Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter Tribute

Hey everyone. You know what today is? It's HARRY POTTER DAY! I'm soooo excited about the movie coming out. I've heard so many great things. Can't wait to go see it myself!

So today, instead of my usual Friday book recommendations, I'll be doing a tribute post to Harry Potter, or more specifically to three characters Harry could not have done without.

I'm not going with the obvious choices of Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore. Of course Harry needed his best friends and his mentor, but I wanted to talk about three others who, while not appearing on every page, were nevertheless vital to Harry's ultimate success.

Molly Weasley

Mrs. Weasley's virtues are numerous and transparent. She treats Harry as her own son: she feeds him, watches over him, stands by him through the darkest trials. Without her Harry might never have known what a real family should look like. Without her Harry wouldn't even have found the train to Hogwarts in the first place.

But I think the full extent of her influence is more subtle than that. While Mrs. Weasley is giving Harry everything he has been missing in his life on a personal level, she is doing something deeper on a story level: she's showing Harry what it is he's fighting for. That can't be overstated. A hero needs a constant reminder of what he is fighting to save. I think Mrs. Weasley fits that role. She is everything that is right and good in the wizarding world.

Just try to imagine Harry Potter without Mrs. Weasley. There were several times throughout the series when Harry got fed up and could easily have said, “That's it! I quit!” He never did, but I think he might have if he hadn't had a good reason to keep going, if he hadn't had one thing he could point to and say, “I'd rather die than lose that.” And I think that thing he was pointing to was the home that Mrs. Weasley provided.

Neville Longbottom

I don't think I've ever met anyone who disliked Neville. It would be impossible for me not to root for the guy. He's the underdog in all of us, and yet he is able to be the kind of hero that we wish we could be. His moment of triumph at the end of the seventh book (which, incidentally, was a vital step to Harry's ultimate success) was completely satisfying.

But enough about my own admiration for Neville; what about his role in Harry's story? I think that just as Mrs. Weasley gives Harry something to fight for, Neville gives Harry someone who will fight for him. But what about Ron and Hermione? you might say. What about Sirius? Yes, of course they fought for him... out of love. But Harry didn't have the same kind of relationship with Neville. They were friends, but Neville wasn't the person Harry told all of his secrets to. Neville didn't always know the whys or the hows, yet he was consistently loyal to Harry's cause.

I think a hero needs people who will believe in him, not just because they love him but because they believe he is fighting the right fight. A hero needs followers. People like Neville remind heroes like Harry that morality is at stake. Without that kind of reminder, Harry's moral compass might have gotten irreparably bent along the way.

Severus Snape

And now for the man we love to hate. Snape is one of JK Rowling's very best characters. He has so many layers, all hidden beneath that greasy exterior. I imagine each person has his or her own unique reaction to Snape, depending on the ways his complexity intersects our own personal complexity. He is truly a character worth reading.

And he is necessary to Harry's victory for multiple reasons. Certainly Harry would not have come through the final book without Snape's interference. He provided precisely what Harry needed in order to make the right decisions.

But his influence throughout the series was far broader than that. He provided Harry with a tangible villain. Voldemort is a fantastic absolute villain with a lot of his own complexities, but he's absent for so much of the story. Without another villain to fixate on, Harry might not have had the motivation to be better or fight harder. As long as Snape was in the picture, Harry couldn't forget that there was an enemy he must eventually face. Without that constant push, I don't think Harry could have been the hero he needed to be.

So those are my three picks for vital characters Harry couldn't have achieved victory without. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

And now I can't wait to get to the movie! I'll be wearing my black and yellow scarf! Woo!


  1. So how did you like the movie, Audrey? I plan on seeing it today and am really looking forward to it. :D

  2. It was fantastic! I think of all of the movies this one most closely follows the book.

  3. Kay, guess that means I need to bring some tissues for some major water works. ;)