How to be a Hero: Harry Potter Edition!
a blog written by Born to be free
We may need villains to boo at but we also need heroes to cheer along.
With every villain there has to be a hero, it’s just the way things are. But the question of what makes a hero and how to become one is so ambiguous you may actually get hit with a bludger before you ever truly figure it out.
But we can speculate. So here are the heroes depicted in Harry Potter and what they did to become who they are.
Harry Potter: The Traditional Hero
Harry represents all of society’s best qualities: loyalty, compassion, athleticism and intelligence. Although that intelligence can be debated somewhat. He is the best of the best, the underdog emerging as a leader, the crème de la crème. We all know that he will succeed eventually. But that can get boring after a while, so Rowling has to throw plenty of failures his way to keep us on our toes. Spoiler!! Failures such as his plight at the Dursley’s, Sirius’ death and Dumbledore’s death.
J.K Rowling’s journey began when Harry walked fully formed onto her London bound train. But it still took her five years to complete his story. This goes to show that even though the Traditional Hero is central to the story, they aren’t alone. No Traditional Hero is, because for all of their prophesied wonders, they don’t possess every quality known to man. They wouldn’t be realistic if they did. He needs his friends; mainly Hermione for her intelligence and Ron for his sense of family and support. Without the people around him he wouldn’t be the Harry we all know and love. We all know that he would’ve done something stupid if he’d been on his own.
Sadly to be this hero, you have to be at the right place at the right time, fit the clues to a prophecy, or be such a source of inspiration you take charge immediately.
Neville Longbottom: The Unsuspected Every Man Hero
He was totally unsuspected. None of us believed he would be as strong and lovable as he is. This hero is normal like us except they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or forced to grow up too quickly.
That’s exactly what makes The Unsuspected Every Man Hero – god that’s a mouthful – so amazing. They become the real hero that we want to be. We want to be as courageous as Neville when he stood up to Voldemort. They do the things we wonder we would do if we were pushed into extraordinary circumstances. To be this type of hero we just need to ourselves and who wouldn’t want to watch themselves be the hero?
Severus Snape: The Villain? The Hero?
From the get go readers disliked Snape for how he treated Harry and his students. I personally, didn’t like him until Half Blood, when I first realised that he did what he did for family. But Deathly Hallows seals his deal.
Snape is transformed by love. Even though he represents the things we hate: deceit, self-interest and cowardice, we tear up when his memories are revealed. Although readers may seem wary of these heroes, we love them all the same because they have the wildest character arc and the most room to grow.
Also it’s just fun to root for the bad guy.
Dumbledore: The Mentoring Hero
To be this hero you have to inspire and motivate others. You have to be a saviour to people, the hero before the other heroes come out to save the world.
Dumbledore is a hero to many; he defeated Grindelwald, saved Tom Riddle from that orphanage and mentored Harry through his school years. He is the one with experience and who taught others to not make the mistakes he once did.
He made a lot of mistakes. He had a lust for power, setting Harry up for the final battle. But he also knew that Harry was a good wizard, one which would achieve what he was destined for. He had shown true faith in everyone, knowing that Harry would win and therefore showing up at Kings Cross (just to share one last piece of knowledge too) and trusting even Snape. This flawed character represents what we might end up to be once we are older. I personally, wouldn’t mind being like Albus Dumbledore when I’m in my old age.
When writing and reading about heroes there aren’t any concrete definitions. There are arguably more heroes in Harry Potter than I’ve discussed. But Rowling truly writes characters who we can relate to and trust to save the day. So however you chose to write them, or however you chose to class them, we love them all anyway.
Thank you to Born to be free for writing this blog and creating the banner :)