Character Journey: Harry Potter – A Die-Hard Gryffindor

Character Journey

Harry Potter: A Die-Hard Gryffindor

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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]

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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.

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