This Friday Feature post continues my process of posting all the questions that I developed for a set of book discussions based on the Harry Potter book series. Today, I’m featuring Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the series.
Did you miss the set of discussion questions for the previous books? Then follow the links to the desired book:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
It’s with this title that we started to lose people. Maybe it was the timing (the discussion took place just after July 4th) or maybe it was because it was geared towards older kids, or maybe because it’s the longest book, clocking in at a whopping 896 pages. In any case, we only had twenty people show up, which is obviously still a good showing for a book as long as it is. One thing that I want to note here is that the kids were really interested in talking about the snake’s attack of Arthur Weasley and also what happened to Sirius, which I hadn’t wanted to breach because of how things play out in future books. However, we did discuss those two scenes briefly, and I would encourage other librarians to incorporate them into their own discussions.
1. Harry saves Dudley from a group of dementors at the beginning of the book. Why do you think Harry stops the dementors? What would you have done in that same situation? Do you think Dudley thinks about magic differently now that he’s been on the receiving end?
2. Professor Umbridge takes over teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and refuses to allow the students to actually perform the spells, insisting that “As long as you have studied the theory hard enough, there is no reason why you should not be able to perform the spells under carefully controlled examination conditions.” (244) Is she right? Do you think your teachers would agree with this philosophy? What do you think about this method of teaching?
3. Harry receives detention from Professor Umbridge repeatedly for talking back to her. Why is it so difficult for Harry to hold his tongue? Do you think Harry should have told someone about her form of detention? What other forms of detention have we seen throughout the series, and how do they compare to her tasks?
4. Why doesn’t anyone want to listen to Harry when he tries warning that Voldemort has returned? Should Harry have tried harder to convince people? What reasons do people give for believing or not believing him?
5. Harry does not initially want to be a teacher for Dumbledore’s Army. Why is he so opposed to the idea to begin with and do you agree with his reasons? (327-328) Why do you think so many students joined the DA, even though most of the school doesn’t seem to believe Harry? Does naming it the DA cause problems later on, and do you think they would have gotten in so much trouble if they’d named it something else?
6. Percy tells Ron to avoid Harry, and sends back the Christmas present he receives from his family. Why do you think Percy is distancing himself from the family so much? What do you think he hopes to accomplish while employed with the Ministry of Magic?
7. What do you think of Dumbledore assigning Snape the job of teaching Harry Occlumency? Do you think Harry would have done better or worse if someone else was teaching him how to defend against mental attacks? Could Snape have done a better job teaching Harry? Would you want anyone to have that ability or would you want that ability yourself?
8. How are Fred and George different from and the same as the rest of their family members? What do you think of their plan to open a shop of gag gifts and trick items? Should they have stayed in school?
9. Ron is amused by the concept of skiing, Professor McGonagall calls the fist-fight “Muggle dueling”, and Ron’s mother is outraged when the doctors experiment with stitches. What other Muggle things would be hard to explain to wizards? Would you be able to explain why we do those things or how they work?
10. Should Dumbledore have told Harry about the prophesy sooner? How much control do you think Harry has over his own life, and how much of it has been predetermined? Are your actions determined by your belief of what’s going to happen in the future? Does that knowledge change how you act?