Books

Potrayal of Women of Harry Potter: PART TWO

Harry Potter, you love him or you don’t (you, filthy muggle, you..:/), you JUST can’t Ignore him!

Which is why they are making a SECOND movie series. JKR is collaborating with warner brothers for it!! Is it possible to start waiting for a movie BEFORE it is even scripted? I GUESS SO!! This would be the FIRST harry potter movie I would KNOW nothing about!!

You think I am crazy? Well, that’s what SIX YEARS without a new HARRY POTTER book does to a person, OK?

Anyways here is a part two of the previous post that I had made. If you have not read it, do so here! Go read that while I wait here.

Alrighty you done? Let’s start shall we?

*rubbing hands” let’s start with some food for thought!

Harry Potter

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I am sweet and funny like Lily Potter

Unlike the majority of Muggleborn witches and wizards, Lily was young when she learned that she had magical powers, and what exactly it was that it meant for her life. Close to her older sister, Petunia, and one of the neighborhood children, Severus Snape, meant that Lily rarely went without the friendship of one of the children and even rarer without the support of her family with whatever it was she choose. It wasn’t uncommon for Lily to spend time with her parents, even when she began Hogwarts, and it was even more common for her to be considered one of the most driven and friendly Gryffindor students when she started Hogwarts.

Despite the fact that she was defined as friendly, it was the fact that she was driven that earned her the position of Prefect and later Head Girl, despite the growing tensions between the Houses due to Blood Status. In this process, however, Lily found herself without her best friend, Severus, after a particularly brutal argument between the two that ended with him calling her a Mudblood. Sometime in her NEWT year, however, she began to date fellow Head, James Potter, despite her initial reservations and eventually followed him to join the Order of the Phoenix in an attempt to fight against the Death Eaters that were beginning to overpower the Wizarding World.

Lilly, of all people, understood the power of LOVE.

She knew that there is one thing that is powerful and stronger than any magic on earth and that is love.

She was a fighter. She was a member of the first order and it was her thinking of protecting Harry that brought about the near-end of Voldemort.

She was NOT afraid of doing what is right even when she knew that would mean death.

She did not let motherhood change her ideals.

I am protective and nurturing like Molly Weasley

Molly Weasley, in particular, doesn’t fit the standard profile for feminist heroines. In fact, when we first meet her, she fits the standard profile for the strict, henpecking wife who cooks very well but is prone to yelling at a very high volume whenever her sons or husband upset her (which happens rather often).

But at the very end of the series, we discover that Molly Weasley knows how to fight, and when the time comes to defend her family, she will do it. She will go head to head with Voldemort’s most vicious deputy, and she will win. She might even curse as she does it: Rowling only wrote a handful of curse words in the entire series, but she put one of them in Molly’s mouth. When Molly Weasley rushes headlong into a battle to defend Ginny, crying, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” This moment is arguably one of the highlights of the seventh book and after reading it, one has the sneaking suspicion that Arthur Weasley wasn’t really henpecked all those years. He just knew something that we didn’t: his short, plump, kindly wife is actually a fierce warrior who is deadly with a wand.

Also, can we put on record thaat she is THE ONLY person who can make Fred and George tremble?

I am elegant and poised like Narcissa Malfoy

Harry was saved by a mother’s love, more than ONCE. It was Narcissa’s motherly love which saved harry.

A strong woman, married to, perhaps not the best man, who stood by him despite his fallen standing within their social circle, defending him fiercely (even against her own sister, an insane mass-murderer).
An incredible mother, literally doing anything for her son, including making an Unbreakable Vow and even lying to the Dark Lord, allowing Harry Potter to go on living, in order to protect her child.

If that isn’t the definition of strength, I’ve no idea what else could be.

As if this is not all, Narcissa was the youngest of three girls who by nature were already a mild disappointment for not being boys. As the youngest, Narcissa was her parent’s last hope for a boy to continue their prestigious family name. Still, she was brought up a pure-blooded princess. Every day it was drilled into her head that being Pure Blooded was THE most important thing in the world, and those who were half-bloods or mudbloods were so beneath you to even qualify as magic. They are stupid, insignificant, lesser.

And then, things start going wrong. Sirius is sorted into Gryffindor. Andromeda runs away with a muggleborn. Sirius abandons his family to live with the Potters. Bellatrix marries a man she does not care for and intends to have no children with. Regulus dies.

The Black family line, the pure blood that she held MOST DEAR in the whole world, is her responsibility now. hers alone.

She manages to ACTUALLY FALL IN LOVE WITH her husband and bear a son. She does it. She succeeds. She successfully carries on her bloodline, in the form of Draco.

And what’s so incredible about JK’s writing is that she cares a lot about the power of motherhood and motherly love – and you can see it in Narcissa, Narcissa who’s been raised to think blood purity is the most important thing in the world, who is following a man (Voldemort) who is the physical embodiment of that ideal –

She betrays him for her son. She puts her own life and her own ideals and her entire moral (albeit racist) framework on the line because the most important thing in the world is no longer the sanctity of her blood. It’s her son.

When she realised her belief system was hurting her son, she did everything in her power to save him from what were once, HER OWN BELIEFS.

I am strong and crazy like Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix is incredibly powerful, and appears proficient in many magical branches, foremost the Dark Arts. She never hesitates to use the Unforgivable Curses, seeing them as being the most powerful. Albus Dumbledore characterizes her as “… dear Bellatrix, who likes to play with her food before she eats it.” This, along with how she abuses Neville Longbottom at the Department of Mysteries, clearly illustrates Bellatrix’s sadistic and amoral nature, as she willingly tortures, or even kills, her opponents. She is so single-minded in her aims that she counts family, such as her cousin Sirius Black, her niece, Nymphadora Tonks, and even her sister, Andromeda, among her enemies, and attempts to kill Tonks and Sirius, succeeding in Sirius’ case. She is obsessively devoted to and in love with Voldemort, putting him above anything else, including her family; this obsession consumes everything in her life. Bellatrix’s evil nature borders on total insanity, causing her to act rashly and fervently. In the Department of Mysteries, it is noted that the other Death Eaters present seem disturbed by Bellatrix’ intensity, and, at one point, Lucius Malfoy must restrain her.

She is the crazy insane in-love woman who can be a lioness to protect her man (Or the man she loves as she was married to another)

but most of all, I love like Nymphadora Tonks

How many people can give birth and then immediately go to war?

Nymphadora(she will end you if you call her that to her face) Tonks was introduced into the Harry Potter universe in OotP. She was portrayed as being a “bubbly, friendly, and clumsy Auror”, who also happened to be a metamorphmagus and the youngest member of the Order at that particular time. During OoTP, it is revealed that while she may be sitting in the grown up’s section when the Order meetings are happening and developing both personal(Molly, Remus, Sirius) and professional(the rest of the Order) relationships, she’s still is still in touch with her inner adolescent and strikes up a friendship with both Ginny and Hermione, who look up to her as their cool older “sister”. It is also revealed that Tonks is Mad Eye Moody’s protégé, and has a very openly affectionate relationship with her mentor and even going as far as being the only one able to openly tease him. Overall, in OotP, she’s still a young woman who has been untouched by the emotional impact of war and terrorism, unlike many of the older Order members, like Sirius and Remus. It isn’t until her duel with Bellatrix and the death of Sirius that the reality of war really hits close to home for her.  Even though she was seemingly young, mischievous, and still looking like a rebellious teenager, she still was able to be fully professional and serious about stopping Voldemort and his Death Eater terrorists.

All of this being said, from here on out it is very important to carefully examine Tonks and the circumstances behind her depression.  The real change in Tonks as a character starts in HBP when Harry sees Tonks’ more bleak appearance and ill physical appearance during his arrival to the Burrow with Dumbledore. This physical manifestation of her not-so-well feelings is a constant theme throughout HBP up until Dumbledore’s funeral. This might be because of her work as an Auror where she is constantly in touch with death and dememtors.

Secondly, a lot of people ignore Tonk’s familial relation to the Blacks (and what that entails for her) and underestimate Tonks survivor’s guilt over Sirius’ death.  much in the same way that Harry did post-Department of Mysteries battle. Sirius was the only reasonable family member on the Black side, besides her mother Andromeda, who shared common ideals with her and accepted her. Her depression during HBP was highly reminiscent to Sirius’ depression in OoTP.

Thirdly, Tonks’ depression was related to her feelings towards Remus. It is perfectly valid for her to have been worried about Remus, especially when he was putting his life at risk spying on the werewolves, especially Fenrir Greyback, who is the werewolf that bit Remus and who has a reputation of being incredibly vicious and brutal. In addition, Tonks also is faced with a fight against Remus’ low self concept and self-loathing that is the result of having faced discrimination and bigotry based on a condition beyond his control. This conflict between Tonks’ perception of Remus versus his own perception of himself is evident in their confrontation(and consequent canonization moment) in the hospital wing after Dumbledore’s death.

The miraculous return of her pink hair by the time Dumbledore’s funeral comes around, to signify that her and Remus have worked through at least some of his issues and he’s accepted the fact that Tonks really does love him, societal opinions be damned. The moment when Remus and Tonks were shown together, with her metamorphmagus powers back.

In addition, with Remus there with her, they could lean on each other for emotional support and develop coping strategies that can help them deal with the emotional stress of war resulting from both Tonks’ job and Remus’ ordeal with the werewolves.

From the brief exchange between Tonks and Harry, where she tells him about her marriage to Remus, it’s so abundantly clear that she’s happy to be with the one she loves. However, the unexpected surprise pregnancy from Tonks brought those demons back. With Remus leaving Tonks, during his argument with Harry at Grimmauld Place, it’s evident that his perception of Tonks’ happiness with their marriage (and pregnancy) does not match the image before during Tonks’ exchange with Harry.

During the entirety of the HP series, Tonks has been shown to be a woman of action,  If anything, the unexpected pregnancy, as happy as she may have been about it, must have frustrated her to no end, since it meant that she had to sit out of most of the Order-related action. Finally, once the Battle of Hogwarts happened, and Tonks went to battle, instead of staying with Teddy.

Tonks had studied and trained for such a battle and felt it was her duty as both an Auror and an Order member to be there on the front-lines and fight. Plus, she was looking at the bigger picture here: if she could help make a better world for her son to grow up in, then if she died, as much as she may have wanted to stay with her son, such a sacrifice may have been worth it to her.

Tonks was someone who was mature, but still capable of having fun. During her depression in HBP, she didn’t sit around and mope a la Bella Swan, she got up every day and got shit done as an Auror. She also tried to help the man she loved by trying to show him that what he thought was true about himself was just a load of societal nonsense. Overall, Tonks was a badass woman who shouldn’t be looked down upon just because she dared to show just how things in her life(the war, her love of Remus, survivors guilt, etc) were affecting her. She is one of the many, valid representations of feminist characters that the HP universe has to offer, and just because she behaved in a way that made her seem like a non-feminist character, that doesn’t reflect her overall character.

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14 thoughts on “Potrayal of Women of Harry Potter: PART TWO”

  1. Wow! After reading both your posts in this series, I want to read the Harry Potter series again. I was quite young when I read the books and had not analyzed them that way then

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  3. Continued from part 1:

    Lily is merely a ‘mother’ and the mother’s love plot has been done to death in Bollywood movies, so I was not very pleased to read about it again in HP. She too marries early, and that’s sending a very wrong message to youngsters.

    Molly is the mary-sue of HP fiction. The woman who is homely and has no interests other than feeding her family (sounds familiar?) but can wield a wand as well as any soldier – in spite of the fact that she has no training for years in any fighting spells. It’s the typical ‘naari doosron ke liye sab kuch kurban kar deti hai par waqt aane par chandi ban jaati hai’ *rolls eyes* I can’t stand this woman.

    Narcissa Malfoy is once again reduced to being a mother and producing loooove in abundance. Think about it – why is no male character showing such love? Are they not capable of it or is love simply a woman’s domain?

    Bellatrix Black is the obsessed female who would give up her life for a man – her master. Need I say more? In spite of her amazing fighting techniques, she still takes abuse from her guy.

    I agree that Nymphadora Tonks and Luna Lovegood have feminist traits, but the others are simply caricatures of socially existing stereotypes, somewhat masked because of their fighting abilities.

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    1. As I focused these articles focusing on women, it seems like this..bus as there is a strong motherly love, there is equal emphasis on the fatherly love. What Sirius is for harry, what lupin is for teddy, and the love of Snape I don’t think any of the motherly love even comes close.
      Apart from that Rowling lost her mother six months after she started writing these books..as she says she was extremely close to her mother but not her father..in fact she and her father are not on talking terms anymore..so, the death of her mother affected her work not only harry potter but her later works as well. in JKR’s own words.
      I believe a fiction is great only when you see the inherent writer’s feelings coming out through her characters

      A society is truly feminist when a person can stay at home or go out to work, marry young, marry old, or not marry at all..and not be judged for it.

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      1. “A society is truly feminist when a person can stay at home or go out to work, marry young, marry old, or not marry at all..and not be judged for it.”

        I disagree. It’s true that a society is truly feminist if each person can follow their dreams, but going to work is a very basic thing. If you don’t work, you are dependent, and that’s not feminist. You can certainly choose to marry young, but that often stops girls from developing themselves, and that is not feminist.

        It’s the same as saying people ought to be free to choose drugs and we shouldn’t judge them. It’s true but drug addicts mostly aren’t going to turn out into upstanding citizens. Same with making some choices and feminism. Automatically making free choices is not feminism, and that’s the problem.

        I also agree that women ought to be able to make a choice, but most women choose what they see around them, that is, the easiest path in life. It’s like a Muslim woman choosing to wear a burqa, a woman choosing to have sons because the repercussions would be bad, a woman who takes her husband’s name because everyone does it, a woman choosing to fast for her husband because she thinks it’s good. They must have the right to these choices but that does not mean these are feminist choices.

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