The Most Unrecognized Elements of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite book of the series. This book takes the wizarding world and our favorite characters to new depths of darkness as Harry struggles to cope with Voldemort’s return and Cedric’s murder, as well as the strange dreams he has at night and his growing frustration and anxiety. We see remarkable growth in every character as they confront the gathering darkness in the wizarding world. Here are some elements of the story that often go unrecognized.
1. Ginny Weasley
Well, that was a bit stupid of you,” said Ginny angrily, “seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.”
Harry withdraws from his friends and family all year, thinking none of them can truly understand his pain. He spends so much time in his own head that he forgets that Ginny Weasley was possessed by Voldemort for months when she was 11. Ginny pulls Harry out of the hole he’d been digging himself into by reminding him that he is not alone in bearing the weight of harrowing trauma. Harry starts to notice Ginny’s charm, talent, and spirit for the first time throughout this book, and it is in this moment that Harry first realizes that Ginny can be more than Ron’s little sister to him. They grow closer throughout this book until Harry’s feelings finally surface in his sixth year.
2. That Quibbler Interview
Harry had not found it an easy experience to talk about the night when Voldemort had returned. […] He had given her everything he could remember, knowing that this was his one big opportunity to tell the world the truth.
Harry goes through this year unable to share with anyone the events of Voldemort’s return. Dumbledore refuses to acknowledge him, Ron and Hermione can only do so much for him, and most of his peers think he is lying to get attention. Hermione does Harry a true kindness by putting together this opportunity for Harry to get everything off his chest and share his story with the wizarding world. Though it isn’t easy for him to talk about, it is most certainly a relief, and when his peers begin to change their attitude toward him, some of the great burden on Harry’s chest is finally lifted.
3. Dumbledore’s Army
He sometimes felt he was living for the hours he spent in the Room of Requirement, […] swelling with pride as he looked around at his fellow DA members and saw how far they had come.
For Harry, Dumbledore’s Army was therapeutic above all else, the lone bright spot he could hold on to as everything else he loved was taken away by Umbridge. The DA allowed Ron and Hermione to support Harry as they hadn’t been able to before. Neville could channel his rage and frustration at Bellatrix’s escape into drastically improving his magical talents. To Luna, the DA meant acceptance and a chance to show her peers that she was more than what they thought of her. Dumbledore’s Army offered so many Hogwarts students the opportunity to learn the truth that adults were intent on hiding from them, resist the tyranny Umbridge had imposed on them, and confront head-on the fear and darkness gathering beyond the bounds of Hogwarts.
4. Harry’s Loving Family
Harry drew back too, but Mrs. Weasley reached out a hand and pushed him through the door, saying, ‘Don’t be silly, Harry, Arthur wants to thank you…’
Molly Weasley rebukes Sirius for disregarding Harry’s best interests, saying he’s “as good as” her son. Arthur escorts Harry to his Ministry hearing. When Arthur is attacked, there is no question of whether or not Harry should join the Weasleys at Grimmauld Place to await news of him. When everyone visits Arthur at the hospital, Harry initially draws back since it should be his family who gets to see him first, but Mrs. Weasley pushes him through the door without a second thought. Harry is unquestionably a part of the Weasley family, and the Weasleys forcefully remind him of that fact whenever he tries to distance himself from them.
5. What Happened in the Graveyard
It was bad enough that he kept revisiting the graveyard in his nightmares, without dwelling on it in his waking moments too.
Harry has had plenty of near-death experiences by the time he enters his fifth year, but the events of the graveyard replay in his nightmares like no other experience did. Cedric’s murder was the first death Harry ever witnessed and had to process. He carries much of the trauma and grief of the graveyard alone since most of the wizarding world does not believe his story and thinks him deranged. Umbridge takes away everything he loves most about Hogwarts and forces him to carve up his own hand. Order of the Phoenix is often cited as people’s least favorite Potter book because of how brooding, sullen, and angry Harry is throughout the year, but after everything he’s been put through, he has more than earned the right to express his emotions.