Monday, February 1, 2010
In terms of the plot of the Harry Potter Saga, many people believe that the fourth installment, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is the turning point in the series. For the character of Harry Potter, the turning point is actually at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the series. After the death of Potter’s Godfather, Sirius Black, Potter makes the switch from perpetual victim to intimidator.
In his book, The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield describes four control dramas that people exploit to capture life energy from others and absorb that energy into themselves. His method is to show these dramas from aggressive to passive. For our purposes, this blog will list them in reverse order from the most passive to the most aggressive. Redfield identifies the “ Poor Me”, which is the victim mentality where the perpetrator constantly tries to make people around them feel bad for them and the Aloof, which is when a person is quiet and creates an air of mystery around themselves, as the passive dramas. The Interrogator, a person who asks questions and then uses the other person’s answers to criticize them, and the Intimidator, who physically or verbally attacks people, are established as the aggressive dramas.
Using these definitions, one could make the argument that up through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Potter was a Poor Me. He may not have made a personal choice, but because the characters around him either actively intimidated (The Dursleys and Severus Snape for example) him or directly treated him like a victim ( Molly Weasley and Cornelius Fudge at least until the end of Goblet).
The end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix shows a significant change in Potter’s character. After leading his friends into the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic to “save Sirius,” Potter finds himself in a trap, orchestrated by Voldemort and perpetrated by Lucius Malfoy and several Death Eaters. Potter and his Dumbledore’s Army recruits are soon joined by Dumbledore’s Adult Army, The Order of the Phoenix. During the mix of the battle, Bellatrix LeStrange kills Black by using the Avada Kedavra Spell, which pushes him through the Mysterious Veil, separating the land of living and the land of the dead. Potter proceeds to chase LeStrange through the Ministry, and catches up with her by the Fountain of Magical Brethren and the Floo Powder Fireplaces. At this moment, Potter’s emotional pain is so intense that his only immediate means of release is to cause pain to others. In an act of vengeance, Potter attempts to use the Cruciatus Curse to torture LeStrange. This action is a major turning point for Potter’s character. Until this point, Potter has never actively sought to cause other people pain.
A turning point, of course, is not a turning point unless evidence shows a new pattern emerging and continuing. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Potter stumbles across the Sectumsempra Spell, a spell that magically slashes the intended victim. After a potentially deadly battle with Draco Malfoy, Potter’s perpetual school enemy, Potter realizes what the spell is meant to do. When Albus Dumbledore takes Potter to Voldemort’s cave where Voldemort has hidden a horcrux, they are attacked by inferi, dead bodies that have been reanimated like puppets to do the bidding of a dark wizard. In an attempt to stay off the inferi, Potter uses the Sectumsempra Spell. Where prior to the Department of Mysteries event, Potter would use a defensive spell; now, he chooses to use an offensive spell. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Potter with the help of Luna Lovegood sneaks into Ravenclaw Tower under the invisibility cloak. Alecto Carrow had been stationed in the tower to intercept Potter, but she is stunned by Lovegood. Amycus Carrow comes into the tower with the aid of Minerva McGonagall (HL). Amycus informs McGonagall that he was advised that Potter would come into Ravenclaw Tower. McGonagall protests “Potter is from my house,” and Armycus spits in her face. Potter uses the Cruciatus Curse to torture and punish Amycus for his actions.
In terms of the character of Harry Potter, Potter has a major turning point at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Potter turns from being a victim to being an intimidator. His new behavior continues through the end of the series.