Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J.K. Rowling
Memory and the Past Quotes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Lupin had pulled out a book and was reading. Sirius stared around at the students milling over the grass, looking rather haughty and bored, but very handsomely so. James was still playing with the Snitch, letting it zoom further and further away, almost escaping but almost grabbed at the last second. Wormtail was watching him with his mouth open. Every time James made a particularly difficult catch, Wormtail gasped and applauded. After five minutes of this, Harry wondered why James didn't tell Wormtail to get a grip on himself, but James seemed to be enjoying the attention. (28.207)
So, now we see what Wormtail's big contribution to his Hogwarts friend circle was: a complete willingness to flatter his much more powerful friends. Presumably, this early training in flattery of stronger people helped him a lot when he turned to Voldemort. But it really doesn't speak well of James that he liked this flattery so much. What sense do you get of James and Sirius from Professor Snape's memory? How does this memory change your perception of Sirius in Book 5?
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" Lily shouted. She had her own wand out now. James and Sirius eyed it warily.
"Ah, Evans, don't make me hex you," said James earnestly.
"Take the curse off him, then!"
James sighed deeply, then turned to Snape and muttered the counter-currse.
"There you go," he said, as Snape struggled to his feet. "You're lucky Evans was here, Snivellus —"
"I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!"
Lily blinked. (28.251-257)
What do you think of this sudden pivot from Professor Snape? Why does he suddenly turn on Lily in this memory of childhood bullying? Why does she become the target of his rage instead of, say, James and Sirius? How does seeing Professor Snape's worst memory enrich your perception of his character?
[Harry] felt as though the memory of it was eating him from inside. He had been so sure his parents were wonderful people that he had never had the slightest difficulty in disbelieving the aspersions Snape cast on his father's character. Hadn't people like Hagrid and Sirius told Harry how wonderful his father had been? (Yeah, well, look what Sirius was like himself, said a nagging voice inside Harry's head ... he was as bad, wasn't he?) (29.27)
We've said before, in relation to Dumbledore, that Harry is getting to the age where he starts to challenge the authority of the adults around him. As he is growing into an adult himself, he is learning the flaws and weak points of people he had previously always admired. And thanks to Professor Snape's Pensieve, even Harry's idealized impressions of his dead parents get shaken in Book 5. By the end of the novel, has any of Harry's trust in authority been restored? Who or what does he still have faith in?