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Harry Potter (character)

Harry Potter (character)

Fictional character of the harry potter series

Harry James Potter is a fictional character and the titular protagonist in J. K. Rowling's series of eponymous novels. The majority of the books' plot covers seven years in the life of the orphan Harry, who, on his eleventh birthday, learns he is a wizard. Thus, he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to practise magic under the guidance of the kindly headmaster Albus Dumbledore and other school professors along with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry also discovers that he is already famous throughout the novel's magical community, and that his fate is tied with that of Lord Voldemort – the internationally feared Dark Wizard and murderer of his parents, Lily and James. The book and film series revolve around Harry's struggle to adapt to the wizarding world and defeat Voldemort.

Harry is regarded as a fictional icon and has been described by many critics, readers, and audiences as one of the greatest literary and film characters of all time. He is portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe in all eight Harry Potter films from Philosopher's Stone (2001) to Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).

Appearances

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry first appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Starting in 1981, when Harry was just one year old, his parents, James and Lily, were murdered by the most powerful Dark Wizard, Lord Voldemort (subsequently called "You-Know-Who" and "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" by those too superstitious to use his actual name). He attempted to kill Harry too, but was unsuccessful and only left a lightning bolt shaped scar on Harry's forehead. Voldemort's body was destroyed, but his soul was not. Harry later learns that the reason why he survived was that his mother sacrificed herself for him, and her love was something that Voldemort could not destroy.

According to Rowling, fleshing out this back story was a matter of reverse planning: "The basic idea [is that] Harry ... didn't know he was a wizard ... and so then I kind of worked backwards from that position to find out how that could be, that he wouldn't know what he was... That's... When he was one year old, the most evil wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years attempted to kill him. He killed Harry's parents, and then he tried to kill Harry—he tried to curse him.... Harry has to find out, before we find out. And for some mysterious reason, the curse didn't work on Harry. So he's left with this lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead, and the curse rebounded upon the evil wizard who has been in hiding ever since".

As a result, Harry is written as an orphan living with his only remaining family, the Dursleys, who are neglectful and abusive. On his eleventh birthday in 1991, Harry learns he is a wizard when Rubeus Hagrid arrives to tell him that he is to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he learns about the wizarding world, his parents, and his connection to the Dark Lord. After begging the Sorting Hat not to put him in Slytherin House, Harry is sorted into Gryffindor House where he becomes fast friends with classmates Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. He finds mentors in his professor Minerva McGonagall and headmaster Albus Dumbledore and foils Voldemort's attempt to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Harry also forms a rivalry with characters Draco Malfoy, a classmate from an elitist wizarding family, and the cold, condescending Potions master, Severus Snape, Draco's mentor and the head of Slytherin House. Both feuds continue throughout the series and are settled at the series's end (Draco's in the Weet End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Snape's on his deathbed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). In a 1999 interview, Rowling stated that Draco is based on several prototypical schoolyard bullies she encountered and Snape on a sadistic teacher of hers who abused his power.

Rowling has stated that the "Mirror of Erised" chapter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is her favourite; the mirror reflects Harry's deepest desire, namely to see his dead parents and family. Her favourite funny scene is when Harry inadvertently sets a boa constrictor free from the zoo in the horrified Dursleys' presence.

Timeline

July 31, 1980
Harry Potter was born.

Patents

Further Resources

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References

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