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Literature: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

"Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything."
Albus Dumbledore (to Harry) and the Teaser for the book

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the Harry Potter series. Published June 21, 2003 after the longest gap between Potter books - three years. Some impatient fans speculated that Rowling was suffering from Writer's Block, but this was not the case - She simply felt she needed a break after the breakneck pace of writing the first four books, and had to play catchup to put in plot threads that Executive Meddling had cut from earlier books. For the rest of the series there were only two-year gaps between books.

Voldemort's back, but the Ministry of Magic is in denial, so they decide the best solution is to start a Government Conspiracy and cover up all the evidence. Then they send one of their own, Dolores Umbridge, to Hogwarts to take over. At the end an even more major supporting character is Killed Off for Real, officially signaling that from now on Anyone Can Die.

This entry was in the works longer than any other book in the series besides the first one. In the three-year gap between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, speculation flew, Fanfics such as The Draco Trilogy reigned, the franchise took off as a global entertainment brand (including the film adaptations for the first two books released)... and expectations soared. After all, Goblet of Fire had ended with Voldemort finally regaining his powers. Surely the series would become way more awesome with Voldemort returned to his former glory.

Character Development for Ginny and Neville also contribute to the polarization. Harry also stops being a Knight in Shining Armor, as his personal flaws are brought to light.

Followed by Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tropes exclusive to this book or at least especially prominent:

  • Adults Are Useless: Throughout the book, Harry feels this way because the adults tend to keep him in the dark about what is happening, not to mention that the Ministry spends most of its energy making sure Harry and Dumbledore shut up about Voldemort by any means necessary. Subverted in the end when its explained to him they had very, very good reasons for keeping him in the dark — namely, Voldemort has figured out how to read Harry's thoughts —, and Harry's own plan backfired spectacularly because Voldemort had also figured out how to influence his thoughts. That said, Dumbledore concedes to Harry that he, Dumbledore, could have handled the situation better and allowed Harry to get more help, and misunderstood how Voldemort was trying to manipulate him.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Throughout the book, Harry doesn't learn that speaking his mind or telling the truth about Voldemort around Umbridge is only going to get him into trouble. McGonagall calls him out on it at one point.
  • Agent Mulder: Luna Lovegood
  • Analogy Backfire: After Dumbledore gets ousted from Hogwarts, during Harry's career consultation meeting with McGonagall where Umbridge is also present, Umbridge makes more than one attempt to disparage Harry's desire to become an Auror, eventually going so far as to state he "has as much chance of becoming an Auror as Dumbledore has of ever returning to this school", to which McGonagall responds, "A very good chance, then."
  • Anchored Ship: Harry and Cho. Her emotional issues over Cedric's death make it too difficult for her to be in a relationship. The end result is a Type 2A. Not to mention that Harry, at that point in time, didn't have the emotional maturity to try and work Cho through her problems — instead, he gets angry at her for always wanting to talk about Cedric, which made things a lot more difficult for them. Harsher in Hindsight, in that if they had both waited until they were both more stable emotionally, they could have gotten together and had a happy relationship.
  • Angrish: Harry being unable to finish sentences while tearing apart Dumbledore's office after Sirius is killed.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Harry is hit with this after the Dementor attack. The Ministry even declares him expelled from Hogwarts until Dumbledore reminds them that THEY had overstepped their authority and it's kind of his job to decide who's expelled from his own school.
  • Artistic License - Astronomy: During the O.W.L.s astronomy finals (done at midnight on the Astronomy tower) the book has the students looking for the constellation Orion in June - Orion is behind the sun in June, so you couldn't see it even if you wanted to; and looking for Venus at midnight, which being the next planet closer to the sun is always well beneath the horizon at midnight.
  • Ascended Extra: Mrs. Figg, the Crazy Cat Lady glimpsed briefly in Philosopher's Stone turns out to be a Squib — a mundane child of magical parents, who retains the ability to see the magical world — and to have been keeping an eye on Harry for years.)
  • Asshole Victim: Umbridge becomes this when she is kidnapped by a pack of centaurs after foolishly insulting them to their faces. They don't actually kill her, but whatever it is that they did was very nasty and the experience left Umbridge traumatized.
    • Montague as well - he is the victim of Fred and George's cruelest prank to date (one which almost kills him). If he hadn't been a dickhead then the Twins' actions (and almost sociopathic lack of remorse) would have sent them skimming over the moral event horizon.
  • Assurance Backfire: When Harry is worried for his sanity, because he suddenly sees skeletal horses pulling the Hogwarts carriages, and nobody else can, Cloud Cuckoo Lander Luna Lovegood tells him that she can see them too, and he's just as sane as she is, and he is less than reassured.
  • Astrologer: Firenze and other centaurs.
  • Badass Grandpa: Dumbledore. Although this is well known in the previous books, this is the book where he truly confirms it, as it's the first time he appears in combat when he battles with Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic.
  • Bad Dreams: Harry, displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Batman Gambit: Voldemort luring Harry to the Department of Mysteries by making it seem that Sirius was in danger. He first attempted to lure him there by simply showing him the DoM and the Hall of Prophecy, counting on Harry's natural curiosity, but Harry had no idea there was a prophecy about him in the first place.
  • Battle Interrupting Shout: When Snape and Sirius are on the verge of dueling, Harry places himself between them, which makes little difference until the Weasley family walks in.
  • Beef Bandage: Hagrid does this using dragon meat.
  • Berserk Button: Of a sort: badmouthing her father or The Quibbler appears to be one for Luna, although she isn't the type to fly into a rage. But it does cause a major change in demeanor, which, compared to her normal dreamy, imperturbable personality, is fairly noticeable.
    • Saying Percy's name in front of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley after Percy's explosive argument with his father over the summer and his betrayal of the family. Mention his name and Arthur breaks whatever's he's holding while Molly starts crying.
    • Dumbledore may be a nice guy, maybe a bit eccentric, but when he enters the battle at the Ministry after seeing four of his students injured or unconscious, he is described as having a face "white and furious", an extremely rare description for him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "The Only One He Ever Feared."
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Cornelius Fudge led the smear campaign against Harry and Dumbledore, true enough, and he gave Umbridge all her powers as Inquisitor, but it all goes to hell once Voldemort returns in full view of the Ministry. We learn in the next book that Fudge has to resign as Minister.
  • Big Damn Heroes
    • Twice in a row: Harry and his friends are saved from the Death Eaters by members of the Order (Sirius, Lupin, Tonks, Kingsley, and the real Mad-Eye Moody), then when the Death Eaters appear to gain the upper hand over the Order, Dumbledore himself arrives and saves the day, rounding up most of the Death Eaters within a matter of seconds.
    • Grawp the Giant shows up to save Harry and Hermoine from the Centaurs.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Harry and Cho.
  • Big Entrance: Dumbledore makes one of these after professor Trelawney has been sacked, by opening the castle's huge double doors by himself and striding through them. Harry notes how impressive he can make the simple act of walking through a door.
  • Big Little Brother: Grawp for Hagrid. Lampshaded when Hagrid says that Grawp is his "little brother" and Harry and Hermione give him weird looks.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dolores Umbridge defines this trope. Wearing all pink and having a sickeningly sweet façade doesn't change the fact that she's probably the biggest bitch in the history of written fiction.
  • Black Shirt: Filch and Malfoy's gang are happy to help Umbridge. Unfortunately for them, this makes them fair game when everyone starts rebelling against her.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Oddly averted, where Voldemort apparently has learned his lesson and tries to kill Harry quickly, only to be stopped by Dumbledore.
  • Brain in a Jar: The ministry has a big tank full.
  • Brick Joke
    • Trelawney's prediction that Umbridge would be in grave danger. Fulfilled by a herd of angry centaurs.
    • The remedy Harry uses on his hand, which he recommends to Lee Jordan, is the same thing Lee recommends to Fred and George for their Professor Guinea Pig-induced posterior boils.
  • Broken Aesop: Harry is briefly distraught over the prefect badge going to Ron, rather than himself, but even more distraught over the fact that he is distraught. Does he really think he's better than other people? Maybe Ron's got something he hasn't, and Dumbledore can see it. Oh wait no, turns out it's just because Dumbledore thought Harry was too busy to be prefect, not because he wasn't special. Nevermind.
  • Broken Pedestal: James Potter. He was a bully when he was Harry's age.
  • Broken Record / Happy Dance: "He got off, he got off, he got off..."
  • Butt Monkey
    • The Auror Dawlish appears twice in this book: The first time, he is effortlessly knocked out by Dumbledore during the latter's attempted arrest. The second time, he is beaten to a pulp by Hagrid during his attempted arrest. In Deathly Hallows, he's beaten so soundly by Augusta Longbottom that he ends up in the hospital.
      • Dawlish's Butt Monkey status takes on a new meaning after you read book 7 and learn he had been beaten with the Elder Wand, so it isn't surprising he wasn't quite the same after trying to take Dumbledore.
    • Umbridge also serves as this thanks to the twins, Peeves, and a pack of centaurs, but she deserves every bit of it.
  • Call Back: When Harry reads the very first question on his first O.W.L. exam, asking about levitation spells, he thinks back to when Ron used it to help defeat the troll five years previously in the first book.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: A non-heroic version occurs when Percy Weasley gets into a shouting match with his father during the hiatus between Books 4 and 5. During the fight, Percy blames his father for their family's poverty and a lousy reputation he's had to fight against since joining the Ministry. He vows to end his association with their family in order to protect himself from what he views as their foolish support of Dumbledore.
  • Caps Lock: Some reviewers complained about Harry yelling IN ALL CAPS in the book. While they may have a point, you have to wonder if they've ever actually had to talk with an angsty, grumpy 15-year-old before.
  • Cardboard Prison: Voldemort manages to turn Azkaban from The Alcatraz to this. Of course it helps when every guard is not-so-secretly on his side.
  • Care Bear Stare: How Voldemort was driven out of Harry's mind after possessing him. A really dark example, actually, considering what finally ousts Voldemort is Harry wishing he could die, so that he could be with Sirius.
  • The Cassandra: Harry, with his claims that Voldemort has returned.
  • Cassandra Truth: Both Harry's claims of Voldemort returning and pretty much anything Luna says. With Harry there's really no excuse given his track record; the Philosopher's Stone being stolen, not being the one petrifying Muggleborns, Sirius being innocent, etc. Though with Luna, it's really a toss up. Some of the stuff she claims turns out to be true. Others not so much.
    • During the final confrontation in the Department of Mysteries, Harry tries to sow discord among the Death Eaters by revealing Voldemort's lied to them and that he's really a Half-Blood. It doesn't work.
  • Character Shilling: Done with Ginny at points, especially at the expense of poor Cho.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: While Zachariah Smith's comment about Expelliarmus not being useful against Voldemort is Hilarious in Hindsight it's also counts as a boomerang, because in Deathly Hallows Harry's identity is revealed by the fact that Expelliarmus is his signature move.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The series has its own page.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Done by a centaur to Umbridge after she offends them — not that it stops her from insulting them some more.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Who else? Luna "Loony" Lovegood.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Done by both Umbridge to the students and Voldemort to his followers.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Inquisitorial Squad, which seems to be made up entirely of Slytherins.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Bellatrix
  • Commander Contrarian: Zacharias Smith
  • Cool Teacher: Harry
  • Corporal Punishment: Umbridge does not hesitate to use it on "problematic" students... to the tune of Writing Lines with a quill that carves the words into their hand and uses their own blood as ink.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Sirius gives Harry one last Christmas gift just as he goes back to Hogwarts at the end of the holidays, but Harry doesn't open it for fear it's something dangerous to Sirius, and it's placed in his trunk and forgotten. Much later, after Sirius is dead, Harry unwraps the gift and discovers what it is - a magic mirror that will allow for much easier communication, after the disaster Harry had trying to get a hold of Sirius in the previous book. Had Harry opened the gift sooner, he could have been able to check with Sirius - saving him from the events that ended up leading to Sirius's death.
  • Cut Himself Shaving
    • Hagrid attempts to pass off the injuries he got from his younger full-blooded giant brother Grawp by telling Umbridge that he tripped.
    • When Harry returns to the Gryffindor common room with a bleeding hand after his detention with Umbridge, Ron notices and Harry claims that "it's nothing." Ron, however, refuses to believe this.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: The ministry tries to nail Harry for breaking the Masquerade after he defends himself from a dementor attack.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Tonks
  • Dark Action Girl: Bellatrix
  • Darker and Edgier: Due to Nothing Is the Same Anymore being in full effect, taking a Deconstructor Fleet to the entire setting.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Thestrals.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The book deconstructs the notion of a Kid Hero fighting against a much older Evil Overlord by showing that adults would be much better equipped to fight a large scale war, or at least think they are more competent and shut the kid out. Because of his youth, Harry has trouble dealing with the traumas of war, resulting in a Heroic BSOD that harms his efficacy as a fighter, leading him to lash out in anger and make rash decisions. Subverted as the whole point of the book was a prophecy proclaiming Harry to be the ChosenOne destined to stand against Voldemort. This makes Dumbledore, who knew this all along, realize that he was wrong to shut Harry out of the business of fighting Voldemort as it deprives him of the necessary preparation for his eventual encounter.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Harry taunts Bellatrix over how Voldemort can't hear her frantic apologies for losing the prophecy. Then Voldemort appears right in front of him and announces that this time, he's just going to kill Harry without any more theatrics. Oh Crap indeed.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Dolores Umbridge's sadistic abuses of her position gave us one more reason to call into question whether Snape was really so villainous as he seemed; by comparison, he seemed almost a lovable grouch.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Phineas Nigellus Black basically means "Black Black Black".
  • Derailing Love Interests: While justified, Cho becomes a Clingy Jealous Girl after hooking up with Harry. They didn't last that long.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Dolores Umbridge accuses Harry Potter of lying to her, she makes him write in his own blood not to be dishonest.
    • After humiliating Snape with some fun, but still bullying hexes, Snape retaliates with a spell that just grazed James' face and causing a gash on it that bled onto his robes.
  • Divided We Fall: The Ministry of Magic, due to the rivalry that Fudge believes to exist between him and Dumbledore.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
  • Doorstopper: Over 750 pages no matter which edition. Papers and magazines pointed out that the book wouldn't fit through most mail slots if mail ordered. Comedians had a field day joking that book 6 would be called Harry Potter and the End of Trees.
  • Double Standard: In-universe. Girls are allowed to enter the boys' dormitories, but try to do the opposite and you get magically rebuffed. Ron finds this out the hard way and immediately points out the double standard. Hermione admits it's an "old-fashioned rule".
  • Do Wrong, Right: When Peeves tries to do a Falling Chandelier of Doom to Umbridge...
    ...Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, "It unscrews the other way."
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Umbridge is nominally subservient to the Minister, who gave her access to those powers to start with, but she's far more of a personal antagonist than the Minster.
  • Dream Spying: Harry can sometimes see through Voldemort's mind, but the link is two-way.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Invoked. When Harry's secret group of students was caught and brought before the headmaster, Dumbledore claimed responsibility for the whole thing, noting how their charter specifically read "Dumbledore's Army, not Potter's Army".
    • In early drafts, "Dumbledore's Army" referred to what ended up as the Order of the Phoenix, and vice-versa.
  • Either-Or Prophecy: A two-for-one deal, to boot.
  • Elevator Floor Announcement: In the Ministry of Magic, a voice describes the departments on each floor until Harry and Mr. Weasley get to the floor that has both the courtroom and the Department of Mysteries.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: According to Sirius, his parents and a lot of the Pureblood families initially supported Voldemort. While not Death Eaters, they still thought he had the right idea about purging Wizarding Britain of Muggle-borns and placing the Purebloods in charge. However, they got cold feet when they realized the lengths he was willing to go to seize power. This turns out to be important
  • Evil Plan: For this book, Voldemort has his sights set on a prophecy stored in the Ministry of Magic that could give him an edge in killing Harry. Other than that he has to rebuild his organization.
  • Evil Teacher: Dolores Umbridge
  • Exact Words: The teachers had fun with this as soon as Umbridge was appointed to Headmistress in the fifth book. With the passage of Educational Decree Number twenty-Six which banned teachers from telling students anything that didn't have to do with their subject, they gleefully refused to extinguish the fireworks Fred and George released, expressing that they weren't sure they had the authorization to do so.
    • Used to tragic effect when Sirius orders Kreacher to "Get out" when Harry and the Weasleys arrive at Christmas. While he was ordering the House Elf to get out of the kitchen, Kreacher deliberately interprets it as an order to leave the house. It allows him to leave 12 Grimmauld Place and make contact with Narcissa Malfoy — thus granting Voldemort an agent in the Order of the Phoenix's HQ and setting the stage for Sirius' death.
  • Exit Pursued by a Poltergeist and a Mob of Cheering Students: Umbridge
  • The Face: Dolores Umbridge exploited this trope. She doesn't want Hogwarts students trained in offensive magic so fills the Defense Against the Dark Arts class with lessons like "negiotation" and "non-retaliation" on the premise that these skills are just as important for future Auror teams as curses and counter-curses.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Dolores Umbridge's introduction.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Peeves attempts to manually pull a Phantom of the Opera.
  • Fantastic Racism: Umbridge hates "filthy half-breeds". Bonus points to JKR, because in the seventh book this turns out to be a very good theoretical reason for Umbridge's hatred of Muggle-borns. It can easily be taken as foreshadowing her later actions.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Whatever that mysterious spell Dumbledore fired was, it causes no damage to a shield but produces a "chilling", gong-like sound. Voldemort mocks Dumbledore for not going straight for the kill, but Dumbledore calmly replies that there are other ways of destroying a person.
  • Feed It with Fire: Fred & George's trick fireworks.
  • Fired Teacher: Three examples. Professor Trelawney and Hagrid during the story, and Umbridge at the end.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Cho has a lot of difficulty being able to have a relationship with Harry due to Cedric's death. Harry also has to deal with this after Cho breaks up with him.
  • First Kiss: Harry has this with Cho Under The Mistletoe.
  • Five-Man Band: The best example in the series with the D.A. in the ministry.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Ginny is more present in this book than in the previous four combined, and often makes Cho look bad.
    • Neville also begins to show signs of life as well; notably, he's still fighting when all the other kids, who are notably better wizards than him, have already been defeated. Unfortunately, this just shows the danger in relying on Fridge Brillianceinvoked: Rowling did it all so subtly that a lot of people missed it.
    • "Ginny got the Snitch right out from under [Cho's] nose" Could it be more obvious?
    • Also, it's Ginny's idea of "Dumbledore's Army" that is used, instead of Cho's more generic "Defense Association".
    • And she's usually the one who snaps Harry out of his numerous funks over the course of the book, including when he's convinced he's being possessed by Voldemort. She has been possessed by him, and could have told Harry exactly what it felt like, if he'd bothered to ask.
    • And the tender scene in the library as the two share candy together.
    • Snape, when talking to Harry about Legilimency: "The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him." He says "almost" because Snape is the one who (for a while at least) manages to get away with lying to Voldemort in the final two installments.
    • There's a reason Sirius's name is blacked out.
    • The full prophecy's final line: Neither can live while the other survives is misinterpreted by both Harry and deliberately falsified by Dumbledore, as meaning one must kill the other. It's actually a subtle foreshadowing of the fact that contained within Harry is a piece of Voldemort's soul, and he remains tied to Voldemort as a Horcrux.
    • Early on Nearly-Headless Nick claims to have "never been guilty of cowardice in [his] life!" At the end he reveals that the reason he's a ghost is because he was afraid of death.
  • Golden Mean Fallacy: Umbridge uses this in her opening speech, suggesting that she represents a middle ground between tradition and change. If that's so, we'd hate to see what "change" looks like.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Ministry of Magic's coverup of Voldemort's return.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Harry develops this in this book, providing more fuel for those who say he has post-traumatic stress disorder on account of the Bad Dreams he has of his encounter in the graveyard in the previous book.
  • Hate Sink: Umbridge's character pretty much exists solely to be this.
  • The Heavy: Dolores Umbridge is this to Cornelius Fudge.
  • Heroic BSOD: Harry briefly experiences this when he thinks Voldemort might be possessing him.
  • The Hero Sucks Song: The Slytherins make up a song taunting new Qudditch player Ron, mocking his frequent goofs:
    Weasley cannot save a thing,
    He cannot block a single ring,
    That's why Slytherins all sing:
    Weasley is our King.
    • Later given an Ironic Echo when Ron leads Gryffendor to beating Slytherin.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The spell James uses to make Snape hang upside down in the air? In the next book, we find out Snape invented it.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Araminta Melliflua wanted this legalized.
  • I Warned You: Prior to Harry's arrival at 12 Grimmauld Place, Dumbledore warned Sirius Kreacher needed to be treated with kidness and to be careful with him. He was afraid something like Kreacher's betrayal would happen, but Sirius ignored Dumbledore.
  • Idiot Ball
    • A minor example with major consequences: Harry forgetting Snape's membership in the Order. (He calls himself on it too.)
    • Harry also forgets about the two-way mirror Sirius gave him after Christmas. He doesn't know exactly what it is, but he does know it's a communication device. This could be because he was determined not to use it before even finding out what it was, thinking that he didn't want to be the one to lure Sirius out of hiding (and look how well that works out for him!).
    • Dumbledore grabs hold of this by admitting to Harry that keeping Harry out of hte loop was wrong on his part to the point of taking partial blame for Sirius' death.
  • If We Survive This: Before his trial, Harry mentally promises to add ten galleons to the charity fountain if he's found not guilty. He ends up emptying his whole money-bag.
  • I'll Kill You!:
    • Harry: "SHE KILLED SIRIUS! SHE KILLED HIM- I'LL KILL HER!"
    • And played with at the end of that book:
      Malfoy glanced around. Harry knew he was checking for signs of teachers. Then he looked back at Harry and said in a low voice, "You're dead, Potter."
      Harry raised his eyebrows. "Funny," he said, "you'd think I'd have stopped walking around..."
  • I See Them Too: Harry, Luna, and the Thestrals. She was also the only other character to hear the same murmuring from behind the veil that Harry did.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Though the concept of stitches had been around for years prior to the mid 90s (since at least 500 BCE), it had never been picked up by the wizarding world, where much better healing methods made stitches look primitive. As a result, Molly scoffs at Arthur for using stitches as a method to try to close his venom wound that magic couldn't close. Unfortunately for him, stitches don't work either.
    • This could possibly be because the venom dissolved them, or just Arthur's...deficient...understanding of Muggle technology.
      "Well... well, I don't know whether you know what — what stitches are?"
      "It sounds as though you've been tryinng to sew your skin back together," said Mrs. Weasley with a snort of mirthless laughter, "but even you, Arthur, wouldn't be that stupid —"
      "I fancy a cup of tea too," said Harry, jumping to his feet.
      Hermione, Ron, and Ginny almost sprinted to the door with him. As it swung closed behid them, they heard Mrs. Weasley shriek, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THAT'S THE GENERAL IDEA?"
  • Jerkass
    • Umbridge is a pretty big one.
    • Percy and Fudge, two characters who were mildly annoying at worst up until now, take a level in Jerkass in this book.
    • Harry himself acts as one towards his friends throughout the book. However, this is mitigated by the fact that it was to cover up the inferiority complex he felt after being subjected to the blood quill torture by Umbridge. It doesn't help that he's Surrounded by Idiots who are in complete denial of Voldemort's return.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The way she did it was completely unjustified and just goes to show how horrible she is, but Umbridge sacking Trelawney made sense. Practically everybody knew that she was a bad teacher. The only reason she was appointed in the first place because she made one accurate prophecy (that she wasn't even aware of making). Dumbledore, however, kept her around in part for her safety, which is why he insisted she continue to reside in the castle.
  • Jerkass Realization: Harry acts as a jerk towards his friends throughout the book, especially near the beginning when he's seething at being left out of the loop after nearly dying to let everyone know Voldemort's back. When he realizes what a moody person he was, he tries to reel himself in.
  • Jerk Jock: James Potter is revealed to have been this as a teenager.
  • Just a Kid: Molly and Lupin invoke this when the Order withholds information from Harry.
  • Kangaroo Court: Fudge's attempt to discredit Harry is so biased that it's easy for Dumbledore to point out gaping holes in the court procedure.
  • Kick the Dog
    • Mrs. Weasley telling Sirius that he was a poor godfather because he was in prison for 13 years. She was motivated out of concern for Harry, and they do make up at Christmas, but seriously: not cool, Mrs. Weasley.
    • EVERYTHING Umbridge does. She can't walk down a hallway without finding a dog to kick.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: In the book, Cho leans in to kiss Harry, and the paragraph ends, then cutting to a few minutes later.
  • Last Name Basis / Do Not Call Me Paul: Tonks, who hates her first name, Nymphadora (who can blame her, really?) and insists on being addressed only by her last. A fan once asked Rowling why Tonks didn't go by her middle name. Rowling's response was "Her middle name is Vulpecula," which isn't much better.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Moody telling Vernon, "what you don't know could fill several books."
  • Like an Old Married Couple: When Hermione demands to know what Ron thinks about Harry's plan to contact Sirius via Umbridge's fire, Harry is reminded of Molly and Arthur at the beginning of the book.
  • Like a Son to Me: Molly about Harry, as if it wasn't clear already. Despite the huge fight going on when she says it, it's something of a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: When a house-elf by the name of Kreacher rants about how Sirius Black is not as strict about the company he keeps as Walburga Black was.
    "...smells like a drain and a criminal to boot, but she’s no better, nasty old blood traitor with her brats messing up my mistress’s house, oh, my poor mistress, if she knew, if she knew the scum they’ve let into her house, what would she say to old Kreacher, oh, the shame of it, Mudbloods and werewolves and traitors and thieves, poor old Kreacher, what can he do..."
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: This book introduces more major (or at least plot-important) characters than any book since the first. Luna Lovegood, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Mundungus Fletcher, Dolores Umbridge, Kreacher, Arabella Figg, Amelia Bones, Zacharias Smith, Phineas Nigellus Black, Bellatrix Lestrange...
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Harry isn't allowed to attend the Order's meetings.
  • Loophole Abuse: As noted in Exact Words, Kreacher deliberately misinterprets Sirius' command of "Get out" at Christmas to leave Order HQ and make contact with Narcissa Malfoy. While Sirius' orders prevent Kreacher from relaying information on the Order's activities to Voldemort, he's still able to give intel that Sirius didn't consider important enough to classify — namely that Harry loves his Godfather and would go to any length to rescue him. This is key to the trap Voldemort lays in the Department of Mysteries.
  • Lured Into a Trap: Despite Harry's vision, Voldemort isn't holding Sirius in the Department of Mysteries. Instead, it's a Death Eater ambush.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Weasley is our King", doubles an Ironic Echo to the Slytherins.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Detention with Dolores. "Dolores" means "pains" in Latin, and "Umbridge" is a pun on "umbrage".
    • Kreacher. At the end, Dumbledore emphasises that Kreacher "is what he has been made by wizards" treating him as sub-human, that "he is to be pitied". A little reminiscent of Frankenstein's Monster — or "creature" in the original novel.
  • Mildly Military: The Order. Despite fighting against a powerful dark wizard with mind control they employ very few precautions besides the Fidelius charm. Among other examples, Moody comes to escort Harry, then realizes that he has no way of confirming Harry's identity besides using Veritaserum, which Word of God confirms is unreliable against a prepared dark wizard.
  • Mind Rape: Revealed to be an important plot point. Snape reveals that Voldemort loves doing this to his victims, and his teaching Harry Occlumency is the defense against it. Voldemort does attempt this on Harry near the end of the book but fails.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Umbridge, again, combining it with Sadist Teacher, while addressing the students like they're 5-year-olds. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shows that she still acts this way outside of the classroom as well.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Cho gets this impression of Harry on their date, thanks to his poor choice of words in describing his meeting with Hermione later.
  • The Mole: Kreacher and Marietta Edgecombe.
  • Mood Whiplash
    • Harry's rather humorous dream about him entering the Room of Requirement to put up some Christmas decoration shaped like Dobby's head abruptly changes into a vision about Voldemort's serpent Nagini brutally wounding Mr Weasley.
    • The montage following Umbridge's promotion to High Inquisitor is played for laughs, especially the scenes where she mocks Snape and Trelawney on their teaching credentials. Cut to Trelawney being fired and nearly thrown out of Hogwarts, which isn't funny at all.
    • The notorious Pensieve scene starts out like this. Harry is delighted to see his father and his friends, goofing off and relaxing after the exams. He's a little miffed about his father showing off and acting like a ponce with the snitch but he and Sirius are cool, and then they spot Severus and the scene goes From Bad to Worse, with Harry's image about his father and his parents shattering, with Snape turning out to be right all this time about his father's ego.
    • "Christmas on the Closed Ward". The chapter starts with Molly and Arthur bickering, moves on to memoryless Gilderoy Lockhart, both of which are funny and/or heartwarming, then ends with the trio and Ginny meeting Neville and his parents, who have been tortured into insanity, to the point they can't even recognise him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job finding the prophecy so that the Death Eaters can take it and drawing Sirius out of hiding so that he's killed, Harry!
  • Nice to the Waiter: Sirius fails to live up to the advice he gave the trio in the last book. He has nothing against house-elves in general, but can't stand the way Kreacher constantly parrots the beliefs of the family he hated. Word of God herself stated this particular trait of Sirius in her official website.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Sirius to Kreacher, with tragic consequences. Of course, Kreacher's opinion of him had been pretty low ever since Sirius ran away from home.
  • No Mere Windmill: People cling on to the belief that Voldemort can not have returned. Thus they let the dark lord grow in power undisturbed, while they accuse Harry of being a Windmill Crusader and Dumbledore of being a Manipulative Bastard using this Windmill Political for some shadowy political game.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-universe. Umbridge's ban of Harry's interview with The Quibbler only ensures that everybody reads it. This could possibly be a Take That to all the Moral Guardians who've attacked the series, only ensuring it became more successful. This is a textbook example of the Streisand Effect, and without the internet, to boot.
  • Noodle Incident: Hagrid had a "slight disagreement" with a vampire in a pub near Minsk.
  • The Not So Harmless Punishment: Harry is punished for speaking out against Umbridge in class by being made to write lines... with a magic quill that cuts his skin and takes his own blood as ink.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Filch almost manages to become this — after four books of being an empty threat, he's given the authority to hand out the sadistic punishments he's always dreamed of once Umbridge takes over. The only problem is that, by that point, there are so many troublemakers he doesn't know who to go after first.
  • The Oath-Breaker: Marietta; told the location of their secret hideout to Umbridge after signing a magical contract claiming she wouldn't do that. As a result she had the word "SNEAK" appear on her face in pimples and was shunned by her classmates. Several books later, it's still visible. Making Hermione angry is a very bad idea.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Harry destroying Dumbledore's office was cut out of The Film of the Book. Possibly with good reason. While it's kind of awesome in the book, it's likely that actually seeing Harry ranting and yelling while breaking stuff, with Dumbledore just standing there watching, could very easily have become Narm of the highest order. Especially for people who thought the scene in the book was Narm anyway.
  • Oh Crap
    • Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard on the planet, causes this reaction when Fudge comes to arrest him.
    Dumbledore: Well, it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to... what is the phrase? Ah, "Come quietly".
    • Also, Bellatrix, described continuously as extremely evil and sadistic and seemingly not afraid of anything, has this reaction when Harry reveals to her that the prophecy Voldemort sent her to retrieve has been destroyed.
    • All the Death Eaters except Bellatrix have this reaction when Dumbledore joins the fight.
  • Only Sane Man: Madame Bones compared to the rest of the Ministry. Pity she's dead now.
  • Our Founder: The statue at the Ministry of Magic.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: According to Nearly Headless Nick, only wizards in the HP-verse can become ghosts. Becoming a ghost is also explicitly stated to be a bad decision and considered a show of cowardice.
  • Out-Gambitted: Dumbledore, who acknowledges that his hiding of information made it considerably easier for Voldemort to trick Harry.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: It turns out Snape was the one who told the prophecy to Voldemort, which lead him to try to kill Harry. However, he only heard the part labeling Harry, and not why he would be dangerous, leading to his initial downfall.
  • Pair the Spares: Inverted, in a piece of foreshadowing so indirect that it was probably put in by Rowling just to amuse herself. You start by asking yourself what exactly the purpose of Michael Corner and Cho Chang hooking up was....
  • Papa Wolf: When Umbridge goes rough on one of the students, we find out why Dumbledore is respected and feared. He drops the nice act and gives her a clear warning.
  • Performance Anxiety: Ron suffers from this when playing Keeper — he can't defend well when he knows that people are watching. He gets better, resulting in Gryffindor winning the Quidditch Cup.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Harry. Due to a combination of Angst/Wangst and being Locked Out of the Loop, Harry rarely does anything active unless Dumbledore orders him to do it (Occlumency) or Hermione convinces him that it's a good idea (Dumbledore's Army, the interview).
  • Playing Sick: The Skiving Snackboxes (and joke candies contained within), invented by Fred and George, serve this purpose for their takers.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Umbridge's Fantastic Racism against non-humans and Muggle-borns is just one more of her many abhorrent character traits.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Basis of the plot really.
  • Prison Break: Part of the plot when Voldemort breaks a number of death eaters out of Azkaban. Most notably, Bellatrix Lestrange.
  • Protectorate: Harry is this when Dumbledore defends him from Voldemort, beyond question.
  • Public Secret Message: Harry alerts Snape while making it possible to convince Umbridge he was shouting gibberish, by yelling "He's got Padfoot at the place where it's hidden!" to the entire room. Snape understands that "Padfoot" was Sirius' old nickname and "the place" was a location that Snape knows Harry's been seeing in his dreams.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Harry, at Dumbledore after Sirius' death.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: Used for Mood Whiplash when Harry, before seeing Mr. Weasley attacked by Nagini, has a dream in which Cho Chang finds him in the Room of Requirement and demands Chocolate Frog cards while he's trying to put up Christmas decorations shaped like Dobby's head. Also his dream of watching Neville and Professor Sprout waltz in the Room of Requirement while Professor McGonagall plays the bagpipes. And Ron and Hermione wearing crowns after they get named Prefect. There was also the dream where he nearly got shot by a walking cannon.
  • Red Herring: Early on in the book Dudley brags about having beat up a boy by the name of Mark Evans. Later, "Evans" is revealed to be the maiden name of Harry's mother, Lily. Word of God states that she made up a name on the fly for the less important character and didn't notice the issue until fans started trying to connect the two.
  • Remembered Too Late: Harry forgets a gift Sirius gave him that could have allowed him to see through a trap.
  • La Résistance: Dumbledore's Army, comprising Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws.
  • Rules Lawyer: Literally, as Dumbledore acts as Harry's lawyer...er, Witness for the Defense, during Harry's hearing. In a rather unusual take on this trope, Dumbledore is forced to play Rules Lawyer because the Wizengamot are deliberately ignoring their own laws.
  • Sadist Teacher: Umbridge. Could be The Trope Namer, and is unquestionably the Trope Codifier for anyone who grew up reading the books.
  • School Club Front: Dumbledore's Army was formed with this intention (although they weren't keeping its purpose a secret, they weren't exactly openly advertising for members), but Umbridge got wind of it and had a rule allowing her to veto clubs introduced. As a result it became more of a secret club, the only one openly acknowledging Voldemort's return, and La Résistance in the 7th book.
  • Scotty Time: Umbridge apparently thinks brewing Veritaserum works this way. It doesn't, as it needs to be brewed under the light of a full moon, the nearest of which is several weeks away. In both the movie and book she depleted his stock herself; in the book by putting the entire vial in Harry's tea (which he is intelligent enough not to drink) while she's interrogating him, and in the movie by interrogating every student in the school. It's revealed in the movie that the reason that the DA is found out is that she uses it on Cho, forcing her to give up the location of the Room of Requirement.
  • Shipper on Deck: After finding out that Ginny broke up with Michael Corner, Ron tells her to choose someone better next time, while giving an "oddly furtive look" at Harry.
  • Ship Sinking: Harry had been crushing on Cho Chang since Prisoner of Azkaban. By the end of Order of the Phoenix, that ship was sent to a watery grave.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Averted. Voldemort does not punish Rookwood for informing him that his plan to retrieve the prophecy could never have worked. The man who gave him the wrong information in the first place, however...
  • Shut Up, Kirk! / "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Harry receives an epic one from Prof. Phineas Nigellus Black.
  • Single Tear: Dumbledore
  • Six Student Clique: In the Ministry of Magic scenes.
  • Soap Punishment: Casting the cleaning spell Scourgify on a human will result in their mouth being washed out with soap. James Potter used it this way on Snape in the "Snape's Worst Memory" flashback.
  • Stepford Smiler: Again, Umbridge.
  • Streisand Effect: In-Universe example: Umbridge issues a decree that any student found in possession of The Quibbler magazine containing an interview with Harry will be expelled. This, of course, guarantees that all the students in the school buy the issue in question in order to read the interview.
  • Surprise Witness: Mrs. Figg during Harry's trial.
  • Taking the Bullet: Fawkes (a phoenix) is able to swallow an Avada Voldemort fired off at Dumbledore, expire as a result, and then return to life.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Harry begins throwing and smashing random objects in Dumbledore's office, wanting an explanation about everything that's been going on from Dumbledore, who realizes that he must finally tell Harry the Awful Truth.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe examples:
    • Part of the reason Harry hates Umbridge's collection of porcelain plates with kittens painted on them is because he finds them sickeningly cute.
    • Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop, where Harry and Cho go to on Valentine's Day. Cho thinks the shop is cute; Harry finds it sickening.
  • Tempting Fate: Sirius, right before Bellatrix kills him.
  • There Are No Therapists
    • Shouldn't Cho have someone to talk to about her boyfriend's death besides Harry? That could have spared them both a lot of pain.
    • Not to mention Harry and his post-traumatic stress disorder after what happened in the graveyard.
  • There Should Be a Law: Played with twice by Fudge and Umbridge. During Harry's trial Dumbledore states that there is no law stating that the Ministry can hand out school punishment; Fudge murmurs "Laws can be changed". When Dumbledore over-rules Umbridge, forcing her to reform the Gryffindor Quidditch team, she calls up Fudge and receives a nice educational decree ("Oh not another one!") giving her absolute power.
  • Time Travel: No one time travels in this book, but there was time travel in book 3. Notice how Rowling has an errant spell hit the case filled with time turners? Word of God says this destroyed the contents of the case that this was to ensure the reader knew she wasn't going to use Time Travel as an Ass Pull in any of the final books. And a good thing, too - would you want Voldemort to have a time turner?
  • Tonight Someone Dies: There was a lot of speculation about this before the book's release, with many in the media suggesting that Ron would die. Rowling may have been playing with this expectation in an early chapter when Harry walks in on Ron's bloodied corpse as though it's a Surprisingly Sudden Death (in reality it was Mrs Weasley's worst fear made manifest by a Boggart). When the actual death turned out to be the comparatively minor character of Sirius Black, many decided to take a Like You Would Really Do It attitude to any future claims that a main character would be killed off, only to be shocked by Book 6.
  • Took a Level in Badass
    • Ginny, after having been Demoted to Extra for the two previous installments.
    • Neville's Badass tendencies begin to show as well.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: While dealing with Voldemort's return and PTSD, Harry spends most of the book chewing out his friends. Being smack-dab in the middle of his teen years probably doesn't help either.
  • Too Dumb to Live
    • Fudge thinks that Albus freakin' Dumbledore, the greatest wizard in the world, is going to come quietly.
    • Fudge's overall stupidity on Voldemort's return ends up being a subversion of this trope. Voldemort realizes that it's actually in his own best interst to leave Fudge alone and allow him to continue to misrule the Ministry and persecute the people who'd stand the best chance against Voldemort.
    • Calling a group of centaurs armed with bows and arrows "filthy half-breeds"? Really, Umbridge, you've got no-one to blame but yourself for that one.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Dumbledore's Army.
  • Translation By Volume: Umbridge maliciously speaks to Hagrid in loud, slow and unpleasant manner in order to make him look dumb and oafish, setting him up so she can fire him later. Hagrid responds in the same manner while trying to communicate what thestrals are, albeit in a confused and would-be helpful manner rather than a malicious one.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Deathly Hallows is the only other book in the series that piles as much misery on the protagonist, and it's still a pretty close call. It starts with Harry dealing with PTSD, recurring nightmares and no company but his abusive relatives. Every time he thinks it can't get worse, it does.
  • Trauma Swing: Harry does one of these at the start of the book.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Dolores Umbridge's horrible misrule. So much in fact, that she was the former Trope Namer.
  • Under The Mistletoe: Harry gets his first kiss with Cho in this manner. In the book, just prior to it, he's under it with Luna, who doesn't kiss him, much to the dismay of their shippers. Luna, however, doesn't even seem to understand what mistletoe is for.
  • Villain with Good Publicity
  • The War Has Just Begun: There's a reason why the final chapter is titled The Second War Begins. And the war's first casualty is Sirius.
  • Wham Line: Petunia explaining what Dementors are.
  • What the Hell, Hero?
    • Ginny calls Harry out for forgetting she was possessed by Voldemort, and thus knows what it feels like, while he was trying to hide from his friends.
    • Phineas' portrait gives Harry the What the Hell, Hero? treatment when he's about to flee at Christmas.
    • Harry gives Hermione and Ron this (as a proxy to Dumbledore) in the form of a rant about how much he deserves to know whats going on considering that his life is just crap, especially considering the last book.
    • One that might have been this was the first night in Hogwarts when Seamus tells Harry that his mother didn't want him to come back to Hogwarts because of him. Harry starts insulting her, which, even though it's pretty low on the "Hero" scale, would be justified to the readers because he's being called a liar for telling the truth.
  • White Sheep: Sirius.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough: Mrs Weasley hasn't heard of a branch of muggle medicine called 'stitches' when Arthur brings it up in conversation, but it sounds like he wants to sew his skin back together and not even he's stupid enough to consider that...
  • World's Shortest Book: Inverted.
    "I am not aware that it is any of your business what goes on in my house—"
    "I expect what you're not aware of would fill several books, Dursley," growled Moody.
  • Writing Lines: Umbridge forces Harry to do this every day for a week, with a painful twist — the quill magically carves the words being written into his hand, and the ink is his own blood. It leaves a permanent scar on the back of his hand that is mentioned multiple times throughout the rest of the series, usually when a member of the Ministry asks Harry to do something that he believes to be wrong. Why he didn't have it removed is never really mentioned since it probably wasn't a curse scar, though since it is Umbridge, anything could be possible.
    • Why would he have it removed, when he can show it to a member of the Ministry when they ask him to do something he believes to be wrong...
  • Xanatos Gambit: Umbridge tries this at the beginning of the book when she sends a pair of Dementors after Harry. If they administer the Kiss, then he's out of the Ministry's hair. If he manages to drive them off with a Patronus charm, then they can prosecute him for underage magic violations and expel him from Hogwarts.
    • Ultimately subverted because she didn't anticipate Mundungus Fletcher tipping off Dumbledore about the attack, allowing him to fight and block the expulsion.


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alternative title(s): Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix; Order Of The Phoenix
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