There are definitely more villains in the stories than Voldemort, as you pointed out. Umbrage is in many ways my most hated character, because she does things with the veneer of goodness and morally superiority. She is the evil I see around us today much more than Voldemort.
But the characters who interest me the most, even as they make me uncomfortable, are the anti-heroes and morally grey ones, like Snape. Snape ultimately did some good things, but his story arc never completely does away with his grey areas, and I like that. He isn’t a kind person, nor does he do anything altruistically except begrudgingly protect Harry because of his love for Lily. In a romance novel he would be the anti-hero who is partially redeemed, but never safe or completely kind, sort of like Ann Stuart’s Bastien.
Other morally grey characters for me include Harry’s father and Dumbledore, as well as Draco. Of these, the only one who feels totally redeemed is Draco. His is perhaps the most powerful story of redemption in the book. Unlike Snape, Draco is set on a completely different path at the end of the novels than he was on at the beginning. Harry’s dad, whose name is eluding me at the moment, was another character that makes me uncomfortable. That’s because he is idolized and held up by so many as this great guy, but in reality, he was a selfish, entitled bully, at least as a teen. The flashback memories show his casual abuse of those weaker than himself, and the author never tries to fully redeem him, which I think was a good move. He stays morally ambiguous like most people, and Harry grows a little realizing that no one, in fact, should be idolized. The dad is every privileged prep-school bully we’ve all encountered, and while he was definitely on the side of right, that doesn’t mean he was going to be a “nice” person as he matured and became politically active in the wizarding world.
Much has been written about Dumbledore, and overall I tend to think he was like a general who regretfully does what needs to be done to win the war, knowing others will sacrifice everything to accomplish it. He manipulated Harry and others behind the scenes to bring about the confrontation he knew had to happen. I know many feel like Dumbledore knew Harry would eventually survive, but that really isn’t the point. It wasn’t only Harry in mortal danger and Dumbledore knew there would be huge losses. I don’t think he was sanguine about it, but he was determined to see it through, and was never completely honest with anyone about what he was doing.
All-in-all,I like that Rowlings left a lot of room for characters who are complex, not all good or evil, and who represent what we see in real life.
- This reply was modified 6 days, 2 hours ago by Carrie G.
- This reply was modified 6 days, 1 hour ago by Carrie G.