Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling. It is the longest book in the series, and was released on 21 June 2003. The novel features Harry's struggles through his fifth year at Hogwarts, including the surreptitious return of Harry's nemesis Lord Voldemort, O.W.L. exams, awkward teenage love and an obstructive Ministry of Magic. The book has been made into a film, which was released in 2007.
Several weeks into the summer, Harry Potter has heard nothing from his friends or acquaintances from the wizard world. Finding himself walking down a street with his cousin Dudley, the two of them are attacked by a pair of Dementors. Harry drives them off with a Patronus Charm, and is surprised to learn that the Dursleys' elderly next-door neighbour Arabella Figg, is a Squib and has been keeping an eye on him on Albus Dumbledore’s orders. On returning home, he immediately receives a notice of expulsion from Hogwarts for using magic outside school. One night, an advance guard from the Order of the Phoenix arrives at the house and escorts Harry to their secret headquarters at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place in London, where Harry joins the Weasley family, Hermione Granger, and Harry’s godfather Sirius Black.
They tell him that Voldemort is building an army and is attempting to retrieve a "weapon," but is still moving in secret. In this, he is actually aided by the Ministry, since Minister Cornelius Fudge is conducting an extensive smear campaign against Harry, Dumbledore, and anyone else that says Voldemort's back. Knowing that Voldemort’s return would mean mass panic and then open war, Fudge prefers to listen to his paranoia and believe that Dumbledore is lying and attempting to supplant him as Minister.
A few days later, Arthur Weasley escorts Harry to his expulsion hearing, which Fudge has done everything in his power to slant against him, but testimony from Dumbledore and Mrs Figg confirms the presence of the Dementors, and Harry is found to have acted in self-defence.
Along the way to Hogwarts, on the Hogwarts express, Harry meets a girl named Luna Lovegood, whom no one likes because they think that she is crazy. At the welcome feast, the trio are surprised that their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts is Dolores Umbridge, a hostile Ministry official who presided at Harry's hearing. Hermione guesses, correctly, that her appointment is a sign that the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts: as a teacher, she forces the students to study magical theory out of textbooks, rather than practical defence methods (according to Sirius, Fudge is so paranoid that he now believes Dumbledore is recruiting students into a private army). A short time later, she is appointed as High Inquisitor, with the power to evaluate and dismiss other teachers, and impose strict rules and regulations on students.
Underneath her cloying façade, Umbridge imposes sadistic punishments on “naughty” students, her favourite being making them write lines with blood quills (which cut the words into the skin when used, and uses the writer's own blood as ink). She focuses particularly on Harry, as part of Fudge’s campaign to silence his “lies” about Voldemort’s return. Her punishments also include banning Harry from the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
She is also intensely bigoted, harbouring deep loathing for "half-breeds," such as centaurs, werewolves, and Rubeus Hagrid (a half-giant). In short order, she dismisses Sybill Trelawney as incompetent and places Hagrid on probation. Although Dumbledore is unable to prevent Trelawney's dismissal, he invokes his authority to allow her to remain in the castle and appoints a new Divination teacher — the centaur, Firenze.
Hagrid was absent for half the year, he reveals to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, because of a diplomatic mission to the giants on Dumbledore’s orders, to try to dissuade them from joining Voldemort. His mission was a failure, but he also reveals, somewhat shamefacedly, that he secretly brought one of the giants back – his half-brother Grawp, who he has been keeping tied up in the Forbidden Forest and trying to "civilise."
Because Umbridge’s lessons are useless both for passing their O.W.L.s and for preparing for the very real threat of Voldemort, Hermione decides that they need to learn the subject themselves. Harry is surprised when she proposes him as a teacher, but she reminds him that his adventures of the last four years at Hogwarts have actually made him an authority on the subject. Several other students from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff likewise sign up to the clandestine group, named "Dumbledore's Army" in mockery of Fudge’s paranoia.
Under Harry's tutoring, the group learns defensive magic. The last meeting before Christmas, Cho Chang stays after, and Harry, hoping to receive a Merry Christmas, gets an even bigger surprise -- a kiss. When they return to Hogwarts after Christmas break, Harry asks her to go with him to Hogsmeade on Valentine's Day. However, while they are there, Harry mistakenly makes Cho think he likes Hermione. Cho breaks up with him.
To combat the Ministry's smear campaign against Harry and Dumbledore, Hermione blackmails yellow journalist Rita Skeeter into writing an interview with Harry about his witnessing Voldemort's return. Ravenclaw student Luna Lovegood's father publishes the story in his magazine, The Quibbler. Furious, Umbridge bans the Quibbler from the school, but the story spreads rapidly, garnering support for Harry. Harry and Cho get back together.
Midway through the year, the school is alarmed to hear news of a mass prison break from Azkaban Prison, when ten of Voldemort’s most powerful Death Eaters escape. Many wizards are not satisfied with the Ministry’s official explanation, and begin to come around to Dumbledore and Harry’s claims, while the D.A. members are inspired to work even harder.
Eventually Umbridge's Inquisitorial Squad, comprising mostly Slytherin students, uncover the D.A. meetings, helped by a member of the D.A. named Marietta, who told Umbridge about the meetings. To protect Harry and other students from reprisals, Dumbledore claims that he organized the group. Confronted by Fudge, Percy Weasley, Umbridge and Aurors (John Dawlish and Kingsley Shacklebolt), Dumbledore easily overpowers them and is whisked away by his phoenix, Fawkes. Cho, who is Marietta's friend, gets mad at Harry for accusing Marietta and breaks up with him again.
Umbridge becomes Headmistress and enacts even stricter rules, firing Hagrid. The disenchanted Weasley twins revolt, unleashing relentless magical chaos throughout the school, while the staff purposely does nothing to help Umbridge regain control. The twins are caught, but summoning their confiscated brooms, they fly away, leaving Hogwarts to open their own joke shop.
Throughout the year, Harry has disturbing dreams about running down a hallway and attempting to open a door in the Ministry's Department of Mysteries. On Christmas Eve, he dreams he is a snake attacking Ron's father. Mr Weasley is indeed found injured at the Ministry, suffering from severe venomous snakebites, causing Harry to fear that Voldemort is possessing him. In response, Dumbledore has Severus Snape teach Harry Occlumency to block his mind from intrusion, but their mutual animosity ends their lessons prematurely. In the course of these lessons, Harry inadvertently sees one of Snape’s memories from his school years, and is shocked to see his father James Potter bullying Snape and acting as arrogantly as Snape always said that he did. He also notices (but is not surprised) that Snape refers to his mother as a mudblood, despite the fact that she defended him.
In the middle of his last O.W.L. exam, Harry has a vision of Sirius being tortured at the Department of Mysteries, although Hermione suspects it may be a trap. Harry, with help from various members of Dumbledore's Army, attempts to contact Sirius at Grimmauld Place via the Floo Network in Umbridge's office fireplace, but he is caught. Believing that he is attempting to contact the fugitive Dumbledore, Umbridge interrogates Harry, who swears he does not know where he is. Umbridge summons Snape to bring truth serum, but Snape says he has run out. Before Snape leaves her office, Harry desperately tells him in code about his vision of Sirius.
Reaching the end of her patience, Umbridge announces that she plans to use the illegal torture curse on him. She is sure that no one will find out or even care, and reveals that it was she and not Voldemort who sent the Dementors to attack him, in an attempt to frame or silence him. As she raises her wand to administer the curse, Hermione pretends to crack and confesses Dumbledore has hidden a powerful weapon in the Forbidden Forest. She leads Harry and Umbridge into the forest where they encounter the centaurs. Umbridge foolishly insults them and an angry centaur carries her off screaming into the woods. However, the centaurs are just as hostile toward Harry and Hermione, but they are saved when Grawp crashes onto the scene and they escape amid the chaos. Running back to the castle, they encounter Ron, and D.A. members Ginny, Neville and Luna, who insist on accompanying them. The students fly to London on the school's Thestrals.
Reaching the room in his dreams, The Hall of Prophecy, Harry sees that Sirius is not there, but notices a glass ball containing some kind of record, that has been labelled with his name. As soon as he takes it down off the shelf, a squad of Death Eaters surrounds them, including many of the recent escapees, and led by Lucius Malfoy. Malfoy reveals that Voldemort planted a false vision to lure Harry to the Ministry, as he is the only one (besides Voldemort himself) who can remove the prophecy from its shelf. The prophecy is "the weapon" Voldemort has been after the entire year.
Harry and his friends heroically defend themselves, putting up a far tougher fight than the dark wizards expected, but are outmatched. As they are nearly defeated, members of the Order arrive, including Sirius. During the ensuing battle, the glass sphere that Voldemort was seeking is accidentally dropped and shatters, and the record is lost. However, just as Dumbledore arrives in person to help, Sirius is blasted with a spell by his Death Eater cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange, and falls backwards through a mysterious veiled archway. Lupin restrains Harry from going after him; Sirius is dead.
The Death Eaters are captured except for Bellatrix, whom Harry pursues into the Ministry’s atrium. Bellatrix is far more powerful, but is taken aback with horror when Harry taunts her that the prophecy has been destroyed, and their mission has failed. In rage, Voldemort appears in person and attacks Harry, but is confronted by Dumbledore. The two duel furiously, but each is unable to finish the other. In an attempt to break the stalemate, Voldemort possesses Harry and tortures him, hoping that Dumbledore will kill Harry to destroy Voldemort. However, in the midst of his torture, Harry re-visits his grief for Sirius, and Voldemort is unexpectedly repelled by the emotion. Fudge and the Aurors arrive in time to see the Dark Lord before he Disapparates, taking Bellatrix with him. Fudge finally admits that Voldemort has returned. Rita Skeeter's story is reprinted in the Daily Prophet, exonerating Harry and Dumbledore.
Speaking alone to Harry in his office, Dumbledore reveals that he has kept many things hidden from Harry over the past five years. For instance, why he placed the baby Harry with the Dursleys and insists that Harry return to their home every summer, knowing what abusive guardians they are; the reason is, Dumbledore knew Voldemort would return one day, and that Harry would need the most powerful protection possible until he came of age. When his mother died to protect him, this created a powerful protective charm; as long as Harry stays at the house of his mother’s blood-relative long enough to call it home, it shields him in a way even Voldemort cannot overcome.
The reason Dumbledore says he has kept this and other secrets hidden for so long is because he has been reluctant to burden Harry with the most terrible secret: the contents of the prophecy. The prophecy was originally made to him by Sybill Trelawney, while he was interviewing her for her teaching position, and unexpected by either of them:
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ...
One of Voldemort’s followers overheard the first half of the prophecy, and reported it to him. Although there were actually two newborn boys whose parents fit the description in the prophecy (the other being Neville Longbottom), Dumbledore believes that Voldemort chose to attack Harry because he was a half-blood like himself, while Neville is a pureblood. In doing so, Voldemort inadvertently “marked him as his equal.” According to the prophecy, either Harry or Voldemort must destroy the other one day.
Finally, Dumbledore confesses that he did not make Harry a prefect, despite his many worthy achievements, simply because Dumbledore did not want to burden him with more responsibilities. Dumbledore reveals that he cares very much about Harry, even to an unwise degree – Voldemort has always believed love to be a weakness that can be exploited, hence his use of Sirius to lure Harry to the Ministry.
Dumbledore is reinstated at Hogwarts, and immediately rescinds all of Umbridge’s decrees. Umbridge herself is rescued from the forest by Dumbledore, and appears to still be in shock. Professor Trelawney is also reinstated, though Firenze stays on as well, since he has been expelled from the centaur herd.
Shortly before school ends, Harry seeks out Nearly Headless Nick. He asks if Sirius can come back as a ghost, but Sir Nick says, it is only those fearing death that remain as earthbound spirits; "he will have...gone on."
Still grieving, Harry finds Luna hanging notes in the hall asking for the return of her missing possessions, since students have been taking and hiding them as a practical joke. He remembers that Luna, like him, can see Thestrals, which are invisible except to people who have witnessed death. He asks, and she replies that she saw her mother die, the result of an experimental spell gone wrong. However, Luna appears serene, and says she knows she will see her mother again; she and others who have died are just behind the veiled arch. Harry feels comforted knowing that he may see Sirius again and heads off to finish packing.
At King's Cross station, several Order members are there to greet Harry and the Dursleys. Alastor Moody warns Uncle Vernon that if Harry is maltreated, they will intervene. Harry leaves to head back to 4 Privet Drive with the Dursleys, stopping once to look back towards his two best friends, Ron and Hermione.
In a Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman, Rowling reported that she was "reduced to tears" when she killed off a significant character in the book, despite rewriting the death scene several times. She added that although her husband suggested she undo the character's death to stop her sadness, she needed to be "a ruthless killer". However, Rowling revealed in a 2007 interview that she had originally planned to kill off Arthur Weasley in this book, but ultimately could not bear to do it. Three days before the book's release, betting firm Ladbrokes stopped taking bets as to the identity of the character to die, saying that people already knew and that it would be a "licence to lose money". Scottish bookmaker Blue Square also took bets on the identity of the killed character, with Hagrid the favourite at 7/2 odds, followed by Sirius Black at 4/1 and Professors Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore at 5/1.
In another interview when asked if there was anything she would go back and change about the seven novels, Rowling replied that she would have edited Phoenix more, as she feels it is too long.
The first official foreign translation of the book appeared in Vietnamese on 21 July 2003, when the first of twenty-two installments was released. The first official European translation appeared in Serbia and Montenegro in Serbian, by the official publisher Narodna Knjiga, in early September 2003. Other translations appeared later, e.g. in November 2003 in Dutch and German. The English language version has topped the best seller list in France, while in Germany and The Netherlands an unofficial distributed translation process has been started on the net.
In the Czech Republic a college student translated the book in July/September, long before its intended release date, and one 14-year old schoolboy made it available on his private website. This led to confusion, with many newspapers stating that this unofficial translation was done by group of teenagers and the official Czech publisher (Albatros) announcing that they would sue the schoolboy. Later they retracted this announcement.
The Canadian version of the book is made from recycled paper and saved the equivalent of 29,650 trees in the initial print run of one million books. J. K. Rowling comments on this in a message written specifically for the Canadian edition of the book.Bloomsbury (United Kingdom, Australia, Canada etc.)