Harry Potter has many expectations thrust upon him due to his fame, but it is through his actions that he proves his heroism. Harry had the qualifications of a hero as a baby, surviving an attack from “the most feared Dark wizard…Voldemort” and making Voldemort flee (6). This past makes people very admiring of Harry. However, he is not only heroic for a past he scarcely remembers; he is heroic because he disregards his own safety while fearing for others and he shows mercy to people who harm him.
Harry shows heroic qualities such as fortitude—he is determined to learn to fight dementors, for example, wanting to conquer his fears no matter what. He also sacrifices himself for others when they are in danger. When a dog attacks his friend Ron and pulls him into a passageway, Harry knows there is not enough time to get help and runs after him; the only thing he can “think of [is] Ron and what the…dog might be doing to him” (337). He disregards his own safety many times, refusing to leave Ron when Professor Lupin turns into a werewolf, for example; he also runs into a crowd of dementors to save his godfather Sirius while knowing dementors have a more horrible effect on him than anyone else. In addition, he does all he can to save a hippogriff Buckbeak from execution, deciding to rescue Buckbeak and have Sirius escape on him. His risk of being caught by the executioners is very high; he determinedly says, “We’ve got to try, haven’t we?” at Hermione’s doubt (396). When he, Sirius and Hermione collapse due to swarms of dementors, Harry saves them all—to Hermione’s shock— with the spell “expecto patronum.” She tells him that it is “very, very advanced magic” (412). Through Harry’s concern for others, he shows his defensive talent and saves many people, including Ron, Hermione, Sirius and a man called Peter Pettigrew.
Harry’s mercy is the next trait that makes him so heroic. Not only is he extremely brave and loyal, he also shows compassion to those who might not seem to deserve it. When he meets the man he thinks is the reason for his parents’ deaths, he cannot kill him; “his nerve…[fails] him,” or his compassion shows through (343). He also gives the man—Sirius Black—a chance to explain himself, stopping Professor Snape from sending Sirius to the dementors. This mercy is fortunate, because Sirius turns out to be innocent and becomes a great friend to Harry. However, Harry shows his mercy yet again with Peter Pettigrew. He realizes that Pettigrew is the real reason for his parents’ deaths, but he runs in front of Pettigrew when Sirius and Lupin want to kill him, saying, “You can’t kill him…you can’t” (375). Harry’s heroics lie in his compassion for every person and his desire to fight for this compassion; he truly does make a name for himself regardless of the events surrounding his birth.