Summary: This essay puts forward the reason why most Harry Potter fans do not count the main character as their favourite. J.K Rowling said herself that she was surprised more fans didnât favour Harry over the secondary main characters, Ron or Hermione. What is it about Harryâs personality, appearance and film adaptation that readers disliked?
Harry Potter, the biggest franchise in the world, and as the title begs to differ, the reason behind the success wasnât due to the boy behind the name.
When asked her favourite character throughout the series, Jo Rowling admitted that she was loyal to Harry and that she did not understand why fans didnât like him as much as the other two secondary mainâs; Ron and Hermione. As youâre reading this, think to yourself and answer truthfully: out of the golden trio, who is your favourite?
I guarantee not many of you said the boy who lived. If you did, then well done, you have just made this essay and argument invalid! I appreciate it, really, I do.
It isnât uncommon for the main character of a novel to go unloved. Authors all around the world question why their main characters arenât favoured as much as their secondary leads, or even a character they created for the sake of emotional impact when they unexpectedly die.
For example, think of the Twilight series. Bella is hated by nearly every fan out there. Contrary to what most people believe, itâs not just because she had two hot guys after her beck and call. Itâs because there was an aspect of her that was perfect - too perfect - that she had to have two supernatural hunks chase after her.
Disliked main characters are also found in Firestar from the Warrior Cats series, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby and Frodo from Lord of the Rings.
But why is Harry not a popular main character in the Harry Potter series?
This is based on the book, not the movie. If youâre sitting there saying to yourself, âbut appearance has nothing to do with it! I wouldnât hate him because of the way he looks!â then think again.
Most of my friends are distracted by the fact Harry wears glasses. When watching the movie, theyâd question why Harry was the only kid in school wearing glasses, or a point I have questioned myself, âIf heâs supposed be so powerful, then why canât he fix his eyesight?â Iâm sure it wasnât high on Harryâs to-do list, but it is a valid point.
Harryâs glasses are a symbol of his weakness, as Iâm sure most of you are aware, but subconsciously it also gives the impression that he is intellectual. Once again, this is reinforced by the constant mention of Harry getting better grades than Ron. No one likes a know-it-all (as seen with Hermione. Even if you like her character, I guarantee that if she was in your class at school, sheâd annoy you) and Harry proves Ron and Hermione wrong a little too much. In Deathly Hallows, for example, Ron and Hermione are unsure if there is a Horcrux in Hogwarts, but Harry enforces his opinion on them, as he usually does.
Iâd like to think Harryâs glasses are not the reason why people donât like him. For anyone who has felt offended in anyway by my last comment, then I want you to know that I have nothing against glasses - I happen to wear them.
In the earlier novels, Harry was a scrawny little thing with untidy hair and bright green eyes. He grew to be apparently handsome, as Hermione observes in Half-Blood Prince. Here is the aspect of Harry being perfect that readers would hate; heâs popular, heâs handsome and heâs intellectual. Just what a girl wants, and just what a guy doesnât want to hear about. Being perfect isnât an aspect that readers appreciate interpreting, partly due to their own insecurities and partly because itâs unlikely anyone out there is completely perfect.
There are parts of Harry that are not perfect (wait until I get to his personality) but if you were to look at this boy with battle scars, untidy black hair, athletic, popular and yet intellectual without knowing his personality, youâd either fall in love with him or absolutely hate him for stealing your girlfriend. But that argument hasnât answered why even girls donât class him as their favourite, does it?
Iâll start with naming Harryâs good characteristics, just in case youâre thinking Iâm biased. Harry is loyal to his friends, completely devoted to their safety and would risk his life for you. Heâs very brave and chivalrous, considerate and meaningful. Heâs also trustworthy and smart, and if Iâve missed anything, please correct me.
However, his other personality isnât attractive, or desirable. Firstly, Harry has the tendency to be moody. One moment heâd be laughing with Ron and the next heâd have a Voldy-vision and be in a grump for at least five chapters. That brings me onto my second point; Harry is very argumentative. He and Hermioneâs arguments of âyes, it is!â and âno, it isnât!â (if you want a reference, look at the novels from 1-7) have gotten me angry at the conversation, and Iâm only reading it. With Harry, if he believes something then he believes heâs right; something I call narrow-minded.
Harry is too hasty and rushes into situations without really thinking. He has a tendency to âact the heroâ and feel the need to save everybody. Furthermore, he feels sorry for himself on more than one occasion but when someone feelâs sorry for him, take Hermione for example, it infuriates him.
Although Harry may be considerate, thereâs also a part of him that is quite detached. When heâs put into a dangerous situation, he tends to numb his feelings, especially towards Ron and Hermione. The only person Harry thinks about in a battle seems to be Ginny. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry is too preoccupied to care enough about Ron; also in Half-Blood Prince he admits heâs glad that everyone is safe, but especially Ginny. Another example would be in Deathly Hallows during the ordeal at Malfoy Manor; Harry detaches himself from his feelings once more.
The problem doesnât lie in Harryâs moody and unpredictable personality - because that shows us he isnât perfect and could probably be more likable - but it lies in the fact that the reader sees too much of his bad personality and not enough of his funny and kind personality traits.
Another reason why Harry may not be as popular as his two best friends is because Jo Rowling made Ron and Hermione too likable and honest. Everyone loves the underdog and without a doubt Ron is the black sheep out of the golden trio. He gets lower grades; he makes more mistakes and seems to live in the shadow of Harry and Hermione throughout the series. Ron adds the light humour to the books and films, not to mention he comes from a loveable family who donât own a lot of money; another characteristic that is likeable. Compared to underdog Ron, rich Harry automatically falls into the background of likeableness.
Hermione is a character that female fans familiarise themselves with. Sheâs not afraid to show she is intelligent; sheâs brave and has the âCinderella storyâ to her name. Sheâs just a normal girl trying to find her way in the magical world. The more people can relate to characters, the more they like them, and this is what happened with Hermione.
BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION
First impressions are lasting impressions. If people see what they like on the big screen, then they will usually adjust to see that the next time they read the book. Harryâs adaptation on screen is quite different to what we find in the books. Heâs less moody and less angsty, but thereâs something missing from his character in the films, something that only reading the book will make you understand. I wouldnât like to think it is Daniel Radcliffe (who acted fantastically in the last two films) but it is true to say some people donât adjust to his acting and feel unsatisfied. In a way this could be said for Ron and Hermione too. Ron is far too quiet in the last films and Hermione isnât whiny or nerdy enough to do her character justice.
No matter what personal reasons you have for disliking Harry (if you do) there is no doubt he is a very well-written and a well-rounded character. Readers tend to dislike main characters for their perfect natures and because theyâre the only characters of which we are given direct views of their thoughts, be it written in third person or first person. Has this essay changed your thoughts on the famous main character? Or has it made you dislike him even more? Whether you hate Harry or love him, you cannot deny that J.K. Rowling made a fantastic lead character worthy of the success he created.