Things That Confuse and Anger Me About The Harry Potter Series: Order of the Phoenix Part 3

So, here it is, finally. The end of my massive criticism of OotP! Enjoy!

1. “Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything. Has it not occurred to you, my poor puffed-up popinjay, that there might be an excellent reason why the headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you? Have you never paused, while feeling hard-done-by, to note that following Dumbledore’s orders has never yet led you into harm? No. No, like all young people, you are quite sure that you alone feel and think, you alone recognize danger, you alone are the only one clever enough to realize what the Dark Lord may be planning…” BOOM. Phineas Nigellus, much like Severus Snape, is spot on about this kid. Why does J.K. Rowling make these absolute truths come out of the mouths of characters we’re supposed to dislike? What the fuck? And because Harry is exactly like what Phineas said, his immediate response is “He is planning something to do with me, then?” Like…wow, did you not just hear that entire paragraph worth of character analysis? Jesus Christ. Also, I’m gonna call people “poor puffed-up popinjays” from now on because that’s a sick burn.

2. Snape and Sirius are both such assholes who need to get over their old bullshit, like yesterday. But I expect Snape to be a doucher; there’s never been any evidence to suggest otherwise in any of the other books. Sirius’s behavior is just so much more annoying, mostly because he wasn’t like this in the previous book, but also because he is, once again, affirming Harry’s own distrustful attitude against Snape and Dumbledore. And anyone who’s read the fifth book knows where that attitude leads them.

Hit the jump to finally conclude this epic bitchfest…!

3. I don’t get the way the Knight Bus works. Is it supposed to be comical that the beds/chairs move around all the time? In almost all other situations, magic can be used to make people as comfortable as possible. But not on the Knight Bus, oh no. I guess they’ve never heard of Sticking Charms on the goddamn Knight Bus.

4. “‘Shut up, Ron,’ said Hermione angrily. ‘How many times have you suspected Snape, and when have you ever been right? Dumbledore trusts him, he works for the Order, that ought to be enough.’” PREACH. But as always Hermione’s good points about Snape fall on deaf ears; Ron sticks to his “WELL HE WAS A DEATH EATER AND DUMBLEDORE HAS NEVER TOLD US EXPLICITLY WHY HE SWITCHED SIDES!?!!?!?!!!!!1ONE” bullshit. Because you know, Dumbledore, as one of the oldest, wisest wizards in the entire magical world, is totally fucking obligated to share every single secret and detail with you 15 year old fuckers. God, they’re annoying.

5. It’s pretty impressive that Hermione could take on a journalistic gossip titan like Rita Skeeter (and win) but I’ve always wondered about how illegal Hermione’s actions might be. I mean, unlawful imprisonment (when Rita was trapped in the jar at the end of GoF) and blackmail: pretty serious shit for a 14-15 year old to be taking part in (and being good at). Hermione would’ve been badass in Slytherin, for real.

6. Does anyone else think it’s a little ridiculous that in the Wizarding world students have to basically decide on a career at the age of fifteen? People can’t even make proper decisions at that stage in development but these kids are expected to decide on their careers and take classes for that from then on? Like…I’m 22 and I’m still figuring out exactly what career path I want to take. They treat it so seriously, saying that their O.W.L.s and the subsequent classes they take will have a serious affect on the rest of their damn lives. Redonk.

7. After Dumbledore escapes Hogwarts, Umbridge makes it very obvious that she’s slipping Harry Veritaserum: she basically forces him to choose a drink, makes a big show of putting cream in it and then encourages him several times to drink it. And he almost drinks it! But then he thinks of Moody and is like, Wow, drinking tea Umbridge has given me is a really stupid idea. Page 630 of Order of the Phoenix: Harry uses his brain for the first time in the series.

8. When I was younger I thought Hermione’s jinx on the Dumbledore’s Army sign-up list was brilliant and showed a great foresight on her part. But now as I read, it’s got me thinking. The book seems to suggest that there’s no cure for the disfiguring pustules that spell out the word SNEAK across Marietta’s face; she still has them at the end of book 5 and beginning of book 6. If that is the case then it’s severely fucked up; it means Marietta would have to go the rest of her life with that on her face for a mistake she made when she was 15 or 16 years old. I was so curious about this that I looked up Marietta Edgecomb to see if J.K. had ever said anything more about her. Apparently the pustules faded away eventually but “left some scars” because J.K. “loathes a traitor”…she was fucking 15! This vindictive streak of J.K.R.’s pops up every once in awhile and it’s a little disturbing.

9. The climax of this book is just one ridiculous mistake after another on the part of our heroes. The most glaring of which is Harry forgetting that he has, in his dormitory, a way to easily and safely contact Sirius. This is something that’s pissed me off since the very first time I read the book. All the other mistakes they make, you don’t really see how awful they are until after you’ve read the book once or twice. But this, it’s just ridiculous. The whole time I read this climax the first time I was just like really, Harry? You’re not gonna remember that thing that Sirius gave you? J.K.R is usually pretty good at setting up Chekhov’s Guns that come up later, the kind that you totally forget about until it comes up again. But this isn’t one of those. The entire fucking time they’re in the Ministry I was fuming about Harry stupidly forgetting that he owns a way to contact Sirius.

10. When Umbridge gets dragged off by the centaurs there are some seriously fucked up Unfortunate Implications going on. When Umbridge is brought from the forest she’s suffering from some kind of trauma but isn’t actually physically harmed. Huh. Yeah. All signs are pointing to Umbridge having been sexually assaulted/raped by the centaurs. If that’s the case, J.K. Rowling is basically saying, yeah, some people deserve to get raped. WHICH IS SEVERELY FUCKED UP.

11. Sometimes Hermione says and does things that are really very silly, things that make no goddamn sense for her to be saying since the rest of the time she’s extremely intelligent and logical. Why, after seeing Umbridge dragged away for calling the centaurs half-breeds and just having a general awareness of how centaurs feel towards humans, would you ever say that you were “hoping [they’d] drive her off”? What is wrong with you?

12. This sentence has never made any fucking sense to me: “If he could have chosen any members of the D.A. in addition to himself, Ron, and Hermione to join him in the attempt to rescue Sirius, he would not have picked Ginny, Neville, or Luna.” Why the hell not? I don’t know about Luna but Ginny has never been shown to be anything other than skilled at jinxes and Neville was described more than once as the person who made the most progress in meetings, nearing Hermione in his level of skill. So what the fuck, Harry? Why fucking train people to fight and then tell them not to when the time comes? Oh, that’s right because Harry has to be the little special snowflake who goes to fight Voldemort, with only Ron and Hermione flanking him.

13. I know that Harry’s all in a hurry and shit but they’re on the way to London anyway; why not just fucking stop by Grimmauld Place? Even if you think Sirius isn’t there, you could’ve possibly notified and brought along an adult member of the Order perhaps? But no, go right ahead. It’s much better if four 15-year-olds and two 14-year-olds barge into the Ministry to try to fight Voldemort.

14. Hermione says Harry shouldn’t touch the prophecy because, you know, they have no idea what it is or what might happen when anyone touches it and it could be really bad. And Harry’s response is “Why not? It’s something to do with me, isn’t it?” WHAT? WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Oh my God, seriously, WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?! Yeah, okay, sure! Touch a goddamn little dusty bulb that’s hidden away in a remote part of the Ministry of Magic, a place that you were NEVER meant to be because IT HAS YOUR NAME ON IT SO OBVIOUSLY IT’S OKAY FOR YOU TO TOUCH IT. Dear God, I hate this character.

15. Dumbledore states, quite plainly, that this is it, he’s gonna lay it all out, bear it all and let Harry in on everything there is to know: “It is time for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago…I am going to tell you everything.” Fucking lying sack of douche.

So wow, this was epic. I was not expecting part five to be this involved or detailed and I’m pretty sure that by the end I was starting to burn out and lose my resolve. Starting the sixth book is like taking a gulp of air after being held underwater for several weeks. Half-Blood Prince is, mercifully, almost 300 pages shorter than Order of the Phoenix (and also has kind of a floating plot that isn’t quite as complex as OotP) so hopefully part 6 won’t be quite as intense. If you noticed any problems in book five that I missed, please feel free to comment here!


Filed under Literature

6 responses to “Things That Confuse and Anger Me About The Harry Potter Series: Order of the Phoenix Part 3

  1. I’ve never thought of the implications of having to choose a career at fifteen. Good point. I knew what I wanted to do when I was in eighth grade, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does and that it’s the correct decision.

    I also never thought of the fact that Umbridge might have been sexually assaulted by the centaurs. That’s fucked up. On that note, you’re right (from the last post, I think)…why the fuck didn’t anyone ELSE contact their parents or head of house about Umbridge’s punishment? That’s just screwed up.

    Wonderful as usual, dear. :D

  2. I love all of these so much. The only thing I’d add to your stuff is how fucking belabored and thin Rowling makes the tenuous connection between Voldemort’s sort-of possession of Harry and Harry’s teenage asshattery. It’s not enough to just expose Harry for the conceited, spoiled child he really is; instead, Rowling just airs Harry’s worst tendencies and then completely lets him off the hook by revealing Voldy’s trickery and using Sirius’ death as a clobbering ram for sympathy. It basically lets Rowling confirm everything Snape has ever said about Harry, then act like nothing ever happened. But then, what the fuck is the point of this book? It’s almost like a weird “what-if” story where Harry is the most vile asshole in the world and only a dead man in a painting calls him out on it. And this is the longest book! Half-Bood Prince has ten times the character development all-around and it’s a fraction of the length.

    • Ashley

      Seriously! This book is just…INFURIATING. I never realized how much fuckery was in this book until this reread (and I’ve read this book like 6 times)! Harry’s feelings of ill-will towards Snape get even worse in book six (which I talk about in my write-up on HBP) and it really makes no goddamn sense to me. What happened to his own sense of guilt? What happened to his resentment towards Dumbledore (the man who continually uses him like a goddamn chess piece)? Why are all of his negative emotions regarding Sirius suddenly ALL channeled towards Snape when Snape ACTUALLY TRIED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT GOD HARRY YOU MAKE NO SENSE I WANNA HIT YOU IN THE FACE.

      Half-Blood Prince is by far the superior book. And it barely has a plot. What the hell does that say for Order of the Phoenix?

      • Yeah, it’s bewildering that, in the span of a summer, Harry goes from seething over everything to back to regarding Dumbledore as a genius and someone who only wants to make life grand for Harry. And it doesn’t remotely communicate how Harry calmed down, which only makes this book feel even more like some long-ass fever dream to nowhere. It even spares Harry from having to be truly penitent for his behavior. I mean, Christ, he had his bird MAUL HIS TWO BEST FRIENDS IN THE FUCKING WORLD WHO HAVE SAVED HIS LIFE SEVERAL TIMES.

        HBP is actually my favorite of the books. I feel like it’s the only book with really serious, meaningful character development outside the core three, and even within them as well. It’s got big hiccups (as with this book, it exists mainly to set up the finale), but it is the only one of the series that really gives me an idea of these characters.

  3. Rumpas Defenestrato

    Hi… I am 9 years too late for this, but I just wanted to say I am grateful for your critique of OotP. I am a great git for JUST NOW getting around to reading all the books for the first time… and I was truly alarmed at how much and how vividly I found myself hating OotP and its protagonist(s). The stuff you list here doesn’t *all* coincide with what I found objectionable, but a lot of it does.

    Do we know what was going on with Rowling personally while this book was being written? It feels demon-haunted.

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