Extended Essay: Harry Potter

Problemstilling: “In what way can we say that Harry Potter honours his parents through the way he acts?“
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I have been writing about J.K. Rowlings character Harry Potter and how he fight for good and evil to honour his parents. Since Lord Voldemort killed both his parents, Harry does everything that stands in his power to make sure that Lord Voldemort won’t destroy other people life’s. Harry protect his school from all evil, and even though he break the rules to defend his school he ends up with all the teachers greatest thanks. The reason is to show his parents that he is extremely grateful to be alive. He is also learning about his parents and his own strength and powers, when throwing himself into the dangerous situations.


You will be able to look at how and in which way Harry risks his life and also how he live to be sure that his parents would be proud of him. He wont to honour his parents in every action done. By bringing with him the love from his mother, he are able to get as far as he does. The love that a mother has for her child is something that even the evil cannot destroy, therefore Lord Voldemort are not able to touch or kill Harry with his own bare hands.


Harry and Lord Voldemort is almost the same person. They both have the same kind of power and are both able to get whatever they would like. On another side they are also as different as the wind. Harry is using his powers to save his friends and his school, to make people around him feel save. Lord Voldemort on the other hand is using his power to get what he wants the most and also to get power over the people around him.


“ In what way can we say that Harry Potter honours

his parents through the way he acts? “



Harry Potter was the only person who survived when Lord Voldemort came with the intention of killing the whole family. The reason Harry survived is said to be because of the love from his parents. “Voldemort’s weak point is that he cannot understand love, and thus cannot touch Harry’s body, which still bear the traces of his mother’s love for her son.”[1] During the book Harry is showing, by honouring his parents, that he is extremely grateful to be alive, even though he misses them. This feeling for his parents is a force for the good. He always think about them and want’s to find out who and how they were when being alive. He does not let any person talk badly about them when he is around.


Love is the quality, which cannot be destroyed by evil. “If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realise that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.”[2] Every person has feelings inside them for other people, people who mean something for them. When this feeling for another person is strong enough there is a great deal of power needed to destroy all the bonds this special feeling create. Even though Lord Voldemort is said to be evil right through to his heart it can seem that he has some kind of sympathy for Harry since they both have the same kind of power. “Voldemort has thus shaped Harry's life, so that Harry's ultimate destruction of him appears as a kind of vengeance.”[3] Voldemort and Harry are two of a kind, they can be said to be the same person. ”Both half-bloods, orphans, raised by Muggles.”[4] In that case Harry would be the angel and Voldemort the devil. Voldemort is a great wizard who turned evil, this because he got too much power in his hands. “Voldemort, whose name in French means either "flight of death" or "theft of death", is associated both with high-flying magic and with deceit…”[5]. What can be seen from this is that Voldemort need the philosopher’s stone to survive and therefore he also tests Harry to see if he will change side and help him. He use his magic at a very high level which very few wizards are able to, and this is why nobody should be able to stop him from doing what he want.


There are times during the book were we notice that Harry deep inside thinking of using his powers to get back to his parents. This show that he sometimes has to fight against his dreams to stay on the good side. One place there we can see this is when he finds “The Mirror of Erised”[6]. Harry becomes overwhelmed when he sees himself together with his parents, and then and there he has only one thought in his head: To use his magic to make his dream come through. “The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrily back at them.... He had a powerful kind of ache inside him...”[7] Harry feel an aching need to get to know his parents, and he find this as a golden opportunity. He has the energy and the power needed to realise the dream, but at the same time he will then also tip over to the evil side. This developing a tension between good and evil, because he then have to use his power to get what he wants the most. Harry has to deal with this battle going on inside him whether to stay on the good side or explore the evil side and get to know his parents by himself without hearing it from their friends. As Voldemort realises his own wishes, Harry sets the wishes from the people around him into reality.


Harry inherited his parents good intentions and develop his powers in this direction. “Harry's refusal to glorify himself is instrumental in his getting the Stone, since he differs from wicked wizards like Quirrell in desiring only to find the Stone for the common good, not to use it to acquire personal fame or fortune.”[8] Harry has never known his parents, and therefore he is interested in getting to know them through other people’s memories. Parents are proud of their children, therefore it can seem like Harry behave in the way he believe that his parents would be proud of. Whatever Harry does, he never doubt which side he should stay on, he always has good intentions with whatever he does. An aspect of why Harry never doubt which side to stay on can be that he knows what evil can do to people. He will always be reminded of how the powers can take control over a persons thought when he is given to much freedom to decide how to use the powers, in the way of getting what he wants. Even though Harry can not remember the night very well, he will always be reminded about this night because of the scar in the front of his head.


The way in which Harry chose to become a Gryffindor instead of a Slytherin can be seen as a way of honouring his parents. The two houses both develop strong persons. You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart, their daring nerve and chivalry set Gryffindor apart.[9] “...perhaps in Slytherin you’ll make your real friends, those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends.”[10] He knows they were both in the Gryffindor house, and it might feel that he become closer to them and get to know them more. Another view of why he choose Gryffindor might be that he could show his parents that he is grateful for the love they showed him, and for offering them selves so that he could be able to experience life. He also want to finish the project that his parents started, and this so that he can show his loyalty to them and how much he cares about them. Slytherin is the house Lord Voldemort was in, and the house which has developed the most evil witches. When he reject this house were he actually would fit in best on account of his strong personality he is doing this in respect for his family. It seems like his inner voice says that if he becomes a part of this place, in which developed the murderer of his parents, he in a way betray them both.


It look like Harry is not afraid of doing what he has to do in order to help his school and all the people around him. He feels that whatever he does, his parents are still protecting him even though they are not there together with him. Since Harry has had to learn by himself what is right and wrong his self-insight has grow strong. He never judge other people for their actions, even if it is wrong. He also knows that he is supported for his actions even though he is not told that before it is all over. Because he knows that his parents always are there to help him if necessary, he feel less frightened and therefore he has the power to decide how he shall deal with his problems. The fight he has to win over Lord Voldemort to be sure that he is not getting the philosophers stone, is an excellent proof of how he acts in the intention of the good and how he is using his powers in the right way. He also shows strength during the fight, and trust himself for doing the right thing.


The school has been a good place for Harry to be during his life. “...making a list of students who would be staying for the holidays, and Harry had signed up at once. He didn’t feel sorry for himself at all; this would probably be the best Christmas he’d ever had.”[11] Neither his aunt nor uncle treated him well. They did not tell him how his parents were like, and they did not show any kind of love towards him. In their eyes he was only a burden. Therefore the school has been a dream place for Harry, and it is also here that he for the first time sees his parents this through the Mirror of Erised. “Harry was looking at his family, for the first time in his life.”[12] He has developed a very special love for his school, which make it easy for him to protect it from evil power even though it is against the rules. He has friends there who are like himself, who care about him and help him through difficult situation. ”Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts. ... But I’ve got to go back... It’s all that’s keeping me going. ... I belong in your world - at Hogwarts.”[13] It is through his teachers and Hagrid’s memory and substances he learn about his parents. “It seemed to be a handsome, leather-covered book. Harry opened it curiously. It was full of wizard photographs. Smiling and waving at him from every page were his mother and father.”[14] This might be one of the strongest points at to why he show love to his school. They have made it possible for him to get to know life’s most valuable persons. Since all the students and the teachers at Hogwarts are witches Harry might feel even closer to his parents.


Harry and Lord Voldemort are given the same kind of powers. “It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather - just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother - why, its brother gave you that scar.”[15] This power makes them part of the same kind. They both are really strong persons who are able to get what they want if they go for it. It is because of these powers and the strong personality that Harry rejected becoming a Slytherin. The strong personality for them both is the reason for why they are able to do what they believe is the most important to use their powers on. The only great difference is that Lord Voldemort use his great powers to destroy and kill and that Harry uses his to make good and help other people. Lord Voldemort made the choice to develop his power in the way that would give him the most power over other people and the most respect from witches around him. To be able to make this happen he had to make sure that there would be nobody able to stop him. Voldemort had powers I will never have.[16] He failed this mission, since he was not able to kill Harry. “After all he’s done...all the people he’s killed...he couldn’t kill a little boy?[17] Harry on the other hand has chosen to develop his powers in the opposite way. He is willing to use them for helping with good intentions, so that people around him can feel safe (“I’ve meet him and I’m calling him by his name. Please cheer up Hagrid, we saved the Stone, it’s gone, he can’t use it.”[18]), and know that he has his parents deep in his heart at all time. Apart from a strong personality, he also sets loyalty, friendship, pride and teamwork as some of the most important aspects in life to be able to success.


We learn about his strength whenever he is near Malfoy. This because Malfoy is always teasing Harry and believe that he is the best witch in the world. Instead of fighting with Malfoy, Harry act as he do not care and forget about it. He is also protecting Hermione when Malfoy mock her for having parents who are not witches. Harry simply does not care about what other people say or think this is why he is able to do what he wants his way, with some help from his two friends and Dumbledore.



Chapter 2: The importance of the house choosing scene

Every freshman at Hogwarts needs to be placed in one of four houses. Each house has their way of shaping their students’ future. The key aspect, which the sorting hat is looking for when deciding which house the freshman is to be placed in, is already there inside the student. Therefore, it is easily done to decide were the student fits best, and where they will develop most. This is shown clearly when Harry is being placed. “You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that...” [19] The sorting hat want to place Harry in the Slytherin house, because of the power he has inside. He will be able to become a great and powerful wizard with the help of Slytherin. Lord Voldemort is an example of the greatest wizard “produced” by Slytherin. Both Harry and Lord Voldemort are alike in so many ways, and therefore Harry fits perfectly well into Slytherin. They are both: “...poor but brilliant, parentless but so brave...”[20]


Harry is begging not to be placed in Slytherin, he rather want to be in Gryffindor. His parents were both in Gryffindor house and this will therefore be a golden opportunity to become closer to them. If he had been selected to Slytherin he would probably not been able to learn to know his parents. It is clearly expressed that Harry becomes relieved when placed in Gryffindor. “He was so relieved to have been chosen and not been put in Slytherin...”[21] 


The language used in this chapter changes frequently. We can find dialog between the characters, the thoughts of Harry, and a kind of poem/song lyrics when the sorting hat is presenting the houses. This make us readers understanding the happening in more than one way, and we then get a lot of important information which is helping to understand the book. The language is very explaining, which help to give right pictures in our head. “This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty”[22] The language also changes as the talking about the houses changes. When talking about Gryffindor Rowling is using soft, friendly and warm words compared to those used explaining Slytherin.


There is a lot new coming into Harry’s life which most of the other wizards takes for granted. This feeling is coming to us by the descriptions about how he looks at everything that happens around him. Harry is expressed like a child who gets his dream come true. In a way we can say that Harry has entered heaven looking through his eyes. “Harry’s mouth fell open. ...he had never been allowed to eat as much as he liked”[23]


This chapter is opening a new life for Harry and also the beginning of the journey about how he will learn only to use his powers for good intentions and how he will learn the truth about his parents and starting honouring them. At the same time as we are presented with the different houses we are also presented for new and important characters. It’s a lot of facts given which is becoming important for the rest of the story when it comes to be able to keep up with all the happenings to come. “The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts.”[24] 



Chapter 3: Harry in the fight with Quirrell / Lord Voldemort

Harry has always set his school, friends and parents before himself. “No, listen - get back and get Ron - ...go straight to the owlery and send Hedwig to Dumbledore, we need him.”[25] Therefore there is no question when it comes to if he should fight or not, in his mind he has to. Harry is afraid when he faces Lord Voldemort all alone, but he know that this is the right thing to do even though he know that he might loose. “I was lucky once, wasn’t I? ... I might get lucky again.”[26] Harry gains new information about what has been going on at Hogwarts the past year, and he become really confused. This because he get to know that Snape was trying to save him and Quirrell was not. “But Snape tried to kill me! ...I tried to kill you. (Quirrell) Snape was going to save me?”[27] At this point Harry has a hard time believe in what he hears and therefore start to rethink what he have been going through this past year at Hogwarts. “Harry was remembering his trip to Diagon Alley - how could he have been so stupid?”[28]


This thinking of his and the way he keep Quirrell talking gives him the opportunity to search for the small details he has missed, and also a quick thought of what his parents would think about his actions. This is clearing up his mind and he is ready to think of what is really matter at this point. There is only one thing that Harry has to sort out and that is where to find the stone and how to find it before Quirrell. “...if I look into the Mirror, I should see myself finding it - which means I will see where it’s hidden!”[29] Quirrell does not have the brain to figure out that he has to use Harry to find the stone, that Harry is the only one able to see the stone through the Mirror. He therefore would never have figured out that Harry was lying about what he saw to protect the school from loosing the stone. “I must lie, he thought desperately. I must look and lie about what I see, that’s all.”[30] Harry is a smart boy and even though he is confused he is not stupid. Lord Voldemort knows that Harry lie about what he sees, and decides then and there that he will face Harry and do it his own way. It is not a pleasant meeting for Harry and he becomes petrified. “He couldn’t move a muscle”[31] “Harry would have screamed, but he couldn’t make a sound.”[32] Harry does not much until Lord Voldemort starts to talk about his parents. He then wake up again retain the strength and fight against. If there is something that Harry does not handle it’s people talking negative about his parents. Harry does not stand still listening to Lord Voldemort saying a tissue of lies about his parents. The way Lord Voldemort talks tempts Harry, and the tension as well as the exciting rise. He has learned through the year that they were good and loyal people helping other as best as they could.


There is coming clear in this part that he honour his parents and that nobody will ever be able to tell lies about them and make them sound like they had no dignity left in front of their only son. Harry makes this pretty clear in the way he answers Lord Voldemort. “They died begging me for mercy... LIAR! Harry shouted suddenly.”[33] It seems like the thought of somebody telling lies about his parents give him his strength to fight for the good back. He is like most children who have lost their parents or one of their parents; they do not let anybody tell them anything evil or bad about their mam or dad. They stand up for their parents and defend them to show how much they love them and care.


Harry feels a strong pain through his whole body when Quirrell catches him and holds his arms around his wrist. “At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry’s scar; his head felt as though it was about to split in two...”[34] This shows that Quirrell is ruled by Lord Voldemort. It was Lord Voldemort who gave Harry his scar and therefore Harry will forever feel when evil or Lord Voldemort is close. As long as Quirrell is holding Harry they both suffer, and Harry is loosing strength. Since Quirrell has give his life to serve Lord Voldemort he cannot touch Harry because this becomes a struggle with good and evil, where good is the strongest part. When Quirrell is touching Harry he feels the same as if a person would have been touching a burning stone. “Harry could see they looked burnt, raw, red and shiny.”[35]


Harry knows that by touching Quirrell he will keep Lord Voldemort from getting the stone, and that Harry himself will loose all his strength and might even die, he choose to do the best for his friends. He will do all that stands in his power to destroy the hope for Lord Voldemort to get the stone. “...then Harry knew: Quirrell couldn’t touch his bare skin, not without suffering terrible pain... Harry jumped to his feet, caught Quirrell by the arm and hung on as tight as he could.”[36]




Harry risks his own life to show the world he live in and the all the people around him that he sets the people he loves and cares about before himself. He also show that there is no evil in the world able to stop him from doing what he really want. In a way it does not matter for Harry whether or not he survives as long as he save his friends. He will meet persons that care about him anyway. His parents if he dies and his friends and teachers if he survives.


Harry is always looking for new information about his parents, and to learn about his parents. The person who is helping Harry the most to sort out his parents past in the way that he will get to know them better is Dumbledore. He does not give Harry all the information he seeks at once, because he think it is better for Harry to find it out step by step and when he is ready to know. “I cannot tell you. Not today. Not now. You will know one day...put it from your mind for now, Harry. When you are older... when you are ready, you will know.”[37]


Dumbledore is the kind of person that knows what everybody is doing at every single second. He knows that Harry and his friends are breaking the rules to be able to explore life. ”He already knew - he just said; Harry’s gone after him hasn’t he?”[38] He does not stop them as he normally should have been doing to make sure that they would not get hurt and that they would not do it again, but he doesn’t. Dumbledore is making sure that none of them becomes dangerously hurt by teaching them important stuff that will be needed. “...instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help.”


Dumbledore is also letting Harry explore new experiences for his development. Trough this process of letting Harry investigate the school on his own, getting into trouble and breaking the rules he learn more about his parents and also about himself. He learn that by honouring his parents he gets enough strength to defeat any evil trying to make it hard for him. “I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance.”[39] Harry has learned to trust people and that by helping them they will also help him. He has grove on his parent’s love and this has always protected him, therefore to give him a chance to show that he is able to use his power in the right way. “I don’t think it was an accident he let me find out how the Mirror worked. It’s almost like he thought I had the right to face Voldemort if I could...”[40]





Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, 1997


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1998







[1] http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/harrypotter/characters.html

[2] Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1997 Page 321

[3] http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/harrypotter/characters.html

[4] Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1998 Page 233

[5] http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/harrypotter/characters.html

[6] Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1997 Chapter 12 Page 210-232

[7] Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1997 Page 226

[8] http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/harrypotter/themes.html

[9] Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1997 Page 130

[10] Ibid Page 130

[11] Ibid, Page 211

[12] Ibid, Page 226

[13] Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1998 Page 17

[14] Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1997 Page 326

[15] Ibid, Page 96

[16] Ibid, Page 18

[17] Ibid, Page 19

[18] Ibid, Page 326

[19] Ibid, Page 133

[20] Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury ,1998 Page 230

[21] Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, 1997 Page 133

[22] Ibid, Page 129

[23] Ibid, Page 135

[24] Ibid, Page 126

[25] Ibid, Page 308

[26] Ibid, Page 308

[27] Ibid, Page 310

[28] Ibid, Page 313

[29] Ibid, Page 313

[30] Ibid, Page 314

[31] Ibid, Page 315

[32] Ibid, Page 315

[33] Ibid, Page 316

[34] Ibid, Page 316

[35] Ibid, Page 317

[36] Ibid, Page 317

[37] Ibid, Page 321

[38] Ibid, Page 324

[39] Ibid, Page 324/325

[40] Ibid, Page 325

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