I’m not ashamed to admit it. Two nights ago I cried while reading the last part of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Presently I was thinking about how the story — while quite interesting — didn’t seem to have much depth. [spoiler alert… … …] And then Cedric nobly shared the tournament victory with Harry. Because of this act, he got in the way of Voldemort’s plot to kill Harry and Voldemort heartlessly murdered him. It was too much for me — a selfless act traumatically cut short by a hater of life. Then, I think I started to see the strength of the Harry Potter stories. Rowling’s characters recall traits in ourselves and others that we admire or disdain. These are bigger than life truths: She paints a first-rate picture of unselfishness and courage. Then alongside, she bluntly exposes egoism and cowardice.
In this story, there are three types of cowards that I see: The heartless evil mastermind (Voldemort), the gutless followers of Voldemort, and the lack-spined government officials who refuse to fight the Dark Side. Chickens — whether overtly evil or not — will trade freedom and justice for safety. They sign terms of surrender before the war starts.
I was recently reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. “…Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage. …A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine…”
So, after Voldemort killed Cedric, Harry determined not to wait for death but to fight to the end. He sought his life in the spirit of furious indifference. He escaped. He will continue to fight the Dark Side.
Yeah, I guess I’m a fan now.