his mistake, but i feel that his magic and power are exceedingly impressive, and that Harry never knew what Dumbledore was capable of. no wonder Voldemort's scared of him! I feel sorry for Dumbledore. He tries his hardest, but harry remained cold towards him, and i know he's getting rather old. i only hope he doesnt die in either of the next books, and that harry will finally get a girlfriend!!!
I say good job, Rowling. Keep up the good work! and as for the whole "its too long" thing, i disagree. the length contributed to its greatness and i wouldnt change a thing, not a word or a page of it! (besides, i read it in 12hrs.) hehehe (and i agree that harry should forget cho chang, however, i feel that ron and hermione should get together, seeing as he obviously likes her) (hehehe)