- Cho: Erm ... there's another Hogsmeade trip next month, did you see the notice?
- Harry: What? Oh no, I haven't checked the notice board since i got back ...
- Cho: Yes, it's on Valentine's Day ...
- Harry: Right. Well, I suppose you want to --
- Cho: Only if you do.
- Harry: I -- er --
- Cho: Oh, it's okay if you don't. Don't worry. I-I'll see you around.
- Harry: Cho! Er -- d'you want to come into Hogsmeade with me on Valentine's Day?
- Cho: Oooh, yes!
- Harry: Right ... well ... that's settled then.
I’ve been reading a lot of Harry Potter lately - probably more than is healthy in such a short amount of time. But I have come to a realization I felt I should share. Voldemort isn’t all bad! Sure he kills hundreds of people .. and tortures even more .. but he can’t be blamed for his misdeeds. He is merely a product of his environment.
When Voldemort’s (Muggle) father discovers that his wife is a witch, he deserts both woman and unborn child. Thus even before birth, young Tom Riddle’s life is poisoned by abandonment. Yet another misfortune befalls the tragedy that is Lord Voldemort when his mother dies in childbirth, forcing him to be brought up in a Muggle orphanage, unable to fully understand himself and the severe deficiency of meaningful relationships in his life. Just as Harry Harlow’s monkeys, young Tom Riddle is forced to grow up without the love and emotional nourishment that are essential to a healthy life, ultimately resulting in a damaged human being. Without ever truly experiencing love or compassion, Riddle - and later Voldemort - is never able to reciprocate these feelings to those around him.
Some may argue that this lack of empathy results in Voldemort’s emotional isolation from other human beings - and rightfully so. Yet I would like to be clear that this is in no way a self-imposed isolation, at least not initially. Before he is even born, Voldemort is cut off from society by his father’s abandonment, which leads inevitably to his distrust of mankind as a whole - especially Muggles. The fact that his father left his mother for the sole reason that she was a witch (probably a combination of misunderstanding and fear) leads young Riddle to assume the same ignorance of all Muggles; this prejudice is fostered during his seven years in Slytherin, during which time he is transformed into the Dark wizard he is known to be.
Though this defense of Lord Voldemort may be criticized as being characteristically Humanistic (assuming that mankind is inherently good), I would argue (as I just have) that Voldemort’s actions are governed far more by his predictable reactions to his life experiences than by his inherent wickedness. That is, if he were not simply a fictional character.
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.
- Josh: Did you just call that cat your niece?
- Jen: Well it's my sister's cat and it's a girl .. What am I supposed to call it?
- Josh: A cat.