Fearing fear itself

By angelao, January 9, 2015

I would like all of you to take a moment now to think of the thing that scares you most, and imagine how you might force it to look comical…”

Professor Lupin is the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher that our main trio has ever had. In addition to good looks, charm, sense of justice, and self-love despite his dark side as a werewolf, he also trusted the students to face what they feared most… and overcome that fear. Of the many brilliant concepts in J.K. Rowling’s series, my favourite is the Boggart — a creature that morphs into what the viewer fears most, and can be beaten when the viewer sees humour in their own fear and laughs. What a way to give her readers strength to see the light in their own fears.

That suggests that what you fear most of all is fear. Very wise, Harry.

Harry’s Boggart turns in a Dementor, a creature that sucks all the warmth and happiness from the things and people nearby. Lupin teaches that because fear can be defeated by bringing it out into the light, being curious about what it is, finding laughter, etc, the only fear left is the concept of fear. This reminded me of Roosevelt’s inauguration speech:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling