Released on June 21, 2003, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth and longest book in the Harry Potter series. It has 38 chapters and is 765 pages in the UK and 850 pages long in the US. It has sold around 55 million copies.
There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it’s haunting Harry Potter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror? Here are just a few things on Harry’s mind:
- A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
- A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
- Ron as Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
- The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams
… and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling’s seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice. Though thick runs the plot (as well as the spine), readers will race through these pages and leave Hogwarts, like Harry, wishing only for the next train back.
– Back cover description
- Cover and Collaborator Announced for Illustrated Edition of “Order of the Phoenix” from Jim Kay - Jim Kay has brought on friend and fellow artist Neil Packer as a "guest collaborator" for the massive illustrated edition of the fifth book.
- Jim Kay’s Illustrated “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” Has a Release Date and Page Count - Amazon has revealed that the collector's edition of the illustrated "Order of the Phoenix," due out on October 11, will be 576 pages.
- Special Offer Available with Preorder of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” House Edition in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand - Now you can rep your Hogwarts House with the new House edition and with a new House-themed notebook!
Rowling has stated that she would go back and edit down the book further if she was able to go back, saying that it is "too long." Rowling also planned on killing Arthur Weasley, but he received a reprieve for various reasons and instead is badly injured in the book. Potter fans waited three years between the releases of the fourth and fifth books. As the series was already a global phenomenon, the book forged new pre-order records, with thousands of people lining up outside book stores on June 20, 2003, to secure their copy at midnight. Despite the security, thousands of copies were stolen from an Earlestown, Merseyside warehouse on June 15, 2003.
The audiobook in the US is read by Jim Dale and Stephen Fry in the UK.
Harry has spent a frustrating summer on Privet Drive with very little post from his friends and almost no news at all. One night, while walking home with his cousin Dudley, they are attacked by a pair of dementors. Harry is forced to use magic in order to save their lives and is spotted by their neighbor, Mrs. Figg. She admits that she is a squib and has been asked by Dumbledore, along with help from others, to keep an eye on him. When Harry gets Dudley home, a pack of owls descend on Privet Drive. First, the Ministry informs him that he has been expelled. Then, Arthur Weasley and Sirius Black advise him to stay put and not surrender his wand to the Ministry of Magic. Finally, the Ministry informs him that he will attend a disciplinary hearing to decide his fate.
With all this, Harry has no choice but to tell the Dursley’s of Voldemort’s return. Uncle Vernon is prepared to throw Harry out on the street, but a mysterious howler arrives for Aunt Petunia and she insists that Harry must stay. A few days later, while the Dursleys are away for the evening, an advance guard of witches and wizards arrive at Privet Drive to escort Harry to “headquarters.” Some are known to Harry, such as Remus Lupin and Mad-Eye Moody, while others are new to Harry, such as Kingsley Shacklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks. They don’t give Harry many details, but escort him safely away from Privet Drive to Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Upon arrive at Grimmauld Place, Harry is greeted by several familiar faces, including Mrs. Weasley, Ron, and Hermione. Mrs. Weasley and the other adults go off to “the meeting” while Hermione and Ron, with some added help from Fred, George, and Ginny, attempt to explain what has been going on. The Order of the Phoenix is a secret society founded by Dumbledore to fight against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. While they have been trying to stop Voldemort from gaining power, the Ministry of Magic has been trying to ruin the reputations of Dumbledore and anyone who is in league with him, including Harry himself. Meanwhile, Percy has become estranged from the rest of the Weasley family because of his loyalty to the Ministry. Harry is angry at first because Dumbledore made the others swear not to tell him anything in their letters, but he gradually calms down as he starts to get some answers.
Once the Order finishes their meeting, everyone is gathering downstairs for dinner. Harry finds out that the house they are in used to belong to his godfather Sirius Black, who is not too pleased to be back in the house where Dumbledore has ordered him to stay hidden. Harry seizes his opportunity to start asking questions of the Order about Voldemort. Mrs. Weasley protests, but is generally opposed and only succeeds in banishing Ginny from the room. Harry is told that the Order are keeping tabs on known Death Eaters and trying to keep Voldemort from recruiting more to his side. Sirius almost gives away a major secret about a “weapon” that Voldemort is after, but Mrs. Weasley prevents this.
Over the next several days, Harry and the others help the Order decontaminate Grimmauld Place, which has been uninhabited for years. Harry is introduced to Kreacher, the Black family’s house-elf. Kreacher makes it clear he does not approve of any of the order, especially not Sirius. Sirius educates Harry on his family history, with a great deal of emphasis on how much he hates all of them, including the Malfoys, who are distant cousins, and Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the Death Eaters who tortured Neville Longbottom’s parents. Harry tries to allow the distractions of being at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix to relieve his anxiety about the upcoming hearing, and even asks Sirius if he can come live with him there if he is expelled from school.
On the day of his hearing, Harry is escorted to the Ministry of Magic by Mr. Weasley. He gets a glimpse at what the different departments are and is given a look at the Auror Office where Kingsley and Tonks work. Just as they arrive at the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office where Mr. Weasley works, they find out that his hearing has been moved and will start in ten minutes. They rush downstairs and arrive just in time for the hearing. The hearing is taking place in front of the full Wizengamot, led by the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. Dumbledore arrives just in time to act as Harry’s witness, much to the disappointment of Fudge, who obviously moved the hearing in the hopes that Dumbledore would not show up. Fudge appears determined to blame Harry for violating the Statute of Secrecy by using magic in front of a muggle and attempts to ignore Dumbledore’s explanation that it was lawful to save innocent lives. Dumbledore even calls Mrs. Figg to testify, but Fudge remains unmoved. Dumbledore suggests that the dementors were ordered there because of Voldemort’s return, which infuriates both Fudge and his undersecretary, Dolores Umbridge. When it is put to the vote, Harry is cleared of all charges, but Dumbledore walks out of the hearing without looking at or even speaking to him.
After the hearing, Harry and Mr. Weasley run into Fudge having a conversation with Lucius Malfoy. They resolve to tell Dumbledore in case the Death Eaters are trying to influence him and take control of the Ministry of Magic. Everyone at Grimmauld Place is thrilled that Harry has been cleared, except for Sirius who seems depressed that Harry and the others will soon be leaving as it is almost time for the students to return to Hogwarts. When their Hogwarts letters finally arrive, Ron and Hermione are revealed to be the new Gryffindor prefects. Everyone appears shocked that Ron was chosen over Harry, but they congratulate the pair with a party and Ron is rewarded by his parents with a new broomstick. During the party, Fred and George purchase some black market ingredients for their joke shop from Mundungus Fletcher, a petty criminal who occasionally provides services to the Order. Mad-Eye shares a picture with Harry of the original Order of the Phoenix, which includes both his and Neville’s parents. When Harry goes up to bed, he encounters Mrs. Weasley attempting to deal with a boggart that keeps taking the form of the dead bodies of her loved ones. Mrs. Weasley is embarrassed and admits that she is terrified they won’t all make it through the coming war, but Lupin and Sirius reassure her that they will all do what they can to protect one another.
After much ado, Harry and the Weasleys make their way to the Hogwarts Express. While on board, they meet Luna Lovegood, a fifth-year student in Ravenclaw with a reputation for being a little odd. It also begins to occur to Harry how many students at Hogwarts have heard about how he is supposedly unstable and he dreads having to deal with them, especially when Draco Mafloy shows up and begins flaunting his new status as a Slytherin Prefect. Most troubling, perhaps, is when they arrive at Hogwarts to find that Hagrid is not shepherding the first year students and there is no sign of him. Harry is also perplexed that the school carriages are being pulled by skeletal, winged horses that only he and Luna Lovegood seem able to see.
At the opening feast, the sorting hat shares a song warning the school that they should stand united in the face of what is coming instead of just singing about the different qualities that define each house. During Dumbledore’s opening speech, he is interrupted by the newest member of staff: Dolores Umbridge. She has been sent by the Ministry of Magic to take up the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and in her speech she makes it clear that she is intending to do much more than that. When the feast is over, Harry and the other Gryffindors return to their dormitories where Harry is shocked to learn that his friend Seamus Finnigan doesn’t believe him that Voldemort has returned. Ron, Neville, and Dean Thomas try to reassure Harry, but he knows that this is only the beginning of his troubles at school.
Once classes begin, all of the teachers begin stressing the importance of passing the upcoming O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) examinations, as they will determine which jobs in the wizarding world students can apply for. Between this and students gossiping about him behind his back, Harry is constantly on edge and takes it out on Ron and Hermione. In their first DADA class of the term, Umbridge tells them they will not be using magic. She also makes clear declarations that Voldemort’s return is a lie and Cedric Diggory’s death was an “accident.” Harry loses his temper with her, for which he is given a week’s detention and sent to see Professor Mcgonagall. Professor McGonagall tries to warn Harry that getting on the wrong side of Umbridge could mean trouble with the Ministry of Magic.
Harry continues to have trouble settling at Hogwarts. Hagrid’s absence means that Professor Grubbly-Plank is back to teaching Care of Magical Creatures, and Malfoy hints that Hagrid might not make it back. When he goes to detention with Umbrdige, she forces him to write lines with a quill that makes use of his own blood and carves the words into his hand. His detentions with Umbridge also interfere with his obligations to the Gryffindor quidditch team, which lands him in trouble with captain Angelina Johnson. At the end of his week of detention, he is delighted to learn that the new keeper on the team is none other than Ron. Angelina worries about his confidence, but the team tries to show faith and support in him.
Even after the first week of detentions is over, Harry still loses his temper with Umbrdige and keeps landing himself in further punishments. In a rare moment of privacy, he at least has the chance to have a talk with Cho Chang and she lifts his spirits by making it clear she believes in him and thinks he is brave. The load of homework the fifth year students have becomes overwhelming and Harry and Ron get behind, but Hermione tries to help them catch up. One evening, Percy sends a message to Ron congratulating him on becoming a prefect and warning him to stay away from Harry. The same night, Harry receives a visit from Sirius in the Gryffindor fireplace responding to a letter Harry had written to him about what is going on. Sirius tells them the Order is struggling against the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort, and is disappointed that Harry doesn’t think it’s a good idea for him to show up at their next Hogsmeade visit.
One morning, the students awake to announcements that Umbridge is being made the first ever Hogwarts High Inquisitor, and that she will have the authority to inspect and possibly sack her fellow teachers. Umbridge makes it plain as she begins her inspections that she is also determined to root out which teachers are closest to Dumbledore. In an effort to do something about her lack of helpful information in the classroom, Hermione suggests to Harry that she and Ron think it would benefit the students if Harry taught them some basic Defence Against the Dark Arts since he is best at it and has personal experience fighting against Voldemort. Harry fights them on the suggestion at first, but slowly starts to consider the possibilities. They spread the word to any interested students to meet them in the Hog’s Head pub during their next Hogsmeade visit. Harry is surprised to see that they make up a total of 25 students at their meeting. Even though it is clear some of the students, like Zacharaiah Smith, only came to the meeting to hear his account of how Cedric Diggory died, by the end of the meeting they all intend to proceed with the group and sign their names in agreement.
The day after their Hogsmeade meeting, an education decree is posted that all groups are disbanded and forbidden unless the High Inquisitor gives permission. This applies to quidditch as well, so Harry makes a sincere effort not to cross Umbridge while continuing to plan the defense group. Harry receives a letter from Sirius requesting another fireside meeting, but when Hedwig arrives with the message she appears injured. He takes her to Grubly-Plank for healing, and is warned by McGonagall that the post might be being watched by Umbridge. When Harry, Ron and Hermione meet with Sirius, he expresses his pride and encourages them to proceed with the group. The meeting is cut short when he is almost caught in the fireplace by Umbridge.
Harry settles into regular quidditch practices while figuring out how to have the defense group meetings. Dobby turns up one night to deliver a healed Hedwig and tells him about a place known as the Room of Requirement, a secret room in the castle that is always equipped for the seeker’s needs. Harry takes the others to the room for the first meeting, and is delighted to find that it does indeed have everything they need. Their first meeting is a success, and they decide to call the group Dumbledore’s Army.
Tensions are mounting as the first quidditch match of the season approaches between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Ron is obviously feeling the strain and his performance as keeper suffers accordingly. Harry tries to be a supportive friend and teammate, but the Slytherin’s spot Ron’s weakness and exploit it in the first match with matching badges and a song entitled “Weasley is Our King.” The song rattles Ron, but Harry is able to get an early capture of the snitch and save the game. Afterwards, Malfoy taunts Harry and the Weasleys to the point that Harry and Fred actually attack him. While they are being disciplined by McGonagall in her office, Umbridge shows up with another decree stating that she has final say over all punishments, and then bans Harry, Fred, and George from playing quidditch ever again.
Harry and Ron are distracted from their misery over the quidditch bans by the return of Hagrid. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to see him immediately and find out where he has been for the past few months. He reluctantly shares with him the details of his mission to travel with Madame Maxime to recruit the giants against Voldemort. The mission might have been a success, but the giants war among each other and ultimately side with the death eaters who come recruiting. Once Hagrid begins teaching again, Umbridge immediately starts trying to sabotage him so she has an excuse to get rid of him. Harry begins to have very little about Hogwarts to enjoy, so he redoubles his efforts with the DA and looks forward to Christmas at the Burrow. After the last DA meeting of the term, he and Cho share a heartfelt moment and a kiss.
That night, Harry has a vision of Mr. Weasley being attacked in the Ministry of Magic. Though they inform Dumbledore and he makes arrangements to help rescue Mr. Weasley, he refuses to directly acknowledge Harry. The Weasley children are sent to Grimmauld Place to wait for their mother, and they go to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries to visit him. They are relieved that he is going to recover, but Harry is upset at the suggestion he overhears from Mad-Eye Moody that he might be possessed by Voldemort. He becomes withdrawn from the others until Hermione and Ginny are able to convince him that he’s not being possessed, and he is able to enjoy his Christmas holiday with the others. When they go to visit Mr. Weasley on Christmas Day, they run into Gilderoy Lockhart and learn that he is now a permanent resident of the hospital as his memory was never recovered. They also learn that Neville Longbottom’s parents, who were tortured into insantiy by Voldemort’s followers, are residents of the same ward.
Toward the end of the Christmas holiday, Harry is told by Professor Snape that he will be teaching Harry occlumency in the new term so he can close his mind against Voldemort and stop the visions. Harry is concerned about studying with Snape, but knows he has no choice. Once they begin the lessons, Harry worries that Snape is not actually trying to teach him anything and that the visions are actually going to get worse. Harry finally succeeds in asking out Cho and they go to Hogsmeade together for Valentine’s Day. Hermione asks Harry at the last moment to meet her later that day for something important, which ruins their date as she thinks Harry is interested in multiple girls. The meeting Hermione has put together is with Rita Skeeter and Luna Lovegood, and her plan is to blackmail Rita into writing an interview with Harry about Voldemort’s return, which would then be published in the Quibbler, a magazine published by Luna’s father.
A mass breakout from Azkaban prison is reported in the Daily Prophet and blamed on Sirius Black. The interview with Harry is published in the Quibbler and people start to believe his version of events, though Umbridge is furious and punishes Harry with further detention and loss of house points. Umbridge seems determined to sack either Trelawney or Hagrid, both of whom have been placed on probation. In the end, she sacks Trelawney. Dumbledore then replaces her immediately with the centaur Firenze, which further angers Umbridge. Firenze gives Harry a cryptic warning that “Hagrid’s attempt is not working,” though Hagrid disagrees. One night, during a DA meeting, Dobby warns Harry that Umbridge has found them out and is coming. Harry is caught by Malfoy and Umbridge on his way back to the Gryffindor common room and taken to Dumbledore’s office where Cornelius Fudge and two aurors are waiting for them. It turns out that Mariette Edgecomb, a friend of Cho’s who has been coming to the meetings, has given them up. Fudge attempts to make Harry responsible for breaking the law by holding the DA meetings, but Dumbledore manages to talk Harry out of trouble. He takes responsibility, but escapes before Fudge and the other can arrest him.
The next morning, it is announced that Umbridge has been named the new Headmistress. She has also established the Inquisitorial Squad to try and control the student population. She tries to squeeze Harry for information on Dumbledore, but he gives her nothing. Fred and George, along with a few other students, decide to get revenge on Umbridge by causing total mayhem in the school. During an occlumency lesson one night, Harry takes advantage of Snape stepping out of the room to peek into the pensive where Snape has been putting his memories. He sees a memory in which his father and Sirius bully Snape in front of a group of students, and is physically thrown from the room when Snape discovers him. Snape swears he will never teach Harry occlumency again.
The fifth year students receive careers consultation from their heads of house. Harry discusses the possibility of becoming an auror with encouragement from McGonagall, while Umbridge argues that the Ministry of Magic would never hire him. Harry tries not to dwell on the memory, but he feels he needs to understand what he saw by speaking to Sirius. He arranges to use the fire in Umbridge’s office one day while his friends create a distraction. Sirius and Lupin try to comfort Harry by explaining that they were just young and immature and his father grew up eventually, but Harry is still bothered. Following the meeting in the fireplace, Harry witnesses Fred and George being cornered by Umbridge for their many pranks. They end up fighting their way out and announcing that they are off to open their joke up, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, in Diagon Alley.
While Ron is playing in the final quidditch match of the season, Hagrid asks Harry and Hermione to accompany him into the forbidden forest so he can explain why he was gone so long. It turns out that he has a giant half-brother named Grawp who was being beaten up by the others, so Hagrid is hoping to civilize him. He asks Harry and Hermione to continue in his place in the event he is sacked by Umbridge, and they reluctantly agree. They return to school in just enough time to find that Gryffindor has not only won the final match, but also the quidditch cup.
Harry and the other fifth years begin their O.W.L. exams, which take place over two weeks. During the practical astronomy exam, the students witness the ministry and Umbridge trying to arrest Hagrid, but he escapes. In the attack, McGonagall is stunned and ends up being taken to St. Mungo’s. During the History of Magic exam, Harry falls asleep and has a vision of Voldemort torturing Siris in the Department of Mysteries at the ministry. He tells his friends and they attempt to distract Umbridge while he uses her fireplace to confirm if Sirius is safe. Kreacher tells Harry that Sirius will “not come back from the Department of Mysteries” just as he and the others are caught by Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad. Umbridge interrogates Harry, and in her anger admits that she was the one who sent dementors after him during the summer. She is about to use the cruciatus curse on him when Hermione insists they should show her “the weapon.” Umbridge takes Harry and Hermione into the forest where Hermione says the weapon is hidden and ends up getting abducted by centaurs. Harry and Hermione are almost taken by the centaurs, but they are rescued by Grawp.
Once they are safe, Harry and Hermione meet up with Ron, Neville, Luna, and Ginny to decide what to do next. At Luna’s suggestion, they fly to the ministry on a group of thestrals to rescue Sirius. They make their way down to the Department of Mysteries and they encounter many strange sights as well as a suspicious lack of security. In the room Harry has seen in his dreams, they find a ball of light labeled with his name. Once Harry takes the ball of light, they are ambushed by a group of death eaters led by Lucius Malfoy. He explains that the ball of light is a prophecy about Harry and Voldemort and tries to get Harry to give it up, but Harry and the others decide to fight their way out. The fight leads them into a room with a mysterious arch that holds a ghostly veil which only Harry seems able to see. They are joined by reinforcements from the Order of the Phoenix and most of the death eaters are subdued. The last pair fighting is Sirius Black and his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. She lands him a deadly blow and he falls through the veil out of sight.
Bellatrix tries to get away, but Harry chases after to avenge the death of Sirius. As they are fighting, Voldemort and Dumbledore arrive around the same time and begin to duel. Voldemort attempts to force Dumbledore to murder Harry by possessing him, but Voldemort finds he cannot stand to possess Harry and is forced to flee as the ministry officials are arriving. Fudge is finally forced to admit that Voldemort has truly returned as Dumbledore sends Harry back to Hogwarts. When Dumbledore returns he attempts to explain his behavior over the past year to Harry, but Harry is enraged by all that has happened and at first refuses to hear him out. Dumbledore admits that he should have been honest with Harry in the first place, but he was worried that Voldemort would use Harry to try to destroy him. He also tells Harry the truth about why Voldemort was intent on killing him when he was a baby: Dumbledore was interviewing Trelawney for a teaching post when she made a prophecy detailing the birth of the one destined to destroy Voldemort. Based on the aftermath of the prophecy, it must refer to Harry.
As the wizarding world begins to accept that Voldemort has returned, Dumbledore is reinstated as headmaster of Hogwarts. Harry’s friends are recovering from the fight at the ministry, but Harry struggles to accept the death of Sirius. He receives little comfort from Nearly-Headless Nick, but he does get some understanding from Luna Lovegood. Draco and the other children of known Death Eaters swear vengeance against Harry, but his friends stand up for him on the return journey to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Once they arrive, Harry is greeted by a party of Order of the Phoenix members, who tell the Dursleys that they will intervene if Harry is being mistreated. Harry leaves with assurance that this summer will be a better one than the last.
To Neil, Jessica and David, who make my world magical.
Dr. Neil Murray is Rowling's husband, Jessica is her daughter, and David is her son.
- Best Books for Young Adults, ALA, 2004
- Notable Children's Book, ALA, 2004
- Gold Medal, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2004
- Best Young Adult Mystery, Anthony Award, 2004
- Best Children's Books, Publishers Weekly, 2003
- Best Work for Young Readers, Bram Stoker Award, 2003
- Fiction Prize, WH Smith People's Choice Book Awards, 2003
- Editor's Choice, Booklist, 2003
- Top Ten Fantasy Titles for Youth, Booklist
- Book of the Year (shortlist), British Book Awards, 2003
- New York State Children's Choice Award Nominee
Deluxe Illustrated Edition
A deluxe edition will be released the same day as the standard edition. The deluxe edition will feature a black cloth cover with a foiled slipcase and two ribbon markers. The cover and slipcase feature images of Grimmauld Place and a galleon.