Great big angsty spoilers.
I think Order of the Phoenix gets a bad rap. In my informal polls, it was constantly showing its face in the Least Favorite category. My pollsters claimed it was too whiny, that Harry needed to shut up and deal with his business. While I certainly agree that the Harry we see in this book is quite the complainy brat who needs to put on his big boys pants, I also cannot fault him for said complaining. He has a LOT to deal with coming off of the events from GoF. I'm not saying there weren't better ways for him to act, but still... give Harry a break!
See, I sort of love OotP. It was the first of the books I had to actually wait for, so the experience of getting it was the first time I felt a kindred spirit to the other Potterheads out there. I was desperate to read it, and I got duped into ordering it from Amazon rather than going to the bookstore to get it. The book didn't show up at my house until almost 4 pm, and I had company to entertain at the time. I didn't get to read any of it until that night before bed, and I read most of it the following day. Oh, I was so so mad, but I definitely learned my lesson. You'll hear more of the book buying tales of HBP and DH in a few entries' time.
You still with me? I do love my tangents. Anyway, like I said, I sort of love OotP. I do understand all the complaints, and I have a few of my own, but I just love how totally dark it is. Everything is just so morose, from the beginning where Harry is feeling so isolated to DEMENTORS IN LITTLE WHINGING to his time at Grimmauld Place and the sadness he feels there and finally to his fear over his hearing. So much happens before they even leave for school, adding to the extreme density of this story. This is the longest of the books, coming in at a whopping 870 pages for the US version, and it's chock-full of details from start to finish. So many details, a good reread REALLY helps to accentuate the important ones.
With so much information to take in, this entry is hard to keep focused. First, I'll talk about what I love. Again, I know I'm entering the broken record zone, but I do love the Weasleys, ESPECIALLY Fred and George. Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes! And, Dumbledore's Army! It's here to stay! Despite their main reason for creating the group, I absolutely love how the students form Dumbledore's Army. They do need to know defense spells to protect themselves, but I think it's cool that they all get excited about learning. That doesn't happen often. And Harry finally getting to mack on Cho Chang, only to have the world's most cringe-inducing date and end up as nothings. Meh, I never really liked her anyway.
One of the things I don't love is (duh) Umbridge. Holy poo on toast, does that lady blow! She is AWFUL. Nothing about her is redeemable to me- NOTHING. I cannot abide her in any way. She's not misunderstood or broken or sad. She's just a mean lady who is mean because she thinks she is better than everyone else. No, thank you. When she finally gets carted off by the centaurs, I practically cheered. I know that's the intent, but still, SEE YOU NEXT TIME.
Another thing I don't love is... the death of Sirius. Literally, when I first read it, I screamed, "Oh no!" My roommate at the time was reading the book in her bedroom, and she yelled back, "Crap, who died?" It is such a painful read, such a dissatisfying moment. It is quite heartbreaking for him to disappear through the creepy veil, never to return again. The closest thing Harry's ever had to a father, snuffed out in a moment. Yet another significant and terrible death at the hands of the Death Eaters. This will surely not be the last...
Again, in times like these, it's no wonder Harry's pissed.
FAVORITE CHAPTER: The Department of Mysteries
Come on, this is epic. This is real life awesome sauce. Part of the reason I like this book is because of this sequence, where the kids get to show how they can fight, how they can stand up for themselves. Granted, it causes a crapton of problems for the Order, but it still kicks ass. I also like all of the allusions to the things that are studied in the Department- time, love, thoughts. It's all written so well, it plays out like a movie in my head every time I read it. Love it.
FAVORITE MOMENT: Snape's Worst Memory
Okay, I know that's a chapter. But, I'm counting the whole memory as a moment. I loved the opportunity to see the Marauders in their school days, especially through Harry's eyes. I also love how the reader knows it's Snape's worst memory, but he never states to Harry that it IS. I know that Snape will have a redemption, and I know that lots of people end up loving Snape, but I still have a hard time with it. This scene is one of the only times I actually feel sorry for him. Because his own pride and idiocy caused his worst memory...
Half-Blood Prince time!! Two weeks until the movie! Man, I'd better get reading!