15 July 2006

A Lesson from Harry Potter

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, there is a scene of provocation by Draco Malfoy which resulted in disastrous consequences for our protagonist. I'm not sure if this scene is going to be included in the upcoming movie, but anyone who has read the book would surely remember it.


The setting of the scene was in the Quidditch field, immediately after a match which Gryffindor narrowly beated Slytherin. Harry was in his usual position of the Seeker, while Ron Weasley was the Keeper. The reason for the "good" performance of the Slytherins was Ron's incompetence in his job.

'Saved Weasley's neck, haven't you?' he said to Harry. 'I've never seen a worse Keeper... but then he was born in a bin... did you like my lyrics, Potter?'


'We wanted to write another couple of verses!' Malfoy called, as Katie and Alicia hugged Harry. 'But we couldn't find rhymes for fat and ugly - we wanted to sing about his mother, see -'


'- we couldn't fit in useless loser either - for his father, you know -'


'- but you like the Weasleys, don't you, Potter?' said Malfoy, sneering. 'Spend holidays there and everything, don't you? Can't see how you stand the stink, but I suppose when you've been dragged up by Muggles, even the Weasleys' hovel smells OK -'


'Or perhaps,' said Malfoy, leering as he backed away, 'you can remember what your mother's house stank like, Potter, and Weasley's pigsty reminds you of it -'

What happened next was that the Weasley twins and Harry Potter physically assaulted Draco Malfoy, and resultingly, they received a lifelong ban from playing Quidditch by the High Inquisitor for Hogworts, Dolores Umbridge (for some unknown reason, she kinda reminds me of Bhavani... but that's for another day).


Now, from a calm, outsider perspective, while Malfoy's provocation is indeed vicious, Harry's action is the one that crossed the line. Worse, it is hard to prove that the former indeed occurred, yet the latter is impossible to deny, given the overwhelming number of eyewitnesses.

Malfoy's words are but words, baseless and harmless. Harry should've seen that Malfoy's attack can do no damage as long as he himself does not take it seriously. By yielding to the insult, he falls precisely into the trap Malfoy set up for him and entangle himself in a dreadful situation. If he had responded by shrugging those verbal attacks aside, he would not have played himself into Malfoy's hands; in fact, it could've angered Malfoy even more, seeing that his plan has foiled.

However, in the heat of the game, amidst the rush of adrenaline, it is naturally difficult to maintain a calm and rational state of mind. Often, primal instincts and emotions rule. It will take tremendous amount of will power to rein those under the control of logical and rational thinking, but it is not impossible. In fact, that can be an advantage, for one can often see clearer if his mind is not misted by irrational factors. It is a valuable attribute we should all try and adopt.

Perhaps Zidane should've read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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