Reviews for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Booklist Reviews 2003 July #1
/*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. ((Reviewed July 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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BookPage Reviews 2003 June
What you don't know about Harry: a trivia quiz for Muggles

Think you know everything Potter? Since the January announcement of a release date for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, any respectable fan has by this time memorized the facts and figures about this behemoth of a book: 38 chapters, about 255,000 words, a release date of June 21. . . .

There are a few lesser-known facts, however, that have probably eluded even the most ardent fans. So, we've done a little research to uncover things you might not know about the popular Potter franchise, including a couple of tidbits about the closely guarded plot of the new book. Test your magical knowledge with the questions below—but please don't resort to wizardry to divine the answers!

1. What word coined by Rowling made it into the Oxford English Dictionary?

2. What mishap slowed filming of Prisoner of Azkaban?

3. Which beloved character will be returning in Order of the Phoenix?

4. How many voices did reader Jim Dale use in the audio version of Goblet of Fire? (Bonus question—how long was the recording?)

5. What do the initials "J.K." stand for?

6. How much is a signed first edition of the British version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone worth?

7. Who will become the Gryffindor Keeper in the fifth book?

8. Will book four (Goblet of Fire) be one film, or two?

9. A card containing 93 words about the new book was auctioned on eBay for what sum?

10. What ominous dream haunts Harry in Order of the Phoenix?

1. "Muggle" was included in the most recent update of the Oxford English Dictionary. Though J.K. Rowling coined it to signify a person with no magical powers, the OED days common usage has extended it to mean "a person who lacks a particular skill or skills, or who is regarded as inferior in some way."

2. Sparks from the Hogwarts Express train started a fire during filming of Prisoner of Azkaban in Scotland, destroying nearly 80 acres of heather moorland.

3. Remus Lupin, Harry's beloved former Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, will return, though in a different capacity: the new DADA teacher will be a woman.

4. Jim Dale used 127 voices to read Goblet of Fire. He's also been selected to record the audio version of Order of the Phoenix, which will be released on the same day as the book. (Answer to the bonus question: the recording is 24 hours long.)

5. Rowling's full name is Joanne Kathleen.

6. A signed, first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone—the book's title in the UK—sells for upwards of $39,000. Only 600 copies of the UK first edition were printed.

7. Ron Weasley will become the new Gryffindor Keeper (Oliver Wood, team captain and former Keeper, graduated in book four).

8. Sorry, this is a bit of a trick question: screenwriter Steve Kloves has been working closely with Rowling on the script for the film version of book four. It's not yet known whether it will have to be split into two films. Apparently there are benefits to working with Rowling. She told the BBC that she's given Kloves "more information [about the HP books] than I've ever given anyone else."

9. The card, which contains words central to the plot of Order of the Phoenix, was auctioned in December for $45,314. Proceeds went to Book Aid International.

10. According to the publisher, Harry has frightening dreams of "a single door in a silent corridor. This door is somehow more terrifying than every other nightmare combined." Copyright 2003 BookPage Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
Harry, now fifteen, finds himself in the role of outsider as, in the larger world, adult wizards marshal their forces against the returned Voldemort without him; while at Hogwarts, he is shunned by Dumbledore, banned from Quidditch, and--thanks to slanted newspaper reports--regarded as generally unreliable. Despite a flimsy plot, the book--the best since [cf2]Azkaban[cf1]--features a wealth of humor and detail, plus some sharp social satire. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2003 #5
This review is much like the proverbial tree falling in an uninhabited forest: unlikely to make a sound. But for the record, HP5 is the best in the series since Azkaban, and far superior to the turgid HP4. With Rowling once again following the formula of giving Harry's day-to-day troubles and preoccupations the same weight as the larger battle of good vs. evil, Harry, now a sullen fifteen, finds himself in the role of outsider. The adult wizards in the Order of the Phoenix prepare for the return of Voldemort without him; at Hogwarts, he is ignored by Dumbledore, banned from Quidditch, and--thanks to slanted press coverage--generally regarded as a liar and a "weirdo." A new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, backed by a Ministry of Magic in Voldemort-denial, begins taking over Hogwarts one repressive educational decree at a time, providing Rowling with the opportunity for some sharp-edged satire. This is one of the funniest of the books, with comic set pieces starring Uncle Vernon and Hagrid, and with Fred and George Weasley outdoing themselves in wickedly funny asides. But it is also one of the most unpleasantly aggressive: adults snarl at one another; Slytherins and Gryffindors seem perpetually to be insulting each other, and even come to blows. The plot doesn't bear close scrutiny, and the climactic confrontation between "Dumbledore's Army" (a group of Hogwarts students led by Harry) and a horde of Death Eaters is a banal shoot-'em-up scene with a little magic thrown in. The concluding wrap-up, though, in which Dumbledore explains it all to Harry (and to us), contains a revelation regarding Neville Longbottom that should keep fans fizzing with wild surmise until the next installment. HP5 remains a highly passive reading experience, with all the work done by the author and none required of the reader (viz. those omnipresent, ambiguity-leaching adverbs: "'I'm not staying behind!' said Hermione furiously"). But tally the book's strengths and weaknesses as you may, the fact remains that Rowling has once again created a fully-fledged world, and for the experience of being there with Harry, HP5 can't be beat. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 2003 February #2
Just in case you missed it in all the media, the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series is flying your way on June 21. It's one-third longer than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Dumbledore promises to tell all. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. #

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 June #5
Year five at Hogwarts is no fun for Harry. Rowling may be relying upon readers to have solidified their liking for her hero in the first four books, because the 15-year-old Harry Potter they meet here is quite dour after a summer at the Dursleys' house on Privet Drive, with no word from pals Hermione or Ron. When he reunites with them at last, he learns that The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign to discredit Harry's and Dumbledore's report of Voldemort's reappearance at the end of book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Aside from an early skirmish with a pair of dementors, in which Harry finds himself in the position of defending not only himself but his dreaded cousin, Dudley, there is little action until the end of these nearly 900 pages. A hateful woman from the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge (who, along with minister Cornelius Fudge nearly succeeds in expelling Harry from Hogwarts before the start of the school year), overtakes Hogwarts-GrandPré's toadlike portrait of her is priceless-and makes life even more miserable for him. She bans him from the Quidditch team (resulting in minimal action on the pitch) and keeps a tight watch on him. And Harry's romance with his crush from the last book, Cho Chang, turns out to be a major waterworks (she cries when she's happy, she cries shen she's sad). Readers get to discover the purpose behind the Order of the Phoenix and more is revealed of the connection between Harry and You-Know-Who. But the showdown between Harry and Voldemort feels curiously anticlimactic after the stunning clash at the close of book four. Rowling favors psychological development over plot development here, skillfully exploring the effects of Harry's fall from popularity and the often isolating feelings of adolescence. Harry suffers a loss and learns some unpleasant truths about his father, which result in his compassion for some unlikely characters. (The author also draws some insightful parallels between the Ministry's exercise of power and the current political climate.) As hope blooms at story's end, those who have followed Harry thus far will be every bit as eager to discover what happens to him in his sixth and seventh years. Ages 9-12. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 July #1
Year five at Hogwarts is no fun for Harry. Rowling may be relying upon readers to have solidified their liking for her hero in the first four books, because the 15-year-old Harry Potter they meet here is quite dour after a summer at the Dursleys' house on Privet Drive, with no word from pals Hermione or Ron. When he reunites with them at last, he learns that The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign to discredit Harry's and Dumbledore's report of Voldemort's reappearance at the end of book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Aside from an early skirmish with a pair of dementors, in which Harry finds himself in the position of defending not only himself but his dreaded cousin, Dudley, there is little action until the end of these nearly 900 pages. A hateful woman from the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge (who, along with minister Cornelius Fudge nearly succeeds in expelling Harry from Hogwarts before the start of the school year) overtakes Hogwarts-GrandPrE's toadlike portrait of her is priceless-and makes life even more miserable for him. She bans him from the Quidditch team (resulting in minimal action on the pitch) and keeps a tight watch on him. And Harry's romance when his crush from the last book, Cho Chang, turns out to be a major waterworks (she cries when she's happy, she cries shen she's sad). Readers get to discover the purpose behind the Order of the Phoenix and more is revealed of the connection between Harry and You-Know-Who. But the showdown between Harry and Voldemort feels curiously anticlimactic after the stunning clash at the close of book four. Rowling favors psychological development over plot development here, skillfully exploring the effects of Harry's fall from popularity and the often isolating feelings of adolescence. Harry suffers a loss and learns some unpleasant truths about his father, which result in his compassion for some unlikely characters. (The author also draws some insightful parallels between the Ministry's exercise of power and the current political climate.) As hope blooms at story's end, those who have followed Harry thus far will be every bit as eager to discover what happens to him in his sixth and seventh years. Ages 9-12. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. #

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews
Year five at Hogwarts is no fun for Harry. Rowling may be relying upon readers to have solidified their liking for her hero in the first four books, because the 15-year-old Harry Potter they meet here is quite dour after a summer at the Dursleys' house on Privet Drive, with no word from pals Hermione or Ron. When he reunites with them at last, he learns that The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign to discredit Harry's and Dumbledore's report of Voldemort's reappearance at the end of book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Aside from an early skirmish with a pair of dementors, in which Harry finds himself in the position of defending not only himself but his dreaded cousin, Dudley, there is little action until the end of these nearly 900 pages. A hateful woman from the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge (who, along with minister Cornelius Fudge nearly succeeds in expelling Harry from Hogwarts before the start of the school year) overtakes Hogwarts-GrandPrT's toadlike portrait of her is priceless-and makes life even more miserable for him. She bans him from the Quidditch team (resulting in minimal action on the pitch) and keeps a tight watch on him. And Harry's romance when his crush from the last book, Cho Chang, turns out to be a major waterworks (she cries when she's happy, she cries shen she's sad). Readers get to discover the purpose behind the Order of the Phoenix and more is revealed of the connection between Harry and You-Know-Who. But the showdown between Harry and Voldemort feels curiously anticlimactic after the stunning clash at the close of book four. Rowling favors psychological development over plot development here, skillfully exploring the effects of Harry's fall from popularity and the often isolating feelings of adolescence. Harry suffers a loss and learns some unpleasant truths about his father, which result in his compassion for some unlikely characters. (The author also draws some insightful parallels between the Ministry's exercise of power and the current political climate.) As hope blooms at story's end, those who have followed Harry thus far will be every bit as eager to discover what happens to him in his sixth and seventh years. Ages 9-12. (June) Copyright 2003 ReedBusiness Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 August
Gr 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.

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VOYA Reviews 2003 August
Denying Voldemort's alleged return to power, the Ministry of Magic sets out to discredit Harry's supporters, including Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix, a group of wizards fighting secretly against Voldemort. The Ministry's pigheaded outlook has disastrous consequences for Hogwarts, which buckles under Ministry decrees limiting freedom of speech, assembly, and information-prohibitions that hinder Harry, Ron, and Hermione's attempts to support the Order and repel Voldemort. Persecuted by the diabolical Dolores Umbridge, Ministry official and self-proclaimed deity, Harry forms an underground resistance, but even this triumph of wizard unity cannot dispel the uneasy mood as faithful teachers leave Hogwarts, and students such as Malfoy gain tremendous power. Now fifteen years old, Rowling's characters struggle to reveal themselves as adolescents, but these half-hearted attempts are soon overshadowed by the Herculean conflict facing them and by their immutable innocence, simply displayed in their direct opposition to a figure of pure evil. Forced to wait for Voldemort's attack, Harry and the others exist in an ominous holding pattern, which draws the book inexorably to its deliciously tense finale. Superlative dialogue, suspenseful subplots, and Fred and George's brilliance balance the tone of despair, but the balance is at best a tenuous one. The climactic death of a main character and a horrifying revelation drag the book back into uncertainty and inaction in its concluding pages. As consolation, Rowling offers the unreserved love and loyalty of Harry's ever-growing "family," a force stronger even than Voldemort. Screaming with injustice and sorrow, this book's genius lies in its passion, which never falters. As does Professor McGonagall, readers find that the more Harry is disenfranchised, the greater is their determination to stand by him, to love him, and what he represents.-Caitlin Augusta. PLB $34.99. ISBN 0-439-56761-0. 5Q 5P M J S Copyright 2003 Voya Reviews

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