Why Colin Creevey Should Have Repeated First Year
We were first introduced to Colin Creevey in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He’s excitable, he’s eager to learn, and he is more than a little bit in love with the idea of Hogwarts and learning magic. However, when the Chamber of Secrets reopened, he did not get to experience the majority of his first year since he spent most of it in the hospital wing, Petrified – and that’s why he should have repeated first year.
With the series being from Harry’s point of view, we do not get to see a lot of Colin and his story. The initial impression of Colin from reading the books is that he is overexcitable and energetic, but I believe that Colin has one of the best – and the most underappreciated – character arcs in the series. He starts off obsessed with Harry and Lockhart, along with the wizarding world as a whole. He sees these two as heroes and people to look up to. He gets nervous around them; he is constantly asking for photographs and autographs. However, as the series progresses, he truly does become a Gryffindor, showing the traits they are well known for, such as bravery and nerve. These can be seen in Colin joining Dumbledore’s Army and sneaking back to Hogwarts to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts. He becomes a hero. He becomes what he admired in the most heartbreaking of ways – he dies a hero, trying to make the wizarding world a better place.
One of the key storylines for Colin is that when the Chamber of Secrets is reopened, Colin is Petrified after the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor match, a match that takes place in early November. It is not until the end of the school year that the victims of the Basilisk are revived. As a result of this, Colin missed the majority of his first year before moving to second year. When rereading the books, you realize that each subsequent year of Hogwarts builds upon work taught the previous year and that each year is more advanced than the previous. First year is basically Magic 101 and crucial for students. Colin, however, missed all of this. He was not able to attend most of his classes. He did not get the same level of education as other students. He is at a disadvantage when you compare him to his classmates, and I cannot help but feel that this is unfair.
The teaching staff at Hogwarts obviously care about their students and want the best for them. This is shown multiple times throughout the series, the most prominent example being Professor McGonagall telling Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that “I will assist you to become an Auror if it is the last thing I do! If I have to coach you nightly I will make sure you achieve the required results!” (OotP 665). It is clear Professor McGonagall is a very caring figure who wants the best for her students. However, it does not seem that Colin was offered the same opportunity. In Book 3, he is introduced as a second-year despite having missed most of his first year at Hogwarts. With the exams also being canceled for that year, there was no way for teachers to determine if Colin had learned the magic required to progress comfortably to second year.
An argument could be made that Colin was given remedial lessons in the last month of his first year or even during his second year to make sure he was not falling behind in his studies since it is clear that this is something that teachers are aware of. Snape uses the idea of remedial Potions to cover up Harry’s Occlumency lessons. It could also be argued that Harry helped him when he was a member of Dumbledore’s Army to gain skills that he would not have otherwise been able to gain. This is seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – that after only three lessons, Colin was able to cast the Impediment Jinx and the Full Body-Bind Curse with a high degree of skill. However, I just can’t believe that this is enough to make up for the fact that he missed a year of school.
Hogwarts has failed many students, including the other Petrified students and the OWL and NEWT students who were taught by Lockhart and Umbridge. However, there is an innocence in Colin that I love. He was so excited for his first year and to learn magic, and he missed out on that. He should have repeated first year so that he would have been able to have the same skills and knowledge as his classmates. He was served a great injustice by being denied nearly an entire year of education and the support and guidance that other students would have had. With this in mind, I cannot help but wonder whether Colin would have suffered the fate that he did if he had been given this support whilst at Hogwarts.