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The power The Dark Lord knows not

by David Haber

It all comes down to this. The big difference between Voldemort and Harry. The only difference that's really important. It couldn't be more important to the climax of the Harry Potter Septology Mystery. And the reason we know it's important is because J.K. Rowling went out of her way to tell us about it, right out, in plain language, not couched in a riddle, in the very first Harry Potter book.

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Reader Comments: (Page 14)

Not sure about the whole "I love you" just yet..

I think love save the day but it come in aid of friends for Harry, and when everything gets too much the Eaters simply abandon Voldemort leaving him to face his doom.

I think we'll see the truth about Snape, the ultimate spy for the Order admitting he once loved Lily and how when he looked into Harry's eyes he sees Lily so thats why he has helped him.

Ron and Hermione of course love Harry and protect him, same for Hagrid, Lupin, Weasleys.

I think Draco turn good at the last minute due to the lack of love he received from his parents and realises he joined Voldemort for them not for himself.

And in the end Voldemort have no one, his 'faithful' have left him and he know that love did him.

Posted by Gagsy from Kent, England on April 14, 2007 12:24 AM

The article makes so much sense! I really think that Harry end up dueling Voldemort in the end, therefore destroying him. Voldemort cannot love and the power that can destroy him is L-O-V-E. I agree completely with this theory.

Posted by Leah from Los Angeles, California on April 14, 2007 10:47 AM

David, I completely agree with you that the capacity to love is the thing that Voldemort doesn't have and Harry has in abundance, despite a rotten childhood and more powerful enemies than friends. But his love for his friends, family, and mentors has been earned. Rowling has made that clear in every case. Harry has a moment of pity for Tom Riddle, seeing and relating to his loneliness and status as an orphan in the pensieve. He has one for Snape when he blocks the legilimency spell thrown at him by Snape and sees how his own father, far from being a model of bravery and decency, bullies and humiliates Snape to impress Lily. But both of these two deserve and receive no love from Harry because he also sees, knows, and understands that they made choices that Harry did not. Tom chose to manipulate, steal, and and never had anything but contempt for anyone, certainly not his rotten, bigoted father, but neither for his mother, because, as he thought, she had the "weakness" to and leave him alone. Harry had sympathy for the situation, but not empathy for the decisions that led to the dark evil of Lord Voldemort. Snape was abused as a child by his parents and developed his fascination for the dark arts to compensate, but -- whether it turns out he was evil all the time, or just a really good actor (as he claimed) -- he chose evil, certainly for a while, probably for all time.

I'm one of those who trusts Jo Rowling's character assessments. People seem to want to project all kinds of moral confusion and grayness on Rowling, as if she's some kind of post-modern Oliver Stone for kids, but I think she's very clear on the concept of good and evil, almost 19th Century Romantic about it. She believes that people are who they are because of the choices they've made, as she has Dumbledore say to Harry. She has made it clear in interviews that the bad people, Snape and the Dursleys and Draco Malfoy as well as Voldemort, are BAD, not conflicted. That they aren't likely to turn around and be Really Nice... just misunderstood. I mean, she's a great writer, anything's possible. Draco could still rethink the error of his ways. But her mention in an interview of Draco's ability as an Occlumens vs. Harry's inability is a result of Draco's repression, where Harry wears his heart on his sleeve. She said somewhere, early on, that Snape was not a good guy. She also mentioned, in the book 6 interview, that Dumbledore was not always a good judge of people, I think in the context of talking about Snape. She could still surprise; there are still things we don't know. But I bet you that these characters stay true to their characters as she has described them over 6 books, they'll remain rotten, and Harry play the deck he's been given.

Early on, Harry lied to Dumbledore, because he still wasn't sure he could trust anyone and, in the case of the Basilisk in the pipes, because Ron had told him people who heard voices would be considered crazy. But Harry is fundamentally honest. He couldn't hide his thoughts from Voldemort or Snape and he's rarely held them back. He couldn't fake love for Voldemort and he couldn't feel love for someone who had happily ed his mother and father. Rowling has made that relationship as clear as she could without spelling it out on billboards. He could no more give Voldemort a big, wet kiss and tell him he loved him than he could have joined Slytherin.

I'm guessing, from the book cover, that Love come in on Harry's side when he confronts Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries. I think the curtain through which Sirius fell and voices of others now gone can be heard by Harry, figure into the final battle. I think that anyone else falling through that curtain is and gone, as was Sirius, but, Harry has so many "beyond" that love him, that they could help him out, maybe Voldemort fall in, maybe with Harry, but Harry would be pushed back out while Voldemort would be dragged under once and for all. Alternatively, his friends, Ron's a good possibility, may risk and ultimately sacrifice their own life for him.

I think that love figures into this essentially the way it does in life: Harry has those who love him, who would do anything for him, to protect him. Voldemort, as any thug in history, doesn't have love from anyone; he controls people through fear and opportunism. They abandon him when they no longer fear him and no longer see what they can get from him. Wormtail had nothing, was on the run, had betrayed his friends, so he took care of Voldemort because he might get something from it, not because he "loved" Voldemort. Evil doesn't respect love; sees it as something to manipulate, as Voldemort did with Ginny.

No one's hugging Lord Voldemort anytime soon, certainly not Harry. Sorry.

Posted by Alan Nitikman from Oklahoma City, OK on April 14, 2007 5:01 PM

When I first came to this site, I read the article about Dumbledore not really being , that he faked his , and that Snape was in on it. Well, then I got to thinking, why would he fake his ? Then, as I was reading some of you're fabulous comments, a light bulb went off. What if Dumbledore faked his to lure Voldy to Hogwarts (where the "final battle" would take place) so when he fought Harry, he couldn't apparate, or turn invisible?!

Posted by Nina from Atlanta, Georgia on April 14, 2007 6:49 PM

Dumbledore, the voice of JKRowling herself, told Harry the power he has that Voldemort knows not is love. So, it makes great sense that the power that vanquish, not necessarily , Voldemort is - love. But, a bear hug? I don't know if Harry go in that direction. I think, we can be fairly certain that Lord Voldemort be vanquished by Harry through his application of powerful love for someone either living or , and it be something he, Lord Voldemort, does not forsee, similar to the power of Lily's love so many years ago.

If JKR uses a circular structure to bring her story to a powerful conclusion, I believe we may see an event that recalls Lily's sacrifice and it be that event that vanquishes Voldemort. But, I doubt Harry simply express (either verbally or physically) his love or compassion for Voldemort or Tom Riddle and call it a day. Even without his back up Horcruxes, Lord Voldemort won't simply turn into a good guy and go away. Harry must destroy his stranglehold on the wizarding world since neither Harry nor Tom Riddle (nor any other wizard) can live while Voldemort survives.

Posted by Hannah on April 14, 2007 10:34 PM

Nice thoughts about Voldy being lured to Hogwarts. With Dumbledore "gone" there would be no reason to stay away.
The only problem with one of those thoughts is that Voldemort would be able to turn invisible whether or not he was at Hogwarts. Harrry, Ron, Hermione, James, Sirius, Pettigrew, Remus, and even Dumbledore himself are able to turn invisible at Hogwarts, so why wouldn't Voldemort be able to as well? But you are correct, Voldemort would not be able to Disapparate from Hogwarts and escape a battle if they were at Hogwarts.
Actually I think the final battle take place at the Department of Mysteries, in the locked room that none of them could get into in OotP.

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on April 15, 2007 08:57 AM

I was thinking about that too: if the final battle IS at Hogwarts, what about the secret room the the Department of Mysteries? So, yes, thanks for that.

Also, I have a hard time thinking that LOVE, which a powerful, but GOOD, force ing someone, even Voldy. So, i, like many others think that love not him, but aide Harry in a way so that he can defeat Voldy.

Posted by Nina from ATL, Georgia on April 15, 2007 4:30 PM

Alan, well said! I only wish to put my hopes on the theory that Dumbledore is correct about 'second chances'. As Dumbledore often repeats to the aunce via speaking to Harry, he is certain that Snape's repentence is genuine. As the repentence involves Love, it only makes sense in this context to expect that 'love out in the end'.

Harry was shocked to see that Snape had some justifications for some of his behaviors and beliefs and began seeing Snape's point of view. So much so he had to take risks to ease his mind about it. I believe that we may easily see Snape sacraficing himself for Harry as well but perhaps living long enough thereafter to explain to Harry 'why' and to add the missing pieces of the puzzle to Harry (and us of course).

Having said that, I admit that two days ago I discussed Snape's ing flies in his room with 'avada Kedavra' as a child with a psycologist. (how he would learn that is a mystery to me but we know it from the occlumency lesson) The psycologist told me that this was a very very bad sign and was often a symptom in very disturbed adults like serial ers. I have to admit to the destruction of entire Ant colonies as a child however without subsequent violence towards my fellow man. Even so, as you say, JKR is a great judge of character and the clues as to Snape and Love are deliberately ambiguous. This is why Salmon Rush and his son asked about Snape at the New York question sessions. My recollection of that interchange is that JKR intimated that Snape would be revealed in the end to be a "good guy" (as Rush proposed in his question).

Love and forgiveness allign themselves with 'second chances. Perhaps the Power that the Dark Lord knows not includes the ability to forgive and accept? That could then include new allies before the final battle.

Posted by Charlie Tarbox from Gettysburg, Pa on April 16, 2007 06:54 AM

I've been thinking for a little while: Albus' hold many scenes of love. Olympe throwing herself into the waiting arms of Hagrid, Argus Filtch and Irma Pince arm-in-arm, Remus and Tonks holding hands, Luna helping Neville into a chair, Ron stroking Hermione�s hair for comfort, even Harry's breakup of Ginny because the reason behind this was he loves her and wants to keep her from getting hurt (again). Albus' seems to have united many on the good side together in love.

Posted by Monkeeshrines from Orlando FL on April 20, 2007 12:22 PM

Something else I just remembered. In book 4 when Harry tells Dumbledore about how Voldemort used his own blood to be reborn, the quote was;

"For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes."

After all the blood contained the protection from Lily, and she protected Harry with love.

Will Voldemort feel love for someone/something in the last book then due to this blood?

Posted by Gagsy from Kent, England on April 21, 2007 05:45 AM

I thought this was an excellent article that was well argued and well sourced. Until I reached the end. Yes, love has a major factor in the ending (or so I believe) but I don't think it's in such a way you described.

I think it more has to do with Harry being unable to be seduced by evil because of his love. Harry has bounderies, and Voldemort does not. I think Voldemort 'crosses a line' somewhere, and Harry simply not follow, which results in Voldemorts downfall.

Posted by Nicola from London on April 21, 2007 07:00 AM

Have you noticed that the only male in this book who understands love is dumbledore? What does it mean now he is gone?

Also, i don't think snape has ever been loved, which drove him to voldemort.

Posted by Rebekah from Birmingham on April 21, 2007 07:09 AM

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