The Second War Begins

chapter thirty-eight of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry, miserable and lonely after losing Sirius, talks with his friends, with Hagrid, with Nearly Headless Nick, and finally with Luna, who alone is able to offer him some comfort. Despite his mood, though, he dreads returning home until he finds the Order of the Phoenix in King’s Cross, come to warn the Dursleys to treat him well as he heads back to Privet Drive for the summer.

In the Hospital Wing, by Marta T

“Yes, they’re very complimentary about you now, Harry,” said Hermione, now scanning down the article. “‘A lone voice of truth… perceived as unbalanced, yet never wavered in his story… forced to bear ridicule and slander…’”

(by Marta T)


Draco, by forbis

“You think you’re such a big man, Potter,” said Malfoy, advancing now…. “You wait. I’ll have you. You can’t land my father in prison -“

(by forbis)


On the Edge of the Lake, by Helene Sirois

He walked a short way around the lake, sat down on its bank, sheltered from the gaze of passersby behind a tangle of shrubs, and stared out over the gleaming water, thinking….


The Sun Has Set, by Chantelle

He sat there for a long time, gazing out at the water, trying not to think about his godfather or to remember that it was directly across from here, on the opposite bank, that Sirius had collapsed trying to fend off a hundred dementors….


Harry and Luna Share a Poignant Moment Near the End of the School Year, by Drew Graham

“Hello,” said Luna vaguely, glancing around at him as she stepped back from the notice.


Luna, by Chantelle

“Yes,” said Luna simply, “my mother. She was quite an extraordinary witch, you know, but she did like to experiment and one of her spells went rather badly wrong one day. I was nine….
I still feel very sad about it sometimes. But I’ve still got Dad. And anyway, it’s not as though I’ll never see Mum again, is it?”


Just Lurking, by Chantelle

“You heard them, just behind the veil, didn’t you? In that room with the archway. They were just lurking out of sight, that’s all.”


about the chapter


The Final Word

J.K. Rowling takes her characters to places that few other children’s books do, blatantly discussing murder, death, and the afterlife. It gives her characters (and her plots) such incredible depth, but has also been a frequent topic for debate among her critics (particularly when books four and five were initially released). Here’s a conversation she had after Goblet of Fire came out, which started when she was asked what she thought of her critics who felt children needed to be protected from these kinds of discussions:
“On my last tour [of the US] I was there over Halloween. And I was stunned that on my hotel television…you see, my daughter was in this hotel room, and three programs in a row were concerned with ‘how do we stop our children being frightened by Halloween.’ These daytime chat shows. ‘Well, make sure you watch them putting up the decorations, so they can see it’s not real. Explain to them it’s all for fun.’ And I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, you are trying to protect children from their own imaginations, and you can’t do that. That’s how you turn out frightened children, in my opinion. You turn out frightened children by saying, ‘It’s not scary. There’s nothing there to frighten you.’ Kids will get scared and they’ve got to live through that and then to deal with that. You can’t stop them being frightened. A happy child is not one who has never experienced fear or who has never been allowed to experience fear.

“[Fear] is a healthy thing. It’s a survival thing. What then happens to the child who has been so protected that their age…I mean how could a child grow to age 14 never having experienced fear, but let’s say that were possible? It would be a destroying experience for that boy or girl the first time they felt fear. You have to learn that. We’re trying to protect them from our own fears, I think, and that’s not healthy. That’s not good.”

(Interviewer: “What is healthy to protect them from?”)

“Obviously we want them physically safe. That’s a very natural instinct. I’m the same with my daughter. My reaction to a scary book or a scary film with my daughter would be to watch it with her and discuss it with her, to be with her as she experienced it. But don’t get me wrong. There are things I do not want my nearly seven-year-old daughter exposed to. There are definitely things, such as explicit sex. No, she’s too young. That’s like giving a seven-year-old child a loaded gun and saying ‘play with that.’ No, that’s another issue. I mean, sex is something we do discuss but I don’t want her watching certain films. I don’t want her watching films where people blow each other’s heads off at random. No, absolutely not. But when it comes to something that is…

(Interviewer: “Because it’s hard to draw the line here, isn’t it? Because someone could read your book and say ‘well, there’s murder…’”)

“People die, but do you care when they die? Do you absolutely have a sense of how evil it is to take another person’s life? Yes, I think in my book you do. I think you do. I think you see that is a horrific thing. I have enormous respect for human life. I do not think that you would read… the deaths in [my books] and think, yeah, well, he’s gone, off we go. Not at all. I think it’s very clear where my sympathies lie. And here we are dealing with someone, I’m dealing with a villain who does hold human life incredibly cheap. That’s how it happens: one squeeze of the trigger. Gone. Forever. That’s evil. It’s a terrible, terrible thing but you’re right, I know where I draw the line. Other people will draw the line in a different place and they will disagree with me.”–J.K. Rowling, July 2000

26 Responses to “The Second War Begins”

  1. The pictures of Harry sitting by the lake are beautiful. I also love Chantelle’s Luna.
    The final word by JKR… way to end the book. I’m trying to find words to describe what I’m feeling, but I can’t.
    I can’t wait for Half-Blood Prince.

  2. Can I say again how much I love this site?

    I want to say so much about this chapter, but like Mickey, I can’t find the words right now…

    I’m happy at this series’ unprecedented fame for a number of reasons, but one of them is because Rowling does take this view of death in her books. I agree with her completely.

  3. Well, there we are. I’m glad we’ve gotten through book 5 as I’m very much looking forward to HBP. I already have it on my iPod. Oh, and of course I’m hoping for a book 5 essay.

    Funny line in this chapter: “I expect what you’re not aware of would fill several books, Dursley.”

    Note that this chapter is named “The Second War Begins” and the last chapter in GoF is called “The Beginning”. I always assumed that the title of the last chapter in book 4 referred to the beginning of a new Voldemort era, so I don’t really get why this one is called almost the same.

  4. Congrats on finishing OoTP, two of my favorite books coming up now! I really liked the art for the chapter and the quote from Rowling was really insightful. Things like this make me appreciate this site even more. I can’t wait to see what is to come!

    @Kim I always assumed that “The Beginning” was referring to the beginning of the seperation of Dumbledore/Harry/Hogwarts from Fudge/Umbridge/the Ministry. In the next book we see their full true colors, but GoF was when we saw a hint of might be hiding underneath.

  5. What a way to end the book. I LOVE Chantelle’s drawing of Luna and Harry, it is just so sweet! I will admit that between OotP and HBP I briefly entertained the notion of a Harry/Luna ship, before I realized she was meant to be with Neville.

    In regards to chapter titles, I see “The Beginning” as the beginning of another Voldy era – living in fear, fighting for survival. But the outright war doesn’t begin until OotP.

    Bring on HBP – my fave in the series!

  6. Another wonderful aspect of this chapter is Nick’s explanation for why some people come back as ghosts. It needed to be explained, and J.K.R. did it in such a perfect way that added so much to the chapter. One of my favorite parts of the books are the denouements. Just as the characters need the time to decompress and let the emotions of what has just happened sink in, so do the readers. And J.K.R. provides us with that in such a tender, wonderful way.

    Onward and upward with the series!

  7. It seems I remember reading something about Neville marrying someone from his own year, but not a Gryffindor – Hannah Abbott or Susan Bones maybe?

  8. I don’t know about Neville, but I think on JK’s bigraphy short movie thing she said Luna married some explorer and they spent the rest of their lives looking for crumple-horned-snorkacks (well, I think that’s how you spell it).
    Anyway, this was my least favourite out of the books because Harry was so depressed. But it had to happen and this is a really nice ending. Great art, and the comment from JK Rowling.

  9. Neville marries Hannah Abbot (who becomes the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron). And Luna marries Rolf Scamander, the great grandson (or something) of Newt Scamander.

  10. I also like Chantelle’s Luna.

  11. I agree with Ben–I think Harry’s conversation with Nearly Headless Nick (and the explanation of how ghosts come to be), along with his conversation with Luna, is a beautiful end to this book. We see a much different Harry (compared with his CAPSLOCK! self at the beginning) and he handles this death a lot differently than he does Cedric’s. I think his emotional growth is one of the reasons I love this book.

  12. Personally I think Chantelle’s makes Luna look a bit like Rowena Ravenclaw and I love it^^

  13. To notice that Hagrid is now thinking of finding a lady friend for Grawp… he never learns!
    We have another two fine moments with Umbridge, a short one in the hospital wing and the grand finale when she is chased away from Hogwarts by Peeves.
    We also have a dja vu: Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, once more returning home after the efect of multiple jinks :)
    It’s a pity there are no pictures for Peeves vs. Umbridge and for Malfoy and friends :(

  14. I do like the ghost explanation from Nick. It colors so much of the rest of the story, and when you go back and re-read the early books — at least when I do — I think of each ghost and why they decided not to “go on.”

  15. One of the highlights of this chapter: Moody and the other members of the Order of the Phoenix delivering their warning to Vernon and Petunia – with the really delicious part being that to the Dursleys, the big threat isn’t what the wizards might do to them, but what the neighbors are going to think when they see such an oddball lot turning up at 4 Privet Drive!

  16. Oh, man, if only Harry had opened Sirius’s two-way mirror!!! Most likely Sirius’s mirror was in Buckbeak’s room with him after Kreacher injured Buckbeak and since you can talk with them, Sirius definitely would have answered. Man

  17. Beautiful end to a wonderful book. This is tied with POA as my favorite book. He goes through all of this stages of grief and it isn’t all that dramatic. Sirius is gone. There are no copouts he is dead and gone.

  18. By the way, on the house point hourglasses we have rubies for Gryffindor, sapphires for Ravenclaw, emeralds for Slytherin, and how about Hufflepuff? What stone to they have in their hourglasses?

  19. Well they play in yellow Quidditch robes, so…amber? Ochre? For some reason, reading the books as a kid I missed the yellow Quidditch robes, and always thought of Hufflepuff as the blue house (Ravenclaw were in my imagination red – I think that was childhood alliterativeness, and I thought scarlet for Gryffindor was closer to purple)

  20. When I first read Harry Potter I convinced myself that Gryffindor were the green house and I would not be told otherwise. This was 100% due to the fact that my own house at primary school was the green house and I would not be associated with Slytherin, no siree. Coincidentally, I always knew that the Hufflepuffs wore yellow, because they were somewhat slow and very jolly and our own slow ‘n’ jolly house were yellow too.

  21. For some reason, Helene Sirois’s picture made me think of Christopher Robin.

  22. I wonder what Umbridge thought about Fudge admitting that Harry and Dumbledore were telling the truth for the past year?

  23. And we come to the end of my favorite book. I loved that as I read this book, I learned just as much as Harry did by the end. And not just plot-wise, but emotionally and as a person. Jo does such a brilliant job of making this story *human*.

    Can’t wait for the fan art and discussions for HBP! (even though it is my least favorite book, if I had to pick one. Another unpopular opinion of mine) Hopefully you’ll change that, Josie! =]

  24. I cannot believe how much of an unrelentles jerk, for lack of a better word that is still suitable for this site, Snape still is in this chapter! Harry just saw Sirius die and Snape’s still favoring the freaking Slytherins and bullying Harry! It’s things like this that make me wonder if all those Snape fans just choose to ignore these moments and focus on what we find out in the last book.

  25. @Ari: I also don’t fully understand the Snape fangirl mentality, especially because all that redeeming stuff didn’t come out until the seventh book and they’d been around for years before that. I understand that he’s an interesting character and has torn loyalties, etc., but I am just not a fan of his bullying and overall jerkiness.

  26. Jose Lopez, I’ve only just noticed your question about house gemstones a year too late. I’m fairly sure that Hufflepuff would have sapphires. Diamonds, emeralds and sapphires are the only stones classified as “precious”, so I don’t think Hufflepuff would be delegated to be the only house represented by semi-precious stones like topaz or amber.

    Sapphires can be any colour. Red sapphires are commonly known as “rubies”, but there is no geological difference between a ruby and a sapphire of any other colour. So Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are all represented by sapphires. Spot the odd house out!

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