As Harry and Hermione are taking their triumphant ride on the back of a stolen Hippogriff named Buckbeak, Harry tries to explain to Hermione how he performed the daunting feat of summoning a patronus that cast away hundreds of dementors only seconds earlier.
While I do not believe in any wand waving form of magic or sorcery of any kind, I am a diehard fan of Harry Potter and challenge anyone to a duel of trivia on the matter.. but I digress, as my affinity for the acclaimed series is hardly the purpose of this post…
For those of you familiar with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I hardly need to delve into the twists and turns of what I personally think is the most thrilling and thought provoking installment of the entire series. For those of you who are not so familiar, I simply urge you to watch it, and to quote Professor Trelawny, “Use your inner eeeyyyeeee.”
But as I’ve kept you waiting, my reason for this post is that one line, “I knew I could do it this time because I had already done it.” Harry and Hermione embark on a race against time (Pardon the overused cliche, but it fits, trust me*) as they are sent back in time only a few hours into the past to rescue the lives of certain pivotal characters that would otherwise meet a most untimely and horrifying demise.
Buckbeak the Hippogriff is a creature that most resembles a horse-sized pigeon from head to just past the wing joint, where the remainder of the body possesses the form and function of a klidesale horse. Sirius Black is to Harry’s astonishment, his Godfather who was wrongfully sentenced to life in Azkaban, the wizard prison. Now escaped and hellbent on seeking justice against those responsible for his lengthy imprisonment and alienation from his Godson, he too must hope that the dreaded “dementor’s kiss” is not the fate that awaits him now that he is so close to regaining the life that what was taken from him.
This kiss that allows the hooded ghoulish beings that guard Askaban the chance to punish magical criminals in a manner that some perceive as worse than death. The kiss occurs after the dementers extract every last positive emotion and memory lingering within their victims. The kiss marks the literal removal or “sucking out” of one’s soul, leaving them alive, but in an irreversible zombie-like state providing only a shadow of their former selves.
The only weapon against these beasts is the Patronus charm; an incantation of “expecto patronum” is said aloud while focusing on a mental image of one’s most joyful memory. A feat not easily achieved by wizards in their early years and especially if their upbringing has been riddled with a slew of painful experiences and sorrow as was the experience of Mr. Harry Potter.
Now to the juice: During round one of life (aka prior to traveling back in time to correct their 13 year-old attempt at life) Harry and the gang semi-witness Beackbeak’s execution, or rather look away from their distant vantage point and accept the the loud swish and thump of the hooked blade to mean the deed had been done. Later on, after many more catastrophic events, Harry and Sirius end up at a river’s edge, talking about a seemingly bright future they could spend together. That is until Hundreds of dementors descend upon them, and suck out so much (positivity?) from the both of them, it is inevitable that they will both receive a kiss. As Harry’s vision begins to blur, catching site of a bright light across the river, the scene fades to black.
Then: After awaking in the hospital wing, Harry and Hermione are told to go back in time just a few hours to correct certain mishaps where, as Dumbledore, the school’s headmaster, implies “more than one innocent life can be saved.”
AND So: They do indeed save Buckbeak from the executioner’s blade, and unbeknownst to their “other” selves, become the catalyst for the remaining events that previously appeared to occur only due to chance. When we are brought once again to the river scene, ‘Current’ Harry watches and waits for what he thought was his father (who has been deceased for 13 years) to appear only feet ahead of him and cast the patronus that saved Sirius and himself only hours earlier. When it becomes evident that no such being appeared he leaps to his feet just as Hermione whispers, “No one’s coming Harry, your dying, both of you.” With a hearty “EXPECTO PATRONUM” Harry summons an impressive patronus that takes the form of an elegant stag that charges away the dementors before they could satiate themselves with the taste of Sirius’ and his young souls. Upon doing so they both mount Buckbeak and Harry goes on to explain that it was not his father that he had seen earlier, but himself. He then tries to impress upon Hermione that the realization that he had seen himself producing the stag served as the force behind the complete and utter confidence that he would produce another just in the nick of time.
WITH THAT SAID: I and by extension ‘We’ are faced with a very real and tangible explanation for the mechanisms involved with our ability to achieve goals set before us. It has been said that children who grow up with role models who resemble them, be it in gender or race are more likely to pursue and acquire careers in which these role models are present. In a matter of speaking, (or writing in this case) this logic might suggest that if one can see themselves or one who resembles them in a particular role, they are more likely to take on that role in the future. Unfortunately for some, these roles are not always that of a doctor or lawyer or any other cookie-cutter pseudo-dream career set before us before we reach the second grade. I say unfortunately because aside from the cookie-cutter ideals, some will submit to a life that promotes unlawful means by which one is expected to “earn” their income and provide for a family, if not only for themselves.
AS WE SEE WITH HARRY: During his first trist into the woods, he undoubtedly attempted to cast away the dementors for both his and Sirius’ sake, but exhaustian, and being blindsighted, as well as never actully producing a fully formed patronus did not serve him. Only catching that one glimpse of an individual who he did not realize was himself, but only RESEMBLED him was enough (JUICE?) to bring him to his feet and cast the charm that saved his life. As the charm is strengthened by a MEMORY, It is fascinating that the only memory up to that point powerful enough was one of him actually achieving the seemingly impossible goal.
Can this imply that simply seeing and believing enough to make your dreams, goals, or *wishes* come true?
Has it happened to you?
Song on at close: Axel Boman: Son of a Plumber (My dad used to be a plumber.. Sidenote**)
Setting: Living room.. Couch