Christie is officially in Wales, so hopefully we'll be hearing from her soon! Meanwhile, Masha began our Lenten study of love in the first three Harry Potter books with a set of comments that wants some serious engaging. Here goes.
|Best friends. Source.|
Friendship is, I think, the love Rowling is least comfortable with..it is the weakest portrayed in the series, the most often portrayed, the least inspiring of all the loves shown in the series.I would make that argument for romance, not friendship.
Apart from frequency of portrayal, every argument Masha makes here strikes me as highly defensible if we're talking about the romantic relationships—a point I believe firmly even though I shipped the canon pairs from the earliest books. But since we'll probably get to romantic love later on, I won't bother defending my position just yet.
As for friendship:
The primary friendship: Harry, Ron, and Hermione is a frustrating one for me. Harry and Ron are pretty consistently abandoning Hermione for all manner of petty reasons, Ron is - it seems, never really stops hating Harry for life in the limelight, and Harry has the sort of trust issues that can only come from an abusive childhood..but why do they never, ever go away - at least with his two closest friends?
|If that had been a wizarding photo booth,|
those pictures would move.
In these first three books, the Trio is very young, and when I was their age, I was a petty friend, too. I spent a year being angry with my best friend for turning thirteen nine months before I did. Said best friend also got a much earlier grip on maturity. When I think of the evening I spent sneaking up behind her and startling her, or the afternoon I kept flipping her off the inner tube in the pool after promising her again and again that I wouldn't... yeah. I'm lucky she didn't call me a jerk and find a nicer girl to hang out with.
I can't find it in me to condemn Ron when I've been forgiven so much. :)
As for Harry never getting over his trust issues: Masha, can you give me an example of that? I'm not sure what you mean by that, so I'm not sure how to defend him.
Because the trio aren't the only friends represented in the series, but they're probably the best shot at healthy, true friendships, and it's disappointing.I'd give that "best shot" to the Marauders, actually, sans traitor. No disappointment necessary.
The Marauders—Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs—are introduced in this book, and despite certain notable personal failures, the three loyal ones were indeed loyal. The bond of love between them ran deep. Like, David and Jonathan, Frodo and Sam deep. Deep enough to induce singer-songwriter-GarageBandmaster Zoe Bromelow to write all kinds of songs celebrating that love.
|Art by Jackie de Leon|
"Up to No Good" (sorry, I couldn't find a way to embed these)
So I'll stay with Padfoot even when he's crazy"Every Star in the Sky"
I'll stick with Wormtail even when he's lazy
Be Prongs' friend even when he's insufferable
This means trouble
You always could see right through me
A silent smile for some inner beauty
I always did know how to calm you down
But life's not the same without James and Lily
It's hard to sleep and it's hard to cry
But still I repeat it like a lullaby
This war will end
We'll see them again
I swear on every star in the sky
|Spoilerific, but I couldn't resist. Art by ahshow.|
So much simmering resentment. I look back at my own school-day friendships and I remember having friends like that: friends I liked (even loved), but didn't really trust, friends I knew would isolate me at the first mis-step..those weren't my closest friends. My dearest friends from school were the ones I trusted with my whole heart, the ones I know are still there for me, despite the miles, despite the spiritual distance, despite the paths we've taken that lead away from each other. There's still that core closeness..and maybe that closeness is there, somewhere deeply hidden in the trio. Buried behind back-biting, petty betrayals, and thoughtless cruelties, maybe there's the core of friendship. But if it's there, it seems like a sad, struggling thing - beset on all sides.Two words: Hermione Granger.
|Art by conniiption.|
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron and Hermione don't speak to each other for weeks on account of Hermione's cat supposedly killing Ron's rat. Harry and Ron are both more heartless without Hermione, and it's her approach, trembling, with the important knowledge of a mutual friend's grief, that begins reconciliation. That act cracks Ron's pride. When Ron's pride cracks, Hermione's caves in, and Harry's might never have existed. All is forgiven.
The Trio is beset on all sides, what with a serious lack of adult guidance and an evil wizard trying desperately to kill one of them off. They quarrel like siblings and sometimes have a real blowup between them, but there is always love there. It pulls them back together every time.
|Art by Rae.|
Still, if it is there - and I never see it reading the books, really, only in discussing them afterwards with enthusiastic people who can see it - it does raise the friendships in the series above where I saw them. I like to hope that maybe Rowling is trying to draw that aspect of friendship out. Reminding her readers again and again that love is something constant..something that 'bears all things..endures all things..[and] never fails.'Human love fails regularly. Rowling shows us that, but she also shows it growing, becoming more than itself, finding new ways around old breaches. Some sort of conflict between the Trio plays a role in the overarching conflict in several of the books, if not all seven, but the friends always return to peace.
What do you think, are her friendships true and beautiful? Are they Loving?I'd argue that Rowling's friendships are realistic: true and beautiful at times, flawed and unattractive at others. They develop, progress and regress, and finish out the story rather wonderfully, in my opinion, though I'm not allowed to talk about that yet. :)