The most powerful force in the world is love:
There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all.1
Love in its purest form is defined as a deep ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person; whether your love is for friends, family, or your mate. Love can be an intense emotional attachment to a thing such as for a pet or treasured object. Love can also be an act of compassion with no thought of a reward.2 There is so much more to love then these simple words. Wars have been fought and lives have been lost in the name of love. Love sometimes renders a person blind, deaf and dumb. Love has even set friend against friend. Unconditional love, found mainly in families, can find a way through anything and strengthen those who are encompassed by it.
Whether you’re a parent protecting your child, an outcast offering to share her toilet, a normally talkative person who is at a loss for words, a student brewing a potion that has a smell only you would understand, or pelting a flock of birds off a friend’s head, one thing is for certain: you are in love.
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore reveals to Harry Potter that the power he possesses and which will defeat Voldemort is love. How can it be that an emotion has the ability to counter the most powerful spells of a Dark wizard? In this essay I will be trying to answer this question by examining magic based in emotion, love as a protection and how the power within came to be in Harry.
In order to understand Harry’s power within, it is necessary to understand love itself and how love has touched Harry. I have always believed we are the sum of the people who have touched us during our lives.
Since I don’t have access to the Ministry of Magic, the Department of Mysteries nor the locked room I will have to take clues from the first six books to find the answers. So let’s take a journey into J.K. Rowling’s world of Harry Potter and look into the love Harry has received from and given to family, friends, and even a couple of girls.
Emotion and Magic
To understand how Harry will use his “power within” it is necessary to examine the examples J.K. Rowling has given when using emotions while performing magic in the wizarding world. Emotions are at the root of magic from the first signs of children performing magic to the most complicated spells. In addition, emotion can sometimes hinder magic, and there are several other ways that emotions are key in the magical wizarding world.
On Dudley’s eleventh birthday we get our first glimpse of underage magic at work:
“Out of the way, you,” he [Dudley] said, punching Harry hard in the ribs. Caught by surprise, Harry fell hard on the concrete floor. What came next happened so fast no one saw how it happened — one second, Piers and Dudley were leaning right up close to the glass, the next, they had leapt back with howls of horror.
Harry sat up and gasped; the glass front of the boa constrictor’s tank had vanished. The great snake was uncoiling itself rapidly, slithering out onto the floor. People throughout the reptile house screamed and started running for the exits.3
The Dursleys know what happened to the glass and even the snake knows, but it isn’t until Hagrid asks Harry, “Not a wizard, eh? Never made things happen when you was scared or angry?”4 that Harry realizes odd things have been happening around him.
Harry would have never set the boa constrictor free if it hadn’t been for three key elements: Dudley injured Harry, bringing on the natural need to protect oneself; Harry was caught by surprise, also causing him to act in an instinctual manner; and Harry was angry at the way he was treated.
There was additional underage emotion-based magic performed by Harry: Harry made his hair grow back when he was afraid to be seen at school with a really bad hair cut;5 he shrank a sweater that he did not want to wear;6 he was found up on the kitchen roof of the school after being chased by Dudley’s gang;7 and he blew up his Aunt Marge when she insulted his family.8 Harry eventually realizes the effect his emotions have on these occurrences:
Now he [Harry] came to think about it … every odd thing that had ever made his aunt and uncle furious with him had happened when he, Harry, had been upset or angry.9
These negative emotions caused him to perform magic even without a wand.
Harry is not the only child to use magic to help himself. Neville Longbottom’s Great Uncle Algie tried several times to scare some magic out of him, and was ultimately successful.10 While readers do not know to what extent young Tom Riddle, Jr.’s magic was controlled or uncontrolled, we do learn about some of his anger control issues: he hung Billy Stubbs’s rabbit from the rafters,11 it is said that Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop never were the same after going in the cave with Tom,12 and Dumbledore found a box that he later tells Harry contained “souvenirs [...] of particularly unpleasant bits of magic.”13
All of the examples of underage magic that are given are rooted in emotion. The magic is performed by a build-up of emotion, and it would seem that the negative emotions are the easiest to draw from in order to do magic. This magic is not always a defense, but sometimes a manifestation of ill feelings and is a great charge in power. Talking birds are another example of this: they are more likely to pick up on swear words and negative sayings because of the emotion placed in saying these words. People get more passionate about the things they hate instead of the things they love. Even in the Muggle world it would seem that it is easier to judge than to understand, to hold a grudge than to forgive and to build a shield with fear and anger than to open our hearts to love. The negative emotions come so much more easily than the positive.
My point couldn’t be shown more clearly than in the Patronus. The Patronus needs a “happy memory”14 in order for it to work at all, which would be easy enough if a Dementor weren’t removing all your happy thoughts in order for it to feed. The Patronus works only with positive emotion and is considered very advanced magic, due to this tricky combination. The caster of the Patronus spell is made to feel as though he or she will never be happy again by the Dementor; only by overcoming this feeling is it possible to achieve a corporeal Patronus. Hermione describes to Harry two examples of two adult wizards using the Patronus to defend against Dementors. Professor Dumbledore and Professor Lupin have proven themselves to both be exceptional wizards and yet in neither of these instances does Hermione describe a form; neither Patronus is a corporeal Patronus. I am certain that Dumbledore could easily make a corporeal Patronus, but his fear and anger at seeing the sight of Harry falling hinder the spell. Due to Lupin’s childhood and how he views his future it is understandable why he has never mastered the spell. At Harry’s trial in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it is revealed how difficult a corporeal Patronus is to cast. Madam Bones is quite impressed with Harry.
I have shown how negative emotion may accidentally be used by a child and how it is usually what triggers the first use of magic. Sometimes wizards choose to use negative emotion to perform magic they know will be harmful to others. The worst three spells of this type of magic are known as The Unforgivable Curses:
• The Imperius curse is an attack on the mind to gain control of the body and silence the soul. This curse is the only one of the three that we have been shown a way to fight against it.
• The Cruciatus curse is an attack on the body to disable both the mind and body. This curse sends extreme pain through the whole body to the point that the receiver is incapacitated and when applied too long it will cause loss of his or her memory or even insanity.
• The Avada Kedavra curse is an attack on the body, mind, spirit and soul. This curse shut downs all four.15
The Imperius curse does give the recipient the false emotion of happiness16 in order to get the person receiving it to do the spell caster’s bidding. Mad-Eye Moody (Crouch Jr.) and Voldemort perform the Cruciatus curse in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but it isn’t until Order of the Phoenix that it is shown how the spell works: “Hatred rose in Harry such as he had never known before. He flung himself out from behind the fountain and bellowed ‘Crucio!’ ” 17
Hatred rose in Harry like it had never done before, and yet the spell only knocked Bellatrix off her feet. This curse is the closest to being the direct opposite of the Patronus spell. Instead of a happy memory you use righteous anger. Bellatrix explains to Harry why his anger was not enough: “You need to really want to cause pain—to enjoy it—righteous anger won’t hurt me for long—” 18 Harry had just witnessed Bellatrix killing Sirius and wants to avenge his Godfather’s death – this gives Harry motive. What Bellatrix seems to be telling Harry is that to perform the spell correctly you must have no motive other then really liking to hurt people. Harry is full of anger, but the anger is justified and some would say he is acting morally.
Casting the Avada Kedavra curse has never been explained either. Bellatrix does generally explain all three curses to Harry:
“Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?” she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. “You need to mean them, Potter!” 19
Bellatrix is not just talking about the Cruciatus curse. “Them” is plural, and she is speaking about all three of the Unforgivable Curses. When Snape kills Dumbledore this is quite apparent:
Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.
“Severus ... please ...”
Snape raised his wand and pointed it at Dumbledore. “Avada Kedavra!” 20
Revulsion is a sudden strong change or reaction in feeling, especially a feeling of violent disgust or loathing.21 In addition to this Harry sees hatred on Snape’s face. Snape clearly changes his emotional state to cast the Avada Kedavra curse. There is so much more to these Dark curses then what has been told, but it is clear that emotions play a role in casting them.
Much like the wizarding child’s first performances with magic, the Unforgivable Curses rely on negative emotion. Not only must you feel the negative emotion, you must give yourself to it. The negative emotion needs to take you over so that you are then able to enjoy the outcome of the spell, feel no pity and relish in the revenge.
Emotion plays a role in casting a number of magical spells, and it can keep a witch and/or wizard from performing certain spells as well. In the cases of Merope and Tonks, emotion greatly reduced their ability to do even simple magic. When speaking about Merope Dumbledore tells Harry, “Of course, it is also possible that her unrequited love and the attendant despair sapped her of her powers; that can happen.” 22 In Tonks’s case she lost her ability to change her appearance. She was born a Metamorphmagi and yet her emotions blocked this innate ability.
“Brilliant,” said Hermione. “This isn’t magic—it’s logic—a puzzle. A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic, they’d be stuck in here forever.” 23 To be magical you don’t need the ability of deductive reasoning. Harry was able to perform magic even though he did not believe in such things shows that knowledge is not a need. Crabbe, Goyle, and Morfin Gaunt are great examples that intelligence isn’t really necessary to perform hexes and jinks either.
“His mother left upon him traces of her sacrifice.... This is old magic, I should have remembered it, I was foolish to overlook it ... but no matter. I can touch him now.” 24
Voldemort says that Lily’s sacrifice is old magic. Old magic must have been based in emotion more then anything else. The beginning roots of magic, the oldest magic, must have started the same way it does in the wizarding child. It is called upon when the need is great. Lily’s love runs through Harry’s veins. Lily was given the choice to live or die; she chose to shield her son and in doing so her unconditional love for her son placed a powerful protection on him. Magic that is based in emotion played a huge role in the events that occurred at Godric’s Hollow.
There are two Dark creatures that feed on emotion:
The boggart –
A boggart appears to feed on the emotion of fear rather then simply deploying this ability as a defense mechanism, hence its classification as a Dark creature.25
The dementor –
Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this Earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, a dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself ... soul-less and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.26
Both creatures are defeated by using positive emotions. Since the boggart feeds on fear, laughter will defeat it.27 The dementor is, in my opinion, a greater form of evil and to defend against it takes a much deeper form of positive emotion.
When Dumbledore told Harry his power within is love it becomes a bit easier to see why. Emotions do play a huge role in performing magic. Harry’s pure soul and generous heart some feel is his weakness, but it is these qualities that will make him a match for Voldemort.
In order to better understand Harry’s power within, it is wise to take a look at the relationships Harry has formed over the past six books. This will help determine if Harry was born with this power, if the power was received from an outside source, or if he developed the power on his own.
“We Will Grieve Not, Rather Find Strength In What Remains Behind” 28
In the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we meet a young man living in the cupboard under the stairs. Harry Potter has received little, some would say no, love in the past nine years. The Dursleys made sure of this in an effort to suppress his magic. We have seen this type of behavior work in the past between Merope and her father, but it had little effect on Harry. Is that because Lily and James never really left him? Lily’s love runs through Harry’s veins.
“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign … to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.” 29
Unlike Merope, Harry was loved. Deeply, and so much that his parents died while protecting him. James lives on in Harry as well:
“I thought it was my dad who’d conjured my Patronus. I mean, when I saw myself across the lake … I thought I was seeing him.”
“An easy mistake to make,” said Dumbledore softly. “I expect you’ll tire of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James. Except for the eyes ... you have your mother’s eyes.” 30
“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.” 31
Both times that Dumbledore speaks of Harry’s parents to Harry, Dumbledore reinforces the idea of the love between Harry and his parents and that James and Lily were and will be there for Harry. This is also demonstrated in Goblet of Fire. Harry couldn’t have needed both his parents more than at that moment in the graveyard. Though they are truly gone, they found a way to help their son, whether it was just a need inside of Harry, or whether their echoes held a bit of who they really were. “ ‘Your father’s coming ...’ she [Lily’s echo] said quietly. ‘Hold on for your father ... it will be all right ... hold on... .’ ” 32 When James does appear from You-Know-Who’s wand, he explains to Harry exactly what to do. How is that possible if James, Lily and Harry are not still linked in some way?
Carl Jung’s “collective unconscious” is one way of explaining it. Jung believed that we all have a form of consciousness that is based in our DNA.33 Jung theorized that all of our conscious minds are linked to the astrotype. The collective unconscious is clearest in our dreams.34 J.K. Rowling gives us a window into this theory through one of Harry’s dreams:
He had a very strange dream. He was walking through a forest, his Firebolt over his shoulder, following something silvery-white. It was winding its way through the trees ahead, and he could only catch glimpses of it between the leaves. Anxious to catch up with it, he sped up, but as he moved faster, so did his quarry. Harry broke into a run, and ahead he heard hooves gathering speed. Now he was running flat out, and ahead he could hear galloping. Then turned a corner into a clearing.35
In this dream, Harry encounters his father/Patronus before he knew that James was an Animagus or that his Patronus would be a stag. Where the Patronus/James was leading Harry we will never know because he was awakened by Ron’s screaming, but it is interesting to note that while Harry was dreaming this Sirius, James’s best friend, was near.
J.K. Rowling states in her website that Harry’s parents were “able” and “prepared to die for their son.” 36 Harry’s memories of that fateful night in Godric’s Hollow are shown clearly only when he comes in contact with the dementors.
“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off—”
The sounds of someone stumbling from a room—a door bursting open—a crackle of high-pitched laughter—37
“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!”
“Stand aside, you silly girl … stand aside, now….”
“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead—” 38
And then, from far away, he heard screaming, terrible, terrified, pleading screams.39
While Harry could not recall this prior to meeting a dementor, remembering only an unexplainable flash of green light, the complete memory shows that James and Lily loved their son very much and both of them gave their lives in order to protect Harry. Lily was given a choice to live or die, but that does not lessen what James had done. Harry carries his parents with him always and in doing so they have protected him from harm in body, mind and soul.
“When I Find Myself Fading, I Close My Eyes and Realize My Friends Are My Energy” 40
Love for friends, family or your mate can take many different forms, but in my experience they all have the same foundation. Friendships involve mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection. Friends will welcome each other’s company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of putting the other’s interests before their own.41 In a way the Dursley family did do Harry a great service. They taught Harry what not to become or how not to behave. Nowhere is this more evident than in Harry’s choices of friends. What would be important to the Dursleys isn’t to Harry.
The first person Harry meets from the wizarding world, after being raised by the Dursleys, is Hagrid. Though Harry doesn’t realize it, Hagrid has already formed a deep bond with Harry. It was Hagrid who got Harry out of the destroyed house in Godric’s Hollow and brought him to the Dursleys’ house.42 Hagrid shows his bond with Harry by bringing Harry a birthday cake, feeding him sausages, encouraging him and the manner in which he treats and speaks to him.43
Later, while Harry is being fitted for his robes, he defends Hagrid to Draco Mafloy.
“I say, look at that man!” said the boy suddenly, nodding toward the front window. Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice creams to show he couldn’t come in.
“That’s Hagrid,” said Harry, pleased to know something the boy didn’t. “He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said the boy, “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” said Harry. He was liking the boy less and less every second.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage—lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” said Harry coldly.44
Harry is showing loyalty to Hagrid even though he really wants to fit in. Harry twice confides in Hagrid about his fears of living up to what is expected of him and of being the lowest in the class.45 Harry is showing trust in Hagrid.
Harry and Hagrid have a unique relationship due to Hagrid’s childlike nature. Harry’s need to help Hagrid not get caught with an illegal dragon costs Gryffindor 150 House points, but if given the chance I know that Harry would do it all over again. For fifty years it was believed that Hagrid was the one who killed Myrtle, and it was Harry who cleared Hagrid’s name. In Goblet of Fire we see how close the bond between these two has become. After Rita Skeeter’s article is published about Hagrid being half-giant, Harry defends Hagrid as a teacher. Harry himself has noticed how dangerous Hagrid’s classes have become, but he defends him all the same. The first time Harry meets Hagrid, it is Hagrid who points out how much Harry reminds him of himself. However, when Harry finally gets to see Hagrid, after the article appears in the Daily Prophet, he says, “Hagrid, look what I’ve got for relatives! Look at the Dursleys!” 46 Harry and Hagrid will always share a bond that few will completely understand. Both stand out in the wizarding world, they know what it is like to be stared at and both know what it is to wonder if you will ever really belong.
A month later at Kings Cross, Harry meets another person from the wizarding world. When Harry asks the redheaded mum how to find Platform 9¾, neither knows how entwined their lives will become. Mrs. Weasley’s youngest son, Ron, is the first Weasley to form a bond with Harry. On the outside Ron and Harry seem very different, but both of them know what it is like to have no money and to only receive hand-me-downs. Harry proves his bond of friendship with Ron on the train ride to Hogwarts,47 and the two of them unite against Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, though it is Scabbers who fights the battle.
Harry and Ron are also united in the first impression of their classmate, Hermione Granger. Hermione is a know-it-all who is desperate to prove herself to the point that she is unaware how this affects her peers. I do not think she cares how her words and actions insult and offend others. Although Harry feels that Hermione is interfering the night he meets Malfoy for their duel, Hermione demonstrates her willingness to bend the rules when it comes to Harry and Ron, by not going to Percy and telling him what she knew.48 Hermione proves herself useful to Harry by noticing things most would miss: the trapdoor. Due to Hermione’s nature, facing the troll in the girl’s bathroom is necessary to bring these three together.
The three kids’ day comes full circle when Ron uses the Wingardium Leviosa charm against a deadly troll. The very spell that caused, first, Hermione to hurt Ron’s feelings and then Ron to hurt Hermione’s feelings is now being used to save their lives. J.K. Rowling says it best:
But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.49
We are given a glimpse into how much Ron and Hermione mean to Harry in Order of the Phoenix. The third time Harry produces a corporeal Patronus while defending against dementors, he has a difficult time producing a strong enough memory until he thinks of his friends:
But there was no happiness left in him....The dementor’s icy fingers were closing on his throat—the high-pitched laughter was growing louder and louder, and a voice spoke inside his head—“Bow to death, Harry.... It might even be painless.... I would not know.... I have never died....”
He was never going to see Ron and Hermione again—
And their faces burst clearly into his mind as he fought for breath—
An enormous silver stag erupted from the tip of Harry’s wand.50
As hard as Harry fought to find a happy memory to produce the vapor cloud Patronus in the first place, how is it that such a simple memory of two friends could produce a corporeal Patronus? The power within, perhaps?
J.K. Rowling gives a second example of this in the Ministry of Magic when Harry is being possessed by Voldemort. Harry again thinks he is going to die. This time he thinks of Sirius and Dumbledore later explains that it is his love for Sirius that drove Voldemort out of him.51 It is safe to say then that love as a happy memory produced the corporeal Patronus.
“There’s No Vocabulary For Love Within a Family, Love That’s Lived In But Not Looked At, Love Within the Light of Which All Else is Seen, the Love Within Which All Other Love Finds Speech. This Love is Silent.” 52
The Dursleys never showed Harry what a real family can be. It wasn’t until Harry spent time at the Burrow that he was truly part of a family, and he continues to find others who accept him as family outside the Weasley family. Things that are unspoken and freely given are sometimes the greatest gifts. Ginny embodies this concept by barely speaking to Harry for five years, but later becoming one of the most important members of the family. Fred and George never question Harry in his times of trials; instead they believe in him and stand by him. Charlie and Bill accept him into the house as though they have always known him. Percy assumes the role of big brother right from the start and when he puts his career before his family, he includes Harry too.
Fred and George treat Harry much like they treat Ginny. They tell Ginny, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, that they will send her a Hogwarts toilet seat, but it is Harry who receives it. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when almost every student thinks Harry to be the Heir of Slytherin, it is Fred and George who find a way to make light of it:
Fred and George, however, found all this very funny. They went out of their way to march ahead of Harry down the corridors, shouting, “Make way for the Heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through....”
[…] Fred asked Harry loudly who he was planning to attack next, or when George pretended to ward Harry off with a clove of garlic when they meet.53
This may not seem to be a loving way to treat someone, but Harry understood that it was their way of showing that they thought the whole thing to be quite ludicrous. And when you take into account that Fred and George took turns covering themselves in fur or boils and jumping out from behind statues in order to cheer Ginny up, this behavior becomes perfectly normal – or at least normal for Fred and George.54
When Fred and George give Harry the Marauder’s Map they make light of it. In reality, they are giving up their best lookout with two and a half years left at Hogwarts. Harry is loyal to them and sees the importance of their antics. To be able to laugh in the face of despair is a rare gift that is needed in this world. Harry is aware of this and shows support in Fred and George by giving them his Triwizard Tournament winnings to fund their joke shop.
Arthur and Molly Weasley assume the role of parents to Harry. This is most poignant in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry is believed to be in great danger, but Arthur and Molly don’t try to keep Ron away from Harry for Ron’s protection. They try to find a way to protect both boys. When the champions’ families are invited to watch the final task of the Triwizard Tournament, it is Bill and Mrs. Weasley who are there for Harry before and after the task.
Mrs. Weasley’s role as parent is challenged by Sirius when they are at Sirius’ family home. She is hurt, and a few days later we see why. When Mrs. Weasley faces the boggart it begins to turn into her deepest fear and that fear is her family dying. The boggart takes the form of her husband and each of her children, including Harry. Harry has become as much as a member of the Weasley family as they have become his family.
Sirius’ and Harry’s relationship is different than most. They are projecting on each other what they need most. Harry wants a father and Sirius wants his best friend, James. I am not saying that Harry and Sirius don’t love each other. They do very much. Ron sums it up best, “Poor old Snuffles. He must really like you, Harry.... Imagine having to live off rats.” 55 Either would die to protect the other. In the end, it was Sirius who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Love is Friendship Set On Fire” 56
Oh, to be Hermione Granger! She is the number one female influence in Harry’s life. She unknowingly ended Harry’s first relationship with a girlfriend and very knowingly meddled in his second relationship with a girlfriend.
“I never really gave up on you,” she [Ginny] said. “Not really.” I always hoped.... Hermione told me to get on with life, maybe go out with some other people, relax a bit around you, because I never used to be able to talk if you were in the room, remember? And she thought you might take a bit notice if I was a bit more—myself.”
“Smart girl, that Hermione,” said Harry, trying to smile.57
Ginny has just told Harry that Hermione has been interfering in his love life and he doesn’t get angry or even a little upset, instead Harry praises Hermione. While there is no romantic tie between them, Hermione has a foothold in Harry’s life that no other female will ever be able to replace. Harry, Hermione and Ron are a package deal – to attempt to dump Hermione from Harry’s life is a huge mistake and Cho Chang found out that the price is deep for doing so.
Cho’s alchemy symbol is the white swan, as J.K. Rowling shows us with her Patronus.58 The swan “is a bird which is rarely seen in flight, but rather swimming upon lake or river, gracefully moving on the surface of water – in soul terms, on the soul’s surface, or the etheric interface with the physical.” 59 Cho is part of what Harry thinks he wants. Harry is blinded by her beauty and never considers whether they are compatible or not. Harry allows his emotions for Cho to cloud his judgment about Cedric. As much as Harry wants to like Cedric he hates him for having the one thing he wants: Cho. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry is embarrassed to be seen with Neville, Luna and Ginny on the train ride to Hogwarts. He is a shallow boy who is about to embark on the journey to become a man. Cho represents this shallow side of Harry.
Harry’s and Cho’s relationship is doomed from the beginning. They both are carrying guilt about Cedric’s death, Cho is on the rebound and the relationship is one of infatuation. Neither knows the other well enough for there to be any real foundation to this relationship. Cho’s jealousy of Hermione and Harry’s “Girls! Whatever!?!” attitude show that there was never a foundation of trust and understanding. With little time to see each other and the fact that both needed the other to be something that, at the time, was just not possible made the relationship destined to fail.
Harry’s relationship with Ginny is completely different. Harry doesn’t even realize he is falling in love. Harry and Ginny spend a lot of time together during the summer and in Half Blood Prince they are also on the Quidditch team together. Ginny is able to talk sense into Harry when he throws tantrums in Order of the Phoenix. J.K. Rowling said that Ginny had to be Harry’s equal60 and she is. Ginny has a wicked sense of humor and when playing the Seeker on the Quidditch team she has never failed to catch the snitch. She also had first-hand contact with Voldemort and she lived to talk about it, but the most important thing that Ginny has done is waking that monster inside of Harry. “It was [...] natural that he should want to look out for her ... want to rip Dean limb from limb for kissing her.” 61 In my opinion, it is through “the monster” that we are beginning to get a look at how powerful and unpredictable a force like love can be and why it is locked away in the Department of Mysteries.
Even after all Harry went though in finding love with Ginny, in the end it is Ginny who is getting left behind. Harry may not be in love with Hermione, but he does love her and he’ll need her now more then ever before. When all is said and done, it is and will always be Hermione and Ron by Harry’s side. Their bond of friendship is too strong for anything to ever come between them.
“You Don’t Earn Loyalty In a Day. You Earn Loyalty Day-By-Day.” 62
Dumbledore has had a hand in Harry’s life from before Harry was even born and he has watched over Harry all of his life. It isn’t until Harry is ten years old that Dumbledore can safely become a part of his life. Right from the start Dumbledore sets the stage for Harry to become Dumbledore’s only man. It is in Chamber of Secrets that loyalty is a sub-plot. “ ‘First of all, Harry, I want to thank you,’ said Dumbledore, eyes twinkling again. ‘You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could have called Fawkes to you.’ ” 63 By the end of Harry’s second year he is loyal to Dumbledore but what does that mean?
• Loyal. Faithful in allegiance to ones country and government; faithful to a person, cause, idea, or custom.64
• Loyalty. The state or quality of being loyal; A feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection.65 The quality of being loyal; [ant: disloyalty] feelings of allegiance; the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action; “his long commitment to public service.” 66
In these definitions the words faithful, allegiance, feeling, attachment and affection are used, but are they words that mean nothing until you look at the heart they are attached to? “The act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally)” – I interpret this to mean you can loyally bind yourself to somebody or something through either your mind or heart. I do not agree with this statement at all, and I think it is important for the topic at hand to explain why. It is my opinion that Harry cares deeply for, if not already loves, Dumbledore during his second year at Hogwarts.
Giving your word to someone and following through on it is not the same as loyalty. When a person follows through on their word they are, more likely than not, doing it for their own gratification. An example of this is in Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry gives Mr. Dursley his word that he will pretend that he is attending St. Brutus’s Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys. Harry holds true to his word, but is he loyal to his uncle? No. Harry did what he was told for his own reward. A person following though on something out of loyalty is doing it for the friend, whether they get something out of it or not.
The opposite of this would be Wormtail. He is disloyal and his word is worth nothing. He and James had been friends for at least since they were eleven years old. Wormtail was not faithful to James or any of his other friends. In the end he put himself above his friends at the cost of their lives.
In the end we find that Dumbledore’s and Harry’s relationship is bound not only by loyalty, but the great love that has grown within it. Mutual respect is the key to this. J.K. Rowling beautifully shows this with these simple words, “ ‘I am not worried, Harry’ said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. ‘I am with you.’ ” 67
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is unlikely Harry will be learning Occlumency. To be able to shut down one’s emotions would, in Harry’s case, be to stifle his power within. Harry will need to find a way to tap into the love he shares for others and the love they have given freely to him. His strength is in the love his parents showed him by giving their lives to save his; in the love his surrogate family, the Weasleys, have given him by making him one of their own; in the love his friends have given him by believing in him and standing with him no matter what, in the love he received from his mentors, Dumbledore, Sirius and Hagrid, who only wanted to see Harry happy; and in the love of a girl who sees Harry as much more than “Harry Potter.”
Harry has already faced Voldemort twice armed only with the power of love and the will to survive and both times Harry was victorious. The first time was in the graveyard where Harry found his power from his parents and Cedric. The thought of James alone gave Harry the courage to fight. Seeing them again gave Harry the courage to survive. The second time was in the Ministry of Magic. Harry’s love for Sirius drove Voldemort from his body.
Emotions play a role in affecting magic. Emotion may either strengthen or weaken one’s magical ability. Harry needs to call on the love within him in its many forms to be able to defeat Voldemort. This will not be easy for Harry. There is a fine line between love and hate. In order to love, many people find hate. To love one thing means then you hate the opposite. I think the secret to enlightenment is not to hate the opposite. It is to accept what “is” and to find the good in it. Harry received the Sorcerer’s Stone based in this same principle. He wanted the Stone, but not to use it. In Deathly Hallows, he will have to call on his power within, but not out of hatred. Harry will need to find forgiveness for all who have harmed his family, his friends and himself. He needs to heal his soul before he will be able to call on the “power within.” In the end good and love will win out, because Voldemort does not understand it and will be unable to defend himself against it.
1. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 843–44.
2. American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. “Love.”
3. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 28.
4. Ibid., 58.
5. Ibid., 24.
7. Ibid., 25.
8. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 29.
9. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 58.
10. Ibid., 125.
11. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 267.
12. Ibid., 268.
13. Ibid., 277.
14. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 237.
15. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 212–17.
16. Ibid., 231.
17. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 810.
20. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 595–96.
21. American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. “revulsion.”
22. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 262.
23. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 285.
24. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 652–53.
25. Lexicon, “The Bestiary: Boggart.”
26. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban, 187.
27. Ibid., 134.
28. Wordsworth, “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” stanza X.
29. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 299.
30. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 427.
31. Ibid., 427–28.
32. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 667.
33. towerdweller, post 480.
34. Wikipedia, s.v. “Collective Unconscious.”
35. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban, 265.
36. Rowling Official Site, “What is the significance of Neville…?”
37. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 240.
38. Ibid., 179.
39. Ibid., 84.
40. Author unknown, Quoteland.com “Friendship Quotes.”
41. Wikipedia, s.v. “Friendship.”
42. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 14–16.
43. Aislinn, towerdweller, & Witherwings, posts 46, 49, 50.
44. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 78.
45. Ibid., 79, 86.
46. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 454.
47. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 108–9.
48. Ibid., 155.
49. Ibid., 179.
50. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 18.
51. Ibid., 844.
52. Eliot, The Elder Statesman.
53. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 210.
54. Ibid., 185.
55. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 534.
56. Taylor, quoted at ThinkExist.com.
57. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 647.
58. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 606.
59. Crystal, Ellie, “The Birds in Alchemy.”
60. Anelli & Spartz, “TLC/MN Interview, Part Three.”
61. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 289–90.
62. Gitomer, quoted in “Inspirational Loyalty Quotes.”
63. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 332.
64. Webster’s Dictionary, s.v. “Loyal.”
65. American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. “Loyalty.”
66. Princeton WordNet, s.v. “Loyalty.”
67. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 578.
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