***This post contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!***
In a book full of plot twists and surprises, perhaps the most important realization of the last Harry Potter: Harry is a horcrux. When Voldemort tries to kill Harry as a baby, poor Tom ends up splitting his own soul by accident. That part of his soul enters Harry, who for so long has no idea that his scar means anything important.
As Harry gets older, he begins to have visions. He can read Voldemort’s mind, feel Voldemort’s feelings, see through Voldemort’s eyes. His wand and Voldemort’s have twin cores. And Harry can talk to snakes, a talent that Voldemort was known for. Harry and Voldemort clearly have some links that can not be explained by coincidence alone. Isn’t it interesting how two people with so many similarities chose such different paths in life?
All of these abilities and similarities haunt Harry throughout his years at Hogwarts. Most mildly, they’re upsetting. Most seriously, they lead to the death of the only father figure Harry has ever known. And in between we have the disturbing visions, horrendously difficult occlumency lessons with Snape, pressure from Hermione, and physical pain of the scar. All in all, having a part of Voldemort’s soul inside makes Harry’s life pretty difficult.
But without it, he wouldn’t be the Chosen One. Once Voldemort chooses Harry, Harry has both a burden and a gift. Possessing part of Voldemort’s soul clearly wears on Harry, but without these peculiar opportunities and abilities, Harry would not have the tools he needs to defeat the very person who gave him these capabilities in the first place. In short, the thing that makes Harry’s life so difficult is also what makes him special. Living with the soul of a villain makes him a hero.
That’s life. Often, our best qualities are tied to our worst; the thing that hurts us is also the thing that makes us strong. For me, it’s perfectionism. I want to do my best; I strive for excellence, and I care with my whole heart. That’s why I’m so hard on myself and why I’m such a stickler for rules. It can be exhausting. But despite the negatives, I wouldn’t give up the positives for anything.
I think that’s what Harry taught us. Everybody has the bad, but every piece of bad has some good. It’s up to us to decide which one we want to focus on. And as Albus Dumbledore says, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Let’s all look inward and identify our own horcruxes. Let’s not let them stay hidden in the darkness where they can only grow to hurt us. Let’s be brave like Harry, and face our fears. Let’s be vulnerable enough to discover the worst parts of ourselves. And then let’s remember the boy who showed us how they can also be the best.
Let’s all face our horcruxes. But instead of seeing the darkness, let’s choose the light.