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Harry Potter Readalong, Order of the Phoenix I: "Don't think about that," Harry told himself.

This book makes me emotional. This is perhaps an understatement. Because this book makes everyone emotional. If I could marry this book — not in a weird, I'm sexually attracted to inanimate objects way, but in a "this is how much I would like to prove my eternal devotion to you" way — I would. So, People Having a Beef With It, while I perfectly understand that everyone has their opinion, I'm going to act like a total 5-year-old regarding criticism of it and just be aware of that.

be aware.

I don't know how...I glanced through the previous four. But with Order of the Phoenix, I started on page fucking one and then threw myself into the experience with sheer delight. I love everything about this. Except maybe Grawp. But we'll get to him later. If we could do a post on each chapter, I would be thrilled. But in the interests of Harry Potter Readalong harmony, we're gonna do four and not 38.

Things people aren't going to like: Harry bitches all the time.

But you know fucking what? LOOK AT THE POST TITLE. Because that is a THING. THAT HAPPENS. He SAYS that to himself. Wtf Hogwarts. WTF. He watched a kid die, WHICH HE BLAMES HIMSELF FOR, then he almost died, and you just let him try to sort that out for himself at age 15 during his summer break. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

So yeah. If Harry's acting a little emotional or kind of like an irritating teenager, HOLY SHIT he has 5 billion percent more reason than most.

I think this book is when I started connecting with things a whole lot more than I did in the previous ones, which is probably why I feel so strongly about it. Everything in it gets so much more complex and rich and — obviously — dark. We see the Order of the Phoenix's headquarters, which is important for the rest of the series. We meet Luna. We see thestrals, even if most people can't (btdubs, have most people seen someone die? because I saw my grandfather pass away and thought this was way more common than the book seems to indicate).

Amelia Bones shows up, who I'm weirdly attached to, as does Emmeline Vance (we'll get back to this in book 6). We meet Kreacher. UMBRIDGE is obviously there, who I think I'll talk about next week. Tonks, the Ministry of Magic — this book is huge. And not just in the enormous number of pages way.

We also get what might be the darkest scene in the entire series with Molly Weasley and the boggart. This is where you realize — finally, finally — that this is serious. People are going to die. I can't read that scene without sobbing, especially in light of future events. J.K. Rowling, I don't know from where in your brain that scene sprang, but it is memorable and intense and one of the most powerful images I've come across.

I like that JKR lets you dislike Harry. I like that he isn't a Mary Sue. I like it a lot. He does asshole things, but again — 1) He's kind of dealing with a shitload of stuff mentally, not least of which is that Dumbledore is ignoring him and no one will tell him anything and he's kind of worried everyone around him is going to die. And 2) He's a 15-year-old boy and also, y'know, a human. Every single person on this planet at some point acts like an asshole. Remember when Jesus compared that lady to a dog? Sure, it can be explained, but on the surface of things? Wow. That was not cool.

I'm going to be mightily happy/crying onto my keyboard throughout this book. And I'm sorry we fought at the beginning of this post, internet. You're not stupid. Here's a picture:


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