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Questions Never Asked

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Harry Potter Addresses the Wizarding World

What follows is a statement that was placed in this reporter’s hand early this morning by Harry Potter himself.

My name is Harry Potter.  If you know that name, then you are among those I wish to address.  The purpose of this missive is to answer questions that I have never been asked.  By anyone in the wizarding world in my entire life.  No doubt these questions will surprise you, as I imagine many of you fancy that you already know the answers.  Answers I have never before given to questions I have never been asked.

These questions are quite simple, and are as follows:

  • Who is Harry Potter, as a person?  Where does he come from?
  • What does Harry Potter believe in?  What does he care about?
  • What does Harry Potter want from this war?  From his future?

And now, I shall answer them.

I have done some reading about myself this summer.  I was actually rather astounded by how many books were written about me.  They are, by large, highly imaginative works of fiction.  In fact, I feel obliged to mention that if you have authored one of these stories about me, you will want to contact my solicitor as soon as possible.  Anyone who has not done so in two weeks, or has failed to come to an amiable solution, will be sued for Libel, among other things.  The Daily Prophet will be able to direct you properly if you seek to address this issue before charges are filed.

Moving on, most of you probably know the story of the events that took place on 31 October 1981 in Godric’s Hallow.  Or, at least, you think you know.

Let me be perfectly honest with you.  Exactly what happened that night, no one knows.  What I specifically remember is the Killing Curse being cast at me, hitting me in the forehead, and reflecting back onto the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who].  It was incredibly painful for me.  [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s] body was destroyed by his own curse.

As I said, I don’t know why the Killing Curse failed to kill me, or why it turned on its caster.

Now we move on to the part of the story that very, very few people know.  What happened to me after that night?  Where was the Boy-Who-Lived while you were all celebrating the so-called end of the war?  I was sitting on a doorstep, in the middle of the night, in November, all alone.  The doorstep of my mother’s estranged muggle sister – a woman who hated my mother and everything to do with magic and the magical world.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, that is where the esteemed Albus Dumbledore left your supposed savior.

It would be four years before I discovered that I had a proper name, because my relatives did not deign to call me anything kinder than “Freak” or “Boy”.  And believe me, those were the kindest of the slurs they directed at me.  I only discovered my name when I began muggle primary school.  In fact, I believe, to this day, the closest my aunt and uncle have come to addressing me by name is “Potter”, but even that is highly rare.

I will spare you the details of my years with my muggle relatives, but you may extrapolate much from my uncle’s admission that he had tried to “beat the Freakishness” out of me.  By “Freakishness”, of course, he meant my magic.  Luckily, in that, he failed.

I did not learn that there was such a thing as a wizarding world until I was eleven years old.  After I received my Hogwarts letter and was then given a crash course in everything I’d missed by Rubeus Hagrid rather than a proper muggleborn initiation.  Please, don’t mistake me.  I hold no animosity toward Hagrid.  I do, in fact, consider him my very first friend, but he told me little upon my introduction into the wizarding world beyond the biased propaganda of the manipulative headmaster of Hogwarts.

Well, I think that gives you a decent idea of where I come from, so I’ll move on to my next question.

What do I believe in and care about?

This is a question that, prior to this summer, I’d never actually stopped to even ask of myself.  I was surprised by how difficult it was to answer it truthfully without automatically spewing forth the things Albus Dumbledore has spent years conditioning me to think that I cared about.

What do I believe in?  I believe that the world – muggle and wizarding both – is a cruel place in which people trust blindly in those they should not.  And condemn without question, those who do not deserve it.  It's a world who hoisted onto a pedestal an orphaned child, then left him to grow up in hell without ever thinking to question one scheming old man.  A world in which “respectable” people turn a blind eye to the bruises on a neighborhood child because it is easier than asking uncomfortable questions.

We live in a world in which genial villains are lauded for imagined morals while fallen heroes are condemned for crimes comprised entirely of hearsay.  We live in a world where so few ever question what they are told that justice can never be more than public relations.

If you are confused or concerned by this opinion, please allow me to explain my reasoning.

In 1981, my parents, Lily and James Potter, were placed under the Fidelius Charm to protect themselves and me after it became understood by Albus Dumbledore that I was one of the most likely subjects of a prophecy concerning the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who].  The precise details of this prophecy are unimportant to this story, but I will say that it stated that myself or the other possible boy of the prophecy was said to be capable of defeating the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who].  The reason that we were in danger was because Lord [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named] heard this as well.

My parents were unfortunate enough to trust the wrong man with the Secret of our location.  And no, I’m not talking about Sirius Black.  He was just the unfortunate scapegoat.  The traitor was Peter Pettigrew, who was alive and well a year ago.  I doubt that’s changed.  How do I know this, you ask?  Well, I have it from his own lips, in a desperate confession given to me two years ago before he was unfortunately able to escape.  Sirius Black, was in fact, an innocent man, a dedicated auror, and a good and loyal friend, guilty only of acting rashly in his grief and rage at Peter’s betrayal. 

After the deaths of my parents, Sirius went in search of the traitor that had cost them their lives.  When he finally cornered him, Pettigrew killed twelve muggles in the street to serve as a distraction so that he could transform into his unregistered animagus form – a rat – and escape into the sewers, leaving Sirius to take the blame.  Pettigrew left behind a single finger he had personally severed in order to complete the façade of his death.

Upon Pettigrew’s escape, Sirius began to ramble in his grief and guilt that he had killed his friends, and he believed it at the time.  You see, it was Sirius who convinced them that Pettigrew would be a less obvious choice for Secret Keeper.  His attempt to help protect them had ended in tragedy, and he blamed himself.  But he never betrayed them.

Following those events, Sirius Black was summarily sentenced to Azkaban for life and it became common knowledge that he had been [You-Know-Who’s] “right hand man”.  He was never given a trial.  He was never questioned under Veritaserum.  They did not even check to see that he did not bear the Dark Mark.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was a grave miscarriage of justice perpetrated by the late Bartemius Crouch Sr. then Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and the previous Mister Bagnold.

Sirius Black was killed two months ago in the process of saving my life.

The only adult who ever proved to me that he cared about me because of who I am rather than what I am or what I might be, died a hero’s death and is still condemned for a crime he did not commit, simply because no one ever gave him a chance to speak his side of the story.  Just as no one has ever given me a chance to be other than they expect.

Something is wrong with this world in which we live.  It is a world in which our leaders in the Ministry do as they please, acting out of fear and personal ambition rather than in the name of the good of the people they are supposed to represent.  A world in which our children’s education is left in the hands of a man who hires fools, pretenders, and Death Eaters to teach the next generation of witches and wizards.

Allow me to explain these accusations.

In my first year at Hogwarts, my Defense Against the Dark Arts professor was possessed by the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who].  This incident alone forces me to wonder, did Albus Dumbledore intentionally endanger myself and the rest of the students or was the “greatest wizard of our time” actually unaware of the situation?  I don’t think either option is very comforting.  Near the end of that year, that Defense professor, acting under the orders of Lord [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named] attempted to kill me for the second time.  I was lucky enough to destroy his host before he could succeed.  It was only after I had done so that the headmaster arrived.

In my second year at Hogwarts a first year student was possessed by a dark artifact created by the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who].  This student, unwittingly acting under the compulsion of the artifact, opened the infamous Chamber of Secrets and unleashed a basilisk on the unfortunate students.  While Albus Dumbledore did nothing more than advise students to avoid being out after curfew or travel the corridors alone, and the Ministry arrested an innocent man, myself and my friends were able to discover the nature of the beast.  At twelve years old, it fell to me to slay a millennium old basilisk and save the first year student who had been possessed.  Through a large measure of luck, no one was killed that year, though a number of students did spend time petrified, some for the majority of the year.

Of course, I cannot forget Gilderoy Lockhart, that year’s Defense professor.  Not only did he fail to teach us anything that year, but attempted to do a complete Obliviate on myself and a fellow second year.  If not for his mistake in making his attempt with a broken wand, I would have ended up in the Janus Thickey ward at St. Mungo’s, and the basilisk would have continued its attacks on the students.

Frankly, it baffles me that the headmaster retained his position in the wake of these events.  The Ministry released the man they had wrongly imprisoned, though he was granted no reparations, nor even a formal apology for the mistake.  In fact, the only person who suffered in the wake of these events was Lord Lucius Malfoy, who was removed from the Hogwarts’ Board of Governors as a result of being the only adult who had actively tried to do something about what was happening in the school that year.  I suppose this is the inherent danger in being the one man brave enough to stand up to Albus Dumbledore to try to do what is right.

In my third year at Hogwarts, of course, my godfather, Sirius Black, escaped from Azkaban in an attempt to bring justice to Peter Pettigrew, who had been pictured in the Daily Prophet in his animagus form.  A form that Sirius had recognized.  As a result of this breakout, the Ministry made the decision to send dementors to Hogwarts.  What many of you probably do not know, is that one of these dementors nearly Kissed me on the train ride to school that year.  They were, allegedly, searching the train for Sirius Black, when one came to the compartment I was in.  If not for the purely random chance that resulted in my being in the same compartment with Remus Lupin, the man who would be my Defense professor that year, I would have lost my soul before the year even started.

Near the end of that year, I discovered Pettigrew’s lies, Sirius Black’s innocence, and very nearly lost my soul a second time when approximately one hundred dementors attacked not only my godfather, but myself.  I only survived that time because Professor Lupin had taught me the Patronus Charm that year, and because I am fortunate enough to have conjured it with enough power to drive away so many dementors at once.

And what came of that year?  Professor Lupin, who was responsible for saving my life twice in one year, and who was the first Defense professor of my time at Hogwarts who had actually taught us anything, was fired when it was revealed that he was a werewolf.  I know what you may be thinking.  Werewolves are considered dangerous dark creatures.  Yet he never took any action designed to bring harm to myself or any other student.  That is something that I cannot say for the two previous Defense professors, nor the subsequent two.

In my fourth year, of course, was the Triwizard Tournament.  And yet another example of the headmaster’s ability to hire Defense professors who would see me dead.  That year’s professor was actually Bartemius Crouch Jr, a Death Eater, though he spent the year polyjuiced to appear as former auror Alastor Moody.

Again, I find myself concerned for the actions of our headmaster.  Dumbledore has known Alastor Moody for more than twenty years.  He is also a master of Legilimency and an allegedly intelligent man.  So how did he fail to notice that his long-time friend was being impersonated?  Was it ignorance or something more malign?  And which of those options is really worse?

It was Mr. Crouch, in his guise, who put my name into the Goblet of Fire that year, which he confessed to me just minutes before he was Kissed without so much as a trial.  A “mistake”, Minister Fudge called it.  I doubt I am the only one concerned that our Minister could make such a mistake as to cost a man his soul.

At the end of that year, upon the culmination of the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament, I faced the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who] for the third time.  Peter Pettigrew murdered fellow competitor Cedric Diggory before using my blood in a ritual to return Lord [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named] to a physical body.

After managing to escape with my life, I met Minister Fudge, who listened to my explanation of the night’s events, then chose to call me an attention-seeking liar rather than face his own greatest fear.  That Lord [You-Know-Who] may actually be back.  It was the beginning of his year-long campaign to discredit me, lie to the public, along with himself, and generally make my life miserable.

In the spirit of this quest, Delores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to Minister Fudge, dispatched two dementors to the neighborhood in which I spend my summers.  Their orders?  To locate and Kiss me.  This was confessed to me by Umbridge herself minutes before she attempted to use the Cruciatus Curse on me two months ago.

After I used the Patronus Charm to drive away the dementors that had attempted to Kiss my muggle cousin and myself, I was contacted by the Improper Use of Underage Magic Department at the Ministry and scheduled for a hearing to address my use of the Patronus Charm in the presence of a muggle.

The morning of my scheduled hearing, the time and location was changed at the last minute.  I did not receive an official notice of this change, but was lucky enough to have arrived at the Ministry early and was able to sprint all the way to the new location just as they were beginning without me.  Rather than a hearing, it had become a trial, in Courtroom 10 before the entire Wizengamot.  That’s right.  A case of Underage Magic was being tried by the full Wizengamot.  Madam Umbridge and Minister Fudge made a valiant effort to slant the case and get me expelled and my wand snapped for acting in self-defense.  Indeed, Azkaban was even mentioned.

And why did they do this?  Because I had told a truth they did not want to hear.

It was largely luck that saved me again.

That year at Hogwarts, Madam Umbridge, the Senior Undersecretary to Cornelius Fudge, the very woman who’d attempted to kill me, and then see me expelled, was appointed by the Minister as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts.  I will spare you the details that any student of Hogwarts last year could convey, but in addition to turning Hogwarts into a dictatorial prison in which we could not even send or receive letters without Madam Umbridge reading them first, she forced myself and many other students to use a Blood Quill to write lines in her detentions.

To this day, I have the words, “I will not tell lies” scarred into the back of my right hand.  And what lies did I tell?  That Lord [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named] was back, of course.

Toward the end of the year, she became obsessively convinced that myself and some of my friends were part of some Machiavellian plot against the Ministry – something which was completely untrue – and brought all of us into her office one evening.  First, she attempted to procure Veritaserum with which to question me – illegally, I may add.

When Professor Severus Snape – Potions Master at Hogwarts – refused to provide her an unauthorized vial of the regulated substance, she announced her intention to use the Cruciatus Curse to question me.  If not for the quick thinking of one of my friends, I do not know what she may have done, as I obviously could not give her answers I did not have about illicit activities that did not exist.

So what do I believe in?  I believe that there is something very wrong in our world that I could have a history such as this before my sixteenth birthday.  I believe that we need to take a closer look at the people who would lead us.  And I believe that we need to stop and actually think before we choose a side in this war.

This is not a clash between Good and Evil, because I know for a fact that Albus Dumbledore is not the epitome of all of that is good and right in the world.  As much as he may wish us to believe it.  Is he a villain, or just a senile old man?  I don’t know, but I hope I am not the only one capable of recognizing his failures and his flaws, for they are many, and I know I am not the only to have suffered for his machinations.  I am not the only one who will continue to suffer if we continue to turn a blind eye to his misdeeds.

And then we must consider the opposite side of this war.  The Dark Lord [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named].  Please allow me to state first that I am not saying that I agree with His methods, nor His values.  I do wonder though, what are His values?  Does anyone really know?  I know what Dumbledore has told me.  I know what certain purebloods have sneered in passing.  But are we mistaken to take as fact that these comments truly and accurately represent that for which the Dark Lord [You-Know-Who] is striving?

I know that many of you have lost loved ones in this war or the previous, and I will restate that I do not agree with what [You-Know-Who] has done in pursuit of his goals.  I merely think that the state of the wizarding world quite removed from anything [You-Know-Who] has done, is a sad and uninspiring thing.  I think that we need to change.  As far as I can tell, Lord [He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named] is the only person in Wizarding Britain who has actually tried to change anything in the last few decades.

Maybe he’s gone about it all wrong.  Maybe he is the furthest thing from what we need.  But how do we know that?  Why do we fight a man that we don’t understand?

So I would like to pose these questions to Lord [You-Know-Who], because I seriously doubt that anyone’s ever bothered to ask.  What is it that you actually want?  For what do you fight?  What does the future look like to you if allowed to continue as it has?  What would it look like if you won this war?  And finally, if there are those who would like to support you, but are not necessarily interested in fighting, what could they expect?  How could they reach you?  Would you protect them?  Reward their loyalty?  Would you do what Dumbledore and the Ministry have proved they will not?

Who are you really, Lord [You-Know-Who]?  Are you the villain?

And those chilling questions conclude Harry Potter’s Address to the Wizarding World.  Will He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named respond?  Will Albus Dumbledore address the accusations our Savior has lain at his feet?  Will the Ministry be able to account for their misdeeds?

Harry Potter has taken the initiative to raise many questions that we, the people of the Wizarding World, probably should have asked many years ago.  And he’s answered some questions that we really should have asked him.

Exclusive by Rita Skeeter