Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in J.K. Rowling’s enormously popular Harry Potter series. Accordingly, it chronicles Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his ongoing struggle against the evil wizard Voldemort.
The story opens over summer vacation. Harry Potter has spent the whole summer at his Aunt Petunia’s house listening to the news, seeking signs of an attack. One evening, taunting his cousin Dudley with the threat of using magic on him, they are attacked by Dementors. Harry uses magic to fight them off, landing Harry in deep trouble with the Ministry of Magic; he is threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts. At a hearing at the Ministry of Magic, however, Harry is allowed to remain in school.
Harry is met by a group of wizards led by Mad-Eye Moody, Professor Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, and Kingsley Shacklebolt and taken to Sirius Black’s childhood home. Harry’s friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are there. They explain to Harry that the house is the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization of wizards dedicated to battling Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The Order has learned that Voldemort is seeking an object, possibly a weapon. Fearing the panic the knowledge would cause, the Ministry of Magic, led by Cornelius Fudge, refuses to admit that Voldemort has returned, and thus are doing nothing to combat him.
At school, Harry meets the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Dolores Umbridge. The Daily Prophet newspaper is still printing lies about him, but Harry decides to keep his head down and concentrate on his studies. Umbridge refuses to teach any actual defense spells, claiming they are unnecessary, and she and Harry clash. When Umbridge is named High Inquisitor, giving her the authority to evaluate all faculty members and allowing her to monitor all communication in and out of the school, Harry, Hermione, and Ron form their own Defense Against the Dark Arts group, calling themselves Dumbledore’s Army after the school’s headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. Dozens of other students join them to train in defensive spells.
Harry has a recurring dream that he is walking down a hallway in the Ministry of Magic and enters a room filled with glass spheres. He also has a dream where he is a snake attacking Ron’s father. When he wakes up, he is taken to Dumbledore. Members of the Order of the Phoenix race to Mr. Weasley, rescuing him. Harry is told that Voldemort has been invading his mind; Dumbledore orders Occlumency lessons so Harry can learn to resist these attacks. Harry has difficulty with this new training, however, and his lightning-bolt scar pulses painfully every time Voldemort feels extreme emotion.
Umbridge discovers Dumbledore’s Army. Dumbledore takes responsibility in order to save the children from expulsion, leaving the castle. Umbridge is named headmistress. As the students are finishing up their O.W.L. examinations, Harry has another dream. This time, he sees his godfather, Sirius Black, being tortured. Hermione is concerned that Voldemort is using these dreams to lure Harry into a trap, but Harry is determined to save Sirius. Harry sneaks into Umbridge’s office to use her fireplace to communicate with those in Sirius Black’s house. Creature the house elf tells him that Sirius is at the Ministry of Magic. Harry and his friends are caught by Umbridge. They trick her, telling her they are hiding a weapon in the forest for Dumbledore. She accompanies them into the forest where they are stopped by centaurs. Umbridge insults the centaurs with racial slurs. Outraged, they carry her off. Harry, Hermione, Ron and their friends Ginny Weasley (Ron’s sister), Luna Lovegood, and Neville Longbottom mount thestrals and fly to the Ministry of Magic.
At the Ministry, Sirius is nowhere to be found. Harry locates the room he has been dreaming of and finds that one of the glass spheres has his name and Voldemort’s on it. The Death Eaters attack. Harry and his friends have some initial success defending themselves, surprising the Death Eaters with their skills, but begin to lose ground until members of the Order of the Phoenix arrive, turning the tide. During the battle, Harry passes this sphere to Neville, whose pocket rips, causing the glass sphere to shatter. Sirius Black is killed by his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. Dumbledore arrives, rounding up and binding the Death Eaters.
Harry chases after Bellatrix. Voldemort arrives. As he is attacking Harry, Dumbledore comes to Harry’s rescue, dueling with Voldemort. Voldemort and Bellatrix escape. Back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore explains to Harry that the sphere was a prophecy telling of a power Harry possesses unknown to Voldemort: Love. The prophecy states that Harry will either kill Voldemort or be killed by him—“neither can live while the other survives.” Dumbledore explains that this is why Harry must spend his summers with his Aunt Petunia—his mother’s love protects him, and he must maintain the blood link to that love by living in his aunt’s house. Knowing the summer will be miserable, Harry accepts his fate and returns to his aunt’s house where he will spend another summer listening to the news and waiting for something terrible to happen. This was very long, but I loved it!