Harry Potter: Dark Vs. Light
To celebrate the opening of the sixth installment of the Harry Potter movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I thought it sensible to write a HUB on Harry Potter. The release date was July 17th, 2009. So, just in case any of you have been living underneath the Rock of Gibraltar and don't know the phenomenon called Harry Potter, here's a little insight:
Harry Potter is the name given to the main character of British children's author J.K. Rowling. Leading up to his eleventh birthday, Harry is met by a half-giant named Rubeus Hagrid who reveals to him that Harry is a world reknown wizard and that the Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has accepted him as a student. The news of course is a surprise to Harry, who has throughout his childhood been raised (and supressed) by his uncle Vernon and his aunt Petunia Dursley, who is his deceased mother's older sister. It is from this point that the story opens up, as Harry begins his first year at Hogwarts where he is completely in awe of the wonders of magic and the realm of the wizarding world that once lay dormant from him.
Warning: May contain Spoilers
The following does contain spoilers so beware. If you have not yet finished J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series or are planning to read the series, please be forewarned that my article does give away some insight to the plots of all seven books and so may in essence, ruin the anticipated conclusion of the story entire.
Harry Potter: Our Modern Day Everyman
One of the elements that drew me into a Harry Potter the series is well, Harry Potter. He, as person and not a wizard is really nothing special. Were it not him getting practically smited by the evil wizard Lord Voldemort he would not be popular all over the Wizarding World. He inherited his magical traits through his parents and early on in his childhood, he knew not how to control his talent as he'd only use magic by accident. Take these two very important elements away and you'll have, for all of your troubles, a plain ordinary boy of eleven who doesn't say much, is shy of the opposite sex, is about as loud as a field mouse and gets very average grades in school. In other words, Harry is human just like the rest of us, er, no hocus-pocus. Harry gets scared, makes mistakes, and wants to be accepted just like any boy at the age of eleven. J.K. Rowling did a good job of selling this to the reader (who, of course, are predominantly children) so that they can relate to him. Had she made Harry a complete hero like let's say Achilles or Superman then most children would most likely feel alienated from his character. When facing danger, the first reaction for all of us is to run and hide. Most of us don't jump into a street brawl every chance we get, but Harry is different in theis sense: He'll jump into a gun fight unarmed if it means protecting those he loves and that is the real source of his courage. And it's not that he wants to save the day either. He too fears death. Truth be told, the bravest of people know and understand the dangers whenever facing adversity and get scared just like anyone else. The only thing that separates them from cowards is that they jump into the fray anyway and so choose to act rather than not.
The Only Person He Ever Feared
In the Hindu classic, the Bhagavad Gita, Krisha explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior. Much in the same way, Hogwart's Head Master Albus Dumbledore explains to Harry his duties as a warrior. By the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore tells Harry to choose, "Between what is right and what is easy..." In other words, it's easy to run away from a fight or, more commonly, to run away from your problems. But to take a stand against the forces of evil or to combat one's own weaknesses for the greater good is indeed a great difficulty. The one weakness that Dumbledore does have is his compassion for others, namely Harry. The internal conflict that Dumbledore faces during the course of the seven-part series lies between his love for Harry and his reluctance to get too close to him. But why doesn't he want to get too close to Harry you ask? Because if Voldemort was made aware of Dumbledore's deep affection for Harry, he would use it to his advantage to destroy Dumbledore as Dumbledore is the only person on the planet Voldemort fears. He is the one wizard that could stop him from regaining his full-form and destroying the entire wizarding community, namely Hogwarts and Harry is in fact made aware that he is safe from Voldemort's harm so long as Dumbledore's around. So, if Zeus is the God of all gods, then Dumbledore is the Wizard of all wizards because he is the most powerful of the bunch. Later on in Deathly Hallows we discover that Dumbledore all along was the rightful owner of the elder wand, the most powerful wand in the world. One could then argue that Voldemort much like Hades, who rules the Underworld as Dumbledore rules a Mount Olympus, as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry does in fact sit high atop of rocks and is extremely difficult to reach. In addition to this, Dumbledore's cleverness borders on precognition. For instance, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore shows up three hours early for Harry's hearing in front of Ministry of Magic which had originally tried to deceive him by giving him a false start time! Perhaps Dumbledore is omnipotent and/or omniscient, so as it seems, or maybe he's just really clever as he is the most powerful wizard in the world. But just as Harry rushes to help his friends and family when he is in dire need of his help, so does Dumbledore when Harry needs help. Consequently, both would sacrifice themselves for those they love. So as this maybe viewed as a weakness, it is also a power they possess.
Allies of Justice
As Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Minerva McGonagall is a staunch defender who places the needs and safety of others ahead of her own, namely her students. One example of this is her reluctance to part with Harry outside the Dursley's home in Little Whinging in the company of Hogwart's trustworthy groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid and Professor Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). Their roles, (including Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, parents Arthur and Molly Weasley all consequently play surrogate parents to Harry) However, Dumbledore concedes that Harry should be with his family and when he does turn eleven, he will attend Hogwarts. Of course Professor McGonagall has no choice but to comply with the Headmaster's wishes
In another instance and when Dumbledore was on leave, leaving Professor McGonagall in charge, the school is attacked by an unknown assailant, as students were falling victim to it (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). In fear of the student's safety, Professor McGonagall was left with no other choice but to close Hogwarts down until the mystery was solved. Fortunately however, Harry was able to solve the mystery with the help of Hermione, who while frozen stiff held in her hand the clue he was desperately searching for. But McGonagall isn't always so stern and unyielding. From reading the books and seeing the movie, one cannot deny her loyalty to not only Hogwart's but to Gryffindor House, especially its Quidditch Team. One day when observing Harry flying around on a broomstick without authorization, she refused to report him, rather, she commends him and has Harry meet with Oliver Wood, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and requests that Harry join up immediately. Curious enough, on the day of his first official Quidditch match, Harry receives an unexpected gift--a brand new broomstick he'd been wanting ever since laying his eyes upon it while shopping for school supplies in Diagon Alley: A Nimbus 2000. As to the whereabouts of who gave Harry the broomstick, it's not entirely clear, only that McGonagall gives Harry a smile of approval just as soon as Harry looks over at her while sitting in the Great Hall.
Also important to note is that Minerva is another name for the Greek Goddess Athena who was Zeus' favorite. Legend has it that Athena sprung not from the womb of her mother, but from the very head of Zeus! Minerva or Athena was said to be a woman of the utmost wisdom and of he arts and held at the highest esteem. Surely, Minerva McGonagall is certainly that, as she is second in command at the greatest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the Wizarding World. Athena is the only one deemed worthy of being entrusted with Zeus' most powerful weapon--the lightning bolt. Interestingly enough, Harry is given a broomstick which certainly saves him in imminent doom, especially in The Goblet of Fire where he must utilize it to escape the wrath of a fire-breathing dragon during the Triwizard Tournament. Were I the author of the Harry Potter series, I would've changed the name of Harry's first broomstick and called it the Firebolt, which he eventually receives from his godfather Sirius Black as a gift later in the series, as it this would have played much more consistently with my theory. One does have to wonder if it was in fact Dumbledore rather than McGonagall that gives Harry the Nimbus 2000. Overall, it would have served as a much better coincidence were it the other way around.
But the bonds of friendship is far from ending there, as Ronald Weasley,Hermione Granger and Ginnie Weasley fast become Harry's closest and dearest of friends. All three (the Gryffindor Trinity?) meet each other aboard the Hogwart's Express train for the first time in their lives. It's safe to say that all three are, for the most part, misfits in the realm of the Hogwart's student body. Harry is shy and is sometimes hated by other students due to his celebrity status, Ron is shunned upon because he's poor, and Herimione is disliked because she is Hogwart's smartest student. Somehow, all three are able to set aside their differences and manage to help one another despite incredible odds.
Ginnie Weasley gets into the mix later on, beginning with the Chamber of Secrets, as she nearly dies if not for the help of Harry. By Harry's Fifth Year at Hogwart's, Harry is finally given his due and so is asked to teach others in secret Defense Against the Dark Arts, including but not up to the Patronus Charm which was taught to Harry by Professor Remus Lupin. Althought they were not aware of it at the time, the group of a dozen or so students, they had inadvertently formed what would later be known as the D.A. or better yet, Dumbledore's Army in which to combat against Dementors and Deatheaters alike. Members of the D.A. include Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, Ginnie Weasley, Fred and George Weasley, Cho Chang, Seamus Finnigan, and Marietta Edgecomb. When the Ministry of Magic learns of Dumbledore's Army, as earlier on, Professor Umbridge had declared that secret organization were banned, Dumbledore is confronted for his "involvement." But instead of denying the fact that he had anything to do with the D.A., he happily takes the fall but doesn't go "quietly" but instead, escapes with the help of Fawkes, his pet Phoenix and easily escapes the Auror of the Ministry of Magic. In this way, none of the members of the D.A. could take the full brunt of the blame.
With the return of Voldemort to nearly full power the once disbanded group of wizards and witches called together once again the Order of the Phoenix to protect not only the Wizarding World from harm, but Harry Potter, as he is the ultimate target of the Dark Lord Voldemort, especially when he learns of the prophecy: "...Neither one shall live while the other survives." The Order of the Phoenix included members such as Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Arthur and Molly Weasley, Alastor Moody, Kingsley Shacklebot, Alice and Frank Longbottom, Bill Weasley, Fleur Delacour, and James and Lily Potter just to name a few. In the second coming of the Order of the Phoenix saw the House of Black serve as it's Headquarters. All members agreed unanimously however, that it was indeed a necessity as the safety and sanctity of Harry Potter was paramount to thier cause and so meant to protect him with their lives. However, it is in the Battle of Hogwarts that Dumbledore's Army is put to the last and ultimate test against Voldemort and his Deatheaters. It is with great disdain that many readers were falsely told that Harry Potter would die before the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Such an accusation brought about panicked distress to many fans worldwide.
Enter the Antagonist
Every hero needs a villain and in this story, Harry's is the mysterious Dark Lord Voldemort. When Harry was a baby and barely a year old, Voldemort tries to kill him because of a prophecy that conceded that this baby boy named Harry Potter would one day destroy him. So when Voldemort arrived at the Potter family residence, Harry's mom Lily Potter tried in vain to stop him but failed and was killed along with James Potter, Harry's father. And so with both parents dead, Voldemort then turned to cast the death spell--the Avada Kadavra spell--upon Harry who laid defenseless in his crib. But the spell backfired on Voldemort, nearly killing him in the process and so forced him to go into exile while clinging to life. One of the ways in which Voldemort saves himself from dying was by killing a unicorn and then consuming its blood, which gives him, as Firenze, the centaur, a "half-life, a cursed life." Harry however, came out unscathed save for a off-center lightning bolt shaped scar above his brow. But because of this, Harry Potter becomes reknowned for being the only known person to has ever survived the death curse and so was from that moment on known in the wizarding community as "The Boy that LIved." Ironically, he gains Voldemort's power in the process and so, becomes his equal. It's also important to note that when the time came for Harry to choose a wand and in the words of Olvander, "the wand chooses the wizard" Harry's wand chooses Harry as its master. Readers will later learn that both Harry's wand and Voldemort's wand were made from the same phoenix feathers in which when both wands do battle with one another, the battle ends in a stalemate, as was its credo. In this way neither can kill the other using their "chosen" wands. More on this later.
The Dark Lord's Deatheaters
Lucius Malfoy is the husband of Narcissa Black and father to Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter's Gryffindor nemesis. Being of pureblood ancestry, Lucius Malfoy is a key player in the corruptible Ministry of Magic, donating large sums of bribes in exchange for favors. Although his public affiliation is with Slytherin House, his main and secret affiliation is with the Dark Lord Voldemort and so abides by all that Voldemort commands. If the term "hate breeds only more hate" then his example should stand as a testament, as Draco Malfoy is miniature-sized version, minus the resolve (Draco is for all intents and purposes a coward when it comes to carrying out orders that requires its undertaker to risk his life.) In The Chamber of Secrets, It is Lucius that drops Tom Riddle's diary into Ginnie Weasley's knapsack which spurs the second rise of Voldemort.
An uncomprimising loyal supporter of the Dark Lord, Bellatrix Lestrange is arguably the most dangerous of all Death Eaters. She is the epitome of malice and discontent, proving so time and again with the torturing of Neville Longbottom's parents, Alice and Frank Longbottom using the cruciatus curse to the point of insanity in the First Wizarding War and then killing Harry's godfather, Sirius Black in the Second Wizarding War within the confines of the Ministry of Magic when vowing to kill all her relatives who held an allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix.
Peter Pettigrew a.k.a. Wormtail
A former friend of James Potter (Prongs), Sirius Black (Padfoot) and Remus Lupin (Moony), Peter Pettigrew was the weakest of the bunch who allied themselves as the "Marauders" who vowed to fight against Voldemort and his Deatheaters and so joined the ranks of the Order of the Phoenix in the First Wizarding War. However, as his Animagus (his animal form) implies, Pettigrew was indeed a rat because he disclosed pertinent information involving the whereabouts of James and Lily Potter to Voldemort. Pettigrew also is responsible for the death of Cedric Diggory in The Goblet of Fire.
Barty Crouch Jr.
Son of the Ministry of Magic's own Barty Crouch Sr., Barty Crouch Jr. is responsible for disguising himself as Auror and Professor Alastor Moody in order to gain access into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy by concocting and drinking Polyjuice Potion. Barty Crouch Jr. is solely responsible for manipulating the Triwizard's Tournament in order to trap Harry into confronting Voldemort. Barty Crouch Jr. was also one of the escapees during the massive Azakaban Breakout which also includes fellow Deatheater Bellatrix Lestrange. Other minor Deatheaters include Crabbe and McNair.
Two halves of a whole
The Balance Factor
According to Wikipedia, the Yin and Yang, "is used to describe how seemingly disjunct or opposing forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in turn." This to me, makes perfect sense, as it describes the relationship between Harry and Voldemort, between the Order of the Phoenix and the Deatheaters, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, between love and hate. The birth of Harry Potter marks a new beginning, filled with profound hope to the wizarding world, as before his existence, the world knew of no solution to the threat of Voldemort. Literally, Harry Potter to them, is the embodiment of hope and so is very much a messiah (so shall the child lead the way). Harry breeds only hope in the hearts and minds of the wizarding world and its general public. This would then make Voldemort the anti-christ, as he is the absolute essence of Doubt (hope's exact opposite). He breeds only fear and doubt into the hearts and minds of the general public. It is in fact his fear of imminent death that drives him to find a means to avoid it. He is always describe by Rowling as being unnatural and uncompromising and ever-calculating. Under this premise, both characters create the "balance" that is the Wizarding World, and both require an army to face the other, as they threaten to each other's existence.
Does Magic Really Exist?
Yes, I believe it does. As Voldemort claims, when justifying his exile from the known world wherein he abruptly goes into seclusion, "...It was old magic [that defeated him]." Two forces are in a constant struggle/are in constant flux between one another during the entirety of the Harry Potter series, i.e.internal conflict: The forces of Light and the forces of Darkness. Both are indeed very strong, but the forces of Light, as readers will find, wins in the end against impossible odds, which of course is nothing new.
With that said, if love is magic and love is real, then love IS magic. Lily Potter stepped in to rescue Harry from complete and imminent death when guarding Harry from Voldemort. In the process, she paid the ultimate price. So the question comes down to this: Would you die for the ones you love? If the time calls for it, would you sacrifice yourself in order to save your son, your daughter, your sister or brother? In my religious teachings, I was taught that love only breeds love and hate only breeds more hate, "as the oxcart that follows the ox, so does karma," in other words. In essence, in the case with the Potters, love certainly does breed love, as Harry is the sole offspring of Lily and James as Draco is the sole offspring of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy ( it is also important to note that love does play a role in the Malfoys as well towards the end of the series, in the form of vindication).
I will argue that Rowling's message when creating and writing the Harry Potter series is that love is real and that it is indeed magic, per se. It is the Power of Love that consequently defeats the Power of Hate and is the underlying message throughout. Harry Potter is able to conquer the powers of Darkness not through his abilities as a skilled and trained wizard, or his knowledge of his textbooks from Hogwarts, but his enduring love for his friends and family in which was passed down to him by his loving parents. The very same "trait" in which Lily Potter exhibited in protecting Harry is the very same trait Harry uses in order to stand up for those he loves and cherishes, no matter what the circumstances may be. And it is for this reason that Harry Potter is indeed a powerful wizard, because his capacity to love knows no end.
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