Friday, March 3, 2017

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The fifth installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest of the seven books, at 800 pages of absorbing reading.

You can notice from the picture that the title of the book has completely disappeared from months of reading!

It's not easy writing a long story (and reading one too!). There are a number of challenges involved which I picked up on while reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

* keeping each character unique to him/herself

* not allowing individual characters with specific traits and personalities to become too similar to each other

* maintaining a page-turning power to the story

* not giving chance for the reader to become bored mid-way through

* having a big enough story line with sufficient sub-plots

* connecting sub-plots to the main plot but not allowing sub-plots to become too lengthy and consuming the main plot

* knowing which significant circumstances/events/details to include and which irrelevant ones to omit

* getting the right balance between prose and dialogue

* everything must lead to the grand finale

* being able to transition neatly through time and smoothly switch to later time throughout the story

For all of these reasons, I thoroughly enjoyed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. For the first time, we read about real friction between Harry and Dumbledore which simmered through the novel and boiled over at the end. We also see Professor Dumbledore duel with Lord Voldemort, and cringe at the awfully irritating character of Dolores Umbridge in her brief and ignominious stint as High Inquisitor and Headmistress of Hogwarts. Harry also learns for the first time of his destiny as related to Voldemort. One of them must kill the other. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix represents a highly emotional and difficult time for Harry as he loses his only remaining living family member, Sirius Black, who was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange, in addition to coming to terms with the prophecy of his destiny. We are left with the impression that it can't really get any worse for Harry.

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