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Focuses on Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. Lord Voldemort has risen again, but no one except Harry and the Order of the Phoenix (a secret society run by Albus Dumbledore to fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters) are aware that the Dark Lord is on the loose again. The Ministry of Magic believes that Harry is an attention-seeking liar, and Dumbledore a fool to believe him.
The book begins with Harry at Privet Drive, with his aunt and uncle. After a mysterious Dementor attack on Harry and his cousin Dudley, Harry is temporarily expelled from Hogwarts pending a hearing regarding his use of the Patronus Charm outside of school in a Muggle-inhabited area and in the presence of a Muggle. Members of the Order of the Phoenix come to the Dursleys' to rescue him about twenty-four hours later. He flies on his broomstick with the Order to 12 Grimmauld Place, the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix in London. The Weasleys, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Hermione are at headquarters, along with a number of people Harry doesn't know. On his first night, Sirius tells Harry about what Voldemort has been doing over the summer, hinting that Voldemort is looking for a weapon. Harry presses him, but Sirius can't tell him more because Harry is not part of the Order. Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys spend most of their days cleaning the dilapidated house that belonged to Sirius' parents, much to the displeasure of the resident house-elf, Kreacher. Harry attends his hearing at the ministry and becomes aware of how much the Ministry dislikes him for disturbing the peace. He is allowed to return to Hogwarts thanks to Dumbledore's help, but he is rather put off by the fact that Dumbledore neither spoke nor looked at Harry during the hearing. Harry also gets his first look at the Department of Mysteries on level nine of the Ministry. A few days after his acquittal, letters arrive from Hogwarts with Prefect badges for Ron and Hermione. During a party that night, Harry discovers that Mrs. Weasley is having nightmares about dead friends and family. Harry starts having dreams about locked doors and long windowless corridors.
On the Hogwarts Express, Harry catches up with old friends like Neville Longbottom and meets a rather odd 4th year named Luna Lovegood. He also has a very embarrassing encounter with Cho Chang, a girl he has a bit of a thing for. Ron and Hermione spend half the journey in the Prefects' carriage and discover that Draco Malfoy has also become a prefect. On his way up to the castle from the Hogwarts express, Harry discovers strange skeletal horses pulling the carriages rather than the usual invisible horses. He is even more alarmed to find that no one else can see them, except for Luna Lovegood, whom Harry is not so sure about. The Sorting Hat uses its song to encourage the school to be united and break down barriers in the future. Hagrid is mysteriously absent, and a substitute takes his place without explanation. The new DADA teacher is introduced, Professor Umbridge. Harry remembers that she was present at his ministry hearing. Umbridge gives a speech about magical education that makes Hermione very concerned but that no one else really listened to. When Harry proceeds up to Gryffindor Tower, he has a heated argument with fellow 5th year Seamus Finnigan, who accuses him of lying about Voldemort's rebirth.
The next morning, Harry discovers how hard his year is going to be with O.W.L.s coming up. Professor Umbridge informs them that they will not be performing any magic in her classes. They will only be learning the theory. She tells them that Harry and Dumbledore are lying to them to make them frightened. Harry becomes very angry and loses his temper. As a result, Umbridge gives him a week of detentions. McGonagall warns Harry to be careful around Umbridge. Harry will have to miss Keeper tryouts for the Quidditch team for the detention. Harry's first detention shows how sadistic Umbridge is; she forces him to write lines with a special quill that carves the letters into the back of his hand over and over, leaving a permanent scar. Harry discovers that Ron is going to try out for Keeper and refuses to tell Dumbledore about Umbridge's detentions. During his last detention, Harry's scar hurts when Umbridge touches him. He isn't sure what it means, so he decides to write to Sirius and ask about it. On the same night, Ron becomes Keeper. The next morning, the trio discovers that Sturgis Podmore, an Order member, was arrested for trying to get through a locked door at the Ministry. Ron's first Quidditch practice does not go well; it ends early with a nasty incident regarding the Quaffle, Ron, Katie Bell, and a Nosebleed Nougat (trick candy from Fred and George). Ron receives a letter from his estranged brother, Percy, warning him that affiliation with Harry may not be a good idea. Ron ignores it. Sirius appears in the fire and lets them know that Harry's scar probably isn't serious and that Hagrid will probably be back soon.
The next morning, the Daily Prophet publishes a large piece on Hogwarts and new educational reform. Umbridge is appointed "High Inquisitor", which means that she has the right to pass "Educational Decrees" to govern the students and staff at Hogwarts. She also has the right to inspect and fire any professors she finds unsuitable teachers begin to be inspected that same week. Harry gets into another argument with Umbridge and receives another week's worth of detentions. Angelina Johnson, the Quidditch captain, is not happy, neither is Professor McGonagall. Hermione discusses forming their own DADA class, because they are obviously not going to learn anything with Umbridge teaching them. She suggests that Harry teach anyone who wants to learn. Harry blows up, because he thinks that everyone else doesn't understand what Defense Against the Dark Arts is. Hermione asks him to at least think about it. A couple weeks later, Hermione brings up the subject again, and Harry decides to have a meeting to just see who's interested and test the water to see what this would entail. They meet in the Hog's Head, a rather shady bar in Hogsmeade; the turnout is much bigger than Harry expected, 27 including the trio. They talk about what they want to do and learn, and a possible meeting place (no one can think of anywhere yet). Before they leave, Hermione asks them to sign a piece of parchment so they know who all was there, and tells them that they shouldn't tell anyone about what they're doing.
On Monday morning, after the Hogsmeade weekend, an Educational Decree goes up, stipulating that no clubs or organizations (a group of 3 or more students that regularly meet) can exist without the approval of the High Inquisitor. Harry and Ron immediately think that someone from the meeting told, but Hermione tells them that if someone told, they'll know because she cursed the parchment they all signed. No one looks very different, so they assume she found out some other way. Angelina lets Harry and Ron know that she has to get permission for the Quidditch team too. Hedwig is intercepted and hurt while delivering a note from Sirius, which tells them he will appear in the fireplace that night. In Divination, they discover that Trelawney has been put on probation by Umbridge. Umbridge doesn't approve Gryffindor Quidditch immediately, but lets them suffer for a while. Sirius appears again in the fire, encouraging them to go forward with the Defense group. During their fireside chat, Umbridge's hand appears in the fire, trying to pull Sirius out. The trio realize that Umbridge intercepted Hedwig earlier. The next morning, Hermione expresses concern that Sirius may be encouraging them to be reckless because he's stuck in Grimmauld Place and wants to live vicariously through them. Harry and Ron immediately shout her down. Quidditch practice resumes, and at the end of the first practice, Harry's scar hurts again. This time, he feels an emotion that isn't his (anger) with the pain. He discovers that he can sense Voldemort's thoughts and feelings sometimes. Harry falls asleep in the common room, studying. He is woken by Dobby, who has an idea for a place for the Defense group to practice. Harry discovers the room of requirement, and they have their first lesson. They decide to call themselves the D.A., for Dumbledore's Army (Sirius mentioned that the reason Umbridge doesn't want them doing magic is because she and Fudge think Dumbledore is training the students for an army to overthrow the Ministry).
(to be continued)
Harry James Potter Born 31 July 1980. Boy wizard orphaned on Halloween night in 1981 when his parents were murdered by Lord Voldemort. This book discusses the unique connection created when Voldemort's killing curse failed to kill Harry. 5th Year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Born 1881, Died 1996. The only wizard that Voldemort ever feared, Dumbledore is elderly, but incredibly wise and energetic, with a great sense of humor. He is the leader of the Order of the Phoenix, and known as the most powerful wizard of the time. He defeated the Dark Wizard Grindlewald in 1945, and this book depicts a spectacular duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort, though neither are defeated.
Lord Voldemort aka Tom Marvolo Riddle Born 31 December 1926 died 2 March 1998. Also known as the Dark Lord, he lives in secret until the end of this book, when he is forced out of hiding by Harry and Dumbledore. His followers are known as Death Eaters. Nagini, his snake, plays an important role in this book. Throughout the book, he is searching for a prophesy that supposedly describes how to destroy Harry Potter, the only wizard who can destroy Voldemort. Voldemort is always searching for Harry obsessively so that he can finally finish what he started and destroy wizards' only hope of ever destroying Voldemort.
Ronald Bilius Weasley Born March 1, 1981. 2nd youngest of the Weasley clan, Ron is tall and gangly like his father. He has a very large appetite, and can sometimes be a little thick when compared to Hermione. He has bright red hair and freckles. He is also a 5th year at Hogwarts. He is often used as a comic relief character in this book, as it is very dark compared to the previous four. He is a member of the D.A.
Hermione Jean Granger Born 19 September 1980. Only child, muggle-born; her parents are dentists. She has frizzy brown hair and large teeth prior to book four, when she shrinks them. She is described as "the cleverest witch of her age" in everything except for Defense Against the Dark Arts. The D.A. is her idea. She truly loathes Rita Skeeter and Dolores Umbridge.
Some discrepancies regarding the birth/death dates. See "Additional Cannon" for more.
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Backstory of the author writing this particular book, real-world inspirations, issues the author ran into with the plot, etc.
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USA publication and reception
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How many languages into which it was translated, translated titles, publishers, how certain names translated, etc.
1st book not to have identical text in the British and American versions.
French: Harry Potter et L'Ordre du Phenix
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On birth/death dates: Hermione Granger: Books place birth in September of 1980, but later timelines suggest she was born in 1979. Ronald Weasley: Books place birth in March 1981, but later timelines suggest birth in 1980 Albus Dumbledore: According to the book timeline, he died in 1997; but J.K.R's website claims it was 1996. Possibly a typo.
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