does everybody say it in the same way: that Harry "has his mother's eyes"˜? It
would have made sense to change it from time to time to "their eyes look just
the same" or something equivalent. But no, it's always the same. So, what if it
should be taken literally? That Harry actually has got his mother's eyes
because they were transplanted into him? It explains quite a few things. It
will also have its consequences for the final instalment of the series.
a wizard that has known Harry's parents meets him for the first time they
mention the eyes. For instance, the members of the Advance Guard when they pick
up Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: " ˜Except the
eyes,' said a wheezy-voiced, silver-haired wizard at the back. ˜Lily's eyes.' " 1
even Harry himself when he sneaks into Snape's Pensieve: "It was one of the
girls from the lake edge. She had thick, dark red hair that fell to her
shoulders, and startlingly green almond-shaped eyes ’ Harry's eyes." 2
obviously uses Harry and his eyes to persuade Slughorn to come to Hogwarts in Harry
Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, because when he leaves Harry and Slughorn
together the latter says: " ˜Except for your eyes. You've got”'
mother's eyes, yeah.' Harry had heard it so often he found it a bit wearing." 3
are saying it to him all the time; so often that Harry gets blasÃ© about it!
Later in the same book Slughorn mentions it again, obviously being very moved
by it (and being a bit too tipsy):
"You're a good boy' said
Professor Slughorn, tears trickling down his fat cheeks into his walrus
moustache. "And you've got her eyes ¦ just don't think too badly of me once
you've seen it." 4
in an interview Rowling mentions it: "But he has his mother's eyes and
that's very important in a future book." 5 Each time it is his
"mother's eyes" or something equivalent to this phrase, never something like
"Your eyes look just like your mother's' which is also quite valid if they
just look the same. It is too consistent. It looks like there is something more
going on here; Jo is dropping a very subtle hint, one that we all have
overlooked so far.
do we know about wizard medicine? Well, we have seen quite a lot of it in St.
Mungo's hospital,6 which seems to be the main wizarding medical facility in
the UK. In St. Mungo's we are introduced to Healers: " ˜Doctors?' said Ron,
looking startled. ˜Those Muggle nutters that cut people up? Nah, they're
Healers.' " 7
it is not the only place where people are treated. In Hogwarts, Harry has been
to the hospital wing several times; the first time after his first battle with
Quirrell/Voldemort.8 It is not unlikely that there are other hospitals as well
that we have not heard from so far.
deal with different diseases and accidents than Muggle doctors do ’ just look
at the various problems with which wizards come to St. Mungo's.9 Their solutions to
mishaps that may happen to wizards and Muggles alike are different as well, for
instance the spell that Tonks uses to stop Harry's nose from bleeding.10 Also, several potions
are used for healing throughout the series.
potions and spells can be used by normal wizards and Healers in a similar
fashion to Muggles going to a drugstore for drugs for which no prescription is
required, which must mean that Healers have extra qualities and/or powers. They
get a kind of apprenticeship (Trainee Healers like Augustus Pye11) before they become
full Healers. This must mean that a fully trained Healer will be able to do,
well, er ¦ magic.
what I am getting to is this: even though in Muggle medicine it is not possible
to replace eyes,12 it may be possible in wizard medicine!
Moody, Wormtail and Missing Limbs
why does Moody have an eye that is obviously artificial or at least magical? He
has lost part of his nose and has sustained heavy damage to his face and to the
rest of his body,13 so his original eye was lost, obviously. He probably
could have a replacement eye, but chose not to. He chose to enhance his vision
with a kind of X-ray eye that could see through walls and the back of his head.14 This is not just a
replacement, but an enhancement. Moody used to be an Auror and needed whatever
useful tool he could lay his hands on to keep himself alive.
only wizards we meet in the series with limbs missing are Moody and Wormtail.
Wormtail gets a replacement hand very soon after he has lost the original,15 even though it is an
artificial one. Harry himself has to take Skele-Gro potion after Lockhart
removes the bones of his arm16; if bone can be grown while the
rest of the arm is still present, it must also be possible to grow a completely
new arm! Moody never got a replacement leg, even though he likely would be
helped without any restraint to get a new leg. In Moody's case it is probably a
matter of pride and dignity (well, and it makes him look quite forbidding¦).
a maiming is something that can be cured either by replacing a limb or
replacing it with an artificial one, unless the wizard in question doesn't want
to or can't access care. What if a wizard loses both eyes? Even though it is
not mentioned in the books, it seems quite likely that those eyes could be
regenerated, or successfully transplanted from a donor.
So, Why Does Harry Have Lily's Eyes?
go back to 31 October 1981. Voldemort has just been vaporised, and James and
Lily are dead. Harry is still alive, but has been hurt. Hagrid arrives in the
ruined house and finds Harry with a big wound on his head.
what does Hagrid do? The boy has been hurt and Hagrid needs to be gone before
the Muggles arrive. So he takes him away and brings him to a Healer, probably
at Dumbledore's instruction. This Healer cures the wound on Harry's head as
well as he can, even though a scar remains, but finds that the attack has
blinded the boy. Quick thinking of the Healer brings the solution: why not use
James's or Lily's eyes?
has fought quite severely and his eyes may have been damaged as well, so the
Healer chooses Lily's eyes to replace Harry's. The rest is history.
course of events helps us to offer a plausible explanation for some important
unanswered questions in the series. It explains why it takes Hagrid such a long
time to get to Privet Drive.17 It explains why Harry needs
glasses, as the eyes are not his own in the first place. It explains Snape's
loyalty, as any part of Lily still alive would still be better than nothing at
all.18 And, most important of
all, a part of his mother still lives on inside Harry.
Dumbledore knows, and probably most other people who are acquainted with
Dumbledore do. Harry has never questioned it, simply because he assumes that
they are using the metaphorical meaning of "he has his mother's eyes." It is
probably not something you want to tell somebody who's got such a burden to
carry as Harry.
What Does It Mean For the Deathly Hallows?
Now the important thing about
Harry's mother, the really, really significant thing, you're going to find out
in 2 parts. You'll find out a lot more about her in Book 5, or you'll find out
something very significant about her in Book 5, then you'll find out something
incredibly important about her in Book 7.19
book five bit is unmistakeably the "Snape's worst memory" scene,20 where Snape loses
Lily's allegiance forever. More important for this argument is the last part of
the quote. If part of Lily still lives on inside Harry, this would make Harry a
stronger wizard, as it will give him at least part of his mother's powers too.
Harry received powers from Voldemort through an act of ultimate evil ’ it could
be possible that he also received powers from his mother through her act of
was a crafty witch. She was very good at potions21 and had "a nice wand
for charm work." 22 Harry is quite good at potions when Snape is not around,23 and gets an Exceeds
Expectations on both Potions and Charms for his O.W.L.s,24 so it looks like he has
inherited some of her qualities. As we see in Harry's
conversation with Luna as he moves outside of his own grief to offer her help
in retrieving her stolen items,25 he has
also inherited Lily's empathic capabilities, and, let us not forget, his
mother's capacity to love. Voldemort lacks especially the latter two, which will
render him vulnerable this way.
with a part of his mother still living on inside him Harry would have a
connection to her soul. It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul,
and Harry has now received this window through the gift of his mother's eyes.
It is the reverse of what Voldemort has done, as he used Horcruxes as anchors
to keep the remaining fragment of his soul from disappearing when his body
dies. Harry would therefore be the logical opposite of a Horcrux; a kind of
anti-Horcrux. And therefore Harry is an anti-Voldemort.
suppose we have the big standoff between Harry and Voldemort, somewhere near
the end of the book. All Horcruxes are destroyed. Either of them has to die.
Would somebody with two souls and the magical powers of two persons be in the
advantage against somebody with only one-seventh piece left? I would say yes!
Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 47.
Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 70.
Loer, "All about Harry Potter."
Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 427’34.
Ibid., Philosopher's Stone, 214.
Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 429.
Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 150.
Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 448.
About.com, "Are Complete Eye Transplants Possible?"
Rowling, Goblet of Fire, 163’4.
Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 154.
Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 563.
Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 131.
Ibid., Philosopher's Stone, 16.
"I fell in love with an alien / I fell in love with her eyes" ’ that's
what the Kelly Family sang¦
Rowling, The Connection interview.
Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 564’72.
Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 70, 298.
Ibid., Philosopher's Stone, 63.
Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 631.
Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 100.
Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 759’61.
About.com. "Are Complete Eye Transplants Possible?" http://vision.about.com/od/othereyediseases/f/eyetransplant.htm
(accessed 17 February 2007).
Kelly Family. Lyrics from "Fell in love with an alien." Almost Heaven
album, Virgin Records, 1996.
Stephanie. "All about Harry Potter from quidditch to the future of the Sorting
Hat." The Boston Globe, 18 October 1999. Transcript, Accio Quote!
(accessed 17 February 2007).
J.K. Interview with The Connection (WBUR Radio), 12 October 1999.
Transcript, Accio Quote! http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/1999/1099-connectiontransc.html
(accessed 17 February 2007).
”””. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury,
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury, 2005.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997.