Everyone has bad things happen to them, even if they didn’t do anything wrong. Fictional characters, like Harry Potter, are no different.
Many people have different opinions on what Harry suffered through the most. So do I.
Below are the moments that made me feel sorry for Harry more than others.
Losing his parents before he could have gotten a chance to know them
Although this sets up the events of the story, it breaks my heart. As a highly sensitive person, I become upset when bad things happen to people, including fictional characters. It’s especially sad when children lose their parents as babies–more so when they grow up with abusive people.
Poor Harry suffered not only from that, but also not remembering his parents. Aunt Petunia even lied to him about how his parents died in a car crash, and that was where his lightning-shaped scar came from.
Even if Harry had grown up with better treatment, he would still mourn his parents’ loss. Every time someone talked badly about them, that would anger him, and he’d defend his parents. I don’t blame him for that.
He does see their souls a few times–in The Goblet of Fire when he and Voldemort’s wands’ effects touched and put pressure on both of them, and in The Deathly Hallows, when he sees them, Sirius, and Lupin from the Resurrection Stone. In the latter, he speaks to his parents, even though they’re dead. I found that both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Not getting to go to Hogsmeade
Right before Harry’s third year of Hogwarts, he receives a letter from Professor McGonagall. She states that third-years can visit the village, Hogsmeade, as long as they have permission from a parent or guardian.
Harry asks Uncle Vernon to sign his permission slip–but he’ll only do so if he behaves. But then Harry blows up Aunt Marge, thus losing his option to have his Hogsmeade permission form signed. So, when he goes back to school, he cannot visit the village and has to stay behind.
He does sneak out to it, though, and I rooted for him for doing that. He got in trouble for it, but luckily, didn’t suffer consequences. And it was Snape who’d caught him–and he usually treats Harry horribly.
He could have forged Uncle Vernon’s signature. I can’t imagine any of the professors knowing what Vernon’s handwriting looked like–or even Harry’s. There are around 1000 students at Hogwarts, so it’s also unlikely that the staff can keep track of every students’ handwriting.
Many people also pointed out how needing consent from a parent or guardian to visit a perfectly safe village within walking distance from the school is illogical. Why? Because they don’t need parents or guardians’ permission to
- Do anything dangerous, such as doing detention in a forest where there are deadly creatures
- Duel with classmates
- Take classes where they have to use dangerous spells and potions
- Stay in school when students are being petrified, when dementors surround the school, or when a “murderer” is trying to break in
There is even a famous image that you can find on Google that states these illogical ways and some others.
Losing Sirius Black
After years of receiving no parental-like love, Harry discovers that he has a godfather, Sirius Black. Unfortunately, Sirius’s name does not get cleared by the ministry after he escaped from Azkaban, where he had to serve time for “murdering 12 muggles and faking his death.” So, he has to remain hiding in his family’s home.
Harry only knew Sirius for two years. Not long after they formed a bond, Harry is tricked into Sirius being tortured by Voldemort at the Department of Mysteries. So, he goes to rescue him–only for Sirius to find him there. Then Bellatrix kills him and he falls into the veil, and will never return.
But even if he lived and the ministry cleared his name, Harry would have still needed to live with the Dursleys in order for the protection charm to keep him safe from Voldemort. That only works if he resides with a blood relative of his mom, who sacrificed herself with a charm to show her love for him. And Aunt Petunia was the only one.
However, Harry could have still gotten to visit Sirius. An article even stated that he would have done so quite frequently.
He would need to be at the Dursleys for, at least, a few weeks for the protection charm to work. Then, he could visit Sirius around the same number of days that he has visited the Weasleys.
Having to live with abusive relatives
Even though living with them was necessary in order for the protection charm to keep him safe from Voldemort and his followers, Harry really suffered from their level of abuse. It’s no wonder he would do anything to escape from them.
Unlike what others say, aside from the protection charm, I do not think he was that safe with his relatives. They’ve done things that would get them in trouble with social services and possibly the police today.
In the first installment, after the incident at the zoo, Uncle Vernon locks Harry in his cupboard for, like, a month. And in the second, he puts bars on his window after Dobby did magic around him. Not only that, he would give him food through a flap.
Both sound unsafe to me. You can read more about why I don’t think Harry is too safe with the Dursleys here.
Being banned from Quidditch in his fifth year
After a certain Quidditch match, Draco says mean things to Harry, as always. As a result, especially due to his anger issues, Harry punches him.
McGonagall gives him detention. But then Umbridge decides to ban him from Quidditch for the rest of his life.
We don’t see Harry’s reaction, though. After that scene, the text cuts to the other Gryffindor Quidditch team members’ reactions, such as Angelina being mad about losing a seeker.
I would assume that Harry became furious after being kicked off the Quidditch team, losing his temper, and maybe even swearing. Yet, when Ginny becomes the new seeker, Harry had no problem watching the Quidditch matches.
I also once had trouble believing that a school staff member could ban a student from playing a sport permanently. How would they know what they’re doing in their adulthood? How could they still control their lives long after graduation?
I guess with how the wizarding world works, Umbridge could terminate Harry from playing Quidditch. She did have a lot of power, too.
On the bright side, Harry’s Quidditch ban gets lifted later. He even becomes the Quidditch captain.
Having his face overly swollen in The Deathly Hallows
In The Deathly Hallows, after Harry says Voldemort’s name, which has become dangerous itself, he and his friends are seized by snatchers. To keep him from being recognizable, Hermione uses the stinging jinx on his face, causing it to swell.
It must have been embarrassing for him, especially when somebody called him ugly. I thought to myself how he could have hidden his face after it distorted.
One idea was a paper bag. Yes, it’s cliché, and I’m not sure how safe it is to breathe with a paper bag over your head. But, I suppose with enough holes over the eyes, nose, and mouth, Harry probably would’ve been fine.
According to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration, items that cannot be conjured out of nothing, nor can be transformed from something else, include:
- Three other items that are not specified
Paper bags, however, are not mentioned in this law. So, can they be created out of thin air or transfigured?
I don’t know what the answer is. I read about the magic limits in “Harry Potter” on multiple sources, such as Wikia. None of them say anything about paper bags.
So, let’s assume that paper bags can be created or transfigured. Hermione has been called the brightest witch of her age. Maybe she could have magically provided Harry a paper bag–even if they didn’t have time at that moment.
Now you might be wondering how wizards could know about paper bags since many of them, especially the pure-bloods, have little to no knowledge about muggle life–possibly due to the International Statute of Secrecy established in the late 17th century.
First off, there are plenty of magicians who know about muggle life. Many wizards and witches are half-bloods, where they have a muggle parent, and the other a magic one. Second, Madame Pomfrey once conjured bandages out of nothing. Those didn’t exist until 1920.
If Harry had a paper bag or even a mask (like a Halloween one–which I highly doubt could have been accessible for various reasons, including with wizardry, even though they’re not mentioned under any magic limits’ lists in the wizarding world, either), maybe he would have been less humiliated. I mean… who wouldn’t be embarrassed to have to walk around with a swollen face that someone did to them on purpose?
When everyone turns on him after his name comes out of the goblet of fire
After the 3 champions were selected for the Triwizard Tournament, Harry’s name came out. Unlike with the other 3, who were 17, the age one had to be to enter, everyone stared at Harry as he went to the area where the other champions were. They also turned on him, thinking that he cheated himself into the tournament, even though he didn’t–yet no one would believe him.
Aside from how stressful this must have been for Harry–being publicly shamed for something he didn’t even do, another flaw is that it’s NOT the other students’ business.
Cheering for the overage champions is fine, but glaring at an underage student for “entering” the tournament–too nosy. Not to mention that their reactions are NOT believable at all.
Back when I was in high school, I could not relate to the Hogwarts students at all since I found them to be too serious–and act nothing like the kids in my school. Of course, they did display actions and behaviors that students in my school did, such as cheering and applauding, and talking to each other.
But if a situation similar to this happened, no way would anyone in my high school have given someone the cold shoulder like that. Many would have gone, “oh,” for a long time. Some would have had no reaction or not have cared. Few, if any, would have given them dirty looks–but only if they were jealous, thinking, That’s not fair.
I have another post about this situation, where you can read more about my reaction to that.
What do you think of my picks for the worst things that happened to Harry Potter? Do you agree? Please let me know in the comments if you’d like.