The Tale of Two Friendships: Albus and Scorpius vs. Harry and Ron
The Potter series introduced us to many different types of friendship. However, since Harry Potter was our main protagonist, we were only privy to his thoughts, views, and inner turmoil. There are a variety of friendships in the series, but Harry’s friendships are the only ones we know intimately and not other Hogwarts students’ friendships. The introduction of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child allowed an insight into many different types of relationships between characters. We see Ginny and Harry, Ron and Hermione as married couples as well as the original trio’s relationship. After the controversy of my last post *cough*, I thought I would explain the wider problems with the portrayal of male friendships in media texts using examples from the friendship between Harry and Ron vs. the friendship between Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign is raising awareness of the impact gender stereotypes have in the world. The way male friendships are shown in media is just one way in which media is behind the times on this important issue.
Media portrayals of male friendship include two elements – one-upmanship and activity-based friendship. The friendship between Albus and Scorpius is generally missing these two features, but the friendship between Harry and Ron does show these elements. The current media portrayal of male friendships is that males do not have intimate relationships. This is not necessarily true in real life, and it’s about time that media began to reflect this! There are far too many articles to mention here that discuss how media influence affects peoples’ everyday lives, but if media (in general) is only showing one portrayal of male friendship, then this could potentially be having an effect on males viewing or reading them.
Harry and Ron’s friendship had many angst-ridden moments in the series, from huge fallings out to less dramatic passing moments. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is when the first serious tensions began to rise between Harry and Ron. After Harry’s name comes out of the Goblet, instead of both Ron and Hermione believing him that he didn’t put his name in the Goblet, it is Ron who is jealous and falls out with Harry. This jealousy and resentment from Ron fits in the category of one-upmanship in male friendship. Ron felt he was lesser of a person because of Harry’s “success” and chance to prove himself, even though Harry had not initiated this. This competition between Harry and Ron is seen again in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when it is Ron who is made Gryffindor prefect and not Harry. Even though Harry is pleased for his friend, he feels that it was he who should have been made prefect, and as a reader, we are given Harry’s internal thoughts on this. Harry doesn’t revel in this feeling, but nevertheless, he believes it should have been he who got the badge.
Another important element to illustrate this is that Harry and Ron rarely sit down and have a conversation without another action taking place. In contrast to this, Harry and Hermione regularly sit and talk about issues and feelings without homework, sport, or another activity taking place. This is where I feel that Albus and Scorpius’s friendship moves the traditional media portrayal of male friendships forward. There is a closeness between the two friends, and although I hate to quote Delphi, “That’s the thing isn’t it? About friendships. You don’t know what he needs. You only know he needs it. Find him Scorpius. You two – you belong together” (CC 145).
Act 2 Scene 16 is exactly how male friendship should be shown – two friends seeking each other out to talk. When times are tough, you need your friends, Albus and Scorpius seek each other out to work out their plan of action and express their feelings. Not only does it show an intimate connection between the friends, but it also emphasizes a normal, everyday connection. Scorpius can reign in Albus’s slightly rambling apology and move forward as a true friend.
For me, it is refreshing to see a male friendship like this! I know not everyone agrees with me, but there is something wonderful about the way this fandom views the issues in Potter. It’s important that we can all express our views and help each other grow. This is my opinion, and I’d love to hear your views, too!