Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling)

During Harry’s last year at Hogwarts, he finally saw his nemesis, Lord Voldemort, return. Narrowly escaping death, he managed to return to Hogwarts with the body of fellow student, Cedric Diggory, whom Voldemort had murdered. In the fifth installment of the series, Harry is at Privet Drive with his only living family – the detestable Dursleys. Craving for the news of what is happening in the wizarding world, he gets increasingly frustrated and annoyed when his friends, Ron and Hermione, and his godfather Sirius refuse to give away any information in the letters they send him.

In an attempt to relieve some of his tension, Harry takes to walking through the streets of little Whinging on his own. One night when he returns home with his cousin Dudley, they are attacked by Dementors. Saving their lives, Harry uses magic, and the Ministry uses this to expel him from Hogwarts. Dumbledore manages to revoke the suspension, but Harry is informed that he must still attend a hearing at the Ministry of Magic.

Harry is finally fetched by his fellow wizards and taken to nr 12 Grimmauld Place, the secret location of the anti-Voldemort movement. Sirius tells Harry that it the house belongs to him and that he offered it as base to Dumbledore. There, Harry also meets Kreacher, an old houself who despises his current master, Sirius. Sirius in return also has no love for it, since it reminds him of the family he would only love to forget.

On the day of his hearing, Harry is held at full trial by the Ministry of Magic. Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, now despises both Harry and Dumbledore, seeing them as disturbers of peace for spreading (to him) false rumors of Voldemort’s return. Fudge desperately tries to get Harry expelled, but it is on the account of Harry’s Squib neighbor, Mrs. Figg, that Harry manages to escape expulsion.  Dumbledore leaves the courtroom without acknowledging Harry, and Harry is stung by his behavior.

The start of the school term doesn’t bring Harry much happiness either. Ron is appointed prefect over Harry, stunning everyone, including Ron’s own family. Forced to face Draco Malfoy’s taunts, who is now also a prefect, Harry’s temper is constantly close to the surface, waiting to bubble over. The opening feast comes with shocks as well – Harry, Ron and Hermione’s favorite teacher, half-giant Hagrid is still on a mysterious mission Dumbledore sent him, and their new Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) teacher is Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic. Umbridge rudely interrupts Dumbledore during his speech, and even though Hermione is the only one paying attention to her speech, it is obvious that the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts.

Harry and Umbridge are constantly at loggerheads with each other.  Sirius tells Harry that the ministry thinks Dumbledore wants to raise a secret army to overthrow the Ministry of Magic, and it makes sense when Umbridge tells them that they will not be learning practical defense magic at all. Outraged at the Ministry’s apathy in such dangerous times, Harry soon finds himself constantly in detention. Hermione finally makes a plan, and the three start up a secret Defense group, calling themselves Dumbledore’s Army, in reference to the thing the ministry most fears.

Even in Harry’s dreams he has no rest. Somehow he manages to see into Voldemort’s mind, getting glimpse of what he is up to. It escalates and finally comes to a point where Harry witnesses Ron’s father, getting attacked by Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, in a deserted corridor the Order is obsessed with protecting. They manage to save Mr. Weasley, but Harry now fears he is being possessed by Voldemort. He isolates himself from the others, but Ginny and Hermione finally tell him it would be impossible – Harry couldn’t have gotten out of Hogwarts due to the school’s protective enchantments and Ginny also tells him that if he was possessed, there would be gaps in his memory – and harry remembers everything he did. Cheered up, his happiness is short lived when Snape, his least favorite teacher at Hogwarts, arrives to tell him that he must teach Harry Occulumency (the art of shutting your mind to magical intrusion). Harry is disgruntled by this, least because of Snape, and more of why Dumbledore couldn’t teach Harry himself if it was as important.

Umbridge, now the most hated person at Hogwarts, finally manages to corner Harry and Dumbledore. Marietta Edgecombe, a friend of Harry’s on-off girlfriend Cho Chang, and unwilling member of the DA, splits on the group, and Harry, their leader, is caught. Miraculously, Harry is once again saved from expulsion when Dumbledore takes the blame – as the heading says it is his army. Overjoyed for a reason to arrest Dumbledore, Fudge tries to arrest him, but Dumbledore easily Stuns all the members of the ministry and disappears after telling Harry to continue his lessons with Snape.

The Occlumency lessons ends abruptly and disastrously when Harry sees Snape as a teenager, being bullied by Harry’s father, James. Tortured with the knowledge that his father was possibly not as great as Harry had thought, he manages to speak to Sirius that James had become better with age, and that Snape was just as bad.

During his History of Magic exam, harry falls asleep and witnessing Sirius being tortured by Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries. Enraged and terrified, he, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville and Ginny gets to the Ministry of Magic by flying on Thestrals. When they get there, they realize that Voldemort set them a trap, luring Harry there to pick up a Prophecy made out for him and Harry. Harry takes the prophecy, and is instantly surrounded by Death Eaters. A fight ensues, and the Order of the Phoenix arrives. Sirius is killed by his own cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. Enraged, Harry follows her, and finds Voldemort. Dumbledore protects Harry, but Voldemort finally possess Harry, and tries to lure Dumbledore to killing Harry for the price of Voldemort’s death. Harry, now in mortal agony, welcomes the idea of death, thinking only to be reunited with Sirius. This surge of love and longing is too much for Voldemort to endure, and he leaves Harry’s body. Cornelius Fudge arrives, finally seeing that Dumbledore had been telling the truth the whole time.

Back at school, Dumbledore finally confides everything to Harry. He tells Harry that he was afraid Voldemort would try to possess Harry, and that is why he distanced himself – not to give Voldemort incentive. He tells Harry what stood in the Prophecy, why Voldemort had murdered Harry’s parents. The prophecy, made by Professor Trelawney, stated that a wizard boy, born in June, to parent’s who had thrice defied Voldemort, would become Voldemort’s greatest nemesis, and that neither could live while the other survived. Voldemort, thinking it would be Harry, set out to kill him and his parents. Now Harry finally understands why he must kill Voldemort – for they both cannot live.

Rating: 9/10

This is by far the saddest, most gut wrenching book in the series. Harry is completely different from the young child in the previous books. Now he is growing up, angry and grieving, and is faced with the fact that he will never be safe as long as Voldemort and his supporters live.

It is also one of the funniest books – Fred and George Weasley are two of the most endearing, hilarious characters ever written, and they make many funny moments. Harry also finally gets to date his crush, Cho Chang, and his first encounter with love is hilarious because of everything that goes wrong with it.

I will always wonder what madness made JK Rowling kill Sirius, so soon after Harry found a parent like figure. I will always shed a tear when I read about his death. That said Rowling managed to write a character in that was hated more than Voldemort. Umbridge is despicable, and every reader of Potter united in their hate against her.

It is truly a wonderful book, but I warn anyone attempting to read it – get those tissues ready.

N

*Please let me know if any links appears in this blog post – I certainly did not create them!

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Happy Friday!

I am so overly happy it is weekend. This week has been extremely challenging, but I can finally claim some leave next week. I will only return on Friday next week to work!

During my leave I plan to do the following:

Exercise – I have been managing 2 or 3 walks each week, but I am seriously craving intense exercise! I am contemplating joining a dance group, and that definitely counts as exercise.

Eating healthy – my main struggles at the moment is Carbs and Caffeine. Although better than I once was, I still constantly run to the coffee pot to get a hit.

Sleep in late – oh, yes. The best thing about winters is when you are allowed to wake up late each morning. It will be the BEST.

Watch movies – tons of them.

Read books – I need to breathe some life into my reading challenge! Still fewer than 20 books and the year is definitely coming along.

Study – Meh. It is nearly exam time. Getting kind of urgent.

Write lots of lovely blog posts. I have been under such stress that I haven’t been producing tons of articles as usual.

Here’s a few fitness and healthy motivational for the weekend – remember healthy eating!

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Successful weight loss is like a three legged stool

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Enjoy the weekend!

Birthdays, things that can go wrong, and thank heavens it is nearly weekend.

First of all, to my best friend, Zoë: Congratualations for making our digits the same again – Happy birthday friend! I hope you have a fantastic day.

Stephen King Quote

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old ladies funny

My apologies for not posting yesterday – technology is revolting against me again. Things that broke (and that is busy breaking): my computer here at work broke, and on it is 5 years of sample processing data. and the back-ups misteriously didn’t back up. So please keep all fingers crossed that they manage to restore all the data on there – I am trying not to think of the consequences.

Secondly, my BlackBerry is breaking. I will NEVER get a BB again. EVER.

And the freezer I keep in all my samples at work is acting up, the Liquid Nitrogen isn’t being delivered, and I am freaking at the possibility that I may lose a years worth of samples.

And I can’t be on leave tomorrow. Go figure.

Obviously things are not working out today.

A (short list of things that went right)

* I lost a kg.

* I got stock I needed.

* I can still be on leave next week for a few days.

PS: Send me some awesomely funny sites to cheer me up.

PPS: I am sorry for any spelling mistakes – my spellchecker isn’t working on the temporary PC I am typing on.

N

 

Weekends, books and stuff

Well, hello 🙂 this weekend was pretty nice, although I had a few moments where I wondered about the galling personalities some people have.

Books: 

Finally read through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. What a fantastic book – it was so amazing to read it again. It will always be one of my favourite books in the series. I started on the Deathly Hallows, and am wondering what book I will start on when I am finished – maybe some brand new writer I have never read before.

Weight loss:

I lost a kilogram! I have never been so happy to see the scale drop down. It has been on my mind how rapid weight loss diets are negatively impacting the way we see a healthy lifestyle. Healthy dieting means losing at most a kg a week, and I, being used to all these wonder diets, had been expecting 3-4 kg’s a week. Do you have any weight loss stories to share? Also, I was supposed to give up coffee from today, but I guess I will start that tomorrow :). Last week I managed to 30 minutes of exercise for three days – a record for the past few months! Keep those fingers crossed that I will do it this week as well.

I watched Lord of the Rings – Return of the King, this weekend. It was as superb as always. I really love those films.

Relationships:

Are so complex. Why do I have to deal with broken relationships (that has long ended) right now? Honestly, I have better things to focus on. The best part this weekend was when someone had the audacity to try to give advice about things they do not understand, or have no experiences in. Meh. Seriously, start dating then I will listen to your opinion, okay.

On the studying front, I didn’t make much progress. I had been working so hard on my last assignment submissions last week that I couldn’t find the energy to start again. I will be studying through the week now.

And lastly, some motivational stuff for a Monday. Enjoy

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Published by YourMunky.com

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (JK Rowling)

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Book: 16/100

We meet Harry Potter again in the fourth instalment of the Harry Potter series, where he became famous as a child for destroying Lord Voldemort – a terrible Dark Wizard who murdered Harry’s parents before his destruction. Harry’s survival, and Voldemort’s disappearance, made Harry very famous in the wizarding world, but also made him live with his only horrible relatives, Vernon and Petunia Dursley.

While on vacation from his school Hogwarts, Harry has the strangest dream – a dream where Wormtail, the man responsible for Voldemort finding and killing his parents, is busy nursing a form of Voldemort back to health. They are interrupted by Frank Bryce, a muggle who is in charge of taking care of the home Voldemort and Wormtail is staying in, and Voldemort murders Frank immediately when he notices him.

Harry wakes up from his dream, and promptly writes to his new-found godfather Sirius about what he dreamt. He also receives a letter from the Weasleys, inviting him to the Quidditch world cup, and to stay with them for the remainder of the summer. Uncle Vernon ultimately agrees to let Harry go – not for Harry’s happiness, but to get him away from Privet Drive earlier.

Harry and the Weasleys set off to the Quidditch World Cup the day after Harry arrives at the Burrow (the Weasley’s home) they meet up with Amos and Cedric Diggory, with whom they will be sharing a portkey to transport themselves to the venue of the game. Cedric is also a Hogwarts student, though in Hufflepuff. He seems like a very nice guy, and is very embarrassed when his father keeps referencing to when he beat Harry at Quiddicth at Hogwarts.

When they arrive at the stadium, they are seated on the top of the pitch, giving the best view. They meet a houself, Winky, there, who is apparently saving a seat for her master, Bartemius ‘Barty’ Crouch. The group spots the Bulgarian seeker, Victor Krum, during the match, and he seems around Harry’s age. Ron particularly seems to have a hero worship going for him.

After the game, a crowd of Death Eaters (followers of Voldemort who managed to stay out of prison) terrorises muggles on the camp ground. Harry, Ron and Hermoine escape to the nearby wood, and Harry is worried when he realises his wand is missing. Shortly afterwards, someone casts the Dark Mark, the sign of Lord Voldemort, and the three is nearly stunned by ministry wizards. Things become highly uncomfortable when it is discovered it was Harry’s wand which cast the spell. Winky is found nearby, hit by the Stunning spells, with Harry’s wand, and her master, Barty Crouch, ignores her pleadings and sends her away – the greatest disgrace to a houself.

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the Dark Mark

When all the students arrive at Hogwarts, professor Dumbledore announces a great surprise – that the Triwizard tournament will take place at Hogwarts during the school year. The Triwizard tournament is a historic event where one student from three magical schools: Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons compete in magical tasks where the winner receives 1000 Galleons in prize money, the triwizard cup, and the fame for themselves and honor for their schools. Dumbledore warns the students that only students who are 17 years or older will be allowed to compete because of the danger of the tasks. He also introduces their new defence against the Dark Arts teacher – Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody, a famous ex-Auror, who is slightly senile and orthodox. Mad-Eye moody becomes a hit at the school, despite his strange appearance and manners, when it becomes apparent how much he knows about the Dark Arts. He teaches them the unforgivable curses, and even practises the Imperius Curse on them, and only Harry manages to throw of the curse completely, which causes you to do anything the caster of the curse wants.

A selected group of champions arrive from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, and during a feast on Halloween, the champions are selected: Fleur Delacour for Beauxbatons, Victor Krum for Drumstrang, and Cedric Diggory for Hogwarts. Shock, suspicion and dismay occur when Harry is chosen as the fourth champion – an impossible occurrence. Though Harry swears he didn’t put in his name, no one believes him, and he is magically bound to competing in the tournament. Harry is most hurt when Ron distances himself from Harry, also believing that he chose to put his name in to further his fame. Harry’s life becomes a nightmare, without his best friend, the taunts from the Slytherins, the open loathing from the rest of the school, and the articles Rita Skeeter publishes. Rita is a journalist for the Daily Prophet, and she makes up stories about Harry to suit her reader’s needs

Harry, who routinely writes to Sirius about what is happening at Hogwarts, gets a letter from his godfather asking him to be at the fire in the Gryffindor common room at midnight – on the same night Hagrid requests Harry to be at his house. Harry decides attempting to be at both, and sets of to Hagrid, where he sees that the first task for the triwizard tournament will be something involved with dragons. When he returns to the common room, Sirius appears in the fire, telling Harry to be careful, and that the principal of Durmstrang, Igor Karkaroff, was once a Death Eater.

Harry’s nervousness increases as the test becomes closer, but receives unexpected help when Moody points him to his strong points – flying. With Hermoine’s help, he learns the Summoning Charm, and summons his broom during the test. He manages to get his egg from the dragon, and receives high marks from the judges. The best thing happens – Ron apologises for his disbelief in Harry, and they become friends again.

An unexpected problem occurs when Professor McGonagall announces that the Yule ball, a traditional part of the Triwizard tournament, will take place, and that Harry must get a partner for it. He wishes to ask a pretty girl, Cho Chang, but when he finally gets the courage, she is disappointed to tell him that she already agreed to go with Cedric Diggory. Crestfallen, he goes with a girl in his year, Parvati Patil. Hermoine stuns everyone when she turns up with Victor Krum, looking gorgeous, but Ron is angry at her and jealous (although he won’t admit it)

On a clue from Cedric Diggory, Harry takes the egg under water, and discovers that there are merepeople in the lack, from which Harry will need to collect something. This, again, stresses harry out, but help arrives in the form of Dobby, the house-elf, when he gives Gillyweed to harry, which makes him move like a fish underwater. Harry tries to save all the hostages under water, causing him to break the time limit, but the judges still grade him high due to his “moral fibre”.

The three meet up with Sirius in Hogsmeade, and he tells them that Barty Crouch’s son was a convicted Death Eater. Later on, the champions see their final challenge – a maze with the trophee in the centre. Hermoine and Ron once again assist Harry in preparation for it, and when the day arrives, Harry is calmer since he knows that he practised well. Inside the maze, he and Cedric finds the cup at the same time, and they agree to share the glory for Hogwarts. Upon touching the cup, they find it is a Portkey, and it takes them to a deserted graveyard.

In the graveyard, Lord Voldemort awaits them, and murderes Cedric Diggory. With the assistance of Wormtail, Voldemort is reborn, and he summons his Death Eaters that escaped prison to him. They arrive, and he tortures Harry. He gives Harry back his wand, and they prepare to duel. Upon the first curse that is cast, Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect, and Harry’s parents, Cedric, and Frank Bryce reappear in ghost form, and they create a diversion to help Harry escape. Harry takes Cedric’s body, Summons the Portkey, and returns to Hogwarts.

Upon his arrival at Hogwarts, Mad-Eye takes Harry away from the maze, ignoring instructions from Dumbledore. Locked up in Mad-Eye’s office, he finally reveals himself, as Barty Crouch junior, the Death Eater that had managed to escape from Azkaban with his father’s help. He tells Harry that it was he who put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire, and that he had been impersonating the real Mad-Eye all along. Just when he turns to kill Harry, Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall arrive to save him.

Harry tells his story to Dumbledore and Sirius, and is sent to the hospital wing to recuperate. There, he is awoken by Cornelius Fudge and McGonagall shouting at each other, for Fudge had ordered the Dementors to Kiss Barty Jnr., thereby destroying evidence that Harry’s tale was true. Fudge expresses his scepticism at Harry’s story, and it is evident that he doesn’t believe Voldemort is back. Harry gives the Weasley twins, Fred and George Weasley, his winnings of the Triwizard cup, telling them that the world will need happiness in the dark times ahead. He heads to Privet Drive for vacation, with the promises of his friends that they will see him soon.

Rating:

9/10

The Goblet of Fire has always been one of my favourite Potter books. There is so much excitement happening, with the Triwizard, Harry growing up, finally having a parent figure, and Voldemort returning. JK Rowling chose the perfect moment to bring Voldemort back. It would otherwise have killed the storyline.

PS: Can you believe it was published in 2000? That makes the Goblet of Fire 13 years old – and you, very old 😉

Weekends, books and stuff

Hello 🙂

On Friday night we visited a pub named Gilroy’s. Initially I had misgivings, since I was told I had to drink a beer there (I mean, yuck) but said I would at least try it. I am so glad I did! Gilroy’s is in Johannesburg, on the way to Muldersdrift – even though the road was scary – it was very wet – we arrived safely and settled down. I was immediately impressed with the place. The atmosphere was amazing, and our waiter couldn’t be friendlier. And get this – their handmade beer is actually rather tasty! I would recommend a visit if you are in the vicinity! See their website here.

I finally finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It is the most emotionally draining book of the series, and I was thoroughly depressed by the end of it. I have always viewed it as my least favourite book in the series, to the dismay of my friend, but I will now say it is a wonderful book (like I always have), but it still remains the saddest one in the series. I realised I need to start reading to complete my book challenge, but as I am focusing on the studies, I will continue with that in earnest in June again.

On the studying front, I managed to make progress with my Statistics. I did a mental happy dance when I managed to answer questions of the work I studied! Go me go!

Dieting: I didn’t eat as well as I did during the week, but comparing to the way I ate on other weekends recently, I ate like a champ. Weighing later this morning and will post results tomorrow… if I lost that is! 🙂

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What did you do this weekend?