“Time is short, and unless the few of us who know the truth stand united, there is no hope for any of us.”—Albus Dumbledore
Every war needs its resistance against the bad guys, and in the world of Harry Potter, in both major Wizarding Wars, that came down to the Order of the Phoenix. This group of wizards and witches and their allies were united in one goal—to defy and stop Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Read on for 24 facts about this heroic group of magical warriors.
The Order of the Phoenix Facts
24. That ’70s Resistance
The Order of the Phoenix has been around since the 1970s, when Voldemort first returned from his travels around the world and attempted to take over the Ministry of Magic.
23. Original Founder
It was none other than Albus Dumbledore who created the organization to combat Voldemort. It seems fitting that he started the Order since he also took down another hugely powerful evil wizard, his one-time friend Gellert Grindelwald. Here’s hoping the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel sheds some light on that story!
22. Other Notable Leaders
While Dumbledore led the Order right up until his death, there are two other leaders worth mentioning: Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody led for a time, while Kingsley Shacklebolt took up the reigns after Moody’s death.
21. Origins Of The Name
Dumbledore named the Order of the Phoenix, no doubt because his own Patronus took the form of a phoenix, and because he had a pet phoenix named Fawkes. Coincidentally (or not?), Fawkes actually ended up playing an extremely important role in the conflict. Not only did he show up to give aid in at least two critical moments, but a part of him was with the champions of both sides in the war: Phoenixes don’t often give up feathers to be used in wands, and Fawkes only gave up two. One of those wands ended up selecting Voldemort as its owner, while the other selected Harry Potter himself.
What would a secret society be without a cool lair in which to hold secret meetings? In 1995, the Order began to use the Black family home, 12 Grimmauld Place, as their headquarters. After they were betrayed by Snape, they moved to a new home that Snape wasn’t aware of: the Burrow, home of the Weasleys. Another notable location given protection by The Order was Bill and Fleur’s seaside home, Shell Cottage.
Near the end of the First Wizarding War, the Order, which up until that point was solely focused on battling Voldemort, gained a new priority: Sybil Trelawney spoke a prophecy about a baby boy, born the end of July, who would ultimately defeat Voldemort. Voldemort believed that Harry was the threat and chose to target him, sealing both of their fates. When Snape learned this, he came to Dumbledore begging for help, knowing that Voldemort would kill Lily Potter, who he had loved since childhood, trying to get to Harry. From this point on, much of the Order’s resources went to protecting Harry, their greatest chance to defeat Voldemort.
18. Reviving The Order
After Cedric Diggory was murdered during the Triwizard Tournament, Dumbledore believed Harry’s claims that Voldemort had indeed returned to full power. Thus, the Order of the Phoenix was reborn again with some new and original members. Readers learned much about these witches and wizards in the aptly named fifth book.
17. Hogwarts Involvement
With Dumbledore and several other members of the Order teaching at Hogwarts, they were able to keep tabs on the goings-on at the school. For example, when it began to be suspected that Draco Malfoy had become a Death Eater, Dumbledore ordered Snape to follow and advise him, in order to help find out what he was really up to. You also can’t forget all those protections put around the Philosopher’s Stone to prevent Voldemort from getting it.
After Voldemort was supposedly killed the first time, and the First Wizarding War ended, the Order was disbanded. It’s members tended to be powerful witches and wizards that had a lot going on and couldn’t be expected to keep up their membership. However, certain members of the Order were kept to specific tasks, such as keeping an eye on the young Harry Potter.
Both Wizarding Wars were won in large part due to the heroic efforts of the Order of the Phoenix, but not without terrible cost. Approximately 44% of their members were killed during the first conflict and 26% during the second.
14. Enemy of the Ministry
The Order, and mostly Dumbledore, did not work well with the Ministry of Magic, and the two organizations were often at odds. Former Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge refused to believe Voldemort had returned and made Dumbledore out to look like an old man losing his mind. There was even a smear campaign against him and Harry Potter run in the Daily Prophet. Rufus Scrimgeour, who succeeded Fudge after he resigned, wasn’t much better. Scrimgeour spent most of his time trying to convince Harry to support the government, rather than working with the Order to help oppose Voldemort.
13. Small Group
You would think as noble of a cause as fighting Voldemort would attract plenty of members and support to the Order, but that was not the case. The Death Eaters actually far outnumbered the Order during both Wars.
12. Celebrity Status
Just like how Harry became “The Boy Who Lived,” the original members were given their own notoriety as well following the war. They were well known and respected throughout the wizarding community for their efforts, though it didn’t hurt that they tended to be powerful and important witches and wizards in their own rights.
11. Granger’s Idea
Though it was Harry who led Dumbledore’s Army and taught his fellow students defensive magic, it was all Hermione’s idea. When Dolores Umbridge and the Ministry refused to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts properly during Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts, it was Hermione who convinced him to take up the role as teacher to help the students become better prepared against Voldemort. Harry was extremely reluctant at first, but the Army ended up playing a crucial role in Voldemort’s fall.
10. Inspiration for Its Creation
When Rowling was creating the Order, she may have gotten inspiration from the Fabian Society, a British Socialist group that has sought to advance democratic socialism for over a century. Several members of the Order of the Phoenix share names similar to members of the Fabian Society.
9. The Ol’ Switcheroo
In JK Rowling’s early drafts, the group of witches and wizards who fought Voldemort in the First Wizarding War was almost called Dumbledore’s Army, while the group that Harry trained in the Room of Requirement was almost called the Order of the Phoenix.
8. Mission Statement
The main aim of Dumbledore’s secret society was ultimately to protect both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. They cared not only about their own, but also about those of us who don’t even know their world exists.
7. Done For Good
It was Harry Potter who finally put an end to the Second Wizarding War by finally defeating Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts. After that, besides helping new Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt round up Death Eaters, the Order was no longer needed. Most members went their separate ways and the Wizarding world finally had lasting peace.
6. Serious Risks
Being a part of the Order or Dumbledore’s Army was not without real dangers. Neville’s parents were tortured to the point of insanity because of their affiliation, and nearly half of their members were killed in the Wizarding Wars. The students had their own price to pay as well, as during the events of The Deathly Hallows, Neville and members of the DA received brutal punishments at Hogwarts for defying Snape and the Carrows, Voldemort’s brutal henchmen and temporary teachers at the school.
5. Loyalty and Belief
When the Death Eaters and Snape took over Hogwarts, and Harry, Ron and Hermione were out hunting Horcruxes, it was up to Neville Longbottom to keep Dumbledore’s Army alive and well. Believing Harry was still around, Neville would sneak out and spray “Dumbledore’s Army Still Recruiting” on school walls and generally cause trouble for Snape and company, outright opposing them in public. The group was forced to flee into the Room of Requirement, where they helped keep the fight alive by broadcasting a radio show called Potterwatch.
4. Dumbledore’s Defence Team, Assemble!
Because the Harry Potter books have been translated into so many different languages around the world, some names end up changing. Some of the more interesting translations for Dumbledore’s Army include “Albus’ Guard” in Finnish, “Fighters of Dumbledore” in Dutch, “The Dumbledore Legion” in Norwegian, and “Dumbledore’s Defence Team” in Icelandic.
3. A Mother First
Many people think that Molly Weasley was a part of the original Order of the Phoenix, but that’s not actually the case. Though her brothers were members of the first Order, Molly was not, perhaps because she already had five children at home to take care of. However, she, of course, was a prominent member of the second Order, and just happened to deliver the series’ most memorable line during the Battle of Hogwarts (you know the one I’m talking about).
2. Double Agent
Of all the Order’s members, Severus Snape had the hardest job—secret double agent. Once a Death Eater, as soon as Voldemort planned to go after his beloved Lily Potter and her son he fled to Dumbledore and begged for help in saving them. In exchange, he would continue to play the part of the faithful follower to Voldemort while gathering important information for the Order. After Lily died, he continued to watch over Harry on Dumbledore’s orders, putting himself in enormous danger should he ever be discovered. In order to keep his cover from being blown, only he and Dumbledore knew of their arrangement, which at one point led the entire Order to assume he was a traitor. His job must have been made all the more difficult because every time he saw Harry, he was reminded not only of Lily, whom he loved, but also of James, the schoolyard bully who Lily had chosen over him.
1. Smoke and Mirrors
In the films, when Harry and friends are in the Department of Mysteries, they are saved by the Order. In what is one of the most visually striking and exciting scenes in the series, the Order and the Death Eaters engage in a wild battle that sees the death of Sirius Black by his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. In the movie, the combatants fly around the battlefield, with the Death Eaters trailing black smoke and the Order trailing white. This kind of magic doesn’t actually exist in the books—it was used in the film as a clear way of portraying good vs. evil. Plus it looks awesome.