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Idiot Plot / Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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One reason why the book is such a Contested Sequel is that a lot of the main plot depends on people acting like total idiots and the plot and resolution feels highly contrived:

  • There is Harry himself, who could have avoided lots of trouble and the ending altogether if he had 1) Listened to Hermione, who despite not having a Scar-Hotline to Voldemort figured out that Harry was walking into a trap, and 2) Listened to Sirius and used the mirror he gave him. Related to that, Sirius not mentioning the mirror to Harry when he contacted him through the fireplace.
    • What's worse is that Harry doesn't even think "OK, this is probably a trap, but I need to save Sirius." He just goes right in to save Sirius, never even considering that it might be a trap, and plans to take on Voldemort with half a dozen teenagers.
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    • The not using the mirror thing is even worse because, after getting it, Harry stashes it away thinking it would just lure Sirius out and forgets about it, right until the moment a bit of it cuts him while packing his trunk at the end of the schoolyear, at which point Harry promptly kicks himself in the balls mentally for forgetting it.
  • There's also Dumbledore, who simply decided to keep Harry Locked Out of the Loop without even telling him basic details like "Don't take the scar visions too seriously" (practical advice that needed no sharing of special secrets at all), who furthermore appointed Snape to give him the lessons despite knowing how he and Harry felt and not strong-arming Snape to be more patient with Harry. Related to this is the fact that Occlumency ultimately plays no role in the final books and Dumbledore simply shrugs away the entire plot. While Harry is at least a fifteen-year-old going through varying degrees of grief, distress, and loneliness which could explain his failure to think straight, Dumbledore has no such excuse.
    • This deserves some special detail. At the end of the fourth book, Harry was left alone to deal with the grief of watching Cedric die and the trauma of escaping a duel to the death with Voldemort. Dumbledore decides to not only remove himself from Harry's life but to keep Harry entirely isolated from the world of magic for months, leaving him with stuck with the family that despises him and has despised him all his life, with no one to protect him except a notoriously unreliable criminal and a local Squib. He requires everyone, whom he has brought together while keeping Harry in isolation, to keep secrets from Harry, which adds corrupting elements to his precious few healthy relationships, and then, convinced Harry has enough to deal with, promotes Ron and Hermione to Prefect, which gives them extra responsibilities and pulls them away from Harry. His explanation for perpetuating Harry's ongoing trauma and isolation is that he "forgot what it was to be young".
  • Likewise, Dumbledore reveals that the Order has a secret means of communication that is inaccessible to the Death Eaters, and later books reveal that it's an application of the Patronus. Apparently, neither Dumbledore nor anyone in the Order felt it necessary for Harry to be able to contact them in an immediate, safe and accurate manner if he was in an emergency, especially since Harry knew how to cast a Patronus already.
    • Though, in fairness, Harry actually did manage to communicate with an Order member, namely Snape—Harry just didn't consider that gee, maybe the undercover spy isn't going to break cover in front of Umbridge?
  • Another problem is that Harry, or anybody else Umbridge punishes, doesn't just simply report her for her medieval disciplinary methods. Surely, Dumbledore would have believed Harry. While the scar the Black Quill leaves isn't noticeable, it's still there. How many children does Umbridge have to mutilate for somebody to get that she doesn't play for the right team?
  • The fact that this is the third book in the series with a subplot about Harry's fellow Gryffindors distrusting him, despite the multiple times Harry has proven how trustworthy he was.
  • Lucius Malfoy screws up what was supposed to be the easiest operation: wait for Harry's arrival in the Ministry atrium, ambush him there, disarm him, take him hostage, walk to the storage, and make him take the prophecy orb. Instead he waits in the storage, wasting time, and lets Harry take the orb before even revealing himself, meaning that he could no longer attack Harry for fear of breaking the orb. After that, he doesn't even try to bind, disarm, or magically compel Harry in any way.
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  • The whole plot of the book occurs because Dumbledore doesn't stop to think that if he already has a separate copy of the Prophecy that Voldemort doesn't even know exists, simply destroying the one in the Department of Mysteries note  safeguards the information for all time. He has it guarded (by one guy under an invisibility cloak, something that wouldn't even slow down Voldemort), instead of just smashing it and replacing it with a random crystal ball he picked up in the gift shop, or some sort of booby-trap. And even that wouldn't even be necessary. The only people who can touch the prophecy globes are those to whom they were made, those to whom they refer, and presumably those who said the prophecy in the first place. The prophecy was made to Dumbledore; that's why he has the memory of it. While the political climate would have made it difficult to get into the Department of Mysteries legitimately by this point, as seen below, it's not exactly hard to break in, and Dumbledore has stealth measures far beyond most wizards anyway.
  • And, of course, Fudge absolutely refusing to consider that Voldemort really has returned and smearing Harry and Dumbledore while insisting that all is well. This really bites him in the ass when the truth comes out...


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