For some reason I’m just blowing through these Harry Potter books. The latest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, does a few things for the series. First (and unfortunately), it continues a storyline that was flawed from the end of book four. Even given Ms. Rowling’s explanations in the novels for why the Ministry would be at odds with Hogwart’s, the storyline still seems too preconceived. It’s almost as if the generic “man” is going after both the good and bad guys. You know, the plot of every movie and sit-com and pretty much all of professional wrestling for the last ten years. I expected more out of the main drama from the Harry Potter series.
This book, though, also brings more darkness into the series. As GGL would say, this is the darkest of the Harry Potter books (so far). From the twisted scene of the Longbottoms in St. Mungo’s to the fierce battle between the Order and the Death Eaters, this book at least has some gusto in terms of mixing it up a bit.
I can understand, for cinematic reasons, the need to include the Cho/Harry love spat. Yet, I sometimes think that these parts of the book get in the way of what could be a great story. Quite frankly, no one gives a hoot if Cho is mental because of Cedric dying and Harry is a real “git” when it comes to the ladies. But once again, I read this from a 25 year-old perspective when the general age group of Harry Potter readers is 10 years my younger, so this may be a moot point.
The length of the book is certainly something to consider when getting ready to read it. I came home for Thanksgiving with just a few things and this book was one of them. When I got home, I was less than halfway done with the book, yet last night (after dinner), I had so much free time that I actually finished the book. This is something to keep in mind – you need long, unused expanses of time to get a good reading session in with this book!
What else can I say about this book? It’s nice to get a view of Harry and Snape needing to work together, though I wonder how this will come across in the movie version of the story. Also, it was nice that we got the background on Sirius’ family and his relation to pretty much all of the “bad guys” since he comes from a family of dark wizards. Interesting stuff.
I thought the prophecy part at the end of the book left something to be desired. One has to die, right? Well, duh! Dumbledore’s speech was pretty good in terms of explaining a lot of the finer points of the previous 850+ pages!
For Harry Potter fans, I obviously have to recommend the book so you can continue reading the story. But in terms of storytelling, it seemed at times that Rowling wrote parts of the book so they would be good for a video game, parts that would be good for a movie, and parts that were too Da Vinci Code-esque. Yet, whenever I criticize her too much, I always remember two things. First, she’s writing for preteens and teenagers (though her original audience is now in their twenties). Second, the Harry Potter series is her first go-around with writing professionally in terms of mass publication. The exaggerations and over use of trickery are to be expected in what is essentially a novice’s writing.
All in all a decent book that advanced some storylines and moved the story forward.