In a previous post I wrote about the Seven Point Story Structure and in this post I will show you this structure in a case study of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, written by J. K. Rowling.
Case studies, I think, are a great way to learn the structure of stories. So, let’s get down to business.
Warning: There are spoilers below. If you don’t want to know more about this story, you should stop reading this post.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Hook — The character’s starting point. This is the opposite of the Resolution.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — After being attacked by Dementors and using magic to save his and his cousin’s lives, Harry is expelled from Hogwarts. He is taken to Sirius Black’s house where he learns that Sirius and his other friends have organized the Order of the Phoenix to combat Voldemort’s return without telling him. Harry feels angry and disappointed. He is then on trial before the Ministry of Magic for his misuse of magic and makes his first encounter with Dolores Umbridge, who attempts to have him convicted. Dumbledore gets the charges dismissed and Harry reinstated at Hogwarts.
Plot turn 1 — The event that sets the story in motion and moves you from the beginning to the Midpoint. The conflict is introduced and the character’s world changes. This is basically when the character sets out on his/her journey.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — Harry and his friends return to another year at Hogwarts, only to discover that Dolores Umbridge is their new professor in Defense Against the Dark Arts. This proves that the Ministry of Magic wants to know what’s going on at Hogwarts and that they want to keep an eye on Harry and Dumbledore. Professor Umbridge’s classes deal with reading about defensive spells, not about practicing them, which makes Harry argue with her and ultimately ends with him getting detention.
Pinch point 1 — This is where more pressure is applied. This is often used to introduce the antagonist.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — Harry writes a letter to Sirius informing about the detention he has received from Professor Umbridge and that his scar is hurting. Sirius then appears in the Gryffindor common room’s fire and talks to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Sirius basically tells them that Fudge, the Minister for Magic, fears that Dumbledore would use the Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons to raise the students as an army to take over the Ministry, which is why Umbridge has taken over and why her lessons doesn’t involve using magic. This information prompts Hermione to persuade Harry to secretly teach the students the skills that he has learned.
Midpoint — The character moves from reaction to action. He/she determines he/she must do something to stop the antagonist.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — Harry has a nightmare in which he sees himself through a snake attacking Mr. Weasley. They find Mr. Weasley in the Ministry, suffering from severe venomous snake bites.
Pinch point 2 — This is where even more pressure is applied. The story takes the ultimate dive. The character is at his/her darkest moment. He/she has lost everything.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — When Professor Umbridge finds out about the meetings of Dumbledore’s Army through Cho Chang’s friend, Dumbledore claims that he was the one who organized it all. While Umbridge and Fudge tries to arrest Dumbledore, he manages to flee. Umbridge is then appointed Headmistress and starts changing the rules of the school.
Plot turn 2 — Here the story moves from Midpoint to the end, the Resolution. The character gets or realizes he/she has the final piece of information to achieve what he/she set out to do in the Midpoint.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — Harry has a vision in which Sirius is tortured at the Department of Mysteries. Harry tries to contact Sirius through the Floo Network in Umbridge’s office, but is caught. Hermione then fools Umbridge into a trap in the Forbidden Forest where she is captured by angry centaurs, allowing Harry and his friends the opportunity to go after Sirius.
Resolution — This is the climax of the story. Everything in the story leads to this moment. Here, the character achieves (or fails to achieve) what he/she set out to do.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — When they arrive at the Department of Mysteries, Harry realized the vision was false. He finds a glass sphere that bears his and Voldemort’s name. Then they are ambushed by Death Eaters. Voldemort seeks the glass sphere, which contains a prophecy about himself and Harry. The Death Eaters attack and Harry and his friends fight them even though they are outnumbered. Soon joined by the members of the Order, a battle break out in which Bellatrix Lestrange (Sirius deranged cousin) kills Sirius. Harry and Dumbledore face down Voldemort who, after a duel with Dumbledore, possess Harry. However, Harry manages to force Voldemort from his mind because of his love for his godfather and his grief for his godfather’s death. Voldemort and Bellatrix then flee.
Download the FREE Seven Point Story Structure Template to use on your own story!
There you have it. Hopefully it’s helped you to see how the Seven Point Story Structure works.