Monday, August 31, 2009

Harry Potter thought on Hirhurim blog - choosing beliefs

Gil Student's fun-to-read Hirhurim blog has an interesting article on the discussion in Deathly Hallows of Harry's choosing what to believe:

Here is the first discussion (pp. 152-153):
"Well, in that interview," Harry went on, "Rita Skeeter hinted that Professor Dumbledore was involved in the Dark Arts when he was young."

"Don't believe a word of it!" said Doge at once. "Not a word, Harry! Let nothing tarnish your memories of Albus Dumbledore!"

Harry looked into Doge's earnest, pained face and felt, not reassured, but frustrated. Did Doge really think it was that easy, that Harry could simply choose not to believe? Didn't Doge understand Harry's need to be sure, to know everything?
And here is the second exchange (p. 185):
[Hermione:] "Harry, do you really think you'll get the truth from a malicious old woman like Muriel, or from Rita Skeeter? How can you believe them? You knew Dumbledore!"

"I thought I did," he muttered.

"But you know how much truth there was in everything Rita wrote about you! Doge is right, how can you let these people tarnish your memories of Dumbledore?"

He looked away, trying not to betray the resentment he felt. There it was again: Choose what to believe. He wanted the truth. Why was everbody so determined that he should not get it?
Gil omits the final example, where after burying Dobby Harry makes the decision to continue with the task that he was given on the basis of belief in Dumbeldore. I this that this has a strong message for us. We can debate belief all we want, but there are also times that we have to act, and need to choose our actions based on their own right-ness even when in principle we're not certain about the beliefs.



Esser Agaroth said...


It's not from The Half-Blood Prince; it's from The Deathly Hallows.

Bruce Krulwich said...

Right you are, I've edited the post to correct the mistake. My mistake, not the post I was quoting.

Gil Student said...

Thanks. I'll let my daughter know that she missed that reference when I asked her to list all the times the issue is discussed in the book.

Anonymous said...

"buying" Dobby? You do mean "burying"; right?

Bruce Krulwich said...

Anonymous, yes, I meant "burying," I've fixed it in the post. That's what happens when I post quickly during lunchtime....

Anonymous said...

sure, blame your "daughter." you never even looked at the book, right?