Continuing with my celebration of all thing Harry Potter this week we have a welcome return to my traditional rants. Hooray! It is a truth universally acknowledged that Harry Potter is one of the most annoying characters in the whole series. Well, maybe not universally acknowledged. I thought it was pretty much accepted that, as characters go, Harry Potter is a fucking dick but it seems that there are some people out there who still stick up for him. In the comments section of a recent Guardian post about the anniversary of The Philosopher’s Stone there was a beautiful comment talking about how annoying Harry is. I agreed with it 100% but then it was just criticised by everyone else in the comments. Now it’s time to get serious: Harry is a straight up wanker and we all know it. Just because his name is in the fucking title doesn’t mean we should all just let him get away with that.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Oh but he had such a hard life when his parents dies and he had to live with the Dursleys. Plus, you know the most evil wizard ever wants him dead.” Well, I call bullshit! Let’s look at some other people in the books who have had hard lives. Most importantly, Neville Longbottom. Neville’s parents may not be dead but, if you ask me, their fate is actually worse. To be a young boy whose parents are alive but not alive must be really fucking painful. To be able to visit them but never have them recognise you? I can’t think of anything that awful. I know losing your parents would be tough but at least there’s some finality in that. Neville was left with a constant reminder of what Bellatrix and co. did to his mum and dad. He would be endlessly comparing the soulless figures he visited at St Mungo’s with the smiling and happy faces looking back at him in all their pictures. That’s gotta fuck you up a bit. Plus, we know Neville had a difficult time growing up with his grandmother. I mean the guy was terrified of her. But, you know what, it didn’t stop Neville being one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.
Then, we have Luna Lovegood. Her mother died when she was young and her father is a bit of a psycho. She grew up believing in creatures that don’t exist and being openly mocked for being weird. She was constantly bullied by her peers and was always having to defend herself to everyone around her. Yet, still Luna remained a kind and decent human being. She was always willing to go to other people’s aid and do the right thing. She never let the awful way she was treated get to her and never let it stop her being who she wanted to be. In fact, there are any number of people who have had hard lives growing up and plenty of people who have lost loved ones to Voldemort in these books. You don’t see them walking around being as much of a sanctimonious, pompous arsehole, do you?
I know being locked in a cupboard by people who hated you must have been tough and will, at least, explain why Harry struggles with fatherhood in the, apparently, canonical The Cursed Child. However, it doesn’t give him the right to treat his friends and fellow students the way he does throughout the series. Harry Potter, like so many great characters before and since, suffers from what I will call, for lack of a better term, the Chosen One Complex. Harry grew up unaware of the wizarding world until, on his 11th birthday, he was flung into the midst of it as it’s newest celebrity. He was the Boy Who Lived for fucks sake. People adored him. It’s no wonder he fell in love with the world so quickly. He went from being ignored to being worshipped. Now, if anything’s going to have fucked him up it’s that.
People thought he must have been the greatest wizard ever to be born because not only is he the only person to survive the killing curse but he ‘defeated’ Voldemort when he was just a baby. People have always assumed that he will be responsible for great things and he has always been singled out by people. I mean how many other students have had personal visits from the Headmaster when they’ve ended up in Madam Pomfrey’s care? Probably none unless Hogwarts was liable or something. Then he found out about the prophecy that basically confirmed that he had been chosen for greatness. I mean Voldemort picked him over Neville thus adding evidence to his already growing Messiah complex. It just turns him into an annoying prick.
Let’s just look at how Harry acts throughout the entire series. First off, he is lucky enough to get the chance to escape his terrible life and go to an amazing wizarding school and what does he do? Piss about playing wizards chess and ignore his homework. For the first few books at least, Harry and Ron tolerate Hermione’s increased presence in their lives because they can cheat off her homework. You’d think someone who’s alternative was St Brutus’ Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys would see how much better Hogwarts was and not squander his time their. Plus, he has no respect for the rules whatsoever and we know Harry is someone who was forced to play by the rules with the Dursleys. Harry wanders around Hogwarts like he just doesn’t give a fuck and sasses anyone that stands in his way. And what make it worse? Dumbledore aids him by giving him the fucking invisibility cloak! Harry has such a complex about his own status that he thinks he can do whatever he wants. It’s ridiculous.
He gets himself into super dangerous situations for no reason. Yes, he was the last person to see the Dark Lord before he disappeared but that doesn’t mean Harry needs to be the one to stop him. Harry goes looking for trouble because he has decided, in his grandiose manner, that he is the only one who can stop him. It’s insane. Especially when you consider that he lives in a building that houses some pretty powerful wizards. Harry needs to be special because he has spent his childhood being nobody. He thrives on sorting out problems that, most of the time, he ends up making worse by getting involved. Either that or he didn’t even need to solve them in the first place. Take his first year for example: Harry convinces two new friends, who are all 11 years old and know basically fuck all useful magic at this point, to follow a potentially evil wizard through a dangerous set of traps to find the philosopher’s stone. Does it make any difference? Not really. If Harry had’t got to the end then Voldemort wouldn’t have found the stone anyway. It’s all for nothing. The only thing Harry did succeed in was killed his Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher.
And that’s all before you even take into account that Harry, as a wizard, really isn’t that impressive. Think about it, how many of his many trials and tribulations does Harry actually get through on his own? None that I can think of. He relies too heavily on everyone around him, which is fine. I’m all for teamwork. However, Harry refuses to acknowledge that this is anyone’s fight but his. He is so self-absorbed that he gets other people to do his job whilst telling them they don’t understand how difficult his job is. He’s so infuriating and selfish. The books are from Harry’s perspective, obviously, so they do tend to present the idea that shit is only happening to him. However, there must be times when hundreds of wizards are facing equally difficult tests in order to survive Voldemort and his crew. Harry doesn’t think about any of this and only sees his sacrifice as being important. He turns every situation onto himself. He refuses to see the things his friends are willing to give up to help him. He treats Ron and Hermione like shit for the entire 7th book but they are the ones who have left their families behind. They are the ones who are always worrying that their parents will be the next to turn up dead. Does he care? Does he fuck.
This is turning out to be a really long post so I’m going to wrap it up now but, we have to be honest, Harry is the worst role model in the entire book. He does very little he should actually be proud of. He’s a whiny little tit who spends the last 3 book ranting and whining like a spoilt brat. He’s not a hero; he’s an angsty teenager. And I get it, teenagers be difficult, yo. That’s no excuse. Harry isn’t a special and gifted individual. He is a boy who was given a reputation by complete chance. He did nothing to deserve everyone’s praise and only managed to “save the day” by luck most of the time. It is JK Rowling’s love of deus ex machina that allows Harry to succeed a lot of the time. His talents aren’t what get him through his battles with Voldemort. It’s all some nonsense about wand cores and shit. Harry doesn’t deserve his reputation or his fame. He is famous for being famous. You might as well call him Harry Kardashian.
Who is Murdocal? A casual critic who is a little bit too obsessed with pop culture. A young woman who swears and rants much more than she knows she should whilst trying to make her way in an adult world she isn't prepared for. A not as recent as she'd like literature graduate who, between job applications and subsequent rejections, has turned to the internet to fight the boredom and review the shit out of everything.
"Maybe, just maybe, I'm the faller. Every family has someone who falls, who doesn't make the grade, who stumbles, who life trips up. Maybe I'm our faller."