On Harry Potter

What Harry and Fawkes Have in Common

By Misty K. Hook, Ph.D.

The world of Harry Potter is a very dark place indeed. It starts with the murders of Lily and James Potter and the attempted murder of one-year-old Harry. Thus, even in the first scene of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we glimpse the terrible grief that will permeate Harry throughout the series. For those familiar with the biography of author J. K. Rowling, this overarching theme of grief should come as no surprise, as she has mentioned how much the death of her own mother (at the incredibly young age of forty-five) impacted her psyche. Since her mother’s death occurred just as she was writing Book One, Harry became deeply affected by loss and grief, as well. At the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when I was worn out from tension and emotion, I questioned the need for the magnitude of tragedy Harry has endured. Was J. K. Rowling just piling on the angst in order to spin out the tale? Does Harry really need to suffer as much as he has in order to become the person who will (most likely) vanquish Lord Voldemort? The answer is yes, he does. Lord Voldemort is an incredibly evil and talented wizard, one whom the most gifted of witches and wizards cannot destroy. How can a boy who is barely an adult be expected to defeat him? While Harry is a good wizard, his powers do not equal Voldemort’s. But Harry does have some secret weapons.

As Dumbledore has  …

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