There's an abundance of love (and love-seeming-emotions) in Harry Potter. There are good and beautiful loves, there are less than ideal loves, and then there are manipulations-disguised as love..we're going to try to talk about all of them. But not all at once.. Today we're just going to start at the beginning.
We're not going to be absolutely careful in this discussion, but we are going to try very hard to keep the discussion to the first 3 books. But a few spoilers here and there are just fine. Just avoid focusing on all the love-y stuff from beyond book 3.
Anyone can feel free to join in by linking a blog and/or commenting on any of the posts linked-in to the discussion. We'd love a big, happy argument about how much love Dumbledore actually shows Harry (cough, not much, cough)..or whether or not it is actually possible to create a human-being who has never and could never love another..and we'll probably get all teary-eyed together over Lily's sacrifice (yes, even me).
To make it easier on myself, we'll divide the discussion into four semi-overlapping sections: Friendship, Familial, and Sacrificial love, as well as Un-love - a time to explore Voldemort, the Dursley's relationship to Harry, and any un-charities we've noticed.
Friendship is, I think, the love Rowling is least comfortable with..it is the weakest portrayed in the series, the most often portrayed, the least inspiring of all the loves shown in the series. The primary friendship: Harry, Ron, and Hermione is a frustrating one for me. Harry and Ron are pretty consistently abandoning Hermione for all manner of petty reasons, Ron is - it seems, never really stops hating Harry for life in the limelight, and Harry has the sort of trust issues that can only come from an abusive childhood..but why do they never, ever go away - at least with his two closest friends?
I know we don't like to assume too much about the author from her writing, but throughout the series, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Rowling. "She must not have any friends.." kept flashing through my mind. Because the trio aren't the only friends represented in the series, but they're probably the best shot at healthy, true friendships, and it's disappointing. So much simmering resentment. I look back at my own school-day friendships and I remember having friends like that: friends I liked (even loved), but didn't really trust, friends I knew would isolate me at the first mis-step..those weren't my closest friends. My dearest friends from school were the ones I trusted with my whole heart, the ones I know are still there for me, despite the miles, despite the spiritual distance, despite the paths we've taken that lead away from each other. There's still that core closeness..and maybe that closeness is there, somewhere deeply hidden in the trio. Buried behind back-biting, petty betrayals, and thoughtless cruelties, maybe there's the core of friendship. But if it's there, it seems like a sad, struggling thing - beset on all sides.
Still, if it is there - and I never see it reading the books, really, only in discussing them afterwards with enthusiastic people who can see it - it does raise the friendships in the series above where I saw them. I like to hope that maybe Rowling is trying to draw that aspect of friendship out. Reminding her readers again and again that love is something constant..something that 'bears all things..endures all things..[and] never fails.'
What do you think, are her friendships true and beautiful. Are they Loving?