Okay hold my coffee while I write this, and that is your cue to understand that I am going to write about something I find quite minute and maybe a little bit irrelevant if not outright stupid (and you’ll find out that that is something I usually end up doing). As a huge Harry Potter fan, wanted to elaborate for those who didn’t get the quote “you are just as sane as I am,” I made it my mission to start off with an entry on the series. Hence, this is going to be about Harry Potter and hopefully I can suppress my enthusiasm so that this will not turn into a 100 page piece on how awesome the books are.
What I am about to say will sound so absurd, but hear me out. Isn’t Harry Potter like a modern Arthurian romance? Well, it isn’t actually but I have been finding these elements in the books that made me think about medieval times. Obviously Hogwarts being in Scotland like a Camelot figure (those who think it was in England, shame on you), the names of the Weasleys, the possible brief reference to the Wife of Bath, constant usage of Merlin’s name and various sirs,-Cadogan, for example, was a sworn knight of the Round Table-throughout the plot makes the reader think of the Arthurian times and Arthur directly reminds me of Arthurian romance and hence the code of chivalry. There are some basic rules to be a chivalric knight (and we need one for the sake of the romance): no murder, no treason, no fights over mundane things and always help those in need. Pretty straightforward, right? Let’s see how Harry deals with these.
First of all, his signature spell is “Expelliarmus” rather than a more sinister one, like the killing curse, and it pretty much says it all about the ultimate rule though it is okay for knights to kill monsters. Hence our little knight in shining armor kills Slytherin’s “monster.” Other than that he is pretty harmless except for that one “Sectumsempra,” Harry doesn’t even kill Voldemort, Voldemort kills himself on his own. He may have caused some people’s deaths, but they were never intentional.
Secondly, you cannot betray your king. In the medieval sense, a king is the one who acts as a shepherd to his people and in our case it is Dumbledore. He acts as this wise, old, almighty figure and guides and aids his students throughout his career. Teens even form an army under his name. For the sake of chivalric code, Harry has to be totally loyal to him and he actually is. Remember that one time he managed to call Fawkes to him? Yeah only those that show him real loyalty could summon Fawkes. Even though their relationship is strained in his fifth year, Harry names his extracurricular activity group after him and does not betray him against Rufus Scrimgeour (“Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you, Potter?”).
His main fight in the series is against the darkest wizard of all times-blah blah blah, but he is not the only one. Harry fights various monster like figures (dementors, rogue bludgers, blast-ended skrewts…) but most of all he fights bullying (against himself and others) and peer pressure, corruption of media and government, injustice and eventually death. His literal fight against Voldemort is a representation of the fight put against tyrants and proving that as an insignificant nobody, anybody can stand up to those who oppress them. Also throughout his journey, he seems to be helping those in need; Ginny, Fred and George, Sirius, the entire world.
As you can see, Harry is the idealized modern medieval knight. His very own quest is to conquer death (a very noble and medieval theme) and defeat a dark lord. He is our very own version Sir Gawain. He is also on his way to defeat another powerful knight-also death eventually. The way he accepts death with open arms (like the youngest brother from “The Tale of the Three Brothers”) albeit with some hesitation mirrors the way Harry also accepts death in the forest. Gawain’s causes Green Knight to spare his life whereas Harry’s causes him to reclaim his own. Also the usage of green in both of them (the knight being green and Voldemort’s house color and favourite way of killing being green) ties Voldemort and the Green Knight on another level-though I find the latter more likable and redeemable. Hence, whenever I reread Harry Potter, I can’t stop myself from remembering that particular romance and to some extent picture Harry in a knight’s armor with a wand instead of a sword.