18 November 2010


While I do love Half-Blood Prince, every time I arrive at the cave with Harry and Dumbledore I get this awful sinking feeling in my stomach because I know what will happen soon after in the lightning-struck tower. It makes me cry every time.

But I've been thinking about Harry and Voldemort and the idea of opposites. I was first really captivated by the concept in my first course with Dr. Dallin D. Oaks, one of my favorite linguistic professors at BYU. I've heard him discuss this multiple times, and it makes so much sense; it always seems brilliant to me.

Usually when people think of opposites they think of things that are considered diametrically different from each other: cat vs. dog, light vs. dark, etc. In reality, that notion of opposition is untrue. For two things to be opposites of each other, they must have many of the same characteristics but have one fundamental difference which creates the opposition. Father and mother, for example, are opposites, for their similarities just as much as their difference. They are different genders, but they also have the strong likeness in parent. Father and niece, on the other hand, are not considered opposites because they share no features. There is a lesson found in the Aaronic Priesthood manual that lists a variety of attributes (I am a spirit child of God, I was at the council in Heaven, I want you to follow me, etc.) which the boys assume mean Christ, but the last one---I am your mortal enemy---shows how Satan, being the opposite of Christ, also has many of the same qualities.

Harry and Lord Voldemort have many things in common:
  • They both are half-blood wizards.
  • They both are orphans.
  • They both speak Parseltongue.
  • They both have wands with phoenix feathers from Fawkes.
  • They both consider Hogwarts their real home.
  • They both have what Dumbledore called "a certain disregard for the rules."
 These commonalities made Harry very uncomfortable throughout his time at Hogwarts and his education about Voldemort. He has repeated conversations with Dumbledore about how these similarities are bad. But Dumbledore teaches him to care far more about the huge difference between them than the similarities: love.

It is Harry's ability to love that keeps him alive all the times Lord Voldemort tries to kill him. It is his ability to love that surrounds him with good friends who can help and support him in his search for the Horcruxes. And it is his ability to love that enables him to trust Dumbledore and continue his search for the Horcruxes rather than look for the Deathly Hallows. He cares more for other people than he does for his own life, and this huge difference is what makes him Lord Voldemort's equal and opposite, and what allows him to kill Voldemort in the end.

Now I'm off to read it.


  1. i like this! vary true. I also like all of your HP posts, are you going tonight?? I'm waiting until the crowds die down, but I"m still excited!

  2. I LOVE this connection. That is so insightful. And Dr. oak's class sounds awesome. I know Mitch loved him too. Did you finish yet!?