Let’s admit it: sometimes it seems that Harry is something of a bumbler in the early books. He fails to ask the most obvious questions of the adults around him. He barely manages his schoolwork and doesn’t seem to be able to write an essay without relying on Hermione. And he comes up with lame excuses for not telling Dumbledore what he knows, which usually compounds the problem. It’s as if he’s wandering around in a daze most of the time. Of course, when you remember that he’s only eleven when he starts Hogwarts, it does make sense. Think about the eleven-year-old boys you know. They’re probably not that different.
There are those moments, however, when Harry’s true strength and inherent talent shines through, even in the early books. Three such moments occur one right after the other in Goblet of Fire chapter 9 as the trio escape the chaos at the campsite by running into the woods.
1 – Harry isn’t affected by the veela
Once he’s experienced the effects of the veela at the Quidditch match, Harry isn’t affected again. In the stadium he plugs his ears, true, but here in the woods he needs no help to stay in complete control of himself.
They followed the dark path deeper into the wood, still keeping an eye out for Fred, George, and Ginny …
Farther still along the path, they walked into a patch of silvery light, and when they looked through the trees, they saw three tall and beautiful veela standing in a clearing, surrounded by a gaggle of young wizards, all of whom were talking very loudly …
Harry snorted with laughter. He recognized the pimply wizard: His name was Stan Shunpike, and he was in fact a conductor on the triple-decker Knight Bus. He turned to tell Ron this, but Ron’s face had gone oddly slack, and next second Ron was yelling, “Did I tell you I’ve invented a broomstick that’ll reach Jupiter?”
Notice that Ron, unlike Harry, is just as susceptible as ever. It’s not that Ron is weak or a failure; his reaction is normal. Harry, however, shows a natural resistance to magical influences. This resistance shows up again a few chapters later when Harry is able to shake off the effects of the Imperius Curse in Moody’s class.
2 – Harry senses that someone is nearby
This happened before in PA3 when Harry ran away from the Dursleys’ house and ended up in Magnolia Crescent with no idea what to do next:
He bent over his trunk again, but almost immediately stood up once more, his hand clenched on his wand. He had sensed rather than heard it: someone or something was standing in the narrow gap between the garage and the fence behind him. Harry squinted at the black alleyway. If only it would move, then he’d know whether it was just a stray cat or — something else.
Here in the woods, Harry again senses the presence of someone who is out of sight.
But she broke off abruptly and looked over her shoulder. Harry and Ron looked quickly around too. It sounded as though someone was staggering toward their clearing. They waited, listening to the sounds of the uneven steps behind the dark trees. But the footsteps came to a sudden halt.
“Hello?” called Harry.
There was silence. Harry got to his feet and peered around the tree. It was too dark to see very far, but he could sense somebody standing just beyond the range of his vision.
“Who’s there?” he said.
It seems to me that this uncanny talent would be a lot more useful to an Auror than being able to write an essay about the moons of Jupiter.
3 – Harry is not intimidated by the Ministry
A group of Ministry witches and wizards apparates all around the trio and opens fire with Stupefy spells.
“Ron – Harry” – his voice sounded shaky – “Hermione – are you all right?”
“Out of the way, Arthur,” said a cold, curt voice.
It was Mr. Crouch. He and the other Ministry wizards were closing in on them. Harry got to his feet to face them. Mr. Crouch’s face was taut with rage.
Harry, you’ll notice “got to his feet to face them.” Already at this stage, Harry is not afraid to stand up like a man and confront those who oppose him, even though they are from the Ministry.
Harry still has much to learn and a lot of growing up to do before he’ll be able to face Voldemort. But already at this point he’s showing the strength of will and inherent abilities which set him apart.
Tags: growing up