Saturday, June 15, 2013

Harry Potter's Father Figures

On a fateful evening when Dumbledore & Professor McGonagall visited Privet Drive, Hagrid was the 'official' Hogwarts teacher to reluctantly hand over baby Harry Potter to the Dursleys. Eleven years later and Hogwarts' Groundskeeper delivered the legendary news that Potter was indeed a wizard.

Over the following year, Harry and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley sought out Hagrid for details about the mysteries over Voldemort and his uprising. Hagrid, more personally for Harry though, could also be seen as a symbol of home. No matter the difficulties that lied ahead for Harry especially at Hogwarts and abroad, Hagrid was a constant source of support and dependence.

Best Moments: Through Rita Skeeter's gossip columns in The Daily Prophet, both Hagrid and Harry are humiliated in the fourth book of the series. Both have to forge ahead when those closest shun and misunderstand them. During the Twi-Wizard tournament, Hagrid shows his constant faith and support that Harry can win over everyone who thought they could be defeated by their challenges.

Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban begins with the idea that our boy Harry could face plausible death at the hands of an escaped murderous prisoner Sirius Black. Accused of killing Harry's parents and being involved in several other's deaths, we discover his innocence and a connection as godfather by the end of the book. Immediately their relationship that started out rocky became one of Harry's last close connections to his departed parents.

When Harry's life becomes more threatened by the twi-wizard tournament and the closely-watching eyes of the Ministry of Magic, Black is careful to lead Harry to have vigilance over who he trusts. However, he's also more open to dangerous risks and showing courage against opposing forces. Though they both share affection for each other, Sirius' connection to Harry is more uncle/brotherly love than as fatherlike-leadership.

Best Moment: After helping Sirius Black escape execution, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger share one last ride around Hogwarts on the hippogriff Buckbeak. Together they have some hopeful conversations of Harry being raised away from the Dursleys' and with his last closely surviving 'relative'.

Growing up with the Dursleys, Harry almost had no hope of what a sensible family could be like. Enter the Weasleys, and father Arthur Weasley. Through his friendship with the Weasley children, Harry is shown the ways of a normal wizarding family; connection, protection, unity. Though already a father to seven children of his own, with wife Molly, Arthur opens his home and heart to let Potter in as another son. From their very first meeting Arthur never regards Harry as anything other than a child of his own; never focusing him more as the chosen one or the boy who lived.

Arthur as a father figure can be argued that his presence in Harry's life is not as strong as Molly, who is a strong mother-figure to Harry. But we must remember that as much as Molly coddles and overprotects Harry, Arthur does too worry and tries to protect Harry during his battles against Voldemort; just as they do for all their children.

Best Moment: In Goblet of Fire, Arthur Weasley take his children, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter on an adventure to attend the Quidditch World Cup. Though their experience is deterred by raging Death Eaters, it's a nice look into the welcoming arms the Weasleys had by taking Harry away from the Dursleys'.

Though his gray beard and age (150, give or take a few years) gave him the label of grandfather more than a father, it can't be denied either way the strong presence Dumbledore has with Harry.

Throughout the series, Harry seeks council and protection from Dumbledore. Though not particularly showing leadership skills to Harry in father-like ways, Dumbledore has a certain kind of faith that Harry above everyone else is the strongest and last hope everyone has against Voldemort.

In the film series through the two actors who played the character, Richard Harris and Michael Gambon, we come to see the two different versions of Dumbledore. The first version with Harris is kindness and guidance for which Harry needs so much, especially in his first years at Hogwarts. The second version with Gambon we see Dumbledore as more ruthless and strategic in using Harry against Voldemort. Both can be found throughout the book series, and it's hard to determine which one is most truthful.

Best Moment: After using the resurrection stone Harry meets with Dumbledore at King's Cross Station. Among Dumbledore's most touching advice for Harry, some final words from the headmaster heed to pity those who live without love.

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