Interesting Introverts Who Prove That Character Is Much More Than a Label
One of the more fascinating aspects of Harry Potter is J.K. Rowling’s treatment of character, her ability to create these ink-blooded beings that are teeming with personality and quirks as well as their own character arcs – no matter how small a character they are.
Society generally encourages extroverted behavior and portrays being outspoken and action-oriented as preferable to being focused on internal sources of stimulation. Likewise, the wizarding world generally reads as an extroverted society – it’s a world where you have poltergeists like Peeves, Metamorphmagi like Tonks, and gnomes continually digging up your garden. In other words, the wizarding world is vibrant beyond belief: a loud, colorful world that paradoxically has to stay hidden from the wider Muggle world.
When I say there are many introverts in the Harry Potter series, that might not be overly apparent, because many of these characters don’t reflect introversion in a stereotypical way. This tells us much more about our understandings of introversion rather than the reality of being labeled an introvert.
1. Luna Lovegood
When looking at the introverts of Harry Potter, Luna Lovegood is perhaps an obvious choice. Luna is a dreamer, and she seems to enjoy the company of those who will accept her – but she’s also not afraid to spend time in her own head, and from what we see of her, we get the sense that she has a rich inner life. And despite her loyalty to those she considers friends, she’s also not afraid to spend time alone with her own thoughts. These are all classic signs of introversion. Luna may come across as recluse, but she’s not shy; indeed, she never really seems to be afraid of what to say or how she will be perceived – she takes her school nickname “Loony Lovegood” in her stride and doesn’t let it affect or change her outward identity. Luna is comfortable and proud of her identity; she doesn’t hide anything, and she doesn’t apologize for the way she is.
2. Remus Lupin
Remus is very interesting as a character, mainly because the fact of his “condition” as a werewolf has impacted heavily on his life, and by extension, his personality. In a society that shuns and discriminates against werewolves, Remus is secretive by necessity from a young age, and he grew up keeping things to himself. His more introverted personality definitely stems from this – however, that’s not his whole personality in a nutshell. This is the man who pulled pranks all through his school days, fought in two wizarding wars, and dressed a boggart shaped as Snape in the clothes of Neville’s grandmother.
3. Harry Potter
This one may have surprised some of you; after all, he lives with an extraordinary amount of fame and attention from a young age. But if you think about it, Harry has a small, close circle of friends rather than mixing with anyone and everyone. He doesn’t seek attention, preferring to just be himself instead of the glorified hero that many make him out to be. He keeps a good deal to himself, like his worries in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix about his connection with Voldemort. It’s easy not to notice the lack of extroverted characteristics in Harry, as the series is mostly written from his point of view, and thus we see his thoughts and feelings. Therefore, it’s easier to be blind to his “exterior personality” versus his inner self.
It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.” (DH 575)
4. Severus Snape
Severus is another character who shows classic introverted qualities. What we see of Snape over the series is a man who keeps much of his thoughts and inner qualities secret, never revealing anything past a sneering and bitter exterior. While “shy” isn’t exactly the right word to describe him, he definitely keeps his motives and emotions under wraps. It is important, however, to remember his highly ambitious drive – he is a character whose actions speak volumes while his words mask his intentions.
5. J.K. Rowling
Many introverted figures have gained prominence and become worldwide influencers. Some labeled or self-proclaimed introverts include John Green, George R.R. Martin, Charlotte Brontë, and J.K. Rowling. As she is a writer, it may not be so surprising that Rowling has been labeled an introvert – writing as a profession is stereotypically connected with introversion in one way or another. But Rowling proves that these introverts don’t have a problem with making a difference, generating change, or making themselves heard.
Our world is one in which we’re encouraged to become strong leaders, to speak out and find solutions to society’s problems. Yet somehow, being introverted often has this limiting stigma surrounding it, as if being less loud and outgoing means that we’re not strong and passionate people. Introversion and extroversion appear as a spectrum, and it’s important to remember that each person is unique and usually will not fall into the nice, square box that is set out before them. These Harry Potter introverts prove that people are varied, able to achieve great feats despite the challenges that they face. After all, as Dumbledore once said, “it is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” (CoS 245).