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SCARPnotes for the book
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Table of Contents

   I. Key Facts Portus
  II. Plot Overview Portus
 III. Context- with commentary by Portus
  IV. Summary and Analysis of Chapters Portus
   V. Character List and Analysis of Characters Portus
  VI. Themes, Motifs and Symbols Portus
 VII. Important Quotations Portus
VIII. Study Questions and Essay Topics Portus
  IX. Review and Resources Portus
   X. Quiz Portus

Key Facts

Full title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: Joanna Kathleen (J. K.) Rowling
Type of Work: Part five of a seven part Novel, containing 257,045 words in 38 chapters.
Genre: Fantasy, Children's
Language: English
Time and Place Written: Late 1990's to 2003
First Publication Date: July, 2003
Publisher: Great Britain: Bloomsbury Children's books; US: Arthur A. Levine Books an imprint of Scholastic inc.
Narrator: A detached third person close, but not in, the action
Point of View: The narrator, who is omniscient, remains with Harry's point of view throughout the book- even during the few times when Harry's point of view becomes Voldemort's point of view through Nagini, the snake.
Tone: This is the most "dark" and intense book of the series to date. It is a children's fantasy book with fairly straight-forward language but the theme of abuse without adequate adult assistance crescendos throughout the entire book.
Tense: Past
Settings (time): Although in the beginning the books never actually gave an exact date for the school years, the large fan base extensively researched internal clues and, through deductive reasoning, calculated Harry's birth date. Most likely to shut off the large amount of speculation, the author (JKR) gave a tangential reference to a "real" date which then gave credence to the calculations. Some of the specific's remain "magical" however as the author's references still do not always coincide with a normal calendar; for example, the school year always begins on September 1st, and it's always a Monday, of every school year. Using the calculated dates, this book takes place from September 1994 to June 1995. (Following the release of the 7th book - JKR gave Dumbledore's actual death year as 1996, the end of Harry's 6th year).
Setting (place): Surrey and London England, and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Protagonists: Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore
Antagonists: Lord Voldemort, Delores Umbridge, Cornelius Fudge
Major conflict: Harry attempted to "rescue" Sirius from presumed torture by Voldemort. Prior to that he had to survive attempted murder, threatened expulsion from school and wizardry, false charges and malicious prosecution, child-abuse and "possession" by Voldemort.
Rising Action: Action proceeded on two fronts: the corrupt Ministry of Magic and Lord Voldemort. As unfair as the treatment the Dursley's give Harry, it is nothing compared to the treatment the magical community can inflict. Dementor's attempt his murder only to have the Minister himself, Fudge, fabricate charges concerning his use of defensive spells. A trial before the entire Wizengamot, despite acquittal, was only a prelude to the physical abuse inflicted on him during the school year by, as it turns out, the attempted murderer. Possession by Voldemort became more frequent and profound. The one person who could assist him, Dumbledore, was also targeted for discreditation until he left the school and became unavailable to Harry.
Climax: The battle with Umbridge came to a head with Harry's failed break-in to her office. Her bigotry was her own downfall, and she was captured by the Centaur's, leaving Harry's select group of DA members to continue on with their attempt at rescuing Sirius from Voldemort in the Ministry building. The action rose again while they traversed the obstacles in the Department of Mysteries, were captured by Death Eaters, extricated themselves then were "rescued" by members of the Order and Dumbledore.
Falling Action: Sirius was killed by Bellatrix so Harry gave chase and battle, until coming face-to-face with Voldemort yet again. Dumbledore arrived and did battle; but, it was Harry's ability to feel emotion that delivered him from Voldemort's possession. Harry had to deal with the loss of his godfather, and finally learn some of the rationale behind what was happening in his life- and possibly its purpose.

Plot Overview

Book Five begins shortly after book four ended. Harry, back at the Dursley's, and exasperated by being completely cut off from communication, watched muggle television for news of Voldemort. His cousin Dudley, slimmer, but now a boxer and a more sophisticated bully, was with Harry when they were attacked by Dementor's. Amazingly, the Patronus spell he had to use to defend himself garnered him a letter of expulsion from Hogwarts and a notice they would break his wand! During the lengthy process of sorting it out, Harry learned that: he was being followed secretly by members of Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix, old Mrs. Figg was really a squib who had always watched him for Dumbledore, his aunt Petunia knew much more about the magic world than she had ever let on, and he was required to appear at a Ministry hearing over his offense. A "howler" from Dumbledore made Petunia over-ride his uncles expulsion from their house. A "guard" of Order members escorted Harry to join the Weasley family at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the Black family home which Sirius had donated to the Order as its headquarters. He began cleaning the house of its dark magic artifacts and learned that Sirius was also there, along with his family's very unhappy house elf, Kreachur. He met Tonks, a metamorphmagus who could change her appearance at will, and Mundungus Fletcher, a thief and low-life who was an informant for the Order; and, learned that Percy had disowned the family in favor of power in Fudge's office. Power hungry Fudge, had been discrediting both Harry and Dumbledore all summer, trying to claim that Voldemort was not back. He maliciously tried to railroad Harry through a "fixed" trial before the entire Wizengamot (without Dumbledore who had been removed as its chief) held in the dungeon court room, below the Department of Mysteries. It was only due to Dumbledore's defense, and Mrs. Figg's eye witness, that Harry was acquitted.

At school, Harry found: Hagrid missing; that, having seen Cedric's death, he could now see the winged horses called Thestrals; and that Fudge's assistant, Delores Umbridge, was now teaching the DADA class. She had voted against Harry at his hearing and still had as her agenda both Harry's and Dumbledore's expulsion and discreditation. With Educational Decrees from Fudge, she slowly brought nearly every aspect of life at Hogwarts under her personal control. She inspected and dismissed teachers; refused to allow students to learn defensive spells; monitored all communications in and out of Hogwarts including the Floo network; and belittled, tormented and physically abused Harry with her special quill which lacerated the back of his hand as he wrote "I must not tell lies" punishment lines. Fearful of not passing her OWL exams, Hermione initiated the DA (Dumbledore's Army) where Harry taught select students defensive spells. Dobby, the house elf, revealed a secret Room of Requirement where they could hold their DA practice sessions. They met Luna Lovegood, the "odd" daughter of the editor of the Quibbler, an offbeat rumor magazine, who eventually published Harry's full story about Voldemort's return. Dumbledore had been distancing himself from Harry all year and Harry had increasingly been having "visions" of Voldemort's feelings accompanying pain in his scar. In one, he witnessed a snake attack Mr. Weasley, who was guarding something in the Ministry, and was able to warn Dumbledore in time to save him. They visited Saint Mungo's Hospital several times before Mr. Weasley was released.

Dumbledore requested Snape give Occlumency lessons to Harry in order that he could learn to shut his mind to Voldemort's intrusions. However, it merely provided Snape with more opportunity to bully Harry. Umbridge eventually learned of the DA and brought Fudge and his Auror's to the school while she caught them at a meeting. In order to protect Harry, Dumbledore lied and said that it was he who had set up the DA. Then, when Fudge attempted to arrest him, he knocked them all out with a spell and departed, but not before sealing his office against Umbridge's entry. With her new found power as Headmistress of the school, Umbridge's tyranny expanded. She used Veritas Serum on Harry, but he spotted the subterfuge. Further she: issued a life-long ban from playing Quidditch to Fred and George Weasley and Harry; sacked Trelawney and Hagrid; instituted the "inquisitorial squad," comprised of Slytherin thugs; and, authorized Filtch to restore whipping as a punishment. Fred and George began "mischief making" in earnest using all the items they had invented for their joke shop; and, when caught and faced with whipping, they quit school. Hagrid finally admitted to Harry that, although his trip to the giants had largely failed, he had brought back his half-brother Grawp who he had tied to a tree in the forest. Student chaos increased despite the OWL exams drawing closer. McGonagall was injured during Umbridge's attempt to arrest Hagrid, and was in St Mungo's when Harry had a vision of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries. Umbridge caught Harry using her fireplace to try and contact Sirius. Gleefully knowing she was going to expel Harry, she admitted to sending the Dementor's against him and began the Cruciatus curse to force information out of him. Hermione tricked her into believing they had a "secret weapon" and led her into the forest to find it, but hoping to find Centaurs first. Umbridge offended the Centaurs with her half-breed bigotry and was captured and taken away.

Finally, Harry, along with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna, were able to fly on the Thestrals to the Ministry. Instead of finding Sirius, however, they found several Death Eaters there waiting for him to retrieve a crystal vial containing a prophecy that Voldemort had been trying all year to obtain. They were escaping the Death Eaters when Sirius and other Order members arrived and gave battle. In the process Bellatrix Lestrange forced her cousin, Sirius, through a magical archway which put him "onto the other side"-- dead. The vial of prophecy broke in the battle and Harry gave chase to Lestrange only to come face-to-face with Voldemort himself. Dumbledore finally arrived and, after capturing the Death Eaters, did battle with Voldemort. Voldemort tried possessing Harry in an attempt to get Dumbledore to kill Harry; but, as Harry nearly gave up in agony, he thought of seeing Sirius again. And as he did, Voldemort fled; but, not before Fudge, and others who had arrived, witnessed the scene. Back in his office, Dumbledore said that he had realized Voldemort was experiencing a link with Harry and that he had kept his distance all year so as not to increase Harry's danger. The prophecy had been made by Sybil Trelawney to Dumbledore, so he used his Pensieve to show it to Harry. The prophecy said that a boy would be born at the end of July who would have the power to vanquish the Dark Lord... power he knows not... and that the Dark Lord would "mark" him as his equal. "Neither of them could live," it said, "while the other survived." Harry returned to the Dursley's, this time realizing that by taking him in, his aunt had sealed Dumbledore's "blood charm" from his mothers sacrifice, which would protect him; and, trying to comprehend how "love," as Dumbledore had said was his power, would be a protection for him against Voldemort's evil.