Thursday, 28 November 2013

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix


The magic and mystery continues in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is desperate to get back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his world upside down ...

This is a gripping and electrifying new novel, full of suspense, secrets, and - of course - magic, from the incomparable J.K. Rowling. 

 Poor Harry. It's a tough year, this one.

When he thinks the Ministry of Magic is going to expel him from Hogwarts for prohibited use of magic he is desperate to go back to school. When he gets there and discovers the dreadful Professor Umbridge he'd rather be somewhere else. And if he only had his OWLS to think about at school he might just about manage, but there's so much else going on. I disliked the chapters that Harry and the others spent in Number 12 Grimmauld Place I found that plot wasn't going anywhere.
And most of it is going on at a personal level. For a start, Harry suddenly seems to be the object of public contempt and derision in an attack spearheaded by the Daily Prophet newspaper. As we all know, what you read in a newspaper must be true, so most of the students at Hogwarts now doubt the truth of Harry's assertion that Voldemort is back. Professor Dumbledore doesn't seem to want to support Harry. In fact, Professor Dumbledore won't even look Harry in the eye any more. What has Harry done to offend the professor?

Mind you, Professor Dumbledore has problems of his own. The Daily Prophet is waging a bit of a personal war against him too, and worse, the Ministry of Magic seems to be critical of him. That's why the dreadful Professor Umbridge appears at Hogwarts. She is the Minister of Magic's right hand woman, and is also the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. As she relentlessly increases her power and influence at the school, Professor Dumbledore's authority apparently diminishes. Actually, with Professor Umbridge it is hard to say whether she is For or Against the Dark Arts.

Harry raised the sharp black quill, then realised what was missing.
'You haven't given me any ink,' he said.
'Oh, you won't need ink,' said Professor Umbridge, with the merest suggestion of a laugh in her voice.
Harry placed the point of the quill on the paper and wrote: I must not tell lies.
He let out a gasp of pain. The words had appeared on the parchment in what appeared to be shining red ink. At the same time, the words had appeared on the back of Harry's right hand, cut into his skin as though traced there by a scalpel - yet even as he stared at the shining cut, the skin healed over again, leaving the place where it had been slightly redder than before but quite smooth.

Harry looked round at Umbridge. She was watching him, her wide, toadlike mouth stretched in a smile.  I really hate Umbridge, she is evil and a really nasty piece of work!

And where are Harry's friends through all these trials? Well, Hagrid's not around and nobody seems to know where he is. That's a worry. Ron and Hermione are there, but they have been made prefects, and while Harry isn't exactly jealous, it takes a bit of an effort to be pleased for them. Then there's Cho Chang. Harry still goes a bit weak at the knees whenever she comes within range, but he is a bit of a novice when it comes to understanding girls.





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