The angst of Harry Potter



I confess- I am a Harry Potter fan. Not a fan per se of the title character- I rather fancy the Weasleys, and especially Hermione Granger. One has to give it to Rowlings however- she has distilled all of the key elements that make the world of fantasy so alluring, and poured them into the characters of her book like cream is poured into coffee. The ancient struggle of good against evil is blurred somewhat by the fact that the principals in Rowlings’ narrative are all practised in the dark arts. Despite the backdrop, the eternally enduring message that love, loyalty, courage, truth, and friendship are able to triumph over tyranny somehow manages to burble to the surface and ripple throughout the reader’s imagination. In “The Order of the Phoenix”, Harry is particularly obnoxious at times. His friends are to be praised for remaining faithful to him despite his persistant foul moods. I found myself reacting quite strongly to the angst-ridden, argumentative little rotter- especially during episodes where his bile-laden bitterness was being poured out onto the heads of his closest friends. I think that the 15 year old Potter suffered from a massive chip on his shoulder, and his ‘stinking thinking’ dripped like compost tea throughout the storyline. Of course it is the dream of any resentful teenager to be able to hex his adversaries into oblivion- after all, isn’t that part of the drama? Isn’t it the secret and dangerous desire of all who feel oppressed to metaphorically (and sometimes literally) “finger” their foes? Charlotte Brontes’s “Jane Eyre” achieved her emancipation from Mrs Reed in such a way. It is the zeal of the young that drives the engines of any social upheaval or movement. Revolutions are not usually fueled by the patient and circumspect middle-aged, but by disillusioned and disenfranchised youth who feel that they are receiving the short end of every stick. Perhaps one of the reasons that I react so strongly to Harry’s anger is because it frequently seems so stupidly misplaced and downright unjust. The entire “Order…” reeks of emotional baggage- from the darkness of Snape’s own beleagered youth to the High Inquisitor’s sinister pleasure in tormenting and humiliating all who challenge her pedagogy in Defense against the Dark Arts. It is all there- repression, rebellion, righteous and unrighteous wrath, and the everpresent longsuffering, redemptive wisdom of Dumbledore. So many hooks upon which to hang one’s emotional coat. If there is one character that I can relate to the most, it is the overachieving, academically anxious Granger….always compensating for her “muggle” heritage. She is the one that I secretly root for.

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