this long-anticipated fifth book, fifteen-year old Harry Potter is
having his worst year ever after his duel with the evil Lord Voldermort
during which Cedric Diggory died. During
the summer holidays where he stays with the awful Dursleys, Dementors
attack him. He is forced to
use magic to defend himself and his cousin Dudley.
This triggers automatic expulsion from Hogwarts.
Harry is taken under the wing of the secretive Order
, which is organised to fight Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
He wins an appeal against his expulsion and returns to Hogwarts to
find it a changed place. The
Daily Prophet has been conducting a whispering campaign against him
throughout the summer. Even
friends think he has gone all big-headed and delusional. He is angry and
feels isolated. It gets worse.
Hagrid has disappeared, the kindly Dumbledore seems to be avoiding
him, homework piles up in this examination year and he is marked out for
special attention by Professor Dolores
Umbridge, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Umbridge is the nastiest literary villain since Uriah Heep.
Harry’s scar is hurting more than ever and he is troubled by very
The Ministry of Magic doesn’t want to believe that
Voldemort is back. They try to
suppress the truth, accusing Dumbledore of plotting to depose the
minister, Cornelius Fudge. The
Ministry decides to lock down Hogwarts – that den of iniquity and
subversion – and appoints Professor Umbridge as its High Inquisitor.
Hogwarts becomes like a nasty police state: a regime of fear where
informers are rewarded and honest students and professors are expelled or
Harry does win out at the end of this massive volume,
but at great cost. He learns a
lot about himself and uncomfortable truths about his nemesis, Professor
Snape and his relationship with Harry’s murdered father and mother.
Even worse, one of his closest friends dies in a confrontation with
Voldermort’s Death Eaters. Wow!
This is a real page-turner. Don’t
In the real world, author J K Rowling is herself coming under siege.
Fellow author A S Byatt has had a go at her 'derivative' books and
slammed adults who read them. Sorry, AS but jealousy and envy are not
pretty in anyone, even a celebrated literary personage like you. Put
away your claws and write a book somebody wants to read.
The press also seems to want to take Ms Rowling down a peg or two,
possibly stung by her unflattering treatment of the journalistic
profession. The Guardian
rubbished her books as too conservative, white, middle class and English.
The students at Hogwarts celebrate Hallowe’en and Christmas, but
not Diwali. Oh dear!
Still, she can take comfort from the fact that most of her faithful
readers are eagerly awaiting books six and seven.
So, ignore the brickbats and petty envies of liberal hacks and less
successful authors. Carry on
David Kerr (age 46)