As I continue exploring (or re-exploring) the world of Harry Potter books, I realize the impact the third book (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) has had on me. Taking topics from memory, this is the 3rd letter where I’m writing on something I first read in that book. There are quite a few spells that I recollect with ease. The three unforgivable curses, Alohomora, the leg-locking curse, are some that I remember off the top of my mind. And then there are two which are prominent through the series.
When Sirius Black escapes from the wizard prison Azkaban, most people’s concerns are for Harry Potter’s well-being, which prompts the Minster for Magic to send the prison’s guards (Dementors) to Hogwarts, to protect Harry, as well as to capture Sirius when he tries to get to Hogwarts. The Dementors are non-beings that consume the happiness that a person has, leaving the person forlorn. Harry, who has more despair than joy to remember, is affected by the non-beings more than others, leaving him to seek help from his Defence against the Dark Arts professor.
Expecto Patronum, or the Patronus Charm, is what Lupin teaches Harry. It involves letting a happy memory consume and fill the person, before casting the charm which takes the partial form of an animal and charges with that happiness and positivity at the dementor, driving them away. Harry’s Patronus takes the form his father’s Patronus once took – a stag. Hermione’s is an otter. Kingsley Shacklebolt’s is a lynx. Perhaps the most affected I have been seeing a Patronus in the series is when Snape reveals his. That scene is so poignant, yet it is one that I can never ever forget. It is one I feel more connected to than when Harry’s Stag charges down the Dementors in the match against Ravenclaw. For me, the Patronus charm shows something very valuable… that if we focus on what makes us happy, and let that be the reason to continue, that happiness can push away any person who tries to suck the joy out of our life. The positive energy is always there with us, in memories and moments that we cherish. We just have to remember. It’s one of the reasons this spell means a lot to me.
The second spell is memorable for becoming the signature spell of Harry Potter. It’s called the Disarming Charm, or Expelliarmus. It literally means, Expel from the Arm, so its effect is to knock the opponent’s wand out of their hand. When I first read of the charm in the second Harry Potter book (The Chamber of Secrets), I had no idea it would play as prominent a part as it ended up playing. The Duelling Club started by Professor Gilderoy Lockhart is memorable to me for two reasons, one of which is Snape blasting Lockhart with a powerful disarming charm. That Harry, Hermione and Ron use it to disarm Snape with equal power in the third book (my tryst with this book continues, eh?) was another instance that left me amazed. Over the series, Harry uses it often… at the Hangleton Graveyard, teaching it to the DA, using it against Stanley Shunpike and of course against Voldemort again in the final Wizarding Battle. Harry’s defence of the charm may have felt out of place to Lupin, but it kind of added and confirmed the kindness to his character that Rowling seemed to build through the series.
What E from the world of Harry Potter comes to your mind first, other than the two I’ve talked of here? Another that comes to mind is Errol, the confused, erring owl of the Weasley family. He plays an important part in The Chamber of Secrets book, but nothing much is heard about Errol after.
Also, what form do you feel your Patronus would take? I think mine would be a lion, given I’m Leo by both pen-name and zodiac. But a Patronus can be formless too, and in the end, it is positive energy. So I hope you continue to focus on your joys and keep your Dementors at bay. Happy Wednesday to you all.
(© 6th April 2016)