Harry Potter Saves Himself In The Most Powerful Scene In The Series

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has the most poignant and resonant scene on self-reliance
Harry Potter Saves Himself In The Most Powerful Scene In The Series

I had the chance to rewatch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) during a flight journey recently. There were options for a few recent movies on the catalogue, but I found myself gravitating towards something familiar. I have grown up with the movies from the franchise, and watching how Harry, Hermione, and Ron navigate their way in a world which has elements of dark magic has been my safe place.

There have been many scenes in the Harry Potter film series which are iconic: Harry discovering he is a wizard through Hagrid, him catching a glimpse of his parents in the Mirror of Erised, multiple scenes showing Harry bonding with key characters like Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Hagrid, and Sirius, Harry's fight with Voldemort in the last instalment, to refer to a few of them. However, so far, the most powerful, and resonant scene for me has been the one in Prisoner of Azkaban, towards the end of the movie, when Harry and Hermione travel back in time to the Forbidden Forest to find the Dementors attacking Sirius and Harry to retrieve Sirius and give him a Dementor's kiss.

"This is horrible," Hermione whispers, aggrieved at the sight of over fifty Dementors hovering over Sirius and Harry. "Don't worry - my dad will come," Harry, from the present, says to her with a lot of conviction, because he is convinced he had seen him at a distance, right around the time of the attack. He thinks his father conjured a silver stag Patronus to get rid of the Dementors that ended up saving him and Sirius a few hours ago in the past. "Harry, listen to me, no one's coming," states Hermione, "both of you are dying."

Harry waits, and watches as his past self and Sirius get tormented by Dementors, and the truth of Hermione's "no one's coming" finally sinks in. In a second, he wields his wand out of his pocket, and yells, "Expecto Patronum". We watch as a glowing silver stag, similar to his father's patronus, chases the Dementors, and they disperse.

Harry had seen himself, not his dad like he had thought. And yet, it was Harry who conjured the Patronus. It was Harry who saved himself.

Hermione's words - "No one's coming" - are not only true within the movie, but also true in the muggle world. Just like Harry, only we can save ourselves. Back in school, when a younger version of me had watched this scene for the first time, I had marvelled at the fantasy, as well as the magical quality of the spell. Twenty years later, the underlying meaning of this powerful scene registers with me instead. I don't think any other scene in pop culture has impacted me in a similar way. This is the magic of the Harry Potter series: not only does it age well, but it will forever be really magical in how it causes shifts within you.

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