What Sirius Readers thought of ‘Order of the Phoenix’

sirius readers order of the phoenix

I’ve now read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix two-and-a-half times, and have had a totally different experience each time.

The first time, I was 12, and I thought it was the most boring book I’d ever read. I was at boarding school, and when the books arrived, my usually buzzing dormitory was suddenly full of silent girls all reading the same book. And I tried, I really did. But as far as I was concerned, it was the longest book in the world—and literally nothing happened in it. I gave up half way through.

The second time I read it, I was 23—and I was hooked. This was during my first time properly reading the Harry Potter series, when I enjoyed them but didn’t quite fall in love just yet. That time round, I thought Order of the Phoenix was the scariest, grimmest, and nastiest of the bunch. It definitely wasn’t boring; it was so horrible!

And then I read it again last week. And boy was I wrong both those other times. Because Order of the Phoenix is fuckin’ ace. Aside from Umbridge being a total toad, this book is the happiest, smiliest, made-me-cry-actual-tears-of-joy in the series so far. Until the ending, that is. Let’s not talk about the ending. *Sob*

So why is this book so great? To start with: dick jokes.

But what I really loved in this book is the camaraderie. It may be for dark reasons, but the adults reforming the Order of the Phoenix paralleled with the kids forming Dumbledore’s Army made the book feel like one long friendship-slash-training montage, which is always the best bit of any movie ever.

Umbridge is obviously terrible, but the teachers setting aside their professionalism just to mess with her was amazing. And I shed my first genuine Harry Potter tear at Fred and George’s dramatic exit from the school, being saluted by Peeves on their way out. Can you say “O Captain my Captain”? Delightful.

Apparently all of that gets skipped in the movie in order to focus on Harry kissing Cho Chang, which is a bummer because:

Of course, much as I enjoyed the rebellion, a lot of this book is actually seriously dark…

(TW for rape before you Google that theory.)

All the grimmer elements may have been why Jess had this nightmare…

…but luckily, J.K. Rowling lightened the mood with her hilarious sense of humour.

But I do think I’d like these books even better if Hermione was the main character, McGonagall was Headmistress, and one particular character was removed entirely…

And once again, J.K. left me with a ton of unanswered questions. In this book, my main confusion was about Hogwarts mealtimes: Harry had detention with Umbridge at 5 o’clock, and yet managed to wolf down a supper of pork chops before then. Who serves dinner before 5 o’clock?! That’s afternoon tea, people.

I mean, what happens if a Muggle finds a Blast-Ended Skrewt in the forest?

I would totally watch.

Turning Boggarts into hilarious things (using Riddikulus) was one of the great scenes of Prisoner of Azkaban; why is nobody laughing anymore?

The rest of the subjects cover pretty broad ground: the whole history of magic, any charm you could possibly think of, all the potions in the world… and yet they have an entire subject field devoting to turning mice into teapots.

And most importantly….

But as always, one of the greatest things about these books is how surprisingly relevant they are to our real lives.

Most of us in the Sirius Readers are writers, so this one particularly stung…

Don’t forget to follow along with #SiriusReaders on Twitter, and see you on the other side of Half-Blood Prince!