When it comes to picking your favourite Harry Potter book, you’ve got to completely disregard the films – let’s be real, Prisoner of Azkaban is by far the best film going and while it may also be an EXCELLENT book, I thought hard about this decision and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, book 5 is by far the best book in the series for me (Prisoner of Azkaban is a very close second). It goes without saying that there’s a special place in my heart for every single novel in the series, however, in this circumstance, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is easily the most complex novel and for that, it deserves all the love.
What makes Order of the Phoenix my favourite book is well, we get to meet the Order of the Phoenix and J.K. Rowling finally gives us valuable moments with Lupin and Sirius which we do get in other books but in this book in particular, it feels much more real and mature. Alongside Lupin and Sirius, Ginny and Luna start to play bigger roles which is a big reason why it’s up there for me as Luna is one of my favourite characters. And then we get Harry in his weaker moments which is always interesting to read, no matter how many times I pick up this series. Harry in the 5th book is portrayed in a truly human light, not as the “Chosen One” but as an ordinary boy who is loaded with responsibilities and dangers. It paints him in a more detailed way which we haven’t seen before and it’s heart-wrenching to read.
Then we’ve got Umbridge. She is most definitely up there as one of my favourite villains in literature. J.K. Rowling writes her in a way that still to this day makes my skin crawl. She’s evil, condescending, cruel, sadistic. Everything she did made me angry, desperately wanting to throw my book at the wall with the hopes that would rid me of her and if that’s not a sign of excellent writing, I don’t know what is. And in this political climate, she’s even more relevant as a representation of the fear of those above us using their power to hurt us.
On top of the dark serious matter in this book, I felt Order of the Phoenix also had a lot more humour which is always nice in these books and I was particularly interested in the portrayal of the O.W.Ls. We also get Harry’s discovery of the prophesy and Voldemort’s obsession with him which in my opinion, is the most important part of the entire series and what the books are all about. It’s overwhelming but it explains everything. But most of all, that final showdown in the Ministry of Magic at the end of the book… Amazing. Heartbreaking. When you finally think Harry can be happy with a father figure who cares for him, it’s all taken away from him. Sirius was by far one of my favourite characters and for J.K. Rowling to take him away from me had me in tears, worrying for the rest of my favourites as truly, no one is safe in this series.
How J.K. Rowling managed to write a seven part saga about love, loyalty, friendship, loss, tragedy, strength, heroism, villainy, war, betrayal and sacrifice, I’ll never know. She wrote this series for children and yet it transcended children and is still one of my favourite series at the old age of 21. And nothing shows the depth of writing, the character development more than book 5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is when Harry starts to become a true wizard and we see the power he possesses and I loved that.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix deserves the praise as the best book in the saga. With a whopping 870 pages, the 5th book definitely changes the tone of the series but for the better in my opinion as we finally get to explore darker and deeper themes – it’s more adult and definitely sets the reader up for the darker sixth and seventh books.