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posted by [personal profile] starpaint at 03:48pm on 10/08/2005
CoS is currently making my head hurt. So. Here.

Does anyone value honesty in the wizarding world? Anyone?

I just finished my reread of HBP, and the sheer amount of manipulation, on all sides, is making my head hurt. Ron and Hermione tug at each others' strings with fake girlfriends and boyfriends; Dumbledore uses Harry on a regular basis for whatever the bloody hell he can think of; Harry gets Slughorn raving drunk for his own ends (or should I say Dumbledore's ends, as he was manipulated into it in the first place). I can deal with the first, because it was petty, relatively obvious, and unsustainable; both of them realized that their plots weren't working and that they were being stupid.

The other two, though...

On Slughorn's drunken confession. Ron and Hermione are impressed by Harry's shadowy nudgings. Lovely. Just lovely. Manipulating someone who's been incapacitated is worthy of high praise, I see. Not that the knowledge wasn't crucial and needed as soon as possible, but given that Dumbledore wouldn't even tell Harry why it was so crucial, it's just la-la-la, anything is acceptable if it's for Dumbledore and it's about Voldemort. It's not even an issue about weighing the moral good of the price, because Harry never considers it. I'm not imagining a moral issue here, am I?

I think the reason why I overlooked the manipulative characteristics in my first big HBP rant - besides for the fact that I was tired, and sans book - was that no one in the book has a problem with it. You have to find it on your own and hold on tight.

Moving on to Dumbledore. His treatment of Harry in HBP seriously bothered me. Not just the rampant emotional manipulation to get Harry after Slughorn's memory; not just using Harry as bait to get Slughorn employed in the first place, which just happened to follow Harry's "rescue" from the Dursleys, pushing Dumbledore back into Harry's good books. Those are big, blaring, and bloody obvious in their own right. It's the smaller things that pushed me on edge. The dynamic of Harry's private lessons, for one.

I'm not sure why they bother me so much. Part of it is that he spends a whole year detailing a story that could have been told pretty quickly if set out in short form. I know that was done at least partly for effect and spacing, but it means that Dumbledore really doesn't tell Harry all that much. Doesn't leave much room for speculation or brainstorming, which Harry now has to do on his own, leaving him with a whole lot of ground to search and maybe nowhere certain to begin.

Then there's the fact that most of them are in the form of a Pensieve-viewing or a lecture - even Harry's questions tend to be on subjects that Dumbledore was ready to cover. So Harry has to exercise his mind, but he's doing it to get to conclusions that Dumbledore has already reached. A little training for having to think things through on his own, but not much, because Dumbledore always answers his questions straightaway. Skip forward a little to when Dumbledore lets Harry try to Summon the locket - he wanted Harry to try for another purpose, but doesn't give Harry the chance to work that purpose out on his own. He's telling Harry what he knows, in an ineffective manner, without really doing much to train Harry, without, oh, I don't know. It's like he wants Harry to remain dependent on them, for who knows what reason. Also, for all that Harry is the only one who can kill Voldemort, and Dumbledore has the whole order at his beck and call, it's like he wants to fight the whole war on his own. Why?

Maybe he doesn't think training Harry in logical thinking is important. Most wizards aren't logical, after all, and Harry manages to save Dumbledore and get him through the task without an ounce of logic whatsoever. Although a lack of logic absolutely smacks him over when he's up against Snape. I'm getting very sick of wizards being illogical. It doesn't make plotholes disappear.
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