Are We Judging the Future by the Past Too Much?

by Madeline

Recently, someone put up an editorial comparing Ginny with Pettigrew. While I have nothing against this person, I think that we as readers are judging the future by the past. We see connections between characters from the past and current characters, so we assume everyone’s character can be compared to another in the past. If we did that, since Ron and Hermione are obviously going to become an item, it would mean that Sirius and Lupin were, and I don’t think we’ve seen any sign of that. Not only that, but it would mean that everything would happen the same way as before – Harry would die, Ron would be jailed, and Hermione would spend her life in poverty.

I don’t think that anyone will necessarily betray Harry, and I think it will be this very fact that causes Harry to succeed where his predecessors failed. I think Voldemort’s appearance, or even birth, set the wizarding world on a repeating cycle, but for Voldemort to be destroyed, the cycle must be broken, and Harry and the others are obviously the ones to do it. Each one of them is slightly different from their personality-sake (for want of a better word). i.e.:

Harry is more mature by far than James ever was. This could even have been part of the reason that Dumbledore left Harry with the Dursleys – he knew it would cause him to mature. You’ll note that Dumbledore didn’t make James a prefect because he didn’t feel that James could handle that responsibility – does this perhaps hint that there is a difference in the responsibilities of Prefects and Head Boys/Girls, or is it just that Lily “grounded” him? Anyway – whereas Dumbledore felt that Harry already had too much on his shoulders.

Hermione has already shown signs of being much more independent than Lupin was. Lupin was content to allow James and Sirius to torture Snape, despite it being very much against his base nature. Hermione on the other hand is anything but dependent on Harry and Ron. She has friends outside the group, she tells them when they’re being stupid, and she isn’t afraid to walk away or fetch a teacher if they’re misbehaving – UNLESS it’s important that they do.

Ron. He’s a sidekick, that’s true. And again, you get the feeling that he’s simply Harry’s best friend and nothing else. Until the 4th book. He then shows that he is much more ambitious than we had seen so far. I’m not saying that he’s like Percy, but he has his own goals in life – other than simply being simply Harry/James’s best friend. What we see of Sirius as a 15 year-old hints that he’s not sure what he wants to do, so long as it’s rebellious.

Incidentally, since we have a replacement for Lupin, we can assume that he will die. (That just came to me, and the prospect upsets me as much as everyone else, but it makes sense. *sighs* He was my favorite character too!) Please don’t discount what I’m saying because I’ve predicted the death of a good character.

Now to get back to why this cycle will be different. Firstly, the chances of J.K Rowling writing a story about something that is destined to fail are slim. But not only that, as I’ve just said, this group has all the good traits of the past – with added maturity, independence and goals in life. They’re a more likely group to succeed – and they’re happy to welcome others, perhaps including Malfoy, whereas James never would have accepted Snape.

But also, if we are going to follow the practice of connecting past with present, Ginny seems to me to be much more of a Lily character, and there aren’t many other options. In my opinion, however, there are one or two:

a) Neville. He’s snivelly, and a bit of a follower. He could be easily tempted by offers of miraculous healing for his parents. But I don’t think that he will be. If he is tempted, I think he would tell his parents, and that might be enough to snap them back to normal. How would you like to know that your son is considering turning to those who tortured you? But I don’t think he would in the first place. I DO, however, think that we will at some time be lead to think this. Neville is likely to be at some point painted as a traitor.

b) Percy. He’s ambitious, and likely to be tempted into a betrayal with offers of power.

Also, if we’re choosing characters on the basis of lack of predictability, let’s consider Dumbledore or Hagrid. Never forget the “gleam of something like triumph” or Hagrid’s obsession with monsters.

But personally I don’t think it will be any of these. I think Pettigrew will play himself, and choose to reverse his previous choice as best he can – by saving Harry. I don’t think that it’s coincidence that Harry mentioned James’ when saving Pettigrew. I think that the guilt will begin to build in Pettigrew, changing him from Wormtail back to Peter, and causing him to distract or betray Voldemort enough for Harry to win. But I think we are still judging too much on the past. Like it or not, this is supposed to be the breaking of the cycle that was started when Voldemort was at school. While Rowling does leave hints in the past, the past determines the future only slightly. The choices we make today are more likely to affect tomorrow than the choices of 15 years ago, and for life to continue we need to make the choices of today, rather than sticking by the choices you or someone else made years ago. It’s how we evolve.