Fate and Free Will in Harry Potter

Essay by eid February 2010

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One of the most pondered questions in human existence is whether our lives are determined by forces which are beyond our control or by our own free will. It is widely believed that one's own destiny is created by fate. However, some also consider the possibility that one's own choices can determine the reality of one's existence. In Harry Potter, JK Rowling uses fate and choice as forces which shape the events revolving around her protagonist, Harry Potter, as well as the other characters in the story. Rowling does not side with one idea over the other, but instead, argues that both fate and choice are significant factors that determine the events which happen during the course of an individual's development. Although Rowling lays out Harry's destiny from the moment he was born, she allows him to utilize his ambitions and individualism to influence his fate to a certain extent.

Fate is the dominant determinant of Harry's life. For example, whether he was to become a muggle or a wizard was determined when he was born. Harry did not have a choice of whether to accept his position as a wizard because his birthright as a wizard was determined by his parents. Furthermore, through Harry does not realize it, his ability to survive Voldemort's killing curse and at the same time, causing the downfall of Voldemort, had allowed him to leave a legacy in the magical world as Professor McGonagall had foreseen: "He'll be famous - a legend - I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name" (15)! Harry's fame and his celebrity status in the wizarding world had come to him effortlessly and unknowningly as...