Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
Every summer since 1998, I have gone through and reread the entirety of the Harry Potter series in preparation for the next book. When there were no books left, I continue to reread them in preparation for the movies. Now that there are no more movies, I continue the tradition of rereading it every summer because, well, why the fuck not? This year’s reread was pushed back slightly, owing to the death of my childhood in the form of a full-time job and two part time jobs. But, alas, here I am having reread Order of the Phoenix (hence abbreviated OotP) and having my childhood rekindled.
In the fifth installment of the Harry Potter sage, we join the fifteen-year-old wizard as he is faced with expulsion from his favorite place in the entire world: Hogwarts. After last summer, where he saw the return of You-Know-Who and the death of a fellow classmate, Harry has spent months isolated from the wizarding world with nothing more than vague letters from his friends Ron and Hermione. While avoiding his family one night, Harry and his non-magic cousin Dudley find themselves face to face with literally soul-sucking creatures called dementors, which Harry fights off with a defensive spell. This results in the Ministry of Magic calling for his expulsion. During his trial Harry meets Dolores Umbridge, a ministry worker that goes on to become the most terrible defense against the dark arts teacher Hogwarts has ever seen. Harry evades expulsion. He returns to school goes and must face Professor Umbridge and her quest to reform Hogwarts exactly to ministry standards and beliefs, including the belief that Harry is a liar about Lord Voldemort’s return. Through public shaming and scrutiny, distrust and loyalty, Harry continues his journey towards sharing his truth and stopping Lord Voldemort in his tracks.
This book teaches a lot about what it means to stand up for what you believe is true, which I think is an immensely important lesson for people to learn. In this day and age, we are faced with the biased media reports, rumors about each other, and giving in to what the majority is into instead of sticking to what we know to be right at their core. Harry knows exactly what he saw the previous summer. He is publicly shamed and even people he thought were his friends have turned against him. However, he sets an example by never giving up in his mission to get people to understand what happened. It also shows that not all people in authority can be trusted and that we need to begin to think critically about what we are being taught. Rowling’s portrayal of Umbridge gives a prime example of an everyday evil character. It shows that not all bad guys are murderers and thieves. Bad guys can take the form of racism, biased teachers, and an unfair justice system. The quality and style of writing are ideal for adolescents. It is written in a speaking voice that a typical student would relate to, with just dark enough of an element to make them think of how the world at large effects them.
I absolutely love rereading this book. I have found that every year I discover something different to appreciate. As a kid, I had no friends and nobody ever listened to me. (I thought myself to be quite “tragically misunderstood.”) When I read this in 2003, I related to Harry being an outcast because people believed he was lying. I sympathized more with that than I do now. During this reread, I found myself paying more attention to the specifics of how Umbridge operated as a government endorsed educator. It struck me much more significantly now that there are really teachers like her out there. There are teachers who will only teach you what you need to know to pass an exam without offering any real world application. It baffles me. It always has, but after having taken education classes at CSU and being close to current teachers and soon-to-be student teachers, it is more evident than ever that there are teachers that really aim to hit a numerical goal on a piece of paper.
Beverage: Rum Weasley and the Demintor
It’s about to get delicious up in here. A couple weeks ago I ran across a Post that gave same great Harry Potter themed shot ideas. On that link, there are six listed in total, but I’m broke so I only made two of them. This week we tried out the Rum Weasley and the Demintor. I made some slight changes to the recipes based on liquor availability.
2 oz. spiced rum
1 oz. mandarin vodka
1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. peppermint schnapps
The Rum Weasley was nice. I’m not a huge lover of citrus based things, but the mix with the spiced rum made the citrus taste more of a kick than a flavor. The Demintor, though, was DELICIOUS. Five stars right there. I literally had three of them. It tastes like Christmas in a cup and makes you feel as warm as sitting next to the fireplace. It goes down smooth and doesn’t leave an after taste.
Total shots taken: 1 Rum Weasley, 3 Demintors, an 2 shots of Firebolt (Fireball, hahaha get it?).
It’s currently Banned Book Week, so tune in next week to find out what sorts of challenged novels I got into!