Saturday, September 10, 2011

Could Harry Potter Be a Girl?

I had a small get together at my place yesterday, and we all watched Harry Potter films although all of us had read the books. One question that came out of the small party was could the author, J.K. Rowland, have written the same series of books and had the same amount of success if she had made Harry a girl instead of a boy? The overwhelming consensus was no.

Potter was a boy that his parents sacrificed their lives to protect and other people have gone out of their way to teach and nurture as he grows into a man. He has many trials and he excels at all of these road blocks that life puts in his way. He defeats the powers of evil and grows into the man who knows that he must avenge the man who has killed his parents. People follow him and he has others who believe in him and stand behind him. Some of them even lay down their lives to help defeat the powers of the Dark Side. At the end, Lord Voltemort lies dead and good wins. Would everyone have done that to follow a girl?

Harry Potter by virtue of his manhood has the authority to instill in himself the power of his right to take on the fight to defeat evil. No one questioned his right to do this. After all, He Who Must Not Be Named killed his parents and had been trying to kill him from the beginning of his life. A girl would have to find a champion to stand by her and to protect her from the powers of darkness; yet, there would not be anything different between a Harry or Harriot Potter. So, what makes those two different? She can be strong, a capable warrior but she would be a girl and a woman. It would not work in fiction.

The Harry Potter series is a coming of age story of a boy. What is a coming of age story of a girl? Is it a girl who grows up, maybe goes to school but gets married and becomes a mother and wife? Harry eventually gets married and becomes a father but it is not the most important part of his story but in a girl's life it is. Can there be a story of a girl without a prince charming? In real life, there are plenty of stories of girls who get fooled and find themselves alone with a child and shunned by everyone. It is a girl's shame to be unmarried and thrown aside by someone who had loved her and walked out. Barack Obama's mother had to raise her kids by herself because her husband walked out on her. Bill Clinton's mother had to have her child on her own because her husband walked out on her and she married again to someone who beat her. Fairy tale stories are often in fiction and not in reality. Why is it that female heroes rarely in fiction? Why is it that a woman does not find fulfillment unless she finds a man? How come Harry Potter could never be Harriet Potter?

You would think that the small party at my place yesterday was full of women. Not so. There were men and woman there. At first, some did not think it made a difference if Harry was a man or a woman. The more we talked, the more it was evident. In today's society it makes a change in the dynamics in the plot and in life too. Someday, maybe it won't.

No comments:

Post a Comment