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Mama Deb
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Harry as Spoiled Rotten

I just read post where someone said she didn't like Gryffindors, which is, of course, a matter of opinion.

But someone responding to her post said that Harry was a spoiled rotten brat, and, well.

I don't get it. I really don't get it. I mean, I'm not saying people have to like the character, but "spoiled rotten brat"? Brat is a matter of opinion, but "spoiled rotten"? The boy who lived in a cupboard until he was almost eleven? (I have to say, when I first saw "The boy who lived", I thought of it as meaning, "The boy who did nothing but live. Didn't hope, didn't dream, didn't care. Just lived." And, you know, that pretty well describes his pre-letter life.)

He was made the youngest Seeker in centuries and given a fancy broom. This is special, but A. he didn't ask for it and B. it wasn't personal. That is, McGonagall had a hole in her House Quidditch team roster. She needed it filled or there would be no Quidditch cup, and I'm guessing none of the second years qualified enough. She looked out a window and saw one of her Gryffindors flying spectacularly, and took action. It happened to be Harry. If it had been Neville or Dean or Hermione or Lavender who was doing that sort of flying, it would be one of *them* on the team, not Harry. If, on the other hand, there had been a decent Seeker on the team already, Harry probably would have lost some points. As it was, he managed to lose more points with McGonagall than Snape ever took off. Because he does get punished for his actions when he gets caught. And he doesn't protest those punishments, either. Not even in book five, when he should have.

He gets punished for Dobby's actions both at home and in the Wizarding world. He doesn't get punished in PoA for similar actions because Sirius escaped and he needed to be kept safe. And, yes, I do think that was because he was Harry, but *Harry* didn't ask for or expect such treatment. He expected to be expelled and wasn't even going to protest it. Because, you know, spoiled rotten kids never protest fair treatment.

When it comes to GoF - the only reason he got special treatment at all was because of Barty, Jr, and he'd have been extremely happy to not have gone through the Triwizard at all, thank you very much. He didn't want to do it in the first place.

As for OotP - he's left alone with those relatives of his after a major trauma - seeing a friend die, seeing Pettigrew maim himself, seeing his own blood being used to resurrect Voldemort and then fighting him, and let's not forget the ghosts of his parents and taking Cedric's body back to Hogwarts. And how is he rewarded? By being threatened with expulsion for saving his and his cousin's lives. Is he over the top? I'm surprised he didn't scream and shout so much in earlier books. In fact, he's remarkably nonviolent given everything - just loudness until the very end, and then he took all his anger and grief out on nonliving objects.


I absolutely agree. Harry does not get his own way, and he often doesn't even bother asking for what he wants. In that way he is remarkably passive; he lacks control over his life in ongoing and and significant ways, he is the character to whom things happen. And they are generally bad things, or tainted - like the Triwizard Tournament, and the other examples you listed. Everything he is granted comes at the expense of other things, and I think he is very grateful for what he does get: a home at Hogwarts, friends, etc.

And considering his life: what amounts to child abuse at home, and incrementally worse things as he matures, I too am surprised that he hasn't shown more anger, more violence. But then, it is a product of his upbringing perhaps - keeping quiet is better for you, with the Dursley family.


i'm kind of interested that both of you conclude with note of harry's nonviolence -- it appears that you're offering this as evidence of his non-spoiled-ness. i agree that spoiled-rotten children can be prone to temper tantrums; is that where that comes from? because i have to say, i don't think non-violent = non-spoilt in all cases; see below re: entitlement issues. harry has obviously not literally been spoiled in his childhood, but if people perceive him as behaving like a spoiled brat, i expect it comes from the "ME ME ME" that shows up more and more as he gets older.

I don't see the "me me me" stuff. I saw a demand for information, but that was about it. A loud and obnoxious demand for information.

I can't speak for randomalia, but I was just - given his upbringing, one would expect Harry to be abusive and violent himself, and he isn't. The only emotion he knows is anger, really, and that can manifest very violently.

That's exactly what I was saying - or trying to say. I'm not equating his non-violence with not being spoiled at all. I think Harry's increasing anger and focus on himself is him finally adjusting out of that phase of his childhood where there was no focus on him at all (except a negative one). He didn't matter, and wasn't allowed to matter. That isn't the case any longer: he is of crucial importance to the world, and important for different reasons to his friends, but he still lacks a vital thing: control. He has none over his life, as exemplified by the prophecy made before he was even born. That's where his frustration comes from, I think.

I'm either not seeing the 'me me me' thing, or I'm interpreting it a different way. I think in some ways Harry does tend to see himself at the center of things--but to me that feels more like being realistic than feeling entitled. Harry *is* at the center of a whole lot of things and it would be stupid and naive of him to pretend he's not. The one instance I can see of an entitlement issue is where he thinks he should've been the one to be named prefect and it's only a short while before he's embarrassed and ashamed of himself for his thoughts.

Okay, now I'm contradicting myself here, but on further thought I think I can see what you mean about entitlement issues, but I think it's a natural result of being the Boy Who Lived and the youngest seeker in a century and a parselmouth and a Triwizard Champion--none of them things he sought, but all things that changed his position in society and society's reaction to him. And I think he continually fights it with his innate modesty.

So far as I could tell, he felt he was entitled to information about the state of the world *and* to have honest communication with his friends. He wasn't as articulate as he could be about that, but, you know. Fifteen and not Hermione. For the first time in his life, he was asking questions.

I think that changed in OotP. The events after the Triwizard shocked him enough that he began asking questions and demanding information. And what was his reward? It took much yelling to get any information at all, and that was limited. And then he spent the rest of the school year being told "learn this", and "endure this" and "keep quiet" without being told *why*. Not that far from home, really, including unfair punishments.

I think that was the most shocking thing about OotP for me -- after all Harry had been through and faced, with little to no adult help, for the adults in his life to suddenly turn all worried and protective just flabbergasted me. I mean, if you guys are looking to protect his innocence, I'm sorry to say that ship sailed a *long* time ago. I guess I didn't see Harry's reaction to that as entitlement so much as a big "WTF?"

for the adults in his life to suddenly turn all worried and protective just flabbergasted me. I mean, if you guys are looking to protect his innocence, I'm sorry to say that ship sailed a *long* time ago

I thought that, too. I thought Molly Weasley's attempting to protect him was absurd and silly - he'd long gone beyond a point at which that would be helpful - and I thought, that, ultimately, was the cause of Sirius's death.

i don't know if i'd call him a spoiled rotten brat, but by the beginning of OotP he certainly does have entitlement issues out the yingyang. he doesn't actively exploit his celebrity -- as snape assumes he will, and as he no doubt would if he'd ended up in slytherin, which is probably a good deal of why snape assumes he will -- and for the first three books, he makes various efforts not to be given advantages he doesn't take in the first place. he can't argue with mcgonagall when she says "rules, schmules, you're playing quidditch", i agree; and he can't argue any more than he does with fudge when fudge says "law, schmaw, you're not expelled". and he does try to get out of the triwizard tournament.

he's not violent in OotP, but he is obnoxious -- i chalk that up to trauma, as you say, and (shock of shocks) being a teenager. again, i didn't see spoiled brat as much as i saw fifteen-year-old boy. as i read it the first time, i thought, wow, the voice here is exactly right. kid's going to look back on this behavior and cringe.

I don't get it either, and it's really a peeve with me. This is probably overly simplistic, but it seems to me that a lot of comments like that come from fans who really like Snape, Draco or some other Slytherin -- in other words, one of Harry's 'enemies' -- and they seem to find it necessary to put Harry down in order to justify their love for their own favorite.

I agree with what you've said here. I was actually kind of stunned by how gracious Harry was at the very end of OotP. If it were me I probably would've told them all to piss off and good luck killing Voldemort cuz I'm *out* of here!

You may be on to something. It may also explain a lot (not all) of the Dumbledore bashing. (I don't quite understand that. He was never called a perfect person, just a great wizard. And he is a great wizard, but he still makes mistakes. And each mistake costs him students' lives. This is a civil war between his own students - people forget that.)

I think that maybe those first sixteen months of life with Lily and James helped a lot.

Or not that they're putting him down to justify their liking another character but just that they get into the pov of that character so much they start seeing what that character sees in Harry: Snape's right! Harry is disrespectful to him in class! Only that character doesn't have the same insight into the character.

I mean, I think it's good to be able to say, "Well, think of how this looks to Snape/Draco/whoever," to understand their reactions and characters, but you can't lay all the blame for every other character's reactions to him entirely on Harry. You have to understand how both characters are getting to each other. Once you see things from each characters pov you have to get objective again--imo, anyway.

Reading that post my first thought was that the person was just trying to be provocative. I think it's got to be an intentional exaggeration of things that the poster just doesn't like.

I've even found that description (spoiled brat) to be too simplistic for Draco--and he obviously really is a spoiled brat. It just glosses over things I see in the character. So for Harry it's even more misleading. And that's unfortunate because it probably covers up any valid points the person has about him.

I'm actually torn about Draco and spoiledness. (Dudley is the real example of a spoiled brat, and Draco, for all his faults, is not a bad in that respect as Dudley.) It's clear he's endulged, but his father does find ways to put him down, and in front of strangers. And you know my theory about the broomsticks for Slytherin - I think Draco did deserve to be the Seeker for his team and would have gotten on regardless. So why did Lucius buy the brooms? He had to know how it would look. Malfoys know all about appearences.

He did it to help his own position - "Look, Flint, I bought brooms for your boy and the rest of his team. You owe me." and, I think, as a weapon in case Draco turned. "I own you. You're worthless. You couldn't even get on your Quidditch team without me. And you can't even beat Potter!" Draco knows he belongs on the team anyway, but he can't prove it.

Yes, I do hate Lucius. His actions during CoS - putting Tom Riddle's diary into Ginny's basket - my goodness. If he knew what he was doing, it means he knew he was at the very least endangering the life of an eleven year old girl, and it was only purest luck (far too much luck, actually) that those affected by the Basilisk were only Petrified, not killed. If he knew, he had to have meant their deaths. And he had to have known, or Dobby wouldn't have tried to keep Harry from coming to Hogwarts.

Jason Isaacs is gorgeous, but Lucius Malfoy is evil.

I am totally with you on all those things--it's part of what I find interesting about Draco vs. Dudley, really. Dudley is soft, Draco is pointy. I think Draco is in a situation where he's both indulged and treated very badly--Lucius' put-downs in Borgin & Burkes really bother me. I can't see them like people do who think Lucius is just "worried about his grades." (No, he's just humiliating him in front of a shopkeeper and telling him if he does well it's because of his blood and if he fails it's is fault and he should be doubly ashamed because a Muggleborn beat him.)

It's no wonder Draco lashes out exactly the way he does when Hermione uses the brooms Lucius bought to humiliate him. (And ITA he belongs on the team.)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

Basically, HP is a good place to learn about bad parenting. Compared to the Dursleys and the Malfoys (and possibly the Blacks and the Snapes), the Weasleys *are* a model family. At least, the kids aren't spoiled or abused - and even they have apparently lost one son to outside forces. (I'm warming to the idea that Percy is working undercover, but as it stands, he's rejected his family as much as Sirius rejected his.)

And, yes, Dudley has been damaged as much as Harry has been - but there are some positive signs. He kept to his diet both at home and at school, and boxing, even if the boxer is relying on brute strength, requires training and discipline. Which means Dudley has learned to achieve real goals.

You know, I do wonder what sort of life either boy would have had if Vernon and Petunia had been, well, different people.

I was just yesterday talking to someone about how screwed up poor Dudley has been. His whole life, his parents have had no clear idea of who he is or what he's like; they've been interacting with a picture in their heads of the Perfect Son. They don't address his flaws because they don't see them. And that means they don't see him. Dudley's got nothing. And at some level he's got to be aware of that.

And the person I was talking to about it suggested that that's what he saw when he was attacked by the Dementors.

Jason Isaacs is gorgeous, but Lucius Malfoy is evil.
And I think thats something a lot of people forget. Because after the movie Lucius became far more popular.

I know I spent CoS drooling, and I don't normally do things like that.

Evil can, after all, look *fabulous.*

(Why do so many drama queens come from Slytherin?)

Evil can, after all, look *fabulous.*

An then people try and make him out to be nice. Becasue if he's gorgeous, he must not really be evil. And then it all just goes downhill.

(Because if you're not a total sneak or a drama queen they eat you?)

Word. We don't have to take the canon!Draco line (and Draco probably doesn't know most of what Harry has gone through.)

I venture to say that Draco hasn't the slightest idea of what Harry went through, beyond being raised by Muggles. I don't think anyone outside of, possibly, Dumbledore, knows the full extent of how the Dursleys raised the two boys under their care. Harry doesn't talk about himself and he doesn't complain. They only know what they've seen for themselves and the one or two things Harry told them - the Weasley boys know he was locked up and starved in the summer before Second year. Arthur knows they don't care about him enough to say good-bye (and he was shocked, but he would be.) Molly could tell he was underfed, and later she contributed food in the Summer before fourth year. However, Harry probably phrased the request like,"Help! My cousin's on a diet, so I am, too! Send food!" Beyond that, I don't think even Ron or Hermione know more, and Draco doesn't even know that much.

Because, if he did, he'd *use* it. Draco doesn't miss a chance to hurt someone verbally. He learned that lesson quite well from his father. Which is not why Harry's keeping it a secret. He's keeping it a secret because he doesn't want people to feel sorry for him, because he doesn't want attention. Attention is *bad*, after all. It gets you pulling weeds all day without lunch, or locked in your room except for meals and bathroom., or nearly expelled from Hogwarts.