Turn to Page 394: “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” Edition
Grab your copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and get ready for a lesson. It may be Year 5 for our wizarding world friends, but we’re still following the instruction given by Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and quickly turning to page 394 in our books. This series of editorials has been exploring the lessons on each page 394 in the Harry Potter series.
In case you missed our first two lessons, we began with a lesson about messing with time in “Turn to Page 394: ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ Edition,” and then we moved to a lesson about behavioral approaches in “Turn to Page 394: ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ Edition.” We’re referencing the US hardcover editions, so if your editions have different content on page 394, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!
‘And I’m telling you all to turn to page 394.’ He glanced around again. ‘All of you! Now!’
Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get to page 394 in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
We join the newly formed Dumbledore’s Army in the Room of Requirement. Wands, sparks, and students are being launched across the room as they all practice the Disarming Charm, Expelliarmus, with a partner. Harry wanders around the room observing, giving pointers, and encouraging everyone as he assumes this new role of “leader” and “teacher.” He stops the madness once to allow everyone to pause their charm casting and encourage them all collectively. Some are doing it well, others horribly, but “slowly the general performance improved.” And if becoming the leader of Dumbledore’s Army wasn’t stressful or awkward enough, Harry is also avoiding going over to Cho because he’s nervous. But when he finally does, it’s he who makes Cho nervous, causing her to set her friend’s sleeve on fire.
The boy who learns as he goes, the boy who wings it, the boy who moves with bravery and goodness, figuring out the details later, is now teaching and leading his fellow students. At this point in the Harry Potter series, we’ve witnessed Harry’s methods of survival, defeating evil, and saving the day. Each of those moments cannot be described as organized or well thought out. He succeeds on courage, power, and survival instinct, and by using the Disarming Charm – so it makes sense that he teaches the DA this spell first.
But in Harry Potter’s fifth year at Hogwarts, everything changes for him, his friends, and the wizarding world at large. Voldemort is back in his physical form, Cedric is dead at his command, his followers are slithering back to him, and half of the population is in denial, which only gives Voldemort even more of an advantage. This change in reality calls for organization and a plan of action, which challenges Harry in a new way.
We catch glimpses of Harry’s surprise, nerves, and natural ability to take charge leading up to page 394 in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. On pages 392-393, it says, “It felt very odd to be issuing instructions, but not nearly as odd as seeing them followed.” Battling dark wizards and witches, fighting magical creatures, escaping death traps, and solving years-old mysteries are all things that Harry has done and will continue to do. What he hasn’t done before is lead a group of 27 other students in a Defense Against the Dark Arts–style workshop class. This is his first time organizing, leading, and commanding a room full of people who are all looking to him, a 15-year-old kid in charge of this generation’s Order of the Phoenix, for answers and direction. Granted, he’s definitely the most qualified to lead Dumbledore’s Army, except for perhaps Dumbledore himself. But still, this role is completely new territory for Harry.
However, Harry isn’t new to situations that are new to him. When he is 11, he is thrown the curveball of “yer a wizard, Harry” and has to quickly adapt to his new role as a Hogwarts student. When he is 12, he discovers he’s a Parselmouth and defeates a basilisk in an ancient chamber. At 13, he finds out he is godson to the alleged mass murderer Sirius Black. At 14, he is thrown into the Triwizard Tournament, witnesses the rebirth of Voldemort, and watches a classmate die. So perhaps leading fellow classmates in an organized and productive fashion is new for Harry Potter, but he is the boy who can adapt to new roles and situations.
It makes us, the reader, think about our adaptability to life’s curveballs and new roles that are handed to us. How would you handle adapting to leading fellow classmates or colleagues in a field you have little bookwork, but a lot of real-world experience, in? How about any of the other years that Harry has had to adapt? I know most Harry Potter fans are still waiting for their Hogwarts letter to be dropped off by a snowy, tawny, or barn owl, but imagine you didn’t know this world existed, and then all of a sudden you were thrown into it. How would you handle that change in your reality?
The biggest thing Harry Potter has shown us about adapting is that it’s necessary for survival and growth. He’s shown us that no matter what is thrown his way, he’ll lead with good, bravery, and the will to live. The least we can do for Harry in return for these lessons in adaptability is do it for ourselves when the moments arise in our lives.
That’s all for now! Later this month, we’ll dive into page 394 in Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince.