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Is Harry actually the Hero of the series?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by harrypotter1999, May 19, 2017.

  1. harrypotter1999

    harrypotter1999 Card Captored and buttsecksed

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    I get that Harry is the main character and does end up killing Voldemort, but after re-reading the books it seems like he did not really do much. Throughout the novels he is shown to be, for lack of better words, pretty pathetic and not really what you'd expect a hero to be. He constantly uses other characters as a crutch and gets by mostly on dumb luck. To me it seems like Hermione, Dumbledore, and Snape do a lot more in bringing down Voldemort than Harry. Just my opinion, so please feel free to prove me wrong.
     
  2. Sataniel

    Sataniel Fifth Year

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    Why is Hermione included with Snape and Dumbledore on this list?
     
  3. ST218

    ST218 Squib

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    Go reread the books and stop taking your impressions of characters from bad fanfiction.


    To give this post the legitimacy it doesn't deserve, you're mixing up about three different things.

    First, by "hero" do you mean "protagonist"? Or do you mean some other definition of hero you've made up for this post that is not, in fact, in common use when people discuss the hero of the story? Certainly Harry is the protagonist. He is the one who we see doing things. It's possible to have a primary viewpoint character who isn't the actual protagonist (Moby Dick, among lots of others), but you'd be hard pressed to argue that with Harry. If Harry is Ishmael, who's Ahab? Can't be Dumbledore. Dumbledore's primarily presented in terms of how he relates to Harry. Can't be Hermione. Her actions and words are all presented in terms of how they support or work against Harry. Same for Snape.

    Harry's the protagonist, and when people say "the hero of the series" this is what they mean. The hero isn't the one who does the most work in bringing down the antagonist. The hero is the one whose work is most focused on, and that's him.

    Second, "he didn't really do much"? Well, what contributes to bringing down Voldemort. The obvious answer is taking down the Horcruxes and Voldemort himself? First, none of that would have happened without Dumbledore, sure. However, it's the mentor's whole thing to provide the info the hero needs to complete his quest. Gandalf having a bunch of the answers and direction early on in LotR doesn't make Frodo/Sam/Aragorn any less the heroes.

    That being said, let's run down the kill count:
    -Diary: Primarily Harry. Yeah, he had support from Hermione and Ron to get to it, and Fawkes to get the sword and get out alive, but at the end of the day it's Harry who stabbed a giant snake in the brain, took one of its fangs, and stabbed an evil possessing book with it. If this isn't his doing then nothing counts.
    -Ring: All Dumbledore, but the process of obtaining it in the first place eventually led to his death. No one else on Team Good died from taking down a Horcrux.
    -Locket: Ron, on a technicality. Harry gave him the kill; he was perfectly capable of doing so himself and wanted to throw Ron a bone. Honorable mention to Snape leading them to the Sword in the first place.
    -Cup: Hermione. There's nothing especially notable to add here.
    -Diadem: Technically Crabbe, but this wasn't intentional and it was a result of Harry being the one to locate the thing in the first place and Team Evil getting trigger happy on the magical WMDs in an enclosed room.
    -Nagini: Neville, at Harry's instruction and direction.
    -Voldemort: Self-inflicted kill resulting from a narrow understanding of victory and an inability to get what actual loving sacrifice was. The circumstances resulting in this were setup by Dumbledore and Snape and pulled off by Harry.
    While the plan wasn't his, Harry needed to have Hero Of Good Trait #1 to pull it off: complete willingness to die to save those he cared for without reservation. If Harry had gone for a losing battle instead of a noble sacrifice, then Voldemort AKing him would have been Harry getting defeated and the setup for a very witty one liner from Voldemort when it turns out that Harry Potter is not, in fact, the true master of the Elder Wand.

    So, if we total it up, it's...kind of a wash. In terms of the main goal, Harry may have done a bit more than others, maybe less depending on how much you count "set up the circumstances allowing for all this in the first place", but no one's really ahead. They're all equally important.


    Which brings me to my third point. Of course Harry didn't solo run all seven books and teabag Voldemort at the end. He had the support and love of a whole bunch of people on the way. It's kind of what literary people like to call a theme. Voldemort worked alone, preferring lackeys and servants to genuine friends and comrades. Look who was left standing at the end.
    In addition, yeah, Harry's nothing super special. He's got a nice inheritance, some inborn talent for flying on a broom, quick reflexes, and a level head in an emergency. He's also got anger and trust issues, a bad habit of cracking smartass comments when he ought to shut up, and can be a bit of a selfish brat. None of those make him superhuman, and nor do they make him irredeemably awful. The entire point is that an ordinary boy with some unique talent and a troubled upbringing could grow up to be a mass murdering terrorist or a hero who can be counted on to save everyone possible, and the difference is how much love and support they got on the way. That's not relying on others as a crutch, that's being human.

    As a final note, Harry does not rely on dumb luck. Yeah, he often survives (especially early on) through conveniences out of his knowledge or control, but these conveniences come about precisely because of his noble characteristics:

    Book 1: Quirrel dies thanks to Lily's sacrifice trying to steal the Stone from Harry. However, why didn't Quirrel go and pull out a wand and try to stop this? Because the moment Harry saw what was going on, he immediately seizes the situation and starts grabbing at Quirrel trying to take him down. Like, he's in an incredibly terrifying situation for anyone, never mind an eleven year old. Still, the moment he sees an effective way to strike back he goes for it. That's not dumb luck.

    Book 2: Fawkes literally came because of Harry's avowed loyalty to Dumbledore and Hogwarts, while the Sword popped out precisely because Harry is the sort of person who would use it to take on a giant killer snake. You could argue their showing up is authorial contrivance (as opposed to, I dunno, sending a message about bravery and loyalty), but it's not dumb luck to use that sword to stab the aforementioned giant killed snake.

    Book 3: If there's any dumb luck here, it's dumb luck for Wormtail that Lupin forgot to take his Wolfsbane.

    Book 4: Priori Incantatem came out of nowhere, sure (if you ignore the whole brother wand thing mentioned in Book 1). But it happened because Harry fought back. Voldemort raised his wand to finish the set of three Potters. Harry could have run, have stood in fear, or even tried to pull a Dumbledore-esque move of levitating a rock in the way. Instead, he stands there, looks Voldemort in the eye, and fires back. And when it does trigger, he gets away by literally winning a battle of wills between him and Voldemort. I mean, that's literally the series climax in preview there: Harry wants to win more than Voldemort wants to kill him. You can call luck and contrivance on the existence of Priori Incantatem, but only a stone cold hero would have been able to take advantage of it and get out alive.

    Books 5-7: I'm not even going to address these. This is where contrivance mostly starts working against Harry. He now gets through his trials because his character qualities are stronger than the world working against him.


    Point is, Harry Potter does not get by on dumb luck. In most of the crazy shit he survives, it's because of a uniquely heroic set of traits (courage, determination, compassion, and a hell of a lot of quick thinking in extreme danger).


    In stereotypical academic writing style, I'll end by repeating my beginning: go reread the books and stop getting your characters from bad fanfiction.
     
  4. Atram Noctem

    Atram Noctem High Inquisitor

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    I think you didn't read the books in a long time. Harry did most of the detective work and he's the one who actually figured most shit out while none of the adults did.

    I also think users with less than 50 posts shouldn't be allowed to create threads.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  5. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Jeez. Sure looks like it, Timmy.
     
  6. vlad

    vlad Seventh Year Prestige

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    Yes.

    Although given how it ended, good argument could be made that Voldemort was an hero.

    And without Harry, Hermione is a dead twelve tear old because she wouldn't stfu publicly lecturing her peers about their shortcomings. Cripes. She's not the hero, she's the plot device that Bob-the-skull lampshades in Dresden. With frizzy hair and fanon tits.

    I like Hermione all things considered, but she's not even playing the same ballgame as Albus and Voldemort.
     
  7. TheTycat

    TheTycat First Year

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    You've all forgotten the true hero in books 2-7. Dobby. After the first book, which is basically background exposition for the real deal, the entire series is essentially Dobby's tale. From slavery to freedom, Dobby acts courageously to do the right thing despite the clear risk to himself. He supports and saves his friends faithfully. He learns what it means to be free and find his place in a world that didn't understand him. He takes a stand and dies for it. Dobby's noble sacrifice is the climax and end of the story. Deathly Hallows has a lot of epilogue chapters that were mistakenly numbered.

    Harry's the side kick.
     
  8. Atram Noctem

    Atram Noctem High Inquisitor

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    No, Dobby is the Jar-Jar of the series.
     
  9. Arthellion

    Arthellion Groundskeeper

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    Eh...it's a valid question. The answer is of course that Harry is the protagonist and "hero" of the series. That's not debatable. But I think the underlying question that causes debate is the question of; "is Harry Heroic?"

    I'm perhaps not the best to speak on the matter because I stopped reading the main series after Order of Phoenix.

    Rowling created a beautiful world, but her main characters annoyed me too much to continue to be emotionally invested in them.
     
  10. Astaphta

    Astaphta First Year DLP Supporter

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    It's really not. I'm truly boggled that someone could even think to ask it. I won't bother to try to answer it because ST218 has done a perfectly fine job of it, but really it's not. Harry's heroic qualities are underlined all throughout the series, and they constitute its principal fabric. Sure, most of us gripe constantly about how he's an inadequate character in terms of intelligence, self-confidence and general savoir-vivre, and he only wins the ultimate victory on a technicality, but his heroism is unquestionable. He died for everyone else, 'nuff said.

    As to the alternatives offered, please. Dumbledore dies in book 6. Snape is a nasty piece of work who has a few redeeming traits. Hermione is the help.
     
  11. Seyllian

    Seyllian Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    Just because they annoyed you doesn't make Harry any less the hero. A 'hero' is defined as:

    This perfectly describes Harry.

    Most people don't think Harry isn't the 'hero' as he doesn't really do any amazing feats or exhibit remarkable intelligence. That, however, is superficial and comes from the reader's bias and does not actually correlate to heroism.
     
  12. Arthellion

    Arthellion Groundskeeper

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    I'm not denying Harry is a hero or possesses heroic qualities. I think the answer to the question is yes, but depending on the definition of hero you use (which is debatable) the question itself can be asked. I disagree with the argument being made against Harry's heroism, but the question itself is still valid and one that can be explored.

    Harry is a hero, but certainly not to pureblood culture. Harry is hero but not to slytherins etc.

    My post is more against the derision the question has solicited as opposed to disagreement over the argument.

    It's a question worth asking and analyzing because it causes us to analyze heroism itself.
     
  13. Astaphta

    Astaphta First Year DLP Supporter

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    That's a fair point. Perhaps one should then be asking whether Harry is the only hero in the series. I think it certainly was Rowling's crusade in book 7 to ask what heroism is, as you say, and to prove that anyone could be a hero if they decided to, through freedom of choice and will power. Neville certainly stands out. Malfoy is given a moment of heroism at the Manor when he refuses to recognise Harry. Rowling seems to have a very egalitarian concept of heroism. So while the series Harry Potter has only one protagonist, how many heroes does it feature? And what are the necessary ingredients of their heroism, i.e. the ones that each avatar of heroism displays in their act(s) of heroism?
     
  14. Severus

    Severus Sent Back to India

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    You know I think the series would have been much better if it was Severus centric. If anything Severus​ is the actual hero of the series.
     
  15. torrent56

    torrent56 Second Year

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    Harry certainly had plenty of bad moments in the story and relied on luck at times when he charged into a situation without any prior thoughts (although he often did things that made luck work for him as well), but the story is set so that he was the hero and protagonist who confronted the chief villain at the end of the story and who got a lot done often heroically. It also doesn't change the fact he stood up for himself and fought Voldemort despite overwhelming odds stacked against him.