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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Off to war

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 38
The news, or at least the Daily Prophet's interpretation of such, is out.

Harry and Dumbledore have their good names back and their standings in magical society have been restored. And all are healed or healing from their run-in with the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort.

And Umbridge is gone. (Can I get an Amen.)

But not all is right with Harry. He continues to mourn Sirius. I don't think this is a loss he will ever fully resolve his guilt over. It will haunt him, but not in the way he was hoping. Sirius will not be a ghost roaming the halls of Grimmauld Place. He is gone.

But just when we're at our lowest, that's when friends pick us up. A book full of angst, hard truths and loss had a happy ending when the Order told the Dursley's to treat Harry well or else. I'm pretty sure Uncle Vernon doesn't want to find out what or else means. But his temper could cost him one day this summer.

So this is the end of the book. The stage is set for a second war against Voldemort's desire to reign over the magical world. I'm confident the good guys will win but not before suffering more casualties. I have a million questions. Who lives and who dies? What is Snape's role? What character(s) will play a bigger role than expected? I just hope it doesn't come down to the fate of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. That would be disappointing.

It will be a grim undertaking this vanquishing of Voldemort. I am eager to see how it ends. But school is about to start again for me, so the final two books will probably have to wait until summer.

See you then.

The rest of the story

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 37
Dumbledore sure knows how to make a short story as long as his prodigious beard. But I suppose that's part of his charm.

And I'm glad to see Dumbledore agrees with me that he should have enlightened Harry years ago about all of this Voldemort business. But I suppose it would have made for a dull plot line.

Apparently, I'm told, if I had been paying closer attention and not taken so long to finish this book, I would have known by the label on the jar that Dumbledore gave the prophecy. Fortunately, Voldemort doesn't know the full prophecy.

So, we learn that Harry, and Harry alone, has the power to vanquish Voldemort. Not surprising because of all that's happened. Therefore, Dumbledore knew Voldemort would return because Harry wasn't the one to supposedly vanquish him the first time.

But wait.

Is it Harry or is it Neville Longbottom? It has to be Harry, doesn't it? Or this would be the Neville Longbottom series. Apologies to Longbottoms everywhere, but that has absolutely no rhythm to it. And the prophecy says he would be marked and Harry was.

Harry now knows his destiny is to vanquish Voldemort or be the vanquishee. I like Harry's chances, but I'm sure it will be long and twisted journey. But first we must start the second war before we move on to the final two books.

By the way, I meant to comment previously on the news that Voldmort is a half-blood like Harry. My understanding is that I could've known that before according to a Harry Potter expert in my household. So I asked whether half-blood prince refers to Harry or Voldemort.

I didn't get a straight answer.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Another Harry situation

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 36
Another action-packed chapter for us to digest and consider the outcomes.

We know Dumbledore can stand toe-to-toe with Voldemort.

We know how utterly scared Voldemort's minions are of him.

We know Harry is this nemesis of Voldemort's that he just can't conquer.

And we know Voldemort is positively angry over what transpired at the Ministry of Magic.

  • He didn't get the prophecy.
  • He knows the opposition is committed to his demise.
  • And he knows his return is no longer a secret.

What's a mean, old, Grinch-of-a-wizard to do?

Retreat, regroup and adjust to the new reality. The full force of the Ministry will be against him. Hopefully his spies will all be rooted out and sent to Azkaban or into hiding.

For the Order, they will mourn Sirius, wonder about the prophecy and also adjust to the new reality. At least Dumbledore, Harry, the Order and the DA will have Hogwarts as a safehouse.

And while Fudge still has the title, it's clear Dumbledore is in charge of the good guys. And Umbridge will get stuck behind a desk somewhere out of the way. It was a pretty good day when you think about it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More than expected

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 35
Reporting back as promised.

So Dumbledore reappears and Sirius disappears (Lupin says he's dead) in the span of seven paragraphs? Are you kidding me? I read 805 pages that build to those two big-dealios on the same page?

Good stuff.

If Sirius is truly gone and not protected by some charm or spell, all the Death Eaters have accomplished is to make the Order really angry. It's no-spells-barred time.

So what happens next? The Order can't exactly report this to the Ministry. Fudge, etc., would only charge them with harboring a fugitive and maybe more. And they don't seem ready to believe (or admit) the Death Eaters are active. Time to call in the crime scene unit to the Department of Mysteries and gather forensic evidence. Wait, they probably don't do that there. Guess it will remain a mystery (pun intended).

Backing up, I was surprised to learn that this was all about a prophecy. Didn't see that coming (another pun intended). Of all the names, however, that ran through my head at the end of the previous chapter, Lucius Malfoy was near the top of the list.

And now it's clear why the Order wanted the Occlumency lessons for Harry to continue. He was being played by Voldemort all along. I still say they should have told him why. All are at fault.

To top it off, the prophecy was given and no one heard it as far as we know.

Here's my prophecy: This battle of wands and spells was only a warmup. An all-out war is coming. But you probably know that.

Jarring turn of events

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 34
I don't know about the rest of you, but flying horses sounds like a fun way to fly. Half airplane, half roller coaster and full-on thrill ride. They should create a ride based on it at one of the Harry Potter theme parks at Universal Studios in Orlando. Half merry-go-round, half roller coaster high above the park and only after dark.

But hunting around in the creepy Department of Mysteries I will leave to our fictional characters. So back to them and the quest to find Sirius.

Oops, no Sirius. What a letdown for Harry and for us. All this excitement of getting away from Umbridge and riding the skies for nothing? Maybe not.

What is this jar that Ron has found with the Harry's name on it and the words Dark Lord? And why a question mark?

And who is this person who has sneaked up behind them and asked for the jar? The person called him Potter, which all of the unfriendly adults and some professors do throughout the books. That's as far as I will guess. It took all my strength not to peek ahead to the next page and see who it was.

But I will now and report back soon.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Busting out

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 33
Does this mean The Dunderheaded Secretary and High Instigator is out of the story? Has she been carried off to Centaur-land forever? We can only hope. Although, I do enjoy musing about her.

Props to Hermione for leading Umbridge into the forest. My first thought was that she was headed to Grawp. I was kind of half right because his appearance allowed them to break free. Now it's time to fly to the Department of Mysteries and save Sirius.

That is the next question. Can this top-ranking platoon of the DA save Padfoot from Voldemort? I have no idea. I've heard some characters begin to die. Is this the beginning of that? Or does Sirius survive?

I do suggest getting out of the forest and staying out. The Centaurs (I'm even afraid to call them half-breeds) would not be happy to see them.

So from here, it's save Sirius, reassemble the Order and, I suppose, find a way to convince the Ministry that Voldemort is alive. I'm guessing at some point that will happen and all magical people not aligned with Voldemort will live in fear again.

Enjoy the flight.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Busted

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixChapter 32
If I hadn't been taking such long breaks in my reading, I would have known better what to expect in this chapter. Historically, when Harry sees through what passes for Voldemort's eyes he is seeing it in real time. It's like live-streaming video on the web. It's not a vision of past or future. It's now.

So I should have guessed that Harry would be hot to go rescue Sirius with or without a plan.

As Harry and his crew were making plans to get into the High Instigator's office, I thought of the difference between his world and the real world. Outside the magical world there would be surveillance cameras. And a lesser character in our story would be a skilled hacker, fake out the cameras and they would break into the office unnoticed. Or Harry could just use a burner phone and call Sirius. But spells and floo powder and fireplaces are more magical. At least we find out that Sirius has indeed left the safehouse.

Alas, the old bat fooled even me with her spells and caught them in the act. And she gets more psycho by the chapter. Admitting to sending dementors after Harry and ready to Crucio! him, is, I'm quite sure, beyond normal disciplinary measures in the Ministry's or Hogwarts' student handbooks.

In the midst of this terrifying situation, Hermione thinks quickly on her feet. Is she stalling or does she have a real plan related to this story about Dumbledore's secret weapon? She told Umbridge what Umbridge wanted to hear.

So off we go into the final chapters. Fire up your Firebolt and come along for the ride.