I received the following in my mail today. It’s from AWAD mail # 190, December 10, 2005.
From: Mike Pope (mike.popeATmicrosoft.com)
Subject: Harry Potter
A bespectacled, hard-working Brit (I thought that was Harry Potter).
Actually, the “hard-working” part is Hermione. Some time ago, ChrisSuellentrop wrote an amusing essay in Slate http://www.slate.com/id/2073627/(or perhaps an infuriating one, if one is particularly enamored of MasterPotter) in which he casts a critical eye on the success of Harry Potter andconcludes that Harry himself has had little to do with it:
Harry Potter is no braver than his best friend, Ron Weasley, just richer andbetter-connected. Harry’s other good friend, Hermione Granger, is smarterand a better student. The one thing Harry excels at is the sport ofQuidditch, and his pampered-jock status allows him to slide in his studies,as long as he brings the school glory on the playing field. But as CharlesBarkley long ago noted, being a good athlete doesn’t make you a role model.[…]
What Harry has achieved on his own, without his mother, stems mostly fromluck and, more often, inheritance. He’s a trust-fund kid whose success athis school, Hogwarts, is largely attributable to the gifts his friends andrelatives lavish upon him. A few examples: an enchanted map (made in part byhis father), an invisibility cloak (his father’s), and a state-of-the artmagical broom (a gift from his godfather) that is the equivalent of a Lexusin a high-school parking lot… In fact, Harry rarely puts hard workor effort into anything. He is a “natural”. Time and again, Harry iscelebrated for his instinctual gifts. When he learns that he is aParselmouth, or someone who can speak the language of snakes, Rowlingwrites, “He wasn’t even aware of deciding to do it.” (In fact, when Harrytries to speak this language, he can’t do it. He can only do itinstinctively.) When Harry stabs a basilisk in Chamber of Secrets, Rowlingwrites that he did it “without thinking, without considering, as though hehad meant to do it all along.” In Goblet of Fire, during Harry’s battle withVoldemort, Rowling writes that “Harry didn’t understand why he was doing it,didn’t know what it might achieve. …”
As they say, “when you put it that way …”