Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

[Harry] had forgotten completely about prefects being chosen in the fifth year. He had been too anxious about the possibility of being expelled to spare a thought for the fact that badges must be winging their way towards certain people. But if he had remembered ... if he had thought about it ... what would he have expected?

Not this, said a small and truthful voice inside his head.

Harry screwed up his face and buried it in his hands. He could not lie to himself; if he had known the prefect badge was on its way, he would have expected it to come to him, not Ron. Did this make him as arrogant as Draco Malfoy? Did he think himself superior to everyone else? Did he really believe he was better than Ron? (9.170-172)

The thing is, J.K. Rowling has told us that the purpose of Book 5 is to show us Harry as "a very human hero" (source).  And the problem with humans (at least, in J.K. Rowling's representation), is that we are petty, angry, faulty creatures. Because Harry is human, he cannot help but think (in his heart of hearts) that he is better than Ron because he has faced Voldemort on his own and survived to tell the tale. Even if Harry loves Ron, it's still understandable that he would think he deserves the prefect badge more than Ron. Still, even if it's understandable, it's not admirable. It makes us a little uncomfortable to read about our hero, Harry Potter, being petty and resentful. But again, that seems to be the point J.K. Rowling is making about true heroism: to be a hero, you don't have to be superhuman. You don't have to be more virtuous than everybody else on the planet. You just have to be generally brave, usually kind, and often filled with sympathy. Not all the time – just often enough to help your friends when they need you.

Quote #2

Harry lay back on his pillows while Ron bustled around the next bed, putting his things away. He felt shaken by the argument with Seamus, whom he had always liked very much. How many more people were going to suggest that he was lying, or unhinged?

Had Dumbledore suffered like this all summer, as first the Wizengamot, then the International Confederation of Wizards had thrown him from their ranks? Was it anger at Harry, perhaps, that had stopped Dumbledore getting in touch with him for months? The two of them were in this together, after all; Dumbledore had believed Harry, announced his version of events to the whole school and then to the wider wizarding community. Anyone who thought Harry was a liar had to think that Dumbledore was, too, or else that Dumbledore had been hoodwinked ... (11.168-169)

On their first night back to Hogwarts, Seamus Finnegan – with whom Harry has shared a dorm room for the last four years – tells him point blank that he thinks Harry's crazy for believing that Voldemort is back. If Seamus can think that of Harry when they have lived together for almost a quarter of their lives, how many people out there are going to think Harry's crazy? This is one of the only moments in Book 5 when Harry really feels sympathy for Professor Dumbledore, who is also caught up in this P.R. nightmare. Why does Harry's sense of solidarity with Dumbledore disappear so quickly? Why is it necessary to the plot of Book 5 that Harry and Dumbledore be estranged from each other?

Quote #3

"Yes, Lavender thinks [Harry is lying about Voldemort] too," [Hermione] said gloomily.

"Been having a nice little chat with her about whether or not I'm a lying, attention-seeking prat, have you?" Harry said loudly.

"No," said Hermione calmly. "I told her to keep her big fat moth shut about you, actually. And it would be quite nice if you stopped jumping down our throats, Harry, because in case you haven't noticed, Ron and I are on your side" (12.15-17)

Having a best friend means having someone who forgives you for being a total d-bag when they're just trying to help. Hermione is the voice of reason through much of Book 5, always willing to give Harry a reality check. But because she's (almost) always right, she may seem a little one-dimensional at times. How does J.K. Rowling try to keep Hermione real?

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