Character Journey: Draco Malfoy – The Sneaky Slytherin Prince

Character Journey

Draco Malfoy – The Sneaky Slytherin Prince

FiRST_July09_HP08

Lord Voldemort may be Harry’s archenemy, but Harry’s true rival is this arrogant blond-haired Slytherin: Draco Malfoy.

Son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy and heir to the powerful Malfoy family, Draco is everything that Harry is not. He still has both of his parents living whereas Harry is an orphan; his family is wealthy in that old money kind of way whereas Harry’s relatives are vulgarly nouveau riche; he is a sneaky Slytherin whereas Harry is daring Gryffindor; he is light-haired whereas Harry is dark. In short, they have very little in common and, since the very beginning of this wondrous tale by J. K. Rowling, Draco has been as a persistent thorn on Harry’s side.

In the first year, he offered his hand for an alliance with Harry. He was, of course, rejected, thanks to his pompous attitude and his snickering comment made on Harry’s new friend, Ron. Needless to say, from that moment onward, that they were both doomed to a relationship of mutual dislike and enduring rivalry.

Draco’s ultimate goal is to undermine everything Harry has accomplished at Hogwarts. After Harry had been made Seeker in the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Draco weaseled his way in the Slytherin team in their second year, playing the same position Harry played. He attempted to get Harry’s friend Hagrid, who had been appointed as a teacher in their third year, fired and, while that didn’t work, he successfully sentenced Hagrid’s pet, a hipogriff named Buckbeak, to death. Their fourth year saw Draco betting against Harry and taking Diggory’s side in the Triwizard Tournament. And finally, in their fifth year, Draco joined Dolores Umbridge’s Inquisitor Squad and took part in unraveling Harry’s effort to teach proper Defense against the Dark Arts to his friends. There is no doubt that Draco strove to make Harry’s life one big living hell.

It’s safe to say, though, that Draco’s villainy has never truly presented any real danger for Harry so far. His nastiness, with all the pranks and the taunts, is the kind that every growing teenager have indulged in at one point in life. Come the sixth movie, however, Draco loses his status as comic relief and is now cast in a more serious light.

Draco becomes more than Harry’s schoolyard rival in Half-Blood Prince. Both older, though perhaps not wiser, both develop a new intensity in their rivalry that is previously unmatched, because the game that Draco now plays is not mere sports; he is playing a game of life and death, a game that whether directly or indirectly affects Harry’s life. He is the catalyst that sets the wheels moving, initiating the chain of events that lead to the real war between Harry and Lord Voldemort. With these changes in Draco, so does Harry change as well. Rivals they might forever be but from this point onward, their destinies are intertwined.

[AA]

———————————————-

Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.

Character Journey: Severus Snape – The Mysterious Professor

Character Journey

Severus Snape: The Mysterious Professor

FiRST_July09_HP07

There is no character in the Harry Potter saga more mysterious than this Potions professor with the dark beady eyes, inky blank hair and somber expression. Severus Snape is so mysterious that even the actor playing him in the Harry Potter movies, Alan Rickman, does not particularly relish discussing the character in interviews. Understandable; considering that his role in the movies so far has also been kept to a minimum. But also intriguing, because… really, who is Severus Snape?

Facts: He’s the Slytherin Head of House and Potions master at Hogwarts. He’s a strong wizard (Snape faced off with Kenneth Branagh’s Gilderoy Lockhart in simulate duel in the second movie and came out triumphant). He is a Legilimens, a wizard who is apt at reading other wizards’ minds with a spell. He’s not very friendly with the Gryffindors and likes to pick on them, thanks to an old grudge that was born from having been bullied by Harry’s father James and godfather Sirius in their youth.

Myteries: Where does he come from? What are his hobbies? Who does he like? And, most importantly, who does his allegiance lie?

Is he Harry’s friend or Harry’s foe?

If he is a foe, then he doesn’t make a bad enemy for Harry… not really. For all that hatred he seems to radiate for his former tormentor’s son, he has so far saved Harry’s life three times. In The Sorcerer’s Stone, he rescued Harry from a possible curse sent to his way while playing Quidditch by the duplicitous Professor Quirrell. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Snape used his body to shield Harry, Ron and Hermione when his colleague, Professor Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), transformed into a werewolf. In Order of the Phoenix, he managed to decipher Harry’s ‘coded message’ and later on alerted the Order of the Death Eater threat at the Ministry. Subsequently, the rescue squad arrived on time to save Harry & Co. in the epic battle at the Ministry.

But he’s just not a very nice person at all. He’s the kind that wouldn’t think twice to smack his students on the head for insolence and disobedience (see: Goblet of Fire, scene at the Great Hall, where Harry and Ron talked among themselves during study hour). That’s why the mixed signals coming out from Snape jam our perception of him and we are kept on the edge of our seat every time the distinguished Rickman shows up on screen in his austere black robes to torment the heroic teen wizards.

Now, the teen wizards will simply have to step aside for a while, because Half-Blood Prince is essentially Snape’s story. Those who are curious about this character will be able to catch a deeper glimpse on this man who perpetually stands on the grey area of the saga. But be forewarned – you probably won’t see that much of him in the end. The filmmakers have succeeded in cleverly cloaking Snape’s character in multiple layers of guise in five movies by keeping his screen appearances low. There’s no guarantee that all of Snape will be unveiled in the sixth Potter installment, and yet… we can’t help but be excited about what’s coming next.

That is the beauty of Snape, after all. Nothing piques the curiosity more than the mysterious man on the background and leaves us wanting for more.

[AA]

———————————————-

Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.

Character Journey: Tom Riddle – The True Terror

Character Journey

Tom Riddle: The True Terror

FiRST_July09_HP06

The time may not have come yet for Harry to be able to fight Voldemort on his own. Harry’s not even half as proficient in magic as this evil tyrant. Lord Voldemort is undeniably strong – stronger than any other wizard alive in their time, except for Dumbledore – and he is cunning. He is the Slytherin. A descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself, one of the four founders of Hogwarts, he upholds Slytherin’s main ideology obsessively: the only wizards that matter, the only magical folk that should be allowed to exist, are those with pure blood.

Ironically, Voldemort is far from having ‘pure wizarding blood’. He revealed himself to be the result of a union between a witch and a Muggle man. He resents his father’s blood that runs inside his body and seeks to become greater and more powerful than any other magical being. So ambitious was he that he turned to Dark Magic and aimed to conquer Death.

Thanks to his ambitions, he went through various transformations until his physique is thoroughly altered. Voldemort is the only character whose appearance was never the same in every Potter movie until he finally became corporeal in the fourth movie. The first time we laid eyes on him, he was a parasitic tumor on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head. Then there was his youthful version, whose real name was Tom Marvolo Riddle (which provided the anagram for the name he uses to terrorize the wizarding world, “I am Lord Voldemort”), a handsome Hogwarts prefect with slick wavy black hair and nicely squared jaws. His disgusting shape in Goblet of Fire that resembled a deformed, overgrown infant being carried on the arms of Peter Pettigrew was the penultimate form he had before being revived into his current body. And despite having an actor as fine as Ralph Fiennes in his robes on screen, Voldemort is still not very desirable either even now. After all, he does have the face of a snake, with red orbs for eyes and slits for nose. There are very few mythical creatures that can surpass the creepiness of this man’s countenance.

Even more terrifying than his looks, however, is his operation. Voldemort is basically a terrorist. Just from the way people refuse to say his name, referring him to as “You-Know-Who” and “He Who Must Not Be Named”, is an indication of how fearful his influence is, let alone his actual presence. He has torn families apart, pit friends against friends, made enemies out of allies, and not hesitated to sacrifice human life for the sake of his ambition before. And he will continue to do so again. One family, in particular, is about to become his next victim. As irony continues to lace this villain’s existence, that family is none other than the one who has served him loyally thus far.

That kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? About what sort of man he really is. About where he came from. About what is it that turned him this way. Harry and Dumbledore are thinking about that, too. That’s why we can expect Voldemort’s enemies to try harder to delve into his past. The answers, they will find in Half-Blood Prince.

[AA]

———————————————-

Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.

Character Journey: Albus Dumbledore – The Eccentric Headmaster

Character Journey

Albus Dumbledore: The Eccentric Headmaster

FiRST_July09_HP05

Order of the Phoenix, reached its climax with an epic battle between Good and Evil, of Light versus Dark. On the Dark side, there was Voldemort. On the Light side, there was Albus Dumbledore. The two wizards were so powerful, young Harry could only sit on the sidelines and watch as the two most powerful living wizards of their time send curses after hexes after jinxes towards each other.

It was strange to see Albus Dumbledore, who takes on an appearance of an old man, managing to appear so strong against Voldemort, who is decades younger than Dumbledore in terms of age and physical appearance. In the first and second Harry Potter fare, Dumbledore was portrayed as a mild, benevolent, and aged headmaster, though this might be attributed mostly to the performance of the late Richard Harris, the first actor who played Dumbledore on screen. Harris portrayed Dumbledore as a kind-hearted mentor who patiently advised young Harry about the evils of the world and taught him it was his choices in life that made him different from his nemesis, Voldemort. Harris’ successor, Michael Gambon, portrayed a different Dumbledore. His Dumbledore was more brusque and more eccentric. Infinitely more lively, too. Which Dumbledore is the real Dumbledore?

Believe it or not, both actors’ Dumbledore is true to the canon. Through their interpretations, the audiences have the chance to feel the nuances in Dumbledore’s personalities tangibly, just like in the book. This is a man who is both astute and reckless, a teacher who is eccentric and sensible at the same time, and a wizard who is elderly and yet still powerful. In this sense, Dumbledore is more than a match for Voldemort. Which is why, Harry constantly needs Dumbledore’s guidance to defeat the evil wizard.

Dumbledore has always been there since the beginning of the boy wizard’s journey. He was the one who placed Harry in the care of the Dursleys (questionable decision, but not without a good reason) and passed along Harry’s family heirlooms, along with the advice on how to deal with the possible dangerous magical object, Mirror of the Erised, in Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Dumbledore showed faith in Harry in Chamber of Secrets and encouraged him to investigate the Basilisk attacks when the Ministry threatened to close Hogwarts that was Harry’s home. He gave Harry and Hermione a clue on how to save Sirius Black and Buckbeak the Hippogriff using the Time-Turner in the next movie. In Goblet of Fire, it was through Dumbledore’s Pensieve, an object that stores his memories, Harry learned the existence and identities of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Although initially he avoided Harry in Order of the Phoenix and hurt Harry’s feelings by keeping him at arm’s length, he solidified his support for Harry by fighting Voldemort at the MoM.

Under Dumbledore’s tutelage, Harry continues to grow as a stronger wizard in Half-Blood Prince. There’s apparently more knowledge to pass on to Harry in this next installment. Dumbledore is going to try and help Harry discover more about Voldemort’s history by showing him those memories he had been keeping in the Pensieve. A younger Dumbledore will appear in front of our eyes, so we, too, will be able to discover more about this great wizard’s background. But how long will it take for Dumbledore to teach Harry? Surely, he can’t hold Harry’s hand forever. There will be a time for Harry to fight the war alone, without Dumbledore. That time may come sooner than Harry, and all of us, might think.

[AA]

———————————————-

Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.

Character Journey: The Sidekicks’ Journey

The Sidekicks’ Journey

FiRST_July09_HP04

RON WEASLEY

Sorcerer’s Stone. Became Harry’s friend after sharing a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. A wizarding chess enthusiast, who later won them a game against Transfigured chess pieces. Established sidekick status by sticking to his side for all kinds of adventures.

Chamber of Secrets. Drove his father’s magic flying car all the way to Hogwarts after he and Harry failed to board the Hogwarts Express. Hates spiders, but loyally followed Harry to the Forbidden Forest for an audience with Aragog, an ancient, giant venomous acromantula. Infiltrated the Slytherin dorms, as one of Malfoy’s cronies, to investigate the attacks on Muggle-born students. Rescued his sister, Ginny, from the Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets with Harry.

Prisoner of Azkaban. Fought almost daily with Hermione over their pets. Thought his pet rat, Scabbers, had been eaten by Crookshank the Kneazle. Later on discovered that Scabbers was Peter Pettigrew, the cowardly Animagus who betrayed Harry’s parents to Voldemort. Overall awkward around Hermione.

Goblet of Fire. Furiously jealous of Harry for being a Hogwarts champion at the Triwizard tournament. Went to the Yule Ball with Padma Patil (Afshan Azad). Sulked when he discovered Hermione dated Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski). Abducted and was appointed as Harry’s precious object to be retrieved at the second task of the tournament.

Order of the Phoenix. Defended Harry against the skeptical crowd who wouldn’t believe that Voldemort had returned. Formed Dumbledore’s Army with Harry and Hermione. Fought against the Death Eaters at the Ministry.

Half-Blood Prince. New girlfriend, potions, poisons… but most important, he’s going to play Quidditch. Here comes Weasley, our king.

HERMIONE GRANGER

Sorcerer’s Stone. Friendless, know-it-all pushover. Had no friends until Harry and Ron rescued her from a troll. Established her status as the ‘brain’ of the Gryffindor trio by providing the answers to the many mysteries surrounding the philosopher’s stone.

Chamber of Secrets. Suggested and brewed the Polyjuice Potion Harry and Ron drank to change themselves into Crabbe and Goyle. Petrified by a basilisk. Even then, still managed to assert her intelligence by solving the mystery of the attacks on Muggle-born students.

Prisoner of Azkaban. Was given the Time-Turner, a device to travel back in time, which she used to attend her many classes. Later on, used the Time-Turner to bring herself and Harry back in time to rescue Sirius Black and Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Started throwing longing looks at Ron.

Goblet of Fire. Underwent a metamorphosis, from bushy-haired girl to fairytale princess, for the Yule Ball. Became Viktor Krum’s object of affection. Rendered everyone green with jealousy, most especially Ron.

Order of the Phoenix. Started breaking school rules by suggesting the formation of the Dumbledore Army. Fought with Harry and Ron in the Ministry of Magic.

Half-Blood Prince. Her awkward situation with Ron will reach its peak. Watch out, there’s sexual tension ahead!

GINNY WEASLEY

Sorcerer’s Stone. Said good luck to Harry when he was about to pass through the barrier to Platform ¾ at King’s Cross Station.

Chamber of Secrets. Influenced and possessed by a mysterious old journal. Had her soul and energy ‘consumed’ by an echo of Tom Riddle. Drove Harry to fight a basilisk in her rescue. Her status was elevated from ‘his best friend’s sister’ to ‘his friend’.

Goblet of Fire. Went to the Quidditch World Cup with her family, Harry and Hermione. Went to the Yule Ball and danced with Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis).

Order of the Phoenix. Threw a longing look whenever Harry showed interest in Cho Chang. Impressed the hell out of Harry and his brothers by using the Reducto curse during DADA training.

Half-Blood Prince. Forget Cho Chang – she’s going to be Harry’s new kick-ass girlfriend!

[AA]

———————————————-

Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.

Character Journey: Harry Potter – A Die-Hard Gryffindor

Character Journey

Harry Potter: A Die-Hard Gryffindor

FiRST_July09_HP03

The first time we see Harry Potter in The Sorcerer’s Stone he was a small boy with huge, dorky round spectacles who lived with his irritating relatives. Harry’s physique, added with the unfair treatment he received from his uncle, aunt and cousin, would beg for sympathy from anyone who saw him.

Then, in the midst of ‘celebrating’ his eleventh birthday on a cold hard floor in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, a giant of a man called Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) crashed through the door and announced, “Harry, you are a wizard.” Thus into a magical world Harry entered and, along with him, so did we.

Harry found his true home in this world, namely Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where young witches and wizards learned all they needed to become proper magic users. Besides magic, Harry also learned of his true identity. He was the Boy-Who-Lived, the only human ever to survive from Lord Voldemort, an evil wizard who had murdered many people, including Harry’s own parents, for his own private ambitions.

Every year at Hogwarts Harry went through all kinds of exciting, yet life-threatening, adventures. In his first three years at Hogwarts alone, Harry had gone through battles with a biting three headed dog, a lethal basilisk, a group of venomous acromantulas and soul-sucking creatures called Dementors. Even before he reached the age of 14, Harry had faced the lord of terror in various shapes numerous times. Despite all that, he won all his battles and could breathe easily in those first years he spent as a young wizard living in a magical environment. Unfortunately, things were about to change in his next year at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which depicted Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts, was a turning point in Harry’s story. Young Harry was forced to make a leap into adulthood, seemingly at the blink of an eye. After spending the whole year dealing with the repercussions of being framed into participating in the Triwizard Tournament, Harry finally met his nemesis, Voldemort, and even reluctantly took part in his resurrection. The end of Harry’s innocence came when Voldemort killed Harry’s schoolmate and fellow Triwizard champion, Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson), right in front of his eyes.

Harry’s world subsequently became much darker than before. In Order of the Phoenix, tragedy occurred one after another for Harry. Dementors came to his Muggle neighborhood. He was nearly expelled from Hogwarts and tried by the Wizengamot at the Ministry of Magic. The Ministry, disbelieving of his claim that Voldemort had risen again, also made Harry’s life a living hell by sending Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) as High Inquisitor to Hogwarts in order to seal his and his mentor Dumbledore’s mouths. It wasn’t a great wonder that Harry, who was still reeling from Cedric’s death and Voldemort’s return, sunk into depression and a self-imposed exile, distancing himself from those who cared for him the most.

There were some bright moments in this tale that is considered to be the darkest in the Potter saga. The first was when Harry and friends formed the Dumbledore Army to fight back Umbridge’s stifling influence. The other was when Harry’s unrequited crush with Cho Chang (Katie Leung), which began in the previous tale, became rather requited. The two of them shared a (admittedly wet) kiss after a clandestine Defense against the Dark Arts lesson. In the end, however, the strongest blow was delivered to Harry’s stomach: Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), Harry’s godfather, died at the hands of a Death Eater.

Voldemort’s shadow still looms… out there. There’s a double threat closer to home at Hogwarts. One of them is Draco Malfoy, Harry’s rival from Slytherin. Behind Draco, there is Severus Snape, the one teacher Harry despises. With his friends Ron and Hermione entangled in a web of romance politics and unresolved sexual tensions, Harry finds company in an unusual new ‘friend’: the so-called ‘Half-Blood Prince’, who is actually… a tome. And now it begs the question: is this new friend trustworthy? It remains to be seen.

Nonetheless, we can all be reassured that Harry will never give up. He isn’t called ‘Boy-Who-Lived’ for nothing. Harry is more than just a person who refuses to perish from evil; he is an inspiration. If only everyone were that daring and strong… cowards would never exist. Can anyone blame us for adoring such a hero?

[AA]

———————————————-

Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.