Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harry Potter Countdown - The fantastic three

Each Wednesday until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2 comes out I'm going to dedicate a post to an aspect of the series. Anyone who wants to join in is welcome, just let me know in the comments! Today's topic is: The dynamic of the fantastic three (Harry, Ron and Hermione) and why it works.

The friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione has been one I've envied for over a decade now. All three are somewhat new to the whole friendship thing, Dudley always scared the kids away from Harry, Hermione probably annoyed the hell out of everyone and Ron was so overshadowed by his charismatic older brothers that I bet nobody noticed him for his own merits. Yet somehow they manage to forge a strong friendship early on (well, it took a little longer with Hermione!) that exceeds any of the friendships depicted elsewhere in the series, except perhaps the friendship of Wormtail, Prongs, Moony and Padfoot.

One thing this series has taught me is the value of friendship and of working together, yet not at the expense of your own self identity. On the one hand you have Voldemort who has a legion of followers but no friends. He trusts no one to help him and as a result when the going gets tough he's surrounded  by a throng of panicking idiots wearing sheets and masks. He doesn't allow his followers any sense of identity, they're all the same to him except one has the ability to infiltrate the Auror's office or Hogwarts or has a nice big house to use as base. They're a commodity used to bolster numbers and appear menacing and to perform the bottom most level of jobs without any explanation or reason why.

The situation in a way isn't that much different on the 'good' side. While they trust one another and work together to try and defeat Voldemort there are still so many secrets which erode away at the people in the relationship. You only need to look at how hurt and confused Harry is in Deathly Hollows when he realises how little he knew about Dumbledore.

However the relationship between Harry, Ron and Hermione is different. The key to their relationship is the fact that they are three parts of a whole. Individually none of them would have what it takes to take on Voldemort but together they're like the Power Rangers when they power up and create the indestructible Voltron. This is perhaps best exemplified in the very first book when they try and beat Quirrel to the Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone for anyone in the States). Without Hermione's cool use of logic, Harry's sporting ability and techniques and Ron's mental strategy prowess they would never have made it through. Together they got through a maze of spells that were designed to stump adult wizards, Quirrel took the best part of a year gathering the information he needed to get through the barriers. They were just kids!

More importantly though, while they recognised their own weaknesses none of them allowed those weakness to grow. Hermione hounds Harry in preparation for the Triwizard tournament and as a result his proficiency in the brand of spells he uses become the basis for his job as leader of DA, a position that Hermione recommends him for because she understands his strengths.

Basically while they have three vital components crucial to succeeding in whatever their endeavour is for that particular book they don't rest on that strength and let the others handle the other areas. They are constantly gaining strength in their weaker areas because the others are there to back them up and provide them the support and expertise they need. They constantly grow and evolve and help one another in new ways. By Deathly Hollows Hermione isn't the bookworm she once was, she's absorbed strengths from the other two, however she still isn't equipped to tackle something as large as Voldemort by herself, she still needs the other two.

By the seventh book it isn't so much about the individual strengths or weaknesses they may have, but the complete unity they've achieved means that it is completely unfeasible that together they couldn't complete what they started together. In addition to knowing spells and coming up with plans they give one another strength on an emotional level which in turn gives them a strength in their outer lives. And that is why their dynamic works, because they help one another grow so thoroughly.

I fear I've blathered on a lot with this and probably haven't got my point across too well. Hopefully I've managed to make a little bit of sense with all the gobbledygook I've bee spouting! What do you guys think? What is the crux of the group dynamic between Harry, Ron and Hermione, am I on the right track or do you think it's something completely different? I'd love to hear what you all think!

Next Week (25th May): My favourite Harry Potter characters and why I love them so much.


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