sarnath: Fai from Tsubasa reservoir chronicle (Default)
[personal profile] sarnath
So, Order of the Phoenix, then. Cedric's death in GoF was definitely a turning point in the books; from here on, death was present in a whole different way. I remember being shocked, not just by his death but by the fact that it didn't carry any great meaning. It was a horribly sad, meaningless death, so perfect for the resurrection of Voldemort.

Anyway, I found myself starting to make little notes and observations, so I might as well post them (don't know how far I'll get or what will catch my interest).



So this book is Harry at is darkest, in many ways. He's a mean little bastard in the first chapter, that's for sure! Ah, I love him so much. XD

Someone said in an old piece of meta that I think was published just after OotP came out that Harry is still a prisoner, even after nearly completely freeing himself from the Dursley's control. That he now can roam the neighbourhood doesn't matter; he still has no access to the wizarding world. I think they had a point - it's evident how trapped he feels and how unafraid he is of the Dursleys - but I also think that he's been freeing himself from the gradually since the first book. Also, that he's still not completely managed to do it.

The chapter starts off with a really nice weather parallel to Harry's situation: draining, stagnant, and devoid of activity in every way. And Harry is hiding outside outside behind the bushes under the window trying to hear the news.

He was a skinny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who had the pinched, slightly unhealthy look of someone who has grown a lot in a short space of time. His jeans were torn and dirty, his T-shirt baggy and faded, and the soles of his trainers were peeling away from the uppers.

I've always pictured him as sort of weird-looking kid, with that thin face, large eyes and wild black hair. Here he's fifteen after what seems like a growth spurt, and he probably looks sort of uneven. We never get his height relative to anyone else after GoF, for some reason (where professor Trelawney talks about his "mean stature" and Ron jokes about midgets in glasses), but he seems to grow like everybody else, so I tend to imagine him normal but below average.

The Dursleys are as unpleasant as always and happy that they can't see him, but I also think it's around here where it becomes even more apparent that they're not being good for Dudley either.

Every day this summer had been the same: the tension, the expectation, the temporary relief, and then mounting tension again ...

He's also been scrounging newspapers. He's tense, worried, and unhappy, and this is actually one of my greatest frustrations too; not being told anything. I think practically everything bad that happens in this book is because people refuse to tell Harry what's going on.

A loud, echoing crack broke the sleepy silence like a gunshot

making Harry jump up and hit his head; he's on a hair trigger, and rightly so, considering what we later find out the sound actually was!

Eyes streaming, he swayed, trying to focus on the street to spot the source of the noise, but he had barely staggered upright when two large purple hands reached through the open window and closed tightly around his throat.

It's easy to forget how physical all of the Dursleys are with him sometimes - there's an example in an earlier book where Petunia tries to hit him with a skillet - even though he's not systematically beaten. But apparently he still has some sort of accidental magic protection!

Uncle Vernon yelped and released Harry as though he had received an electric shock. Some invisible force seemed to have surged through his nephew, making him impossible to hold.

Also, he's most definitely not afraid; rather the opposite! No compulsion about being a sarky little bastard, that's for sure.

‘Listening to the news! Again?

‘Well, it changes every day, you see,’ said Harry,


Seriously, I love that part of him. Especially as he's usually so deadpan about it.

Then he wanders off, thinking he'll "pay the price for his rudeness" later, and

Harry was sure the cracking noise had been made by someone Apparating or Disapparating. It was exactly the sound Dobby the house-elf made when he vanished into thin air.

But then he starts to question his perceptions, again caught in hopelessness and frustration. He's thirsting for magical company, and I'm completely with him on the letters from Ron and Hermione ("We’re quite busy but I can’t give you details here ... There’s a fair amount going on, we’ll tell you everything when we see you ...") because they're practically teasing him with all that's going on when what they are actually doing is cleaning house and not knowing much more than Harry. Which they would have been able to tell him, honestly! Perhaps I'm being unfair, but I just really hate not knowing, so I get all frustrated on fictional characters's behalf, haha.

Too bad Harry's frustration makes him throw away the Daily Prophet without reading, though...

Of course, the closest thing to a parent he has, Sirius, is no great help, though more consoling.

Nevertheless, it was quite galling to be told not to be rash by a man who had served twelve years in the wizard prison, Azkaban, escaped, attempted to commit the murder he had been convicted for in the first place, then gone on the run with a stolen Hippogriff.

Harry, I love you.

Harry was not remotely afraid of his cousin any more but he still didn’t think that Dudley learning to punch harder and more accurately was cause for celebration. Neighbourhood children all around were terrified of him – even more terrified than they were of ‘that Potter boy’ who, they had been warned, was a hardened hooligan

Doesn't seem as if the Dursleys give off all the normal vibes that they would wish, with two delinquents in their home!

it would be really fun to watch Dudley’s dilemma, to taunt him, watch him, with him powerless to respond ... and if any of the others tried hitting Harry, he was ready – he had his wand. Let them try ... he’d love to vent some of his frustration on the boys who had once made his life hell.

Vicious little thing, isn't he? But he resists calling after them, in the end. It's significant, I think, that he only fantasises about responding to what they'd do, and not seeking them out to attack. No, he wants to seek out to provoke.

They part ways with "big D", and Harry joins him (since Vernon threatened him with being locked in the shed if he came home too late, i.e. after Dudley).

‘Cool name,’ said Harry, grinning and falling into step beside his cousin. ‘But you’ll always be “Ickle Diddykins” to me.

And onwards with:

Did he say you look like a pig that’s been taught to walk on its hind legs? ’Cause that’s not cheek, Dud, that’s true.

And:

It gave Harry enormous satisfaction to know how furious he was making Dudley; he felt as though he was siphoning off his own frustration into his cousin, the only outlet he had.

He's being a right bastard, but I kind of enjoy this side of Harry (have done ever since he nearly broke his ribs from trying not to laugh at Dudley in his Smeltings uniform in the first book).

But Dudley has some unexpected ammunition!

“Don’t kill Cedric! Don’t kill Cedric!” Who’s Cedric – your boyfriend?’

‘I – you’re lying,’ said Harry automatically. But his mouth had gone dry. He knew Dudley wasn’t lying – how else would he know about Cedric?


Here's an example of what I was talking about in my previous post about normalisation displacements (er... well, that's what I'm calling it for the moment); Harry isn't bothered by being accused of having a boyfriend, and won't start proclaiming how he's not gay left and right. A clue that it isn't a big deal in the wizarding world? There are hardly any hints about the attitudes towards same-sex couples otherwise.

But then, of course, trouble finds him, (as per usual). Those Dementors really are creepy. But I love how it's the faces of Ron and Hermione that makes it possible for Harry to call his patronus this time! And ending the chapter is the revelation of Mrs Figg knowing about the wizarding world.

Chapter two!

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