The character of Harry Potter seen by a psychoanalyst

It’s not Christmas every day for Harry. We can even say that life has not given him a gift. Not only are his parents murdered, but he is abused by his uncle and aunt, who humiliate him and make him sleep in a closet. However, following his journey as an orphan, we quickly understand that this initiatory saga features a hero who is the incarnation all on his own of Gloria Gaynor’s hit. I Will Survive.

Without fate, he gets by

Of course, the major problem of the minor with glasses is indeed that of abandonment. We note that his enemy, to whom he is intimately linked, like an evil brother, the terrifying Voldemort, is subjected to almost the same trauma: his mother dies in childbirth. But Harry Potter was adored by his parents, his mother protected him – she was killed in his place by Voldemort – and he knows it. It was, you might say, the magic of maternal love that saved him, allowing the spell to ricochet and spare baby Harry. Enough to bend under the weight of a debt as heavy as a player banned from a casino. But this guilt creates an inner coherence on which to build despite everything. While Voldemort has an absence of inaugural meaning, he is in a paranoid experience, in complete madness.

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Wand or magic fly?

Thanks to sufficiently solid moral values, the young boy will learn to become a good man. Having a base of strong affective security makes it possible to face existence. You don’t break a child who has been loved enough. The message is strong and leads us to the wand… Precisely, the description of its magic attribute still refers a lot to the phallus! We can see the teenager who begins to become a man and pulls out the heavy artillery of sexuality. But this wand is erected to defend itself not from its sexual urges but from its melancholy. We must not forget that JK Rowling began her saga when she had just lost her mother. His magic wand was writing. The work as a way to access resilience, it’s beautiful!

Mama Hen and Mama Hogwarts

Certainly, the school of wizards offers a stable framework. Harry is well fed there, he feels content, protected, reassured. If Hogwarts is the mother hen for Harry, its director, Albus Dumbledore, acts as a tutelary father. In the story, he disappoints Harry, who, nonetheless, loves him as he is. By understanding that he is not perfect, Harry can disidealize his parents, overcome his grief and reach adulthood. We can also say of Harry that he embodies successful repression. He comes out of his internal conflicts to be just in the neurosis: he is then able to love, to work. It also brings us back to the question of castration: to live, one must renounce, in particular immortality, omnipotence – which leads to deadly narcissism, like Voldemort –, this typical “witchcraft” of adolescence when we believe we are endowed with superpowers. Finally, dear Harry, you have nothing to do here, because the Pensieve, this thinking machine, has allowed you to walk through memories, to elaborate them as during a therapy, by overcoming your persecutory fears. , your archaic anxieties. You’ve cut off all those inner monsters and demons. Seven volumes or seven years of analysis, it’s the same. So, get off the broom – the witch, of course!

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Thanks to Joseph Agostini, psychoanalyst, author of Dalida on the couch (Envolume), and to Jean-François Marmion, psychologist, author of Psychology according to Harry Potter (The Opportunity).

* Release on January 19, 2023 of the box of seven volumes ofHarry Potter featuring the covers of Jean-Claude Götting, Gallimard Jeunesse.

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The character of Harry Potter seen by a psychoanalyst

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