Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling

The Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the Harry Potter franchise, it was written by J.K Rowling and released in the summer of 2003. This will have spoilers so if you don’t want to see those you may want to skip this

In the book Harry is facing the ministry of magic in a wizarding court after he casts magic outside of school to save his cousin Dudley from the dementors kiss.

Before the hearing Harry is collected by a group of wizards and witches known as the Order of the Phoenix who take him to number 12 Grimmauld Place the childhood home of his god father Sirius Black. The Order of Phoenix is a secret organisation created by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore with the goal to fight against Lord Voldemort and his Army. The order has gained many members over the years but some of the most recognisable names are Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Abefore Dumbledore, Mad Eye Moody, Lily and James Potter, Arthur and Molly Weasly and Nymphadora Tonks.

After the trial a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher called Delores Umbridge was hired at Hogwarts, as a member of the Ministry of Magic she believes herself to be of a much higher hierarchy and while she puts on a sweet natured appearance she is actually one of the most sadistic and evil characters in the franchise.

Of course Harry does eventually manage to get his name cleared when evidence that he was defending Dudley is brought to light but its quite clever how this trial plays into the beliefs and emotions of other characters. Some students start to believe that Harry may have killed Cedric Diggory during the Tri Wizard Cup and due to strange dreams he is having which all end up becoming true even Headmaster Albus Dumbledore keeps his distance for the majority of the school year even though it was for good reasons explained much later into the novel.

Delores takes a particular dislike to Harry Potter during detentions she make him write lines that would then cut into his arms and wrists leaving him bleeding and in pain, she even goes as far as to attempt the cruciatis curse but is quickly stopped. For those who don’t know the cruciatis curse is one of the most dangerous illegal spells due to its intense pain and eventually turning its receivers to insanity, the most famous case was how it was used to torture and destroy the minds of Alice and Frank Longbottom.

Another character worth mentioning here is Grawp the half brother of Hagrid, Grawp is a full blooded giant but is still considered short in stature for the species, in the book he lives in the forbidden forest and is being taken care of by Hagrid, Grawp has some serious communication difficulties and struggles with understanding his own strength and peoples personal boundaries.

Of course the book also very sadly gives us the murder of Sirius Black who was killed by Bellatrix la strange in the department of mysteries. This death always hits me quite hard since Sirius Black is easily one of my favourite characters in the franchise.

Some of the differences to the movie worth highlighting are that once again in the movies I think the fact that in the book both Ron and Hermione become prefects is worth mentioning, of course Sytherin gets Prefect Draco as well giving the bully even more power than hes ever deserved.

In the film Neville steals one of Dobby the House Elf’s biggest moments that being the discovery of the Room or Requirement where Harry eventually teaches students how to produce protronuses and other difficult spells as he build Dumbledores Army.

A change that really caught me of guard was that in the book Cho Chang is not the person who told Umbridge about Dumbledores army and infact it was actually another Ravenclaw student called Marietta Edgecombe.

Another detail left from the movie was the reveal that Umbridge sent the dementors after Harry Potter as the Ministry didn’t want the return of Voldemort to become public knowledge, just going to show how evil she really is and how messed up the Ministry can be as well.

Overall I did enjoy this book but so far it has been my least favourite and it just never grabbed my attention like previous titles in the series. Coming back to Harry Potter from the last book this was disappointing in the sense that it just kinda drags in places and is a little hard to follow, it just seems like so much is going on and its hard keep track at times. It does have some great action sequences and one of my favourite villains being Umbridge, also the scenes that show Snape’s past with Lily Potter are very well written and show the potions master in a much more sympathetic light. I also think its important that James Potter was shown to be a bully to Snape as it does really explain his hatred towards Harry since his birth practically brought on James death along with Lily leaving Snape heartbroken.

I would argue that this is a really good book but I just much preferred the Goblet of Fire and just hope that the 6th book in series manages to become a new favourite of mine.

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Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (2014) Review

One Knight, One Shovel, One chance of success

Was Shovel Knight an epic masterpiece or were Yaught Club Games digging them selves a very deep hole?

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Shovel Knight and Shield Knight are two adventurers who formed a strong relationship with each other, together they would adventure across many lands and discovering many treasures on their travels, one day they tackle the tower of fate seeking a magical amulet, unfortunately the amulet is cursed and upon its discovery Shovel Knight  blacks out and awakens outside only to notice that the tower has been sealed and Shield Knight was no where to be seen.

shield knight sadGrieving the loss of his beloved, Shovel Knight gave up his life of being an adventurer and went on to live in solitude, with Shovel Knight gone an evil sorceress called The Enchantress gathered the Knights of the Order of the no Quarter and they started to wreak havoc on the land, Shovel Knight discovers that The Enchantress had unsealed the Tower of Fate and is using it as her new castle, Shovel Knight decides that the only way to save the land is too defeat The Enchantress in the Tower of Fate and to hopefully reunite with Shield Knight.

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Shovel Knight plays and feels very similar to three very popular old school Nintendo classics, Duck tales on NES, Mega man and Super Mario Bros 3.

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The game is a 2D action plat-former, players will need fight there way through each world using their shovels to their advantage, unlike a traditional Mario game players can not defeat enemies by simply jumping on them as this will cause Shovel Knight to take damage, instead you will need to use your Shovels to bounce off of your enemies you can also hit enemies with your shovel similar to using a sword.

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Of course your shovel isn’t the only weapon Shovel Knight can use as there are also items called relics which can prove to be quite useful in the more tougher areas of the game, you can either buy these items from a merchant in town and some items can only be bought by secret merchants hidden each in knight level.

My three favorite relics are

Flare Wand: A magic wand which allows Shovel Knight to shoot balls of fire

Dust Knuckles: This item allows Shovel Knight to punch through blocks of dirt and enemies quickly and effectively

Propeller Dagger:  Allows Shovel Knight to temporarily dart through the air for a short distance

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Shovel Knight uses a map system which draws inspiration from Mario 3, this doesn’t surprise me as Mario 3 perfected the formula for over world maps in video games and in turn many developers choose this style due to that games success, with that in mind it should be no shock that Shovel Knight follows this formula having the player needing to defeat certain levels to unlock new paths, bumping into other adventurers who want to duel and entering towns to stock up on items.

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There are eight knights that  you will need to defeat before you can gain access to the Tower of Fate Spectre Knight, King Knight, Treasure Knight, Plague Knight, Mole Knight, Polar Knight, Tinker Knight and Propeller Knight, every time you defeat of one of these knights a new path on the overall map will open allowing you inch closer and closer to the Tower of Fate each time.

You may also bump into wandering travelers on your journey, these travelers will fight you if you cross paths so be wary of which path you take.

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Towns will prove to be very important pit stops on your quest as they will allow Shovel Knight to buy new weapons and armor as well as to increase his maximum health and magic, it is also a good idea to speak to the town bard as he will buy any music sheets that you have found while adventuring.

Troupple-King

Meet the Troupple King this cross between a trout and an apple will surely prove to be the most useful stop in the entire game, the Troupple King has the ability to create ichors which Shovel Knight can drink.

These ichors come in three colours.

Red: replenishes full health and magic

Blue: become temporarily invincible

Yellow: absorb all near by treasure

Make sure you choose your ichors wisely as you can only hold two at a time, also in order to use ichors you must buy a Troupple Chalice or two from the apple man in town.

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Visually Shovel Knight is stunning it has a similar art style to the Nintendo Entertainment System using what appears to be 8 bit visuals, of course there is no way Shovel Knight could run on the NES due to how fast the game runs as well as its large colour palette.

 

The soundtrack is absolutely perfect for this style of game, its beautifully composed and there is not a single track in this game that I do not love, its not just the composition of the soundtrack but its also the direction that really helps create such a wonderful game play experience, each section of the game has what I consider to be the perfect choice of music for example when the game is intense the music is intense, when shovel knight is dreaming the music is still a lot of fun but its much slower and when your in towns the music is cheerful and a little silly which suits the towns superbly as the towns people are wacky and unusual.

Shovel Knight is a fantastic game and for a project that was only possible due to crowd funding it’s absolutely amazing, make sure to visit the hall of heroes to see paintings of all of the crowd funder’s as well as a secret boss fight.

I don’t know what to say apart from that the game is perfect and as an extra treat when you beat the game you will unlock extra challenges that you can complete and in a more recent update a brand new game called Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows has been added for free and is also available upon completion of Shovel Knight.

but I will get to that adventure some other day

FOR SHOVELRY !! 10/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Shovel Knight

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com