There’s a scene in the movie version of Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix where Harry saves himself from Voldemort’s magical possession by focusing on what makes him different from the villain.  He chooses to focus on his friendship with people (his proper social adjustment) and that he has something to fight for (a magic system of us and them, wizards and non-wizards).


Voldemort doesn’t have “friends”?  In the movie version of Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire there’s a scene where Voldemort talks shop with his death-eater buddies.  True, it’s presumably a co-dependent, master-minion relationship.  How is this dysfunctional, hierarchical arrangement different from the one where Dumbledore is forced to allow a minister bureaucrat to torture children (that nasty pen that uses your blood business)?

I would say Voldemort’s relationship with his minions is the more honest one.  He fixes his minion’s hand, even after castigating the guy for not being dedicated enough!  Save for the scene where Harry’s broken bone is fixed improperly (and played for laughs), I never saw anyone in Hogwarts heal Harry of his injuries.

Don’t they at least have a Cure Light Wounds spell at Hogwarts?

Near as I can tell, Voldemort and his evil buddies are all in on the evil plan to do whatever it is they plan on doing.  I never see the evil buddies struggling to share information or share clues with one another.  I get the feeling that unlike the professors, who keep their plans hidden from Harry, Voldemort at least lets everyone know what’s up.

Does Harry share what he knows with his “friends” and “mentors”?  No, when he has dark dreams or finds out crucial information he clams up.  Until the plot demands he reveal what he knows.  And his “friends” never call him out on this.  They seem to take it for granted that he always hoards information.

Voldemort doesn’t have something to fight for?  Admittedly, I’m a little unclear as to what the big dude evil guy’s plan is.  Nobody in the white hat section seems able to articulate much more than “he’s evil, has killed people and is very dangerous.”  Isn’t mere self-interest something to fight for?  We could venture a guess and say he wants to be King and Pope of the wizard republic.  It’s an unhealthy, narcissistic dream.  But still a dream that can inspire someone to go all out.

If its just causes we’re talking about, I’d say defending a repressive, aristocratic republic from a dictator’s coup does put Harry on stronger ground.  This gets to the core of what I think really makes Harry different from his counterpart:  moral choices.

Dumbledore brings this up with regards to the sorting hat and Harry’s choice to override the hat’s decision.  Harry and Voldemort are essentially the same person in terms of character sheets.  But Harry chooses differently.  That’s his point of reference—our choices make us who we are.

You pay the price for what you do in who you become.

The idea that because Harry has “friend” versus “minion” under followers on his character sheet, or “fighting for the status quo” versus “fighting for my supremacy” in the motivation text box, makes him different is ludicrous.  It’s the character of those differences that makes the difference, not the differences themselves.

Both are tinged with a certain degree of good and evil, with Voldemort favoring the shading more than the line.  It’s much less uncomfortable (and therefore easier) to identify with one side or the other.  Who wants to admit to being in the middle of things, between the awful pounding of the cliff sides with teeth?  Yet that is exactly what is required, to recognize the other within one’s own self regardless of the discomfort.

What lies between the twin pillars of fear and desire?  Can one pass through the gap created by the two guardians and into the sacred space of nothingness?

How much more complete Harry might have been if he had admitted his own shadow?  The good guy with a scar of evil running across the side of his forehead, the voice of his conscience and the source of his destiny (the evil figure is always charged with the irresistible life-force of fate).  Is not the tarnished good guy, the anti-hero, an intriguing and interesting figure?

How much more human Voldemort might have been if he had accepted his own inability to carry collective expectations?  To admit weakness and failure brings a cost as surely as refusing to do so, but it’s a human cost rather than an archetypal one.  Is not the bad guy who acts for others despite himself a compelling figure?

Voldemort could not expunge the good in his nature no matter how often he tried to kill his enemy, his only true friend.  Harry ultimately defeats the figure that does not conform with our image, but at the cost of losing what might be the best part of himself.  Love thy enemy, for thy enemy is the instrument of thy destiny.

Each, by repressing the other destroyed themselves.  The keepers of the grail groan to themselves and do a facepalm.

The two ought to have joined forces.  These irreconcilable opposites are precisely the ingredients for the mysterious solution.  The world of the non-wizards needs magic.  This locking away of magic by the forces of ministry ogre-know-it-alls and their patrician-professor gatekeepers is the reason our world is a ball of confusion.

And perhaps only Voldemort and Harry working together might have stolen the fire from the false gods of wizardry and given it to the public, to the people.

May the old fart loser-evil failure Voldemorts and young impressionable good wizards recognize each other.

Because we need magic today.  Many lives are so often not magical.