Harry Potter and the Remarkably Unremarkable Main Character

The titular main character is often overshadowed by his luck and the accomplishments of his friends. Though Harry is the Chosen One, he rarely shows his so called "incredible" wizarding prowess as is stated that he possesses outside of his ability to catch a small golden ball. Does Harry Potter, the incredibly well known franchise that took the world by storm, truly deserve its fame when its main character is overall just an average wizard?

  • I partially agree with this, only because there are so many talented wizards without whom Harry Potter would not be Harry Potter. But who is a man (or a woman) without the people who helped him/her? HP was kind of pushed and dragged into being the Chosen One; he never really wanted it. His parents' legacies were what created this image of HP being the one to save all the wizarding world. He never really got a chance to choose his place in the battle. I think he doesn't deserve all the fame, but he should get some credit. It takes a lot to be what everyone wants you to be, and then to execute the prophecy that was placed on him at age 15/16. – madigoldman 7 years ago
  • I think that is precisely one of the reasons Harry Potter IS so successful. Harry Potter, this so-called Chosen One, the one whose name everyone knows, is an average boy. He's an average boy that has to prove to the world and himself that he doesn't belong in a closet under the stairwell, that he is important. This message is possibly the most important message to send to young adults, that you are special and if you are determined you can be great. If Harry were some amazing wizard and flaunted his powers every chance he had, average readers wouldn't be able to connect as well with him. It's this idea that even the life of an average person is great one that is the ultimate appeal of the Harry Potter series, other than the magic of course. – sastephens 7 years ago
  • I agree with sastephens and would like to add that one of the bigger reveals in the books is that Harry only ended up the Chosen One by chance. Neville also had the potential to become the Chosen One and the only reason it was Harry was because Voldemort chose him. Harry could have been just another ordinary wizard who excels at certain subjects and is rubbish at others and that is one of the things that makes him a wonderful and relatable protagonist. – Rxage 7 years ago
  • I think sastephens says it well. That ordinariness is a big part of his destiny. His archetype wouldn't work any other way. But, I do think that he doesn't exhibit any extraordinary magical skill or even a dynamic personality. However, I think an argument can be made for the overarching theme of the franchise, which I believe is choice. The one thing I can commend him for is his choices. While he isn't particularly charismatic, he does seem to make even-handed and noble choices despite his cursed inclination toward the Slytherin yoke. And, without having much guidance in how to act nobly, he seems to have an extraordinary sense of right and wrong. I think it can be summed up in the most pivotal decision-making scene that basically drives the rest of the story, when Harry declares "I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself." That choice, alone, sets Harry apart as remarkable. – wtardieu 7 years ago
  • To add on to some of these well-written thoughts, that ordinariness to Harry Potter is a large reminder to young teenagers and even older adults why we are capable of great things. We want to cheer on that character who isn't perfect but who are doing the "right" thing. If we look at the main characters of other great films such as Frodo from "Lord of the Rings," Luke Skywalker from "Star Wars," and Katniss of "The Hunger Games," they are all relative average individuals who get pulled into this unexpected adventure--whether that is fighting evil, overcoming odds, or leading a revolution. Why are are they so revered? They were quite ordinary in their own way, and in many ways, weren't perfect, talented individuals. None of these characters were the best fighters, warriors, or incredible geniuses (like Dr. Strange or Tony Stark). But we could root for them because of what they stood for. That these imperfect human beings can potentially help save the world... even when they don't seem like the perfect candidate to do that task. – kittycataddy 7 years ago
  • In most of the popular works that follows the heroes journey plot, the ordinariness of the protagonist is a leading factor. Much more than anything, their strength to prevail even when faced with situations that are far beyond their control and capabilities is what makes these characters popular. It gives hope to the average reader that he/she is capable of doing and being more than what they are told they can be. At every turn of the book, the hero is seen taking decisions, being annoyingly persevere and having hope in even in the worst of scenarios (Battle of Hogwarts) and these traits itself ensured the success and acceptance of the series. – fathima94 7 years ago

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