Friday, April 16, 2010

Harry Potter: Idiot Teenager.

And now the time has come to examine Our Hero. The Boy Who Lived. The Chosen One. Holder of Capitalized Nicknames. Harry Potter. But We Need To… Whoops. Ahem. But we need to ask ourselves, is this guy really as all together as we would like our heroes to be? It’s undeniably a good thing for a hero to have a bit of an anti-authoritarian streak, to do things his own way, but sometimes, one can go a little too far with that, and just be… well, stupid.

(Rather Dashing)

Take, for instance, his attitude to occlumency. What is occlumency, you ask? Well, don’t. It’s annoying, and you know I’m going to tell you anyway, so don’t interrupt. See, in the Potterverse, there are equal and opposite forms of magic called Legillimency and Occlumency. Why mency and not mancy, you ask? Jeez, you’re mouthy today. Legillimency is the forcible reading of another’s mind, and occlumency is the art of blocking your mind from being read. Around the middle of the series, it is revealed that Harry’s scar has given him a connection to Voldemort about which the Dark Lord is unaware. This connection allows him to, at random points, see what Voldemort is up to. His evil plots, his wicked killings, his breakfast burritos, etc. When Dumbledore figures out what’s what, he orders Harry to take occlumency lessons. Harry doesn’t want to, because he figures it’s good to see what the bad guys are up to. Dumbledore very sensibly points out that not only does it go both ways, but Voldemort has quite the knack of ligillimency, and could feed misinformation into Harry’s head. But Harry, assuming he knows best, slacks off on his occlumency lessons. Guess what happens next?

(Look, I can't be held responsible for fanart.)

Yes, sure enough, Voldemort feeds Harry a terrifying vision of his godfather, Sirius, being tortured in the secret subbasement of the Ministry of Magic in London. Rather than wonder how they captured Sirius, who is hiding in a secure location, or why they brought him to the basement, or what part of what he just saw made sense, Harry gathers up his friends (The smart one, the hot one, the fat one, the crazy one, and Ron) and rushes off to the Ministry to save Sirius from the Death Eaters. Surprise! Not only is Sirius not there, but the Death Eaters are lying in ambush, and the six 15-year-olds are surprisingly outclassed by the dozen adult psychos. Fortunately, word got out to the grown-ups, who come in to save the day, including Sirius, who takes a death spell to the chest and falls into oblivion. (Literally, I’m not being poetic. They just keep some oblivion in the basement, apparently.)


BONUS VOLDEMORT IS STUPID MOMENT - The whole reason they had to lure Harry down there in the first place is because Voldemort needed to retrieve a record of a prophecy that concerned him and Harry, and only people involved in the prophecies can retrieve them. So… why didn’t he just go and get it himself? It’s clearly not had to break in there, as in one night it was infiltrated by a team of thugs in evil robes and spooky masks, a gang of truant high school students, and another group of random people. Included on those teams are two people who work in the building, but I should think they’re more than offset by the two prison escapees, who occupy the top two spots on the wizards’ most wanted list. So clearly, anyone who wants can get there. So why not just stroll in, take it, and leave? Moron.

(Look, I already said, I can't be held responsible!)

ANYWAY - You may be thinking that Harry would try harder at occlumency if he was being taught by someone else than Snape. You’re thinking that, but you’re too smart to say it. Because why should Harry not trust Snape? In the first year, Harry’s mistrust of Snape was well-founded, since he looked like he was up to no good. But the surprise reveal was that Snape had been going out of his way to fight for the good guys, and even though he was a jerk with a grudge against Harry, he was still a good guy. That’s the lesson we all learned from that, but not Harry, who spends the next 6 years mistrusting and despising Snape against all evidence. Malfoy, also. Draco Malfoy was, for most of his sixth year, a quivering, nervous wreck. Harry could have taken countless opportunities to target his obvious fear and displeasure with the bad side and turn him to the good, as Snape was attempting to do. But in Harry world, being an asshole is equivalent to being irredeemably evil, and he refuses to even consider that there’s more to the world than black and white morality.

(LOOK! I SAID... Wait, actually, I like this one.)

Okay, some of this can be forgiven, I admit. He’s a teenager, after all, and they are not a breed known for their sensible natures. But you know what? Spider-Man was a teenager. So was Captain Marvel Jr. So are the Young Avengers, the Runaways, and Invincible. And they all ring true as legitimate teenagers while still being able to bear their responsibilities, battle evil, and oh I don’t know how about FIGURE OUT THAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED THE LAST FIVE TIMES, IT’LL PROBABLY HAPPEN AGAIN! Harry! Book Seven! I know you know that Voldemort cast a spell on his name so that anyone who says it is easily detected. SO STOP GODDAMN SAYING IT! I can forgive your grudges, your attitude, your general truculence, but this? This is just boneheaded.

That’s not the end for this guy, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to be too hard on him all at once. He doesn’t handle criticism very well.