Chapter 2 of Order of the Phoenix, A Peck of Owls, is probably one of my favorite chapters in the whole series. So much action & a ton surprising things happen! We find out about Mrs. Figg, Harry is nearly expelled, Dursleys learn about dementors though Petunia already knew(!!!!!), Harry is nearly kicked out of the Dursleys, and Dumbledore sends Petunia a Howler. Wow. J.K. does an awesome job of conveying the quick updates as owls come in with news. We’re as confused, scared, and frustrated as Harry with the unfolding news. I probably also love this chapter because the Howler Aunt Petunia receives was so mysterious & I loved speculating about it.
One of the things I love about the Harry Potter series (one of MANY I’m sure you’ve learned by now) is how something in the wizarding world applies in our world. A dark example of this is the concept of a pureblood witch or wizard being better than a Muggle-born. It’s racism. I like that J.K. put deep, dark, real concepts in her books because I think people are more likely to discuss racism in a book than racism in real life.
Along these lines are the Death Eaters. It won’t be new to anyone for me to compare them to KKK members but there’s a specific passage in this book that really raises this: In chapter 9, page 154, Harry and Mr. Weasley run into Lucius Malfoy in the Ministry of Magic. Harry is particularly upset since he “had last seen those cool gray eyes through slits in a Death Eater’s hood, and last heard that man’s voice jeering in a dark graveyard while Lord Voldemort tortured him.” When I read this, I couldn’t help but remember terrible thing I’d read in the nonfiction book They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.
This book is really when I start to love Ginny and McGonagall even more. They each really stand out. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both throughout the whole series, but in this book they step out of the shadows a little bit and truly become memorable characters. One of my favorite parts is after George and Fred leave (and leave us the fabulous “Give her hell from us, Peeves” line), Peeves does all sorts of things and Harry thinks he hears McGonagall tell Peeves how to correctly unscrew the chandelier. And with Ginny, I love that when she learns Harry wants to speak to Sirius after seeing his dad in Snape’s worst memory, she instantly starts thinking how they can do it.
Wow, if I thought the end of Goblet of Fire was a race to the finish, this ending is really jam-packed too. Another of my favorite chapters in the whole series is The Lost Prophecy. We *finally* learn some answers to mysteries we’d be wondering since Sorcerer’s Stone. I love Harry’s loud anger juxtaposed with Dumbledore’s quiet sadness. Harry’s demand that Dumbledore let him out– “if you don’t let me -” “By all means continue destroying my possessions,” said Dumbledore serenly. “I daresay I have too many.” — kills me everytime.