Posts Tagged ‘Good Reading’

I have for the last two months devoured the Harry Potter books. To tell the truth, I have been consumed by them. I can’t imagine how anyone was able to wait for each book to be released. What drove me from one book to the next was my interest in the characters that Rowling created and the world she placed them in. (Yes, spoilers ahead)

“Character is plot,” so the adage goes, and Harry Potter is no exception. Each book beautifully conveys Harry’s emotional turmoil as he endures physical pain and loss of loved ones. Evil’s demise is inevitable but not easy for the modest Potter and his friends. One of the more interesting relationships in the book is the one between the book’s villain and its hero. Voldemort, willing to rip apart his soul to preserve his life, is greatly feared even by those who love him most. He trusts no one and pursues power at all costs. Although Voldemort has immense magical abilities, his weakness is his own dread of death. He renounces love and refuses friends. He is a great wizard, but as his snake-like character implies, is less than human.

Harry is not ambitious for power. If anything, he desires normalcy. Circumstances force Harry down a path that he does not want to go, toward fame he does not desire. He realizes that he has to walk that path, and he does faithfully adhering to the good. His bravery grows to the point where he does not fear death. He suffers numerous losses – his parents, his godfather, his beloved friend and headmaster of the school he attends. Despite his losses, he continues to develop friendships. He dares to love and refuses to back away from adversity.

The book never celebrates death, but it never indicates that death is something to be feared. Perhaps the greatest lesson that Harry learns is that death doesn’t have the final say. Voldemort executes Harry thinking that if he killed Harry, he would win the war – he would be invincible. Harry’s act of love, his self-sacrifice for his friends, in the end was the moment of Harry’s victory, not Voldemort’s. That moment illustrated the greatest contrast in character between the both of them. Voldemort, who feared death and felt no remorse in killing, showed his own grotesque lack of humanity in his self-driven act against Harry. Harry shows the fullness of his humanity. He refuses to even draw his wand because he realizes that he must die to save his friends. The love that he has for his friends and the love they have for him saved him, but Voldemort died weak and alone.

As Harry progresses toward maturity, so does each book. Rowling does a wonderful job capturing the emotions of a teenage boy facing arduous trials in life; she does an equally good job at projecting those emotions onto the reader. Yes, the books are largely written for teens, but they deal with topics that most adults rarely think about. Rowling’s world possesses a marvelous depth; it is a world that for the most part exists only in the imagination but deals with significant issues in life. I don’t suggest that you can find the meaning of life, the universe and everything in these books. I think you will find the books worth a read.

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