Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Melodramatic Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, p.344-345
“Professor,” Harry interrupted loudly, “what’s going on — ?”
But he never finished the question, because what he saw made his voice die in his throat. Lupin was lowering his wand, gazing fixedly at Black. The Professor walked to Black’s side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a brother.
Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped out of his stomach.
“I DON’T BELIEVE IT!” Hermione screamed.
Lupin let go of Black and turned to her. She had raised herself off the floor and was pointing at Lupin, wild-eyed. “You — you —”
“Hermione —”
 “ — you and him!”

“Hermione, calm down —”

“I didn’t tell anyone!” Hermione shrieked. “I’ve been covering up for you —”

“Hermione, listen to me, please!” Lupin shouted. “I can explain —”

Harry could feel himself shaking, not with fear, but with a fresh wave of fury.

“I trusted you,” he shouted at Lupin, his voice wavering out of control, “and all the time you’ve been his friend!”

This paragraph can be rewritten into a non-melodramatic way with one simple sentence: Harry and Hermione were surprised and disgusted when they saw Professor Lupin hug Sirus Black, feeling that they shouldn’t have trusted him.

While reading the Harry Potter series, one would be struck by Harry’s unvarying goodness. Not only is he good in the first place, but also he knows exactly which camp he belongs to when he meets with evil power late on. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,  Harry is told at first place that Sirius Black is a ruthless murderer who is a servant of Voldemort. Therefore when he sees Lupin, his friend and professor whom he always respects, showing a brother-like intimacy with Black, he becomes shocked and furious. Rowling uses melodramatic techniques such as repetitions of word fragments like “You – you –”, as well as phrases like “bottom dropped out of his stomach” and “ a fresh wave of fury” to emphasize the great extent of his astonishment. Harry then classifies Lupin to be one of the evil camp and immediately steps away from him. This is symbolically melodramatic since the opposition between good and evil is explicitly clarified. This paragraph surely illustrates that the novel “reveals over and over again that Harry is, indeed, good, right and virtuous.” (Bouquet 189) Another important feature for melodrama is the victimization of the hero. Although Harry is not victimized in this paragraph, Lupin and Black are. Black is mistakenly considered by the whole world of magic to be a super-villain, and Lupin is misunderstood by Harry because of his closeness with Black. But later on, they were both proved to be good as the story “drives relentlessly toward clarification and recognition.” (Bousquet 180)

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