Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Melodrama in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

“Harry sprang toward the flame door, but Voldemort screamed ‘SEIZE HIM!’ and the next second, Harry felt Quirrell’s hand close on 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; he yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him. The pain in his head lessened – he looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers – they were blistering before his eyes.
‘Seize him! SEIZE HIM!’ shrieked Voldemort again, and Quirrell lunged, knocking Harry clean off his feet, landing on top of him, both hands around Harry’s neck…” (Rowling, 294)

The assigned reading highlights that an important aspect of melodramas is the fight between good and evil. In this case, a variety of strong and bold as well as simplistic diction is used to increase the tension between the two sides’ struggle. In this short passage, a pain “sear(s)” across Harry’s scar, but the pain just lessens away. Quirrell is simply “hunched in pain,” but Voldemort, who is connected to Quirrell, still commands him to “seize” Harry.  Emphasizing the pain inflicted on the good, or less evil, people of this scene rather than pain inflicted on the villain establishes the power that Voldemort possesses over Quirrell and Harry in this situation. This scene happens at the climax of The Sorcerer's Stone. Harry is still only at the beginning of learning about his past and who he really is (pointed out in the assigned reading to occur in the later books and as being more realist than melodramatic). However, from this passage, Rowling is able to clearly display that Harry is and will be fighting for good, and although he is currently the victim of Voldemort's wrath, he will be able to overcome short and long term obstacles.

“Harry attempted to move towards the door, but Voldemort asked Quirrell to get him, and Quirrell did just that. Harry felt a great pain across his scar. While he was yelling in pain, Quirrell surprisingly let go. Harry felt less pain than he did before. He saw Quirrell starring at his fingers, which were blistering.

Once again, Voldemort asked Quirrell to get Harry, and he did. He knocked Harry to the floor, and, with both hands, grabbed his neck."

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