Harry Potter: Idiot

Harry Potter: Idiot

Let’s just come right out and say it: Harry Potter is a moron. Even if you don’t admit it you know it deep in your heart. You know he has no right for his accolades in this story, just as you know that you’re not giving Hermione enough credit, and your cuddly feelings for Ron Weasley are just as misplaced as your childhood love of Beanie Babies. There, now we’re out with it.

Let's start with Mr. Potter's education. You might imagine that if you were enrolled in a great wizarding school designed to teach you everything you need to know to be a premiere wizard, and you had the capacity to learn how to be a premiere wizard, you might just go ahead and apply that capacity and learn. Harry Potter, on the other hand, learns nothing beyond a couple of first year spells. Stupefy! Expelliarmus! Oh, and the great parlor trick, expecto patronum! A dastardly evil wizard bent on killing you with a great shadow spear? Expelliarmus! A terrible dark servant fiendishly endeavoring to torture you with ancient arcanum? Expelliarmus! A Dark Lord who can kill you without uttering a single word and the fate of the entire world at stake?  Expelliarmus! At least he's consistent. Would you feel comfortable knowing your heart surgeon only knew basic anatomy? Or your pilot only knew how to take off? Or a soldier who only knows how to do pushups? And, by the way, If it is so easy to disarm and disrupt those desiring evil on, and destruction of the known world, what does that say about the competence of the wizarding world in the first place? How has it fallen to a boy who stopped going to school in any meaningful way after his second year in school to stop the greatest threat to humankind? And why hasn't anyone done it if it only takes the simplest of spells? 

If it is so easy to disarm and disrupt those desiring evil on, and destruction of the known world, what does that say about the competence of the wizarding world in the first place?

But anyway, the only reason Harry Potter is famous in the first place is because his parents died saving him. Or rather, he’s famous, in the series’ universe, for being a phenomenal novelty. He’s an “unknown known” that defies his universe’s rules. He refutes the irrefutable wizarding world logic: Voldemort kills who he wants, he wants to kill baby Harry, therefore the boy...does not die. That’s it. Of course, the denizens of the magic world learn the wrong lesson: that somehow he has some special power, some capacity for greatness nobody else has. But he’s a rube. Sure, he’s worth caring about, but the special power he’s imbued with isn’t anything anybody else doesn’t have: he has love, which, thankfully, is an abundant resource.

One might argue he never had a chance to learn in any meaningful way since he was beset upon by the forces of darkness at every turn. How can he expect to learn with that sort of pressure? But shouldn't he then spend all of his time and resources and talents trying to learn everything he possibly can to fight that evil? Shouldn’t one so endangered devote every waking moment to preparing for the inevitable battle against forces far stronger, enroll in every possible class available, seek counsel and learn from others far wiser and knowledgeable, and spend every waking moment not fighting evil researching the histories of spells and consequences of magical history to find solutions to this darkness? In other words, shouldn’t Harry Potter have done exactly what Hermione Granger did?

Instead of doing his own work, Harry (not to mention the oaf-child Ron Weasley) spends a consider portion of his time relying entirely upon Ms. Granger. Not because he loves her deeply, not entirely because they are friends, but because she’s the only person with the wherewithal and initiative to actually figure anything out. And everyone thinks she's daft for it. She's doing all of the work, doing all of the research, finding all of the answers, and they make fun of her for it. 

You have time, dear reader, go back through the novels and make a chart with three columns: one for “problem solved solely by Harry,” “problem solved by Hermione,” and “problem solved by Harry with Hermione’s help.” You’ll find the columns with the most robust evidence will both bear the name Hermione.

Ultimately, you could argue that the entire series is an exercise in accepting gender inequality. We accept that Hermione gets made fun of for learning, because we expect it. We're just fine with Hermione staying in the background doing the most work because that's what girls do. We laugh at her for knowing more than the boys. We accept that they know less than her because in these types of stories, the boys get the glory. We excuse the boys' mistakes, and laugh at the girl's success. We get two little boys galavanting in the foreground nearly getting themselves killed because of their own ignorance and stupidity, while the girl in the background is saving their lives and providing them with all the answers. 

So there you have it. The world was saved by the most loved and least accomplished teenager in the wizarding world supported by the most sacrificial and dedicated men and women of their world. Harry Potter, the foremost slacker of his day, gets the credit. Hermione, the hardest working student of Hogwarts, gets Ron Weasley.