Harry has been through tons of changes since we met him. Remember way back when, when he was a kiddo who didn't even know he was a wizard? Yeah, it's a little hazy for us, too.
But nothing signals adulthood like leading the charge against the darkest forces of evil, right? Let's take a look at what's changed for the Boy Who Lived…and what—if anything—is the same.
Time to Lead
Remember the Harry who kind of struggled with the whole "taking the lead" thing in the Deathly Hallows Part I? Who kind of led his friends aimlessly through the woods for a while searching for Horcruxes, without a clear sense of what they were doing or where they should be looking?
Well, that teen seems to be totally gone. Harry finally seems comfortable taking charge and is much more decisive about what each next step should be, partially because he seems to have gotten into a real groove figuring out where the next Horcruxes are likely to be.
Case in point: Even though everyone's still recuperating from their adventure in Malfoy Manor at the end of the last film, Harry is eager to jump right back into the fray by heading on a new dangerous mission: a break-in at the Gringotts bank.
Why, you ask? Because he's sure that a Horcrux is in Bellatrix's vault:
HERMIONE: Are you thinking there's a Horcrux in Bellatrix's vault?
HARRY: Well, she was terrified when she thought we'd been in there. She kept asking what else we'd taken. I bet you anything there's a Horcrux in there, another piece of his soul. Let's find it, and kill it, and then we're one step closer to killing him.
See what we mean? He's so focused, so sure of his next step…and we have to say, we like this new confidence-look on Harry. Bonus: It makes us a little more willing to hope that he and his buddies can actually win the battle against evil.
Lord Voldemort and Harry: Bosom Buddies?
Of course, sometimes Harry's confidence in what to do next comes from the fact that he can still see into Voldemort's mind. Yes, yes, we all know—that ability has caused Harry a lot of heartache in he past, and it's hard for him to control—but the fact is that the link between their minds definitely comes in handy as he gets closer destroying Voldemort.
Right after he steals the Horcrux from Bellatrix's vault, for example, he can actually feel Voldemort's anger as he learns of the break-in. That momentary glimpse into Voldemort's mind and emotions accomplishes a few things:
- It alerts Harry to the fact that Voldemort knows what they are up to.
- It tells Harry they're on the right track with the whole Horcrux hunt.
- It reveals the location of the next Horcrux. You see, Voldemort's thoughts turn to Hogwarts, which tells Harry that he's got one hidden there.
It's a useful—if more than a little terrifying—ability. In fact, Ron even encourages Harry to open his mind to Voldemort so they know where to find him (and Nagini, Voldemort's snake/Horcrux):
RON: Look inside him, Harry. Find out where he is. If we find him, we can find the snake. And we can end this!
Sure, that's pretty much the opposite of what everyone has been trying to get Harry to do since the connection between H & V was discovered, but these are strange times. Luckily, Harry's dives into Voldemort's mind end up helping rather than hurting these days, and Harry seems a lot more in control of when/how long those moments happen.
We suppose that's another sign of adulthood, right? Learning how to take negatives and turn them into positives? Way to go, Harry—we approve.
Um, Yeah, About That "Boy That Lived" Stuff…
So, now for the tough news about Harry's journey in this film: He has to die in order for Voldemort to be defeated.
Yep, for real. That bombshell lands on Harry toward the very end of the film, when he views one of Snape's memories in the Pensieve. As it turns out, Dumbledore knew this was the case all along, but demanded that Harry only be told right as Voldemort was at his weakest. He told Snape all this shortly before his death, so Snape would know what to do.
We get to see the convo in the Pensieve flashback:
DUMBLEDORE: On the night Lord Voldemort went to Godric's Hollow to kill Harry, and Lily Potter cast herself between them, the curse rebounded. When that happened, a part of Voldemort's soul latched itself onto the only living thing it could find: Harry himself. There's a reason Harry can speak with snakes. There's a reason he can look into Lord Voldemort's mind. A part of Voldemort lives inside him.
SNAPE: So, when the time comes, the boy must die?
So, yup, Harry himself is a Horcrux—and so, now he has to die so that little fragment of Voldemort's soul can be destroyed. It's a strange feeling to be siding with Snape, but we have to agree: After all this struggling to keep Harry alive, now he has to die?
That's, well, that's pretty infuriating.
The Boy Who Lived Anyway
Now for the good news: Harry ends up surviving Voldemort's Killing Curse. Yep—again.
You know that lightning bolt on Harry's forehead? Well, maybe that's a clue that lightning can strike twice, at least for him.
No one else has ever survived the Killing Curse, but Harry has survived it twice by the end of the series: once as a baby, and once when he meets Voldemort in the forest, leaves the Resurrection Stone (a gift from Dumbledore) in the dirt, and allows Voldemort to attack him without fighting back.
So, what's that about? Was it the fact that the Elder Wand isn't really working for Voldemort, and so only had enough gusto to take care of the Horcrux and not Harry? Or did some miracle take place because Harry was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save human/wizardkind? We're not sure about all that, but one thing's for sure: Harry is a ridiculously brave dude.
We know, we know—we've been saying that all along, but he really takes the whole bravery and self-sacrificing gig to a new level here. And because of those qualities, we're super-grateful he gets to stick around.