HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF PHOENIX - PUBLISHMENT
J.K Rowling published the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix almost three years after the release of the fourth book. The fans were highly impatient during this time gap and were anxiously looking forward to releasing the book. At the time the book was published, Harry Potter series had already become a well-known brand and global phenomenon, thus Order of Phoenix got a huge fan following and usually received positive remarks from critics. To be precise, the book was initially published on June 21st, 2003 by Bloomsbury publishing company in the UK.
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF PHOENIX PLOT - VOLDEMORT ON RISE
While Harry was spending his vacation at Dursleys, he and Dudley were attacked by Dementors. In the defense, Harry used magic which could have resulted in his expulsion from Hogwarts but his charges were removed once the hearing was held. Harry came to know about Order Phoenix—an organization that is meant to defeat Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Harry also became aware that Voldemort is after some sort of weapon that he didn’t have while he attacked Harry’s parents. Harry has some disputes with the new Defense Against DarkArts teacher, Miss Umbridge because she couldn’t believe that Voldemort has returned. Hagrid comes back unsuccessful from a mission—he couldn’t convince the giants to not join Voldemort army. Umbridge, on the other hand, tried different things to have an influence on the school and make faculty members like Hagrid expel from it.
After an incident where Voldemort used Harry’s eyes to make him see a vision, Dumbledore sent him to Occlumency classes so that he could learn to protect his mind from further invasions. Umbridge learned about Dumbledore's army and as he took responsibility for this illegal task, he couldn't remain the headmaster of the school any longer. The position was soon taken by Umbridge who started running the school with her malicious agendas. Upon seeing Umbridge’s new policies, Fred and George left school to start their own business at Diagon Alley. Umbridge came to know that Hagrid has kept his brother at school, so she attacked him one night along with her followers. Hagrid fled in the meanwhile and Professor McGonagall got badly hurt while trying to settle down the disputes. In a vision, Harry saw that Sirius is victimized and tortured by Voldemort at Department of Mysteries. He used the fireplace in Umbridge’s office to communicate with other members of the Order. Just before Umbridge could catch him, an elf confirmed Sirius of the location at Department of Mysteries. Upon catching Harry red-handed, Umbridge ordered Snape to bring Veritaserum potion for interrogation.
Snape being the member of Order of Phoenix himself, informed her that there is no remaining potion. Though Harry tried to covey Snape about the cryptic warning regarding Sirius’s fate Snape pretended as if hecouldn’t understand it. While Harry was still under the custody of Umbridge for interrogations where she also confessed that she was the one who sent a dementor after him, Hermione diverted her attention by telling there is secret weapon belonging to Dumbledore that has been hidden in the Forbidden Forest. Leaving Umbridge at the forest the three friends along with Ginny and Neville fly to the rescue of Sirius. As they reached the Department of Mysteries, Harry realized that the whole vision was actually planted by Voldemort. There Harry along with his friends had a fight with Death Eaters over an object in the shape of a sphere. This was the object Voldemort had been searching for as it tells a prophecy that Voldemort hadn’t properly listened in the past. The prophecy was about Harry and Voldemort, and Neville accidentally broke this sphere during the fight. Harry and his friends were soon joined by the other members of the Order including Dumbledore. Sirius got killed and realizing that Voldemort couldn’t defeat Dumbledore, he escaped too. Dumbledore explained that Snape had conveyed him about the cryptic message. He further explained that the prophecy said the person who could kill Voldemort will be his equal and would be born by the end of July. Either one of them has to kill the other or the two of them can’t survive at a time. Voldemort upon hearing the prophecy tried to kill Harry but he forgot the first part and in the attempt to attack, he granted Harry powers and marked him his equal. Dumbledore then sent Harry back to Dursleys—the only place where Voldemort can’t attack him.
ALLEGORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE TITLE
The word phoenix mentioned in the title literally means a bird that is reborn from its ashes. Here Phoenix can mean the character Fawkes (a bird) who was the member of Dumbledore's army and saved Harry's life by eating Avada Kedavra and eventually died. However, he returned as a featherless tiny bird by the end of the novel. Fawkes saved Harry's life in book II and book IV as well. The rebirth or phoenix-like characteristics can also be associated with Harry's life. While Harry was an infant, the Voldemort almost killed him, he lost his parents and from that dead end in his life he continued to live, proving a constant threat to the existence of Voldemort. Even book V it seemed as if Voldemort would kill him, but he still survived, mourned over the loss of his godfather and came back to his normal routine. On the other hand, the whole title is also counter reply to Death Eaters. Where we were introduced with Voldemort’s evil army of Death Eaters, Rowling brings us to the army of good, the army of Dumbledore and his followers with the title of book V.
The book had overall positive feedback from both the fans and the critics. The American Library Association regarded the Order of Phoenix as the Best Book for Young Adults as well as the Notable Book in 2004. Among several other notable awards, the book received the Oppenheim Portfolio 2004 Gold Medal. Deidre Donahue from USA Today acclaimed Rowling for her remarkable imaginative skills that add life to the book. John Leonard from The New York Times expressed, ‘The Order of the Phoenix starts slow, gathers speed and then skateboards, with somersaults, to its furious conclusion...As Harry gets older, Rowling gets better.’