The Games, the Players, and How It Reflects Harry’s Abilities as a Hero
There are a myriad of factors that make J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series so wonderfully readable, so universally popular among readers of every age and demographic. She has invented scores of unforgettable characters, suspense-filled storylines teeming with plot twists and red herrings, enough sub-plots to fill many more books, subtle social satires, and all those really funny bits and pieces. My favorite Potter-element, though, is the depth and richness of the Harry Potter world, ‘Potter-verse’ to those of us in the know. Jo Rowling has created an entire universe with its own banking system complete with goblins, underground caverns, and (possibly) dragons; at least five transportation systems (Floo Powder, magical vehicles, Apparition, Portkeys, Thestrals); innumerable methods of communication (owls, magic mirrors, enchanted coins, and Floo Powder again) and with, of course, its own sport.
Quidditch, like everything from Rowling’s amazing mind, is unique, detailed, and entertaining. This complex sport – played on broomsticks, of course! – adds both drama and levity to the plot, and weaves athletic interludes into the story. It gives Harry a secondary identity as an athlete and serves up most of the necessary tension between Hogwarts’ four houses. Quidditch may have a larger role in the books, however, than is immediately obvious. I think that the game serves as something of a microcosm for the story as a whole; both the Quidditch matches themselves and – to a larger extent – the players.
The Rules of the Game
The game of Quidditch is “easy enough to understand”,1 according to Oliver Wood. There are seven players to each team: three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker. The Chasers attempt to score by sending the Quaffle through one of three large hoops placed at either end of the pitch while the Beaters aim brutal Bludgers at them to prevent their scoring. It’s sort of like a Muggle soccer match or hockey game, with the Keeper guarding the goals from the opposing team. Last but not least is the Seeker, whose one job is to catch the Golden Snitch, thereby scoring 150 points for his team and ending the match.
Part One: The Gryffindor Quidditch Matches
Each book, with the exception of the fourth, contains at least two Gryffindor Quidditch matches, and each match seems to correlate with that book’s overall storyline. Now, by that I don’t mean that every single detail of each game somehow mimics Harry’s movements in the larger picture, or that we can figure out what will happen in book seven based on the very first Quidditch match. But every match seems to have one or two elements that reflect what is happening around Harry at that time, whether by emphasizing the underlying themes of that book or by foreshadowing later events. Take the very first match, for example, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry is playing Seeker for the first time, obviously. His broomstick is jinxed by Quirrell (the trio thinks it’s Snape), but he wins the game.2 Two elements from that match are relevant here. The most obvious is the way in which Ron and Hermione mistake Quirrell’s jinx as being cast by Snape; it reflects the ongoing confusion about the book’s true villain. More subtle is the fact that Harry establishes himself in this match as a very talented Seeker, apparently the best Seeker by far at Hogwarts. This directly correlates with the major theme of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which is that Harry is ‘the One’ – the Hero of the story. He’s not just another wizard at Hogwarts; he’s special, unique, and faces an exceptional destiny. He is the Seeker. Harry doesn’t play in the last match of the game in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; he is unconscious and lying in the hospital wing. Without him, Gryffindor loses the match, thus reinforcing what the first game established: Harry’s importance to the “game”, whether Quidditch or the big story. Without Harry, they lose; it’s that simple.3 There is no back-up Seeker, even though Gryffindor’s team has used back-up or reserve players in the past.4
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the plot is darker and more complicated than the first – a trend that will continue. Hogwarts is imbued with a monster’s presence; animals and students are being harmed and everybody seems to suspect Harry. This is the backdrop against which the first Quidditch match occurs and once again it serves as a parallel. Draco Malfoy is now the Slytherin Seeker, reinforcing his role in the story as Harry’s rival.5 The dramatic first game ends with Harry’s arm broken, the result of a fixed Bludger, but he wins regardless.6 The broken arm signals the great danger that Harry and the other students face this year; he has been intentionally injured on the Quidditch pitch right in front of all of the other students and teachers. The rogue Bludger is even more suggestive; it’s been corrupted and its new purpose is to knock Harry off his broom. This brings to mind Tom Riddle’s diary, which is also not what it seems and, like the bludger, is also out to get Harry!
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Quidditch plays a greater role and Harry plays in three games. Once again the castle is under threat; Sirius Black and dementors loom large over the plot. In the first Quidditch match, the Hufflepuff team substitutes for Slytherin and dementors invade the pitch, causing Harry to lose consciousness and in turn causing Gryffindor to lose the game.7 This match just drips with symbolism. The dementors overrunning the field indicate that no place is safe – Sirius Black invades Hogwarts just a little after the game – and they foreshadow the troubles Harry will have with dementors later in the book. The switch between Hufflepuff and Slytherin and its negative consequences for Harry could even foreshadow the switch between Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew that is at the heart of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban storyline. After all, Sirius Black – dark and seemingly ominous as his name – is whom the reader expects to be the villain while Pettigrew, in the form of Scabbers, appears as non-threatening as the happy house of Hufflepuff. Also during this match, Harry’s broom gets destroyed, representing a personal low point for him and corresponding rather well to the low point of hearing his parent’s voices, being left behind by Ron and Hermione, and being thought pathetic/cowardly by the rest of the school – even by Professor Lupin (or so he thinks). Not a cheerful time for Harry, really! Things look better in the second match; Harry stays clearheaded, avoids the (fake) dementors, and wins the game for Gryffindor.8 Does this mirror the way in which Harry remains clearheaded during the climax of the book, in which he is rational enough to accept Sirius Black’s tale? Maybe his triumph over the faux-dementors foreshadows his overpowering the real dementors during the book’s climax. The third match is even better; Gryffindor beats Slytherin (and Malfoy) for the Quidditch cup, which has been Harry’s goal since book one.9 And at the end of the book Harry acquires a new friend-slash-godfather, the parental figure he’s been searching for since, well, book one. A coincidence? Perhaps not.
There are no Hogwarts Quidditch matches in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Ostensibly this is because of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, but personally I think J.K. Rowling got a little tired of writing about Harry’s Quidditch matches and wanted a break! The Quidditch World Cup is featured in the fourth book, but I prefer to stick to the Gryffindor games as they relate more easily to Harry’s story. Those matches return in the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, along with a few changes in the lineup: Ron Weasley becomes the Gryffindor Keeper. Gryffindor wins their first game of the season but due to some after-game unpleasantness the evil Umbridge bans Harry and the Weasley twins from playing, “for life.” 10 For some time before the match and all through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic had been trying to discredit Harry, to release him from his ‘role’ in the story, that of the hero/anti-Voldemort. They cease calling him “the boy who lived” (an indicator of his special status) and begin describing him as a disturbed, lying, attention-seeking little brat.11 For the Ministry of Magic or the Daily Prophet to acknowledge Harry at this point would imply that the wizarding world needs him because Voldemort has returned. Because Voldemort is “not back” in their eyes, they do not need a hero (Seeker); Umbridge removing Harry from the Quidditch game exactly mirrors what the Ministry had been trying to do. Fred and George’s removal from the game foreshadows their sudden flight from Hogwarts—another “game” they’re not playing any more. Obviously, Harry doesn’t play in Gryffindor’s last match, but Ron does – and wins.12 He’s carried off the pitch by the fans and they celebrate late into the night, just as he wished in the Mirror of Erised four years earlier. This match does for Ron what the very first match did for Harry: it establishes his position as a Keeper both in the game and outside it (More on that later).
In the most recent book to date, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry is back on the team. Not only that, he’s been made captain, which puts him on a par with Prefects Ron and Hermione. Harry’s captainship reflects the leadership capabilities that he’s developed over the course of the fifth book; between his lessons with Dumbeldore’s Army and the battle scene at the Ministry of Magic he’s moved from an almost-loner to something of a leader, if only by necessity. As a Seeker, Harry was never that concerned with the rest of the team; his job was just to Seek, regardless of how the rest of the game is played around him. Now, he is responsible for the whole team, just as his role in the books is changing. Before their first match of the year, Harry pretends to give Ron the lucky Felix Felicis potion, causing Ron to perform especially well and win the game.13 This Felix-caper is very foreshadow-y; everything gets switched around in this book! Text-books, memories, potions and more. Ron’s taking or seeming to take the potion is especially interesting because shortly after this he is doubly poisoned by real potions. First he swallows a love potion meant for Harry; moments later a poison meant for Dumbledore.14 All this on his birthday, too, poor guy. During the second game, Harry is knocked out by a blow to the head; one of his own players cracks his skull, causing Gryffindor to lose the game.15 That he’s attacked by another Gryffindor, Cormac McLaggen, could have many meanings. It might represent “friendly fire” of some kind – that someone on his side inadvertently causes him trouble, even harm. Professor McGonagall’s well-intentioned meddling after Dumbledore’s death leaps to mind: “Harry, I would like to know what you and Professor Dumbledore were doing this evening when you left the school.” 16 Does McLaggen equal McGonagall? They certainly sound alike. Or does the incident represent the Minister of Magic’s interference in Harry’s life?17 After all, the Ministry and Harry are on the same side – against Voldemort – but they get along about as well as Harry and McLaggen do. Or maybe losing the game in such an awful, painful way mirrors the failed Horcrux mission and Dumbledore’s death later in the book. In the last match of the year, Harry doesn’t get to play. Gryffindor wins without him while he sits in detention with Snape.18 There is so much symbolism here, all in reference to the book’s climax. It is now Harry’s team, as he’s the captain, and they win even without his assistance. After Harry and Dumbledore leave the castle that night, Harry’s other “team” (Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna) fight the Death Eaters without him – and win. Likewise, Dumbledore’s “team”, the Order of the Phoenix, fight and win without him.
Part Two: The Quidditch Characters
Just as the Quidditch matches in Harry Potter correspond with the plot, so the Quidditch-roles of certain characters relate to their role in the story. The characters involved in Quidditch can be roughly divided into two groups: those who are only involved as players, and those who play a larger role. Angelina Johnson is an example of the former. She’s introduced as a Gryffindor Chaser in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and never really moves beyond that role. The same goes for Oliver Wood and a dozen other names introduced solely for the purpose of Quidditch; they don’t interact with Harry in any way except as fellow Quidditch players. The Weasley twins, on the other hand, roam all throughout the story, not merely at Hogwarts but at the Burrow, Grimmauld Place, Diagon Alley… even showing up twice at number 4, Privet Drive. They have a part in the Harry Pottertale that is much larger than their role as the Gryffindor Beaters, as do their siblings Ron and Ginny. Draco Malfoy, Cedric Diggory, Cho Chang, and of course Harry himself also seem to play the same role in the greater story that they play on the Quidditch pitch, whether it be Seeker, Beater, Chaser, or Keeper.
Take the twins, for example. Oliver Wood describes Fred and George as “a pair of human Bludgers” 19 and he’s not far off! In Quidditch, the Beaters protect their team and attack the other by zooming around swatting Bludgers. Fred and George could be described as Beaters off the pitch as well; they are always running around playing pranks (aiming Bludgers?) and being generally offensive. They seem to be always in motion and working as a team; rocketing around Hogwarts putting Bulbadox powder in pajamas and feeding Nosebleed Nougats to unsuspecting first years. This is all in good fun, though, and the twins never really harm anyone; just as in Quidditch they save the real Bludgers for the opposite team. Fred and George may be pranksters but they are fiercely loyal to their “team”; their family, Harry, Dumbledore, Hogwarts. The Beater position is uniquely both offensive and defensive; consider in this light the role the twins take up in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix against Umbridge, a known enemy of Harry and Dumbledore. Here, the gloves come off and the real Bludgers come out. The pranks the twins pull against Umbridge – setting off a crate of firecrackers, filling a corridor with swamp – are no longer in good fun; they’re intended to cause as much trouble as possible. These Bludgers are aimed to knock her off her broom!
Luna Lovegood, although a minor character, is also partially defined by the role she plays in Quidditch. No, I’m not losing my mind; I know she doesn’t play the game. But she does act as commentator for one memorable game in the sixth book, in which she describes the opposing players as having “Loser’s Lurgy”, draws the crowd’s attention to the clouds, and notices every little squabble on the pitch. 20 Correspondingly, one of Luna’s roles in the Harry Potter chronicle is that of a commentator. Everything she says seems to have that “narration” effect. She is always pointing things out to him – usually facts that are already obvious: “Oh, hello, Harry…did you know that one of your eyebrows is bright yellow?” 21 Her first words to him are, after all, “You’re Harry Potter” (To which he replies… “I know I am”).22 While most of what she says has little to do with the goings-on at hand (just like her game commentary), it’s almost always interesting and worth a second glance. Look- clouds! In the sky!
Ginny Weasley is another for whom Quidditch mirrors life. Her introduction into the team is not her role of choice; she replaces Harry as Seeker but prefers to be a Chaser. This one fact speaks volumes about Ginny. First of all, she’s playing a role she doesn’t want; this could refer back to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when she was being possessed by Tom Riddle/ Lord Voldemort and being made to act against her will.23 It could also indicate the role she’s been playing as everyone’s girlfriend but Harry’s. At the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince she tells Harry that although she’s been dating various boys, she’s wanted to be with him since the beginning;24 how similar this is to being “in the game” in one position when she’d rather be in another? Secondly, Ginny prefers to be a Chaser. Chasers, as opposed to Seekers, are team players. The Quidditch match is filled with the action of the Chasers as they interact with each other, ball-handling, passing, and scoring. This trait shows up in Ginny off the pitch as well. She is certainly a team player; she teams up with the twins, with Dumbledore’s Army, with Harry’s little team at the Ministry of Magic, with Neville and Luna as the underdogs. Offensive, she fights to be included in all the action, and chases her main goal – Harry – unflaggingly. She is straightforward, very social, and determined: a Chaser through and through.
Like many of his siblings, Ron Weasley plays on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, at least for the two most recent books. Ron’s role is less clear-cut than Ginny’s or the twins’ because his part in the story is so much larger than theirs; he’s Harry’s best friend and one-third of the Trio. His role is that of Keeper: the defense position. Interestingly, his skill on the Quidditch pitch is the least established of any of the main players; the twins and Harry are naturals, even Ginny is very good. Ron is held back, mainly by lack of confidence. Although it is less obvious than, say, the fact that “Gred and Forge” are Beaters, Ron also plays the role of Harry’s Keeper outside Quidditch. It’s fairly common in literature that a hero should have a wingman, someone who looks out for him and guards him. In the first book, Ron sacrifices himself during the chess game so that Harry can go on with his quest,25 and while that hasn’t happened again as blatantly, it is a theme that underlies Ron’s basic character throughout the books. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it’s Ron who comes to rescue Harry from the Dursleys, getting him out of his cage and flying him away back to a safe haven.26 He is always willing to jump into danger should Harry do so, even if it means dealing with spiders, his own worst fear.27 In conversation, Ron is constantly defending Harry, whether from Professor Snape, Draco Malfoy, or even Hermione. When their friendship stalls in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it is the fact that Harry is in grave danger that brings Ron around again.28 Seeing these tendencies in Ron makes it obvious that he should be Quidditch Keeper; it would make no sense for him to be, say, a Chaser or a Beater. This is why it’s so important that Ron be a good Keeper when he’s playing Quidditch; it reflects his ability to be Harry’s Keeper off-pitch. He has the ability, as shown in that last match of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; he just needs the drive and the confidence to develop it. His continued improvement implies that he will hold his own in the book to come.
It’s interesting that while there are perhaps one or two examples of every position, we have scads of Seekers to analyze. Draco Malfoy, Cedric Diggory, Cho Chang and of course Harry Potter are all Seekers, and they all have certain elements in common. The most obvious is that each of the other Seekers is portrayed as an opposite to Harry, and not just in the game. Draco, of course, is Harry’s nemesis-at-Hogwarts, someone on whom Harry focuses his bad-guy-fighting skills when Voldemort is too far away.29 Every scene that Harry and Draco share puts them in opposition with each other. Cedric Diggory, too, is Harry’s rival in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, both for Cho Chang’s attentions and in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. He is older, more experienced, even better-looking than Harry; they play the same position, want the same girl, and of course both end up competing in the Tournament.30 Cho Chang, on the other hand, is a romantic opposite to Harry, like a leading lady playing opposite the lead role in a play.31 That Harry is Cedric’s immediate replacement with Cho underlines both the Harry-Cedric parallel and the Cho-Harry parallel. Harry and Cho’s relationship never really takes off and their style of interaction looks as much like a Quidditch match as like a courtship dance: they circle around each other, advancing and retreating, each misunderstanding the other. Because Seekers interact so little with the rest of the team, these are the only Quidditch players against whom Harry plays directly. Each match pitches him against one of these other Seekers in a straight contest; first to capture the Snitch wins for their team. It’s no surprise that Harry would have some kind of conflict with these other Seekers even outside the game; their role is to be opposite him, on-field and off. This is another reason why Ginny is better suited for the Chaser position than that of Seeker; Harry doesn’t get along very well with other Seekers, they act like magnets repelling each other. As Harry’s true romantic interest, it’s unlikely she’d remain a Seeker or that that position would be her natural inclination.
Part Three: Harry
So, let’s get to the real heart of the matter: Harry. Harry’s Quidditch persona and his status as the champion in the story are very closely aligned. The fact that he is a Seeker defines the kind of hero that he becomes; it describes his modus operandi and his way of thinking. While the Chasers and Beaters constantly interact with both the Quaffle and their fellow teammates, the Keeper is slightly distanced from his team as the defenseman but still involved with the game, closely following the Quaffle and its play. The Seekers for each team, on the other hand, are quite removed from the rest of the action. They zoom in and around the rest of the game, staying out of the team’s way, seeking the Golden Snitch; their action ends the game for better or for worse. It’s almost as if the Seekers are playing their own game that doesn’t really interact with the other, but weaves around it. In fact, the game the Seekers play is in many ways the “real” game because its outcome decides the fate of the whole match.
The Seeker is a loner who doesn’t rely much on his team and is concerned with his own affair: the Snitch, which just happens to be the game-ender. This is Harry in a nutshell! His response to dangerous, battle-like situations is to go it alone; Ron and Hermione (and later Ginny, Neville, and Luna) have to force their way in to help him when they can.32 Even then, he faces most of his climactic scenes on his own; he’s alone by the time he confronts Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Interestingly, these situations in which he is on his own end considerably better than the Ministry of Magic scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (in which he is with Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, and Ginny),33 and the disastrous Horcrux-hunt with Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.34 Harry is very private, tending to not tell even Ron and Hermione what is going on in his head. He frequently keeps to himself his fears, problems, and troubling dreams, preferring not to bother his friends with his issues and pragmatically understanding that there’s not much they could do anyway. He keeps the information about the prophecy from them, for example, until Dumbledore tells him to share it.35 Even his tendency to go to Dumbledore, Hagrid, and other adults whom he trusts diminishes as he grows older, leaving him more on his own than ever. Consider what a different kind of hero Harry would have been if he were a Chaser-type rather than a Seeker: social, forming little groups and teams to help him along, fighting in the midst of others instead of alone; burden-sharing instead of burden-shouldering.
Besides defining what kind of personality Harry has, his Quidditch-role may point to what kind of challenge he faces. By now it’s well-established that Harry is Voldemort’s foe, that the two are bound together by both destiny and choice.36 While the “game” is played all around them, it won’t end until one conquers the other, for better or for worse – just as a Quidditch match won’t end until the Snitch is caught. Interestingly, Harry has little choice in both roles. He does not try out for Seeker, Professor McGonagall and Oliver Wood assign it to him. He never has the chance to try out the other positions or even to decline the offer. Of course, he doesn’t initially choose his role as the Hero, either; it was thrust upon him when he survived Voldemort’s curse. In time Harry comes to accept his place against Voldemort, though, just as he readily accepted the Seeker position. Harry’s role is not to join the Order of the Phoenix or Dumbledore’s Army, teaching, coordinating, and leading troops into battle; his quest is an individual one, just like his quest on the Quidditch pitch. The climactic scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is completely indicative of this. While Order members and DA students face off against Death Eaters, Harry is miles away, fighting his own battle. Even when he returns he can’t join that fray so it goes on without him.37 While Harry has developed some leadership potential over the last few books, it seems he’s best equipped to teach what he knows and leave others to get on with it, whether on the Quidditch pitch or in battle. This, I think, is the key to understanding something about the next book, giving us an idea of what might happen. Many have suggested that with Dumbledore gone Harry will join up with the Order, but I don’t think that’s very likely. The Order fights Death Eaters, and while they do their best to thwart Voldemort it’s not their role to defeat him – it’s Harry’s. The same can be said for the DA; they may have a valuable role to play in the final outcome but they most likely won’t be led by Harry. Harry’s job was defined in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It is simply to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, destroy them, and then defeat Voldemort himself. I picture the climax of the final book being just like a Quidditch match: an enormous battle between The Order/Dumbledore’s Army and the Death Eaters – the Chasers and Beaters for each side – with all the violent interaction and involvement of the game. Harry present, yes, but not actively involved; just like the end of book six. He is playing a different game on the same pitch, seeking a different “ball”.
I’ve read many people’s concerns that Harry hasn’t developed his battle skills. Some readers were hoping that Dumbledore would teach him some amazing wizardly tricks to arm him for battle instead of showing him old memories. To quote John Noe’s essay “Jo’s Harry: A Fan’s Point of View”:
Around the third chapter, when Dumbledore tells Harry how he wants to have some special training sessions with him that year, I really started punching the air, excited to read about Harry learning a bunch of new techniques, advanced magic, fancy “wrap you up in water” type battling spells. […] as I was reading, I remember being disappointed after every “training” session…38
Hermione, too, seems to think that Harry needs this kind of help: “I wonder what he’ll teach you, Harry? Really advanced defensive magic, probably… powerful counter-curses…anti-jinxes.” 39
Here’s the thing, though: Hermione, John Noe, and all the other readers and characters who think that Harry needs training up, who picture him learning special battle-magic and fantasize about him taking on several Death Eaters at once are treating Harry as though he were a Chaser; someone who will be at the heart of a general battle. But Harry is not a Chaser, he is a Seeker. Dumbledore never mentions ‘training sessions’, he calls them lessons.40 Dumbledore and Harry spend that year seeking the truth behind Voldemort, seeking out the knowledge that will lead to Voldemort’s destruction. Seeking, to Harry, is effortless. His first time on a broomstick is euphoric:
… in a rush of fierce joy, he realised he’d found something he could do without being taught – this was easy, this was wonderful. […] Harry knew, somehow, what to do.41
Professor McGonagall, not generally known for her enthusiasm, describes Harry in this way:
The boy’s a natural. I’ve never seen anything like it. […] He caught that thing in his hand after a 50-foot dive, […] didn’t even scratch himself. Charlie Weasley couldn’t have done it.42
Think for a moment about the implications of these early statements in terms of Harry’s role as the Hero, the one who will finally defeat Voldemort: “Something he could do without being taught…” Harry does not need special defensive training or fancy battling skills; he’s already got what it takes. His skill is innate and instinctive. Every time he comes up against Voldemort directly – in front of the Mirror of Erised, in the graveyard, even at the Ministry – he acts instinctively and it works. In Quidditch, Harry doesn’t need to be trained or taught, he just needs to know the rules of the game and he’s good to play. This goes for his bigger battle as well; his Seeker abilities are inborn and peerless as well. J.K. Rowling goes to some trouble to point out that Harry is not just any Seeker, he’s the best Seeker. No other comes close, not even the legendary Charlie Weasley or the internationally renowned, professional Seeker Viktor Krum, who sincerely admires Harry’s flying.43 The fact that Harry is so incredibly good, so gifted and exceptional, and that this talent is not taught, speaks volumes for his ability to fight Voldemort and win. Teaching Harry “wrap-you-up-in-water” type spells would be like trying, at this late stage in the game, to teach him to handle a Quaffle; it just doesn’t make sense. Harry already has what he needs to Seek, whether on the Quidditch pitch or off. Exactly what he has isn’t totally clear yet. Perhaps it’s the “all-you-need-is-love” thing that Dumbledore tended to go on (and on) about, or maybe it’s his (oh-so-Quidditch-like) “duck-and-dodge” maneuvers that many fans have observed,44 or maybe it’s in the few flashes of brilliant magic we’ve seen here and there—like his famous patronus ability. Whatever it is, Harry already has it, just as he came to Hogwarts already able to fly. Harry’s special role and his amazing ability are well established: he alone is both destined and able to defeat Lord Voldemort. It’s up to him alone to capture the Snitch and end the match.
1. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997. p. 124.
2. Ibid. pp. 136-141.
3. Ibid. p. 219.
4. Ibid. p. 137.
5. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. pp. 85-86.
6. Ibid. p. 129.
7. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999. pp. 176-179.
8. Ibid. pp. 259-262.
9. Ibid. pp. 305-313.
10. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. pp. 411-416.
11. Ibid. pp. 73-74, 142, 244-245.
12. Ibid. pp. 702.
13. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. pp. 293-299.
14. Ibid. pp. 391-398.
15. Ibid. pp. 413-416.
16. Ibid. p. 626.
17. Ibid. pp. 342-346, 648-649.
18. Ibid. pp. 532-535.
19. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997. p. 125.
20. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p. 310.
21. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. pp. 185.
22. Ibid. p. 575.
23. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. pp. 228-230.
24. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p. 647.
25. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997. pp. 205-206.
26. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. pp. 24-28.
27. Ibid. pp 201-209.
28. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. pp. 358-360.
29. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. p. 27.
30. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. pp. 71-73, 431, 460-461.
31. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. pp. 349, 394-395, 455-459, 528-529, 556-562.
32. Ibid. pp. 761-763.
33. Ibid. pp. 781-806.
34. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. pp. 570-578.
35. Ibid., pp. 76-80.
36. Ibid. pp. 509-512.
37. Ibid. pp. 582-585.
38. Noe, John. “Jo’s Harry: a Fan’s Point of View” Scribbulus Issue 4. 1 June 2006. The Leaky Cauldron. 3 June 2006. </#scribbulus:essay:209>
39. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p. 99.
40. Ibid. p. 78.
41. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997. p. 111.
42. Ibid. p. 112-113.
43. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p. 553.
44. Ford, Brandon. “Grown Up Harry: Is He There Yet?” The Underground Lake # 29. December 6, 2005. MuggleNet. 3 June 2006. <http://www.mugglenet.com/editorials/theundergroundlake/tul29.shtml>
Mugglenet. 23 July 2006. <http://www.mugglenet.com>
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Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000.
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005.
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003.
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997.
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999.