In the 5th book (Order of the Phoenix), why is Harry Potter so extremely angry?

Is his anger natural? consistent with the teenagers of his age? Or, is his anger pathological, i.e., a sign of emotional and mental distress such as a post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) of some sort? Or, is his anger totally circumstantial, given his unique previous history and a direct result due to the pressure of his day-to-day experiences? Or, is his anger simply unfounded, misguided and created by himself, overblown more than it ought to be?

Why does Harry Potter take an extremely irritable and snappy attitude with not only the Dursleys, but even with Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Dumbledore? Why does he think his two best friends have snubbed him, and not accept the fact that both of them were ordered to write detailed letters by Dumbledore? Why is he so angry with Dumbledore and feels that Dumbledore is slighting him and ignoring him? Why does he regard taking Occlumency lessons as a punishment, rather than a necessity? Why does he have to fling things and break stuff in Dumbledore's office, even though it's his fault that Sirius is killed?

From a literary point-of-view, Is Harry Potter's anger representation an accurate portrayal of a person whose found himself in his particular situation?

  • 30
    Teenage angst..
    – NominSim
    May 24, 2012 at 2:15
  • 3
    In the US, it's definitely normal. Ages 15-16 or so are when you're adult enough to learn to drive and have opinions of your own, but are still viewed as an oblivious child by lots of adults. It's a very frustrating period.
    – Izkata
    May 24, 2012 at 2:17
  • 4
    Well despite a similarly tragic family history, Neville Longbottom still seems to be so much calmer. May 24, 2012 at 2:23
  • 4
    Not Getting Laid :) May 24, 2012 at 3:13
  • 3
    Keep in mind during that year there were a lot of firsts for him. He had propaganda about him in the papers, he kept having prophetic dreams, Ron's brothers moved out of Hogwarts, his family was attacked, and his brain was under strain of attempting to learn Occlumency. Plus, yes, girl problems. May 24, 2012 at 16:49

9 Answers 9


His anger in his fifth year is perfectly validated ; for multiple reasons :

a) Nobody would believe him when he was so vehemently trying to convince everyone about the Dark Lord's return.

b) He had recently witnessed the death of a schoolmate which gave him nightmares throughout the summer

c) Voldemort was back ; So the part of him which was in Harry was "acting up" with renewed vigor (which explains the flashes of thoughts and rage he was feeling synced with Voldemort)

These ,coupled with the "teenage angst" as @NominSim put it, are reasons enough to drive any kid crazy angry.

  • 29
    Also Umbridge was pushing his buttons every chance she could, giving him detentions and taking away quidditch. The Ministry of Magic was also pushing the Daily Prophet to print stories about him that made him out to be a lunatic. A lot of his friends turned against him because their parents thought he was nuts.
    – xecaps12
    May 24, 2012 at 4:06
  • 1
    Umbridge was definitely an additional pesky factor. Agreed. +1
    – lightsong
    May 24, 2012 at 12:10
  • 3
    Well I actually didn't mind him getting angry at Umbridge. But, to yell at Ron and Hermione even before the term started, and to fling things around in Dumbledore's office. Well. May 24, 2012 at 16:31
  • 2
    Umbridge and there's also the fact that Headmaster is suddenly avoiding him.
    – skytreader
    Sep 19, 2014 at 19:02
  • @skytreader: Yes, this is the book where you spend at least half the time asking yourself "Why is Dumbledore suddenly an ass?"
    – Kevin
    Sep 23, 2016 at 4:52

There were several layers to Harry's anger in Order of the Phoenix. While teenage angst or hormones certainly were a factor, reducing it to just that is taking the easy way out, and is a slight against Rowling's excellent characterization seen throughout the series.

The first, and most obvious, factor contributing to Harry's anger was indeed likely his hormonal imbalance from being in the depths of adolescence. At the age of 15, a male is typically at his highest level of hormonal change. This can cause intensified mood swings, emotional disturbances, and other sociological imbalances while the body is learning to keep the sexual hormones balanced.

The second factor contributing to harry's anger was his stressful situation that he was in at the time. Umbridge was making life a living hell for all Hogwarts students. Harry was being targeted by the Daily Prophet and the Ministry of Magic as a liar and a nutter, and even many of Harry's friends became suspicious or resentful of him because of it. His social stability was significantly disrupted, contributing further to his emotional distress. Voldemort was back, as well. Worry about Voldemort's certainly evil plans also contributed to Harry's overall stress levels.

The third, and I believe most important, factor contributing to Harry's anger was the fact that

part of Voldemort's soul was residing within Harry at the time, creating a bond between them. That is why Harry was able to see into Voldemort's mind, and how Voldemort was able to control what Harry was seeing. Snape was attempting to teach Harry Occlumency in order to prevent that from occurring, but due to the extreme levels of stress, Harry was unable to master it. Voldemort's evil certainly effected Harry's mood, much like wearing the locket Horcrux did as well, in Deathly Hallows.

I believe that between the three factors I have discussed, Harry's anger becomes a little more understandable, even if it is no less annoying for a reader who understands the situation far better to read about. It always helps to remember that the characters in a novel are nowhere as omniscient as the readers.

  • yeah! I had a feeling 'that' (sharing Voldemort's soul) was a key reason too. I only wished that JKR could have laid a bigger part of the emphasis on Harry's anger upon that factor, you know, it only makes Harry a bit more likeable and he comes off better. May 24, 2012 at 9:36
  • 4
    Well you have to remember, too, that "that" wasn't yet known publicly. She didn't reveal the full extent of the link until Deathly Hallows. We knew in Chamber of Secrets about the shared powers, and in Order of the Phoenix about the ability to look into each other's minds, but not until Deathly Hallows is the full extent of the connection explained. May 24, 2012 at 15:37
  • 2
    No complete answer should omit the fact that Harry had just witnessed the brutal and pointless death of someone he knew well, and had just avoided being killed himself. Both of those are much higher up the list of causes than hormones and teenage angst. Mar 17, 2014 at 13:50
  • Yeah, PTSD is no joke and a likely factor. Nov 1, 2017 at 19:53

Well, keep it in mind that yes, there are hormones, and that's probably half of the reason Harry keeps on getting so damn mad!

But there's also a bigger picture:

  • Harry recently experiences a classmates death (which was brutal and pointless). Hello! That's looking PTSD in the face!

  • He goes back to Privet Drive to his abusive relatives in his most needed time of help, but not only that, but he gets left out, not knowing anything (I don't know about you, but I'd get frustrated if people kept hiding stuff from me)

  • ahem... UMBRIDGE! Yeah, she's probably the BIGGEST reason why Harry's such a bomb in this book! She keeps giving him pointless detentions, keeps CUTTING HIS HAND OPEN, slowly starts to control his life, and now she takes Quidditch away. QUIDDITCH!!!

  • not to mention that the Ministry and the Daily Prophet keep on calling him nutters, and off his rocker

  • he loses a good majority of his friends from said reason

  • oh, and there's also O.W.L.s coming up (I dunno if you did, but I was a complete wreck when A.C.T.s were coming around)

  • and here's the probably BIGGEST reason OF ALL! Voldemort. Just Voldemort. So first he has to come back, and not just from any other way... BUT FROM HARRY'S BLOOD?! If Hitler were to come back from your own blood, I'm pretty sure you'd be disgusted with yourself. But not only that, but now VOLDEMORT'S IN HARRY'S MIND! I'm pretty sure if Hitler were in your mind you'd do one of two things A.) See a mental doctor B.) Get a bit cranky

  • and as for Harry flinging Dumbledore's stuff across the room, well... dammit my mascara's running... well he'd just seen the only fatherly figure he'd ever had JUST FLIPPEN DIE! I'd be pretty pissed too!


It should be added to the above answers that he was pissed off because Ron and Hermione had known about and been in the Order during the Summer vacation and told him nothing about it. This was also the main reason for him to be mad at Dumbledore, since he was the one who decided that Harry should stay at the Dursley's (because he was protected from Voldemort there).


Harry Potter was able to see into Voldemort's mind and Voldemort was able to see into Harry's mind. Voldemort was in a way, controlling how Harry felt. Although Severus Snape had tried teaching Harry Occlumency, Harry was not able to due to his supressed anger for everything.


I believe that it was because a of a variety of reasons.

1) The connection with Voldemort increased his anger and frustration.

2) Hormones with are for males highest at 15-16

3) A feeling of abandonment from his friends in the summer. For example if you suffered a traumatic experience, then placed in the house of people who hate you and then are ignored by your friends and given no support or comfort from your friends, who after a while act as if your still best friends, then you would be upset.

5) Harry trusted Dumbledore but when he needed him he was ignored by Dumbledore.

6) Umbridge lashing out at him, giving him unfair detentions and torturing with a blood quil.

7) The entire school being against him

8) The Ministry and the Daily Prophet running a smear campaign against him, which he could see people reading about in the Daily Prophet everyday.

IF this happened to my age now (20) i would be anger and depressed at the same time because it would seem that everything in the world either hates me, ignores me or tortures me. Not pleasant.

  • How does this add anything to the answers posted 2 years ago?
    – JohnP
    Jul 21, 2014 at 22:15

Harry also showed symptoms of depression and PTSD, which are completely justified considering that the year before he had not only seen someone he knew murdered, but he had also witnessed the man that murdered his parents return from the dead. Couple that with the general effects of puberty and the fact that a piece of Voldemort's soul lived inside of him and Harry's anger is completely justified. And could have been much worse.

  • 1
    You should add examples to support your answer.
    – Moogle
    Mar 17, 2014 at 11:33

It was mainly due to his emotional connection with Voldemort. At many points in the book, he himself had admitted to unexplained anger. He didn't understand why he felt anger. this is logical, because at times he displayed a searing hate for Dumbledore, which is actually not normal coming from Harry Potter himself.


I was actually discussing this with a friend yesterday and we are both agreed that Harry’s anger issues are in fact completely understandable. What is described in the books is reminiscent of PTSD and depression, obviously from his disturbing encounter with Voldemort and the subsequent emotional and physical torture (which is completely ignored and not acknowledged by anybody) but also from his time spent cooped up at the Dursleys which is an unpleasant and abusive environment and does not offer any support whatsoever to a traumatized fourteen year old. That added to the hormones, the crippling self esteem issues, survivor’s guilt, lack of sleep (nightmares), being put down by everybody, a heavy workload and Umbridge ad her torture sessions to contend with, not to mention the hormones, its no wonder Harry is a bit messed up that year.

  • You mention hormones twice. Granted, teenage boys do have a lot of hormones to deal with.
    – Monty129
    Oct 2, 2014 at 19:25

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