I love rereading Harry Potter, talking about Harry Potter, and thinking about Harry Potter. And I love when I have these realizations that blow my mind on just how awesome JK Rowling is.
One such realization came to me earlier this week when I was thinking about how Harry saved Draco in book seven. You will recall that Harry is in the Room of Requirement looking for the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle follow him and try to stop him. Crabbe, ever the brilliant lackey, creates this magical fire that consumes everything in its path. Harry, Ron, and Hermione find broomsticks and start fleeing the flames, but Harry goes back to find Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle.
Now this always bothered me. Essentially, the fate of the world rests on Harry. He is the only one who can defeat the dark lord, yet he risks his life and the fate of the world to save three worthless boys who tried to kill him only moments ago.
And Ron has this great line: “IF WE DIE FOR THEM, I’LL KILL YOU, HARRY!” (pg. 633).
Thank you for voicing my thoughts aloud, Ronald.
Harry can’t help being who he is, and Harry’s not a killer. He can’t even manage to use the killing curse on Voldemort at the end. And if it’s within Harry’s power to save someone, he’s going to do it.
Thankfully, Harry and the others don’t die. But I still remember what a huge waste of time it was saving Malfoy’s pathetic life.
But now let’s skip a few chapters ahead in the story. Neville is totally badass and kills the snake (this is, like, my favorite scene ever). Harry receives Snape’s memories and learns that he is the final horcrux. Harry goes to the Forbidden Forest to die for everyone. Voldemort uses the killing curse on him again. Harry meets Dumbledore in a place that looks like King’s Cross and is given the option to die or go back.
Harry chooses to go back. He’s conscious but pretending to be dead, lying on the floor of the Forbidden Forest. Voldemort orders Narcissa Malfoy, Draco’s mother, to make sure that Harry is actually dead.
Narcissa feels Harry’s heart. She knows he’s alive, and she asks him so quietly that no one else can hear:
“Is Draco alive? Is he in the castle?” (pg. 726).
And Harry, because he had just recently saved Draco’s life, is able to answer yes.
Narcissa then shouts, “He is dead!” (pg. 726). And the Dark Lord, who is so skilled at Legilimency, is fooled by Narcissa’s lie. (How cool is Narcissa?!)
And here is the question I asked myself: If Harry hadn’t saved Draco, he would have had to tell Narcissa that Malfoy was dead. And if she’d known her son was dead, would she still have lied to the dark lord on Harry’s behalf?
Maybe, but I’m guessing no. Saving Malfoy ended up saving the world.
Well done, Harry.