Seven Hundred and Seventy Six Pages


That's how long "Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix" is.

I woke up early, intending to go out and get it. At six AM, I rang my parents, who were busy celebrating their Fortieth Wedding Anniversary. I must have sounded pretty bleary. I decided to not go down to Dymocks to get HP5 after all, so I slept for a while.

At about 1130, I wandered into Central to the Dymocks in Princes Building. To my small astonishment, there were no crowds there and there were plenty of books left. I had somewhat expected the books to fly off the shelves (well, not literally: "Accio HP5!"...). The manager there said that there had been a small queue at 7AM, when they opened, but there wasn't a great rush. I just strolled in, picked up a copy, chatted to the manager for a bit while paying for my copy and strolled back with my nose firmly pressed in Chapter One: Dudley Demented.

You can see the time above? I've just finished it. I did take a few breaks for eating, and other stuff, but mostly I've been ploughing my way through it all day.

So what did I think of it? Well, it's been obvious from about book 3 (Prisoner of Azkaban) on, that the series is growing up with Harry. It's getting darker and darker and the childlike innocence of the first two books, which are very black and white in moral terms, is replaced by the ambiguities of how the real world works. Book 4, Goblet of Fire had some dark moments, but it was a trilling canary of chirpy happiness compared to Order of the Phoenix. There's oppression and angst, thuggery and romance, misery and death in this volume.

So, who dies? Well, it's... Old Ben Kenobi. Or is that the wrong book? Page 160 got me going for a while though.

"Luke^WHarry, I am your father..."

Nope, there's nothing that cheap or hackneyed in it. There are a lot of questions answered which were raised in the last few books, and there are more questions asked of our hero. Maybe James wasn't quite the nice guy he was painted...

An excellent read, damn well written and deeply, deliciously, darkly subversive for a children's book. I would guess that JK Rowling taken a leaf out of the Terry Pratchett Guide for writing for young adults: "Never, ever be condescending. Your heroes are just regular people who happen to not be grown ups. They're not simpering innocent Enid Blytons archetypes." There are no 'lashings of ginger beer' in this world. There are lashings though, and some butterbeer.

Go buy it: Not that JK Rowling needs the money, but just to encourage good story-telling.

So, when's book 6 coming out? Next Tuesday?

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on June 21, 2003 10:24 PM.

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