I'm currently rereading OotP in the British edition (thank you, zsero!)
And, as usual, there are all these thoughts happening.
The Sorting Hat pairs as closest friends Gryffindor and Slytherin, and then Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. I know what color my glasses are, but still.
I have a filk running through my head, to the tune of "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel. One line that keeps popping up is "Muggles see what they want to see and disregard the rest." So do wizards - it's a lot easier to believe that Harry Potter is an attention-seeking glory hound (very easy - both Snape and Lockhart decided that right away) than that Voldemort is back.
Vernon Dursley and Cornelius Fudge have a lot in common. Both do NOT like having their worldview shaken up - no one does, but they will protest about it until they have no other choice. Both are also very weak in other ways.
Book 5 is about changing perspectives. This actually began in the end of book 4, but it's stronger here. We see this world through Harry's eyes and as he matures, we see things changing. Hermoine goes from Miss Priss who never disobeys rules if she can help it to a revolutionary who was prepared to have Umbridge be killed by the centaurs. (BTW, I have no problems with that. She sent the Dementors after Harry, and as she didn't know he could do a Patronus, there was only one possible result. She may not have been a Death Eater or other follower of Voldemort, but that makes her no less evil.) Our perception of both James and James' relationship with Lily had a complete reversal. My opinion of Snape had changed at the end of GoF, when we learned he'd been a Death Eater and then left, which took astounding courage, but it changed again. He's thirty-five years old - past time to stop seeing James in Harry. The same for Sirius, but he had the excuse of being in emotional stasis for twelve years.
Then, the things that were important the first few books - the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup - they were all but meaningless in this book. We don't know or care which House got the Cup, although I suspect it was Slytherin. Why should we, when there are terrible things about to happen in the world and Sirius is dead? As for the Quidditch Cup - the only reason I'm happy about it is that it redeemed Ron. Otherwise, who cares?
The same goes for the rivalry between Draco and Harry. I'm a H/D fan, so I was disappointed in the relative lack of interaction in this book. However, it couldn't have been otherwise. Draco is just another schoolboy with schoolboy pranks. Harry's nemesis is Voldemort himself. When you're being attacked by a dragon, you ignore the gnat. I'm still writing H/D, though.
And a lot of people don't quite trust Dumbledore anymore. He gave a rather lame reason as to why he didn't tell Harry sooner (although personally - well, Harry didn't take the information well at all, did he?) and he never looked at Harry (and a good thing because when he did, Harry *hurt*) and...well.
And then there's Neville. Wonderful Neville. Before OotP, Neville was the clown of Gryffindor. He bumbled and stumbled and blew up cauldrons and he never got a spell right except in Herbology. That doesn't even sound familiar anymore, does it? Again, the seeds were placed in GoF, when we found out exactly what *his* childhood was like. But we almost never slashed him, did we? Except ajhalluk, and that was the biggest hump I had to get over to enjoy her stories. I mean, Neville and *Draco*...who'd have thunk it? And there was a Neville/Percy that I couldn't bring myself to read because...Neville. Child. You know?
But now I see him as strong and capable and good under pressure - even when he couldn't speak properly. And part is the change in perception since GoF, part is how he acted in OotP and a huge part is the Prophecy. It could have been Neville, maybe should have been Neville. It would only make sense that he's vital to Voldemort's defeat. And so now we can see him with Harry. He'd be good for Harry - grounding, steady, kind, strong. Something he needs very much. And Harry might even be good for him, damaged as he is. Yeah, I love Neville.
Speaking of damaged - I do not believe Draco Malfoy has been physically or sexually abused by his father. I do believe there has been some emotional abuse, of the sort "You don't get praise for doing well, because doing well is expected. You only get criticism for NOT doing well, or for not meeting exeedingly high standards." Draco got the second highest marks in his year, but all he heard was how badly he did to come second to Hermione.
But the cruelest thing his parents did was buy Draco's place on the Slytherin team. Because, the evidence shows that he's actually a good Seeker and probably would have gotten on the team using his own abilities when the current Seeker left Hogwarts. I suspect that the Nimbus 2001s opened the position up a year or so sooner than otherwise.
If he'd gotten onto the team on his own abilities, losing to Harry would still be galling, but as it is, his parents now have an additional weapon - "We spent a lot of money getting you on that team, and you don't even win the cup - you let that half-blood beat you." Which he knows. And he'll never actually know if he would have gotten on the team if it weren't for his parents, either.
And on the theme of parents - I suspect that parents in the US get Salem letters in the summer before sixth grade. I also suspect that the Salem school offers the state minimum for academic subjects and physical education, and that there is at least one wizarding university as well as tiny pockets of witches and wizards at other colleges and grad schools, which doesn't seem the case according to Rowling.
Rowling says that Muggle parents aren't just sent an Owl that summer. They get an actual visit so that they can ask questions and get guidance. (I'd use a Muggleborn for that, myself. They'd know what to say.) This is wise.
I suspect that the same is done in North America. I also suspect that that representative also comes with information about support groups for Muggle Parents of Magical Children, and a list of phone numbers and, these days, email addresses, of other Muggle Parents so they have someone to talk to.
(And Orthodox Jewish students get a triple load. They never go home. Or sleep. :))