Sorting Out Priorities: His Comfort or Their Lives?

by Meghan

Sorting out Priorities: His comfort or their lives? Harry Potter’s strong character and moral fiber in the face of adversity has been much expounded upon, and certainly such praise holds its worth. Yet a queer silence has blanketed the moments when personal stress was most on, and general opinion has tended to gloss over the embarrassing episodes of raw exposure. I concede that a person is not wholly defined by their reactions under pressuring circumstances, but that an analysis of just such a moment can be most revealing of a person’s underlying fundamentals.

I had specifically in mind the trio’s reunion at 12 Grimmauld Place. Harry said things there better left to the murky depths of silence, some of which were not technically true. Harry could not have reached the Sorcerer’s Stone, outmaneuvered the basilisk, defeated Dementors, nor gotten past the dragon or the lake task if left all to himself, and certainly not without the help of Ron and Hermione. So, why the swelling of his ego? (If it is genetic, as it appears to be, perhaps Harry too will grow out of it in time.)

Superficially, it seems Harry’s main objection was his being left out of the loop of information, something he is not used to. But that excuse is rendered impotent as Ron explains that the interception of any substantial letter could prove FATAL to everyone Harry cares for. Dumbledore trusts to a promise that Harry would be sent no such messages. However – and here is where I am disappointed – Harry insists that they SHOULD HAVE SENT THEM ANYWAY. It strikes as being somewhat self-centered.

Harry’s sarcasm about Ron and Hermione’s fear of breaking a promise shows he is clinging to the paradigms of yesteryear, when the three would have no such qualms. It demonstrates a reluctance and fear of merging into this new, dangerous world of his, a fear that the loss of information only serves to exacerbate. He is unsure, scared – this is his first stress test in these circumstances, and I was prepared to excuse his insistence for the sensitive letters on his age, his naïveté.

Except… an innocent would not have been a witness to Cedric’s murder. Harry isn’t naive; his behavior cannot be explained by his ignorance. He of all people should possess a deep appreciation for death and its consequences, so his lack of respect is excusable only by the basic instinct of immediate self-preservation.

Ultimately, Harry’s first and core reaction to a new tense situation is to dig his heels in and insist – as proof of everyone’s love for him – to be given what is now impossible to give, the selfish nature and impracticality of the request regardless. He takes his underlying fear, transmutes it into anger, and irrationally projects it upon those of whom he is most envious and those less likely to resist – e.g. his best friends – then proceeds to thrash them. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a total logic disconnect.

Hopefully, with the occasion of Sirius’s death, we will observe a greater reverence in Harry for those rules created to protect lives, and a greater aptitude for discerning just which rules those are. We can only dream that he may actually do some soul-searching and realize at what he is truly angry… fate. We cannot expect him to fully embrace his destiny then, but perhaps we CAN expect him to stop jealously punishing everyone around himself for being born on a different birthday.