This bird isn't around for long, but she makes quite the impact on our poor hero's life. Harriet's the nutcase behind this headline:
"WEST COAST OLYMPIC ATHLETE SHOT
"FOLLOWS 24 HOURS AFTER SLAYING OF ALL-AMERICAN FOOTBALL ACE" (1.84)
For some reason which we never find out, Harriet is a serial killer who targets very successful athletes. She's also pretty good-looking, capturing the attention of not only Roy but also the Whammer. In fact, since the Whammer's already got fame and a lucrative contract, he's the most likely target for Ms. Bird. But when Roy strikes him out, Harriet decides that he's the next big thing who needs to be killed.
Harriet's an important character because she combines a lot of the most important themes of the novel into one short episode: fate, destiny, jealousy, ambition.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda… Harriet Bird shows that hindsight is 20/20, and there's really no going back in life. For more on Malamud and birds, check out our "Symbols" section.