An Important Passage

Anyone who knows me knows my deep love for Harry Potter. I hesitate to even call it love; it’s so ingrained in me that mentioning it as in relation to me rather than as part of me feels disingenuous. Harry Potter is what is always going on in the back of my head. It is what I relate most things to, and it is how I understand the world. This description of how I feel about Harry Potter is in and of itself incredibly incomplete because of how much the series is part of my identity.

 

This is not an article about my relationship with Harry Potter, however. This is an article about a very specific scene in Harry Potter.

At the end of the Order of the Phoenix, Harry returns from the Ministry and must talk to Dumbledore in his office (OOTP, Chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy). It is early in the morning, the sun is rising, and Harry has just lost another parental figure. He has led his friends into an ambush. People he loves are dead and hurt, and Voldemort has now officially returned.

Harry thinks this is all his fault.

 

Harry Potter, who has experienced innumerable amounts of grief in his life, feels a new kind of grief. He feels a grief that forms something hollow within him. Then, Dumbledore returns, and he wants to talk to Harry about he feels.

 

It should be noted that HPOOTP is one of the most emotionally heavy books of the series, where Harry is ostracized by most of the wizarding community, his school, and even from Dumbledore himself, all while being forced to have visions of Voldemort’s life. Reading it alone is emotionally exhausting; we have never seen Harry feel so alone, and so unlike himself. And here, in this scene, we see him break:

“'I don't want to talk about how I feel, all right?'

'Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human--'

'THEN--I--DON'T --WANT--TO--BE--HUMAN!' Harry roared, and he seized the delicate silver instrument from the spindle-legged table beside him and flung it across the room; it shattered into a hundred tiny pieces against the wall. Several of the pictures let out yells of anger and fright, and the portrait of Armando Dippet said, 'Really!'

'I DON'T CARE!' Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. 'I'VE HAD ENOUGH, I'VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON'T CARE ANY MORE--'”

(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37)

 

This scene is one I read when I’m upset and overwhelmed. I read it when I feel as if the world is clawing at me, or the things that occur around me are too terrible to accept. It is what I read when I am shaking and cannot read anything else. It is what I read when I feel like I have no control, and that I want out:

 

“'You do care,' said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. 'You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.'

'I--DON'T!' Harry screamed, so loudly that he felt his throat might tear, and for a second he wanted to rush at Dumbledore and break him, too; shatter that calm old face, shake him, hurt him, make him feel some tiny part of the horror inside himself.

'Oh, yes, you do,' said Dumbledore, still more calmly. 'You have now lost your mother, your father, and the closest thing to a parent you have ever known. Of course you care.'

'YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FEEL!' Harry roared. 'YOU--STANDING THERE--YOU--'

But words were no longer enough, smashing things was no more help; he wanted to run, he wanted to keep running and never look back, he wanted to be somewhere he could not see the clear blue eyes staring at him, that hatefully calm old face.”

(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37)

 

This scene reminds me of how much I care, and it reminds me how much the boy wizard I grew up with cared too. And there is something so therapeutic about having this feeling, this deeply horrible feeling, articulated on the page.

Harry, I’ve also wanted to keep running and never turn back. I’ve also smashed things and wept. I’ve also wanted it to end, and not to have to be human anymore. And though these pages upset me, they soothe me too. Perhaps because I know that if you can get through it, I can too. Or perhaps because you affirm a feeling that is so difficult to describe. You take away my need to justify or explain the pain. You do it for me. The words aren’t enough, but sometimes, sometimes, someone else expressing them is.

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