One of my 2018 goals is to finish my reread of the beloved Harry Potter series, and I really do love this series, but I still have a “least favorite” and that is Order of the Phoenix. And yet last week I sat down, opened my Audible app, and listened to all 27 hours of it. And I have to say it wasn’t as bad as I remember.
Perhaps a lot of my feelings towards Order of the Phoenix have been influenced by the movie. It’s the first truly “dark” movie overall and the character of Dolores Umbridge brought to life makes me want to peel my skin off my face. But on page, she’s almost worse, and that’s seriously amazing. The movie, as far as I can remember, is relatively true to the book, but it still doesn’t make me voraciously devour it like the other books.
I truly do think that is because it is almost obsessively dark compared to the others. The turn is almost too dramatic, and while dark elements, specifically the death of Cedric, are introduced in Goblet of Fire, it felt like a heaping fire of darkness in Order of the Phoenix. I get it, Voldemort’s back all of a sudden, but it felt like Harry had no respite in this book like he does in the others, and I seriously don’t count the Cho flirtation/snog as a respite. There’s Dolores’ overall awfulness, her treatment of students and teachers, disappearances, Snape’s asshole comments, Dumbledore’s distancing, Harry’s nightmares, Dolores’ torturous teaching tactics, the death of Sirius, the escape of the death eaters, etc. I’m not saying that I needed these things stretched out over multiple books, but I think the very sudden change from YAY wizard boarding school where bad stuff happens to EVERYTHING IS DARK AND THE END IS NEAR was a bit much for my enjoyment initially and I stick by that feeling overall.
Can we talk for just a second about how Ron and Hermione are prefects but pretty much have no responsibilities related to that at all? And it never affects the time they have to spend with Harry or on Quidditch or whatever? And like no one ever asks them to do things? What does a prefect even really do? Geez.
However, I didn’t dislike this book as much when I listened to it, perhaps because Jim Dale is such an epic narrator, but my biggest pet peeve was that my audible audiobook changed snogging to kissing and I was like ERGG because I know those famous lines from Ron about “you think a little snogging would cheer her up” and that was totally ruined in this audiobook.
At the end of the day, I think I enjoyed Order of the Phoenix more this time around than I did in the past, maybe because I’d just binge-listened to Goblet of Fire the week before, but I’m definitely looking forward to moving on to the Half-Blood Prince, which is dark but somehow feels more manageable for me.
What is your LEAST favorite Harry Potter book?