There are many moral and social lessons from the Harry Potter series of novels. The lessons are both of moral and ethical importance. Desire is one such important social theme that is depicted in the first (the sorcerer's stone) and the fourth series. The novel ends with the personal growth and development of Harry Potter and the discussion that Harry Potter had with Dumbledore. This discussion totals up the teaching of the entire series on desire. The effect of these desires is not beneficial to the characters since it makes them slaves while livings lives that do not reflect their true self. This paper discusses the relevance of desire in the series of Harry Potter to the society.
Desire is an important social topic that emerges from the Harry Potter series. The novel ends with the personal growth and development of Harry Potter and the discussion of Harry Potter with Dumbledore. This discussion is what sums up the theme of desire in the whole novel series. The discussion is as below with Dumbledore telling Harry potter:
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"You Know, the stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! Then two things most human beings would choose above all - the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things which are worst for them" (Grimshaw 212).
Desire is implicitly expressed in Harry Potters Novels though it can be observed in many things done by the characters. According to Heilman, the central aspects of desire in Harry Potter is how it is presented, what it reveals about Harry potter, and how it contributes to the development of Harry potters identity (56). The desires of other characters bring out the other points that could not be illustrated and contribute to the whole story by providing new insights in interpreting the deeper meaning behind a given desire.
Desire affects characters in the nove series as questioned by Heilman, most often, desire leads to situations that are dysfunctional, threatening or even fatal. The theories of Sigmund Freud, Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari are significant in explaining the effects of desire. According to Sigmund, desire affects the inner dynamics of an individual. He gives examples of childhood experiences such as the Oedipus that is concerned with sexual desire (Sigmund 132). His concept of desire also includes instincts, drives and passion that determine the behavior and beliefs of a person. Heilman defines desire as a feeling or emotion that is directed towards the attainment of something from which there is the expectation of satisfaction (Heilman 66). Various things act as desires in the Harry Potter series and lead to the influence of characters' behaviors. They include factors such as social pressures, the burden of heritage and identity, desire for different kinds of enslavement and personal and collective identity desires.
Harry Potter's family, the Dursleys represent the Oedipus and its effects as described by Freud. The thoughts of Harry porter and those of Lord Voldermort at some point in the novel series conform to those of Freud's mode of thinking. It is the desire of the Dursleys to live in a world that is logical and normal. This is expressed as the intense fear and anxiety of all things inexplicable or extraordinary. This is seen as a consequence of their knowledge of the existence of magic. This causes the Dursleys to live in fear that some one will find out about their freak relatives, the construction of their lives based on lies and fakeness. According to Holt, the Dursleys' desire of being a respected full member of the society on a slightly high level of the hierarchy than most of the other society members is their greatest desire (211). They have a strong desire to mix with the conservative, wealthier and the upper middle class community. Though they succeed outwardly using materials, their total success depends on their society.
The desire of the Dursleys to live a wealthier life similar to the life of conservative upper class people makes them live a false life that is full of lies. They live as slaves trying to run away from reality. Giles notes that the more they run away from reality by consolidating material goods in an attempt to define their reality, the weaker the identity becomes (142). Additionally, the desires of Harry and Dumbledore deteriorate the more they desire. This is depicted by the image Dumbledore shows Harry Potter in the mirror. He notes that "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest most desperate desire of our lives" (Grimshaw 215). It is therefore clear that the desires are not beneficial at all to the characters.
The burden of heritage and the desire for identity is another important desire depicted in the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter battles with suspicions of being the heir of Salazar Syltherin. He is deeply n the middle of identity crisis that matches marginalization that undermines a developing identity. According to Grimshaw, Harry Potter suffers marginalization that is depicted through unfair accusations of having caused recent disasters, having misgivings about the unknown heritage and the tendencies and loyalties he is supposed to have (220). Another problem that he faces is that of being different and unique from other people. His first reaction to this is denial and the desire that is intense to be like others.
Lord Valdermond desires unrestricted power in the fascist society that he leads uncompromisingly. However, he does not realize that his desire for mastery and power results in destruction when it is not based on the on self knowledge and self mastery. Sigmund notes that this is not beneficial (145). In order to survive the effects of the desires of power and mastery, Heilman, notes that people need to know and understand their limits (79). The lack of understanding of oneself is demonstrated by the desires of Tom that control him and are intertwined by his identity in a crooked manner making him aim at subjecting and destroying the dominating class. Though he admits that he is half blood, he attacks his own people.
Grimshaw notes that Dudley and Voldermond suffer from Oedipus complex (221). Dursley comes close to Voldermond as he strives to meet his desires. Both are eager on terror and violence and they like exercising their will over other people. Though the desires of parents help them to shower their children with gifts, they also affect their children to discern more identity. For instance Dudley's parents shower him with many gifts without noticing his desire to want more external evidence of his power. The gifts they give him encourage him to exert his power over his parents, Harry Potter and other children. Therefore, despite this desire having few benefits, it has many dangers (Heilman 85).
In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter desire becomes to fight back his memories and fear that leave him incapacitated to face a Dementor. However, he realizes that he may not get rid of all his memories as he remembers the voices of his parents. He is captured by the voices of his parents. Thus, his underlying desire has not changed ad is till continuous as ever. Despite his socially acceptable reasons of wanting to abolish his parents in his mind, he still has his own personal reasons for wanting to keep them and banish them. Therefore, he is enslaved by his desires again. As he desires his slavery, several desires within him are at conflict making it difficult for him to concentrate on the practice the methods that he can use to resist the influence of the Dementors (Heilman 90). Harry Potter feels guilt and angry after finding out that he cannot conjure a Patronus magically despite the realization that his desires and fear originate from the same source (Giles 75).
According to Heilman, a connection between repression and Fascism exist (96). Repression creates an uninterrupted striving towards the fulfillment of given desire wile creating unconscious symbols that attract the conscious finding their way out through dreams and forming the basis of human endeavors and values. A drive that is repressive will always aim at full satisfaction by repeating an experience that satisfies primly. Harry Porter's repressions were revealed early during the encounter with the mirror of Erised illustrating Freud's dream theory in revealing repressed thoughts and emotions of Harry potter. Since the mirror of Erised has some special power of capturing people with fantastic pictures produced out of their deepest desires, the desire for parental love of Harry Potter becomes clear.
Harry lost his parents at the age of one year and never felt their presence in his life. He never felt loved in his foster family that was very dreadful. His desire to get closer to his parents was awakened by his father's Cloak. His desire for the love and care of his parents leaves Harry an anxious person. Though depicted as a dream in order to avoid anxiety, the mirror faces a threat. The desires of Harry Potter come into focus. There is no possibility of repression with Harry Potter's dream of his parents coming alive in the mirror of Erised. However, the danger of this is that the mirror shows the most desperate desires of our hearts though they still give us neither the truth nor Knowledge. Additionally, it is not clear as to whether what is shown in the mirror will com true or not (Holt 66). Personal and collective identity desires are also highlighted in the Harry Potter's series. These desires also enslave the characters while making them vulnerable to doing many harmful things to enhance their identity.
Desire is a major theme in the series of Harry Potter. Desire is depicted in the series in different forms. It can be applied in the social context to determine the benefits and the dangers to the society and the characters. From the series of Harry Potter, desire can be depicted by the desires of characters. They include the burden of heritage and desire for identity, social pressures as desires, desires for different kinds of enslavement and personal and collective identity desires. These desires as discussed above can affect the characters to act in different dangerous manner. The desires makes characters slaves of their own desires while living lives that are no theirs.