Book Roulette: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling. Scholastic: 2003. 870 pp.
So I think this is the longest Harry Potter novel, yes? Even so, I think this one’s my favorite. I really didn’t like it much the first time, and for the life of me now I can’t understand why. But it’s crazy to think that we’re already over halfway through the novels, and through this series.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the first book, perhaps, where we understand how Rowling’s novels were intended to be read. Just as Harry grows through the books, she understood that her readers would as well. I don’t think young children should read this book, mostly because I don’t think they would really understand it. There’s a lot going on here, and much of it was intended for an audience that fell in love with the series at a young age and grew a little older by the time this book was released.
Aside from the fact that I hate Umbridge (who doesn’t?), we see Harry in a new light in this book. Among other things, we see him as a typical teenage boy, who gets nervous around a girl he likes and doesn’t understand how said girl would have a problem with him talking about Hermione the entire time. After all, they’re just friends. What’s the worry?
Rowling mentioned in an interview with the British magazine Wonderland that she actually intended Harry and Hermione to be together, not Ron and Hermione. In fact, Ron wasn’t intended to be the character she wrote him to be. She even considered killing him off halfway through the series.
If there was a “first” moment that could have suggested this, it would be the scene with Harry and Cho in Hogsmeade. With that in mind, however, I think she was right to keep Hermione with Ron. Allowing them to be together gives two “lessons” to her readers that aren’t often described in literature. 1) It’s okay for a guy and a girl to be good friends, best friends even, without romance hanging over them like a dark cloud and 2) Sometimes the sidekick does get the girl, and that’s okay.