Ricky Ganci's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
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Jan 15, 12

Read from January 09 to 15, 2012

It takes a lot to justify writing an 870-page novel, especially one that's a mid-series novel. You have to validate everything that has already happened, and everything that you're planning on having happen. You have to encourage your readers without pandering to them. You have to tell a smaller story that needs to be told, as well as foreshadow the conclusion of the greater one. You have to do all of this, and in order to make your story worth it, it has the be the same as the othe ones. It's a steep, steep set of expectations and responsibilities, when you write a book series, and it's a set that few authors can pull off, even in three books.

THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX responds to one question, for the most part: Why did Lord Voldemort want to kill Harry Potter? And while it seems like a simple question (one that Harry asked at the age of 11 - I cf'ed it), it's one that deserves a detailed and full answer. And Rowling does just that--she couches the answer in an exquisitely-written, suspensefully-plotted novel that answers that question satisfactorily (very much so, really), wraps up the leftover plot strands from the four previous books, and sets the stage for the final two movements with some foreshadowing which appears in the breath (of Sybil Trelawney's) as the answer(s). It's pure literary artistry ans Harry wends his way through adolescence, crippled by two sets of problems: the mundane (girls, sports, authority figures, studies, etc.) and the archetypal (prophecies, Dark Lords, secret societies, oncoming wars, etc.). Rowling weaves these two sets of concerns into a character drama that both heightens the series to new levels of suspense and intrigue and, at the same time, calls to mind the excellence of the previous installments. Not enough can be said for the skill represented here in these pages; no, there's as much care in this one as an any of the previous installments, and though its length and plotting didn't resonate with the critics or fans at awards time (no Hugo this year, it seems), the novel takes its cue from the others and comes through with as much firepower as any of them. The last 150 pages of this book were as vivid this time as I remember them being in the fall of 2003, when I read it for the first time.
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