Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | Book Review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #5)
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Publication Date: First published in 2003
There is a door at the end of a silent corridor, and it's haunting Harry Potter's dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?

Here are just a few of the things on Harry's mind:

• 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
• The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams

... and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with 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), he 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.

“Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?"
"You called her a liar?"
"You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?"
"Have a biscuit, Potter.”
-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

*This review contains spoilers for the book.*

I have really enjoyed reading this series, but this book is the first one I read, where I realized that I absolutely love this series! Despite hearing warnings from many people that book five is 'slow and boring,' and their least-favorite of the series, I found quite the opposite to be true. Let's begin with the villain:

Professor Umbridge is probably one of the coolest villains of the series, yet (second only to 'ole Voldy). Her character placement in the story is significant because, not only is she not one of Voldemort's supporters, but by all of her wrong-doings, she truly believes that she is doing the wizarding world good. She is the first authority figure Harry has come across who hasn't immediately sympathized with him, or who isn't under Dumbledore's command. Even Snape--who has made life hard for Harry before--is still heavily influenced by Dumbledore. In overcoming the obstacles that Umbridge presents, Harry is truly tested for the first time.

The character development in this one is, simply put, spectacular. We are introduced to many awesome new characters who each find their place in Harry's life, along with old characters, who are beginning to define their roles in Harry's life as well. Things are just starting to come full-circle; with secret organizations, changing alliances, and prophecies being revealed, it is such a complete turning point in the series. Not only is Harry now someone who is looked up to as a teacher/role model, but he finally stars to believe it as well. Despite all his angst, and feeling sorry for himself (which really annoyed me, but hey--these are typical teenager issues), he finds it in himself to rise to a leadership role in the D.A..

The formation of Dumbledore's Army literally sent chills up my spine--the kind you get when you know something amazing is happening. It is one of the first times that the students from different houses have banned together. Neville finally begins to excel in an area that he previously failed at, and shows some of his potential. And my favorite part of the entire book, is when Fred & George decide it's time to leave Hogwarts. It's something that has been a long time coming--they get to inspire the other students to action, and they finally get to show off their genius and have the time of their lives while doing so. Their exit is thrilling, and ultimately so uplifting, that I wanted to clap and yell, "bravo!"

This book is definitely darker than the previous ones in the series. For the first time, there are real consequences to Harry's actions--including death. I said it before: this is a turning point in the series. This is the bridge between adolescent innocence, and true knowledge of good and evil. Harry finally begins to really understand what he is up against, and he still rises to the occasion. This book is fantastic.

ETA: Author Elana Johnson just posted about this book in a post titled: What I Learned From the Worst Harry Potter Book. In it, she says something very thought-provoking, which pretty much hit the nail on the head, of why I love this book so much. Head on over there to read what she has to say!

Read this if:
...just read it! :)

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{A few swear words, snogging, parts that show violence, and death.}

“Give her hell from us, Peeves.”
-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My Other Reviews From This Series:
Book 1  /  Book 2  /  Book 3  /  Book 4

Purchase The Order of the Phoenix:

J.K. Rowling:


  1. Yay! We are totally on the same page about this one. I know a lot of other people dislike it because Harry angsts so much, but I think it's probably my 2nd favourite in the series, after book 3. The DA is awesome and I found Harry's mind connection with Voldemort pretty creepy (in a good way).

    1. I'm glad you like it, too! :) I think the angst (as much as it annoyed me) is what I really like about it; Harry is truly tested for the first time in this one, I think.

      Anyway, I think it's second to the last book for me, although the 3rd is pretty darn close. Agh, they're all just so good!

  2. I'm so glad you loved this book. It's not my favorite in the series, but it isn't my least favorite either. I love what happens in it. And although I loathe Umbridge more than Voldemort, I think, like you said, she's a great villain and an awesome character. Fantastic review!

    1. Agreed! She made SO ANGRY, but she is really a great villain.

  3. It took me a couple of readings to figure out why people dislike it so much. I have friends who call it Harry Potter and the Pillar of Angst (cause of the pillars on the American cover) and at first I was a little confused. When I first read the book I was about the same age as Harry so I really related to his angsty-ness and didn't see it as much. Now it bothers me, but I try very hard to keep in mind that when I first read it, it didn't.

    Anyway, glad you liked it! Are you reading these for the first time, or is this a reread for you?

    1. Haha, that's an awesome title! That's probably going to be the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this book, now. :) It is completely full of angst, and even though it bothered me a lot, when I finished reading, I realized that's what I love about it. Anyway, this was my first time reading it. Can you believe it's taken me this long to do it?

    2. Yeah it's difficult to get Pillar of Angst out of your head once it's there, sorry! I've even had trouble thinking of the REAL title sometimes...

  4. Oh, I'm so left behind on the challenge. I'm still on Book 2! Gotta catch up. I'm so happy you like this one, Penelope. I think one of the reasons many people didn't like this was because of the frustrations and helplessness of the characters in this book. It's really hard to see the characters you loved so much to suffer and have a difficult time. :D

    1. I can see that. It does get very frustrating, especially when so many things are being thrown in Harry's way, and he just gets more and more upset about it all.

      Anyway, no worries about being on book 2! There's still the entire year left to complete the challenge. :)

  5. Gasp! There are people out there who think this is the worst HP book!!!!!!
    That is impossible because this is my favorite book in the series and I agree with your entire review. There are so many great lessons for our favorite characters in this book and everyone really starts to grow up and realize that everything isn't going to be perfect every single time!!!

    Bottom line this is THE HP book to read. I love this one far more than the other six.

    Thanks for the amazing review, I really wish I had time to re-read this series.

    1. Haha, I LOVE that you love this one so much. I really think it is such a great point in the series. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. Yes! Someone else enjoyed this book as much as I did! It always made me so sad that so many Harry Potter fans liked OotP the least. I never understood it. Sure, Harry was *really* angsty in this book. But, I can look past that because teenagers are angsty in the first place, and on top of that Harry had to deal with some rough situations. Those horrible Dursleys. Being separated from Sirius. Coming face to face with Voldemort, in the flesh. Cedric Diggory's death. I would expect Harry to be angsty!

    OotP introduced me to Umbridge. She's my favorite villain of all time. I mean, Voldy is pretty awful. But, I'd rather sit in the same room with him than Umbridge. She's the first villain to incite rage in me!

    I was also really impressed with how grown up book five was. The first three books were "young" because Harry was young. In book four, things started to take a serious turn. And then book five happens! It's serious. It's dark. It's a little more grown up. The reader gets a peek at the bigger wizarding world picture and its politics. Voldemort's return doesn't just affect Harry and his dreams anymore. It's affecting everyone, and it becomes very apparent in OotP!

    This book was certainly one of my favorites. In fact, it's kind of tied in first place with the sixth book.

    1. P.S. these posts have encouraged me to re-re-re-re-read the series!


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