The Scar

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Chapter 2 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Scar← Chapter 1 | Chapter 3 →

Synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Harry awakes with a start, his scar burning painfully. He goes over the dream he just had and remembers seeing Wormtail and Voldemort in a dark room, killing an old man. Concentrating, he recalls that they were also plotting to kill someone else—him. Focusing on his current whereabouts, Privet Drive, Harry deliberates over what to do about this—his burning scar usually has something to do with Voldemort. Should he tell his friends? Hermione comes to mind, and he imagines her advice; he should just tell Professor Dumbledore. Ron would want to ask his Dad about the usual behaviour of scars made by Curses.

He decides to write to his godfather, Sirius Black, and tell him what has been happening with the Dursleys and his scar. He finishes the letter and waits for his owl, Hedwig, to return from hunting.

Analysis[edit]

Much familiar ground is revisited – reintroducing Harry, his friends, his school, and the Wizarding world in general. This is a common pattern in the series, and the author may feel it is necessary to reestablish ground rules and bring new readers up to speed on the plot, or at least the characters and situation in between each book. It may also be intended to make each book stand more or less on its own.

Ron and Hermione re-enter the story by Harry's imagined reactions to him telling them his latest news. The Dursley family is also mentioned in this way, as is Professor Dumbledore, through Harry's thoughts about what the consequences might be if he were to reveal what has happened. Harry's relationship with Sirius Black is also revisited, and Harry believes his godfather is the one person he can confide in about his dream without any concern over how he will react. This may indicate that Harry now fully considers Sirius as his real family.

Harry's dream leads us to believe that he has experienced a real event, judging by the previous chapter. Its narration travels seamlessly from past episodes of which Harry would have no knowledge, through current events as seen by Frank Bryce, finally returning us into the story with Frank's fatal encounter with Voldemort and Wormtail. Harry doubts its reality, and there is no actual proof yet, but the pain in Harry's scar indicates that he may have perceived real events occurring in Voldemort's life.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

Review[edit]

  1. When was the last time Harry's scar was burning?
  2. In the dream, Wormtail attempts to discourage Voldemort from using Harry in Voldemort's scheme. Why would Wormtail do this?
  3. Why does Harry choose to write to his godfather rather than Ron or Hermione about his scar hurting?

Further Study[edit]

  1. Why doesn't Voldemort experience the same mental connection with Harry that Harry has with him?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Harry's scar has taken on a significant new role. While it has always been a focal point in the story, until now it has mostly served as a visible symbol of Harry's near-fatal encounter with Voldemort, and also has acted as a warning beacon, alerting Harry to Voldemort's presence by causing pain. Now it seems somehow related to a mental connection between Harry and Voldemort, allowing Harry glimpses into Voldemort's thoughts. Voldemort is still apparently unaware that this connection exists, but that will change. And while Harry remembers few details about his dream, which was not a dream at all, we have learned that Wormtail (Pettigrew) seemed unwilling to involve Harry in whatever scheme Voldemort is planning. This may be tied to the life debt Wormtail now owes Harry. Voldemort may be unaware that his servant has such an obligation to his greatest enemy, and will likely be extremely displeased when he discovers this.

Harry perceiving Voldemort's mind only when he is asleep is important to the storyline. Voldemort reveals things to us that Harry would likely pursue if he recalled them. In particular, Bertha Jorkins is mentioned in the "dream," and will be mentioned repeatedly in the next months. If Harry could recall that name, he likely would tell someone, most likely Arthur Weasley or Professor Dumbledore, and our story probably would develop differently.

No real reason is ever given as to why Harry can sense Voldemort's thoughts, but Voldemort is unable to detect Harry's until over a year later. We can only speculate why: Harry is able to perceive Voldemort's thoughts only when Voldemort is experiencing extremely strong emotions. During this sequence, for instance, Voldemort is first plotting his most hated enemy's demise, and he is likely inflamed with rage against Harry for daring to exist; and then, he is murdering Frank Bryce, casting a spell which requires feeling deep hatred for the target. In this book, and the subsequent one, Harry only senses Voldemort's thoughts when he is asleep or nearly so. One can assume that the reverse transmission of thoughts can only occur when Harry is feeling strong emotions, and when Voldemort is in a similarly relaxed state. It is likely accidental timing that Voldemort is never in a receptive mind set when Harry is experiencing his strongest emotions. It may be that Voldemort is also affected because he is still physically weak, and not yet completely human again. It is only after his body is fully resurrected and has regained his strength that he later detects Harry's thoughts.

There is a small inconsistency regarding when Harry actually learns Sirius is his godfather. It says in this chapter that "he had only found out that Sirius was his godfather two months ago." In fact, it was around the previous Christmas when he overheard, in a conversation in the Three Broomsticks, that Sirius was James Potter's best friend and Harry's godfather. However, at that time, he still believed Sirius was a mass murderer and responsible for his parents' deaths, so he could have disavowed the connection. It may have only been after the revelations in the Shrieking Shack, which happened just two months before this chapter, that Harry finally accepted that Sirius was truly his godfather.