Phoenixes burst into flame when it is time for them to die and are reborn from the ashes...
Fascinating creatures phoenixes. They can carry immensely heavy loads, their tears have healing properties and they make highly faithful pets.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12 The Polyjuice Potion. Italics in the original.
Dumbledore, as will be revealed later, called his cabal/guerrilla army/superteam the Order of the Phoenix. Die and reborn from the ashes, carry immensely heavy loads and of course, being highly faithful are themes we'll see coming up. Tears for healing I'm not so sure about; that may be plot-relevant rather than thematic. Maybe we'll see later!
Both Harry Potter and Voldemort had phoenix feather cores to their wands, of course.
Tom Riddle of course makes his appearance. Possibly the most brilliant student ever at Hogwarts Dumbledore says. As well he might; frankly most of the wizards we see in the books are distinctly average. This, I assume, is a side effect of the size of the talent pool. Estimates differ but the number of wizards and witches in the British Isles is in the thousands to tens of thousand range; medium sized town to large town numbers spread out over the country. Who do we see who is actually brilliant? So far just Dumbledore. Maybe Hermione, although she's mostly great at finding out what's in the library. Anyway I've got distracted: more on Tom Riddle and what the numbers of wizards in the country mean for Voldermort's plans later.