"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." – Sirius Black
This has always been one of my favourites of the Harry Potter series, along with the Prisoner of Azkaban – one introducing Sirius and the other killing him.
This time around though I found it a more difficult read. Harry spends much of his time stressed out, like all pubescent teenagers in their growing years. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that stressy and this book is jam packed with action and the raging hormones of boys. I never remembered the stress effecting me so much in previous years – maybe it is because I am becoming calmer, the further away I travel from my own teenage, angsty self.
Order of the Phoenix is simply an amazing book though – it is fraught with danger, tension and impending doom. For the whole 700 odd pages it keeps you on your toes throughout and then rips your heart out in several places.
My favourite part of this book is the bits about Snape. His character is further unravelled and I love seeing what made Snape the man who he is. More on that later. I like the fact that we are, along with Harry, forced to empathise with him and that Harry is made to realise that his father isn’t the knight in shining armour he imagined him to be. Snape is a rather sad character in that he feels like he’s been bottled and never grown up.
On my first few reads – Sirius’ death made me cry the most – but now it is not so much his death, but the lives of Neville’s parents that wrenches my hear. That kind of a life is by far, worse then death. Sirius at least went in a blaze of glory. Neville’s parents who sacrificed their sanity perhaps – remain living, their lives never resolved, never given that chance of happiness or peace that Sirius will have.
Harry’s grief at losing Sirius felt so real – the way Rowling describes it and how real she describes it makes me empathise so deeply with Harry – especially his terrible guilt at the end knowing that he could have prevented Sirius’ death just by speaking into the mirror, or listening to Hermoine. Without his panic though no one would have believed that Voldemort had returned, however I doubt that really makes it up for Harry.
When I first read the book I remember chucking the book on the floor in a fit of disbelief and rage. I guess it had to be expected and I had been expecting it – but still you hope in vain, don’t you? Even reading it through again, I hoped against hope (that somehow the text in my books had magically changed) that Sirius would be alive by the end of it.
I don’t think there are many books like Harry Potter that leave me feeling quite so emotionally drained. I’ve finished the series now, as I catch up on my reviews – and I have been so immersed in Harry Potter that just about every night I have dreamed about it. My waking moments have been ruled by when I can next open my Harry Potter book or thinking about something that has happened or I know to come.
Order of the Phoenix is one of the most exhausting books I have ever read. I love how it mingles with my thoughts and emotions, but it’s very tiring. I was quite glad to move onto the calmer, relatively peaceful Half Blood Prince.