Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Melodrama In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
"Harry watched Dumbledore striding up and down in front of him, and thought. He thought of his mother, his father, and Sirius. He thought of Cedric Diggory. He thought of all the terrible deeds he knew Lord Voldemort had done. A flame seemed to leap inside his chest, searing his throat.
'I'd want him finished,' Harry said quietly. 'And I'd want to do it.'
'Of course you would!' cried Dumbledore. 'You see, the prophecy does not mean you have to do anything! But the prophecy caused Lord Voldemort to mark you as his equal...In other words, you are free to choose your way, quite free to turn your back on the prophecy! But Voldemort continues to set store by the prophecy. He will continue to hunt you... which makes in certain, really, that--'
'That one of use is going to end up killing the other,' said Harry.
I found this passage to be particularly melodramatic, because not only does it emphasize one of the core tenants of melodrama--pure good vs. pure evil-- but the language that Rowling uses causes the situation to seem incredibly, almost comically dire, if the reader had not become invested in Harry Potter's character. That, however, is a melodramatic device. In this passage, it become clear that Harry Potter is on the "good" side almost by pure virtue. Harry just so happened to be marked by Voldemort and accidentally become a mechanism for the latter's ultimate destruction. The fact that the end result of this battle between good and evil is death, is also melodramatic. There is no gray area. One must die, or the other.
"Harry watched Dumbledore pace, and thought about his mother, father, Sirius, and Cedric. He thought of how Voldemort had wronged them, and became angry.
'I want to be the one who kills him when he dies,' said Harry.
'Naturally,' replied Dumbledore. 'The prophecy doesn't make you obligated to act if you don't want to, but gives you the power to do as you like. However, Voldemort does not realize this. He will keep trying to kill you, so in the end...''
'One of us will die at the other's hand.'
'You are correct.'"