Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’: Chapter 2

In the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, shit gets real in record time. Also: MRS. FIGG!!!!!!!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.

[Cut=Full review of the 2nd chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix inside…]CHAPTER 2: A PECK OF OWLS


If I had had to wait three years before I could read this book, I assure you: I WOULD BE VERY, VERY, VERY HAPPY RIGHT NOW.

But really. What the fuck?????

Let’s get to Mrs. Figg, which is honestly blowing my mind to pieces right now.

  • “I’m a Squib, as Mundungus knows full well, so how on earth was I supposed to help you fight off dementors? He left you completely without cover when I warned him–“

Well, goddamn. She’s a Squib. And her and Mundungus are covering Harry???

  • “Yes, yes, yes, but luckily I’d stationed Mr. Tibbles under a car just in case, and Mr. Tibbles came and warned me, but by the time I got to your house you’d gone–and now–oh, what’s Dumbledore going to say? You!” she shrieked at Dudley, still supine on the alley floor. “Get your fat bottom off the ground, quick!”


  • “Of course I know Dumbledore, who doesn’t know Dumbledore? But come on–I’ll be no help if they come back, I’ve never so much as Transfigured a teabag–“


So…wait. Is she in on all this? Why are her and this other dude watching Harry?

  • “Dumbledore’s orders. I was to keep an eye on you but not say anything, you were too young. I’m sorry I gave you such a miserable time, but the Dursleys would never have let you come if they’d thought you enjoyed it. It wasn’t easy, you know….But, oh my word,” she said tragically, wring her hands once more, “when Dumbledore hears about this–how could Mundungus have left, he was supposed to stay on duty until midnight–where is he? How am I going to tell Dumbledore what’s happened, I can’t Apparate–“


I will say that I love Mrs. Figg deeply. She is so FIERCE. She is so FEISTY. And I think it’s slightly brilliant that she’s in direct contrast to the opening of chapter one, which is so quiet and serene. It’s as if her character alone could bring the panicky chaos alone.

Also: this is the second chapter!!!!!!!

Shit continues to get more real when Mrs. Figg escorts Harry home and, of course, doesn’t explain anything to him before disappearing into the darkness. But I’m kind of okay with that because:

  • Harry looked sideways at Dudley and ducked out from under his arm just in time. Dudley swayed for a moment on the spot, his face pale green, then he opened his mouth at last and vomited all over the doormat.

WHY DO I TAKE GREAT PLEASURE IN SEEING DUDLEY SUFFER? Oh, that’s right, because he reminds me of all the bullies who used to give me all the torments.

Fuck him.

But this did create a fascinating and much-need situation right off-the-bat. The world of the Dursleys and the world of magic needed to collide more dramatically than they had in the past, not only for reasons pertaining solely to my desire to see the abusive dolts suffer, but because it was something that could not be ignored for another year, especially given the events of the last book. I don’t think it’s long until the entire world of magic comes spilling into the world of Muggles on a grander scale, but it needs to happen here.

Part of it is believability. How much longer CAN the Dursleys just ignore the fact that Harry is a wizard? Especially as he gets older (he’s 15 now), it’s going to be nearly impossible to deal with him as an adult and not acknowledge such things.

Leave it up to J.K. Rowling to not only do this, but completely knock me off my feet in the process.

Aunt Petunia is obviously very shocked at the sight of Dudley and it isn’t until Dudley merely says, “Him,” that Uncle Vernon begins his predictable rage at Harry for apparently causing all of this. I expected the same interchange:





Not quite what happens, though.

Uncle Vernon does begin his usual, all-caps tirade at Harry, with Harry unable to get a full explanatory sentence in, but something interrupts the entire process before anyone can get anywhere in the conversation.

An owl shows up.

Not Hedwig or Pigwidgeon or any owl Harry had ever seen. It’s a Ministry owl. And Harry, shockingly, is expelled from Hogwarts for using his Patronus Charm in front of a Muggle.

Yeah. Not expected at all.

Harry very quickly makes a decision. The Ministry letter says that his wand will be destroyed shortly by someone from the Ministry of Magic, so he decides that, in the interest of protecting himself, it would be better for him to run away as soon as possible. And as angsty as Harry already is in this book, I actually didn’t interpret this internal decision of his as anything but his will to survive.

You have to realize that he knows that the dementors can eat your soul and that Lord Voldemort will kill you without a second thought. The past two books have demonstrated to us that there is a legitimate risk and threat. And I applaud Harry for acting on it.

BUT OH WAIT NOT ALLOWED. Because a second owl arrives, via Apparition, and it’s from Ron’s dad.

Harry’s told not to leave the house and NOT to surrender his wand. Dumbledore’s sorting things out. YAY DUMBLEDORE.

Except…that’s the second owl that’s arrived. And clearly the Dursleys are watching Harry. How is he going to explain this?

By telling the truth.

  • “The first one was from the Ministry of Magic, expelling me,” said Harry calmly; he was straining his ears to catch noises outside in case the Ministry representatives were approaching, and it was easier and quieter to answer Uncle Vernon’s questions than to have him start raging and bellowing. “The second one was from my friend Ron’s dad, he works at the Ministry.”

Uncle Vernon is gobsmacked, sort of like I was when I first started reading this series. WHAT DO ALL THESE WORDS MEAN? WHAT MADE-UP LANGUAGE IS HE SPEAKING?

Harry simply answers his questions in a matter-of-fact way. In the narrative, it serves as a way to keep Uncle Vernon calm, but for us, we’re finally seeing these two worlds meet together.

When Uncle Vernon, though, turns to Dudley to try to explain why Harry used magic, Dudley’s at a loss for words at how exactly to explain the dementors.

  • “How come you fell over, son?” said Uncle Vernon in an unnaturally quiet voice, the kind of voice he would adopt at the bedside of a very ill person.

    “T-tripped,” said Dudley shakily. “And then–“

    He gestured at his massive chest. Harry understood: Dudley was remembering the clammy cold that filled the lungs as hope and happiness were sucked out of you.

    “Horrible,” croaked Dudley. “Cold. Really cold.”

    “Okay,” said Uncle Vernon in a voice of forced calm, while Aunt Petunia laid an anxious hand on Dudley’s forehead to feel his temperature. “What happened then, Dudders?”

    “Felt…felt…felt…as if…as if…”

    “As if you’d never be happy again,” Harry supplied tonelessly.

Yikes, Harry. But Uncle Vernon takes this cue as an admission of guilt from Harry instead of explanation, forcing Harry to outright say it was dementors that caused this. And when Uncle Vernon asks what they are:

  • “They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban,” said Aunt Petunia.





HOW THE FUCK DOES SHE KNOW THIS oh my god if she is a dumbledore spy I WILL DIE

  • “I heard–that awful boy–telling her about them–years ago,” she said jerkily.

So she’s talking about her sister, Harry’s mom…and his dad? Oh god, WAY TO BRING UP THE MEMORY OF HIS DEAD PARENTS, PETUNIA.

oh wait ANOTHER OWL ARRIVES. Harry is not expelled, just suspending, pending some sort of disciplinary hearing. Also, this line:

  • “Enough–effing–owls…” muttered Uncle Vernon distractedly, stomping over to the window and slamming it shut again.

Clearly not a kids book anymore omg that is a dirty word in disguise

Here’s what I don’t get and actually kind of annoys me. Harry used a Patronus Charm, right? That charm has a very specific purpose: to defend one’s self against a dementor. There is no other spell or charm or hex (that I know of) that can defend against a dementor.

What gives, Ministry of Magic? It’s not like he was Transfiguring grass blades into pounds. He was…oh, I don’t know…TRYING TO NOT GET HIS SOUL SUCKED OUT OF HIS MOUTH AND LIVE THE REST OF HIS LIFE AS A SHELL OF A HUMAN BEING.

WTF, guys. WTF.

While Harry is trying to explain what the holy hell a dementor is to Uncle Vernon (who can’t just SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR ONE FUCKING MINUTE JESUS CHRIST MAN), another owl shows up. That’s number four.

It’s from Sirius. Stay in the house, Harry!


Uncle Vernon continues his interrogation of Harry and it finally gets to the reason behind this: Harry outright admits he thinks the dementors were sent to Privet Drive by Lord Voldemort, since he’s back.

And oh boy.

  • “Back?” whispered Aunt Petunia.

    She was looking at Harry as she had never looked at him before. And all of a sudden, for the very first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister. He could not have said why this hit him so powerfully at this moment. All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean. Aunt Petunia had never in his life looked at him like that before. Her large, pale eyes (so unlike her sister’s) were not narrowed in dislike or anger: They were wide and fearful. The furious pretense that Aunt Petunia had maintained all Harry’s life–that there was no magic and no world other than the world she inhabited with Uncle Vernon–seemed to have fallen away.

What a huge moment for Harry and this series. Wow.

Uncle Vernon? Not quite so reasonable. He starts yelling at Harry to get out of the house, that he doesn’t need his magical shenaniganry, that he should been left at an orphanage (whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy), and all this bullshit when A FIFTH OWL SHOWS UP. come on.

The owl brings a Howler for Harry, but Aunt Petunia gets to it first. YOUR LOSS, PETUNIA.

  • “Let go of it, Petunia!” roared Uncle Vernon. “Don’t touch it, it could be dangerous!”

    “It’s addressed to me,” said Aunt Petunia in a shaking voice. “It’s addressed to me, Vernon, look! Mrs. Petunia Dursley, The Kitchen, Number Four, Privet Drive-“

what the fuck is going on

  • Am awful voice filled the kitchen, echoing in the confined space, issuing from the burning letter on the table.


what the fuck

what is going on i don’t get it WHAT IS ALL THIS oh my god PETUNIA BACKSTORY RIGHT NOW.

  • “Petunia, dear?” said Uncle Vernon timidly. “P-Petunia?”

    She raised her head. She was still trembling. She swallowed.

    “The boy–the boy will have to stay, Vernon,” she said weakly.


    “He stays,” she said. She was not looking at Harry.

Shit is so goddamn real and I am only on page 41.