Monday, January 25, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Summary

Continuing our series of literature is a summary of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.

Plot introduction

Throughout the four previous novels in the Harry Potter series, the main character, Harry Potter, has struggled with the difficulties that come with growing up and the added challenge of being a famous wizard. When Harry was a baby, Voldemort, the most powerful evil wizard in living memory, killed Harry's parents but mysteriously vanished after trying to kill Harry. This results in Harry's immediate fame, and his being placed in the care of his muggle, or non-magical, relatives Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.

Harry enters the wizarding world at the age of 11, enrolling in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and is confronted by Lord Voldemort trying to regain power. After returning to the school after summer break, several attacks on students take place at Hogwarts after the legendary "Chamber of Secrets" is opened. Harry ends the attacks by killing a Basilisk and defeating another attempt by Lord Voldemort to return to full strength. The following year, Harry hears that he has been targeted by escaped murderer Sirius Black. Despite stringent security measures at Hogwarts, Harry is confronted by Black at the end of his third year of schooling and Harry learns that Black was framed and is actually Harry's godfather. Harry's fourth year of school sees him entered in a dangerous magical competition called the Triwizard Tournament. At the conclusion of the Tournament, Harry witnesses the return of Lord Voldemort to full strength.

Plot summary

This novel begins when Harry and his cousin, Dudley, are attacked by dementors. Harry uses magic to fight them off, and must attend a disciplinary hearing for it. It quickly becomes apparent that the hearing is a show trial, and despite the best attempts of the Ministry of Magic, he is cleared of all charges. In response to Voldemort's reappearance, Dumbledore re-activates the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society which works to defeat Voldemort's minions and protect Voldemort's targets, including Harry. Despite Harry's description of Voldemort's recent activities, the Ministry of Magic and many others in the magical world refuse to believe that Voldemort has returned.[1]

In an attempt to enforce its version of school curriculum, the Ministry appoints Dolores Umbridge as the new High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She transforms the school into a quasi-dictatorial regime and refuses to allow the students to learn ways to defend themselves against dark magic.[1] Harry forms a secret study group and begins to teach his classmates the higher-level skills he has learned. The novel introduces Harry to Luna Lovegood, an airy young witch with a tendency to believe in oddball conspiracy theories. Moreover, it reveals an important prophecy concerning Harry and Voldemort.[2] Harry also discovers that he and Voldemort have a telepathic connection, allowing Harry to view some of Voldemort's actions. In the novel's climax, Harry and his school friends face off against Voldemort's Death Eaters. The timely arrival of members of the Order of the Phoenix saves the children's lives, but Sirius Black, Harry's godfather, is murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange. Many Death Eaters are captured and, most importantly, the return of Voldemort is confirmed within the magical world.[1]

From Wikipedia

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