Yesterday I posted a dialogue section from J. K. Rowling’s novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  This morning, I remembered another key tidbit from Book Six or Year Six, which has always remained with me.  Now, I know for some people that fantasy is either silly or ridiculous.  For me, I see it as a wonderful playground for exploring the human condition.  The attraction with Rowling’s books are several: the vivid characters, the age-old plot of good vs evil, and the unique world of Hogwarts.  Today’s snippet comes from a turning point in Rowling’s series.  Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  He has taken Harry Potter under his wing in order to impart to him everything that he knows about their arch nemesis, Lord Voldemort.

Toward the climax of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in the twenty-third chapter, Rowling interjects some wise insight through the character of Dumbledore about the nature of the human soul and the nature of love and how the two fit together.  This does not mean that I endorse Rowling’s personal beliefs; however, I find a certain resonance to her ideas as they speak to my own views on the human soul and our capacity for love.  One more word about love, it is my humble opinion that Rowling reveals a deeper appreciation for love and what it is than some modern-day authors.  In many ways, what Dumbledore says about an untarnished soul comes very close to notions about the destructive effects of sin upon one’s soul.

In this brief excerpt, Dumbledore explains to Harry the simple, but profound difference between Lord Voldemort and him.

“‘You are  protected, in short, by your ability to love!’ said Dumbledore loudly.  ‘The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort’s!  In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering, you remain pure of heart, just as pure as you were at the age of eleven, when you stared into a mirror that reflected your heart’s desire, and it showed you [the only way] to thwart Voldermort, not immortality or riches.  Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror?  Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not!

‘But he knows it now.  You have flitted into Lord Voldemort’s mind without damage to yourself, but he cannot possess you without enduring mortal agony, as he discovered in the Ministry.  I do not think he understands why, Harry, but then, he was in such a haste to mutilate his own soul, he never paused to understand the incomparable power of a soul that is untarnished and whole.'”

(J.K. Rowling, Chapter 23, “Horcruxes,” Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, p511, 2005)

An Intact Soul

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5 thoughts on “An Intact Soul

  1. gjoelfranco says:

    Book Six is one of my favs! Dumbledore is absolutely right in his explaining Voldermort’s biggest flaw…he never understood that which was in the end led to his demise…but isn’t that a great metaphor for today’s world about staying true to ourselves and follow our hearts? And not to give in to the dark force (if you allow mixing of two different stories yet very similar?)

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    • mjabate says:

      I think the parallel to the Star Wars saga works on some level. Anakin pursues power in order to prevent death much like Tom Riddle. Both give themselves over to the dark ways; however, Anakin turns from the dark path before the end because of love for his son. One could make the argument that Anakin experienced his greatest defeat and victory at as Darth Vader. I call it dramatic irony.

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      • gjoelfranco says:

        Yes I was going for “on some level” reference naturally ;)) Anakin in the end understands what love means, he remembers but then again he knew it while a child. Tom Riddle never really did, he never learned, and consequently never understood it in the end…and it cost him everything…underestimating the power of love is dangerous (not to sound to corny here)…I will have to re-read the books at some point…so good! 2-4-6 are probably best :)…3 is by far the worst…1-5 good setups, 7 good but I wished it did not tuck the epilogue at the end…thoughts?

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      • mjabate says:

        My favorite Potter books are 4-5-6 with Phoenix being my favorite. I’m on the fence about book seven. When I first read it, I thought Rowling rushed it into print. I reread it before the final two movies, and I liked it better the second time. The first three Potter books range from ok to decent with book two being the best.

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      • gjoelfranco says:

        I totally agree about 7…

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