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Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2



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  #101  
Old August 14th, 2012, 5:16 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

Harry's also under a lot of stress, not slept for a couple days, Voldemort was starting to attack, and the horcruxes weren't all destroyed (or found, in the cast of the tiara). So I think it's understandable that Harry kind of snapped (not excusing him, but he's 17, and Amycus had torturned 11 year olds and didn't care if he caused some of them to be murdered by Volemort). It's also worth noting that it was a brief though effective use of the curse. It's not like Bella or Voldemort use it, more like a burst of anger and it was over.


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  #102  
Old August 14th, 2012, 12:57 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
Harry's also under a lot of stress, not slept for a couple days, Voldemort was starting to attack, and the horcruxes weren't all destroyed (or found, in the cast of the tiara). So I think it's understandable that Harry kind of snapped (not excusing him, but he's 17, and Amycus had torturned 11 year olds and didn't care if he caused some of them to be murdered by Volemort). It's also worth noting that it was a brief though effective use of the curse. It's not like Bella or Voldemort use it, more like a burst of anger and it was over.
Yes, right, but I would like to point out that:
during Battle of Department of Mysteries Harry and his friends are in danger, injured and risk their lives, they are surrounded by Death Eaters, Voldemort could get hold of prophecy, Bellatrix uses cruciatus curse against Neville, she injures Tonks and Kingsley, kills Sirius, she provokes Harry and laughs of his pain.
Well, I think these reasons are more valid. So, Harry should to use the cruciatus curse in this situation, or in both, or never.
Anyway it’s just my personal opinion



Last edited by Verena; August 14th, 2012 at 3:22 pm.
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  #103  
Old August 15th, 2012, 4:27 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by Verena View Post
Yes, right, but I would like to point out that:
during Battle of Department of Mysteries Harry and his friends are in danger, injured and risk their lives, they are surrounded by Death Eaters, Voldemort could get hold of prophecy, Bellatrix uses cruciatus curse against Neville, she injures Tonks and Kingsley, kills Sirius, she provokes Harry and laughs of his pain.
Well, I think these reasons are more valid. So, Harry should to use the cruciatus curse in this situation, or in both, or never.
Anyway itís just my personal opinion
The issue with the scene you describe, is that Harry did try to use the curse, but was unable to because at that point wasn't capable of using his emotions to focus the curse. He tried, but failed. By the time he tries again in DH, he has been through so much more and feels the weight of responsibility to stop Voldemort (and knows the means to do it -- mostly), and has experienced much more loss and horror than he could have imagined. His anger and emotions are so overwhelming that the curse is successfully cast. The two situations are very different as to what Harry's mindset was and what he had gone through and understood. But it seems clear that he did mean to use it each time.


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  #104  
Old January 6th, 2013, 6:22 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

Personally, I don't see Harry in a lot of bad light after using the unforgivables. I mostly accept the view that he is flawed and not the perfect hero that does everything right.


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  #105  
Old January 6th, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by cool_chick_div View Post
Personally, I don't see Harry in a lot of bad light after using the unforgivables. I mostly accept the view that he is flawed and not the perfect hero that does everything right.
I agree. I was disappointed that he would use it but it shows him as a real person, not a perfect person. And it also shows how badly affected he was by everything that was happening at the time (Sirius dying, his friends injured, etc). It's one thing to do something like that at an emotionally unstable moment but I was wondering if he ever regretted that he used an Unforgivable curse? Harry doesn't seem like the type of person to revert to what the Death Eaters do so I thought he might regret it.
I also think its one of the rare times where we see the concept of good and evil as not being just black and white. Usually it's bad people do bad things (like the Death Eaters using the Unforgivable Curses). But this time we saw a good person doing an evil act so it's more of a grey area.


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  #106  
Old January 30th, 2013, 5:07 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

Continued from the Elder Wand thread.

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Originally Posted by ArwenBlue View Post
Also Harry is IMO the most powerful wizard of his time, I don't think that a run of the mill thief would want to cross his path.
Totally disagree.

I think Harry certainly gained himself a reputation as a powerful wizard for defeating Voldemort but as to him actually being the most powerful wizard of his time, I think that's giving him far too much credit. Harry, in most ways, was completely ordinary. He wasn't very exceptional at anything except defensive magic and flying, he only gained mastery of the elder wand through a fluke chance and hence only defeated Voldemort in the way he did by pure dumb luck, IMO, and while I agree that he had an aptitude for defensive magic, I can't help thinking that his meteoric rise to the position of Head of the Auror Department by age 34 was an undue career advancement.

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Intent then would come into the equasion. As it has already been established by Rowling, this person who would presumably be intent on gaining possesion of a wand that no one knows the whereabouts of, would have to set out to defeat/best Harry in some way. He or she would have to defeat Harry in a fight/duel. They ccan't steal the Wand from Harry, no one knows what Harry did with the Wand. They would have a very hard time defeating Harry in any kind of duel/fight, and it would be rather hard to trick Harry out of the Wand. Harry is both smart and powerful, Doing any of the above would be pretty difficult and extremely dangerous for them IMO, to say the least.
I agree that Harry is smart and particularly skilled in defensive magic but I can't help thinking that you're imbuing Harry with some skills or attributes that he doesn't actually have. Yes, he is smart, but he is not above making massively wrong assumptions (Snape is the one after the philosopher's stone; Draco is the one opening the Chamber of Secrets), being duped (Voldemort luring him to the Ministry of Magic) or being tricked (Peter was the betrayer, not Sirius [the whole WW was tricked by this]; FakeMoody in GOF; even the Slytherins' fake dementor in POA). As for being powerful, I see no evidence that Harry was any more powerful that Ron or Hermione (who are generally seen as equivalent or superior to Harry in some aspects) or even, really, anyone else in the DA. Yes, he could cast a corporeal patronus at a young age, but so is the entire DA after practicing. Yes, he survived the AK curse as a baby, but that ability was given to him through the sacrifice of his mother, not through his innate magical skills. Yes, he defeated Voldemort, but only after trickily gaining mastery of a wand through coinicidence and sheer luck.

Harry, in almost every sense to me, seems to be a completely ordinary, run of the mill everyman with the exceptions that he's good at picking up defensive magic, he has an inexplicably natural talent for flying, and is exceptionally loyal.


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  #107  
Old January 31st, 2013, 11:59 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I agree that Harry is smart and particularly skilled in defensive magic but I can't help thinking that you're imbuing Harry with some skills or attributes that he doesn't actually have. Yes, he is smart, but he is not above making massively wrong assumptions (Snape is the one after the philosopher's stone; Draco is the one opening the Chamber of Secrets), being duped (Voldemort luring him to the Ministry of Magic) or being tricked (Peter was the betrayer, not Sirius [the whole WW was tricked by this]; FakeMoody in GOF; even the Slytherins' fake dementor in POA). As for being powerful, I see no evidence that Harry was any more powerful that Ron or Hermione (who are generally seen as equivalent or superior to Harry in some aspects) or even, really, anyone else in the DA.
First of all, with regards to Harry's susceptibility to mental weaknesses, that was, in my firm opinion, the biggest thing we saw change as part of his character development. For that reason, I see no reason to bring Harry's mistakes from his earlier years into a conversation of his character going forward from DH. Harry made, in my opinion, all of the right choices from HBP on, and was a different person completely. Dumbledore also made the most serious of misjudgments while he was a youngster, don't forget, and he turned out to be a very gifted wizard. To be honest, I don't think Harry could really be any stronger mentally then he showed in the final chapters of DH.

Now, with regards to whether or not Harry was 'better' than Hermione or Ron, I'm assuming in the context of DADA, Harry is consistently said to be superior, whether or not we are explicitly shown why that is. Older wizards and his fellow students repeatedly commend him as having a special kind of talent for that one subject in particular. I'm not sure there can be any debate on the subject. The things that we are told about Harry's character would encompass all of the magic he has done at school and out, whereas what we are actually shown represents a very small fraction.


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  #108  
Old February 1st, 2013, 3:08 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by willfitz View Post
Now, with regards to whether or not Harry was 'better' than Hermione or Ron, I'm assuming in the context of DADA, Harry is consistently said to be superior, whether or not we are explicitly shown why that is. Older wizards and his fellow students repeatedly commend him as having a special kind of talent for that one subject in particular. I'm not sure there can be any debate on the subject. The things that we are told about Harry's character would encompass all of the magic he has done at school and out, whereas what we are actually shown represents a very small fraction.
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear in my last post. I'm not limiting this to DADA, a subject in which I am in complete agreement with probably everyone that Harry was exceptional at. But being exceptional at defensive magic alone does not a great or powerful wizard make. Dumbledore was considered a great wizard, I think, because he made meaningful contributions to magic in terms of academics and research in addition to being particularly thoughtful and wise, committed to the education of young witches and wizards while also being kick-*** at defense. For the most part, IMO, Harry only displays the last attribute of "greatness" throughout the books. I do concede that he displays moment of wisdom throughout the books but it is not consistent enough for me so give it to him as a fully fledged attribute.

Besides, is the defeat of one really awful wizard enough to consider Harry the greatest wizard of his age? I don't think so, personally. I think that the notoriety that he would receive because of his defeat of Voldemort to be reasonably substantiated as Voldemort was a pretty evil dude, but Harry's defeat of Voldemort, in my eyes, had more to do with Lily's protection and Dumbledore's preparations and behind-the-scenes work than by any exceptional skill on Harry's part alone. Even Harry's actual defeat of Voldemort wasn't an act of skill, it was, IMO, pure dumb luck and a bit of trickery. Does luck make someone a particularly great or powerful wizard?

The one really incredible thing that Harry alone could have achieved was the sacrifice of himself for the sake of the wizarding world. That was entirely Harry. It was also entirely... accidental? Unknown? whether he would survive such a sacrifice. An against the odds cheating of death also does not, to me, automatically make one a great or powerful wizard.

I hope I've explained myself a little better but I'm super hungry and can't continue right now so... later.


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  #109  
Old February 1st, 2013, 3:22 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear in my last post. I'm not limiting this to DADA, a subject in which I am in complete agreement with probably everyone that Harry was exceptional at. But being exceptional at defensive magic alone does not a great or powerful wizard make. Dumbledore was considered a great wizard, I think, because he made meaningful contributions to magic in terms of academics and research in addition to being particularly thoughtful and wise, committed to the education of young witches and wizards while also being kick-*** at defense. For the most part, IMO, Harry only displays the last attribute of "greatness" throughout the books. I do concede that he displays moment of wisdom throughout the books but it is not consistent enough for me so give it to him as a fully fledged attribute.

Besides, is the defeat of one really awful wizard enough to consider Harry the greatest wizard of his age? I don't think so, personally. I think that the notoriety that he would receive because of his defeat of Voldemort to be reasonably substantiated as Voldemort was a pretty evil dude, but Harry's defeat of Voldemort, in my eyes, had more to do with Lily's protection and Dumbledore's preparations and behind-the-scenes work than by any exceptional skill on Harry's part alone. Even Harry's actual defeat of Voldemort wasn't an act of skill, it was, IMO, pure dumb luck and a bit of trickery. Does luck make someone a particularly great or powerful wizard?

The one really incredible thing that Harry alone could have achieved was the sacrifice of himself for the sake of the wizarding world. That was entirely Harry. It was also entirely... accidental? Unknown? whether he would survive such a sacrifice. An against the odds cheating of death also does not, to me, automatically make one a great or powerful wizard.

I hope I've explained myself a little better but I'm super hungry and can't continue right now so... later.
Ah, I think the difference in opinion probably comes from the word 'powerful,' and the word 'greatness.' I think it's been proven that both can mean a lot of different things in different contexts. Perhaps you would like to supply your particular definitions? I personally can't think of any grand, unifying criteria. I think the argument could be made for Harry being both, depending on the definition.


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  #110  
Old March 6th, 2013, 9:33 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

From Ginny's CA thread:

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
Furthermore, it's somewhat understood from a biological standpoint that preferencing one's sexual partner (i.e. partner whom you are in a potentially off-spring-producing relationship with) over almost anyone else (with the exception of one's child) is quite normal. You're preferencing the person with whom you are going to pass on your genetic material.
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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
This doesn't apply to Harry though...
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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
... In what way? Perhaps you could clarify in Harry's thread? (Perhaps I will get to delve into kin selection after all...)
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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I simply meant that for Harry, Ron and Hermione still seem to be the most important people in his life even after he gets involved with Ginny. Maybe that's normal because he's known them for a long time but Ginny doesn't seem to be that close to anyone, with the possible exception of Luna.
First of all, when stating that preferencing one's sexual partner to the exclusion of everyone else I am using it in reference to life-threatening situations. This isn't a mere preference for whose company you like best while on an extended camping trip or who one deems as "most important" in their own lives as different people are important for very different reasons.

Second of all, I disagree that this doesn't apply to Harry. Yes, Ron and Hermione are important to him but he specifically excludes Ginny, his choice of reproductive partner, from activites that would endanger her once they have become a couple.

If you turn Ginny's penchant for partner preferencing around, it's very much the same situation for Harry. Harry, by leaving Ginny behind at the beginning of DH, thinks that he is preventing Ginny from coming to harm by excluding her from the horcrux hunt. If he survives himself he could go back to her and, if she is a forgiving type, they could carry on their lives together and make them babies. This same scenario happens again at the final battle when Harry has to use the RoR and tells Ginny that she has to leave the room but not to join the battle (hoping that she'll listen, stay out of harm's way, return to the RoR when he's done with it and survive the battle so they could get baby-makin' afterwards).

Yes, Harry seems to "preference" Ron and Hermione when he takes them on the horcrux hunt, but what he's also doing is putting their lives and future reproduction at risk and saying that their ability to pass their genes on to the next generation is not as important as Ginny being there for him to pass his genes on with her in the future. Likewise, at the end battle, Harry, again, is protecting his reproductive partner from harm while seemingly not batting an eye at anyone else who wants to risk their lives and reproductive futures.

(Yes, I know this sounds callous and isn't taking into consideration things like emotional attachment but I'm looking at this purely from a biological/reproductive standpoint)


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  #111  
Old March 6th, 2013, 10:16 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

I wasn't just talking about the Horcrux hunt though. I understand why she was excluded then but my imprression was that Hermione and Ron are overall more important to Harry. Sure, he lusted for Ginny and was attracted to her but I didn't think he connected with her on a deeper level. He was more likely to share important things in his life with Ron and Hermione, which I guess is okay since he's known them for a longer time.


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  #112  
Old March 7th, 2013, 2:59 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

There's a gradual change in Harry with regards to his standing on Ron/Hermione and Ginny. He spends a lot of time thinking about Ginny in DH, even imagining her in a wedding dress (which was a bit unrealistic to me seeing as they had dated only for a few months but that's what JKR wrote). Now all that could be lust but his last thoughts before he is 'killed' is of Ginny, not Hermione or Ron. he'll always be close to them but their influence in his life will wane, especially Hermione's as he gets older.


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  #113  
Old March 7th, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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I wasn't just talking about the Horcrux hunt though. I understand why she was excluded then but my imprression was that Hermione and Ron are overall more important to Harry. Sure, he lusted for Ginny and was attracted to her but I didn't think he connected with her on a deeper level. He was more likely to share important things in his life with Ron and Hermione, which I guess is okay since he's known them for a longer time.
We got on to this topic because we were discussing why Ginny would appear to be more concerned for Harry than her own brother, to which you replied after a round of posting that Harry seemed to be exempt from preferencing his reproductive partner. That's what I was responding to, not who was "more important" to Harry.

Like I said before, importance of a relationship varies wildly depending on who the person is and what kind of relationship you have with them: a friend, a parent, a sibling, a lover, a coworker, the guy who makes your coffee every morning... There's no doubt in my mind (nor, I think, anyone elses) that Harry values Ron and Hermione. As friends. Valuing someone as a friend is extremely different than valuing someone as a life partner and equating the two is, it seems to me, is forgetting the major differences between those two kinds of relationships.

Furthermore, I don't know whether we can say for sure how much Harry had or hadn't connected with Ginny while they were dating. We get their initial kiss, one instance where they're sitting together in the common room, their "break up" for all intents and purposes, and a shared kiss or two, all over the course of, what? A book and a half? Contrast that with Ron and Hermione whom we meet in the first book and become well acquainted with as readers right off the bat and then who play major roles both in Harry's life as his friends and over the next six books. Hardly a fair comparison.


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  #114  
Old March 8th, 2013, 5:18 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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There's a gradual change in Harry with regards to his standing on Ron/Hermione and Ginny. He spends a lot of time thinking about Ginny in DH, even imagining her in a wedding dress (which was a bit unrealistic to me seeing as they had dated only for a few months but that's what JKR wrote). Now all that could be lust but his last thoughts before he is 'killed' is of Ginny, not Hermione or Ron. he'll always be close to them but their influence in his life will wane, especially Hermione's as he gets older.
I thought that Harry saw Ginny in a wedding dress marrying a stranger, as he contemplated the possibility he wouldn't survive the war and have the opportunity to pursue a relationship with Ginny. I think that's normal under the circumstances, he's conscious of losing his future.


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  #115  
Old March 8th, 2013, 12:18 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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I thought that Harry saw Ginny in a wedding dress marrying a stranger, as he contemplated the possibility he wouldn't survive the war and have the opportunity to pursue a relationship with Ginny. I think that's normal under the circumstances, he's conscious of losing his future.
Having read the part again, you are quite right.

But it's quite clear that he does care for Ginny and his affection only keeps on growing from HBP onwards.


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  #116  
Old April 9th, 2013, 8:26 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

Taking this over from the Ronald thread:

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Originally Posted by TenderHooligan View Post
I'd be hard pressed to support any argument that any of Harry's peers with the exception of Neville have had as rough a go of it as he has. But his horrid upbringing doesn't change the fact that during the bulk of his life we actually get to read about, most things do come easy. He is a natural on the broom, the best player Hogwarts has seen in years with almost no effort and the first 1st year on a house team in a century. He demonstrates amazing leadership skills and a cool head in the face of crises starting at the tender age of 11 despite once again having 0 experience in any sort of leadership role before. He has global fame and recognition, which ultimately benefit him more than they cause him trouble. He inherits a seemingly unlimited source of wealth. He is given the best racing broom in the world. He has a natural affinity for a spell as difficult as the Patronus at 13 which most adults cannot perform (to be fair, he does train with Lupin to master the spell, but it doesn't seem to take any more time or effort than he extends to learning minor hexes and jinxes before the 3rd task in GoF) and can throw off an Unforgivable Curse completely by the end of a single lesson's practice. He gets a book that makes him a wiz at Potions just when Hogwart's get a potion's professor who not only isn't named Snape, but has a thing for playing favorites and was quite chummy with Harry's mum. And he, more than any other character save Dumbledore simply 'knows' exactly what he needs to at the precise moment it matters (getting the stone from the mirror, using the sorting hat to get the sword, realizing they're meant to save Buckbeak along with Sirius and that it was himself who'd driven away the Dementors, knowing how to open the locket with Parslemouth, the list goes on and on) despite generally having average or slightly above average intelligence. He gets the one wand in the world that gives him the ability to fight Voldemort on equal ground despite being an average, underage wizard in most respects. And of course, he's good looking.

So yes. For the seven year's of Harry's life we see, good things tend to come quite easily to him. I find it difficult to picture a strong counterargument, especially compared to Ron whose every success almost always comes with some kind of caveat.
I think that many of the things which are attributed to Harry being lucky are often cases of taking Harry's character for granted, or passing off rewards as gifts.

Harry did have a natural aptitude for two things: flying a broom, and casting defensive magic. The rest of it, in my opinion, comes to him as rewards for maintaining a positive outlook in the midst of awful circumstances. His character is what allows him to obtain the Philosopher's Stone (something that wasn't really helpful, anyway). It allows him to make friends with the right people and earn their respect. It, above all, puts him in a position to succeed. It would have been very easy for him to emerge from his first 11 years as a bitter, resentful person, but he didn't.

As for his fame, I can't think of one instance where that actually benefited him. It made everything a damn sight harder for him, as far as I can tell, to go through school with a scar on his forehead. It made him a few friends initially, but also made him enemies. He had to go through school with the knowledge that a dark wizard whom most adult wizards feared was fixated on killing him, to go along with a curse scar which kept hurting and a special susceptibility to Dementors. He also had to contend with the Triwizard Tournament in fourth year, and do everything without the benefit of parents.

All in all, I think that Harry made very good of a very bad situation. There were plenty of other ways he could have reacted to the situations in which he was placed, but he kept on with a positive outlook, trying to do the right thing, and I feel that passing the results of this off as gifts does his character an injustice.


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Last edited by willfitz; April 9th, 2013 at 8:29 pm.
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  #117  
Old April 9th, 2013, 11:07 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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1. How do Harry's formative years with the Dursley's influence the person he is now? Would he be the same person if his parents had lived? If he had been sent to live with another wizarding family? If he had been sent to an orphanage like Tom Riddle?
I think that they make him more empathetic of others, and he can see that others go through bad situations as well. Probably not. Not sure how he'd turn out though. Who knows. He could have gone either way in regards to that.

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2. When do we first see evidence of Harry's "saving people" thing? Is this a strength or a flaw? What do you think of his final sacrifice?
It's not a person, but when he saved the snake in The Sorcerer's Stone. It can be a strength when it's used in a way to help others but it can be a flaw if it's used to help someone (like the snake) who may not deserve to be saved.


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3. Harry's natural curiosity was stifled by the Dursleys. "Don't ask questions!" but it comes out it full force once he gets to Hogwarts. How does this curiosity serve him through the books? Has he truly lost it after Dumbledore's death or will it return as he hunts for the horcruxes?
It's helped him in terms of finding out more about his past, but it's also got him in trouble. He's gotten out of more than his share of close calls (finding out about the Chamber of Secrets, etc.). I think of that as his loss of innocence in a way, he's gotten a lot more cautious about going about things and I think it shows that he's grown up somewhat and he's learning to not go about serious matters in such an overly curious way.


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4. What do you think are Harry's greatest strengths? What weaknesses did he overcome as the series progressed?
Strengths: Bravery, friendship
Weaknesses: Arrogance, curiosity

He learned how to treat others with respect and dignity and he didn't let his curiosity get the best of him. He learned that there were times and places for that kind of behavior and that sometimes it could get him into trouble.


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5. How have each of the losses Harry has suffered helped to define who he is?
They've helped to strengthen him as a person, build up his resolve.


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6 Dumbledore tells him that his pure heart is what separates him from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. What examples have we seen of this pure heart?
He helped Neville out through out the series in some ways, he's helped others out. Can't remember anything else example wise right now though.


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7. What do you think of Harry's use of Unforgivables in DH?
Don't think it was right of him to do. But in the end, he's human and we all make mistakes.


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8. Why do you think Harry forgives Snape?
He probably realized that he cared about his mother and in the end it was best for him to do what he did in order to move on.


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9. JKR tells us that he and Ron became Aurors and revolutionized the department? Do you think this was a good choice for him? What changes do you think he might have made?
Definitely. It suits him. He probably worked on improving security.


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  #118  
Old April 10th, 2013, 4:48 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by willfitz View Post
I think that many of the things which are attributed to Harry being lucky are often cases of taking Harry's character for granted, or passing off rewards as gifts.

Harry did have a natural aptitude for two things: flying a broom, and casting defensive magic. The rest of it, in my opinion, comes to him as rewards for maintaining a positive outlook in the midst of awful circumstances. His character is what allows him to obtain the Philosopher's Stone (something that wasn't really helpful, anyway). It allows him to make friends with the right people and earn their respect. It, above all, puts him in a position to succeed. It would have been very easy for him to emerge from his first 11 years as a bitter, resentful person, but he didn't.
My problems with seeing Harry as an "abused child" with a "horrible upbringing" is that the story never takes any of this very seriously.

The Dursleys are simply portrayed as too cartoonish in their actions (in fact, in everything) to take anything they do seriously or with the proper dramatic weight that we should. The story itself treats them as bufoonish cartoon characters, and all their actions as too over-the-top to really take seriously. This includes their treatment of Harry.

Heck, Harry himself doesn't take them or anything they did to him seriously either. He shows very little signs of the emotional and mental damage someone who went through what he did, should. This makes it extremely difficult for me to sympathize with his upbringing because he never acts like an abused kid.

By comparison, we have Snape's childhood. His abusive household was portrayed far more realistically and the damage it did to him far more realistically. Thus I can see HIM as an abused kid, but not Harry. (And I don't even sympathize with Snape that much...)


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As for his fame, I can't think of one instance where that actually benefited him. It made everything a damn sight harder for him, as far as I can tell, to go through school with a scar on his forehead. It made him a few friends initially, but also made him enemies.
Given Harry's personality, he'd have likely made those same enemies with or without his fame.

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He had to go through school with the knowledge that a dark wizard whom most adult wizards feared was fixated on killing him, to go along with a curse scar which kept hurting and a special susceptibility to Dementors. He also had to contend with the Triwizard Tournament in fourth year, and do everything without the benefit of parents.
And again, if he's supposed to be feeling genuine despair over any of this, I don't see it in the writing. He acts pretty normal throughout.

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All in all, I think that Harry made very good of a very bad situation. There were plenty of other ways he could have reacted to the situations in which he was placed, but he kept on with a positive outlook, trying to do the right thing, and I feel that passing the results of this off as gifts does his character an injustice.
But we aren't given any counter-examples to contrast Harry to in order to properly appreciate his resilience.


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Old April 10th, 2013, 5:47 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by ShadowSonic View Post
And again, if he's supposed to be feeling genuine despair over any of this, I don't see it in the writing. He acts pretty normal throughout.
This is what I feel gets taken for granted. His personality after going through what he went to is remarkable, plain and simple, and in my opinion analyzing his character while ignoring that fact is pointless. That's the character which JKR wrote; one who could go through a horrible upbringing and emerge with a positive outlook and attitude.


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Last edited by willfitz; April 10th, 2013 at 5:51 am.
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Old April 10th, 2013, 6:05 am
ShadowSonic  Male.gif ShadowSonic is offline
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

But again, to me, it's also how the upbringing itself is portrayed. If the story itself treats it as some silly thing, how can we be expected as readers to take it as some great character building?

And it's not like Harry is given any foils or counterparts who go through something similar to compare him to, which would make us appreciate Harry's resilience more. We learn Snape's life too late for a comparison, and see too little of it.

Take Oliver Twist: raised in orphanage, beaten, expelled for asking for another bowl of gruel, sent to work for an undertaker where he's also abused, runs away and ends up living with a bunch of pickpockets and STILL he's good-natured and honest. His ordeal is portrayed in a way that can be taken seriously.



Last edited by ShadowSonic; April 10th, 2013 at 6:10 am.
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