Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made statements that are TERF, or against the trans community (especially towards male-to-female). These statements are completely against the thoughts and ideas of the creator of this blog. I have been and always will be an ally for any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You exist, and you are valid. If you are struggling and need to talk to a counselor, there are many resources available at thetrevorproject.org.
Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.
While with the Dursleys, Harry and Dudley are attacked by 2 dementors. The Ministry accused Harry of using magic inappropriately, which caused him to be expelled. However, Dumbledore was able to convince the Ministry that they should schedule a hearing rather than expel him outright. Trying to increase his protection, Harry is moved to Sirius’ house, home of the Order of the Phoenix, the anti-Voldemort movement. The Order takes Harry to his hearing where he is acquitted of the charges.
As they head back to school, the students learn that the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry official. She believes that the best way to teach the students defense is by giving them a theoretical education rather than one based on practice. When Harry defends his position that Voldemort has returned, Umbridge punishes him by making him write lines stating that “I must tell lies” using his own blood.
As the students become frustrated with the Defense Against the Dark Arts class, Hermione asks Harry if he would be willing to teach a group of students the defensive magic he has learned over the past years. This group of students becomes known as Dumbledore’s Army, a play on the Ministry’s biggest fear.
Throughout the year, Harry has dreams about a room in the Ministry called the Department of Mysteries. He believes that these dreams are connected to Voldemort, but does not want to ask Dumbledore for help since he has barely seen him. However, when Mr. Weasley is attacked right before Christmas, he immediately seeks help from the Order to get him to safety. Having confirmed that he has a direct connection to Voldemort, Dumbledore sends Harry to Professor Snape for Occlumency lessons in the hope of protecting Harry’s mind. Harry found the process difficult and rarely practiced, leaving his mind vulnerable.
Since Umbridge has shut down Harry every time he speaks about Voldemort and the papers refused to discuss his return, Hermione gets Harry to do an interview with Rita Skeeter for The Quibbler, a anti-Voldemort paper. Umbridge continued to place more and more restrictions on the students in the hopes of maintaining order, but faced backlash everytime. Two of the biggest rule breakers were the Weasley twins, who had created a line of joke products called Weasley Wheezes. These products would become a huge problem to Umbridge, one that would cause her great stress.
Having spent the summer trying to create a pact with the giants to fight against Voldemort, Hagrid returns to Hogwarts. However, he did not return alone; he also brought home his half-brother Grawp. Fearing that Umbridge was going to have him fired, Hagrid asks Harry, Hermione, and Ron to look after him.
When a member of Dumbledore’s Army rats on the group to Umbridge, Dumbledore is forced to explain a group he had no part of. He covers for the students, causing him to be removed as Headmaster. He avoids request, but is forced to be on the run.
In his final Occlumency lesson, Snape is asked to leave the room, but accidentally leaves a memory he avoided Harry seeing in the Pensieve. Harry, intrigued, looked in and saw that his father was a bully towards Snape, concerning him. He contacts Sirius to ask about it, with the Weasley twins creating a large distraction resulting in them leaving the school for good.
Harry sees a vision of Sirius being tortured in the Department of Mysteries. Concerned, he tries to contact him but is unable to. He is caught in the process by Umbridge who believes that he was trying to get orders from Dumbledore. With help from some members of Dumbledore’s Army, he escapes Umbridge’s grasp and begins the journey to save the only family he knows.
I think this book is when we really start to see Harry as resentful. So many of the adults in the Order want to protect him because they see him as too young to handle everything, but he feels like he has fought Voldemort multiple times already, so why shouldn’t he know what he is up against. Also, once he learns about the prophecy that began everything, he feels some resentment that Voldemort chose him and not the other potential victim, and I think that feeling also carries over. All-in-all, this is a very angry book, but I think this is the first book where we really feel the build-up towards the war. I think that this book is beautifully written, although it does take a toll. For anyone who finds the emotions in this book to be too much, it only gets worse in the next book, so pick up Half-Blood Prince at your own discretion. That being said, I think that this book would be a 3.75 out of 5 from me.
Compared to the Movie
There are so many things that the movie did right and did wrong. Probably one of the most heart wrenching moments that they changed for the movie was Sirius’ last words. In the book, he taunts his future killer (spoiler), but in the movie, he says “nice one, James” to Harry. While it was always implied in the book that Sirius would sometimes confuse Harry with his father, the pain of referring to him as James is ROUGH. The movie also completely ignored the prefects and the frustration from Harry for not becoming one. Also, can we talk about how the movie should 100% have had Umbridge’s hand come out of the fire when she tried to catch Sirius? That would have been sick!
The movie did also try and make humor about things like the Room of Requirement and Umbridge’s decrees, but by doing so, created a different atmosphere relating to the anger and frustration and fear that the students were feeling. I think a large part of that is the book is so heavy that they wanted to bring some light to the movie. Which, I get, but it feels a lot different in the book. They also really emphasized the anger that Harry was feeling was due to his connection to Voldemort. I think that is partly true, but I think it does minimize the anger that Harry was feeling from his own emotions. I think that the movie did a pretty good job of the general plot, although I feel like they could have made Umbridge so much worse.
If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!