The manner of various important characters’ introductions in the Harry Potter The franchise actually holds a hidden meaning about their respective personalities. The Harry Potter franchise is undoubtedly one of the most popular film franchises ever made, thanks in large part to the sheer wealth of detail involved in its worldbuilding and the subtextual narrative veins that run through the entire eight-film story of the titular boy wizard. Nowhere is this depth more evident than in the franchise’s core characters, each of whom possesses such a robust and believable characterization that they have quickly become staples of pop culture.
The story of Harry Potter and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is one that has thoroughly become a part of the cultural zeitgeist. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter is entirely iconic, and along with co-stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, the core trio of characters became the beating heart of the franchise’s story. With the three actors growing up before the camera in their respective roles, they embody the characters for much of Harry Potter‘s audience.
However, like so many other aspects of the franchise, Harry Potter‘s characters are made much deeper by the finer details. For example, most of the franchise’s main characters are introduced in ways that speak to some deep-seated part of their personality or characterization. This is something that is present in the original books but is made even more evident in the movies, thanks in part to the visual element putting emphasis on certain aspects. Though the specific personality traits of Harry Potter‘s characters have all become well-known due to their iconic status, many characters’ natures are actually clearly evidenced by the manner of their respective introductions.
“Just Harry” – Harry Tries To Downplay His Fame
Nowhere is this particular phenomenon more obvious than with Harry Potter‘s titular hero Harry Potter. Early in the first film, Harry is seen introducing himself to Hagrid, where he famously describes himself as “just Harry”. Later, throughout the movie (and its sequels), Harry introduces himself in a similar manner as James Bond: “Harry, Harry Potter“. Often, Harry’s fame precedes him, and he’s recognized before he can even attempt to introduce himself.
All of these introductions speak to Harry’s fame and his discomfort with it. Harry never fully embraces the idea that he’s famous, and instead continues to introduce himself simply as “Harry“with his surname added as an afterthought. Even though he’s described by some as “the Chosen One”, Harry Potter never seems to embrace that idea, and always introduces himself without any expectation of being recognized (in fact, it’s something he dreads). In addition, the idea that Harry needs no introduction only makes this detail deeper, as he persists in introducing himself humbly even after years of being recognized throughout the wizarding world.
Ron Is Often Introduced By Others
The way Ron is introduced is slightly more subtle, but it still highlights the character’s place in the world and his own insecurity about it. As one of the many Weasley children, Ron is often identified as another Weasley, and not by his own name. This happens upon meeting both Draco Malfoy and later Lucius Malfoy, as well as Hogwarts’ Sorting Hat. He also most often introduced by other characters, rather than himself: whether it’s by them pointing out the dirt on Ron’s nose or by his family slipping his name into conversation, it’s usually not Ron that tells people who he is.
This evidences Ron’s place within the Weasley family. As the second-youngest of the many Weasley children, Ron is used to going somewhat unnoticed and is most often identified by others as simply being part of a much larger clan. It’s often those closest to him that actually identify him by name (whether Harry and Hermione or his family), with many other characters seeing him as little more than just “another Weasley“, which in turn speaks to his own insecurity about his own worth outside of his friendships and his family.
Hermione Proves Herself Before Making An Introduction
One of Harry Potter‘s most powerful characters – mostly by merit of her impressive intellect – Hermione Granger often introduces herself by first establishing her own worth. The best example of this is undoubtedly Hermione’s first appearance in the franchise, in which she bursts into Harry and Ron’s carriage on the Hogwarts Express, launching into a speech that shows she’s a considerate friend (helping Neville find his toad) and a gifted witch ( performing magic). It’s only after this that she actually tells Harry and Ron what her name is.
The idea that Hermione would first prove her abilities fits perfectly with her place within the wizarding world. Hermione Granger’s parents are famously Muggles, making her a Muggle-born – something often frowned upon in more traditional and bigoted wizarding families. Proving her talent before introducing herself speaks to the reservation Hermione has about her heritage, particularly as it’s something that she is often taunted and bullied over. Establishing her intelligence (and therefore, her worth) is paramount to Hermione, and it’s only after she’s impressed others that she’s willing to properly introduce herself as a result of the insecurity regarding her Muggle parents.
Draco Malfoy Puts His Family Name First
Although he’s one of many Harry Potter characters often identified by their surname, Draco Malfoy’s method of introduction is particularly interesting for the emphasis put on his family name. Draco Malfoy’s family is one of the oldest and most traditional wizarding families in the franchise, something which is used to establish them as supporting villains due to their opposition to Harry. Upon meeting Harry for the first time, Draco introduces himself as “Malfoy. Draco Malfoy, ” putting the emphasis on his surname, rather than his given name.
This shows that the biggest part of Draco’s identity is his family name, the importance of which has clearly been drummed into him by his parents. This hints at the later conflict of the character feeling trapped by the expectations of his parents, but interestingly, also makes him Harry’s opposite, putting the emphasis on being recognized rather than on individuality. To Malfoy, the status afforded to him by his name is the most important part of him, and that’s why he introduces himself with it first and foremost.
How Other Characters’ Introductions Fit Similar Patterns
Many of the characters of Harry Potter fit the same pattern, although often in less obvious ways. Some of the other most noticeable examples of the franchise’s clairvoyant introduction are two of its iconic supporting duos: Fred and George, and Crabbe and Goyle. Fred and George Weasley are consummate pranksters, finding a flair for practical jokes, and this is even established in their very first interaction within the franchise, as in their first on-screen exchange, Fred and George Weasley trick their own mother into confusing them with one another. Crabbe and Goyle’s introduction is more subtle, but they are introduced simply as Malfoy’s lackeys with no need for first names, identified (much like Malfoy himself) by just their surnames. This establishes them as similar to Malfoy, although less important (which is essentially their entire role in the movies).
The subtle use of foreshadowing in Harry Potter is no secret, but to include it in its characters’ very introductions is a bold and clever touch. By subtly introducing character traits and hinting at later conflicts within their respective stories, Harry Potter lends a staggering depth to its already fleshed-out characters. Though it’s most likely the result of a carefully considered approach to the story and its many characters, it certainly makes Harry Potter‘s overall narrative thrust feel all the more organic.
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