Once I got to the last few chapters of The Order of the Phoenix I couldn’t put the book down. J.K. Rowling has the amazing ability to slowly build her story and then ramp up the excitement and tension. The fight between Harry and his friends and the Death Eaters captivated me, so much so that I could hardly wait to turn to the next page.
Below are some thoughts from the final seven chapters of The Order of the Phoenix.
When Harry has his vision of Voldemort torturing Sirius he will stop at nothing to rescue his godfather. In a bit of prescient wisdom, Hermione suggests that Voldemort might be taking advantage of Harry’s desire to be the hero. In Harry’s defense, though, who doesn’t want to be the hero? As a little boy I used to jump around like an X-Man, pretending to save humanity from Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Nowadays, while walking through the toy section at Target, I’ll pick up Thor’s hammer or Luke’s lightsaber and pretend to save the world again. Unfortunately we won’t have the opportunity to be actual super heroes. But, when we seek justice and show love to those around us, we can be personal heroes. Its not as exciting as dueling Death Eaters in the Hall of Mysteries but it’s much more practical and not nearly as dangerous.
I’ve been able to find some religious themes throughout all of the Harry Potter books. I’ve had to do a little digging in order to find some of those themes but no digging was required when it came to the veil. The veil is a thinly veiled reference to the curtain that separated the rest of the temple from the Holiest of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant. Not only did the veil separate the Temple from the Ark, but also it separated the rest of the world from the Ark. The veil in the Temple separated this world from the other world, in which God resides. The veil in the Hall of Mysteries also acted as a boundary between this world and another. Sirius left this world and went onto the next when he fell through the veil. Both the veil in the Temple and the veil in the Hall of Mysteries were objects fear and uncertainty: the high priest didn’t know if he’d walk back out from behind the veil and, as Dumbledore told Harry, no one comes back from the veil. Through Christ, though, the veil was torn and the transition from this life into the next no longer holds any fear or uncertainty. Through Christ we are certain about what the next life holds. In Jesus we now have a bridge to the Father instead of a veil separating us from him.
I haven’t really liked Harry through most of this book. From the beginning he has done nothing but whine and complain about his friends ignoring him, the difficulty of his schoolwork and the inscrutability of Cho. However, I didn’t have a problem with Harry’s actions or attitude after Sirius died. Sirius was the closest thing to a parent Harry had ever known and, after Sirius falls into the veil, Harry is rightfully distraught. Harry yells at Dumbledore and throws stuff all around Dumbledore’s office. In the face of a tragedy like losing a loved one we all mourn in different ways: some people mourn like Harry and others sit quietly for seven days like Job. We need to give others space to freely mourn, whatever shape or volume that takes. We also need to be present with those who mourning so they’ll know they’re not going through it alone. At some point the emotions of mourning will even out and the hard work of beginning a new normal will begin. That hard work is less daunting if there’s a loving and caring person with whom we can walk that road.
The Order of the Phoenix has been my favorite book in the series so far. As I stated above, the story built itself slowly and the climax was extremely satisfying. It was so satisfying that I immediately began reading The Half-Blood Prince. Normally I’d take a little break and write a preview of The Half-Blood Prince. However, since I want to finish the sixth book before the year is over, I’ll start posting about it next week. Below you can find the reading plan I’ll be keeping for The Half-Blood Prince.
November 09 – Chapters 1-6
November 16 – Chapters 7-12
November 23 – Chapters 13-18
November 30 – Chapters 19-24
December 07 – Chapters 25-30
I can’t believe I’ve only got two books left in the Harry Potter series. I’m excited to reach the conclusion and then make my way through all seven movies.
What thoughts do you have about the final seven chapters of The Order of the Phoenix? Also, where do you rank The Half-Blood Prince?