It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
After a lonely summer on Privet Drive, Harry returns to a Hogwarts full of ill-fortune. Few of students and parents believe him or Dumbledore that Voldemort is really back. The ministry had decided to step in by appointing a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher that proves to be the nastiest person Harry has ever encountered. Harry also can't help stealing glances with the beautiful Cho Chang. To top it off are dreams that Harry can't explain, and a mystery behind something Voldemort is searching for. With these many things Harry begins one of his toughest years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Written by
In Professor Umbridge's first class, she gives them all books, then proceeds to tell the class what to expect. During her speech, several of the students's books - particularly Ron's - switch positions from being examined by the students to being flat on the desk. The position of the books repeatedly switches positions as the camera angles switch. See more »
I don't know about you, it's just too hot today, isn't it? And it's going to get even worse. Temperatures up in the mid 30's Celsius, that's the mid 90's Fahrenheit, tomorrow maybe even hitting 100. So please, remember to cover up and stay cool with the hottest hits on your FM dial.
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The ending credits are presented in the same typeface as Professor Umbridge's numerous educational decrees. See more »
Why do Harry Potter movies give me, but not the children, nightmares? I've been wondering this for the past few years. Today, watching Movie No. 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros., 2007), I got my answer. Simply: Harry's world is the real world. As Harry and his friends mature, the line between the world of wizardry, magic, and Hogwarts and the world of self-centered, manipulative, cruel adults thins to the point of almost magical invisibility.
Fantasy literature has since the beginning of time been about mediating and making sense of the real world; Harry Potter is part of this tradition.
Indeed, one of the movie's first big special effects embodies this idea. As the movie opens, Harry is the subject of a smear campaign that Valdemore has cooked up because darkness works tirelessly to triumph over the light; when his friends come to rescue him from the suburban horror show known as his adoptive family, they take him to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a place that doesn't exist until a row of Georgian homes stretches out to reveal it. It's there, but the neighbors are unaware of it. They have no idea their building grew a house that the wizards and witches of the world can solve an internal problem. Such is life; how seldom do we know the inner workings, the coping mechanisms, the interior life of the people around us? In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter again does battle with evil to bring home the theme that when you fight, you fight well with and for your friends and to the death if necessary. Truth and goodness--call if love, if you want--are worth the trouble. The Gothic idiom of Harry Potter brilliantly takes the challenges Harry faces out of the present on one level even though these are very clearly 21st century characters facing contemporary challenges. Alongside the power of goodness over evil theme is the theme of the power of the imagination to find solutions to problems that are the same in every generation: politics, power games, jealousy, stupidity, growing up.
Always in Harry Potter is the clear distinction between the good guys and the bad ones right alongside the good kids and the annoying kids, who could very well become evil people if they so choose. They are tragic because they don't understand the long-range consequences of their petty cruelties--but then, as we learn in this movie, even the good kids are capable of petty cruelties that break souls. Always there is Snape, the middling Hogwarts employee who is not clearly good but not clearly bad but capable of both (until fate forces his hand in Book 6).
J.K. Rowling doesn't let anybody off of the hook of responsibility for their choices. But she does present the internal struggle for goodness and justice for the mess that it can be. Just as the Gothic world of Hogwarts helps Harry and his friends mediate the real world, so Rowling helps her readers see the world for what it is. This is a world that can give me nightmares, though not my daughter and my nephews. Perhaps because all they really need is an honest story.
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