Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
By JK Rowling
Following the encounter with Voldermort in which Cedric Diggory lost his life, Harry Potter is back in Muggleland with his aunt and uncle. Now, forced to use magic to save himself and his cousin Dudley from the Dementors, he is whisked away to his godfather Sirius’s house in London. The Black family has a sinister history, but Sirius is trying to make up for it by using the house as headquarters of Order of the Phoenix, last defence in the fight against Voldermort’s return.
The problem is, no one else in the magic world thinks the Dark Lord is still out there. When Harry talks about his experience in the graveyard, no one believes him. His troubles deepen when, charged with using magic outside of Hogwarts, he is brought before a tribunal at the ministry. Although cleared and allowed to go back to school, the danger is far from over. Hogwarts is gradually being taken over by a sinister regime which seeks to oust headmaster Albus Dumbledore and those loyal to him.
Dolores Umbridge arrives at the school as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Her methods are oppressive and her punishments sadistic. Eventually, Umbridge is appointed as Head and High Inquisitor. She bans clubs and small gatherings, forcing Harry and his friends, already contending with their OWLS, to set up their own secret defence group, known unofficially as Dumbledore’s Army.
Harry’s personal difficulties are compounded by his visions, and by the bullying of Professor Snape, charged by Dumbledore with teaching him how to control his mind.
The climax of Order of the Phoenix has some very dark, adult themes, making it not only the longest Potter novel, but the grimmest by far.
Great stuff for the middle-aged (and more) wishing to recapture their schooldays!