I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix early this morning after two straight days of reading squeezed between basketball games (Saxon Shootout was this weekend). I really enjoyed reading the book and the fact that it was almost 900 pages long meant there was a lot of great meat to the story, but I don’t think it’s my favorite from the series. For some reason that I haven’t completely pinpointed yet Prisoner of Azkaban had a lot more emotional resonance for me when I read it than the last two books in the series.
I don’t really want to get into specific spoilers about OOP at this point, but there were a couple things I really, really liked and want to mention. One of the strengths of the series has always been its memorable characters, but up to this point the character focus has largely been on Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I absolutely love the fact that both Neville and Ginny experienced significant (and in many ways surprising!) growth and development as characters over the course of the book. I also enjoyed the continuing plot thread involving Fred and George starting up their own magical joke and gag shop. While I found the ongoing development of Harry’s relationship with Cho Chang fairly poignant [SMALL NON-SPECIFIC SPECULATIVE SPOILER AHEAD] I liked the way things ended up with an entirely different seeker possibly being a better match for Harry down the road (at least as far as one of Harry’s two best friends is concerned)[/SMALL SPOILER]. It was also fun (and at times painful) to watch Ron start to come into his own with his various new roles in Gryffindor.
Despite all the good things about OOP there were definitely things that I didn’t like or just generally annoyed me, but I think I’ll save them for a later entry when I’ve had more time to reflect on the book. In the meantime if you’re a Harry Potter fan and haven’t gone out and picked up the latest addition to the storyline you’re seriously missing out.