Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix – Summary, Chapters 3–5

Chapter 3
Harry asks his owl, Hedwig, to deliver messages to Ron,
Hermione, and Sirius. Harry instructs Hedwig to peck at each recipient
until they write him substantial replies. The Dursleys leave to
attend an award ceremony for the All-England Best Kept Suburban
Lawn Competition. They depart, and Harry hears a loud crash. His
door unlocks and swings open. Harry heads downstairs to investigate and
is greeted by a group of nine wizards: Mad-Eye Moody, Professor
Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Elphias Doge, Dedalus
Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore, and Hestia Jones. They
have come to transport him somewhere safe to await his hearing without
further danger. While packing, Harry learns that Tonks is a Metamorphmagus
and can change her appearance at will. Lupin writes a letter for
the Dursleys, assuring them that Harry is safe and will return home
next summer. Harry and the others mount their flying broomsticks
and take off into the cold night, finally landing in a run-down
looking part of London. Moody hands Harry a piece of paper that
reads, “The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found
at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London,” and orders Harry to
memorize it.
Chapter 4
The wizards rush Harry into number twelve. The building
is decrepit, with peeling wallpaper and a threadbare carpet. Ron’s mother,
Mrs. Weasley, emerges from a door and hurries toward them, pulling
Harry into a hug. She orders Harry upstairs, promising that Ron
and Hermione will fill him in. Harry’s friends greet him excitedly,
but Harry is still angry and screams at them for keeping him in
the dark all summer. He notices where Hedwig pecked at their hands,
and for a brief moment, Harry is happy to see their cuts. Ron and
Hermione explain that Dumbledore made them promise not to send Harry
any messages with specific news and that the Order of the Phoenix
is a secret society, comprised of people who wish to prevent Voldemort’s
return to power. The Order has been busy following known Death Eaters
and standing guard over Harry. Harry also learns that Ron’s brother,
Percy, has betrayed his family in order to support the corrupt Cornelius
Fudge at the Ministry of Magic. Hermione tells Harry how the Daily
Prophet has been building a case against Harry all summer,
portraying him as an egotistical liar. Ron, Hermione, and Harry
head downstairs to dinner, where Harry sees his godfather, Sirius
Black.
Chapter 5
Sirius explains that number twelve was his parents’ house
and now belongs to him. He has offered it to Dumbledore as a meeting
spot. During dinner, Sirius gets into a fight with Mrs. Weasley
over how much information Harry should be made privy to. Mrs. Weasley would
prefer that Harry not be told anything, but Sirius and Lupin convince
her that there are certain things he needs to know. Sirius tells
Harry that while Dumbledore thinks Voldemort is building his army
back up, the Ministry of Magic refuses to accept that Voldemort
is back. Instead, Fudge fears that Dumbledore is plotting to overthrow
him, taking the position of Minister himself. Harry also learns
that Voldemort is attempting to gain access to some kind of secret
weapon, but Mrs. Weasley stops the conversation before Harry can
learn more.
Analysis
In the first two chapters of Harry Potter and
the Order of the Phoenix, Rowling emphasizes the divide
between the Wizard world and the Muggle world. In the next three
chapters she emphasizes the divide between the child world and the
adult world. After finally being freed from the stifling confines
of Four Privet Drive, Harry is just now starting to learn some answers
to all of his questions. However, Harry finds the quality of these
answers extremely disappointing. He’s pleased to find out that Ron
and Hermione didn’t just abandon him for the summer and that they
were actually following strict orders from Dumbledore not to send
any confidential information by Owl, but he feels he should be kept
well-informed of Voldemort’s devious activities since he endured
a dramatic face-off with Voldemort last year. Regardless, many of
the adult members of the Order of the Phoenix, especially Mrs. Weasley
and Dumbledore, believe Harry is better off not knowing very much
at all. Aside from Sirius, Mrs. Weasley and Dumbledore are the closest
Harry has to a real family, and their desire to protect him leads
them to withhold this precious information. This withholding, however,
is patronizing. The adults in Harry’s world refuse to believe that
Harry and his friends should have full and unrestricted access to
adult business, despite the fact that they have proven themselves
worthy time and time again.
Harry is a bright and determined wizard even though he
is very young, but his many efforts to prove himself do not result
in increased access to the adult world. On more than one occasion,
he has had direct and violent contact with Voldemort and has proven that
he can successfully stand up to dark and powerful forces. Each of
the first four installments of the Harry Potter series culminates
in some kind of “good versus evil” climax, with Harry and his schoolmates
representing the side of goodness. A professor occasionally helps
Harry, but Harry usually shoulders the burden on his own, successfully
preventing evil from prevailing. Despite his bravery and success,
he is not made privy to any of the Order’s secret business, and
this lack of trust and information frustrates him. Even though Harry
has just been “saved” from the Dursleys, where he felt totally alone
and powerless, he has been placed in another exclusive situation,
where he feels equally powerless. Without Sirius’s intervention,
Harry wouldn’t have learned about Dumbledore’s break with the Ministry
or Voldemort’s plans for a new army. Given Harry’s past, this lack
of information is actually far more dangerous to him than anything
the Order might accidentally reveal.