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Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2



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  #241  
Old August 6th, 2014, 7:02 am
Pensieve_Seeker  Female.gif Pensieve_Seeker is offline
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

IMO, Harry has some Gary Stu-like characteristics, but not enough to make him a bona-fide Gary Stu. If he was one, I would also expect for him to earn better grades than Hermione and produce a perfect corporeal patronus on his first try.


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  #242  
Old August 6th, 2014, 6:10 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by Pensieve_Seeker View Post
IMO, Harry has some Gary Stu-like characteristics, but not enough to make him a bona-fide Gary Stu. If he was one, I would also expect for him to earn better grades than Hermione and produce a perfect corporeal patronus on his first try.
Well, he did manage to make some kind of Super-Patronus that could fend off hundreds of Dementors. We ever see anyone else do that?

As for not outdoing Hermione...well, there are benefits of being the Author's Self-Insert.


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  #243  
Old August 7th, 2014, 4:10 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Well, he did manage to make some kind of Super-Patronus that could fend off hundreds of Dementors. We ever see anyone else do that?

As for not outdoing Hermione...well, there are benefits of being the Author's Self-Insert.
Sorry, but I disagree with your view. It took Harry quite a long time to get to the point of making an indistinct patronus (talking about the book here, not the movie), and the book mentions Harry was discouraged at the slow progress. It was only later at the quidditch game, when he thought dementors were on the field, that he produced a stag form patronus. The patronus you referred to in POA was produced under unusual circumstances -- Harry's realizing that he hadn't see his father, he saw himself, and so knew he was capable of casting a powerful patronus charm. Confidence makes all the difference. It was also up to him to save Sirius and himself, a powerful motivation.

As far as Hermione's grades and skills are concerned, I think that anyone who had spent as much time and effort studying, reading, practicing, etc., would do just as well or better. She had read and memorized most all of her classwork before even getting to Hogwarts. I don't think your assumption that JKR simply made her that way is incorrect. Her actions and motivation all point toward her success and knowledge being the result of hard work.


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  #244  
Old August 7th, 2014, 5:04 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Sorry, but I disagree with your view. It took Harry quite a long time to get to the point of making an indistinct patronus (talking about the book here, not the movie), and the book mentions Harry was discouraged at the slow progress. It was only later at the quidditch game, when he thought dementors were on the field, that he produced a stag form patronus. The patronus you referred to in POA was produced under unusual circumstances -- Harry's realizing that he hadn't see his father, he saw himself, and so knew he was capable of casting a powerful patronus charm. Confidence makes all the difference. It was also up to him to save Sirius and himself, a powerful motivation.
If it had been Neville or Ron in Harry's place, I'm pretty sure there'd be major debates over how neither should've had the power to do the same thing.

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As far as Hermione's grades and skills are concerned, I think that anyone who had spent as much time and effort studying, reading, practicing, etc., would do just as well or better. She had read and memorized most all of her classwork before even getting to Hogwarts. I don't think your assumption that JKR simply made her that way is incorrect. Her actions and motivation all point toward her success and knowledge being the result of hard work.
Being a Self-Insert always helps. Always. And Rowling is the author, everything is 'The way she made it'.


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  #245  
Old August 7th, 2014, 3:34 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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If it had been Neville or Ron in Harry's place, I'm pretty sure there'd be major debates over how neither should've had the power to do the same thing.
I don't recall Neville or Ron learning how to cast the Patronus Charm in their third year.

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Well, he did manage to make some kind of Super-Patronus that could fend off hundreds of Dementors. We ever see anyone else do that?
But did he do this on his very first try, yes or no?


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  #246  
Old August 7th, 2014, 6:00 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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I don't recall Neville or Ron learning how to cast the Patronus Charm in their third year.
I mean if they had been given the same training, even then I doubt readers would accept them as being capable of that. But it's OK for Harry cause he's the main character.

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But did he do this on his very first try, yes or no?
It's more than we'd seen any other student ever do, even though they should all have that same power.


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  #247  
Old August 8th, 2014, 1:43 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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But did he do this on his very first try, yes or no?
Well, sort of. In real time he saw someone cast a strong stag patronus and he thought somehow it must have been his father. Later during the time turner timeline he waited and waited for someone to cast the patronus when he finally realized he was the one who had cast it. In other words I doubt that he'd have been able to cast such a strong patronus if he hadn't seen it before.


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  #248  
Old August 8th, 2014, 2:22 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Well, sort of. In real time he saw someone cast a strong stag patronus and he thought somehow it must have been his father. Later during the time turner timeline he waited and waited for someone to cast the patronus when he finally realized he was the one who had cast it. In other words I doubt that he'd have been able to cast such a strong patronus if he hadn't seen it before.
On his very first try means the first time Prof Lupin taught him the Patronus charm.


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  #249  
Old August 8th, 2014, 5:21 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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It's more than we'd seen any other student ever do, even though they should all have that same power.
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Originally Posted by Pensieve_Seeker View Post
On his very first try means the first time Prof Lupin taught him the Patronus charm.
The answer is no, Harry could not produce it on the first of 3 tries. Harry only got a wisp out of the tip of the wand on the first round (not with the boggart dementor, just alone). Barely anything. The first time with the boggart, Harry was unable to produce anything and passed out cold. A second attempt resulted in the same, out cold. The next attempt produced a silver shadow between Harry & the boggart but Harry felt weak and not sure he could hold up. Lupin stepped in and used a Riddikulus charm. Harry sat down and was shaky and unwell. (POA, chapter 12, pages 238-242, US hardcover edition)

This from POA, chapter 12, pages 245-246:
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To make matters even worse, Harry's anti-dementor lessons were not going nearly as well as he had hoped. Several lessons on, he was able to produce an indistinct, silvery shadow every time the boggart-dementor approached him, but his Patronus was too feeble to drive the dementor away. All it did was hover, like a semi-transparent cloud, draining Harry of energy as he fought to keep it there.


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  #250  
Old August 8th, 2014, 7:31 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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It's more than we'd seen any other student ever do, even though they should all have that same power.
I believe that in their second year dueling club match Draco produced a live snake after being told how by Snape. There is no canon that I could find to say that he had trained on how to do that . So it looked like he simply was told the spell and did it first try. Draco and Harry were not outstandingly skilled wizards at the time so it looks to me that with the right teaching any wizard can do things beyond their normal level of skills.


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  #251  
Old August 9th, 2014, 5:23 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

I never got the impression that Harry was a poor student. (Other than from Snape) Being a powerful wizard does not require the wizard to learn or intuit how magic works right away.


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  #252  
Old August 9th, 2014, 5:39 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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I never got the impression that Harry was a poor student. (Other than from Snape) Being a powerful wizard does not require the wizard to learn or intuit how magic works right away.
I don't recall any instance which proves that Harry is a powerful wizard. It has been years since I've read the books, so I've probably forgotten something.


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  #253  
Old August 9th, 2014, 5:18 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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I don't recall any instance which proves that Harry is a powerful wizard. It has been years since I've read the books, so I've probably forgotten something.
Well the whole premise of the story is that a normal boy(for the wizard world) could defeat the Dark Lord. Harry was never meant to be shown as ultra powerful. In fact those with power were shown to often make terrible choices. I was pointing out that power doesn't always equate with book learning. Neither Harry, nor Ron, for that matter were shown to be poor wizards. They were normal wizards with exceptional friendships and moral codes. Which if you look at more "talented" wizards, you would see that Harry and Ron were actually more powerful overall wizards because of that...


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  #254  
Old August 9th, 2014, 6:27 pm
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Well the whole premise of the story is that a normal boy(for the wizard world) could defeat the Dark Lord. Harry was never meant to be shown as ultra powerful. In fact those with power were shown to often make terrible choices. I was pointing out that power doesn't always equate with book learning. Neither Harry, nor Ron, for that matter were shown to be poor wizards. They were normal wizards with exceptional friendships and moral codes. Which if you look at more "talented" wizards, you would see that Harry and Ron were actually more powerful overall wizards because of that...
I agree. It comes back to what Dumbledore said about choices being far more important than abilities. It was his choices, his determination and his love for his friends that made Harry extraordinary. Choices, not abilities.
Someone could be immensely magically skilled, and use it to do terrible things, like Voldemort. Or, someone could be relatively average, like Harry and Ron, and use their skills to do the right thing.
It was never about Harry being the most powerful wizard ever - if he was, there would be nothing extraordinary, no struggle or challenge in defeating Voldemort. It was about standing up for what was right, even when victory was far from certain, even against much more powerful opposition.


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  #255  
Old August 10th, 2014, 12:12 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Does Harry Potter strike anyone as too ideal a character? Or if he does possess flaws, why is it that very few people ever bother to discuss them? And I'm not referring to his willingness to forgive Snape.
I find Harry anything but an ideal character; on the contrary, I think he is flawed and complex. And there are two versions of this thread discussing the ins and outs of that complexity. But I do see what you mean: it can be easy to gloss over Harry's character as a "Gary Stu" because of what he's done: poor orphan boy falls into fortune, fame, and magic; a natural "best" at Quidditch; defeats Voldemort time and time again; always there to save the day; etc. But classifying Harry by the "highlight reel" does a disservice to the depth of his true character. I find Harry incredibly obtuse at times, an average intellectual, often self-centered, etc. But he triumphs because of his instincts, connections, and inherent knacks (e.g. flying, Expelliarmus). I find him a likable character because he acts selflessly and cares deeply for others, despite seeming insensitive and self-conceited at times. He was burdened with a vast load when he was eleven, and the books show us how he struggles to deal with that burden because he is not perfect or ideal.
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I think that Harry was your typical Gary Stu-esque fantasy hero for most of the series. JK probably realized this and tried to rectify it in OOTP, HBP and DH but by then his character too set in stone to really change.
I would like to read more on why you see him as such an idealized stereotype? Your followup comments don't shed too much light on why you find him such a typical Gary Stu. You argue that he could produce a "Super-Patronus" at 13 while other classmates don't do the same, but I think that is really a surficial observation. Unlike his peers, Harry was forced into situations that required him to use his abilities beyond class exercises. The only other Hogwarts students in the first four books that require such expressions of 'power' are Ron, Hermione, and Cedric.

When you break down what Harry did, he is hardly exceptional. He comes away with more accolades, perhaps, because he was in the 'right place at the right time': Ron showed his Super-Chess-Skills just like Harry showed his Super-Flying-Skills in SS/PS. Meanwhile it was Hermione that defeated both the Devil's Snare and the logic puzzle. Who is to say that Ron would not have been able to defeat Quirrel like Harry had, had their situations been flipped? In CoS Harry is only exceptional in that he can speak Parseltongue - something he's not responsible for - and he was on the side of the rockslide that allowed him to save Ginny. Again, a situational "success" in which he used his good instincts more than his inherent skill.

In PoA he did produce an incredibly powerful Patronus, but it required personal motivation, weeks of trial and error, and the confidence (or predetermination?!) of time travel. To me, Harry's success with a Patronus separates him from a Gary Stu in that a Gary Stu would just have a natural gift for Patronus Charms and just happened to be able to produce as powerful a Patronus as he wants, when he wants. Rather, this power speaks volumes about Harry's character and the power he can achieve and the obstacles he could overcome when he is properly motivated.
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Originally Posted by ShadowSonic View Post
If it had been Neville or Ron in Harry's place, I'm pretty sure there'd be major debates over how neither should've had the power to do the same thing.
But there are debates (and very passionate ones) on whether Harry had that power: Is Harry a powerful wizard?. That Harry's character spurs that sort of debate shows me that the fandom does not see Harry as such a cut-and-dried ideal.
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I mean if they had been given the same training, even then I doubt readers would accept them as being capable of that. But it's OK for Harry cause he's the main character.
I do not see the grounding for these doubts. I see no reason why we as readers would not accept Ron being able to cast the Patronus Charm if he put in the amount of work Harry had. Do we doubt it when he does perform one in OotP, using a similar amount of concentration and effort? I cannot agree with the conclusion that Harry is a paragon if the evidence is conjecture on "what if" scenarios. I don't doubt that there is evidence to support such a claim, but I think typifying Harry in such a way does not dig deeply into the wealth of complexity that is the main character.


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Last edited by MrSleepyHead; August 10th, 2014 at 12:15 am.
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  #256  
Old January 16th, 2015, 11:08 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

I thought it was odd that Harry had little interest in magic -particularly in book 6, when he knew the prospect of voldie attacking was imment. It looked really... Foolish that he was still struggling with his school work.


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  #257  
Old January 18th, 2015, 2:50 am
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Re: Harry Potter: Character Analysis v2

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Originally Posted by MrSleepyHead
Who is to say that Ron would not have been able to defeat Quirrel like Harry had, had their situations been flipped?
It's doubtful that Ron would have fared any better than Harry up to the point Quirrel started strangling him. At that point it was only down to Lily's blood protection that Harry survived first by Quirrelmort's hands burning as he tried to strangle Harry, and when Quirrel momentarily let him go & then came at him once again, Harry grabbed Quirrel's face and held on until Dumbledore pulled him off. Harry was able to survive because of the blood protection and Dumbledore's timely arrival. So yes, Ron may have gotten as far but would more likely have been killed by Quirrelmort before Dumbledore arrived. Harry had protection & luck, so I agree, bravery and instinct, but not overly exceptional and Ron's performance at the chess game was equal.

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Originally Posted by MrSleepyHead
I do not see the grounding for these doubts. I see no reason why we as readers would not accept Ron being able to cast the Patronus Charm if he put in the amount of work Harry had. Do we doubt it when he does perform one in OotP, using a similar amount of concentration and effort? I cannot agree with the conclusion that Harry is a paragon if the evidence is conjecture on "what if" scenarios. I don't doubt that there is evidence to support such a claim, but I think typifying Harry in such a way does not dig deeply into the wealth of complexity that is the main character.
Agreed, nicely stated.


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