Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Harry Potter Top Ten List Part 1

In a little over a month, the final Harry Potter movie will be released world-wide.  With it comes the end of an era for most of us, though I was late joining the rush.  In a true confession, I resisted the urge to read any of the Harry Potter books because I never wanted to be in the position I was in with Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.  That kind of anticipation is something I knew I needed to avoid in the future.

I have to also admit that the movie it was actually one of the movies that got me hooked, but I hid that for years before my sister and I challenged each other to read the other’s favourite series.  I bet that I could finish Harry Potter before she finished Lord of the Rings.  Needless to say, I finished Harry Potter before the 7th and final book came out, and Lord of the Rings is still sitting under her bed, because she reneged on the deal because that’s the kind of person she is.

I’ll be listing my top ten favourite/lease favourite characters in the coming weeks, going from the back of the list to the top of the list.  All the commentary for the characters will go off of the basis that you know something about the series.  Today, we’ll start with #10 from both lists:

# 10 Least Favourite Character: Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort

This was an easy one, really.  I had to place him somewhere on the list and although he isn’t my least favourite character, he is one of the characters I am not a huge fan of.

Voldemort’s character is unsympathetic from the beginning.  Being the main villain in a series is hard work, and JK Rowling does a great job making the fans dislike him.  I actually thought he was a tad misguided.  That’s something I loved about the later books, when Harry finally gets the memory from Slughorn in the sixth book and we realise, as readers, that Tom’s in need of industrial size therapy, but when that realisation occurs, it’s too late.

In retrospect, even though Voldemort was evil, he was good at being evil.  For the most part, he did his research, followed through with his plans, if anything he showed solid initiative, and I give him points for that.  He loses points for being evil, and for also killing the wrong Weasley brother.

# 10 Favourite Character: Harry Potter

It is only fitting that Harry would be opposite Voldemort on my list.  What to say about Harry.  He is the hero of the story, but his flaws make him less likable, to me.  From the beginning, Harry is forced onto you, and while I wouldn’t dare compare him to the insufferable Bella Swan, in many ways, he suffers from the same shortcomings.

Harry is inherently self-involved.  In so many instances, he isn’t thinking about anyone but himself.  Take for instance the fight between him and Draco Malfoy that almost costs Gryfinndor the House Cup in Quidditch.  His saving grace is the remorse he shows when he does these things, not something seen from a less likeable character, like someone who will be on the other list.

I like Harry enough to add him to this list, but he isn’t my favourite character by any stretch.  Harry does all the right things when it comes down to it, but is frustrating to deal with at times too, as all children are.  As a main character, and a role model, kids growing up reading these books could ask for better.  Harry ultimately puts his own life on the line to save the world from the greatest of evils, and comes out of it.

I still maintain that if both he and Voldemort had both died, that perhaps there would be more to the story.  But I can’t imagine JK Rowling killing off her protagonist.  This isn’t Lord of the Rings, it was written with children in mind.

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