Katya's Reviews > Хари Потър и Орденът на феникса

Хари Потър и Орденът на феникса by J.K. Rowling
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Aug 23, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011, fantasy, holy-hell, kudos-for-the-worldbuilding, oh-come-on, the-harry-potter-challenge, teen-lit
Read on August 23, 2011

Hello, friends, and welcome back to my reviews of the Harrietta Potter books!

*sigh* We got a bad one today, folks. I just don't mean bad, I mean really, really bad! I've often given many stars to horrible books, as long as I liked the characters, so it probably won't surprise you that I deduct from a rating when an MC annoys/pisses me off.

Luckily, that doesn't happen very often! Only a handful of times, really. Bella Swan, Luce Price, Laurel Sewell, Ever Bloom, Nora Gray, Bethany Church... but dear, oh dear, I think there is a special place in this pantheon of horrible MCs for Harrietta Potter. Truly, not since Evermore have I encountered this much priviledge and first-world angst rolled into one big ball of Mary Sue.

Harrietta isn't just annoying and whiny - she is so laughingly short-sighted it's a miracle she is still alive. Constantly fighting authority figures without a second thought of the consequences, never listening to her well-meaning friends, putting her petty feelings before the important missions she has to face - from beginning to end, she is a twit, through and through. In one particularly stupid instance, she gets her friends to risk their skin so that she can talk to a fugitive about the fact that her father was a huge douchebag!

I might have bought it if she was just your every-day fifteen year old girl, but she isn't! She's been in Hogwarts for four years, faced death at thrice as many times (if not more!) yet she hasn't drawn the simplest of conclusions! How silly is that? Shouldn't she have more sense? Shouldn't she have learned by now to think before she acted? Has she no sense of self-preservance? Honestly, if she were a boy, I'd have said she thought with her dick!

*furious whispering*

What? What do you mean that she is indeed a boy?

*more whispering*

*puts on glasses and reads the cover again*

Oh, it's Harry , not Harrietta! I did wonder why she couldn't get into the girls' dormitories!

Well, in that case, it's all fine! Silly me! Please disregard everything I said above, this is surely a literary masterpiece that deserves a five star rating! What jolly good fun!


So I was reading this book yesterday when this blogpost by Lindsay Ellis popped into my mind. I've already linked it before in a status update, but I figured that I might just do it again, because it's a really good post on female characters and the standards we hold up to them. It came to mind while I was reading Order of the Phoenix because at one point, I thought: "Merlin, Harry, TSTL much?"

And then I paused. TSTL? Don't we usually apply that to female heroines?

And then my inner feminazi kicked me in the ass.


Note, that's the Zuka Club from Ouran Hight School Host Club. A very nice anime, highly recommended.

Yes, yes, Potter fans, I know it's ludicrous that above, I compared Harry to Bella Swan. And, yeah, I guess that maybe I was a bit harsh in my comment. I mean, it's not like Harry mopes, rushes into stupid situations without thought, does exactly what he shouldn't do, and expect his friends to do everything for him...

...Oh, wait...

...Well, at least Bella is a couple of years older...


I will go out on a limb and say this, Harry Potter is not as bad as Twilight. It's ludicrous to call it that. For example, most of the characters in the HP books are great, and sympathetic (read: Neville and Snape). In many instances, they are the saving grace of this series (Snape, Snape, Snape... did I mention Snape?). The worldbuilding is awesome. There are actual consequences to the stupid things the characters do. The list goes on and on and on.

BUT! I can't deny that Harry gets away with a lot of stupid stuff, some stupid enough to outstage Bella's melodramatic dive in New Moon. (view spoiler)

Had Harry been a girl, we'd have tripped over ourselves to call him TSTL and Mary Sue. Why do you think Hermione is so likeable and relatable? It's because she's a heroine, and the fact that she isn't the titular character saves her, mostly, from scrutiny. We really do hold up a higher standard for our female protagonists than we do for the men.

Why is that? Is it because heroes are traditionally men and women somehow have to one-up them to prove themselves worthy? Is it culture causing these presumptions? Biology? Social constraints? Who knows?

Once again, I don't deny the merits of the HP books. In fact, my friend Tamara wrote a my link post on that on the Lantern. Hell, HP7 is the only book I've seen getting people to camp out to get, or at least to preorder in Bulgaria. I love the world of magic Rowling creates, and what a rich, wonderful secondary cast there is.

But this whole world revolves around a whiny fifteen-year old that relies on coincidences (and a little help from his friends), to battle villains that are more cartoons than actual, threatening characters. I mean, seriously, Umbridge? She's so ridiculous I'm surprised they haven't used her as a spell against boggarts. Even Lord Voldemort, while creepy in his own right, doesn't seem to live up to all the buildup there is to his return in the first four books.

Will Harry always be the hero unquestioned, simply because he's a dude?
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Quotes Katya Liked

J.K. Rowling
“Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?"
"You called her a liar?"
"You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?"
"Have a biscuit, Potter.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I think book 5 is the series low point; not in terms of quality but because it's the moment when Harry is transitioning from boy to man. And it's not pretty; that never is. He acts like a teenager, sort of annoying and whiny, and he's also at his most isolated and alone. People are against him and it's easy to join the chorus. But that's one of the things I like about Rowling - Harry's character development arc isn't smooth and perfect. He goes through rough patches, and in books 6&7 he's matured, he's ready to do what needs to be done.

Katya *sigh* It's the same thing as my review of the last book. People comment on how realistic Rowling's characterization is. I don't dispute that - I just lament the unfairness of our society.

Much like any other teen, I might add.

Cory Yeah, this and book #7 were my least favorites in the series.

Though, while some of her characterization is realistic, I don't agree that all of it is. Everyone, even Dumbledore, is TSTL come book #7 and I pretty much hated them all except for Neville, Luna, Cho, Hermione, and Snape.

message 4: by P. (new)

P. Rowling said she could've cut some parts of this book out, but she ran out of time or something. I wonder if she had done that, would she have included the mirror sooner? I get so mad that Harry never thought to open that package. I know a lot was going on, but really, Sirius gave you a package -- hid it from Molly to get it to you -- and you never even thought to open it?
Harry annoyed the hell out of me in this one.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I think there's a big difference between a character who is annoying and inadequate most of the time and a character who is annoying and inadequate for a good reason, temporarily - I know I've made similar comments about Charlaine Harris' female lead, Sookie Stackhouse. Mostly, she stands up for herself and speaks out as necessary - but sometimes she's pushy and snappy and whiny, and that's a valid response to stress. In limited doses.

I think the point you're making is more to do with framing than gender. If you frame a character's development as maturing or a hero's journey, or whatnot, the mistakes are progress along the way. That works for men and women. But fairy tales are more about morality tales than character growth, and a lot of female leads are spun from fairy tales. So you get object lessons instead of mistakes.

That's just an off the cuff thought.

Annie I don't agree with a lot of what you said, but I definitely see your point and this review was *hilarious*.

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