Becoming Harry Potter: Identifying Your Scar

Our scars show us where we have been but they also lead us to where we can go.

“Don’t you want to know the secret of your scar?” Lucius asked Harry in the Department of Ministries, the answer perched temptingly in Harry’s hand. The reason for the lightning bolt that had become part of his identity not only because of how it was caused but also because of the person it produced.

Harry was given a scar by a great act of evil, but he was also given a scar by a great act of love. Without the combined force of Voldemort’s killing curse and Lily’s sacrificial love, Harry would not have a lightning bolt scar. The question in the beginning of Harry’s story, the one presented throughout the books was which of these powers Harry was going to choose to posses in the greatest quantity. He chose love.

Harry’s lightning bolt scar is a symbol of great love. Great love of a mother for her son and great love of that son for his friends. Harry’s scar showed where he had been and gave him the opportunity to grow into who he became. But, and this is very important, Harry’s scar did not have to mean love. The lightning bolt scar could have just as easily become a symbol, like the Dark Mark, of something less noble like hatred, or worse, cowardice.

We all have scars—memories of the past imprinted on our souls and in some cases our bodies. These “scars” tell the story of where we have been, but we choose what they come to mean.



The challenge for this week is to identify at least one “scar.” Write it down. Then write the story behind the “scar.” From there we are going to use a creative writing technique I find helpful—alternate endings. Write out two endings to your “scar’s” story, two meanings your scar could come to have. For one, write the meaning that is possible but that you do not want to be known by (for example, if Harry went the Draco/Death Eater route or if he decided not to face Voldemort). For the other write the ending you want (in Harry’s case, giving his life for his friends). Then, if you feel comfortable, share as much as you like in the discussion section below.

For example, in second grade my teacher said I was too far behind in reading and spelling to pass. I could have accepted that I’m no good at either. Instead, I went on to complete my master’s in creative writing and author a few books. My “scar” doesn’t mean defeat it means overcomer. Not because of luck or chance, but because of choice.

“He saw himself in you before he had ever seen you, and in marking you with that scar, he did not kill you, as he intended, but gave you powers, and a future, which have fitted you to escape him not once, but four times so far – something that neither your parents, nor Neville’s parents, ever achieved.”­ –Dumbledore to Harry in OotP

Scars can come in handy. What are yours? How are you going to use them?

Next week: Escaping the Dursleys