This will be the last post on Harry Potter for a while. I think. I’ve found two interesting pages recently, so I’m going to discuss them both here. If you haven’t read the last book and don’t want to spoil it, don’t keep reading. There won’t be any major plot discussions, but you never know what might be spoiled for you.
The first page is a two pronged debate on whether Harry should live or die according to his hero status. I wrote about British bookies turning away bets a while ago. They had decided that he was going to die because so many people were betting on it. I said in the comments that I didn’t think he was going to and I should bet on it. I wish I had. In this debate, the arguments are pretty well put. I still side completely with the “live” side though. The argument is simply stronger. The hero should live because his living means evil has been defeated. There was no way in the Harry Potter story for his death to also mean the defeat of the evil that he was fighting.
The second page I came across has a very interesting point that should cause quite a bit of discussion for the author. Jenny Sawyer says the Harry Potter hero’s journey lacks a moral struggle and is thus hollow. As we know, the hero’s journey is not simply a physical journey. It’s not simply “there and back again”. There is a change that occurs in the hero. They become a changed person, returning to their mundane world as the master of two worlds. What Miss Sawyer is saying is that Harry never actually encounters events that make him change or make him question himself. Everything he does is simply acting out the goodness we already know exists in him. There are no surprises for us, the audience. The problem is that a journey like this doesn’t teach us as well as one where the hero overcomes an internal weakness or external temptation.
Her solution is to read the stories as a journey of the hero, Severus Snape. Snape undergoes change due to trials along the path. He is challenged and responds and ultimately changes as a person. What do you think? Is Snape the true hero of the Potter saga?