Today’s book review is about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling.
I originally read these books growing up as a teenager. However, I decided to pick them up again in 2021 and read them through into the beginning of 2022. I loved this series as a teenager, but I wanted to see how my experience of the series, compared from a more mature perspective.
The reviews I have shared to date based on my experience of reading the books more recently. If you want to catch up with my reviews of the earlier books in the series, you can find links to those posts, here.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s dive into my thoughts of the next book!
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
Audience: Young Adult
Publication Date: 21 Jun 2003
Harry Potter is about to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unlike most schoolboys, Harry never enjoys his summer holidays, but this summer is even worse than usual. The Dursleys, of course, are making his life a misery, but even his best friends, Ron and Hermione, seem to be neglecting him.
Harry has had enough. He is beginning to think he must do something, anything, to change his situation, when the summer holidays come to an end in a very dramatic fashion. What Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his world upside down…
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the chunkiest book in the series. There is a lot going on in this particular book. Despite its size, I still found it easy and entertaining to read as a teenager. However, if I’m honest, I don’t think I fully appreciated the political elements of the storyline until my re-read.
In previous books, we have had tasters of the more intricate and sinister elements of the plot line. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we see these machinations take centre stage.
I love the little books in the series. Although the earlier books are nice and lighthearted, I prefer the depth and grittiness of the narrative that comes with the threat of “he who must not be named”. With this, we get to see more morally ambiguous characters and events, but most importantly, it adds excitement and fear to what would otherwise be a fairly basic storyline.
Even though Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a long book to read, it isn’t difficult. As in previous books, the narrative style is consistent and easy to follow. Even as a young reader, I didn’t struggle to keep up with what was going on. in my opinion, the writing style is just at that balance of being readable by a younger audience, but also appeal to the older.
If you enjoy fantasy with a little bit more depth, then stick around for these later books. Not only do we see a lot more in the way of developing the history of the world and magic as a whole, but there are a lot more parts at play that contribute to a wider narrative. As a fan of epic fantasy as an adult, I have a distinct preference for the later books in the series. Don’t get me wrong, the earlier books set down a good foundation. However, in my opinion, they are definitely for the younger reader.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces one of the characters I hate most in literature – Professor Umbridge. If I were to describe this character to you frankly and honestly, then this post wouldn’t be suitable for reading by a younger audience. And to put it mildly, she is an awful woman. Equally, the fact that J. K. Rowling can write a character who invokes such emotions says a lot!
I feel likeHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces far more characters than any of the books to date. Through this book, we start to expand our knowledge of the wizarding world, and the bigger parts at play, rather than just sticking to Hogwarts and a small exclusive setting.
If there is a book in which you could get lost with the amount of characters bouncing round, it’s going to be this one. As a teenager, I probably didn’t follow all of this as best I could. As an adult, that definitely got easier. But, I’m a lot more experienced now in reading epic fantasy with complex worlds and lots of characters! This isn’t to say I don’t think anyone shouldn’t tackle the book at that age, but it’s just something to bear in mind.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one of my favourite books in the series. As a fan of complex worlds, the darker plot line and opportunities for strong character development, this book appeals in so many ways.
If there is any book in the series that I think I benefited most from reading again as an adult, I would say it is this one. There is a lot going on and I probably didn’t Pick up on all of it as a younger reader!
Have you read any books from the Harry Potter series? Have you re-read it? Let me know in the comments.