“THEN I DON’T WANT TO BE HUMAN!”
“Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human-““THEN-I-DON’T-WANT-TO-BE-HUMAN!” Harry roared.
– p. 824, OotP
Recognize this? It is a quote from OotP that many of us probably just looked over at first – I know I did, for Sirius’s death left me in shock. Even upon re-reading OotP, this quote did not jump out at me right away. Harry was so angry and guilt-ridden with grief; nothing he said could have meant anything important, right? Right?
When I was reading editorials, the Changeling Hypothesis in the North Tower column struck me as very ingenious and very probable in my opinion. As a recap, it basically states that when the Avada Kedavra curse backfired, it split Voldemort into two – his inhuman, transformed body combined with a sense of self, acquired powers, and his memories, and then another part containing his original powers and a vague memory of his own name. This second part needed a “host” and connected with Harry’s own soul, the closest “compatible” living thing within range. The concept that Harry has two souls works very nicely to explain Harry’s extraordinary talent, his increased susceptibility to Dementors, his ability to throw the Imperius curse, and the pain Harry feels when he is around Voldemort, among other things. I suggest you read it before continuing.
As I was saying, I find it strange that Rowling chose these particular words if it was just in fact a well-deserved bout of emotional expression. Harry had just gone through severe emotional trauma. Yet, if we have learned anything, it’s that Rowling chooses her words carefully, because the littlest things can later be extremely significant. So why on earth would Dumbledore use the words “still a man”? Do we have any reason to believe that Harry isn’t? If we assumed the CH was true, does having two souls make you too much of a human to be one – would they technically cancel themselves out? And if Dumbledore knows Harry has two souls, why didn’t he tell Harry when he was supposedly going to “tell him everything”? We have heard Voldemort described as “not having enough human left in him to die,” and then Dumbledore uses the words “still a man”…
In OotP, Harry suddenly becomes a much angrier person. He has definitely not had his fair share of outbursts in the first four books, despite all the hardship he had to endure. Why does anger all of a sudden appear in the fifth book and become a recurring theme? Well, one of the biggest differences between OotP and the first four books is that Voldemort is back in the flesh, and that affects Harry very significantly. He finds that he has unexplained flashes of anger that are unconnected to his current mood, and his scar hurts on a regular basis. Interpretations of the CH state that the reason Harry’s scar hurts when he is near Voldemort is that since the scar serves as a connection between Harry and Voldemort, the TR soul is trying to return to its original owner, especially now that Voldemort has his own body again (ie. “scar aching fit to burst”).
It seems that all his life, Harry’s original soul that had been exposed to so much love was able to suppress the hate and anger inside the weakened TR soul that had been bound to Harry’s. Voldemort’s return to power caused the physic connection between him and Harry to increase, possibly strengthening the TR soul. Dumbledore might know this and fear that Harry will eventually evolve into a sort of “Voldemort replica.” However, I highly doubt that would happen, or that Harry would be able to survive that process. Despite a year of Voldemort in full power, Harry’s immense ability to love saves him from possession. And, if we are interpreting “neither can live will the other survives” to mean that Harry and Voldemort cannot both be alive at the same time for much longer (it is easy to see that their painful connection is slowly killing Harry), I think the effort involved with the TR soul taking over Harry’s loving one would kill him. Still, it is plausible to see why Dumbledore fears this – if the TR soul completely took over Harry’s, would it make him less than human, or at least capable of being so, as Voldemort was so transformed at the time his soul joined Harry’s? It’s something to think about.
Also, another point I want to make is about Voldemort’s return to power – it was said to that it would be greater and more terrible than before. Yes, we have all heard the theories about how this time it will involve Hogwarts, etc. – but what about Voldemort himself? If the CH holds true, Voldemort no longer has a soul. What would make him even more evil? He can’t feel emotion anymore! True, it probably didn’t make much of a difference that he could before, seeing how Voldemort doesn’t care about mercilessly slaughtering people and causing them pain, but it’s definitely a bad-guy advantage. And we know that Voldemort, or at least Voldemort as Tom Riddle, could get emotional at one point in his life. My proof? The whole Easter egg thing in OotP: when Ginny gives Harry the Easter egg, he gets all choked up and has absolutely no clue why. This is completely different than the other times – this is far from another temper tantrum. Looks like a vague memory of Tom Riddle’s name was not the only memory that went to Harry along with his soul.
Rowling said that we needed to ask ourselves why didn’t Voldemort die? We know that he took certain measures to keep himself from dying. Maybe he planned a sort of “antidote” to the Avada Kedavra curse, so that not only would he not die, but that his soul would leave his body, leaving behind only his powers and memories – like using the concept of the Dementor’s Kiss to his own advantage (although I’m sure separation from his soul was not a goal, just a safeguard – he must have known it would have left him in such a bad state if it did occur). Not only are the Dementors dark and evil creatures like himself, Voldemort would have no reason to fear them – he revels in darkness and the Kiss would make no difference: he has no soul! But maybe increased power and possible immortality were not his only motives behind his transformations. Maybe he also wanted to leave the human trait of emotional pain and suffering behind him. Tom Riddle’s life was definitely not easy – he was orphaned, forced to grow up in an orphanage where he had to fend for himself, never finding out what it’s like to be loved. The only real glimpses we had into his school life were of him taking desperate measures not to leave Hogwarts for summer break (he framed Hagrid instead), and we met his preserved 16-year-old self in the Chamber of Secrets: brilliant yet already so evil and merciless. Tom Riddle was probably very resentful towards the pain and suffering his emotions had caused him. Which leads me to my next point: how much of it was actually Harry when he yells that he does not want to be human?
We already know that, after feeling especially strong flashes of Voldemort’s mood, Harry finds himself saying things without meaning to (“Harry had not meant to say that at all, and had heard the words as though a stranger had spoken them – yet he knew at once that they were true” 381, OotP). Was this a similar situation, and Harry was already so angry and grief-ridden himself that he barely noticed, because he felt the same way? Needless to say, he has been through a lot of pain and emotional trauma, and in the heat of the painful aftermath of Sirius’s death, he probably did feel that way. Yet, as Rowling and Dumbledore continually remind us, it is our choices that define who we are. I highly doubt Harry would ever choose not to be human. He has extremely strong character and extraordinary bravery, as he proves again and again. He has stood in the face of death and accepted it, he did not run from it nor fear it, which is why I do not believe that Harry will ever be capable of stooping anywhere near as low as Voldemort. Nor do I believe that Voldemort’s soul, if Harry really does host it, would ever drive Harry to really want to do such things – again, Harry’s character is too strong. I do, however, believe that this simple quote provides a look into the connection between Harry and Voldemort, and even a glimpse into Voldemort’s past and possible motives for the way he is today.