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Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 123

Harry reveals some critical information to Hermione and Ron in this chapter. But how significant is the timing of this revealing moment?

In this chapter, thanks to Dumbledore’s encouragement, Harry confides in Ron and Hermione about what the prophecy actually stated. But what would have happened to Harry’s progress had he kept them in the dark? What qualities does Dumbledore see in both Ron and Hermione that he feels would aide Harry in his quest?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tune in next week to see if your ideas are discussed on the show! Don’t forget that you can also send us an audioBoom! Click that green recording button, right over there —>

  • ScarletGhost

    Well I think that if Harry had kept Ron and Hermione in the dark he would have died. Like literally. And a great number of other people could’ve died too. There are so any things that wouldn’t have happened if Harry didn’t tell them. For example, (and this is just one off the top of my head) Towards the end of the book we see Harry tell Ron and Hermione that he’s going with Dumbledore to fetch the horcrux and he tells them to keep watch on Malfoy and Snape and he gives them the Marauder’s Map and the Felix Felicis. Without those items, and the constant vigilance, of the Gryffindors while Harry and Dumbledore were gone it’s likely that people would’ve died that night. On top of that there is no way Harry could’ve defeated the horcruxes without Hermione’s help because, as we all know by now, he isn’t the sharpest tack in the box.

  • Harry has a habit of running head long into things without thinking logically. I could imagine that he would towards the end of the book.
    Him telling Ron and Hermione is a problem shared, which is one step closer to problem solved. Hermione would think it through, and in meny ways will understand it much more than Harry. Ron is a good shoulder for Harry. He takes a lot of brunt from Harry.
    Dumbledore asks Harry to share it with them. It lightens the load in preparation for what he’s going to tell Harry. It’s best to have friends on the same side.
    If Harry hadn’t have told them he would’ve gone into a very dark place. He would have neglected them in his thoughts. Indirectly pushes them away. In the long run, he would have gone in blindly and died.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      I don’t even want to think of the dark place Harry would go to…. Telling Ron and Hermione gave him a sort of life-raft and I don’t think he would have survived without it.

      • No he wouldn’t have done. He went for a long time without having friends. Years of physchological abuse would make him naturally want to bottle, to the point where he can be very mean.
        What would his dark place have been?

        • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

          We see how much Harry gets into his own mind in order – he lashes out at his friends and is constantly angry. While this can be attributed to Voldemort, I think we would have seen a return of this type of Harry. He would lose contact with many of his peers . I think this dark place would be that really mean Harry. His frustration from previous years would boil over and I don’t think he would have been in the right mindset to think critically about Voldemort, Horcruxes, and his future. As much as Harry thinks/wants/tries to do things on his own, without the help of his friends he can’t.

          • Harry’s incredibly mean sometimes, even when he’s not in that dark place. I think he’d wallow and get swallowed up in his thoughts and fail to act rationally. He’s get himself killed for sure.

  • PuffNProud

    Both Ron and Hermoine help Harry work through the clues and find the path, particularly Hermoine. Her help I think is fairly obvious. But with Ron, the perpetually underutilized friend (started off great with that game of chess but his strategic thinking didn’t go much from there), I think Dumbledore’s gift of the deluminator said it all. Dumbledore not only knew he would leave but would regret it and want to come back. I think this is a demonstrative way of showing Harry that Harry had to trust Dumbledore, despite the lack of information, the questions that arise and stay true to his path.

  • HGHR_fan

    As with any major secret, it would weigh heavily on Harry causing him to do things he may not do with advice given from his friends. His friends (Ron and Hermione) provide him with love and support but also with skills to make plans and solve riddles before jumping straight into the fray. Hermione takes things to the scholarly level which helps Harry to see the history behind what is going on. Ron adds the skillful battle level which helps Harry make a plan of attack before acting. We all know that Harry has got a “saving people thing” and would go after Voldemort without a second thought. Confiding in his friends not only gives him a chance to take a minute and rethink, but also provides him with the support of friends as he begins a dark and dangerous journey. They love him and Dumbledore has always said Love is Harry’s greatest weapon! So if he uses the love that hurts Voldemort so much it can only help him in the future, lest he risks death and complete destruction.

  • Sharona Lumos

    I feel that if Harry hadn’t confided in his friends, carrying the load of knowing that neither can live while the other survives, would have been much much heavier on Harry. I think Dumbledore knew Harry likely would have kept this to himself, had he (DD) not said anything. Dumbledore knows that Hermione and Ron can provide some sort of lightness to this matter. I think JK shows us this by letting Hermione get punched in the face by the telescope.
    Harry had heard the prophecy at the end of OotP in Dumbledores office, so he has had the entire summer holiday (well most of it) to sort out his thoughts and the implications of the prophecy. I feel like Harry didn’t tell them straight away (as in, right after DD shows him the prophecy in the Pensieve) because of his heroic tendencies. We all know Harry is the last person to endanger his friends. I think at first he feels he is protecting Hermione and Ron by not telling them. Then, when DD encourages him to share this load with his friends, it’s easier for Harry to do so because he has had the time to think things over.
    Also, on a more practical side of things, how was Harry going to explain the private lessons with DD had he not told them about the prophecy? It is quite crucial to know that it must be Harry who defeats Voldemort, because otherwise why would he be involved in searching for the horcruxes?
    And last but not least, DD knows he is going to die. Leaving Harry behind with such a big task ahead (finding and destroying the horcruxes) without him getting help from his friends (and mainly Hermione, who is the brightest witch of her age after all)? Even DD knew that would be impossible for Harry, who is after all quite an impulsive teenager.

  • Katie

    Ultimately, he encouraged him to share this with the two of them not only so that Ron and Hermione knew what they were getting into by continuing to support Harry but he also knew from his own mistakes that keeping secrets causes pain and sadness to the ones you love. I don’t think Dumbledore could bear to have Harry live with that burden like he (Dumbledore) did until the day he died. He knew that Ron would be a constant reminder of family, love, and laughter and that those are all the good things in the world that are worth dying for. He was certain that Harry would need Hermione to keep him focused and grounded rather than react to his instinct to always ‘play the hero’. (@mrsslrkls)

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    I firmly believe that Harry never would have defeated Voldemort without Ron and Hermione. That said, I think that Harry would have told Ron and Hermione anyway (eventually). Not only would Harry be unable to keep this secret, Ron and Hermione (well, Hermione) probably would have figured it out and brought it up to him (don’t they even say that they figured it was something like that?). Dumbledore knows this and he doesn’t want to make this any harder for Harry than he has to, so by telling him to inform Ron and Hermione he is making sure Harry doesn’t have to go behind his back. At this point, Dumbledore is also probably writing his will. He knows he is going to die and he knows he is going to send Harry off on this mission, but he also knows that things need to be put in place to protect Harry from the Ministry and others. In other words, Dumbledore knows Harry needs a team, both for logistical and personal reasons. Dumbledore also trusts the Weasley family and knows of Hermione’s abilities. While he does say, in the King’s Cross Station Chapter, that he expected Hermione to hold Harry up, he wanted it to be that way. Dumbledore also knows that there are few people Harry actually trusts outside of Ron and Hermione so they are ideal for his team in that way, too.

    • I’m inclined to disagree slightly. Harry has the habit of wanting to go at things alone for a lot of things. In a lot of things, he takes a huge responsibility and burden on his shoulders. I think that until Dumbledore said (whenever he may say it) he would not say. He’d also be worried at what they would think or feel.

      • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

        I think that earlier in the series he may have, but now I think he relies a lot on his friends. I think he would have tried to bottle it up but I don’t think it would have worked in the long term. Also, the more I think about, the more I think that Hermione and Ron would have figured it out which would have put harry in an even tougher situation

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    But would Harry have been able to keep his two closest friends in the dark? Hermione says that she already thought it was something like “neither can live while the other survives”, and Harrys behaviour would have given her the necessary clues to tell her that she’s right.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      I agree – I think Hermione and Ron would have figured it out (or something close to it) and even if Harry didn’t tell them, I think they would have known and would have tried to help.

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        I can’t imagine Hermione leaving the topic alone. She and Ron use their first chance to talk to Harry about it, they’ve seen how bad he deals with emotionally challenging things when he tries to do it alone. They go great lengths to support him when he trusts them and they wouldn’t have him not trusting them. Hermione has experienced how hard it is when you’re struggling with your secret and your friends don’t seem to bother. She won’t let Harry go through the same, even if Dumbledore had told him to keep it from them. Hermione might brew some veritaserum secretly to make Harry tell them, her Slytherin-traits come out in situations when she feels that extreme actions are needed to achieve a goal.

        • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

          Even if Harry didn’t tell Hermione, I could even see her going as far as approaching Dumbledore. She understands that this situation is very serious and I totally agree that she will do anything she feels necessary to help Harry and the cause.

        • ISeeThestrals

          I don’t think she’d go as far as to brewing up veritaserum and using it on her own friend. She’d trust Harry to tell her, and she’s bright enough to figure it out without him. Seems like a thing like that would dampen their friendship a bit.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            Hermione goes to Slughorns Christmas Party with McLaggen to make Ron jealous. Mixing Veritaserum into Harry’s pumpkin juice is lame against that. 😉

  • SpinnersEnd

    I think the most important thing about sharing the prophecy with Hermione and Ron is that they are supportive friends. Yes, it leads to important things later in the series, but I think the biggest benefit is that Harry doesn’t have to shoulder this emotional burden alone. He finally has a chance to talk about his thoughts on it and his fears.

    It hearkens back to the theme of the entire series: love and choices. Harry loves Ron and Hermione enough to share his deepest fears with them and they love him enough to listen. And they all choose to do something about it.

    • JILLIAN MURPHY

      I completely agree. I think if Harry had not shared the prophecy with Ron and Hermione that he might have had to be secretive and we would have ended up with the same problem as in Goblet of fire, where Ron thinks Harry puts his name in the Goblet, but in this it would be that he thought that Harry was hiding something.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      Totally agree – more than anything, Ron and Hermione serve as people who support Harry and without knowing that they support him I don’t think he could defeat Voldemort

  • FizzTheWhizzbie

    Dumbledore could have been using Harry’s past dealings with stress as the reason for giving him this advice. In the past whenever Harry has been faced with difficult situations he has internalized them. Cedric’s death, Umbridge’s treatment of him, and the dreams from Voldemort are all instances in which Harry has hidden things or not shared things with his friends. None of these times had positive outcomes. Dumbledore could be thinking about his family problems and how destructive keeping secrets from your friends/family can be. If you add the fact that without Ron’s support and loyalty, and Hermoine’s intelligence and skill he would probably have died. Even before the Horcrux search. Harry would have died without them in the first book trying to get to Quirrell.

  • SlytherinKnight

    I agree with everyone who has said that there is no way in Hades that Harry would have beaten Voldemort without Hermione and Ron. They were his lifeboat after fifth year, that passage when JK describes what Harry is feeling after telling the pair the prophecy is excellent, just brilliant writing. I think that Dumbledore saw that both Ron and Hermione completed Harry, Hermione was Harry’s drive to better himself, while Ron was Harry’s rock, the person who kept him grounded and could make sure Harry stayed at ease when things got too heavy.

    But it is interesting how easily Hermione and Ron accept the prophecy yet don’t believe Harry about Draco being a Death Eater. That tells me that neither Hermione nor Ron know exactly what they are getting themselves into, they accept that Harry will be the one who defeats Voldemort, essentially becoming a child soldier for Dumbledore, but they don’t accept that Voldemort does the same. Is this just their naivety in believing that the war won’t happen until later on, though we know the series would only last seven books?

    • PheonixAsh

      Great point! I think Ron and Hermione feel that they have been wrong too many times about Draco and think they are playing safe and widening their focus by not jumping on Draco with Harry. I think they also view Draco as the “all talk, no walk” type. Just because Harry is right about Draco doesn’t mean he isn’t blinded by his ambition to catch him. That makes him a bit reckless which is exactly why Dumbledore encourages him to confide in his friends.

  • PheonixAsh

    I’m not imaginative enough to see a world where Harry doesn’t tell Ron and Hermione. What I do know is that it would have changed the last 2 books entirely.
    Dumbledore encouraged Harry to confide in his friends because: 1) He knows first hand what a burden it can be to go it alone. Especially since Harry has been alone most of his life. 2) He is in possession of information that gives him a weakness for Harry’s emotional state. He wants the road Harry is on to be as easy as possible because he loves him. Despite the fact that he is the “puppet master”. 3) Ron and Hermione ground Harry. One of Harry’s strongest attributes is that he is brave and dives into a problem head first. But At times that can also be his biggest weakness. Ron helps balance that with his natural instinct to pause and question. Hermione helps balance that with her natural ability to seek logic and reason. As in any successful relationships, there has to be balance.

  • Can you imagine the feeling, the pressure of knowing that you, little ol’ you, has to defeat the most powerful Dark Wizard to ever live? You, who has no experience next to he, had to beat him or be defeated yourself! Harry, it seems, has a very different outlook on things after learning about the prophecy. Perhaps he doesn’t mourn Sirius’ death because, knowing what the prophecy says, he expects to be with Sirius soon. It’s almost suicide for Harry to know the prophecy.

    Being able to share the knowledge with his friends allows him to be comforted. He knows he doesn’t have to do it alone. But without ever sharing the prophecy with his friends, Harry most likely would go at it alone. Depending on how bad things got, Harry might have walked into the woods to face death much much sooner, if lost and with no other (Harry) logical options.

    I think Dumbledore greatly values friendship and he knows that Ron and Hermione have been there for Harry the past 5 years. He knows they can be trusted, and are strong in times of peril. Ron and Hermione could easily be trusted with important information, more trusted than certain members of the Order, like Mundungus.

  • Jillian

    I feel as though Harry should have told the whole order about the prophecy and not just Ron and Hermione because he would have had a bigger support behind him. Does anyone else agree?

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      Harry might have had more people helping with his quest, but more people knowing would mean more possible leaks and especially later when the horcrux hunt begins it is essential that Voldemort doesn’t know about it. Keeping his plans secret is important for Dumbledore, Aberforth says that it’s his style, and there might have been another possibility to defeat Voldemort, but as Dumbledore is smarter than most people, who could have come up with Plan B?

      • Jillian

        That makes sense but I was thinking about if Harry had the whole order behind him searching for the Horcruxes would they have been found faster?

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          maybe faster, but easier to detect, too. Imagine Dumbledore making a kind of presentation for the most trustworthy Order members, telling them everything he told Harry, so that they all could go searching and destroying Horcruxes. Wouldn’t they be noticed much sooner than the Trio hiding in some foresty nowhere? Voldemort could have moved the horcruxes from their hiding places and the search would have gone on, but the order would lose the advantage that Voldemort doesn’t know what exactly they are up to. He murders everyone who heard about the cup in the Lestranges vault in Gringotts, he doesn’t care who dies, if it’s not himself. But Dumbledore cares that there are no unnecessary deaths, and so he gave the unavoidable difficult and dangerous job to the person who was sentenced to die anyway.

          • Jillian

            True that makes sense now that you say that

  • Jillian

    What do you think if Voldemort had heard the prophecy or seen the paper with a question mark next to Harry’s name? What if he had found out that Neville could have caused a problem as well? Is there a way that Harry could have changed his destiny or was it set in stone that he was the one that Voldemort picked and he was the one destine to die? I know this was probably a question for last book but I just thought of it.

    • I think that, because Harry is the one who was marked, nothing could have been changed. However, I also believe that Harry didn’t have to be the one to destroy Voldee. If Harry had told more people about Horcruxes, or if Regulus Black had managed to destroy all the Horcruxes, anyone could have destroyed Voldee. I do not believe it had to be Harry to deal the finishing blow, so long as we were at the point where one last blow would destroy Voldee for good.

      • Jillian the Ravenclaw

        Thats so true! I was thinking that if Harry had included Neville in the horcrux hunt would they have been able to work together to defeat him?

  • ISeeThestrals

    Eventually
    Harry would have had to tell them something, otherwise they would be wondering
    why Harry’s working so hard to defeat Voldemort on his own as opposed to
    letting him be defeated by aurors. If Harry had kept them in the dark about the
    prophecy, I’d imagine Harry would instead tell them he’s doing this for his
    parents. Later Harry has a discussion with Dumbledore about the importance of
    the prophecy’s meaning. Harry told Dumbledore, either way, he would still want
    to be the one to finish Voldemort off as he was the one who murdered his
    parents. Hermione might have argued against him taking revenge, while Ron might
    have thought it was a stupid thing to do. Both Ron and Hermione had argued
    against Harry listening to Draco to track down Sirius Black when they thought
    he was a murderer in book 3. With a much more powerful wizard this time around,
    Ron and Hermione would have been compelled to try and stop Harry unless they
    understood why he needed to face Voldemort. But considering the number of times
    Voldemort attacked him during one of his school years, Harry could have also
    told them he needed to finish off Voldemore before he attempted to strike him
    again, and that it was inevitable that they’d meet up since his rise to power.

    Dumbledore clearly sees Ron and Hermione’s loyalty which Harry cherishes. Not
    only does he trust their ability to help, he knows that without those two, Harry would
    have experienced a lonely journey to finding a way to defeat his enemy. He would not
    have made it as far and it’s quite possible he would have given up early without their
    much needed support. Ron is a loyal friend who tries his hardest to help, while
    Hermione’s wisdom contributes greatly to the team. Dumbledore also knows it would
    be harder for Harry to die completely alone, without the early support of Ron and
    Hermione.

  • Skyler White

    i think if Harry had left Ron and Hermione in the dark he would have been fine as long as Dumbledore was around but lets face we all know Hermione is the one that gets everything done. I think Dumbledore saw that in Hermione and knew that harry would need her brains and amazing talent to help him. Ron is trickier to figure out in my opinion but i think Dumbledore needed him for the same reasons all of us need our closes friends, because they pick us up. Every time Harry’s life gets messed up he has someone there with him and generally its Ron. Ron is harry’s knight in shining armor.

  • Florish&Blotts Shopgirl

     

    If Harry permanently kept Ron and Hermione in the dark, and his quest to learn about the Horcruxes became a solo one, he’d be a parallel to Sirius in his quest to kill Wormtail in Prisoner of Azkaban. Like Sirius, he would alone know the truth. And assuming Harry still somehow found the locket and carried that burden alone, he would spiral into a part madness, part depression not unlike what Sirius experienced with the Dementors. The effect compounded with his utter solitude would exacerbate Harry’s daring (unchecked by Hermione) that would turn to wanton recklessness, as it did to Sirius and his attempts to capture and kill Wormtail. This recklessness might even turn into disregard for the safety of others, as it did to Sirius when he attacked Ron to get to Wormtail under the Whomping Willow. Because Harry’s foe is Voldemort rather than Wormtail, the risk of injury to others who stumble into their path would be exponentially increased.

    I believe Dumbledore doesn’t have Harry confide in Ron and Hermione to avoid becoming like Sirius the escaped convict, but to retain what makes Harry unlike friendless, unscrupulous Voldemort. Among many things, Harry’s friendship with Ron and Hermione is what makes Harry so completely unlike Voldemort, no matter how much of his soul is in Harry like a parasite.

    Hermione’s personal contribution to the quest is easily ascertained. She’s the brains and the reigns. Need I say more? But Ron’s contribution is easily underestimated. He is Harry’s first and best friend. He’s his Wheezy! The fight and silence between Ron and Harry in Goblet of Fire parallels what happens in Deathly Hallows. Harry still has Hermione’s friendship and loyalty, and not to imply that it’s worthless, but Harry still yearns for Ron’s friendship. I would even say Ron is Harry’s family, in the same way Sirius chose James as his family. The importance of love and friendship, it’s power to change people for the better is exemplified by Sirius when Harry, the son of Sirius’s best friend, was able to talk Sirius out of murdering Wormtail—a murder Sirius had been planning for a long time in the name of justice, justice not undeserved. Harry helped Sirius regain his humanity. And Sirius had only been reunited with Harry for what, a couple hours? That’s the power of love, as Dumbledore would say, the best defense in the war against Voldemort.