|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Major Event|
|Order of the Phoenix|
|Location||Various, but initially Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, Sirius Black's childhood home|
|Time Period||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Shortly after Voldemort's return) - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows|
|Important Characters||Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, many others|
The Order of the Phoenix is a secret society formed with a common goal: to aid in the defeat of Lord Voldemort. It is apparently headed up by Professor Dumbledore, as it is he who directs the remaining members to reform the Order on Voldemort's return. It is unknown why it is called the Order of the Phoenix.
While the Order is not mentioned by name at that time, we see it being reorganized at the very end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. After Cornelius Fudge has denied that Voldemort could have returned, and leaves, Professor Dumbledore requests that Sirius Black, then in his Animagus form, a large black dog, return to his human shape. He then sends Sirius to gather up "the old crowd: Mundungus Fletcher, Arabella Figg, Remus Lupin," and then lie low at Lupin's house and wait for instructions. Sirius returns to his Animagus shape and does so.
The first time we hear of the Order by name is when the Advance Guard arrives to bring Harry to London, following the Dementor attack. Once in London, Harry is given a note saying that the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is at Number 12, Grimmauld Place. As he reads the note, which is in Dumbledore's writing, a house appears in front of Harry.
Entering the house, Harry is then taken upstairs, where he meets with Hermione and Ron. They say that they had wanted to tell Harry about what was going on, but had been asked not to by Professor Dumbledore. They are joined by Fred, George, and Ginny, who together explain what they have learned: the Order is a secret society, secret because Dumbledore is being discredited in the press, as Harry himself is, for daring to say that Voldemort had returned. Despite being in Headquarters, they have learned very little, as the meetings are always closed; all they have really managed to gather is that there is something that is being guarded. Harry points out that this something quite possibly is himself.
About this time, the current meeting ends, and Professor Snape is seen to leave through the front door. Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys are called down to dinner. At dinner, Harry learns that among the members of the Order are Alastor Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Tonks, Remus Lupin, and Emmeline Vance, who had been part of the Advance Guard that brought him to Grimmauld Place; Sirius Black (who owns the house at Grimmauld Place and has donated it to act as Headquarters), Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, their sons Bill and Charlie, and one Mundungus Fletcher. Charlie is not present; the Order has him recruiting wizards in Romania. Bill has taken a desk job in Gringotts. Harry has earlier met Mundungus Fletcher, and so knows that crazy old Mrs. Figg is also working for the Order; and of course we have now seen Snape leaving an Order meeting.
After dinner, Sirius suggests that Harry might have some questions about the Order. Mrs. Weasley immediately objects, saying that he is too young, but is overruled by Lupin, Sirius, and her own husband. She is equally unsuccessful in getting Hermione, Ron, Fred, and George out of the meeting, so eventually simply marches Ginny off to bed. In answer to Harry's questions, the Order members disclose to Harry and the others that the Order is a group of wizards, led by Dumbledore, who agree with Harry and Dumbledore than Voldemort has returned. To Harry's question why Voldemort has not shown himself, we hear that Voldemort is staying hidden, gathering strength in preparation for his return. Lupin also says that Voldemort has a very great disadvantage, in that he had hoped that knowledge of his return would be restricted to his Death Eaters only. Thanks to Harry, however, within an hour of his return, that information had reached the one person, Dumbledore, that Voldemort did not want to know about it.
Lupin also discloses that this time, they know that there is something that Voldemort is after, a weapon, but at that point Mrs. Weasley intervenes again, saying that really is enough, and the party breaks up. Later, the Twins mention to Harry and Ron that the bit about the weapon was the only thing they had not already known about.
Over the next few weeks, while Sirius, Hermione, Harry, Mrs. Weasley, and the Weasley children attempt to make Grimmauld Place habitable, several Order members enter and leave the house. One that Harry recognizes is Professor McGonagall, who looks very odd in Muggle dress. At one point a little later in the story, Dumbledore also visits, but he apparently does so at a time when Harry will not see him.
Harry must attend a hearing at the Ministry regarding his use of magic in front of Dudley. While walking through the ministry with Arthur, Harry notes that Arthur seems to pretend only a casual acquaintance with Kingsley Shacklebolt.
In the party that is held to celebrate the appointment of Ron and Hermione as Prefects, many Order members return to Grimmauld Place. One of them is Alastor Moody, who shows Harry a photo of the Order as it was the last time Voldemort was in power. Many of the current members of the Order are present, as well as Frank and Alice Longbottom who had been driven insane, and many who had died, like Harry's father and mother.
The Order is not mentioned much through the main body of the book. The individual members of the Order play fairly substantial roles, but until the end of the book, there is little mention of the Order as a group. Sometimes we are told that something is Order business, or, as when the Trio wonder why Arthur Weasley is in the Ministry to be attacked by the snake, we are allowed to watch Harry infer that.
Near the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry becomes convinced that Voldemort has trapped Sirius Black in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic, and determines that he must find a member of the Order who can communicate with Sirius to find out if Sirius is being tortured. Professor Dumbledore has been driven away from the school, and Professor McGonagall had been hit by multiple Stunners the previous night and had been sent to St. Mungo's Hospital. Harry attempts to use Professor Umbridge's fireplace to communicate directly with Sirius by the Floo network, but is caught. It is only when Snape is summoned by Umbridge, to provide a dose of Veritaserum, that Harry recalls that Snape is also a member of the Order. Harry's message to Snape seems to go astray, however, and Harry resigns himself to attempting Sirius' rescue alone.
As the rescue attempt turns into an ambush and Harry's fate seems hopeless, however, six members of the Order arrive to counter the ten Death Eaters. The resulting battle results in the revelation to the Ministry that Voldemort has returned, thus making the Order once again legitimate.
Dumbledore reports later to Harry that Snape had, in fact, checked on Sirius' whereabouts, and had summoned the Order to Harry's rescue when Harry had entered the Forbidden Forest with Umbridge and then not returned.
With Sirius' death, ownership of the house at Grimmauld Place falls into question. Sirius has left it to Harry in his will, but Dumbledore suspects there may be a magical entail that forces ownership to follow the line of inheritance among the Black children. This would mean that the house had passed to the next in line among the Black offspring, Bellatrix Lestrange. Until this is resolved, the house cannot be used as Headquarters of the Order. Dumbledore devises a test that confirms that ownership has passed to Harry. We assume that the house is then used as Headquarters, though we do not visit it during the year. Instead, we see a number of Order members passing through The Burrow.
We learn that the Order is watching over Hogwarts, supplementing the Ministry wizards who have been given that job and the defensive measures placed on the school itself. Occasionally we see Order members, most notably Tonks, patrolling the halls. In the final battle of the book, we see that none of the defenders of Hogwarts are from the Ministry, with the possible exception of Tonks who is also an Auror. Everyone on the Hogwarts side in that battle is either a member of Dumbledore's Army, a teacher, or a member of the Order.
We hear in Voldemort's council that the Order has plans to move Harry away from Privet Drive before the date scheduled by the Ministry. Snape tells Voldemort that the Order believes the Ministry has been thoroughly infiltrated by Voldemort's organization and doesn't trust the Ministry to manage the escape. Apparently Snape, now Voldemort's most trusted deputy, is somehow able to retrieve information from the Order.
We next learn of the Order's plan to arrange the safety of the Dursleys and Harry. Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and cousin Dudley drive off in the company of a pair of Order wizards, Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones. Meanwhile, thirteen Order members arrive, preparing to be seven protectors each with a Harry Potter simulated by means of Polyjuice Potion, and each pair heading for a different Order safe house. Harry ends up at the house of Ted Tonks. In this battle, the Order suffers two casualties: Alastor Moody is killed when his Potter, Mundungus Fletcher, Disapparates out of the path of a killing curse thrown by Voldemort, and George Weasley loses an ear to a Sectumsempra curse cast by Snape. Harry and his escort, Hagrid, crash on their motorcycle, but are healed by the time their Portkey activates.
As Dumbledore had been the Secret-Keeper for the Order, on his death every Order member becomes a Secret-Keeper for those secrets about the Order to which he had been privy. In particular, this means that the location of Headquarters is almost certainly no longer a secret, as Snape, who is quite obviously now a Death Eater, knew of Headquarters. We hear that the Burrow has become something of a headquarters for the Order, with large numbers of Order members stopping there for dinner frequently.
After leaving The Burrow, there is little mention the Order as a group until Ron's return. At that time, Ron mentions the taboo on Voldemort's name. The effects of the taboo, breaking protective spells and attracting Snatchers to the location of anyone speaking the name, are aimed squarely at the Order, those being the only people who dare to speak Voldemort's name.
As preparations begin for the final battle at Hogwarts, Harry is alarmed to find that, not only has Neville summoned Dumbledore's Army to make a stand, but that the Order members are appearing as well. Harry feels that he is acting to drag all these people he cares about into clear and imminent danger, and considers himself responsible. Nonetheless, the Order has decided that this will be where they make their stand, and several start taking active and leadership roles in the defence of the school.
In Snape's memories, we learn that Snape had remained true to the Order until his death, acting as a double agent. While it was the portrait of Dumbledore that had originated the idea of having decoy Harrys at the escape from Privet Drive, it was Snape's task to get that idea to the Order. Possibly knowing that Mundungus Fletcher would be the member most likely suspected by the Order to have leaked Harry's departure date, and that Voldemort's being unaware of that aspect of the plan would exonerate Fletcher, Snape planted the idea of decoy Harrys in Fletcher's mind.
Throughout the course of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry's official platform was that Voldemort had not returned. The Order, while it had to operate in secret due to this, provided a group where plans and preparations could be made for Voldemort's reappearance. The order thus provided a seasoned core of individuals who were able to thwart Voldemort's plans to some extent while he was still operating covertly, and were already organized and operational when Voldemort moved back into the open.
The existence of the organization provided a central clearing house where information about Harry's progress in the raid at the Ministry could be tracked. It was because this group existed that Harry was rescued from the ambush.
The following year, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Order seems to be among the few groups which are actively and effectively fighting Voldemort. While the Ministry has accepted Voldemort's return, much of what we see the Ministry doing could be considered "security theatre", activities being carried out to make the Wizarding world feel safer without actually having much effect on actual safety.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Ministry comes completely under Voldemort's control, and the Order of the Phoenix is the only organization actively fighting against him. There are other, small pockets of resistance here and there, including the reactivated Dumbledore's Army, but active resistance seems to be centered on the Order.
During the entire course of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry, in a manner that by design echoes the actions of the government of Britain under Neville Chamberlain in the late 1930s, steadfastly denies the possibility of Voldemort's return. In order to publicly maintain this belief, the government must discredit anyone who suggests they may be wrong. Dumbledore, as such a voice, must be silenced, or at the very least discredited, so that his message will not weaken the government. Because of this, the Order of the Phoenix must work as secretively as Voldemort himself. It is because of this that the Weasley family has split, with Percy adhering to the Ministry line in what he sees as his only choice to retain his job and possibly gain promotion, while the rest of his family chooses to believe Dumbledore's version of events. The Order's secrecy ends at the same time Voldemort's does; once Voldemort is visibly returned, the Order equally does not have to hide, and though they will remain separate from the Ministry, they work towards the same ends in relative harmony until the Ministry itself falls in the opening chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The members of the Order of the Phoenix that we are told of are:
- Sirius Black
- Edgar Bones
- Caradoc Dearborn
- Dedalus Diggle
- Elphias Doge
- Aberforth Dumbledore
- Albus Dumbledore
- Benjy Fenwick
- Arabella Figg
- Mundungus Fletcher
- Rubeus Hagrid
- Hestia Jones
- Alice Longbottom
- Frank Longbottom
- Remus Lupin
- Dorcas Meadowes
- Minerva McGonagall
- Marlene McKinnon
- Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody
- Sturgis Podmore
- James Potter
- Lily Potter (née Evans)
- Fabian Prewett
- Gideon Prewett
- Kingsley Shacklebolt
- Severus Snape
- Nymphadora Tonks
- Emmeline Vance
- Arthur Weasley
- Bill Weasley
- Charlie Weasley
- Molly Weasley
As mentioned, the reason for the name of the Order is never given in the series, though we can surmise that it may have something to do with Dumbledore's pet, Fawkes. We note that Dumbledore's Patronus takes the form of a phoenix. As Dumbledore founded the Order, we believe that he likely chose its name out of the high regard he has for phoenixes.
While Harry is the hero of the story, a hero cannot work in a vacuum. Harry must, in the end, stand alone against Voldemort, but as Voldemort has his Death Eaters, so must there be an approximately equally strong organization opposing them. It would be something of an immature belief that this organization would be the government. An adult knows that the government's prime directive is to preserve itself, a tendency that has been shown to us multiple times by Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry under his control. It would be equally immature to believe that under Fudge's successor, Rufus Scrimgeour, it would be any more effective. We see, in fact, that the Ministry is looking for some sign of approval from Harry that it can publicize to make their onerous actions more palatable. Given that the Ministry is being shown as ineffective, there must be some group that can take up Harry's banner and assist him against the Death Eaters. At Hogwarts, there is Dumbledore's Army, of course, but none of them can have any skill, individually, that Harry does not, as he is teaching them. The Order of the Phoenix, on the other hand, a group of mature and powerful wizards with the single goal of Voldemort's defeat, provides the background resistance to Voldemort that the Ministry cannot provide. Without the Order or something akin to it, Harry's job would be immeasurably more difficult.
Although Harry is slow to realize it, the Order has a much more direct effect on him as well. Upon hearing the prophecy concerning himself and Voldemort, Harry leaps to the conclusion that the entire battle against Voldemort rests on him. As such, he accepts far more responsibility for the risks others take than he should. In particular, he feels that it is his fault that Voldemort chooses to attack Hogwarts, putting the lives of everyone within in danger, rather than seeing it as purely Voldemort's doing. The Order, by its existence, and by the fact of its existence before Harry was born, acts to remind Harry that there are wizards who, for their own reasons totally separate from Harry, are quite willing to risk their lives in the battle against Voldemort's oppression.