Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Volume 7 of the Harry Potter series is nearing it's revealing. As I've noted, my copy is in the mail -- which likely means a Monday arrival. But, we saw the movie -- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- today!

It's been a bit of time since I read the fifth book in the series, so I didn't go into the movie with all the details fresh in my mind -- which is probably a good thing since a movie like this must compress the story down to manageable size. As I watched, though, I began to remember the plot line of a book that had moved a step further toward that final showdown that is likely revealed in the soon to be read book.

Deserving of its PG13 rating this isn't a movie for small children. The one major death of course is Sirius Black, and Harry's relatioship to Sirius gets greater texture in the film/book. Dumbledore plays a more remote but important role, and the three central characters take center stage, and Harry becomes not just hero but teacher as well.

The story takes furter into this battle of good and evil, with a new movement emerging -- the Order of the Phoenix -- to do battle against the evil doers. In another reminder that things are not always what they seem, Severus Snape seems at least on the service to be on the side of the good, and yet he struggles with his own relationship with Harry.

Dolores Umbridge is the character who becomes Harry's nemesis. She becomes the latest defense against the dark arts teacher, but her goal is not to teach the children but to keep them from joining together in support of Dumbledore, who is at odds with the Ministry of Magic. Whereas Snape is always dressed in black and seems creepy, Umbridge appears jovial and upbeat, but dressed in pink with an office decorated in pink, and with walls covered with those picture/plates (of cats), she is revealed to be cruel and even Sadistic. She, of course gets what's coming to her!

What is central to this telling of the story is the importance of community. Harry feels alone, with a quest that he must carry himself. But at every turn it is Ron, Hermoine, Neville, Jenny, and even Luna who stand by his side. He becomes their leader and their teacher -- forming Dumbledore's Army.

But one of the plot lines here is the Minister of Magic's state of "denial." Despite all the evidence in front of him, he's convinced that Voldemort hasn't returned and that Harry and Dumbledore are liars working as part of a plot to over throw him. And yet, by taking this tack, he puts everyone in danger and lets the Deatheaters free to work for the restoration of Voldemort to power. Since the series is not yet complete -- we know that Harry has been able to vanquish his foe.

Is it a perfect movie? Of course not. But it is a good retelling of an important volume in the Harry Potter series -- If you've not yet seen it -- do so immediately!!!

2 comments:

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

My oldest daughter, Molly, is having her 12th birthday party today and, thankfully, UPS delivered Deathly Hollows this morning! Now, I just have to wait until she finishes! Molly's birthday isn't until Wed. (25th), but we'll be at the Baptist Peace Fellowship's summer conference. Doubtless, she will bring a certain Hogwarts' student along.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I left for Texas this morning, so I'll have to await my return. Hopefully my son will be done by then so I can find out who done it!