On June 21, 2003 Harry Potter fans everywhere were thrilled to receive the fifth book in a seven-book series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. After an unprecedented three-year wait between the fourth and fifth books, Phoenix did not disappoint with both its page count and emotional depth far surpassing the previous novels.
Pre-orders for the book on Amazon.co.uk topped a quarter million, compared to just 65,000 pre-orders for Goblet of Fire in 2000. Worldwide, Phoenix received over 875,000 pre-orders. Over 8.5 million books were printed as part of the initial U.S. print run for Phoenix.
On the MuggleNet side of things, web master Emerson Spartz and U.K. staffer Jamie Lawrence attended a midnight release party at Waterstone's bookstore, Piccadilly Circus in London. In the U.S., Potter companion novelists Wizarding World Press joined MuggleNet and the community of Oak Park, Illinois in planning a release celebration during which Oak Park Avenue was transformed into Diagon Alley (current MN staffers Dylan Spartz and Eric Scull were present). Photographs of both events still remain in our Galleries (click here for London and here for Oak Park.)
In The Order of the Phoenix, readers witnessed the tragic death of a mentor for Harry, faced the terrifying reality of Lord Voldemort returning to full power, and met for the first time a quirky colleague of Harry's named Luna Lovegood. Yesterday on Twitter, Evanna Lynch (who portrayed Luna in the film adaptations) wrote the following about the significance of the date: "Happy Literary Birthday Order of the Phoenix and LUNA LOVEGOOD! Woohoo! 9 years since we met!! :)"
Where were YOU when Order of the Phoenix was released? Did you join MuggleNet for one of our release parties, queue in line for a party at your local book-store, wait at home eagerly for your pre-ordered copy to arrive by the mail, or did you not yet know what all the excitement was about? Leave us your story in the comments!