Harry Potter: an average wizard? 

So I have been re-reading Harry Potter (again). After the debacle that Harry Potter and the cursed child was, I wanted to drown myself in what we can all agree to be canon. Yeah sure, HP and TCC  is also canon according to JKR. She is the author, so her word is the law. But as a reader I have decided it isn’t. Before anyone of you might say it doesn’t read well because it is only a script for the play, no, I don’t mind the way in which it is written. What I have a big problem with, and JKR should also have had, is the way in which HP was portrayed.

HP, unlike his father and Godfather, is sort of scrawny and geeky. But he wasn’t just average. Oh, he wasn’t the typical hero material, from the beginning. Just as JKR intended. She wanted to say anyone could be a hero, flaws and all. Harry wasn’t above mistakes, nor was Dumbledore. But the way in which Harry couldn’t defend himself against Voldemort and Bella’s daughter was, for me, a little unconvincing.

Harry Potter isn’t a seventeen year old anymore. He has had time to learn and become more skilled. Harry Potter isn’t unskilled. Dumblodore did tell us he is reasonably talented. Lupin gave him high marks. He could produce a corporeal patronus. He taught his seniors. Are you telling me that Fred and George would have learnt from someone thick? He isn’t as skilled as Dumbledore or Voldemort. He maybe not as talented like his parents, they were exceptional we hear, but his skill level was only a grade lower. He might have done loads better at Potions, had there been a different teacher.

Neville, too, is a hero. His nerve and hard work pays off. Hermione is gifted, of course. With a mentor like Dumbledore she would have excelled and even defeated Bellatrix. But I don’t really agree with the way Harry is portrayed in the cursed child. He seems to have not grown at all. Remember, when we read the final instalment in Eragon and thought Paolini failed in portraying Eragon as both a hero and an ordinary boy on whom responsibility was thrust upon but JKR pulled it off with Harry? She pulled it off, yes. She made us believe that by rising to the occasion, Harry  is heroic. Attempting is heroic. Trying to do what you believe in is heroic. Never did Harry not have something up his sleeve. Only once did Harry fail at defending himself, in the Ministry of Magic, in the Order of the Phoenix. But she did make us believe that anyone could be a hero.

Agreed that Harry could never have faced Bella and pull off a victory (maybe). The only reason, Voldemort fails time after time in his attempts to murder Harry is because he couldn’t have killed after taking his blood and also the wand bit. But JKR also told us that Dumbledore held Harry in high esteem. Oh not just because he could love, which in itself is a huge deal. (To not be seduced by power, fame, carry a little evil and still remain mostly untouched by its corrupt influence, to still have the ability to love after having suffered tragedies like no other kid… those things make Harry Potter endearing despite the fact that he is a belligerent teenager in HPTOP). But Dumbledore also respected Harry because of the kind of wizard he was growing into. Pushed into tight corners, testing himself, learning and taking initiative, but on top of it, trying to find compassion in depths of dislike (he feels for Malfoy and yet saves him time and again) and his capacity to forgive and sacrifice. He isn’t a wizard prodigy, like Dumbledore, Voldemort and Grindelwald, but he was talented (in Sorting Hat’s own words in the first instalment). By not allowing Harry to grow at all, despite the nineteen year period, I think was a major oversight. It is okay to say we need poeple and support system, but it is not okay to not allow the character to grow at all.


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