The Eyes Have It

“I expect you’ll tire of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James. Except for the eyes…you have your mother’s eyes.”(427) It is often said that the eyes are the window to the soul. This is significant where Harry is concerned because it leads us to conclude that Rowling was trying to show that, while Harry looks a lot like his father on the outside, on the inside he has his mother’s personality. This personality shows itself particularly strongly in the company that both Harry and James keep.

            James is not a bully, but he does enjoy being the center of attention and he can’t help showing off sometimes. This is first seen during the conversation between the teachers in the Three Broomsticks, when Professor McGonagall describes both him and Black as “leaders of their little gang” and “exceptionally bright” (204). Their “little gang” consisted of James, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. Further on in the conversation McGonagall states that Pettigrew was “never quite in their league, talent-wise,” and that he “hero-worshipped Black and Potter” (207). From this conversation is seems as if James allowed Pettigrew into their group because he was in awe of everything they did. James probably loved having Pettigrew “tagging around after them at Hogwarts” (207). This eventually comes back to haunt James. He, Lupin, and Black felt real loyalty towards each other because they had formed genuine bonds of friendship based on whether they enjoyed being with each other instead of what they could provide for each other. With Pettigrew, however, they allowed him to be their friend because he loved everything they did, never recognizing that he felt no true loyalty towards them and was only their friend because they were popular and could protect him if he needed it.

            The relationship between Harry and his friends is markedly different than his father’s because he has more of his mother’s personality. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are friends not because they feel they can benefit from each other, but because they enjoy each other’s company. Their friendship is truer than the friendship between James and Pettigrew because none of them are looking to gain anything from the friendship except a friend. In addition to Ron and Hermione, Harry is also friends with Neville Longbottom, a boy who is very similar to Peter Pettigrew. Neville is seemly not very talented and is usually impressed by what the trio do. Unlike, Pettigrew however, Neville does not feel the need to tag along incessantly after the trio nor is he friends with them simply because Harry is famous. Likewise, Harry is not friends with Neville just because Neville thinks Harry is someone to be admired. Harry’s friendship with Neville is like his mother’s would be. Harry is kind and accepting of Neville because it is the right thing to do; whereas James only accepted Pettigrew for the adoration he would give himself and the others.

When it comes to loyalty however, Harry is very similar to his father. James would have rather died than betray his friends, even Pettigrew, and Harry would do the same for Ron, Hermione, and Neville. Unfortunately, Harry and James also make the mistake of acquiring childhood enemies. In the first book, we learn that James and Snape were enemies at school. This relationship is shown in more depth as the books progress, especially anytime Harry mentions his father in front of Snape. This childish relationship of hatred is mirrored in Harry and Draco’s relationship.  Harry and Draco hate each other almost the minute they enter the school. This relationship is similar to that of James and Snape because in both relationships it is a case of Gryffindor vs. Slytherin and hatred of Dark Arts vs. fascination with Dark Arts. These relationships do differ however, in the way they are executed. At one point Snape reveals to Harry “Your saintly father and his friends played a highly amusing joke on me that would have resulted in my death…had their joke succeeded, he would have been expelled” (285). This quote shows that James and his friends often goaded Snape into doing things, which resulted in him taking every opportunity to get them back. In the Harry and Draco relationship however, it is usually Draco that picks the fights and goads Harry and his friends. The trio, for the most part, only responds to Draco out of defense of themselves or others. When he insults Hagrid for crying over Buckbeak, “Harry and Ron both made furious moves… Hermione got there first…she had slapped Malfoy across the face” (293). They never try to jinx Draco in the hallway or trick him into doing something stupid or dangerous. James and Snape had a more balanced relationship of hatred with both sides attacking the other, whereas Harry and Draco’s relationship is slightly unbalanced with Draco instigating more of the issues then Harry.

Harry has avoided some of the pitfalls his father fell into in terms of his friends because of having more of his mother’s personality. Unlike his father, Harry chooses not to become friends with people who only like him because he is famous; instead befriending people he enjoys being with and whom he can be himself around. Harry and his friends feel a deep loyalty to each other and therefore he will not run into the same problem of betrayal that his father did. However, the pitfall that Harry was unable to avoid was the acquisition of a childhood enemy. Both he and his father gained enemies at school, although James’s proved to be fatal, while Harry’s did not.

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