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What is the Order of the Phoenix?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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The Order of the Phoenix is a fictional organization created by JK Rowling for her series of Harry Potter. It consists of a group of wizards who band together to fight against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Within the framework of the books, the Order of the Phoenix is a good organization, while the Death Eaters are considered evil. The fifth book in the series is named for the Order, and the Order, along with its members, plays a pivotal role in the series.

Albus Dumbledore initially founded the Order of the Phoenix in the 1970s, when Voldemort was first rising to power. He gathered a crew of talented witches and wizards together to oppose Voldemort and his followers. The Order was named for Fawkes, Dumbledore's pet phoenix, who also happens to be an important character in the books. During the 1970s, many members of the Order of the Phoenix died or vanished while opposing Voldemort. Among the dead are Lily and James Potter, Harry Potter's parents.

When Voldemort rises again in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book, Dumbledore quickly reforms the order, despite claims by the Ministry of Magic that Voldemort has not reappeared. The later half of the series documents the battles fought by members of the Order of the Phoenix, several of whom die or are injured. Some of the members are old members from the 1970s, while others are newly joined. The combined forces of the Order of the Phoenix represent formidable skill, along with a desire to conquer evil in the world.

In the fifth book, the headquarters of the Order are established as being at Number 12, Grimmauld place. Members can only find out the location of the headquarters from Albus Dumbledore, who acts as Secret-Keeper for the order. A Secret-Keeper is an individual used to hold an important secret such as the location of a witch or wizard who may be in danger. The secret is embedded within the Secret-Keeper using the Fidelius Charm, which is said to be a very complex piece of magic.

Readers learn about the Order of the Phoenix in the fifth book, when the series turns much darker with the return of Voldemort. In order to join, wizards must be 17 and out of school. Membership in the Order of the Phoenix can prove to be very dangerous, as Voldemort and the Death Eaters will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By widget2010 — On Jul 21, 2011

@mabeT- I appreciate that you can be so respectful of people who you disagree with, however, the problem with those views is that the author has stated multiple times that she is herself spiritual- and I believe with Christian leanings- and a careful reader can find Christ-story images in the books as easily as images suggestive of black magic.

While I do respect people who don't want to read about magic and think it is a waste of time or wrong, it saddens me that people would more directly say that these books were written with evil intentions.

By popcorn — On Jul 21, 2011

It seems to me that the Order of the Phoenix has become a rather iconic organization among those that have grown up with the Harry Potter series.

Most children have watched the battle between good and evil played out and feel very attached to those in the Order of the Phoenix. I remember seeing even adults cry in the theater when Death Eaters killed members of the order.

It is really amazing the J.K. Rowling was able to craft such a force to be reckoned with. Cheering on the side of the light always makes people feel great and I think she really capitalized on the idea of teamwork and the value of each person in a group when making the Order of the Phoenix.

By letshearit — On Jul 20, 2011

@mabeT - I would have to argue that thinking the Harry Potter series of books is a sacrilege and of the devil is a bit dramatic. While I understand people have their own religious beliefs there is a huge difference between mainstream entertainment and devil worship. Likening the two is just asking for people to roll their eyes at you.

I have read a few blogs that likened the Order of the Phoenix to some sort of cult with how the members were recruited and told to keep everything a secret. The fact that the members had their own language of sorts seemed to point to some devilry.

Honestly, I think religious folks should monitor what their own children watch and let the rest of us have our witch costumes and wizarding ways. If religious groups didn't spend so much time making a fuss about our pop culture perhaps we wouldn't have anything worth mocking them about?

By geekish — On Jul 20, 2011

I have to catch up with my research on Harry Potter and its terminology such as Potter's "The Order of the Phoenix" so that I can keep up in conversation with the teenagers at our school.

I know people as well that feel Harry Potter has too many controversial topics to feel they can support it.

But as someone who works in a school system, we are just happy to see kids reading! I think people now forget that the Harry Potter series was touted as bringing many non-reading kids to the reading side of things.

It is difficult to argue that as a negative. And I feel if the series had a negative impact on kids (in the way that many serious naysayers feared) that the media would have jumped all over those stories since Harry Potter books are so popular that would have made the news story popular.

By sherlock87 — On Jul 19, 2011

I know that JK Rowling has said she has no desire to write more Harry Potter books, but you know what would be very interesting to me? Some sort of prologue about the original Order of the Phoenix members. I think it would work well as a novel, and even better as a graphic novel. It would be very X-Men or Avengers-esque, I think. And it would not have to really have much tie-in to Harry's story, aside from being in the same world and including his parents among the characters.

By mabeT — On Jul 18, 2011

You know what? I actually know many people who believe that the whole Harry Potter series is a sacrilege and of the devil.

I know that in our society today many folks scoff at these ideas, but for the people who believe them, these concepts are no less real. They can look at the books, and the Order of the Phoenix and see all sorts of bad things.

I bet that others, if they put themselves in their shoes, could do the same.

I personally love the whole series, and I see nothing harmful or evil about it. I find that it is just a good, easy read. But some people really think that anything magic is bad and dangerous; that’s where the evil concept comes from.

I wouldn’t dare to make fun of or mock them, for the simple fact that I respect their beliefs even though I disagree with them. I don’t think they are being silly, but devoted to their opinions and religion. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s not like JK Rowling isn’t making a killing without their allegiance anyway!

By blackDagger — On Jul 17, 2011

Although I know it had to happen, it just killed me that so many members of the Order of the Phoenix in Harry Potter ended up dead. I guess some of the most heartbreaking were the werewolf and his wife; they left their new baby behind!

Another that just broke my heart was the twin that died. I know that a lot of the good characters had to die in order for the last book to pack the punch that it did, but after spending all of that time with the Order, it really felt pretty personal.

I’ve got to say that I can’t wait to see the last movie! I’ve read all of the books, and am thinking of cozying up with them for a re-read sometime soon.

By sunnySkys — On Jul 17, 2011

@JessicaLynn - Yes, the Order of the Phoenix is super cool. Who wouldn't want to be a member?

I remember when the first Harry Potter book came out there was a huge uproar from some fringe religious groups. They said the books were teaching kids to worship the devil and practice witchcraft! By the time the fifth book with Order of the Phoenix in it came out the uproar had died down a bit.

However, I did read one interview where someone was trying to say that J.K. Rowling was trying to use the book to indoctrinate children into her cult, the Order of the Phoenix! This makes me feel certain that person had never even read and of the books!

By JessicaLynn — On Jul 17, 2011

One thing I really like about the whole Harry Potter franchise is how the storylines matured with the audience. The people who were children when the first book came out were almost adults by the time the last book came out. I'm glad the storyline got a bit more mature as time went on too!

And of course the Order of the Phoenix was a great idea too. Someone had to oppose Voldemort, after all! Also, a lot of kids find the idea of a secret organization to be super cool.

By BrickBack — On Jul 16, 2011

@Moldova - I know she has a wonderful story to tell and now has more money than the Queen of England!

I really liked her first book, “The Sorcerer’s Stone”, but felt that her subsequent books were a little too creepy for me. I did not like the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because it was just too dark.

I would have liked a little more humor because the storyline is a little too intense for me. I felt the same way about the Order of the Phoenix movie.

I really would have liked for her to develop Harry more in a milder sense and maybe have him have a more normal life. But what do I know. All of JK Rowling’s books live on the best seller list and people wait in lines days before the book's release in order to be the first ones with her new book.

By Moldova — On Jul 16, 2011

I love JK Rowling. Her books are amazing and her story is even more inspirational. To think that she as a single mother that was on public assistance that was also turned down by about nine publishers,and now is one of the bestselling authors of all time is wonderful.

I am glad that she developed her storylines and didn’t give up. What I especially love about her books is that it turned a lot of young kids on to reading again. Many adults and kids alike could not get enough of her books.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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