Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (audio) by J.K. Rowling
Published: 2003
Narration: Stephen Fry

**This will contain some spoilers, but I figure everyone who’s at all interested in Harry Potter has read the books or seen the movies by now.

I’m fairly new to audio books, so I’ve only recently discovered that I quite enjoy being read to like a child. Who better for that than Mr. Stephen Fry? I read the first three of these and lost interest, but that interest was renewed when I found that Fry narrated the UK versions. He’s likely in my top five list of best people ever, so I decided to give the audio books a go and found them to be really enjoyable.

In this, the fifth volume of the series, Harry is introduced to the Order of the Phoenix and eventually confronts Voldemort, once again, at the end of the novel. Dumbledore saves his ass, and he responds to this by having the biggest hissy fit that any protaganist-fated-to-save-the-world has ever had. I’m going to chalk this up to teenage hormones and pretend that never happened. If Hogwarts didn’t have a dress code, Harry would definitely be emo-ing it up.

My main gripe, though, was that the death of Sirius Black left me wanting a little more. A boy whose parents died before he knew them, leaving him to a life of neglect and misery, finally finds a new father figure only to see the man die before his eyes. This is a pretty tragic circumstance, one that’s been developed over the course of several books, and it’s handled very poorly. The actual death happens so quickly, and is so ambiguous, that you’re left wondering if it even happened. It’s a fairly bold move for an author to kill off a character in that position, but it all feels so wishy-washy and unimportant. If I hadn’t seen the movies, I’d still be wondering if he was truly dead. It really felt like a missed opportunity.

I’ve read three of these, and listened to the last two, and I really enjoy them a lot more on audio book. I’m not sure if I’ll listen to the rest before the final movie is out, but I think I’ll eventually get around to them all. It’s very easy to nitpick these books, and it’s almost become trendy to do just that, but it’s hard to deny that Rowling is a master at world-building, and she can certainly weave an interesting tale.

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