Wednesday 3 August 2011

"I can't be a wizard. I mean, I'm just Harry, just Harry." ~ Harry Potter

          Yes I am lame enough to choose the main protagonist as my favourite character in the series. What can I say? I have always loved Harry. I think he's a genuinely good guy, and even though that sometimes causes problems, he just wants to save everyone. Also, the fact that I fell in love with him when I was 9 years old, and never really got over him, might have something to do with it. This is a highly subjective list of favourite characters I am making, so such feelings do matter. Although, having had recently seen all the films, I can safely say that there is good reason for me staying true to my 9 year old self- Harry is a great person, a fierce friend, and his special brand of dry humour is kind of charming.

HP and the Sorcerer's Stone

"Excuse me sir, can you tell me where I might find Platform Nine and Three-Quarters?"

The film starts with Dumbledore putting baby Harry on the Dursley's doorstep, and saying that one day every kid in their world will know his name. The baby with a lightning scar on his forehead is shown to have grown up into a little skinny boy of nearly 11, living in the cupboard under the stairs of the Dursley house. We also see, well-fed Dudley and understand how Harry must have been treated there. Our heart goes out for the little bullied boy. Obviously mystery surrounds him- what with the vanishing glass and the talking to the boa constrictor in the zoo and ALL those letters; we can feel the "magic" in the air. Then, on Harry's lonely and touching eleventh birthday, Hagrid visits and informs Harry that he is in fact a wizard. He, obviously, finds all this incredulous at first, but then is swept away in the wonder of it all, as we are too. I guess Harry in the first film is the eyes of the audience. He also sees how everyone else behaves around him- and finds out the secret behind him being the Boy who Lived and all. He is just amazed at all this first...being a very starry-eyed and together kid that he was. Then he meets Ron, and finds a person who knows all about being magical, and someone who he can, finally share his secrets and feelings and food with. Soon after, he also meets Hermione and I think he just finds her funny, and is not irritated by her like Ron. Malfoy is next..."the wrong sort",  and this shows how Harry is a good judge of character. His whole sorting, with choice and all, forms a foundation of his character...a person who was good and brave by choice, despite whatever problems he faced. There is a lovely shot of him looking out of his window with Hedwig the first night at Hogwarts, signifying that he finally feels like he belongs somewhere. Harry is made uncomfortable by Snape since the get-go, and their first Potions lesson does not lesson this feeling. While the belonging part- Harry is a natural at flying, and him getting chosen as Seeker, even as a "Frankie first year" shows that. One of the things I noticed this time round was that Harry is such a little conspiracy theorist, and most of his blown-up ideas more or less hit the spot. In this one, he starts snooping about what went missing in vault 713 in Gringotts, Snape's secret, and what was under the trapdoor that Fluffy was guarding..after the trio's run-in with the three-headed giant dog. Another thing is him trying to save or protect people- whether it's Neville and his Remembrall in Quidditch practice, or Hermione from the clutches of a huge troll. The Quidditch match is a great moment of victory for Harry, and for us who support the little boy wizard. Then it's back to snooping around with Nicholas Flamel, and Hagrid's baby Norwegian Ridgeback etc. One of the saddest and most fantastical things in this film is when Harry encounters in the Mirror of Erised. We see how much this boy has missed out in his life, and the importance for family for him. Harry and the trio get in trouble with McGonagall, and in the dangerous Forbidden Forest, Harry for the first time in all his consciousness, meets Voldemort. There he finds himself in mortal danger, but still he soon goes through the trapdoor to retrieve the Sorcerer's Stone and try and prevent Voldemort's return. Though the earlier obstacles show off Hermione and Ron's strengths more, finally, and how it is always fated to be, Harry faces Voldemort alone. Here we see his inner strength...seeing this horrific face and still fighting back, not wanting his parents back because he wouldn't give up, getting the Sorcerer's Stone because he only wanted to protect it and not use it, and finally destroying the treacherous Quirrell. Later when Dumbledore meets him, we see the beginning of a life-defining friendship and understanding between this young wizard and this old master. Dumbledore talks about the love that flows inside him because of his mother,and we get clues of what might come later. Finally, Harry, with Hermione, Ron and Neville, helps Griffindor in winning the house cup. When he leaves, he says- "I'm not going home, not really," and then waves goodbye to his wondrous new home Hogwarts...and we know that we have fallen under his spell forever.

HP and the Chamber of Secrets

"Not to be rude or anything, but this isn't a great time for me to have a house elf in my bedroom."

Harry's eyes are as iconic as he is and throughout the film series, we see a much-appreciated share of them. The beginning of this film start with them, as Harry is looking through his album and reminiscing about his magical school and incredible friends. He is hurt that they haven't written to him all summer, and the apathetic Dursleys do nothing to lessen that feeling. Immediately after he is given instructions to play invisible during Vernon's important business dinner, he meets the marvelous house-elf Dobby for the first time. Through Dobby's devotion to him and his friendship, we see what an impact he has had all over the world, and how just and kind he is. Dobby comes to tell him to not return to Hogwarts that year because it could be fatal to him, but he is adamant to do the contrary because, danger or not, it is his only home. This leads to a fallen dessert on Vernon's boss's wife, and a putting-up of bars on Harry's window. But Harry breaks free with the help of Ron, the Weasley twins and a stolen car. Harry is amazed by the very enchanted Burrow, and the lovely Weasley family. Ginny is properly introduced there, and we see her feelings for Harry immediately (gah...Ginny). In Knockturn/Diagon Alley, Harry runs into a number of people- creepy witches and wizards, Hagrid, Hermione, the amiable Malfoys, and Gilderoy Lockhart...which goes to show how Harry's fame precedes him always. After reaching Hogwarts, Harry starts hearing a voice, and discovers a petrified Mrs. Norris and bloody writings on the wall saying that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. This is, as Hermione says, a bad thing. But Harry and his conspiracy theorist self, start believing that Malfoy is the heir of Slytherin and behind all this. The trio get to the bottom of this with the help of Polyjouice potion. It is also around this time that more muggle-borns get petrified, there is a duel between Harry and Malfoy, and it is revealed that Harry is a parselmouth and can talk to snakes. This leads to the first time in the films, when Harry is ostracised by everyone. Harry later finds a Tom Riddle's diary and a memory in this shows that it might have been Harry's good friend Hagrid who could have opened the Chamber of Secrets 50 years ago and caused the death of a girl. But following spiders, and nearly being eaten by them, Harry finds out it isn't true and is relieved that his friend is innocent. Hermione also gets petrified during this time, and this clearly upsets him, but not enough to be able to figure out the clues that she has left behind. Harry was rather smart in my opinion, and him finding out the truth behind the monster of the Chamber just shows that. Again he risks his life, this time to save Ginny, and faces Voldemort/Riddle- a memory but still fatal again. He also kills the Basilisk with the Sword of Griffindor very bravely, and destroys Tom Riddle's diary (a Horcrux). People are all about the final film when he is about to get killed, but he does that numerous times in the films. For example here, when he had been poisoned by the Basilisk, and had been accepting death until Fawkes saved him. Upon his return to Dumbledore's office Harry, the wise, tells Dumbledore that he felt that there were similarities between him and Voldemort. But Dumbledore shows him that it was true, but still he was good and courageous otherwise the Sword would not have appeared to him. Again choice is shown. Also then Lucius Malfoy comes in, all snarly, and Harry's answer to him about being always there to save the day at Hogwarts shuts everyone up (except me who screams "Fuck Yeah!" everytime he says that). He then tricks Lucius into freeing Dobby, which shows that he is kind of cheeky, but in a good way. The end, with Hermione and Hagrid back, is a great one for Harry, as he has indeed saved the day.

HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban

"Expecto Patronum!"

Harry the teenager. He's an angry young man, that one. Anyways, first he blows up his aunt, runs away from the Dursley home, not gets imprisoned and says the biggest lie of his life (Umbridge notes), "Why would I go looking for someone who wants to kill me?" I mean anyone can answer that- IT'S IN YOUR FRIGGIN' NATURE HARRY, THAT'S WHY! So Sirius Black, the murderer is out to get Harry in this one, but what really scare Harry are the creepy Dementors of Azkaban. As the tone of the story and film turns darker, so do Harry's problems. Harry is especially affected by the Dementors because of his horrific past. The first professor he ever really likes, Lupin, helps him overcome that fear with the cool-as-hell Patronus charm. Harry also becomes more adept at breaking rules with the Marauder's Map that Fred and George present him with. He goes to Hogsmeade with the help of that, and his trusted Invisibility Cloak, and gives Malfoy and his minions a taste of their own medicine. Then he overhears the truth behind his connection with Sirius- that he was his godfather, and had betrayed his parents, causing their deaths. He is super-enraged by this. The conspiracy thing is teeny in  this part- as he goes looking for the apparently dead Peter Pettigrew who had appeared on the Map. He doesn't find anything, but this gives Lupin ideas. Throughout the film, Harry is troubled by Trelawney-predicted evil omen- The Grim, but when she really frightens him is in her seer trance, telling him about the servant returning to the Dark Lord. Later when Buckbeak, the hippogrif, is about to be executed, the Grim comes. But he is infact Sirius Black in his animagus state. Harry threatens to kill him first, but when it is revealed that his parent's betrayer was actually Pettigrew, in Animagus form as Ron's rat Scabbers, he forgives him and they become great friends. Here too, Harry is just when Sirius and Lupin, who is a great friend of Sirius's and a werewolf, are going to kill Pettigrew and Harry doesn't allow it and want proper authorities to deal with him. Sometimes, very rarely, I do think Harry is too kind. Harry and Sirius start a great strong bond, one which is fueled by the relationship between Radcliffe and Gary Oldman. As Pettigrew escapes and Lupin becomes a werewolf, Harry tries to save his injured godfather from the Dementors who have come. Someone does, with a very powerful Patronus, but Harry starts believing it's his father. This again shows how much he misses his family. But then, in the going back in time with Hermione, Harry realises that it is in fact himself who performs the Patronus. Harry's is shown to be really gifted with this...I think it is because of his horrific past that he holds onto the happier thoughts better, which are essential for the Patronus to form. They save Sirius, and Sirius tells, like Lupin before, that he looks like his father James a lot, but has his mother Lily's eyes. As Sirius escapes in Buckbeak, we feel happy with Harry that he has a family finally.

HP and the Goblet of Fire

"I love magic."

Harry's connection with Voldemort's mind makes him continuously see a dream of Voldemort ordering a man to find Harry. After the Triwizard Tournament is announced at Hogwarts, we see how Harry has no interest in the "eternal glory" it promises, proving Snape's statement in the first film "Fame isn't everything". But as Fate (and a fake Moody) would have it, his name does come out of the Goblet of Fire. This causes everyone, including Ron, to really ostracise Harry this time, because now they think he's an attention-seeker and is trying to take away the spotlight from the true Hogwarts champion- Cedric Diggory. Still, his pure nerve and flying skills helps him to succeed in the first task with the Dragon, and he's in everyone's good graces again. The Yule Ball presents with itself a new problem- getting dates. Especially when Harry's first crush Cho refuses him, and Ron and Hermione choose to quarrel instead. Still the Yule Ball happens all fine and dandy, and Harry chooses to sit it out, 'cuz he's cool like that. The dream returns, along with the second task in which Harry nearly comes first with the help of Gillyweed, but because of all that "moral fiber" in him, stays to see all the people tied in the Great Lake for the champions to save are safe and he even takes Fleur's little sister along with Ron because of the hero-fiber. He also finds Barty Crouch's dead body and has his first dip in the Pensive, looking back at Dumbledore's memories of Karkaroff and Barty Crouch Jr. In the final task, Harry saves Fleur and even Krum to some extent, because he sees he's working under the Imperius curse. He even saves Cedric, though he should have just left him there, and then decides to share the Triwizard Cup with him (see- too good sometimes) and this takes them to Tom Riddle Sr.'s grave where poor Diggory is slain. And then, Voldemort returns in full nose-less glory. The first real duel happens between both of them, and Harry is brave as hell, even though he knows how powerful Voldemort is. He escapes because of Priori Incantetum, and upon returning to Hogwarts with Cedric's body, the poor boy, who must have been scared out of his mind, cries over his body. As Hermione says in the end, and Harry very bluntly agrees to- everything's about to change, especially for him.

HP and the Order of Phoenix

"LOOK AT ME!... What's happening to me?"

Angry Harry has a run-in with Dementors right at the beginning, and this causes him to get into trouble with the Ministry. He gets saved because of Dumbledore ofcourse, but due to being ignored by him, and feeling ignored by all of the world, Harry feels alone throughout the beginning. Lovely Luna makes him see the folly of his ways, and he returns to his ever-supportive best friends. Obviously Umbridge, the pink Nazi tea-cozy, comes to Hogwarts and starts making his life hell- calling him a liar and torturing him with her gory quills. The Ministry is threatened by him and Dumbledore too, and are spreading lies about them, but Harry finds comfort in the support his darling godfather Sirius gives him. Ron and Hermione make him start Dumbledore's Army to teach people the now-banned defensive spells. This also leads to Harry coming closer to Cho. Still, Harry keeps getting Voldemort's visions, and starts fearing for his goodness. Even after the big first kiss, Harry sees Nagini attack Mr. Weasley, which causes him to explode in Dumbledore's office due to all the neglect. He even tells Sirius this, but Sirius's reply is the blatant truth about Harry- "You are not a bad person. You're a very good person who bad things have happen to." Snape starts giving Harry Occlumency lessons, but Harry in his anger taps into Snape's mind and sees a memory of his father bullying Snape when they were school kids, causing Snape to call off the lessons at once. This proves fatal later when Voldemort creates a fake vision about torturing Sirius and causes Harry to come to Ministry (too good again). But fist, he has to battle Umbridge, which he does with the help of Grawp and some very hot-headed centuars, and uses the awesome line- "I must not tell lies." I have also really loved Harry's ability to say clever lines, because let's face it, what's a hero without his lines? Then with the main DA, Harry breaks into Department of Mysteries where he hears his prophecy about how he would be the one to kill Voldemort, if he doesn't kill him first, and finding about his vision being false. He fights the Death Eaters well, especially with Sirius. In this scene, there are two moments when my heart absolutely goes out for him- one when Sirius calls him James and that tiniest shot of him being overjoyed at this, and then when he realises that Sirius is dead, and the horror starts taking hold of him. The epic duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore happens after this, but they become even better for me when shots of a broken down Harry witnessing all this are shown. Finally Voldemort possesses him, and Harry is made to feel all the despair in the world, but he still fights back- telling the big bad Dark Lord that he pities him because he cannot feel the warmth of friendship and love. The images of Ron, Hermione, his parents, and Sirius going through his head, and we understand how pure and loving he is, despite everything he has suffered. Voldemort is obviously threatened by this, and he leaves Harry and Harry gets his redemption in public. At the ending, we see a newly confident Harry, who is sure that he is on the better side because unlike Voldemort, he has something worth fighting for.

HP and the Half-Blood Prince

"But I am the Chosen One."

This film starts with Harry getting a date with a pretty waitress, and I am left confused with all this Bond-esque smoothness. It all goes back to normal once Dumbledore comes and they go to recruit the rich-and-famous-collector/Potions master Horace Slughorn. And when Harry is suddenly gobsmacked in the presence of Ginny (DIE! DIE! DIE!). Harry's conspiracy theorist days return when he starts thinking that the now disgraced Malfoy has become a Death Eater and is on some kind of evil mission. This leads to him snooping around Malfoy, and then getting kicked on the face by him. Harry is much calmer in this film...what with all the romance and hormones. He gets the Half-Blood Prince's copy of the Potions text book, and suddenly finds himself at the top of the class, even beating Hermione, and as a result getting the much coveted liquid luck potion- Felix Felicis. He becomes obsessed with the book, much to the scorn of Hermione. Clever Harry tricks Ron on the day of his first Quidditch match into thinking that his drink had Felix in it, and as a result Ron kicks arse on the field. But when this leads to Lavendar kissing Ron in front of everyone, and a devastated Hermione, his loyalties are laid asunder. Also Ginny is dating Dean, so Harry is all jealous (pah!). Still he keeps getting a lot of female attention because of his "Chosen One" status. All this aside, Dumbledore starts showing him memories regarding Voldemort, in order to understand their enemy better, and the Slughorn fake memory. Harry is told by Dumbledore to get the real one, which is something that Slughorn isn't very keen on. Harry's claims about Malfoy continues, getting him into a bit of trouble with Snape and Lupin. This leads to a confrontation between him and Malfoy in a bathroom, where Harry ignorantly uses the Sectumsempra on him, causing him to bleed profusely. Shocked and horrified at this, Harry and Ginny go to dispose off the Half-Blood Prince book where he found the curse, and their kiss happens (Woo-hoo...Ginny's a buttface). Ron had also been previously poisoned, in which Harry quite adeptly saves him. He knows the feelings that Hermione and Ron have for each other, but being the independent third party, never does anything about it- slightly idiotic if you ask me. He finally uses Felix to get the real memory from Slughorn, and finallyn finds out about the Horcruxes. Dumbledore takes him to get another one he might have found, but only on the promise that he would have to listen to everything he says. He does so, very bravely- especially with the agonizing potion that Dumbledore insists on drinking to get the Horcrux. Upon returning, he is told by Dumbledore to hide under all circumstances, and as he does this, he watches in horror as Snape kills Dumbledore. I have forever had problems with this scene because it is just not in Harry's nature to just stand there and do nothing- in the books he was petrified and couldn't help it. He then follows Snape, repeatedly rebuking him, but Snape curses him and flees. Finally, upon his return, he kneels next to the fallen headmaster, and cries over his mentor's body. This film ends with Harry deciding upon going after all the Horcruxes, and Ron and Hermione saying that they will too.

HP and the Deathly Hallows, part 1

"No one else is going to die. Not for me."

The film starts with the Dursleys leaving and Harry going back to the cupboard under the stairs one last time, to revisit the innocence and simplicity of his childhood. For now Harry has definitely become a man. When all of the Order comes to transport him to the safehouse, he is very clear about his reluctance for them using the Polyjuice potion and turning into him, because as always, he can't see his friends get hurt. That doesn't happen  as immediately after their take-off, the seven Harry's and their protectors find themselves surrounded by Death Eaters, and this causes George to get injured and Moody to die. Harry hates all this, and wants to leave alone, but Ron stops him and tells him to wait a while. This doesn't last long as the Ministry falls, Harry becomes Undesirable No. 1, and the trio has to flee and start living on their own. It is now when Harry turns 17, and can duel all he wants. Dumbledore leaves Harry the first Snitch he ever caught and the Sword of Griffindor as part of his will, though the Sword is missing. In trying to retrieve the real locket Horcrux from Umbridge, Harry and the gang break into the Ministry, where Harry with all his fancy lines, hexes Umbridge and flees, but not without Ron getting splinched in the process. This leads to their life on the road, and the influence of the evil locket on them. He is lost without instructions from Dumbledore, and soon this leads to a huge fight between him and Ron where Ron leaves. Hermione, as always, stays with him albeit shattered inside, and Harry tries to make her fell better by dancing with her and stuff, but he too misses his "best friend" terribly. Finally upon returning to Godrick's Hollow and finding his parents' graves, Harry is sorrowful, but only just as then Nagini dressed as Bathilda Bagshot tries to kill him soon after. His wand breaks in all this, and we keep seeing him become more hopeless. But a doe-Patronus leads him to the Sword of Griffindor, and Ron returns to destroy the locket with it. All together now, Harry is stronger, and more confident and goes to Xenophilius Lovegood for some answers, but is soon caught by Snatchers. Hermione disfigures his face, and in the Malfoy Manor, Malfoy doesn't recognise him on purpose- showing that finally maybe there is some reconciliation between the two old school rivals. As I said before, I think it's because even Malfoy knows that Harry is right in his cause. Soon Dobby comes to rescue, and while the little wonderful elf does save the trio, Griphook, Luna and Ollivander- all prisoners of Bellatrix and other Death Eaters, he gets fatally wounded. When in the end, Dobby dies in Harry's arms, Harry is totally helpless in trying to save him. Still, Dobby dies with his name on his lips, once again showing what Harry's friendship means.

HP and the Deathly Hallows, part 2

"I suppose I'll have to kill him before he finds me."

Harry is our Hero! And this film proves that. Dobby's death proves a turning point for Harry, who knows now he absolutely do everything to destroy Horcruxes and kill Voldemort, and not let more people die for him. After getting the Hufflepuff cup Horcrux from Bellatrix's vault in Gringotts, and breaking out of the bank on a dragon, Harry starts getting more visions of Voldemort- but all broken up now. He understands that Voldemort is more dangerous now, and with knowledge about Harry's Horcrux-hunting. He decides to go to Hogwarts because planning isn't really the trio's forte, and everyone is ecstatic as Harry has truly become the leader he was always meant to become, but never aspired to be. Harry confronts Snape in front of everyone, and with a little help from Professor McBadass, causes him to flee. He then sets on finding the next Horcrux that he had a vision about, and Luna helps him in this by making him meet the ghost of Ravenclaw- the Grey lady. While Hogwarts is being attacked by Voldemort and the Death Eaters, he begs her to tell him where the diadem, i.e., the Horcrux, is. She tells him about how Tom Riddle had also asked for the same thing, but he promises to destroy it as that's what she wants. She helps him, but not without telling him that he reminds her of Riddle. When Harry finds the diadem in the Room of Requirement, Malfoy, along with Crabbe and Goyle, comes and asks for his wand back, that Harry had previously taken from him in the Malfoy Manor. Ron and Hermione come to fight with Harry then, but Goyle sets the whole place on fire...and perishes in it. The trio escape, but not without helping Malfoy and Crabbe too. It is Harry who insists on saving them, showing that he really was benevolent and never really wanted anyone to die. As they destroy the Horcrux, Harry is almost as affected by it as Voldemort. He sees that Nagini is the last Horcrux. As they go through the battlefield that Hogwarts has now become, they find that Voldemort has killed Snape. Again, Harry tries to help Snape, despite whatever he feels for the man, but Snape dies giving Harry his tears and looking into his Lily-eyes. Voldemort...using his voice powers (?) tells Harry that he has been disgraceful inn letting so many people die for him, and as Harry goes to Dumbledore's office to get the Pensieve, he sees all the dead bodies around and is aggrieved by it. After looking into Snape's memories, he gets the whole Snape-Lily story, and that he has to die to kill Voldemort as a part of Voldemort lives inside Harry. Now he understands the connection, one that he has felt for sometime now, and being the selfless person he was, goes to sacrifice himself. The snitch opens at his acceptance of the fact that he going to die, and the Resurrection Stone comes out. Using this, he calls the spirits of his parents and of Sirius and Lupin and with their company, and love, walks to his death. He doesn't die ofcourse- the Dumbledore in his head gives him the option to but he returns to save the day at Hogwarts! By doing this...using all his courage and hero-lines, Harry Potter finally destroys Lord Voldemort.

Final Thoughts- God I rambled on in this one- but it is so difficult to talk about the growth of Harry in each film, and not talk about everything that happens to him. I mean apart from a few quotes said by people here and there, to really understand him we have to see the circumstances he is put into and what he does then. Harry is an honest person, one with an affinity for trouble, but only to save others. He too is an underdog, and we love underdogs- fact of life. Also, he is modeled after war-heroes who repeatedly risk their lives to save those of others and fight against evil. Voldemort is the Hitler of the Wizarding world, and the fact that it is Harry's destiny to defeat him, inspite of all his fame and the cost at which it came, makes us root for him. Even though, as I have said repeatedly throughout this post, he is too good, he never becomes a fake figurehead. Harry is a great wizard, who understood the importance of love and friendship in his life because he was deprived of it at first- similar to Voldemort but unlike him, he never goes wrong or power-hungry.

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