I have this weird thing about fate in the Harry Potter books. There’s just so many close shaves where Harry barely makes it out alive. I always come back to believing that fate has a hand in all of it.
The funny thing about that is one of the main themes in this series is choices. Everyone’s heard that famous quote about how our choices show us who we truly are. JK Rowling herself has stated in an interview that she believes more in the choices of her characters, not that fate is driving them to do things (Con).
I’ve been struggling to put this thought/concept into words, to accurately describe how I feel about it. And I believe I finally found a particularly good example that will help me explain how I feel about fate in the Harry Potter stories.
I’m currently listening to the audio book of Prisoner of Azkaban. Earlier today I was listening to the part where Sirius and Lupin are trying to explain to the trio why Sirius is innocent. Part of the story is how Sirius blames himself for the death of Lily and James because he was the one who convinced them to switch to Peter as their secret keeper at the last minute. If Sirius, not Peter, had been the secret keeper he would have died with their secret, making their location a safe haven indefinitely. James and Lily would still be alive and Harry would live at home with his parents, possibly more siblings, isolated and secluded, but alive.
Okay, We’d all like to think about the situation where James and Lily didn’t have to die, but if they hadn’t, how much longer would Voldemort stayed in power? How many more people would have died while he still raged to find the Potters to take them out? It had to happen that way so that Harry could grow up and one day defeat Voldemort.
Where does my idea of fate intervening come into all of this you ask? Well, why did Sirius at the last minute think that they should make Wormtail the secret keeper instead? I think it was fate that nudged him in that direction. This may not have been the way the JK Rowling intended for her writing to be interpreted, but its a concept that I keep coming back to, more and more, during my rereads of the books. Couldn’t you say that all books with happy endings have fate to thank, because of the mantra ‘the good guy always wins’?
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In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.
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