In the latest installment of the Harry Potter films, the young bespectacled wizard faces the darkest, most devious threat of his brief career: the powerful and mysterious leader of a secretive order. Now, some parents are warning that Harry's newest nemesis may be too frightening for young children.
Harry Potter and the curse of the white robe
By Russell D'Arby
HOGWARTS—In the latest installment of the Harry Potter films, the young bespectacled wizard faces the darkest, most devious threat of his brief career: the powerful and mysterious leader of a secretive order. Now, some parents are warning that Mr. Potter's new nemesis may be too frightening for young children.
No stranger to danger
The teenaged Mr. Potter is no stranger to physical and emotional danger. Since his early days with the Dursley family, where he resided in a closet beneath the stairs, he endured regular taunts, threats, even bullying from the Dursley's son Dudley.
"Unfortunately, that early experience made Harry aware that there were people out there that wished that he didn't exist," notes Cynthia Beavis-Dryer, an adolescent psychologist with a small practice in Stoatshead Hill, near Hogwarts, the school that Mr. Potter has attended since the mid 1990's. "He came to accept a certain amount of negativity, and that's what makes the current development in Harry's life all the more tragic."
Among friends—and enemies
But Dudley Dursley was far from the only enemy that Mr. Potter would encounter. In his first years as a student at Hogwarts, Mr. Potter confronted minor annoyances and real trouble both on and off the Quiddich field, while he mastered the tools of his trade: elementary spell casting, basic wand use and an introduction to the wizard hierarchy.
Not all was fun and friendship at Hogwarts, however. While his classmates in the four schools of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin crammed for class and debated the merits of abstinence-only education, Mr. Potter was increasingly preoccupied by a life and death struggle with Lord Voldemort, an evil wizard who all but disappeared from view after the death of Mr. Potter's parents, following a climatic battle that left Harry an orphan branded with a lightening-shaped scar on his forehead.
And now the darkest threat of all
But while Lord Voldemort has long been viewed as Mr. Potter's greatest threat (he is so feared that few even dare to speak his name, identifying him solely as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named), friends and admirers of Mr. Potter say that the Dark Lord has nothing on the teenaged wizard's newest enemy: the leader of a secretive order, who is so powerful that he is widely viewed as infallible, or immune from making mistakes.
Meet the menace
Just who is this newest nemesis? Sources close to Mr. Potter say that while Lord Voldemort has been keeping a low profile of late, Mr. Potter's latest adversary is at ease on a public stage, despite having assumed his powers through an ultra-secret ceremony.
And while Lord Voldemort typically uses the boy wizard's dreams as the vehicle to terrorize him, Mr. Potter's current archenemy has resorted to public statements to undermine Harry's credibility, going so far as to warn Harry's friends and classmates that spending too much time with the boy wizard could land them on the wrong side in the battle of good vs. evil. His is a subtle seduction, wrote Mr. Potter's sworn enemy in a letter to an ally, "which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly."
As for whether Mr. Potter can survive this latest threat, fans will have to await the next installment: Harry Potter and the Curse of the White Robe.